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Écrit par Jerome   


June 30, 2001

A. AGASSI/N. Massu
6-3, 6-1, 6-1

An interview with:


MODERATOR: Ladies and Gentlemen, first question to Andre.

Q. Looked like a very nice, comprehensive victory for you. Pleased to get that one out of the way quickly?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I mean, no question about it. Anytime you get through the match, you're pretty thrilled about it. You know, to go out there and get in control of a match, stay in control of it, not make it any more complicated than it has to be, you know, speaks well for how I'm hitting the ball, how I'm playing on the bigger points. I certainly felt good about most everything.

Q. Second week, the business gets serious. Explain your philosophy going into the second week.

ANDRE AGASSI: I think Wimbledon is a different tournament in the second week. You know, the grass is playing a lot differently. Certainly the level of competition is such that you feel like, you know, you're playing the best in the world for the biggest title in the world. It's a lot on the line. It's what you play the game for. You know, looking forward to it.

Q. To win Wimbledon at 31 years of age be a greater accomplishment than when you did win it in '92?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I don't think so. I feel good about my game. I feel rather experienced and ready for the challenge. I think in '92 it was probably a lot more against the odds. But with that being said, it would be an incredible accomplishment for me. You know, with the level of players that are still left in this event, I think it's safe to say that a number of guys can win it. That's certainly what we're all out there trying to do.

Q. Two of those players meet on Monday, Rusedski and Ivanisevic, both with huge serves. As the best returner in the game, could you give us their assessment on their respective serves?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I'm glad one of them has to lose (laughter). It's nice when you see two big serving lefties play each other. One's going to be gone. You know, they're both -- they both certainly have a great game for the grass. Goran has proved his place in the last week many times. He looks like he's playing well. It's so great to see him putting it together. He has a real good game for a surface like this and is sure showing that he has more tennis left in him. Greg, on the other hand, has played very soundly. Certainly will be a problem for anybody.

Q. Based on what you've seen this week, who do you see as your greatest threat to the title?

ANDRE AGASSI: My next match. You know, there's no two ways about it. We can sit from the outside and talk about match-ups, who's probably going to win, who's going to do... You have to go out there and execute. That's the extent of my focus, is the next match.

Q. Do you see shades of yourself in '92 in someone like Hewitt, who seems to have the same desire and approach that you had when you were his age?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think actually that would be giving me a lot of credit, to say that we had the same approach. I think Lleyton has had a very determined, business approach to the game. Every year that he's been out there, he's been getting better, you know. I think even in '92, at an early stage of my career, I kind of already, you know, had been as high as 3 in the world, then outside the Top 10. You know, I found my game on grass really early. I think Lleyton has, as well. Certainly in those respects, we both are comfortable out there.

Q. You said the other day that a career is a very sensitive thing. In Key Biscayne you gave some advice to Andy. If you had to say one or two things to Andy after this incredible Wimbledon, incredible half season, what would that be at this point?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, I don't know what you're referring to specifically. He's out there doing a great job of handling the situations. I've always said I liked his game. You know, just to keep trying to get better. That's what it's about. Don't stand inside the baseline when a guy aces you 41 times.

Q. Mentally, you went through the process of becoming a big star very young. Is there any advice or thought you could give on the best way to handle that process?

ANDRE AGASSI: Make sure, you know, that your days reflect the things you're focused on, the things that are important to you. If he's interested in being on the front page, then focus on that. But if he's interested in winning tennis matches and improving his tennis game, then don't think about anything else except what you have to do to get better. Guys are too good now not to pour all of yourself into getting better. If you're not getting better, you're falling behind.

Q. You've spent your time on the front page as well as the back pages of this tournament with a great interest in your life. Is it actually much quieter this year? Are you able to move around a little more anonymously?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I mean, I'm fine. I have no complaints. I just try to mind my business and ignore the things that I don't think much of, you know, keep my perspective on the things that are important. I try not to count on -- you can't control how other people choose to handle themselves, but you can control how you handle yourself. I'm not going to rely on the hope that people allow me or those that care about the privacy, but I will be thankful when I get it.

Q. You're able to move around London quite easily, go out and dine, without being pressed too much?

ANDRE AGASSI: Depends really what you're comparing it to.

Q. Previous years.

ANDRE AGASSI: Previous years, yeah, probably.

Q. You said the grass changes in the second week. Do you think that plays more into the hands of a player like yourself?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think this year's going to be interesting because, you know, normally one of the upsides for a baseliner to be in the second week is the grass does slow up and the ball starts bouncing up a little bit more which gives you a better look at it. But in years past, you know, there were so many serve-volleyers that the ground gets incredibly chewed up, especially around mid-court. As the tournament goes on, the bounces get more unpredictable in the centre of the court. The guys like Pete or Rafter or Becker in years past, you know, could just play real safe chip shots to the centre of the court and really hope for bad bounces on big points. But now the grass is getting worn out behind the baseline more than it is in the centre of the court. You know, it will be interesting to see how that all plays out. I feel a lot more comfortable now in the third round, going into the fourth round, with the consistency of the bounce. It just doesn't feel like the centre of the court is as bad. I think that's going to help those who need a good look at the ball as opposed to those who like to play it out of the air.

Q. You've had a lot of peaks and valleys in your career. This year you've had few valleys. How have you avoided dipping way down and having to come way back up again?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, it's not easy. The momentum works for you and against you. You've just got to be willing to fight through it when you feel yourself sliding. When something gets difficult, you can't allow any room for second-guessing. It's a lot of work. It's just day after day, knowing where to put importance on things and come to kind of let things slide, when not to be too hard on yourself, when to ask more of yourself. Those are things you learn as you get older. You know, it's been a great year so far. For me, there's still a lot to do. I just hope that I can get better and give myself a look at the basket. I mean, you're going to miss in most cases more than you make. You just want to give yourself as many looks as possible.

Q. The next opponent could be Nicolas Kiefer, the German guy. How much do you concentrate on him, if you have to? Do you care about him?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, yeah. I mean, Nico is a talented player. He does many things well: he moves incredibly well, plays all parts of the court. Certainly he'll be the biggest test so far, which is no surprise, seeing we're down to the last 16. I'll have to make sure I step my game up. I haven't had that kind of match yet where I play somebody who kind of does everything pretty well. I played a baseliner, I played a serve-volleyer, and time to make another adjustment.

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