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Écrit par Jerome   

2002 NASDAQ-100 OPEN

March 24, 2002

A. AGASSI/A. Calleri
6-3, 6-2

An Interview With:


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andre, please.

Q. There was a few mistakes in there. But really how much more cleanly can you expect yourself reasonably to hit the ball?

ANDRE AGASSI: Some matches require you to step up, you know, and take some chances, and other matches require you to just -- to be more on the solid side. And today, with the breezy conditions, he was taking a lot of chances early. I just felt like if I could keep my errors down and move my feet well that I was going to be in good position there. I felt real good about the way I was hitting the ball.

Q. And the serving?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, just working it around. You know, it's, again, it's tough conditions. It's breezy out there. I'm just trying to figure out a way to hold. Every game feels like a new discovery as to how I'm going to hold this game, you know. It doesn't -- I never like to go out there with the intention of serving great. I've never had to count on it. It's just nice when I start getting a few.

Q. More placement than anything else?

ANDRE AGASSI: Sure. It's about holding. So if you can get the first good hit at the point, that's what I'm trying to do. Ultimately I want to control the point. I get to start by serving. So...

Q. When you said the other day that you're learning more about the game with Darren, is that a life-long thing? Are you amazed you're learning more about the game?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I am.

Q. I was amazed to hear you say that.

ANDRE AGASSI: Is that right?

Q. Yeah.

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I think you can always learn. Hopefully you don't stop learning ever. But there's a lot going on out there. And there's always new players and there's always new things to think about, new elements. I mean, I'm at a stage in my career now where I got to look to maybe do a few things differently. And you got to constantly adjust, especially as you get older, to try to maximize your game and put yourself in a good position. That's what I feel like I'm doing. I'm constantly thinking about the game to give myself the advantage. Because, you know, the disadvantage is being 32.

Q. It's not, though.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, not if you can stay healthy. But, yeah, it's important to get better in some ways as you get older, not just deteriorate.

Q. Do you find - I know it's an obvious question - but by keeping yourself physically fit, I mean, as long as you're healthy and you train, do you find you train actually harder now than you did before?

ANDRE AGASSI: I wouldn't say I -- well, "before," depends when you're referring to really. It's been 16 years I was here. So I've gone through --.

Q. Well, say in your early days it probably came natural to you, you were naturally fit and young. As you got older, do you find maybe you need to put extra work in before you go on the court?

ANDRE AGASSI: In all honesty, I think it's a function of not necessarily training harder but training smarter. Sometimes that means training harder. But in most cases, it means having a good assessment as to where your mind and body is, and then taking yourself the next step without taking two steps back. And those are the little decisions that become very important. Training is very important to me because it's really all I'm going to be able to rely on when I'm out there as far as if your body goes, then you can't do it anymore. You know... And I'm at a stage now where I still feel good about my physical. And I'm able to use the other side of it, which is the experience and the mental side. And so it's -- it still feels good out there.

Q. And you go out thinking, "I know I can get to these balls, I'm now going to do what I want to do with them"? You go out with the confidence of knowing you can reach them?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, if you get to the ball, you have options and that's always a good thing, especially with me. Then, with options I can use the experience, you know, and my shot selection and what I'm trying to do. I still have a lot of shots, if I can just get to the ball. And guys will feel that. I feel it when I play guys that are getting a lot of balls. They're forcing you to play that extra one, forcing you to concentrate that little bit every point, and that adds up over the course of the match. That's a big asset, especially for me.

Q. Greg Rusedski said after your match it was as if you had 100 hours to hit his shots?

ANDRE AGASSI: As if I had what?

Q. 100 hours to hit your shots. It seemed that way to him, because you were there on it. I mean, obviously he felt the conditions were in your favor. But he still felt as if you had 100 hours to hit your shots.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I mean, I didn't feel like I had that long (laughter). But, yeah, I was on top of the ball, especially that night. And, you know, Greg's not going to hit through you. I mean, he didn't serve huge. He was trying to work his serve in the wind. I did have more time against him than maybe normally in other conditions.

Q. This is purely preventive (indicating Andre's wrapped wrist)?

ANDRE AGASSI: That's correct.

Q. How will you know how long you have to keep icing it?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. I think I'm doing a lot of it now for peace of mind. It's not that I necessarily feel it after a match as much as I don't want to feel it. I just think it's been working, so I'll continue to warm it up and then continue to ice it down. You know, I just -- I will probably continue to do it, to be honest. At this stage I can't afford not to. I'm going to be on the clay, hitting a lot of high forehands, a lot more balls. I just don't want anything surprising to happen.

Q. Can you give us an example of what you're doing now, either mentally or physically, that you weren't doing before Darren.

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, that's a tough one to answer right now. I think much of what we're working on is something that's going to kind of work itself into my game over the long haul, you know. I think it's given me a fresh perspective on my own game, as well as other players. That's important for my own sense of confidence and perspective when I'm out there. But we find it to be very important to focus on making sure I'm doing the right things when I'm out there, finishing the point when I need to be, not allowing a point to continue longer than it has to. In some cases when it's three-out-of-five, that's okay. But in these other matches when it's just about finishing that point off, to start recognizing that ball a little bit clearer, you know. You know, Darren has a good sense for that. He's a different kind of player than me, and he knew what it was like to be on the other side of the net from good baseliners and what they bring to the table that makes them hard to deal with. So it's helping me be at my best, no question.

Q. We remember this guy from the US Open when he played against Pete a couple years ago. At what point in the match did you feel like you were beginning to drain him or that he was getting tired?

ANDRE AGASSI: I wouldn't say he was getting tired out there today. It seemed like he got a little discouraged more than anything. You know, we weren't having phenomenal rallies where we were running down lots of balls. I usually get a pretty good sense for when the match is physical. I know that when I'm tired, I can look across the net and see somebody else that's pretty darn tired. Today I don't think it was about that. I saw him get a little discouraged early in the second set.

Q. He doubled three times.

ANDRE AGASSI: It's not easy to hold when you double three times, and he still almost found a way to hold. It was a long game. Then he started getting a little unpredictable and careless with some shots.

Q. Andre, is Gil traveling any less?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, he's still coming to pretty much the same events that I can utilize him the most at.

Q. The Slams and the longer ones?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, Slams, and in the preparation times, you know, like leading up to this year. He came with me for a couple weeks before San Jose - San Jose, Scottsdale, Palm Springs. I keep him out of the heat. He doesn't need to be here. He doesn't like the sun (smiling).

Q. I know you probably talked about this before, but now that you're a new dad, where does tennis rank on your priority list? Has it changed?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's pretty high up there when I'm out there on the court, you know. But when I'm off the court, you know, I work very efficiently. I get out there, I don't waste any time, I get my business in, and then I'm pretty quick to forget about it. I think it's also helping me in the long run.

Q. Does it make tennis less important or in a way has it rejuvenated you?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't think it's had an effect on how important tennis is to me. It's had an effect on, you know, where I allot my energies. But tennis hasn't been compromised. It's given me a pretty special perspective on things. And I think if anything, it allows me to appreciate everything that the game does have to offer me.

Q. Do you feel like you have a role to play as a mentor to young American players right now, or are you too busy with your own tennis to be involved?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, I don't make any assumptions that somebody wants to hear what I think. So for me, I love talking the game of tennis. I'll talk the game of tennis to anybody. But I certainly don't approach any situation with any assumption that I have advice to offer. I'm spending a lot of my time trying to do some learning myself, so I try to leave it there.

Q. Pronounce your son's name.

ANDRE AGASSI: Jaden. Jaden Gil.

Q. Do you want him to be a tennis player?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't particularly have a preference there; I really don't. Tennis has offered me a lot. I think it's given me a lot of incredible experiences. And if it could offer him the same, then I would support it if that's what he was looking for. But I got a hunch every walk of life has its special points to it, and I'm anxious to discover him.

Q. Pretty good genes probably.

ANDRE AGASSI: Only if he has his mother's (laughter).

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