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Écrit par Jerome   



September 2, 2002

A. AGASSI/J.M. Gambill
6-2, 6-3, 6-3

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andre, please.

Q. So is rolling into the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam without dropping a set a good thing because it means you're playing well, or a bad thing because maybe you haven't had that gut check yet that you would like?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, there's only so many gut checks you can really come through, so I suppose I'd rather save it for when it matters the most. I guess the question is how did I get in the quarters without dropping a set. I feel pretty good about my game. In that case, I feel ready to go.

Q. Jan-Michael I don't think dropped a set in the three rounds previous to this. You had a pretty quick time with him today. What did you do well against him?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, pretty much everything. I was on his serve, making him play a lot on his serve, which is key because I think he relies a lot on free points on his serve. It allows him to really loosen up on his groundies. I took that away from him by making him play a lot on his service games. I felt like I served well, I moved well, I mixed it up well. I stepped up when I had to and was patient when it was time to be. All in all, I just felt pretty good about the way I played.

Q. Could you put the hat on as a general tennis analyst, looks like we're going into the second week and probably the only Americans left standing are you, Sampras and Roddick. What are your thoughts on that?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know, I don't know really how to answer that. It's good. I mean, it's nice to see Pete getting his game together at the right time. I'm glad I feel good about my game. To have Andy in there... Is his match over?

Q. No. He's won the first set. He's up a break.

ANDRE AGASSI: To have him still in, if he gets through, certainly speaks well to the future. So it's really good to have a few left in the US Open.

Q. Greg Rusedski just lost in five to Pete. He had some comments saying that, you know, "Pete's not that good a player, lost a step and a half. He's having trouble with the half volley," so forth and so on. Could you comment on that? What are your thoughts about that?

ANDRE AGASSI: I would deduce from that comment that Greg really didn't like the way he played.

Q. Yeah, he said that. He said he lost the match and Pete didn't win.

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I wasn't really paying a whole lot of attention to it. I think overall the most difficult thing for Pete is the fact that he's always compared to himself. You know, he's been through many of these matches where he's proven himself over and over again. It's an unfortunate thing, because if his standard drops to where he's now in the Round of 16, if he doesn't win Slams, it's disappointing. That's a pretty amazing thing. I can't really comment specifically, because I haven't played Pete since last year here, really, where we went toe to toe on hardcourts, so...

Q. No one is saying you've lost a step and a half, you're older than Pete. What is it about you that has allowed you to stay at that level where Pete has fallen off?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. I don't know what's going through Pete's mind, I don't know what he's feeling in his body. Those are two important parts of it. For me, I'm healthy and I'm still eager. I got just a life that feels like a dream every single day. But I couldn't tell you really what Pete's feeling, physically or mentally. It could be a confidence thing, it could be an eagerness, the fire in the belly thing. It could be a physical thing; maybe his body hurts. If he has lost a step, it could be attributed to many things.

Q. I might be wrong on this. It seems like as guys get older, in between points they're conserving energy. You play like a guy that's double-parked. Is that a conscious thing? You force the issue.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I try to be respectful of what it is I'm feeling and what it is I think my opponent is feeling. If the situation calls for me to step it up, then I feel like I've been ready to do that. And if I need to take my time and make sure I'm executing, I feel like I'm also quick to do that. I always play at a faster pace. I'm not looking to catch my breath out there or to conserve any energy. I'm looking to bring my game point after point. The easiest way for me to forget about the last point is to get to the next one.

Q. In most Grand Slams there's somehow a sense of destiny or fate or rhythm. Are you beginning to get in this US Open - and I know you go match at a time, I know it's seven matches - are you getting a sense inside that, "Hey, I can pull this off?"

ANDRE AGASSI: I'm in the quarters. That's a look at the basket. That's really all you can ask for, is to give yourself that chance, make sure you're playing well at the right time. Again, my game feels ready to shift to another gear. I'm going to need to. So I suppose the easiest answer is to say yes, I do believe I can do it.

Q. You think you still have to shift up a notch? From the outside, it would look like you're playing well enough to win the thing right now?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, but I think every day is a new day. Every opponent brings out something different in your game. I would love the tennis that I played today to get the job done. If it does, then that's all I'll need to do. But I'm going into it anticipating having to play better and looking forward to that challenge.

Q. You mentioned a minute ago a couple of the American players. I was wondering if I could get a comment from you about whether or not you're optimistic about American tennis at this stage?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think, what have I played, three Americans in my four matches? That's a lot. I think with Andy and James, not only do we have two guys that can play great tennis but they're two professionals. They both work hard, keep their head down. They're both great competitors. We have a lot to be proud of in both of them. So I am optimistic about it.

Q. In terms of what the rain has done to this tournament, you're probably luckier than most because you're a round ahead. Can you talk about the challenge of playing four or five matches in seven days?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it becomes tougher. I think it's tougher on some than others. You hope your matches aren't longer than necessary when you're forced to play back-to-back. I think it can have a negative effect on some more than others, depending on how their matches unfold. It throws an additional element into the mix that needs to be dealt with.

Q. What have you thought of the scheduling today? We have a situation where one of the fourth-round men's matches is played tomorrow. The winner of that has a day's less rest than his quarterfinal opponent. What do you think of how it's been handled?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I suppose that when you're 70-plus matches behind, if not more, there's a lot to consider when you make the schedule. I got to believe that the ability to make the decisions that allow everybody to be on equal terms the entire tournament is not so likely. You do your best to minimize the consequences for as many as possible. To a large degree, it boils down to the luck of the draw, starting with it raining on the day you're playing or the day that you have off, then ending with the scheduling that has to happen in adjustment to the chaos. I wouldn't even know all the things that need to be considered and who's playing singles and doubles. I don't even know if the women are behind or if they're on schedule. It's a lot to balance.

Q. You've always said that luck is a factor both in life and in tennis. In tennis, how much of a factor is luck? Can you possibly quantify it or bring that quality out?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I think it can be significant. We've seen so many matches, or so many Grand Slams where the person that wins it was faced against matchpoint early in the tournament. Just today, during the rain delay, they're showing Venus playing in the semis and down 6-4 in the third-set breaker, shoots a backhand up the line that caught the outside of the line. It's just amazing to think that a few centimeters can make that much of a difference. I think in some cases it's more than others.

Q. What did you think of that particular shot? Did you think it was that extraordinary? She had court to play with but she still nailed the line on matchpoint down. Pretty good.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, that is pretty good. She's even gotten a lot better since then.

Q. Should you make the weekend, how much of a practical advantage is it for you having not spent that much energy in the first four rounds?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's key, I think. I think ultimately it can be something that really builds up on you if you have a lot of tough matches. My body can certainly hold up to a pretty good beating, but it is nice not to expend it if you don't have to.

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