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Écrit par Jerome   
20-09-2006

THE MASTERS SERIES 2001
THE ERICSSON OPEN

MIAMI, FLORIDA

March 30, 2001

A. AGASSI/I. Ljubicic
6-4, 6-4

An Interview With:

ANDRE AGASSI

Q. Did the rain delay night off help you maybe talk to Brad and devise a little strategy to combat this kid?

ANDRE AGASSI: A couple of things were at work I think last night as you might expect from not playing a few days. I played on Monday. Got a default on Tuesday; had the day off on Wednesday; then played a few games on Thursday and I just -- I came out incredibly sharp. On top of that, I didn't know his game at all. You hear things, but -- and today I was still dealing with not playing a whole lot of tennis in the last few days. But I at least knew what to expect. I felt like I had a good assessment of his game and had we continued last night I felt like I would have certainly gotten more comfortable. Obviously it is a good thing that we didn't continue, because hindsight is 2020, but it was a long ways to go still. Last night would have been a certainly a challenge.

Q. Did you and Brad talk it over; maybe playing his forehand a little bit more today?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, you can count on a few things pretty much in everybody's game and one of the things in his game that is pretty clear is he doesn't hit the forehand up the line. Which is -- you know, which is something I think that I just kind of -- he was just kind of getting away with a crosscourt forehand last night and once I felt like I understood kind of what he counts on in his game I felt like I could work around it. He has a big backhand, big serve. And he can take his game at you, but I felt like I adjusted pretty well.

Q. Do you think he is a good prospect?

ANDRE AGASSI: He is a really dangerous player. I haven't seen a lot of consistent results from him which leads me to kind of ask a few questions that I probably wouldn't be able to answer. But I think his game is a game that should be good on a lot of surfaces and should beat a lot of guys.

Q. Not to bring up a sore subject, Andre, but Jose Higueras is famous for coming up with a strategy for Jim during the rain delay in Paris. Brad obviously did some good work. In terms of a coach during a rain delay would you take Jose Higueras or Brad Gilbert?

ANDRE AGASSI: Seeing that I never went to Jose to hire him, I would say that I made that choice a long time ago and feel real good about who my coach is. I think Jose is a great strategist. He is a guy like Brad who had to really think for a living out there. But it's always been my contention I think Brad understands inside the lines of peoples' game; what to expect from them; their capabilities better than anybody, X's and O's. I will take Brad over anybody.

Q. Big turning point in the first set? You didn't break him in the first game; had a few chances; then 1-4 on your serve break against. Little turning point there?

ANDRE AGASSI: Every point is crucial at that stage because the set is about to slip away from you. I still contend even if I lost that first set there was a long ways to go. By the same token you want to get into the flow of the match as soon as possible and getting down two breaks was not going to be a good way to go about that. So I had to play a good point there and hold onto serve. Then it was question of just getting on to his. Obviously a guy that can serve at 140 miles an hour can go through streaks where he can blow it by you, but then you are going to get a few opportunities. I wanted to really convert when I got those. Then I did that game.

Q. He was blaming some line calls, and things like that. Did you feel like that that had any aspect to the win today?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think there were some tough calls. I think if there were any tough calls I got the better of them today. But I also think I played well.

Q. A couple of days ago you gave some good advice to Andy Roddick that seemed to help him turn his game around. How did you feel at his next match where he ultimately was defeated?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I didn't get to see much of that match. Lleyton is a very tough competitor who obviously does a lot of things well. So it is not a surprise that somebody is going to lose to Lleyton. So I -- not seeing the match I really wouldn't have an assessment on it.

Q. If I recall correctly, you said that when you were first coming on the screen, Jimmy and John McEnroe were not, shall we say, exactly inviting towards you. Is that experience sort of in the back of your mind and would you like to help other young Americans and really go out of your way to help them out?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I enjoy doing that. I enjoy -- I actually enjoy helping anybody that feels like I can help and that has a desire to listen or to ask me. But especially Americans just because I am partial to the fact that we need some to step up before me and Pete come to the end of our career. And -- but I think above all that it is just about, you know, how you choose to live. Whether it is in the competitive arena; whether it is away from the courts, it is my belief that I want to see the game -- I want to see the game improve. It is the most important thing to me. It is just -- is to beat the best because that is where the satisfaction is. If I see a guy that can be playing better, I welcome that.

Q. If you -- back when you were emerging if you approached Jimmy or John, just wanted to shoot the bull maybe get a couple of tips or two, what do you think would have happened?

ANDRE AGASSI: (Laughs) you know, I think there is probably a less shot of me going up to them then of them helping me with anything, put it that way.

Q. When did you start to become friendly with John?

ANDRE AGASSI: I'd have to say right around maybe '92 when we were on the same Davis Cup team. Yeah, somewhere around that year.

Q. When you help people like Roddick, do you wait for them to come to you to ask or do you just volunteer it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Sometimes I can't help myself. I practiced with him so there is a lot of opportunities to talk about a few things. You can always tell when a guy is willing to work hard and willing to kind of do what is necessary to get better. Andy is a good worker and certainly a good kid so I have had many opportunities to discuss his game with him and I think it just continues or doesn't continue based on how those interactions play out.

Q. Can you set up the semifinal against Patrick? Obviously it is almost like you and against Pete, serve and volley, classic dual against your all-court game?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think it's a great matchup between me and Pat. I think it's a really enjoyable matchup for the sake of all the different ways you can play this great sport. It is an opportunity to see the best in their fields, me on the baseline, him at the net. I mean, he is one of the best athletes in serve and volleyers the game has ever known. I just think it is real enjoyable for a crowd to watch how those dynamics play out. He is a great competitor and we have had some real good matches.

Q. You found yourself in a bit of trouble in Australia against him. But it seemed like your conditioning really won it out for you there. That has been another advantage here do you feel?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. It's different two out of three than it is that three out of five. Plus the windy conditions. You know, sometimes points end a little quicker than either of you might want them to. I am going to have to be playing well and picking up the ball early, and hitting my game quick. Three out of five always allows me to relax into my game a little bit more. Because it is such a long ways to the finishline that it is easy not to worry so much about the start. But with playing Pat two out of 3 somewhere like this, I mean, the guy can just jump all over you like he did against Federer in his last match. That I can't afford to happen.

Q. People talk about your conditioning being such a key to this recent run of great success that you have but others really say it is your attitude, your eagerness, you're willingness to go out there and pay the price. I know you are not Pete Sampras. But you have seen him play; you have known him for a long, long time. Do you think Pete in his gut has that eagerness, that desire to willingness to pay the price still?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, he is-- obviously what he has done has worked for him for many years. It is my belief that just because something works for you at one stage of your career my experience tells me that it doesn't always work. You have got to be willing to change how you go about things. I don't know what he is doing or what he is not doing. I can assure you that you can't stick with one formula for 15 years. Your body changes, your mind changes and the game changes. I think one of the things that I have managed to do is to develop myself with the game, but also make adjustments to the needs that my body is asked of me and my mind is asked of me. I can't play as much as I used to, for example. It is hard for me to mentally do it because I pour so much into it when I do do it. Physically I have to watch out for how much I am playing. Where my recovery time is and where my preparation time is. This is just a balancing act that has to happen. Only experience really can teach you that. I am sure Pete has learned a few things.

Q. Do you think -- Pete said he is happy in L.A. but do you think always being in that environment, do you think that can hurt him in any way?

ANDRE AGASSI: What, L.A. environment?

Q. Living in L.A.?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, I don't know if it has to do with where you live.

Q. Pat Rafter's second serve, the kick serve, is that one of his major weapons that you have to kind of conquer tomorrow?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I hope I get a lot of opportunities to look at his second serve. But I have to say that his advantage with the serve is that you know, like Edberg except a little bit harder, he has great racket speed, he can hit a big serve 114, 116 but with a lot of kick on it. That gives him time to get in and that gives him a high percentage, especially in windy conditions. With the ball moving around out there as it is, it is going to be that much more difficult to handle his kick. You know, he is just -- he is just a great server of the ball, great volleyer of the ball and a phenomenal athlete. Those combinations make for me to have to hit my shots very accurately tomorrow.

Q. Do you think he is playing as well as the U.S. open runs in 1997 and 1998?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think he has been playing great. I watched him obviously in Australia a lot, and even last week at Palm Springs. I thought it was unfortunate for him to not have won that match against Pete. This week he is playing great again. Yeah, this is I think some of his best tennis. I think it is only getting better too because set kind of guy that gets a lot better with matches.

Q. With John McEnroe do you feel there is much you have in common with him? Obviously you guys have bonded somewhat.

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I mean, I guess we have life in common. We are just trying to go through it.

 
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