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Écrit par Jerome   
20-09-2006

THE US OPEN 2001
NEW YORK CITY

September 5, 2001

P. SAMPRAS/A. Agassi
6-7, 7-6, 7-6, 7-6

An Interview With:

ANDRE AGASSI

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andre, please.

Q. Is it too soon to realize what a marvelous, magnificent match that was?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, yes. A little too soon. You know, when you lose one that close, it's difficult to really appreciate much about it, except the standard that I forced him to play. And that I feel good about. But, you know, just came down to the wire. I mean, really I mean how much closer can you get? So, it's a little disappointing.

Q. Do you remember the last time you lost such an important match without losing your serve? Have you ever done it?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, no... Hard time believing I ever not lost my serve.

Q. You would remember it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I would think so. But, you know, you got to do more than hold your serve though, I guess, huh?

Q. First set, a couple of amazing comebacks. Then the second set, Pete seemed kind of demoralized. Did you sort of sense that? Start to feel like it was going to go your way?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think when I won the first set tiebreaker I think I certainly had the momentum at that point. You know, I was trying to step it up because I felt like it was an opportunity for me to kind of break things open a little bit. But you know, once we got to the second set tiebreaker and he put together a great breaker, you know, the match is all squared up, so, you know, I didn't really have that many opportunities to break him. Maybe I had four, five break points and he came up with such big shots. I mean, takes more than just a little momentum. You got to consolidate and I never quite -- never quite broke him.

Q. Is this the best match you and Pete have ever played?

ANDRE AGASSI: That's probably not for me to judge there. I don't know.

Q. When you heard the roar of the crowd as you started that fourth set tiebreak, was it a little bit chilling?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, you know, it's a powerful moment out there. You know, but I was trying to keep focused on the fact that I felt like I was a breaker away from possibly winning the match, you know. I mean fifth set, you go into that set with momentum, it's a big advantage. So, I was trying to concentrate on what I needed to do in that breaker, and... But yeah, it was a moment I wish I could have more time to appreciate. Start of a breaker.

Q. What did he show you that he hadn't shown in the previous three matches?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, every time you play, it's different, you know. It's different conditions. I mean, had today been 98 degrees outside, I think it would have helped me tremendously, you know. Had today been, you know, a little bit slower of a court, that would have helped me tremendously. So, you know, that's what makes tennis so difficult. Every day changes with weather. Every stadium changes. And there goes the dynamics of a new match. So, you know, today was -- I felt like the pace of the match was unfortunately up his alley, you know. He's both of us just taking care of -- just both of us taking care of our serve the way we were, it was kind of like I felt like I was playing a match that was a lot more familiar to him than to me. You know, I needed to possibly make him work more. But he was keeping me from doing that on his serve. He served big, came up with big serves in big moments and played some great volleys he dug out. And all I could really do was take care of my own serve and keep giving myself an opportunity and hopefully I would convert. But wasn't to be tonight.

Q. What was the dialogue at the end?

ANDRE AGASSI: Just kind of save that one for me and Pete. Just both expressed a tremendous appreciation for the opportunity to be out there with each other.

Q. Andre, not to say that you underestimated Pete, but is it possible that he has been underestimated in this tournament? Is it possible to underestimate someone like him?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think based on everything I read, I'd say, you know, many people were writing the articles, underestimating him. I think the players go out there with a tremendous amount of respect for how he can step it up and play. I mean, you still got to beat him. The guy still has a huge serve and he can still -- knows when to put pressure on you and how to play. That's just, like many guys out there, it's a tough match to win. I certainly didn't underestimate him.

Q. How frustrated were you with his backhand tonight?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I think when the conditions are thicker, whether it's hotter or whether it's slower, it's easier for me to get to the part of his game that I need to get to, which are his legs. You know, I need to get him out of position. I need to get him a little less disciplined. But I was surprised at how well he dug out some low volleys. And, you know, I mean, not a lot really surprised me. I just think he did a few things really well tonight.

Q. After playing such a hard-fought match, what were your emotions after that forehand hit the tape and the match was done?

ANDRE AGASSI: Disappointed.

Q. 5-3, you're down 5-3, hit that shot into the net. Actually, sorry, you hit it wide, backhand volley. What can you tell us about that shot?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I just closed. I just tried to cut it short and, you know, that's one of those times you just -- you wish you could take the ball again and hit that one again. But it was just a bad error at a very important time.

Q. Is there one mistake that you would want to take back most of all that would change the outcome?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, hard to say. If I remove an error here or there, that will give me a set and we're out there playing a fifth right now. So... You know, you can't do it again. It's -- I mean that was crucial. I think a few others were crucial. I had a couple backhand returns on second serves, two different break points, and I kind of hit them a little high. I mean, those are the ones you got to kind of knock off and come through on. But what I kind of -- I didn't hit the return I wanted to, so those were also important.

Q. Do you want to talk about how this Slam loss feels in comparison to the ones at Wimbledon and Roland Garros?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, you know, every loss is hard and disappointing in its own right. I guess at the end of the day you just want to make somebody really earn it, and, you know, that I can feel like I did. I made him earn it. But it's real -- they're all difficult.

Q. Are you able to look at the positive? This year you started out with the Australian Open. You got a Slam.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, certainly if I had to look at the positives, that would be one of them. I think it's a little close right now to the match for me to be too positive about things. But I'll take a Slam every year for the rest of my life.

Q. I think for us this felt like Ali and Frazier, Chamberlain and Russell. Did it feel like that for you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. It did.

Q. Outside of the final, the outcome, could you have played any better tonight?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I don't think it was a question of playing better. It was a question of capitalizing, you know. You're talking about a few points that separate a match like that. Possibly one point. So, I think overall, maybe I could have returned slightly better on some big points. But that's, you know, those are random points that decide a match like that. So I don't think it's about playing better. It's just kind of about playing -- hitting the right shot at the right time. And tonight I didn't.

Q. What do you envision as the future of your rivalry with Pete?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, hopefully -- hopefully we'll get a few more opportunities, you know. It's always a challenge stepping on the court against him. And, you know, a night like this makes me realize why it's so special when you beat him. Because it's not easy to do.

Q. Could you talk a little bit more about the night. Full house. Wonderful standing ovation for the final tiebreak. Electric atmosphere. What was it like to be out there?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, certainly a memory I'll never forget. It was quite a powerful evening in many respects out there. I don't think I would have the perspective at the moment to kind of stick it into a box and define it so cleanly. But, you know, was incredible moment, you know, being out there before the start of that fourth set. You know, it's what you play for.

Q. One question. I don't think you are a great soccer fan. Do you know that on Friday there is a great soccer match, Iraq hosts Iran.

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I didn't know that.

Q. Any thoughts on that?

ANDRE AGASSI: I didn't know that.

Q. Just looking ahead, your life is going to change a little bit by the end of the year. Are you thinking about the Australian Open? Might you give that a miss next time?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I have no anticipation or plan on missing -- well, I have no plan on missing anything, you know. I mean, including the birth of my child. So, you know, I'll do my best to balance everything. But, you know, I have every intention of working hard and coming back next year better. And I think I can do that.

Q. Can you comment on Pete's chances going forward from here.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, how do you count him out really? You know, I think the two days off is going to help him and his body to be able to lay it on the line real hard on Saturday. A couple breaks here and there, and he'll be at his best for both matches. If that's the case, you have to give him as much chance as anybody else in the draw. But, you know, Safin, Kuerten, Hewitt, I mean these guys are going to make the weekend pretty difficult. So, you know, a few things have to go right for him. But same would have to be the case for the other players, too.

Q. Is it easier for you to get over a loss against Pete than anybody else?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. It's not easier. Every match and every loss has its own personality and its own difficulties, you know. It's about what you could have done and what you did do. In those respects tonight, some of it will be easier than other losses, but I think the disappointment is still pretty significant.

Q. Before the Open there was some talk that the most excitement was going to come from the women's game. Obviously, tonight this proved that wrong. In general, what is your reaction to that kind of talk before the Open?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, a lot to be excited about in the women's game. Same with the men's.

Q. Can you talk about the third and fourth set tiebreaks, whether or not decision-making, nerves, or just great play by Pete?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean it's a combination. You have to get it done, you know. You have to execute, and Pete did. But I missed a couple shots that maybe normally I wouldn't have. But you also feel his intensity pick up. You also feel his court position get a little bit sharper there on a couple short forehands. I didn't feel like I could just, you know, just hit a solid shot. I feel like I had to step up and win it and, you know, sometimes that brings out, you know, a great quality of shot. Other times it causes you to force it. I think there's a couple shots I forced. But overall, he played a few good breakers.

Q. Did you guys speak at all before you went out on court in the locker room? Anything?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean briefly we were in the training room together.

Q. Because of the profile of this match, do you think anxiety played a big role?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think sports is all about how you deal with pressure and opportunity. So, it's always something you're managing, making good decisions out there.

 
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