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Écrit par Jerome   


May 9, 2002

A. AGASSI/A. Calleri
7-6, 7-5

An Interview With:


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andre, please.

Q. You won a difficult match. You had some difficult moments. Are you satisfied with your game, or do you think you could have played even better?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I suppose you always think you can play better, but I thought it was a very high-quality match. I thought Calleri was hitting the ball very well, big off both sides, serving very good. It boiled down to just a few points each set. So it was a good test for me.

Q. Was that just the sort of match you would have needed after having obviously an easier passage in the previous round?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I don't think you ever need it to be that close, no (smiling). But I think that if there's any questions for me left this week, today helped answer those. And every match gets tougher from here, so it was good for my concentration and intensity today that I can carry that now into tomorrow.

Q. What difficulties do you figure on playing Costa?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, this is not getting any easier, you know. These guys play so well, especially on the clay. You know, I'm going to have to work hard. I'm going to have to play a lot of balls, wait for my chance and be patient. But he's been playing really well and has a lot of big game.

Q. Even if you are used to winning, you don't seem overexcited about winning today. You seem almost sad.

ANDRE AGASSI: No, it's not -- no. Clay is a different mentality, you know. You have to not get, you know, too excited because quickly it can change. You have to just work the whole tournament. So it is good. No, it's good for me. But tomorrow's another day. I'm too experienced now to get too excited.

Q. When you wake up in tournaments like this, you just check the sun, if it's sunny, if it's a good day? Is it a big difference for you to play in a wet condition?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, there's always a difference. I think that's what makes -- one of the things that makes tennis difficult - every day is a new environment, new elements to deal with. And I think this matters depending on who you're playing. Some players, you want it to be dryer and faster and slipperier. Some players, you want it to be heavier. So you play different players, you play them in different -- with different elements, and they all have a big impact.

Q. What about tomorrow? You want sun or rain tomorrow?

ANDRE AGASSI: (Smiling) It's hard to say. I mean, I think under normal conditions, I think Al would play better in very heavy conditions. You know, he hits a lot of spin on the ball and moves well. And if he has time, you know - the best chance is if he doesn't have as much time. But, you know, I don't know. I'm playing much better now than I've been playing on the clay for a long time, and I'm up to the challenge - whatever it is. So tomorrow will be good for my confidence if I can play a good match.

Q. Top seeds have gone out so early here, earlier than ever before. Do you think that's perhaps because of the conditions, how the guys are in the field, how they're playing?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I suppose it's all of the above. I mean, you can't ever really count on any result out here anymore; you have to go out there and earn it. And I think that the top guys losing in the same day was probably a bit more coincidence than anything. But when you've been out here a while, you realize how difficult it is every day and how little you can take for granted. None of the matches I saw yesterday, I thought, were going to be one-sided. It's amazing, knowing the game as well as I do, playing it for so many years, how it's still difficult for me to pick the winners.

Q. Are you the sort of person who looks at your record and says, "Well, I've never won in Rome, one of the few big tournaments I haven't won," and is there extra desire in you to win this week, or is it just about the Grand Slam?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, it would mean a lot to win here. It would be a huge accomplishment. You know, I had championship point 13 years ago...(Smiling). It's a long time (laughter). So just to be here in the thick of it, competing and having the chance to win would be all I can ask for. And to actually do it would be a huge accomplishment. I'd like to win here. I'd love to win here.

Q. You just said that it's very difficult to pick the winners. But in the lower part of the draw, you are the only seeded player still alive. Does it mean anything at all? Or, I mean, even if you take it match by match, still you are the favorite to reach the final, aren't you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I don't know. I think most people here would have picked me to lose early. Of course I'm in Rome, this always happens. So my history hasn't been so good here.

Q. But now you say you are playing better.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, now I feel good. But, no, I can't say it's, you know, "favorite." I like my chances because I believe in myself. But you have to go do it. And in my own mind, it's so far to the finals. It's just tomorrow I'm worried about. Then tomorrow it's really every point that I'm worried about.

Q. What do you think about your fellow Americans, Roddick and Blake, doing well also here?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's great to see. I hope they have a great clay court season, especially because of Davis Cup being on the dirt. I think James is one of the best athletes out there, and I think Andy has real big game. I think both of them have a lot to look forward to. If they do well on the clay, it's only going to help their confidence and their game on the other surfaces. This is a big opportunity for them to establish themselves for the whole year.

Q. Today you lost more energy on physical or a nervous point of view?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think today was very hard both, but it's only two sets. It's okay. You know, you play -- you prepare for it. I'll be very ready tomorrow.

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