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Écrit par Jerome   
20-09-2006

THE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Wimbledon, England

June 24, 2002

A. AGASSI/H. Levy
6-0, 6-4, 6-4

An interview with:

ANDRE AGASSI

MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Andre for you.

Q. What did that feel like, starting off proceedings on Centre Court?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, pretty special, pretty special. It was a big honor today. I can't even imagine what all needs to be considered in making the adjustment. But it was very special for me. The court was playing beautifully. Just felt great being out there.

Q. Bring back some memories?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's different conditions now, you know, going out there in the place of somebody versus earning that honor. But, yeah, it does feel great. Every time I'm on the court, it feels like it brings back a lot of memories.

Q. Do you have some sympathy for Goran? Can you imagine if it was yourself watching on television today for a match that you would have been due to play.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I thought we were going to have a moment of silence for him or something, all kind of just get still. But it's too bad because that is a special part of winning, you know, coming back. The year after I won, I was injured, was struggling, didn't play the French. Probably in hindsight shouldn't have even attempted to play here. But just couldn't help wanting to go out there and experience defending, that feeling of walking out there at that designated time, which was 2:00 then.

Q. In Paris you said you were just going to go away and smooth out some things in your game. You looked to have done that pretty well today.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, felt great. You can only expect so much in your first match. You want to make sure you're dealing with everybody you need to be, addressing your opponent the right way, making sure you're not giving up any loose shots or points. I felt like I took care of business nicely from the start and felt very comfortable. That's always an added bonus, to feel comfortable that soon.

Q. Were you surprised about the number of aces?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I don't know how many there were, to be honest.

Q. You racked up 17 or 18.

ANDRE AGASSI: Wow, serving big (laughter). Yeah, sometimes I can get streaky with my first serve. But I don't count on those aces. I'm looking to move the ball around, I'm looking to take care of my serve. Hitting aces certainly makes things a lot easier.

Q. What happened to the game at 5-2 when you lost Love-40?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, you know, we had just gone to new balls. Sorry, that was the 5-4 game. I don't know. I just hit a couple double-faults, one good shot by him, a forehand error, the next thing I know, the game is over. It can go that way pretty quickly on grass. That's why you have to make sure you take care of every game.

Q. Would you say you're more willing to serve and volley now than you were five years ago?

ANDRE AGASSI: No.

Q. It's the same or not as much?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't serve and volley.

Q. I saw you do it once at least.

ANDRE AGASSI: If I hit a serve and the ball is sitting up there, all I have to do is run in and make contact, it's different. But, yeah, for me that's not the best chance of me winning the point. It's really not even necessary for me to mix it up that way. Every point is important to me, especially these days. I need to give myself the best look. If I just commit to serve-volleying, I'm hoping for a lot to go right.

Q. Is it having more patience on grass, moving the guy around? Is there a 1, 2, 3 priority when you go out there?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's the first shot. A first shot is key on grass. If you can take control of a point, it's hard for somebody to turn that around. Ball stays low, the court really works for you when you're in the offensive position.

Q. Winning here in '92 was such a huge story, such a big deal at the time. Looking at the big picture, what does it mean to you coming back to Wimbledon? How special is it?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's special for a lot of reasons. I think this is certainly the greatest tournament in the world. If you could only win one, you'd be crazy not to pick this one. On top of that, it's just a big accomplishment for me to still be out here contending 10 years later. 1992 was in the middle of my career, at least I thought. So that's very special for me, too, to have that many chances and experiences out there on Centre Court and play Wimbledon.

Q. What are your thoughts on this year, on the draw? Your half is pretty stacked, big matches.

ANDRE AGASSI: I haven't really studied it. It's not something I make too much of a habit of doing. I'm focused on the next person. But to be honest, every year it looks more and more stacked to me. The older I get, the better everybody else gets, it seems. So I need to really take care of myself and think about what I need to do just for the next go.

Q. If you look at the French Open, there's a string of players. Wimbledon is possibly only sort of nine or 10 players, or would you not agree with that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, we have to go out there and tee them up. I think on paper it's one thing, but it's why you've got to go play because you've got to leave room for the intangible of the competitor spirit. Who would have thought Goran, after all those years, being ranked 125 in the world, could have ever pulled off that fairytale? But that's why we play. I think there's less grass court, traditional grass court players, now than there used to be. But if anything, that opens up the possibility of somebody getting through that might not normally have, if they're playing serve-volleyers on a regular basis. Once you're in into the second week, the court starts playing different, starts bouncing up a lot more, a lot can happen.

Q. How do you think you've been able to handle tennis after 30 than a lot of your contemporaries and avoid injury?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think that's the key, is avoiding injury. As to why I avoid injury, I'd just be giving you really theories. I don't know. I've been pretty lucky, too. My body hasn't taken the same punishment in certain respects as other players. You know, I've trained a lot over my career with weights. I feel like a lot of the important parts of your body - the back, the knees, the shoulders - I've protected them pretty good with my strength training. But being healthy is the key.

Q. Is your son going to have a single- or double-handed backhand?

ANDRE AGASSI: Depends. If he's as quick as his mom, a two-handed backhand, because he can get there and hit it. If he's not as quick, you have to make adjustments. One-hander's better for those who aren't as fast.

Q. You were talking about fitness. Tim Henman was saying a few days ago how you're almost an inspiration to him and a lot of players in that he looks at how long he's got in the game, looks at yourself. Is it flattering there are a lot of players on the tour who see you, how you looked after yourself, possibly they could be playing in their early 30s at a high level?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yes, it's a huge compliment to me that anybody would use me as any inspiration at all for anything. I take that as a great compliment. I think we're all out there trying to do the same things, working hard. You know, there's a lot of athletes that are playing some of their best -- at the top of their level in their mid 30s. Tennis, it's not usual because it's a year-round sport. Your body takes a beating. It's hard to keep yourself healthy. It's even hard to keep yourself healthy inside one year, let alone 16, 20 years. So as long as I'm out there doing it, I can see why somebody would say, "Well, maybe I can." But that's just the thing, you've got to go out there and do it. There's no shortcuts. You have to really want it, too.

Q. What do you attribute you being the only active player who has won all four Grand Slams?

ANDRE AGASSI: I suppose it's not easy to do. It's not easy to win any of these. You know, everybody's so good in their own right, in their own strengths. You are always playing the best in their best environment at some point or another. So it's just hard to do. It's hard to play the best clay-courters on clay and the grass courters on grass, the hard courters at the US Open. I mean, this isn't easy to do it once. So to be fortunate enough to have won all of them is something I never could have dreamed of.

Q. To be one of only three former champions in the draw, how much of a factor does that become at a tournament this size? Is that a huge help?

ANDRE AGASSI: I suppose it could be towards the end. You know, is it's all about playing your best tennis at the most important times. If you've done something before, it does help a lot with the nerves at some of those crucial times that you can let your game come out. But that's a long ways away. I mean, the last two matches, the tournament could be four guys that have never been past the quarters. Have to wait and see.

Q. I gather you're expecting another baby. Are you looking forward to that?

ANDRE AGASSI: You seem to know more than I do.

Q. There were reports.

ANDRE AGASSI: No, that's not true. Again, if that was true, Steff hasn't told me yet.

 
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