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Écrit par Jerome   

October 17, 2002

A. AGASSI/F. Lopez
7-6, 6-7, 7-5

An interview with:


Q. If you you were looking for a tough workout, you certainly got it with that one.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yes, it was very difficult today. Tonight was a great match. It's always disappointing that somebody has to lose a match like that. I felt pretty fortunate to get through it.

Q. What did you know about him beforehand?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I knew pretty much about his game. I hadn't seen him play personally. I went out there pretty much with the right expectation. He has a big serve, a big forehand, moves well, likes to slice the backhand. I was pretty prepared. I just wasn't quite so prepared to get the serve back for about three hours.

Q. What did you think about his game generally? Obviously he's very inexperienced, relatively so. He looks as if he has terrific prospects.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think when you're inexperienced, playing in an environment in front of your home crowd, it helps a lot. But I think he's incredibly talented. I think he has a very live arm, it's very loose on the serve and on the forehand, and he moves very well. He's only going to get better. I think he has a good future.

Q. Having beaten one Spaniard tonight, another awaits you tomorrow. Probably a very different match against Juan Carlos.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I think so. I think tomorrow we'll have plenty of opportunity to work into our games, have some good rallies. You know, it doesn't get any easier as the tournament goes on. I'll have to get better with it.

Q. How much of this is a step up in your form from your previous match? What would you give it out of 10, say?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think it's a match that is a very unique match tonight, because it's very rare you can play for that long and only have one service break. We weren't getting into a lot of points on his service games. It was really about taking care of my serve tonight. And I felt like what I was asked to do, I did as well as I could. I wasn't getting onto his serve for a long time, but I think a lot had to do with the way he played. I don't think it was really the way I was feeling out there. So I'd have to say it was a pretty high standard.

Q. Physically, perhaps it was more demanding than you expected. It's going to create a problem for tomorrow, or you are a hundred percent okay?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I feel all right. We'll have to see tomorrow. But every day's a new day. I feel like it's good for me to have a close match. I think sometimes week after week it gets more tough physically. But I should be all right.

Q. Are you confident about finishing the year in the top spot?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I'm certainly going to give it a try. I mean, for me it's a lot of tennis that has to be played still. I've got to worry about one battle at a time.

Q. About the attitude of the crowd, did you expect it to be a louder crowd or the way you found it, is it good?

ANDRE AGASSI: I felt like the crowd was very enthusiastic. I expected them to be. But I thought they had a great feeling out there, phenomenal enthusiasm. It's very rare you get to play with that sort of passion. It happens in Davis Cup, and it happens occasionally in matches like this.

Q. Regarding your discussion with the chair umpire, what did you say to him, and what did he answer to you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, my first complaint was overruling a ball at 5-4 in the first set tiebreaker, a first serve. You know, I believe that you have to use some judgment as to when you do it. And to do it at a time that affects the entire match potentially is not a good decision. But my second complaint that I had was, I hit a second serve, the linesman didn't make a call, and then she said that she didn't see it. So he made the call and said it was out.

Q. But long afterwards.

ANDRE AGASSI: And I asked him if he has to be sure, if it was an option, for us to play it over again, or was he sure it was out. And then he told me that he was sure it was out. Then I asked him, he had plenty of time to overrule then, and he didn't do that. "If you're so sure, how come you didn't overrule?" He said, "Because I'm the chair umpire," basically (laughter).

Q. How long does something like that stay in your mind during a match?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, ideally the shorter, the better. Really, there's no sort of formula to it. Every day is a different battle that you have mentally. I mean, for me today, I just put it behind me once I spoke my mind. That's what you need to do. So it didn't last very long today.

Q. Were you ever afraid of losing this match? If so, when was that? Was this one of the toughest matches of your career?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, yeah, it was very, very difficult tonight. I've had hundreds of matches. I don't know if it was the most difficult. I think "afraid of losing," I don't know if you mean it that way. I'm not afraid to lose.

Q. At any time, did you feel you couldn't win the match?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think the match was in balance the entire time. I think for two hours and 45 minutes, the match could have gone to either side. That makes me feel pretty fortunate to get through.

Q. A match like that where neither of you had a breakpoint until the second to the last game, do you get in the mindset where you're sort of content to sit back, trade balls, wait for the tiebreaker, knowing you need one or two points to shift the set?

ANDRE AGASSI: I'm never comfortable not breaking serve. For me, my game, I want to always put pressure on the other guy. So it's always important for me to put pressure on his serve. So I don't think I was very comfortable with the rhythm of the match tonight. But with that being said, I had to ask myself, "Is that because of what I'm doing and I'm not playing well, I'm not hitting my shots, I'm not returning well, or is he coming up with the goods?" And I think tonight, it was a high-standard match because he took care of his serve because of the way he was playing, and I took care of my serve because of the way I was playing.

Q. You know a bit more about Ferrero. How do you prepare for the match tomorrow? You know him better than you do Feliciano.

ANDRE AGASSI: We played once, so I think that always helps that the match gets comfortable early, that you can start establishing yourself early, you know what to expect. We both are going to try to play aggressive tennis and control the points. And against a player of his quality, it's just a question of who does that better.

Q. The fact of already being qualified for Shanghai, does that make you more comfortable? Do you really come here to win Madrid?

ANDRE AGASSI: I come here to win Madrid. For me, if I'm 2 in the world or 5 in the world, No. 8, No. 9, it doesn't matter. I need to either finish No. 1 or come here to win tournaments. That's my challenge, is to beat everybody I play.

Q. Of the new generation of players, which is the player, which are the players, that have most impressed you lately?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, I think that you look at what Lleyton Hewitt has done with his size and from the back of the court, his competitiveness is incredible. I think you look at Federer, who is know talented with his game, so easy. I mean, the guy tonight, if he serves like this, I mean, any week can beat anybody. I always feel surprised and impressed by my opponents. I never underestimate their abilities. And when you're 32, everybody feels like new generation. Muchas gracias.

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