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Écrit par Jerome   

October 16, 2002

A. AGASSI/J.M. Gambill
6-4, 6-4

An interview with:


MODERATOR: Questions for Andre.

Q. How do you feel about Madrid and the Spanish fans, about everything?

ANDRE AGASSI: It was very exciting for me to come here. To play somewhere where I've never played before, it's not too often, especially a great city like Madrid. I think it's a great city that deserves a great tournament. I think it got it. I think the players are happy. The fans seem like it's a success from their perspective. It's amazing what they've built here. I was a bit nervous going out there. It's been a few weeks. I wanted to play well. I feel good to get through it.

Q. How did you feel about the surface?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's a good surface. It's very medium pace. The ball bounces. But the air, it goes fast. A little altitude here. It's a good surface.

Q. Can you reflect a little bit on the last match you played before this one, the US Open final, a little bit how you reacted to the loss? It was obviously a huge match for you. The weeks after that, how were they?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, not much you can do with any loss except try to get better from it. It was disappointing, surely, but unfortunately somebody has to lose out there. You know that it can happen to you. I don't think it took me long to get over it from a professional standpoint. I went to work pretty much straightaway. I feel good about where my game is. I'll try to look at it as a tough day.

Q. Is the motivation still very, very strong for now until the end of the year?

ANDRE AGASSI: Sure it is, yeah. It's strong. I'm always trying to get better. And I feel like the best chance at doing that is to make every week important. I still feel eager, and I still feel like I can pick up my game, even from here.

Q. You have a shot at being No. 1 at the end of the year. Would that be some compensation for not winning a Slam?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think it's a great accomplishment for anybody to finish No. 1. For me at this stage of my career, to do that, especially with the tournaments that I've had to miss this year, would be a great accomplishment. I think it would make me feel better about the year, to say the least. But I think mostly it would give me sort of the momentum going into next year.

Q. I gather you actually arrived here to practice earlier than some other players. Is that an indication that you're after a pretty good finish to the year?

ANDRE AGASSI: Sure I am. I don't enjoy losing under any circumstances, especially when I have to travel a long ways. I'm very eager to be here. I'm eager to work on things and compete in the indoor season, and finish the year strong. I didn't get to start the year the way I would have hoped. Hopefully I can finish the year in better fashion.

Q. Do you still get as much enjoyment and satisfaction out of the game?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think more. I think everything is sort of more extreme these days. I feel probably more disappointed by my losses and more sort of rewarded for my wins. I think that comes with age. I think the older everyone gets, the more they can appreciate, the more they sort of have a perspective on how limited these opportunities are. So for me I do get the same enjoyment. If I can't come out here and compete, if I'm losing a lot, that sort of thing, I think it would be tough for me. I feel like I'm still getting better, and that's what I need.

Q. Do you think changes have to be made in the tennis rules, about only one serve, make the balls bigger? What do you think about that?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I don't. I think we have a lot -- Hewitt finished No. 1 last year. No. 2 was Kuerten. No. 3 was me. No. 4 was Safin or something. I mean, these are all baseliners. I think the game is highly competitive. It's getting more competitive. I think it's very interesting. I think the schedule and sort of how the year plays out for the fans maybe could be a little bit clearer to understand. But as far as inside the lines, it's a great sport.

Q. When you talk about getting a good momentum for the beginning of next year, does that mean somewhere the Australian Open is already on your mine?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, sure. It's been on my mind, probably more this year than ever because I didn't get to play last year. But even more than that, I'm always sort of looking to my next goals and the things that are important to me. Certainly that would be one of them. There's a lot to think about between now and then, but I do find myself thinking about it.

Q. You said something interesting just now that as soon as the US Open was over, you went right back to work. Does that mean as you get older, you have to do more work to keep in shape? Is it physical work? Is it practice?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think I meant that relatively speaking. I took about a week off where I didn't do anything - even pick up the phone (laughter). But then I was back to work. I think as you get older, you don't necessarily have to work harder; you have to work smarter. You have to know what you're doing and sort of why you're doing it, and to make sure it fits in with the context of what you're looking for through the rest of your career. The body needs to be respected, especially as it gets older.

Q. Can you give us your impressions of the game this afternoon, how you felt on the court?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't do impressions. I'm kidding, it's just a joke (smiling). Today I was very happy with the way things went, certainly. Any time you have the victory, it's good. But I felt good about most parts of my game. For the first match in a number of weeks, this was an important one for me. Now I feel like I have the ability to sort of raise my game from here, which I'm going to need to do.

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