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Écrit par Jerome   


June 26, 2001

A. AGASSI/P. Wessels
7-6, 6-4, 6-4

An interview with:


MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Andre Agassi.

Q. This is supposed to have been a tough match. You made it look easy. How did you feel?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I guess ultimately I felt pretty good. It's always hard to tell the first round. It's a tough opponent to have. I think the first set, I got a little lucky. He was serving, I believe, 85% first serves going into the tiebreaker, serving big at that time. Then in the tiebreaker, he missed I think every first serve. All of a sudden, you know, double-faulted. He had to deal with his second serve for the first time in the match. It was in the tiebreaker. I think it was a crucial time for him to all of a sudden have to face serving me on a second serve. Then, you know, got an early break in the second. I served well. I took care of my serve well today. I was executing my shots. I felt very clean on my groundstrokes. You know, I made the first serve when I really needed. So at the end, I felt pretty good about it.

Q. You have a Brit in the next round, Jamie Delgado. Do you know anything at all about him?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I got to see him play a little bit today against Medvedev. He's obviously playing pretty well to have such a convincing win. You know, he's definitely not going to pose the threat in the same way that my opponent did today. I'll have a chance to really work myself into my game from the baseline. You know, I'll have to certainly take it to him because it looked like he's playing well.

Q. Remind you a bit of Krajicek the way he served?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, the way he serves, the way he looks, the way he moves. Everything is very big and very aggressive. You know, it's a tough serve to read because he kind of turns his back toward you. You know, it's easy to kind of lose a sense of rhythm on the return. Yeah, you know, he's a dangerous server because he seems like he can get very hot for long periods of time, and you have to take advantage of the opportunities when you get them.

Q. Rivalries in this sport are so fleeting because they depend on how often you can play somebody. Somebody you have been playing a bit lately is Patrick Rafter. Are you beginning to feel any sense of rivalry in what may be Pat's last year on the tour?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I've got to say, he's such a great competitor that every time you play him, you feel that energy of a rivalry. I mean, he really brings it out in you because not only is he a great athlete and a great tennis player, he's also one of the best competitors that the game has ever seen. That forces you to really be at your best. I always feel that sort of intensity when I play him, but more about what it is I'm having to face and less about how many times I'm playing him. I have a lot of respect for his game.

Q. The stats tell us that was your 200th Grand Slam match. Do you still feel as fresh as when you started or are you beginning to get a bit weary of it all?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I was weary at 19, too (laughter). You go through stages. It gets difficult at certain stages. This is a tough time of year because, you know, it's like you're in six weeks of playoffs between the French Open and Wimbledon so close. With the extremes of the surfaces, it really kind of requires you to bring out every part of your game, and that can always get a little tiring. But I feel pretty good. I mean, I'm experienced enough not to get ahead of myself, while at the same time I'm still trying to make sure I step up with the same intensity. Every year does get harder, I'll assure you of that.

Q. The BBC showed Steffi watching you today. They pointed out she's wearing a gold band on her wedding finger. Any plans to marry?

ANDRE AGASSI: Why don't you think of a question that is your business.

Q. Your fans will be keen to know.

ANDRE AGASSI: I'm sure. I'll wait till they ask me.

Q. I would like to know what has been your program since the French Open to come here? What have you done?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I needed few days just to kind of regroup from the loss in Paris, and then, you know, started hitting balls again. Just started playing on quicker hard courts to try to get my timing, because I believe it's really a tough adjustment to go from the clay straight to the grass because you can't count on any bounces. So you really want to clean up your stroke and make sure you're driving through the court. Just hit a lot of balls and then got over here a week early.

Q. Did you think a lot about the match in the French Open?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't even remember it.

Q. You said you've been watching some of the matches. You watched Pete yesterday. Did you draw any conclusions?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yes. He's very tough to beat here (smiling).

Q. What do you think of the way he played yesterday? I'll rephrase that.

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, that's a tough match-up for Clavet, you know. It's a tough match-up for anybody really. You know, the grass is too quick. Pete seemed just to do everything that he needed to do. What a shocker that is, huh?

Q. You talked in the past about how the longer you stay at Wimbledon, the worse your game gets. Is that the same given the fact that the weather is making the courts a little bit easier for the baseliners?

ANDRE AGASSI: I wouldn't say Wimbledon. I say grass courts. I feel like there's so many little adjustments you have to make as a baseliner on the grass that as the court kind of gets more unpredictable, your swing starts getting a little more, in some cases, tentative or choppy. I've always been a believer that you have to keep the fundamentals most sound during the times when things get most unpredictable. That's why I enjoy kind of cleaning up my game a little bit on the hard courts, even possibly during a tournament. You know, grass is such a shot-making surface that you have to swing at it effectively and confidently. If your swing starts getting short or starts getting tentative on any level, that's when you really start missing.

Q. The umpire overruled some calls out there. Do you think that upset your opponent more than you today?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, there were two overrules. One went his way and one went my way. I mean, I've always been a believer that for an umpire just to kind of arbitrarily overrule is interference in the game. There's going to be good calls and bad calls. You always hope that at the end of the day, they equal themselves out. But to have somebody kind of --.

Q. This was early in the game.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it was pretty early. He hit a floating ball that landed very close to the line. The guy calling the line saw it out. I wasn't sure. Somehow he was convinced it was good. That's always upsetting for both players. Even if it does go your way, you still feel like, "I hope that doesn't come back around next time."

Q. You got the break on the first serve of the tiebreak?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I hit an ace, they called it out. She corrected herself.

Q. Do you anticipate a different sort of occasion in the next round because you're playing a Brit?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I'm looking forward to it, certainly. I never played a Brit here in Wimbledon. It will be my first experience with it. I'll understand any compromise of loyalties out there, certainly.

Q. Your popularity may not be the case this time.

ANDRE AGASSI: I'll have to rely on my tennis game, won't I?

Q. As a senior touring pro out here, you and Pete are fending off questions all the time, "When are you going too to retire?" Probably gets boring, especially with the emphasis on the new Americans coming in. Is there any conversation that happens between you and Pete, even in a joking manner, to the extent of, "Well, I'll do it if you do it"? Pete was in here yesterday saying, "If I don't get the trophy this year, I'll come back next year, three years, five years." Any sort of ribbing that goes on between you two about that?

ANDRE AGASSI: No (laughter).

Q. Is there any conscious thought about you don't want to be the first one to retire or you want the other person to do it?

ANDRE AGASSI: I suppose every athlete has their own ideas as to how they see their career ending. For me, I don't know how my career's going to end or really when it's going to end. I can say that I hope it ends at the time when I just can't really do it anymore, can't win anymore. I hope it happens no later and no sooner than that. But it's hard to say. I mean, for anyone's own body, own mind or own priorities is really an individual thing. You see many greet athletes' careers end. They always seem to be unique. Hopefully it will be one that I'm very resolved with.

Q. Some people have said that you've been stronger mentally and physically in the past couple years. Do you feel we're very cynical in tennis thinking that it's over at 29, 30? Do you think that age has been pushed back because of the physical nature of the game?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think it's like anything. Statistics are statistics. You can't get around generally looking at a field of guys and seeing when they tend to play their best tennis. With that being said, you always have to leave room for individuals. You know, for me, this has definitely been the best tennis of my career. With that being said, it leads me to question myself, "How much more can I go?" It still feels like I can do this for a while, but I think a lot has to go right. Guys that are getting credit out there that are young, it's not just because they're young; it's because they're playing the game of tennis in a special kind of way. That should be respected, starting with me and Pete, because we're the ones out there trying to beat them.

Q. You come to Wimbledon, not much time to make adjustments from the clay, is it difficult not to play a tournament?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I've done it both ways. I can't say that I actually feel better one way or the other. I mean, last year I thought that actually playing Queen's in kind of an unfortunate incident ended up hurting me. It gave me an issue with my back that I had to kind of contend with, not just with this tournament, but pretty much the whole summer. But as far as the game goes, it's about feeling good about the shots, your shot selection, how you execute those shots. I believe practising can get you there if you're match ready. I feel match ready. This year I didn't feel the pressure of having to play more matches, but I did feel the need to get over here and get on the grass. You know, today was a great start for me because it certainly wasn't an easy one. It could have gone a lot worse today, for sure.

End of FastScripts....

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