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Écrit par Jerome   


August 9, 2002

L. HEWITT/A. Agassi
7-5, 6-3

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andre, please.

Q. Broke your serve five times. What was he doing on his returns? Were you having trouble with the service games?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, every game was a battle there for the first set and a half. A lot of close games, you know - a lot of close games. Had a few opportunities, but I think he just -- he stepped up. He played well on some big points, and then just pretty much battened down the hatches there at the end. Once I started pressing a little bit, he just kind of settled in and started using his legs. He played a smart match.

Q. Are your styles so similar that to try to change the pace of the match, the tempo of the match, does that take you out of your own game too much to try to do something like that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, the only thing that is similar about us is we both play from the baseline. We both have two entirely different kinds of shots. So it's hard for me to make -- you can't make too many extreme adjustments, because then you're not playing your tennis. So it's a fine line that you got to walk, both of us. Every day you got to figure out how you're going to walk it that day. Today he did that better than I did.

Q. He never makes a lot of mistakes. Does that make it harder if you get down a break? Is that a big key, that he gets ahead and starts to come back?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, you know, Lleyton plays well when he's behind, too. It's not just when he's ahead. I mean, great players make it hard for you to beat them throughout the match, every point. That's certainly a strength of his, is every point is up for grabs. He's fighting for it.

Q. This is your sixth match against him. Do you notice any trends?

ANDRE AGASSI: "Trends"? What do you mean exactly?

Q. Is it just a hard match?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I mean, you know, so little separates so many players. Again, there's a lot of close games that had it gone one way or the other, it could have been basically a blow-out either way. I don't know how many deuce games we had, and opportunities. But at the end of the day, they equal out and you got to come up with the goods at the right time. That's where certainly he's the toughest.

Q. He said earlier that the match had a Grand Slam feel to it. He said that a couple minutes ago on TV. Do you agree?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, yeah, I think people were excited to see the match and to see the matchup. You come to these events with the best players in the world, and you have to play your best tennis when it matters the most. Tonight I needed to play my best tennis. So every time you feel that way, it has a heavyweight feel to it.

Q. It was only a 3-0 lead, but did you feel early on you were in a momentum, that you started the way you wanted to?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it was a great start certainly, but he made some errors early and I knew that would change. Had a game point to go 4-1 to keep the momentum, but, you know, he fought his way back into it. I expected him to not go down without a fight. He played well when he was behind, he played well when he was up, so he just overall outplayed me today.

Q. He said after the match that when he was coming up, he kind of idolized you, watched you play a lot. Now it's kind of reversed. Can you describe the level of respect he has as No. 1, the level of respect you have for him.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I respect anybody that goes out there and gets the job done. We can all sit here and talk about matches and talk about sporting events, but there's only a few guys that actually get that opportunity to go out there and lay it on the line. All my peers I have a lot of respect for - certainly those that get the job done more frequently than not. Lleyton does that, so certainly a lot of respect there.

Q. Does it get mentally tiring to be behind?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, yeah, sure it does. You want to be able to take care of your serve and put pressure on his serve. When it's reversed, you know, it makes it tougher. But we were both having tough service games throughout the match. Unfortunately, the last four games of the match wasn't a reflection of the rest of the match. But, again, that had to do with the way he started playing and the few errors that he made.

Q. If you play him again at the US Open, are you going to change your strategy or approach it the same way?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I'm gonna try to win (smiling). That's the thing. Again, every day is a balancing act. It's one thing to have a game plan, it's another thing to execute it. So my goal would be to start with the execution.

Q. The dropshot in the fourth game of the second set, it looked more like a Marat Safin dropshot, not and Andre Agassi one. Do you agree?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know what his dropshot looks like. What does it look like?

Q. Long rallies.

ANDRE AGASSI: What do you mean it looked like Marat Safin?

Q. He does it sometimes in that way, Marat Safin.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, then I guess that's the case then.

Q. Is this his best surface? Is he maybe right now the guy to beat on hardcourts?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I suppose you would have a hard time arguing that grass wasn't pretty suited for his play. But he's established himself now as the best player. Guys are gonna gun for him, and they have been for a long time, for a while now, so... I'd have to put this up there with his best surface. You could put an argument that he won Queen's and Wimbledon. That's not something to overlook.

Q. Does it surprise you at all that he seems to always get stuck in these controversial issues going on, whether it's this week with doing his Stars program, or with James Blake at The Open last year and all that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Surprise me? You know, I mean, I suppose it's fair to say that, you know, nothing should surprise you. I don't know Lleyton very well, and I certainly don't know those around him very well. But, you know, it's unfortunate. Nobody wins in those sort of controversies. You kind of wish it just would -- you can rise above the fray and just, you know, keep in good perspective what's best for the game that's been so good to you. So it's unfortunate.

Q. Does his game remind you of anybody else you played in the past?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. I mean, not really. He has a great sense for the court, you know. He plays aggressively, he plays defensively. He knows when to take chances, when to make sure he makes the shot. He relies a lot on his wheels, his footwork, and that allows him to play with a high margin for error, which is going to make him hit less errors than most people. Again, that's just talking about a few of his strengths. You've seen him play long enough, he does it over and over again where he gets in battles and finds a way, and that's just because at the end of the day he's tough to beat.

Q. What part of his game was most difficult for you to handle? Was it his serve, return of his serve?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I don't think -- that's the thing with Lleyton, not one area is going to stand out. Obviously, his movement is what his whole game revolves around, so I'd say his movement is probably what you feel the most when you play him.

Q. Were you fatigued at all out there today?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it was a hard match. I mean, as fatigued as you can be for an hour and 40 minutes or however long it was. But I'd still rather be out there playing the third right now.

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