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Écrit par Jerome   



August 31, 2002

A. AGASSI/R. Delgado
6-2, 6-1, 6-2

An interview with:


MODERATOR: Questions for Andre.

Q. Was that a surprise?

ANDRE AGASSI: What's that?

Q. Five games, is that what he got, four games?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think you're always pleasantly surprised when the score line suggests that it was an easy match. Again, you go out there and you take every point as seriously as you can, then you look up at the score at the end.

Q. And hope you won?

ANDRE AGASSI: You hope things went well. You have to work hard to make it turn out that way.

Q. How easy was it for you compared to the other matches?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think the score suggests that it was a lot easier than it was. You know, the first two sets were a lot closer than 2 and 1. He came out hitting a big ball. I felt like he was playing good tennis at the start. It was a high standard for both of us. I converted on my first breakpoint. My game just kept getting a little bit better. When his wheels came off, it was then the match then broke open. For me, I wasn't comfortable until I was up two sets and two breaks. I really felt like it was a good standard of tennis.

Q. He seemed to try to move you around a lot. Were you happy with how you were moving?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I was pleased with really every part of my game today. I felt good about the way I was moving. I was picking up the ball, the way I was striking it. Really don't have a whole lot to complain about.

Q. As you get older, is that what you expect people are going to do, thinking maybe you're slowing down?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I hope they play dropshots. It's not an easy shot to do. You've got to use it at the right time. Sometimes it's a mistake to get carried away with it. But, no, I think it's a function of you can tell toe to toe how somebody is, if somebody's injured, if somebody's not moving so well, if somebody's a little off their game. But I was giving him no indication that I wasn't going to get to those. He was just playing them because he thought it was the right shot at the time. Sometimes they are.

Q. Jan-Michael is up a set. If he does get through, he was saying the other day he watched the LA match on video, and he felt really he did have a good shot, and if it wasn't for a loose game in the second, he might have pulled it out. Do you still see him as a tough opponent?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, yeah. Again, I don't think there's a player out there that I would go out and not consider a serious opponent. I think experience has taught me that. Theoretically speaking, there's nobody out there that you should ever underestimate, especially a guy like Jan-Mike who can pose such a threat on this surface. The match in LA was toe to toe. It was a high-standard match. I got the edge in the first set, was up the entire second set until 4-All. He broke back. I broke him and held for the match. For me, I'll go out there and treat it the same. It's going to be hard tennis. It's going to be three out of five. He's going to have to play three and a half hours of lights-out tennis. That's my goal, is to make him do that. I'm sure it's going to be a quality match.

Q. Did you see any of Blake and Hewitt today?

ANDRE AGASSI: I played after them.

Q. Did you watch any of it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I saw some of it.

Q. What was your impression of Blake's play?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't do impressions (smiling). I thought that was a great match. It looked to be certainly competitive, but above all it was great for the fans. It's two guys that have great games from the back of the court bringing their best stuff. It was fun to watch.

Q. I think you competed against four generations, McEnroe, Lendl, Becker, Sampras, and New Balls generation. Could you compare each generation? Is it a tougher situation for you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think it gets tougher every year. It's partly because you're getting older. But guys are getting stronger, they're getting bigger, they're getting faster. Like in every sport, you've got to expect every five years for there to be a certain amount of improvement. It's tough today because every match is dangerous. I think going back a couple generations, you could not necessarily maybe be at your best going into a Slam, and still find a way to get through the few matches, find your game, then play two great matches at the right time and win a Slam. Now you can't have one day that's off. If you do have an off day, you better hope it really falls at a convenient time. But comparing the players, it's a function of matchups. It's amazing how one guy will be better than one guy most of the time, but not as good as somebody else, then that guy beats him. It's all about match-ups.

Q. Is it kind of strange for you to think about how you have spanned the ages? You played Jimmy Connors, he's going to turn 50 in a week. Now you're playing teenagers.

ANDRE AGASSI: Is it weird?

Q. Is it weird to think of your longevity, the age gap?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I guess it is in a certain respect. I don't think about it too often. I've always addressed my peers as my peers, regardless what their age is. I've always given players respect according to what they merit on the court and what they merit off the court. I haven't spent a whole lot of time thinking about the fact that I'm talking to somebody who might be a teenager unless the subject tends to shift from tennis. Then you quickly realize it. You go into the lounge, there's a lot of video games, that sort of thing. Outside that, I don't think about it too often.

Q. From Jimmy to Lleyton, you've played so many tough competitors, real fighters. Who would be the one or two who really stand out as the toughest mentally, now and in the past?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think Lendl at his best probably had the most discipline in his concentration level. Jimmy knew how to concentrate at the right time. Again, it was very important to him that everybody thought that he was competitive on every point because he would get upset if he was not really on top of his game during periods of times in the match, and then he would settle down and be focused. I mean, Lendl was just a train that was going that way (straightforward). There was no upsetting what he was doing, regardless what the score was, he was going to bring a hard work ethic from the first point to the last. Jimmy didn't have the luxury of being a strong guy. He was always trying to be efficient with where he spent his energies on the court. I think mental toughness is also a function of arsenal. If you have the arsenal, it allows you to be stronger mentally. Lendl used those two really well, his physical and his mental. I'd probably give him the edge.

Q. You lost to Lleyton in Cincinnati. Do you think your tennis improved a little bit after that? You play the US Open at the same level or better?

ANDRE AGASSI: I hope so. That's the game plan.

Q. A role model question. Everyone talks about you're one of the most consistent guys on the tour as far as your game. How about the fact that you're consistently one of the biggest role model to youth? Why do kids listen to you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I wouldn't know exactly what you're referring to, to be honest.

Q. When you won the Australian, "I want to thank my friend Gil." I hear that quote you gave time and time again.

ANDRE AGASSI: That's a big compliment. For me I think being a role model is a responsibility that falls on everybody's shoulders. It's not those in the public eye, it's not those in the athletic world. If you can affect one person in your life or a thousand people in your life, you need to affect them the right way. I don't ever really look at it like I have additional responsibility. I look at it like everybody needs to accept the ultimate responsibility, which is how you treat each other. I fall short many times.

Q. Davis Cup, are you giving any more thought or any thought?

ANDRE AGASSI: This is where my mind's at right now.

Q. Can you comment on Lleyton Hewitt's talent both mentally and physically?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I think he's a phenomenal competitor and has an all-around game that really has no weaknesses but has phenomenal speeds. That's his greatest weapon, is his speed. There's really no hole in his game. He's a smart player. He can hit the ball well off both sides. He knows how to play the game. He's not usually making silly errors. His shot selection is very disciplined. He's proven that to be the case.

Q. You had an incredible match with Guga earlier this summer. He hit some incredible backhands. Does he have the best backhand in the game today, best you ever faced?

ANDRE AGASSI: He has the best one-handed backhand for sure. I think by nature one hands and two hands offer different strengths and weaknesses. When you assess a backhand, you have to assess it from different directions: how you hit the backhand on defense, how you hit the backhand on offense, how you return off the backhand. If you assess all those things, I wouldn't necessarily throw him at the top, but I would say he has the best one-handed backhand I've ever seen.

Q. Is he better with a one-hander? Is it a better offensive weapon than two?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it all depends what ball you're talking about. If the ball is sitting there, he's going to take a clean cut at it, he can hit it as big as anybody ever thought about hitting it. In that case, yes.

Q. As long as we're assessing fellow competitors, can you talk about Federer, who had that tremendous run? You know something about dips and peaks.

ANDRE AGASSI: What do you mean?

Q. Can you assess his game?

ANDRE AGASSI: I haven't actually seen him play as of late. I don't know really what would speak to him not doing as well as he did towards the start of the year. He's phenomenally talented. Every time I've played him, I've always felt his game considerably. He has some of the quickest hands out there. His racquet speed on his serve, on his forehand, backhand, he can snap it with the best of it. He has very explosive movement. He has great court sense. When his game's firing on all cylinders, he's pretty darn tough to beat.

Q. I don't know how much you've had a chance to watch the rest of the draw, but we're almost a week in, what have you seen so far? What are your thoughts on who is playing well?

ANDRE AGASSI: I really haven't spent a whole lot of time looking at assessing draws. I wouldn't even know who plays who necessarily next, any of that. Certainly I've seen everything that you've seen, which is a great match with Guga against Safin, a great match today from Lleyton today against James. The way Pete got through his first two matches, you've got to give respect to that. I've seen some good tennis. It's just about when you play it.

Q. Pete was talking serious smack the other day. He said despite the year that your kid will have on his, he said his kid would still take him down. Could you comment?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I for sure see Jaden beating up on his kid a little bit - speaking on the tennis court. If it's a little girl, I have a hundred bucks that says she has a crush on Jaden.

Q. Will you let her take him to the prom?

ANDRE AGASSI: Either Pete or myself will chaperone, for sure.

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