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Écrit par Jerome   
20-09-2006

THE CHAMPIONSHIPS
WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND

June 28, 2001

A. AGASSI/J. Delgado
6-2, 6-4, 6-3

An interview with:

ANDRE AGASSI

MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Andre for you.

Q. Early on in the match you seemed quite prepared to be (inaudible) by the crowd, but afterwards you were blowing kisses. Do you feel that special relationship with Centre Court is still there even though you've beaten a Brit?

ANDRE AGASSI: Two guys go out there, have to compete, somebody has to win, somebody has to lose. You can certainly understand why so much support would be towards Jamie today. I just feel like when a battle is kind of said and done, hopefully it doesn't take you too long to forget about it one way or the other. You know, just thanking them for their respect out there.

Q. After the Sampras match yesterday against a Brit, that crowd backing, nothing to lose, you might say, you going out to face one today, did that make any kind of impression on you yesterday watching the Pete match, how you would approach this?

ANDRE AGASSI: I've got to say that I didn't need to see Pete struggle out there to have respect for somebody in the second round of Wimbledon. Regardless who you're playing, you're playing the best players in the world, and you're playing on a surface that is in many cases the ultimate equaliser. You throw a little wind into the equation, a few bad bounces at the wrong time, you know, a couple swings of the ball that aren't as clean as you want, and you're in a battle. As one-sided as the match may seem on paper, I think those that are most experienced go out there with a tremendous amount of respect for what has to be done because at the end of the day you still have to execute to win. You know, I have an incredible ability to stress myself out against anybody. So I just take one point at a time, and I'm not comfortable till I'm home watching the rest of the day's tennis.

Q. Do you mean even now, after all the experience you've had, you still actually get stressed out?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, sure. I think that's what it's all about. It's all about the pressure and responding to it. I always believe that a sense of urgency is good out there. And, yeah, I don't think the pressure or the stress or that sense of urgency gets less. I actually think it gets more, the more experience you have.

Q. But you handle it much better, or is it the same?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, I think that's better on some days than others, you know. It's a constant battle. You're out there in the middle of it all. Some days you wish to forget.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the mental aspect of tennis, how much confidence can really affect a player out there, a match can turn more than it would seem to from just a point or two.

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, the match is in the control of two guys, and two guys only. Again, regardless of what's on paper, regardless of any circumstances, you know, you have to beat somebody else. It's a sport where one person can affect the other one. Regardless of any circumstances, you know, you have to beat somebody else. It's a sport where one person can affect the other one. You know, you're not going out there just trying to shoot a low score; you're going out there trying to beat somebody. In some cases you want to elevate your game to beat somebody; in other cases you want to bring a guy's game down to beat somebody. You don't mind to play better and somebody to win; you don't mind somebody playing worse than you to win. If you don't have the confidence, it's hard to win. I mean, it's easy to hit the ball well in practise. It's easy to go out there and be competitive. But if you haven't won before, or it's been a long time since you've had that feeling of momentum or confidence, you know, you can forget how to execute at the right time. You can't hope for somebody to lose it. You know, sometimes you get lucky, and somebody does lose it. But you have to go out there to win. Without the confidence, it's hard to win. Without winning, it's hard to get the confidence. It's a constant fight.

Q. As you've been going up and down at different points in your career, how much do you think your confidence or your mental toughness out on the court has played a factor in either direction?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's huge for me. I mean, my game is built on just dictating the points shot by shot from start to finish. I take big swings at the ball, and I don't allow a lot of margin for error. I play close to the lines. If I'm a little off, sometimes I can be exposed for my confidence level quicker or in a more obvious way than other guys. With that being said, if I start finding my range out there, my confidence comes quickly. You know, experience just tells me to keep working, keep plugging away, try to focus on the next point, regardless of what happens, then assess everything at the end of the day.

Q. Are you surprised at all how well Andy Roddick handled this very kind of pressure that you're talking about? Have you had a chance to talk to him?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. I just said hello to him. I just saw him days back. No, I'm not surprised at all. I've said for a while, you know, I like Andy's game, I like his mindset, his work ethic. There's a lot of things about him that makes him deserve to be in this position, you know, to go out there and play that kind of tennis. It doesn't surprise me. It impresses me. It doesn't surprise me, though.

Q. Roddick and Hewitt are probably the two young players who are creating the most buzz right now. Say 10, 12 years from now when we begin to look back at their careers, who between the two of them do you think will have had the strongest career and gone the furthest?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, that's a tough question for a couple reasons. First of all, you're talking about just straight health. I mean, a career is a sensitive thing. You know, the wrong move in the wrong situation, you're out for three to six months. God forbid you struggle with one injury your whole career. You know, it's a lot how your body holds up. We can assess how they handle pressure situations. We know they both handle that well. We know that Andy has bigger weapons, but we know that Hewitt is faster and much more of a competitor as far as making somebody have to beat him from start to finish. You know, I think Andy, with his weapons, could have higher peaks potentially and have greater, say, wins. But, you know, Hewitt is going to have a very productive, solid career, that if people falter, he's going to be in position to win, a lot like Chang. You know, it's hard to say. I mean, if you had to give me one of their games, I would take Andy's because I feel like I could do more with the bigger guns. To say who is going to have a better career is impossible.

Q. We've heard you say that you definitely take one match at a time, don't take anything for granted, have a lot of respect for every player. Having said that, what's the significance of an Agassi/Sampras final at Wimbledon? Do you get the feeling of, "Wow, what an opportunity"?

ANDRE AGASSI: I would consider it an incredible opportunity because I would be one match away from winning Wimbledon. Ultimately, that's the goal. To be playing Pete, you know, that's something I would choose to spend my time thinking about and reading about the day after. I'm not quite convinced that I would spend much energy thinking about anything except: How am I going to deal with him?

Q. There are a lot of matches that go down in the history books as so exciting because of the rivalry, the development of your careers. Could you comment on that, what the tug of war has been like with Pete?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think in many ways, he's been a thorn in my side. In other ways, he's brought out some of the tennis that I've only dreamt about playing. You know, I think we've had matches that have really been an addition, credit to the game of tennis. I certainly would embrace any opportunity to have that happen again, especially here. I think, overall, as great of a person's career as one can possibly have, it still would be missing something if you don't have that complete antithesis that kind of pushes you further. I feel like that's where I've had an incredibly fortunate career. I've had the opportunity of watching arguably the greatest player, you know, play. I've faced it many times. It's gotten me to play levels that, again, I never thought I could play. So those things are things you become much more appreciative of as you get older.

Q. You talked about being stressed out on a match day. Is that something that happens the second you wake up? Is it when you get to the court? Is it in the locker room?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it all depends where the level of your game's at. A lot of cases, you're stressed out to just come into a tournament with the way you've been playing. If the tournament is important to you, you know, you have a high expectation for yourself, your game isn't where you want, sometimes the most stressful days are the days leading up. In other cases, if you're playing well, feeling good about your game, there's just that level -- when I say "stress," maybe a better word to use would be an energy, an excitement, a nervousness. Those are the things that you hope you always feel. I think when you don't feel those emotions, you'll have to acknowledge that you're at a stage of your career that doesn't quite mean the same thing to you. Really, it's about preparation and about not letting anything affect what it is you have to do that day. That tends to start as early as the week before to the night before. I don't think it ever really goes away.

Q. Now that you're three weeks past Paris, the loss to Grosjean, can you kind of think back and take us through what you think happened in the match mentally, other than just your opponent playing well?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I can't even remember that match.

Q. Why were you so out of sorts there?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't remember it. I lost to Grosjean at the French?

Q. You lost to Grosjean at the French. Nine years ago, you won Wimbledon with the exuberance of youth, came here, got close again. Do you think the experience you bring into a championship to survive for two weeks gives you a greater opportunity at this point of your career?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think you certainly don't have youth to fall back on. You don't have that sense of freshness and even the eagerness is different. You have to fall back on something, and that tends to be the experience and the approach you take toward your game, the things you focus on when you're out there to things you focus on to get yourself better for the next match. That's what I've gotten a lot better at in my career, is what to put importance on and what to kind of, you know, not let affect me. I used to go one step forward, two steps back a lot. Now I might not go one step forward on any given day, but I'm a lot better at not taking the steps backwards.

 
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