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Écrit par Jerome   



March 24, 2001

6-4, 6-2

An Interview With:


THE MODERATOR: First question for Andre, please.

Q. That was a shot-making clinic. I mean Dent played good. Was he just too on tonight?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think Taylor's come a long ways. I played him at Wimbledon first round and I think a little has to do with the fact that he does like to bolt up. Playing on grass, I think it stays out of his strike zone a little bit more. I thought he was hitting the ball very well tonight. He certainly has already come a long ways. You know, I had a lot to fall back on tonight. I was really seeing the ball well and I was moving really well and I was forcing him to play a lot of low volleys when he did hit a big shot and come in, then I was moving well enough to cover and make him feel my presence on that volley. And so, you know, I played a good match.

Q. That long first game, Andre, does it almost work in your favor to get that many good looks at his serve so you can be ready for the second service game, third?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, but it can also work against you, too. I've played plenty of matches against guys that can serve that big where you have a long deuce game and you feel like, okay, I'm going to have a great day with a lot of looks. And then you don't see another break point the rest of the match. So there is a lot of pressure on you to convert when you do get those opportunities against a big server, and I fought off a break point on my serve I think which really kind of deflated him a little bit. He played a good point and I happened to scrap my way out of it. Once you get up a break, it's easier to relax on your service games and take care of the business at hand.

Q. When you return 142 mile on a serve and win the point, what does that do to him? What does that do for you?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, I don't know. I can't speak for what it does to him. I mean, you know, I just -- I always believe that if I can get my racquet on the ball I can return it. You know, I mean, and I'd rather see 142 with my racquet on it than 99 ace. So, you know, my goal was just to really make him play, especially on the second serve because a guy that can serve that big, you want him to feel a certain sense of urgency to make his first serve. But I was -- if anything, it just showed me that I was seeing the ball well tonight.

Q. You know he can hit it big. What do you think of his location on the serve?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think he can serve a lot smarter. I mean, he is -- I see a lot of ways that he can improve, which is a good thing. You know, I think he rushes too much. He should take his time more and really take care of his serve. I think he can mix up his serve a lot. I mean if you have to worry about something 142 coming in, then 101 becomes a lot more effective. But you got to hit those, you know. So I really think he can work his serve even better, and that's a lot of good things to look forward to.

Q. When you say he's come a long way, are you talking in part about his groundstroking?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, well, I think he's moving better. I was really pleased to see him move the way he moved. I thought he moved a lot better, which is very important for a guy who hits the ball so big. If you're not going to be in position and you're taking a huge cut at it, things get, it gets a low percentage really quick. I think he's playing smarter. He's learning how to play. He's hitting the first rally shot deep, and he's looking to hurt on the next ball. And I think in the past he's -- he was just uncorking on every ball. He played a few real solid shots real close to the baseline, missed a lot of ones close, which could have made a big difference for him out there today.

Q. You returning serve as well as you have in your career?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I mean, every match is a new match and it's all about, for me, my movement. You know, if I feel like I can stay disciplined and keep my balance and feet under me on a stretch return and still cover, then that allows me to be very fundamentally sound and I don't have to lean as much. And so I become much -- a much better returner if I'm moving better. I feel like I'm moving really well right now and everything's really feeling good.

Q. So it will be David Prinosil instead of Greg Rusedski in the third round. Can you comment on both of those guys?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I didn't see the match, but I mean David must have played well to rout him the way he did. I mean, you can't just break a guy that serves that way that many times unless you're hitting the ball clean and playing well. I mean, I've had some good matches with David. So it's going to be, you know, a tough match. I mean, it's never a comfortable match playing Greg, because you're not going to get a whole lot of rhythm. You can play lousy and win or you can play great and lose. But against Prinosil, it will be a much more of a solid match. We're both going get our rhythm early and try to execute our games.

Q. Greg was saying he's kind of a streaky guy. He'll get on a two- or three-week streak each year and look out. You read him the same way?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's not who you beat when you're playing well. It's who you beat when you're not playing well. That's how you win. And I think a guy like Greg has got you always worried about where he's located in the draw because if he is playing his best tennis, it's just -- he's just a hard guy to beat not to mention uncomfortable. You know, but, you know, Greg's going to have to learn how to beat a Kuerten then go out there and play a good match against Clement in Australia, or come off the San Jose win and play solid maybe on a day when things aren't going great for him. You know, that has a lot to do with what you have to fall back on. I mean, he definitely lives and dies by the sword which makes him a big threat every time he plays, and I think he is a streaky player.

Q. After your victory at Indian Wells and the way you performed this night, tonight, do you think this could be a better year than 1999?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I'm off to a better start.

Q. What you did in 1999 was amazing.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I'm off to a better start, that's for sure, than I was in 1999. But in 1999, I did something that year that I think I'll -- I can never repeat again because I won all of them that year by winning Paris. And if I just only won Paris that year, it would have been categorized as the greatest year of my career. So, you know, it's about playing well. It's about staying healthy, and it's about getting a little bit lucky in some of the big matches.

Q. Do you consider Paris as the peak of your career?

ANDRE AGASSI: That was, to me, the pinnacle. Everything kind of came down to that, you know, and I'll never -- I'll never feel the pressure I felt from myself to win that day, that tournament, again. And I'll never feel the joy quite like that ever again. I mean, that's a once-in-a-lifetime.

Q. You spanked a young American tonight. Pete's got Roddick tomorrow. The old timers trying to send a message, "Hey, not yet, kids."

ANDRE AGASSI: There's no age when you're out there playing. There's just experience and game. I don't care how old the person is that I'm playing and I worry about their game a lot more than their age. I mean, you know, I think both Taylor and Andy have real good games. I think Andy has a tremendous future, and he has a big match tomorrow which will certainly give him a taste of what it's like. And it's not going to be his only look at the basket so you just hope he goes out there and relaxes and plays the game he's capable of.

Q. Do you have enough interest in Andy's future as a young American who could be someone who stepped in to the shoes that you and Pete have been walking in the last decade? Do you watch that match tomorrow and not just as a scouting it, but for whatever entertainment value it gives you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I'll tune in to it to see the score, you know. I mean, I'm not -- I don't feel too confused how the games play out. I know Pete's game so well, and, you know, Pete can play some great matches but he also is probably one of the best in the world at winning uneventfully. Just take care of his serve and play a couple of good points at the right time. So I'm much more in this particular case interested in the result than I am the actual encounter.

Q. Should Andy be satisfied if he just plays smart and competitively tomorrow rather than trying to play as bombasticly as possible, keep his cool, play the points properly and comes out of there with a competitive match?

ANDRE AGASSI: There's nobody in this draw, anybody that's in this draw that is interested in just being competitive doesn't have much of a future. I don't -- I wouldn't -- if I was coaching Andy, I wouldn't be telling him, "Be competitive." That would be the given, you're going to go out there and work your tail end off. I'd be telling him how his game can get to Pete and what he has to hope happens for that to take place. A guy that can pump a serve in that big and a guy that can smack the forehand that big, he has played one or two good games on Pete's serve. That's not unreasonable, it's possible. Pete's a great player who has to get beaten to lose. He's not going to just give it away. But anybody can win out here.

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