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Écrit par Jerome   



August 29, 2002

A. AGASSI/J. Gimelstob
6-0, 6-1, 6-1

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: First question for Andre, please.

Q. Anti-American, the way you treated that fellow?

ANDRE AGASSI: (Laughing). Yeah, you never know how a day's gonna go. I think it was probably a surprise to both of us the way it went out there.

Q. Were you seriously worried you had to get through before the weather might threaten again?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think you're thinking first and foremost about taking care of business in any amount of time that you're out there. If the weather comes, you want to be up in the match. If the weather doesn't come, you want to get it in. I mean, there are all sorts of things you can think about. But unless you focus at hand... That's all I was really thinking about. The weather wasn't really on my mind. I was just trying to execute my shots and keep the momentum.

Q. Regardless of your previous statements on Davis Cup, it's reasonable to think that Patrick will at some point in the next week or so contact you and ask you, once again, if you will consider playing Davis Cup for the US versus France this time. Are you opposed to playing Davis Cup? Is there wiggle room there?

ANDRE AGASSI: I've addressed this for a long time now. And really my statements have been I think as clear as they possibly can be.

Q. Was this the easiest Grand Slam match you could remember ever playing?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, just basing it on score line, it's probably right up there. I mean, there's been a few that have gone one-sided like that as far as getting the momentum, keeping it, and everything kind of going right for you. It's happened a few times. But, again, you go out there with a lot of respect for your opponent. If anything, I think that's what creates that standard of play, is that the guy's 6'5" and can bring a big game. If I'm not on the ball, there can be problems. I played Justin here a few years ago where I won the first set 6-1, ended up losing the second set. Doesn't take much. He missed a lot of first serves. Had he not, he could have got himself -- at least got his teeth into the match, then it's different proposition out there. But it went comfortable. I got in the lead and stayed in it.

Q. When was the last time you remember as clean a match as you played tonight?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know what my winners to errors were or any of that. It's been a while since I've only lost two games in a three-out-of-five-set match. That's not too common.

Q. Two points on serve in the last set.

ANDRE AGASSI: No. That's... Yeah, wasn't sure about all that. Was as clean as I could hope for.

Q. Did you feel any compassion for him as the match went along? Nothing was going well for him at all.

ANDRE AGASSI: You're glad you're not him. You're glad that it's not happening to you (laughter). I've been on the other side of a few matches where I wish things were a lot different. You know, I just had to keep executing my game. If things continued that badly, it just would be over quicker. But if I didn't, certainly could have turned around. It always feels that way.

Q. Did you ever think of a triple bagel tonight?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, no, that doesn't cross your mind. I would have gladly taken a break a set going out there. That's plenty enough, if I take care of my serve. You're not thinking about anything but getting your job done.

Q. One of the matches that will create a lot of interest is Blake-Hewitt. Your thoughts in terms of, do you think Blake's there in his progress so far, that he can win this match?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, sure. I think really there's many matches out there that if you don't show up and you're at your best, you lose. James is a phenomenal athlete, phenomenal competitor. Certainly proved last year that he has the tools to give himself the victory. But it's not going to be easy; it's not going to be easy for either of them. But I do think he has a great game and I give him a shot against anybody.

Q. Where are you? By that, I mean you've been through these things so many times; it's a two-week proposition, pacing yourself, getting your execution where you want it. Maybe tonight's result can be thrown out. But where do you think you are at this stage?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, again, it's how you deal with the biggest situations and how you execute them. I feel great about how I feel coming into the tournament. I like the way I'm feeling out there on the court now, so I feel like I'm in position to raise my game. It will be a function of doing so at the right time. But everything feels really good, looks really good for my own standard and expectation.

Q. Is there anything you did during the rain delay specifically that allowed you to get off to such a fast start? Anything from experience that might have helped you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I didn't come out to the courts till about 2:30, so I just stayed on top of the updates so that I could just keep my feet up and keep my mind off of it. You know what you need to do. You don't need to think about it too much. The difficult part about it is it's a tough day for everyone. But the good news about it is everyone has to deal with it. So you're just really going out there trying to deal with it better than your opponent.

Q. There have been a couple of remarkable episodes in the first few days involving clothing. Do you think it's time that the ATP or Grand Slams reexamined some of the regulations they have involving clothing so the players can be more connected with the fans and what they wear?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I suppose that question requires thought from different perspectives. From a playing perspective, it feels great to go out there like you do in practice sometimes and have no shirt on. It's freedom and, you know... But you have to give considerations to the game and how it all appears. I'm sure there's many arguments to why the codes are the way they are. So I wouldn't be in a position to really address that unless I understood exactly all the ramifications of it.

Q. If you would follow me here. At a business conference the other day, the head of adidas International was complaining clothing manufacturers have become T-shirt salesmen and there's no sense of uniform for tennis players anymore. He said it all started when they allowed, of all things, denim shorts on the court. Could you comment on that? When you started denim shorts, it was a statement of sorts. Do you think that helped open up the game? Do you think it was good for the game, that sort of thing?

ANDRE AGASSI: I certainly got that feeling then, that it was good for the game, that it gave the game an opportunity to reach those that maybe never gave it that sort of attention before. Guys that just don't know that much about tennis - tennis has always been such an elite sort of sport - to give it a certain look that brings in a sort of different genre of viewership, I always perceived it to be good. In hindsight, if they sweated heavy, probably wouldn't be able to wear them now. I just saw it on TV earlier today. But I think players should be able to express themselves in many ways. Certainly, clothing is one avenue to do that. But, again, there does need to be lines. I'm just not convinced I have the complete understanding to where they should be.

Q. There's been a lot of buzz around Wayne Arthurs' serve lately. There's a lot of other big serves out there: Roddick, Rusedski. Do you think Pete's serve, at his peak, still has the best serve you ever faced?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. If you had to base it on serves, you couldn't say that. But there's a big difference between having a great serve and a good hold game or a good serve and a great hold game. I think if you had to break it down to serve alone, I think many guys have a better serve than Pete, probably not second serve. But there are a handful of guys that can hit a bigger first serve, and you could argue it has a better serve. But Pete backed his serve up so much with so much game. He had a great court sense out there, he had great hands, he had great speed. He was probably the hardest person I've ever played when it came to having to break his serve. But I would say Wayne Arthurs would have my vote for the best serve in the game.

Q. Is it a deceptive serve? Is that why it's so tough?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's tough because with one toss he can hit four corners and twelve different serves. I mean, he can literally hit fire balls 135 miles an hour or he can hit a first serve kick in the deuce court that takes you out of position more than a righty slider would take you out of position. He has a kick to the body, he has a hard one to the body, he has a nasty bender. The guy, when he tosses the ball, I mean, you feel like you're covering a box the size of this media room. It's like a phenomenal serve.

Q. When you finish quickly like that, do you think in a round or two if you're in a fourth set or a long five-set match, you sort of think you have more in your legs after having a quick one like that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think with two days off and getting the match in, I think there's plenty of time to recover for me. I think you don't need a match that sort of goes that quickly. I mean, it's nice not to spend more than you need to, and I think that ends up playing a part. But with two days off before, and then coming in, it's not horrible to play some hard tennis.

Q. Had your son watched you play before? What do you think was going on in his little brain watching you play?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, yeah, he's seen me play before. He's probably thinking, "Give me something to play with."

Q. Today's match was one-sided. You have spoken time and time again about the ability to basically break down, grind down an opponent. Of all the players you played who are currently on the tour, who really is the toughest mentally, the toughest competitor out there?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, there's a lot of phenomenal competitors. The few guys have more arsenal that their competitiveness becomes more of a problem. When you look at a James Blake or you look at a Lleyton, the spirit is there, the effort is always there, every point is as valuable as the last point or the next point. There's other guys out there, it's the same thing. You see Lapentti was down, what, two sets, matchpoints. He's out there in the back courts working so hard to find a way to stay in the tournament. That's what gives you the chance.

Q. Any of today's players come close to match Connors in pure intensity and will to win?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, yeah. Sure. I think Jimmy had a phenomenal competitiveness, but I think he even had a greater ability to represent himself that way. I think there are many guys back then, as well as today, that punch the clock hard every day, play many weeks, that might not make the show courts, that might not win all the matches, that have to rebound from loss after loss and continually work and continually plug away without the luxury of having phenomenal ability.

Q. Couple of names there?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, to name a few would be leaving out so many. I would probably prefer not to.

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