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2002 NASDAQ-100 OPEN

March 31, 2002

A. AGASSI/R. Federer
6-3, 6-3, 3 -6, 6-4

An Interview With:


THE MODERATOR: Andre wins his 13th career Tennis Masters Series title, fifth here in Miami. With the win today, he also has 700 match wins in his career. First question, please.

Q. Congratulations.


Q. Not everybody can win 700 matches. Who was your first victim?

ANDRE AGASSI: The first professionally?

Q. Yes, to start that up.

ANDRE AGASSI: I guess you don't count satellites, right? It would be qualifying, John Austin, 6-4, 6-4 Clubhouse Court, La Quinta. He was up a break the first set (laughter). 4-1, and I started junking him and realized he couldn't move.

Q. How about main draw?

ANDRE AGASSI: That was -- no, no, no. I qualified then played him first round. I had a wildcard.

Q. Remember what happened on matchpoint?

ANDRE AGASSI: '85, because I was 15.

Q. Andre, do you remember what happened on matchpoint?

ANDRE AGASSI: Uh, no. No (laughter).

Q. How far did you go in the tournament?

ANDRE AGASSI: I managed to win two more games the next round against Wilander, 6-1, 6-1.

Q. So Mats is no John?

ANDRE AGASSI: Convinced I was going to beat him the whole time.

Q. What did you feel, because it seemed the match was tough. It seemed you were going to fight in the fifth set. What were your feelings when the match was over?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, I felt great about it. You know, I got a little flat there in the third set and he took advantage out of it. I think it just speaks to the little difference between us. And, you know, down a break early in the fourth, I just wanted to hang on and make him serve it out. Who knows if something good could happen? Once I got that break, you know, I felt the light at the end of the tunnel. I felt like, "Okay, now I can just take care of my serve. And, who knows, maybe play a great game and get the win." That's exactly what happened, so it was a bit fortunate the way it turned around so quickly.

Q. His double-faults were key points in the match. For example, he has to hold point to go 5-3, double-fault in the final game. Is that typical 20-year-old nerves, do you think?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, not if you look at that -- the serve selection. I mean, he went for a second serve up the middle. Just missed it. So, it was an aggressive double as opposed to say a nervous one. I can't say that it was a bad decision. In hindsight, he missed it, so you would probably take it back if you could. But he had been making that serve for most of the match. He had been keeping me honest as far as leaning too much on his kick. He just missed it by, you know, very little.

Q. This is your fifth title here. Any reason you do so well here?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think there's a lot of reasons. I think it's good conditions for me, first of all. I think the hardcourts, it's medium paced, you can hit through it or work the point. It's windy out there, which is good for my game. I don't mind playing in the wind. I have relatively short swings and I can make little adjustments, high or low. I have a lot of little steps when I prepare to hit a shot, so I tend to catch the ball in a good space, and, you know, it tends to be hot out there. I tend to work my opponent more than they work me so that gives me an advantage if we're going toe-to-toe. I think there's a number of elements that lend for me to play well here. But still to win is always, you always have to get a little bit lucky.

Q. Given the heat today, how did you feel about your chances if it went to a fifth?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I had another gear that I certainly was -- I knew I needed to shift to. He was starting to get incredible length on his shots, really started unloading on his forehand. He was still playing some great tennis. I knew I had to step it up in the fifth. I would have taken my chances, but, you know, at that point, once you're up two sets to love and it's two sets all, it's tough momentum to switch around. I can't imagine it would have been too easy on me in the fifth.

Q. Sorry if this has been asked before, but how do you see him as a long-term prospect?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, I think it's pretty clear. He's a great game. He's a very versatile serve. He has a big forehand, nice backhand he can hit over, play slice, comes in, puts pressure on you, moves incredibly well. And he's still learning how to play. I think he's going to only get a lot better. So I see him as definitely being a threat for one of the best.

Q. You had 21 winners in nearly two and a half hours. What does that say about the way you approached the match today?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I'm not going to have a lot of winners against a guy like Roger. My goal is to get a lot of errors out of him, because it's breezy conditions, I wanted to control the point but not get too risky. So I think today was probably more crucial for me to keep my unforced errors down than it was to try to hit winners.

Q. There was another big point in that crucial game in the fourth set where he was serving for 5-3. You were down 30-40. Do you remember that point at all?

ANDRE AGASSI: He was serving 5-3?

Q. 30-40, he was serving to go up 5-3.

ANDRE AGASSI: We had a long point. Yeah, yeah. Then I ended up missing a backhand. The breeze was coming in my face there. It was hard to penetrate from that side. You could hit it real hard, and you always felt like he was on top of it. It just was a long point. We were both sucking wind. Then I just dumped one in the net, which was a result of just a well-played point. I should have just unloaded on it. But didn't have a whole lot at the end of that point.

Q. The one at 30-40 where you got back to deuce.

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, I thought he doubled on that one. I don't --.

Q. That was the second one, right. He made, like... I guess.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I don't remember specifically.

Q. The last point of that game, I thought maybe you threw your arm into leftfield somewhere. We heard an awful groan, but you somehow got the return back. A terrific forehand return to the baseline.

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, yeah. That was a beauty (smiling). Well, I think what that does is it kind of shows you the havoc that his versatility on his serve can play with you. It's not like he just threw it up and hit a bullet up the center. He has that toss where it looks like you got to respect the kick, then he can just slide it up the center and really get you - your stretch. But if you can get any ball up in the air in the wind, there's a chance something good can happen.

Q. Pete talks a lot about having an aura when he was No. 1, winning the Slams. To what degree do you feel that when you take the court?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. I feel like I have to prove myself every day. It's just the way I go about my business. I don't really think about winning matches in locker rooms; I think about winning them out there inside the lines. You keep working, you keep plugging away, you keep getting better. Somehow the Ws come on their own. You let that take care of itself.

Q. How encouraged are you about the way the wrist came through?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, it's great. I mean, listen, this is a great tournament. To get all these guys ten days to play these matches, it allows for everybody to be at their best both mentally, physically. And it was nice for me to play here knowing that I could have those random days where I could let everything calm down in the wrist and keep things in check.

Q. What would your reaction be -- I know Butch is hoping to go to 14 days, at least 11 or 13 days, you know, to increase the draw and do a regular two-week event.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, this is a great event. I don't think that's a step backwards, but I think it's -- this has been perfect here five different times (laughter).

Q. His backhand, he had a lot of trouble with his backhand in the second set today. What were you doing to bother it so much?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, Roger, you know, he has a small pocket on his backhand side. He's a one-hander who snaps it pretty good. He does like that ball to sit in a certain spot. If you can get that ball out of his strike zone, it's going to help your chances a lot. Either get him to start slicing or playing risky tennis. That's really all I was trying to do, make sure it wasn't sitting straight in his wheel house, because that's a big problem. He has a lot of racquet speed.

Q. Your thoughts on tying Steffi for most titles at this event.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. And then, you know, the way things are going, I have a shot at passing her because I know she's not... (laughter)...she's not gonna win another one. So... You know, I'm moving up in the household.

Q. She's not coming back?

ANDRE AGASSI: (Laughing) no.

Q. Is there a little fun rivalry there in the household?

ANDRE AGASSI: I suppose in my own mind there is, you know? I think we take separate approaches towards it. She certainly wants the best for me and she doesn't really think much about any of her stats over the years. I kind of know more about them than she does. But, yeah, I know mine pretty well. I'm relatively quick to remind her of it. But I don't get very far, you know. She takes it with a lot of humility.

Q. Playing a guy 20 years old, where do you think your experience helped you the most today?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's hard to say. I mean, I thought he played a great match. I don't think that he really made any careless decisions out there. I think it was a function of him trying to step it up from the baseline and, for the most part, coming through on that game plan. He was controlling a fair amount of the points in the third and fourth set. I don't think the experience helped a whole lot. I mean, the experience helps me get the most out of my game. But I didn't see anything from his standpoint -- his side of the net, that would have suggested that he was making some bad decisions.

Q. There wasn't one argued call out there for two hours and 20 minutes. Two sportsman, tennis players out there playing tennis. We've had a lot of bickering, particularly with the later stages on the women's side. Can you comment about that.

ANDRE AGASSI: I think it was just too hot to argue (laughter). I mean, really, you're saving all your energy for what you need it for. At least that's my approach towards it. I don't like seeing too many overrules but the overrules that came were at least reasonable situations. You hate seeing a first serve overrule on a far side line, or, you know, something absurd like that. But, yeah, I think for the most part, everybody was on their game out there.

Q. You've got Europe coming up now. After the disappointment of Australia, has this made you hungrier to go on and make it a really great year for yourself?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, yeah. No question about it. I needed this here to really give myself that platform. I'll use it for a sense of motivation and confidence. You know, clay courters that grow up on that surface want to establish themselves on clay, then they want to start showing that they can win on other surfaces. For me, I need to establish my game out here on the hardcourt, then go into the clay working hard and willing to pay the price. I certainly feel ready for that, and I think it's going to mean some good things.

Q. You're going to have a very moderate schedule during the clay court season. Is that right?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I'm going to play a couple -- Hamburg, Rome, and Houston. Houston, then Hamburg, Rome, or Rome, Hamburg - in which order I'm not sure.

Q. What was better: Winning the tournament as The Lipton, Ericsson or NASDAQ?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think it gets sweeter every year, you know? I really do. Tonight felt just great. It just -- I think one of the things I'm getting better at as I get older is enjoying it. I'm going to enjoy it probably with a margherita.

Q. Do you think maybe you didn't enjoy it or take the time to enjoy it maybe the first time you won as much as now; you savor it more?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think so. I think as you get older, you have a greater capacity to appreciate everything. You know, these moments don't -- aren't promised. They don't come along all the time. Who knows if it will ever happen again? And I think the older I get, the more I keep that in perspective.

Q. You look back at the draw that you had here. You had some very tough matches. You've had draws where, you know, you look back and it wasn't -- didn't look as tough as this one. Was this particularly satisfying because of the players that you did beat to get here?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I think so. I think, again, every year gets tougher. These guys are getting better. Back-to-back wins against some of the best players in the world always gives you a sense of pride when it's all said and done. But, at the end of the day, you know, it's about finding a way to win regardless who you're playing. I've seen some pretty tough situations out there with guys that you least expect it. So you take one at a time. And that's what I feel best about, that's what I did here, just worked hard from start to finish. And for the hard work to pay off this quickly is nothing short of an inspiration to me.

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