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Écrit par Jerome   
20-09-2006

US OPEN 2001
NEW YORK CITY

September 1, 2001

A. AGASSI/R. Delgado
7-5, 7-6, 6-3

An Interview With:

ANDRE AGASSI

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. How do you feel about the match coming up with Roger Federer?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, looking forward to it. It's certainly going to be the toughest test up to date in this tournament for me. I mean now it's down to the 32, it seems like everybody you're playing knows how to win now and has the game to really bring some quality tennis. So, I'm gonna have to play my best tennis, start shifting gears now.

Q. That's a pretty tough quarter of the draw with you and Rafter, if he gets through, then Pete also. Only one of you guys is gonna make it to the semifinal. Do you feel like it's a shame to have so many high-powered matches so early in the tournament?

ANDRE AGASSI: I wish I had the ability to kind of structure the draw the way I want, but, you know, it's all about matchups, it's all about playing your best tennis at the right time. I think the draw certainly, if anything, proves just how -- not just how much ability it takes to win a tournament like this, but also it takes a little bit of luck. And, you know, it's playing the best players in the world, and you just hope that you play your best tennis at the right time. I'm gonna have to do that starting now.

Q. What do you expect from the fourth-round match against Federer?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I expect some great tennis. I think he's one of the most talented players out there. The guy does everything really well. Has a lot of snap in his game off both wings, moves well, has great hands, big serve. I mean, the guy does everything well. That's the problem.

Q. You said the other day that you won't be playing Davis Cup. But Roger took us down almost single-handedly in Davis Cup. Now he's undefeated against Americans. Do you think you'd like to be the stopper and turn that streak around? Will that give you a touch of extra motivation?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, he's not undefeated. I got him a few years ago. I mean, he was 12 years old, but... (Laughter).

Q. This year.

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, okay. You know, you look at the game and the guy has big game. The guy played great matches, especially during that stretch. And I think the indoors is a great surface for him. The hardcourt as well. So, you know, there's gonna be problems. I'm going out there asking myself to play my best tennis and looking forward to the challenge. You know, all these guys seem like they're pushing the standard of the game, and you got to step up. So, I want to step up for many reasons.

Q. In the past people have gone on tours when there's a real rivalry going. Given the fact that you and Pete have had some ups and downs, haven't played as often as you might, if someone came to you and wanted you to do a 15-city tour, one-night stands, you against Pete, would that have any appeal to you at all, that concept?

ANDRE AGASSI: It wouldn't be because of the money. You know, at this stage of my career, I could see myself doing something like that for a couple reasons probably, and a couple reasons only. If we could raise money for good causes, I would be interested in doing that. And if I felt like it was actually helping the game of tennis, I would do that, too. There's a lot of great tennis out there. And so I would have to really be convinced that highlighting me and Pete, as if we're the only interesting thing in tennis, would be difficult for me to support. But under the right conditions for the right reasons, I would definitely go play.

Q. I'm sure you and your manager get a lot of requests for charity work. I understand you're going to be playing in Seattle and Sacramento later in December. Why choose those?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, so much of my decisions when it comes to charity work is based on schedule. It has to at this point. You want to do everything, you know, but you just can't. My sister is very important to me and what she's fighting and how she's bringing awareness and raising money for breast cancer research, it means a lot to me, so that's a no-brainer. But, again, you want to do it all but you have to make sure you're making the best decisions to keep yourself in a position where people want you to help. I mean, if I don't take care of my body, if I don't take care of my game, you're limited as to how much of a difference you can make. So it's a schedule thing. And my own foundation takes a lot of my time.

Q. What do you think about all the attention being given to a lot of the young guns on the men's side? You know, the campaign by the ATP and the "New Balls Please"? Do you like that stuff? Do you like the attention they're getting? Do you think it's good for the game?

ANDRE AGASSI: Hard for me to be that objective about it, to be quite honest. I don't know how all that reads to the average tennis or sports fans. I know that many of the guys getting the attention are getting the attention because of their game on the court, and that's the part that's pretty clear to me - is you see all these guys bringing a certain amount of dynamics and enthusiasm and talent to the game. So that's nice to see. It's nice to see that they are good.

Q. Last year it seemed like you had a personal distractions. After Wimbledon, there was the car accident. Then you learned your mom and sister were ill. It was probably harder for you to focus. Are you happier now this year that things in your personal life seem to be going well, with the school? Are you able to focus better?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, to me, I mean happiness is a function of the happenings in your life. It's basically what it refers to. Certainly, things are much better for me this year than they were last year. But at the end of the day you try to have a certain amount of piece of heart and piece of mind and certain amount of joy, and I think that's more of a reflection of a daily commitment of fighting through those difficult times and trying your best to live up to the standard that you believe in along the way. So, yeah, I feel like things are going a lot easier for me this year. Largely in part of just what I've learned and the things that I've gone through in the past, especially last year.

Q. Does it make it easier for you to play tennis when the other things are going right in your life?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's a function of what you're most focused on. When I'm really focused, solely on what's going on in between the lines, my level of play is certainly a lot higher.

Q. I asked this question to you as a respected voice in the game. There have been a couple incidents this week where race in tennis has been raised as an issue. Do you feel that either one of the tours need to address this issue in some way? What are your general thoughts on the subject?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, it's a broad subject. I mean, I think racism, unfortunately, really exists in the world. I think it's a crime.

Q. But in tennis, though, is the key question.

ANDRE AGASSI: You're talking about a world of individuals. I got to believe that racism is something that is, unfortunately, a part of many situations. But with that being said, you know, I think there's a lot of positives to take away from yesterday. You know, we can focus on the negative if you want, but I think Mr. Blake literally set an example, and certainly taught me a lot, about dignity and class and tolerance. I think it's something that everybody can learn from. Certainly something I would choose to focus on.

Q. Can you please talk about the depth of the field in men's tennis. We're seeing the top women come through with these 6-1, 6-loves, 6-2 consistently. In the course of your career, would you say it's deeper?

ANDRE AGASSI: The men's game, I think it's definitely getting deeper. The tournaments are getting harder, guys are getting better. When the power of the game increases, you're talking about the ability to hold serve and sneak out a set. A lot of guys can do a lot of different things great. If you can have a great serve, you can succeed. If you have great quickness, you can succeed. And guys are really pushing the envelopes in the strengths of their games. I've never seen guys as quick as you see them now, when speed is their asset. I've never seen guys serve bigger than they serve now when the power of their serve is the weapon. So it is a constant pressure that you feel going into an event that has gotten tougher over the years, in my opinion.

Q. Can you talk about your match.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, you know, I came out with a little bit of a slow start there and lost my serve but managed to sneak the break back and get into the match. I felt a little flat in the beginning but then started finding my range. I felt like I came up with some real good serves at the right time. And, you know, the second set was a big set. I mean, one set all or two sets to love is a huge swing, and I think he got a little deflated there and I managed to use my experience to kind of seize the few opportunities that happened to me in those first two sets.

Q. Were you waiting for him to make more unforced errors?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, it's tough conditions out there. It's windy and guys are trying to take it to you. You can't go out there and expect to unload on everything and not make a lot of errors. You live by the sword and you can die by it. Had he been making more, I would have felt a need to even step up a little bit bigger on my shots. But you're always walking that line between offense and not taking too many unnecessary risks.

Q. When you started the school -- a person in your position can do so many good things for charity, give your time, your money. Can you talk about the considerations that you gave when you decided to charter this and what your concerns were and your responsibilities.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, my foundation has kind of concluded that the greatest way to affect a child's life that doesn't have opportunities is to teach them how to teach themselves. You know, the old saying catching a fish versus learning how to fish, and education is the way to go. We're obviously trying to reach kids through recreation, sports and education. But really this is truly -- I think the pride and joy of my foundation is giving these children an opportunity to have an education that otherwise they would never have. And teaching them what it means to have goals, what it means to expect a lot from themselves. You expect a lot from a child, it's because you think a lot of a child. And I think that through that process, millions could be affected. And you never know when any one child will affect millions.

Q. I read a column about athletes and where they go on the Internet. Maybe you could talk about places you like to go.

ANDRE AGASSI: I'm unfortunately computer illiterate.

Q. There's a new channel coming out called the Tennis Channel. Kind of want to know your thoughts about it.

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know a lot about it, but from what I've heard I think it's a great thing for the sport of tennis. I think there are so many matches out there that are of great quality and great enjoyment that unfortunately aren't the TV matches. So to have a channel that can run tennis all the time, I think allows the opportunity for many people to get interested in the sport that might not normally get to see the quality that happens on the back courts or in some smaller events. So it's a great thing for the game.

 
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