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Écrit par Jerome   
20-09-2006

THE CHAMPIONSHIPS
WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND

June 24, 2003

A. AGASSI/J. Delgado
6-4, 6-0, 5-7, 6-4

An interview with:

ANDRE AGASSI

MODERATOR: Good afternoon everyone. Andre Agassi for you.

Q. Was that roughly the sort of workout you were hoping for in your opening round?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I tell you, just getting through the first one is the highest priority. I did that today. But I came up against a guy that was actually putting up some good resistance out there. I thought Jamie played well, I thought he served well, in the third set especially. Certainly put me to the test in. In the fourth, I got more comfortable.

Q. You never looked worried.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, looks can be deceiving (smiling).

Q. Were you ever worried?

ANDRE AGASSI: I feel like I'm always worried. I always play with a sense of urgency. You know, so little determines a match with grass, let alone a set. You're always on edge until you have the match put away.

Q. The pace of the courts, how did you find it on Court 1 today?

ANDRE AGASSI: I was on Centre Court. Yeah, felt good, similar to what I remember it being last year.

Q. Not slower?

ANDRE AGASSI: Than last year?

Q. Yes.

ANDRE AGASSI: I played two matches last year, so I can say that, my memory, it feels about the same as last year.

Q. Did he surprise you when he rebounded? He was hurting in the second set, got back into the match. Did that surprise you?

ANDRE AGASSI: These days, you never know sort of what guys are feeling out there, and everybody has nicks and sort of things that are needling them out there with their body. Sometimes it allows you to say, "I can't move as well, so I'm going to hit out on my shots and take my chances." And I felt like that's what he did. Sort of rebounding from the 6-Love set was more impressive to me because I felt I was in good control of the match at that point. Then he just stepped it up right from the get-go and really deserved that third set. He could have won it on a couple different occasions.

Q. Are you confident with the matches so far that you will go maybe all the way?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I'm confident I can get to the second round. You know, for me it's always one at a time. Every player's different, every situation is. So you've got to improve as you go along, and that's what I'm hoping to do.

Q. Do you feel good?

ANDRE AGASSI: I felt good today. I mean, I felt like I sort of was doing everything I was asking of myself out there. And when I had to make some adjustments, I felt like I was quick to do so, and that felt comfortable.

Q. You looked so at home, at peace, blowing kisses afterwards, bowing at Centre Court. What goes through your mind when you win a match at Centre Court?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, for me at this stage of my career, it's quite a feeling to be out there. You know, you never really know how many chances you're ever going to get again. I just feel like, as I get older, I have more sort of capacity to embrace those moments. It's just sort of a little thing I do to show my thanks.

Q. What do you think of the decision that players are not supposed to bow to the Royal Box any longer?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I'm sort of torn on it a bit. You know, I mean, I certainly can understand the decision to not want attention brought to you. But with that being said, it was a nice tradition that I enjoyed. So I'm a little disappointed.

Q. Why?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, how often do you get a chance to bow to somebody? Not very often (smiling).

Q. Are you missing Pete Sampras?

ANDRE AGASSI: No (laughter).

Q. Why is that?

ANDRE AGASSI: I've thought about a lot of things here, but not missing him. No, in seriousness, there's sort of something always missing when somebody has done so well at one event for so long. I think he'll be missed here for a long time if he doesn't come back. But time moves on, and I suppose it's inevitable for all of us.

Q. What about missing Lleyton?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, well, he's a long ways away in the draw for me. You know, every match, you can always say it's a cliche, "Take one match at a time," but that's a perfect example of why it's not a cliche. There's nobody out there that understands that any better than Lleyton does.

Q. Is your family here with you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah.

Q. Steffi and the kids?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah.

Q. How do you think Roddick will go up against Rusedski tomorrow?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, that's going to be certainly an interesting match, to say the least. Yeah, I really believe it's 50/50 call to be quite honest. It's not one you can make a prediction on. It's really who's going to be better on the day. I mean, Greg definitely has a game to give Roddick lots of problems, and certainly with the way Roddick's been playing, he has the game to give Greg lots of problems. Whoever executes better, I'm certainly not saying anything that's new news to anybody, but it's going to be an enjoyable match to watch.

Q. You first came here in '87. Have you noticed a difference in the speed of Centre Court?

ANDRE AGASSI: '87, the closest I got to Centre Court was Court 2.

Q. Have you noticed a change?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I think really over the years, whether they've just improved how they take care of them, the courts are absolutely perfect. When a grass court is perfect, it plays sort of truer, it gives a baseliner a chance to play baseline tennis. Balls are heavier, so if you do come to net, you have to make sure you're really hitting a good volley or else the ball sort of sits there, and you actually lose the advantage if you're not hitting your volleys with conviction. It used to be that you could just come in, get your racquet on the ball, hit it anywhere, and the guy on the baseline was going to have the problems. But it's a bit different now. But you can still come forward, and you can still play the typical grass court tennis. But it does allow for the opportunity of a baseliner to make it through.

Q. People are saying the courts are much slower. You think that's a fallacy?

ANDRE AGASSI: I can't say that the court itself is much slower. For me, again, if a court plays perfect, you get better hits at the ball. So guys can have more confidence from the baseline. The courts are in better condition now than they've ever been. But I notice it more in the balls than I do with the court.

Q. I'm from Doha, in the Middle East. You've never played there. Do you see yourself playing there in the near future?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, certainly not through the US Open. I mean, I got my schedule pretty well set for the rest of the year. Yeah, I guess anything's possible. Part of the world I would always enjoy experiencing.

Q. Have you ever been invited by the organizers of the tournaments in the Middle East, Doha or Dubai?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I have actually been asked to play. I haven't taken it up, the opportunity, because of the scheduling of my events, how I go about preparing for where I want to be at my best.

Q. You get to play players around the world at their home events. Having a Brit as an opponent here today on Centre Court, did you sense a bit of difference with the crowd?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, certainly there's a lot of support for Jamie today - understandably so. When you've been doing this for 17 years, you get used to that. You get sort of ready for that. I've been real privileged with the amount of support I've received, especially here, through the years. To see somebody else be cheered on, it's the right thing.

Q. What does it mean to you right now at 33 to be No. 1? How much longer do you see yourself hitting the balls?

ANDRE AGASSI: First of all, to be No. 1 now, to me, is a phenomenal accomplishment at this age. You know, it's over 52 weeks. You don't have to just play well , you have to play well and a lot, and that's not so easy for me anymore. I have to really pick and choose and make sure I'm looking out after my body and my mind. To sort of accomplish it now means a lot to me. And I don't know how much longer, I really don't. I don't think I'll know before I'm there.

Q. You say you take one match at a time. Are you aware of how the draw may or may not open up for you?

ANDRE AGASSI: I actually haven't even looked at it.

Q. You have no idea who is in your half?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, obviously the guys that are playing on opposite days you know are on the other side. Outside who's in the locker room the days of the matches, or the matches on the board, I wouldn't know who I'm playing or what. I sort of take one at a time. It's sort of my commitment to not overlook anybody.

Q. Has it always been that way? Is that something you've learned over the years?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think I've probably gotten more that way. A lot depends on sort of how I'm feeling and where my focus is. Just sometimes it really helps me to deal with one at a time.

Q. There seems to be a degree of militancy among certain of the ATP players at the moment. There have been stories of maybe running charity events against Grand Slams in the future. Do you see that as a real threat or do you think it's been blown up a bit?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you know, listen, I mean, it would be -- there's no question that discussions are going on. The specifics of it, to be quite honest for me, aren't something that I would prefer to sort of talk about in Wimbledon's backyard. I mean, I have too much respect for these championships. I can see the game of tennis benefitting from a lot of changes, to be quite honest. But I sort of come down on it in choosing not to talk about it in Wimbledon's backyard. These championships are incredible, and we're all privileged and honored to be here.

Q. What do you like of this sport? How did those things that you liked change during the years?

ANDRE AGASSI: Sorry?

Q. How do the things that you like of this sport change during the years? At the beginning of your career, the things that you like of this sport are different, now you have a sort of different appreciation for the sport, different things.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, you know, when I was young, I think I just enjoyed the winning, and that was it. Hated everything else: the losing, the traveling, all that. And I think at this stage of my career, I sort of have an appreciation for the experience of it. Win or lose, I think I'm more sort of connected to the battle out there on the court and the challenges inside myself.

Q. Why tennis specifically, being out there, what do you like? Why this sport?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, tennis is a great sport for a lot of reasons. I mean, for me, the best sort of part of it is it's one on one, and it's a sport where what I do affects what you do, and what you do affects what I do. It's also a sport where you just can't run out the clock. You've got to find a way to win the match. It's athletically and physically demanding - some surfaces a lot more than others. It's phenomenally demanding mentally. It asks everything of the body and mind. Those are challenges and discoveries that you get to have when you're out there.

Q. After you finished your career, are you going to stay in tennis or do something else?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. Every time I sort of find myself thinking about after tennis, I feel like I have some time to go work on my game (smiling). For what I'm doing right now, it requires all of me. What happens later, I'll have to wait and find out.

 
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