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Écrit par Jerome   

2002 NASDAQ-100 OPEN

March 26, 2002

A. AGASSI/T. Johansson
7-5, 6-2

An Interview With:


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andre, please.

Q. We saw with the naked eye and a few of us were lucky enough to see the replay on TV, but I'd kind of like to see that breakpoint in the first game of the second set through your eyes. Could you take us through it, what you saw?

ANDRE AGASSI: Refresh my memory?

Q. Running forehand cross-court. Remember that one?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That was a beauty. That was a beauty. You know, it was Love-40. And you're with a guy who can serve that way, you never take those points for granted. So he hit a big serve. I was a bit firm on the return. He reflexed a firm volley. But the wind was going kind of cross ways, so he volleyed against the wind there. It kind of got held up. I knew I'd have a shot of chasing it down. I knew playing it back cross court, it would kind of get a little help from the wind. I knew if I could direct the shot that direction, I would have a good look at it. It went in. Sometimes those shots happen. He pulled a pretty nice one off, too, earlier.

Q. How much of that is wrist?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, that particular one, you have to get there first. But then it all becomes in the wrist.

Q. What's your emotions when you see that ball drop down just inside?

ANDRE AGASSI: "Thank God." That's all I'm thinking, "Good, I won that point." If it's a breakpoint, "Good, I got the break." You don't care how spectacular it is, you're on to the next one. I was thinking about holding after I made that shot.

Q. With Pete gone, do you feel there's maybe added pressure on you to hold the mantel for men's tennis in this event?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, you look around and you see the quality of play that's going on out there, and I don't feel that way at all. I enjoy playing here for many reasons, much of which is the support I get and how much appreciation the crowd shows to me every time I'm out there and how much -- how good I feel about being here. But as far as tennis goes, you know, I mean there's a lot of good tennis going on out there. You got to work and you got to earn it. Nobody's going to give you an easy ride.

Q. Andre, the conditions were very hot today.

ANDRE AGASSI: Hot, yeah.

Q. Heat-wise, no?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it was pretty warm. You know, as long as it's the same temperature on both sides of the court, it's all right.

Q. What's the temperature up here? (Indicating top of Andre's head)?

ANDRE AGASSI: I had a lot of sun block on. I did. I start working it an hour before the match, easy.

Q. That's the only resemblance in our games (laughter).

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I had a hat just in case. But, you know, I never felt the surface get too hot.

Q. How satisfying is it to play a man who's played as well this year as Thomas has, to win a match like that against him?

ANDRE AGASSI: It is satisfying. I mean, you know, all the players, they know who's playing the best tennis out here. They have a good sense for every player, and you go out there with a healthy respect for somebody that's won the first Slam of the year. You know, but you -- but you treat it like another match. It's an opportunity to raise your game. But you have to prove that you're the best every week, you know. And when you're out there, it doesn't feel like you have any advantage because you've won a tournament. It feels like you've got to prove it again and again. I'm excited to be out here competing and eager. I feel good about my game.

Q. Do you recall enough about the speed of these courts last year when you played five matches here, compared with the speed of that court this year?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, you know, hard to say because there's also a ball issue. And, you know, the conditions are playing a little slower than last year. So I can't really deduce if it's the court as much as the ball, because it does feel like it's sitting up a little bit more.

Q. How do you see the match against Lapentti?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's going to be tough, you know. I mean, I've played him a few times. He's a good mover, he's a good thinker out there on the court. He has a very deceptive first serve and can really, really hit a forehand both directions, and, you know, I'm going to have to -- he makes you play, hard start to finish. That's my intention, I'm going out there bringing it from beginning to end and hope for the best.

Q. Lleyton Hewitt, does he remind you of a younger you earlier? A lot of similarities in your games?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't think so. He has his own style out there, no question about it. He's much more of a counterpuncher than I've ever been in my career. He still has good offense. He relies a lot on his speed. You know, I think at his age I was relying a lot more on my shots than I was my speed. You know, he's a very competitive spirit, and it's good for the game and good for bringing out the best in your opponents.

Q. Did you see Gonzalez against Sampras?

ANDRE AGASSI: Just a little bit, yeah.

Q. You don't have a opinion about Gonzalez?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's a tough matchup. Nobody's out here really playing like Pete. He presents different elements and how you deal with those elements is a credit to you that day, but hard to assess somebody's game when they're playing against a serve-volleyer. He looks like he's a strong guy who can hit the ball pretty big off both sides. So I'll have to see him play more.

Q. Do you have any opinions on why Pete's game seems to be in decline.

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I mean, I suppose it's inevitable at some point. Who's to say why. I don't know what he's feeling or what he's thinking when he's out there.

But I'd say his movement is more off than anything from an assessment standpoint.

Q. Is that a work problem?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. You'd have to ask that question. When you look at a guy like Michael Chang or you look at a guy like Jim Courier, you look at a guy -- they put in so much work that sometimes that can be the very reason why they don't quite have that same snap in the legs; you never know. I don't know what he does with his time and how he prepares or how he's gone about, you know, the last twelve years. So...

Q. He's been out there with the Moose for a few months now. You know he's going to work hard. Are you suggesting when you reach your 30s that you can work too hard or there's a point of diminishing returns?

ANDRE AGASSI: First of all, I don't know Moose at all. I don't know what his training skills are and how he goes about it. And I'm not suggesting that 30's some magical number either. I think it can vary with a lot of people - even earlier than that; sometimes later than that. I don't think it's a function of training harder; I think it's a function of training smarter. But you can't just expect to all of a sudden start and experience the rewards of that. It takes time. You know, if somebody's putting in the work, I think it's fair - if you're a good athlete, it's fair to expect yourself to still be holding up as long as you're healthy and for everything to be all right. So give it some more time. I'm not going to write Pete off by any means.

Q. Besides the physical part of this issue, he said yesterday that he's more content in his family life, and that takes the edge off the game for him, the way he used to be totally consumed by his tennis. How have you avoided that particular trap? I don't know if that's the right word.

ANDRE AGASSI: I've been in that trap and through it and out the other side, you know... So I'm just not -- I don't think it's an easy thing to avoid. But I think experience kind of tells you how to just be a little bit more efficient with your energies. I mean, you need to be. You throw a child into the equation, it even makes it more that way. But, you know, you still got to come out here and play these guys, so you might as well be prepared. I mean, else it's -- I mean, for me, it's misery. If I'm not out there prepared, I hate it, you know. So I need to be ready. I need to be prepared. And there's no other way of going about it. You just have to negotiate your time a lot better.

Q. Just compartmentalize your life?

ANDRE AGASSI: There's a thousand decisions that go into any given day based on what you need in your game, based on what your overall plan is, what your overall goals are, where you want your body to be, where your body is now, do you need more work, do you need more rest? There's so many decisions. You have to make sure you're taking care of your health first, and preparing yourself. You know, recover and prepare. No, it's not brain surgery, but it is about knowing yourself pretty well.

Q. When was your last misery of unpreparedness?

ANDRE AGASSI: Probably down in Sydney. You know, not physically, like I've been training. But I haven't been hitting the ball. So I was unprepared with my shots. I don't let it go, and all of a sudden I feel very one-dimensional. It's, you know, it's not a challenge because you feel like you can't win anyhow. You know, you can't beat the best if you're not ready.

Q. Were you starting to hurt then?


Q. In the previous four matches against Nico, were there any crisis in any of your four matches for you? Did you come in, pretty much, in all form? Can you remember?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I mean, off the top of my head I think I might have been down a break in Scottsdale when I played him one year. I was down a set in Paris when I played him. You know, I had to work to figure that one out, and the last two times have been a bit smoother for me.

Q. What's one example of the baby taking precedent?

ANDRE AGASSI: You're sleeping, and all of a sudden you hear somebody scream and you wake up and think, "What the hell was that?" And you forget that you have to play the next day.

Q. Is there someone that says, "Your turn"?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I get a lot of support.

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