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Écrit par Jerome   


June 26, 2003

A. AGASSI/L. Burgsmuller
6-3, 7-6, 6-3

An interview with:


MODERATOR: Good evening. Andre Agassi for you.

Q. Looked just the right kind of match for you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it was a good match. You know, it's always sort of nice to play those tight sets and play the big points well. Today, I did that. I lost my serve early in the second, then we both held on till the 4-3 game. To break back and sort of get back into that set was a good thing because, you know, one break can make a set slip away.

Q. It was a terrific contest to watch. Can you actually enjoy it while you're out in that? Do you enjoy a contest?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know if you sort of enjoy the way a spectator would enjoy it. Enjoy the challenges of it, sort of trying to figure out what the next thing to do is. But other than that, you know, you can't really get too taken by it. You lose concentration.

Q. Are you happy with your form at this stage?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. You know, I'm doing what I need to do. I think as the tournament goes on, everybody needs to pick it up. I certainly can speak for myself and say that I need it to get better. But that's true in any situation. You want to make sure your game is at its best for when you need it the most. You never know when that match happens.

Q. Now you're playing Younes El Aynaoui. This year he gave you a hard time at your favorite tournament. Any comments from him?

ANDRE AGASSI: He gives me a hard time every time. He's a talented player. The guy's, you know, a great player to watch and tough player to play against. You know, I look forward to it. It's going to be a good opportunity to sort of feel his game on the grass, you know, see how it goes there. But we've always had good matches and entertaining ones.

Q. He's never beaten you, has he? I think you've beaten him four out of four.


Q. Never beyond the third round at Wimbledon. Does that surprise you?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I don't know. Until you really play someone on the surface, you can't speak to how their game translates. Grass is a particular surface that requires certain areas of your game need to be comfortable out there. You never know how weapons sort of apply or don't apply.

Q. Did you ever have the problem that Greg had yesterday where somebody in the stands yells a call and you didn't know who called it and play stops?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I've had that certainly happen a few times where somebody yells. Most of the time you can -- it's happened before where one of us knew that it was coming from somebody else other than a linesman. But I've never had it happen where actually both players thought the call was made. It's usually only one person that sort of hears it and reacts to it. But I've had that happen many times.

Q. Were you at all surprised with the reaction of Greg? Did the players themselves talk about it? Obviously the papers made a great deal about it today.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, yeah. But how much more is there really to say besides what the papers said and what Greg had to say? I think both sides of it have been addressed pretty thoroughly from both standpoints. I think they were critical on his behavior, but I think he was very clear on it, as well, which is certainly great to see.

Q. The other day Boris said there have been a number of years where you either were injured or you played poorly, so you only played 30 or 40 matches. Now instead of being 33 in tennis years, you're 29 or 30.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, who's to say really how my career would have progressed one way or the other had I sort of put myself through the mill every year, year after year. I definitely had a few years where I wasn't playing a tremendous amount of matches. Ultimately, that's less wear and tear on your body, you know, but I still, when I'm off the court, feel old. When I'm on the court, I feel a little better, which is good (smiling).

Q. So you're 33 in tennis years then?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I've never been 33 before, and I've never sort of had a long career like this before. So every year's a new one for me that I'm trying to figure out. I certainly couldn't speculate on if my career was sort of different in the early years, how it would affect me now. I wouldn't know.

Q. He also said you're a real man's man, but it must bug the heck out of you to sit across at the breakfast table and see a woman who was more successful in terms of Slams.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, yeah, I mean, if Boris joined us for breakfast, she'd be more successful than both of us. You could add both of our accomplishments together and we wouldn't be close.

Q. Given where you stand in the game, back at the top, can you put a proportion on your mental state and your physical fitness, which is the more contributory to where you now are?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I do think they work together so importantly. But at this stage of my career, it has to be the body. The body has to be there. You know, there's only so far you can will yourself if you're not feeling up to standard physically. So I have to put more emphasis on the body because the mind is something you can control. I mean, I can wake up on the wrong side of the bed with the best of them, but I'm not resigned to that by the day's end. I sort of try -- I feel like I have a say there.

Q. The physical thing is more absolute?

ANDRE AGASSI: The physical thing, there's nothing you can do about it. If your body doesn't respond, if you're not moving, if something hurts, if something is bothering you, it's a big handicap.

Q. Has the fitness surprised you, the extent to which you've been able to improve it?

ANDRE AGASSI: I suppose if I look at the general sort of spectrum of other players' careers, how they've evolved in their 20s, into their 30s. I suppose in reflecting it's surprising to me. But I've always believed that if an athlete does things right, they can get better as they get older. And then there does come a point. Where that point is I think does vary with everybody. I think we have some great athletes out in the world, you know, that are showing us you can still be at your best even late in your 30s. Tennis presents a different challenge because it's a year-round sport. You don't have that time to recover, train, prepare, go lay it out there, go do it again. It's a constant negotiation, juggling act, that makes it pretty difficult to gauge a consistent sort of growth in your physical fitness.

Q. Do you attribute your longevity to Darren?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, he certainly came along and, in my opinion, helped me to get better, helped me to understand my game in a different way, in an important way, and understand other players' games the same. He's helped me do what it is I do. But me being in position to do that has been a long time of commitment.

Q. Through two rounds, American men have succeeded a lot more this year at Wimbledon than last year. Can you touch on last year's failures and this year's successes?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I mean, starting on 3:00 on Wednesday of last year, I wasn't aware of anything. I was long gone, and it was quite painful to sort of follow every match as closely. Certainly wasn't comfortable to think about Wimbledon. So I didn't follow it as closely as I might have had I still been in.

Q. This year's a lot more productive. I think there's five or six men still in the draw. Is there anything to that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, we have some great young players coming up, I mean, between James and Andy, Mardy Fish, who is playing really well right now, sort of showing that his game is well-suited for the grass. Then you look at -- surprising to not have Taylor late in this tournament because I really expected him to do well here. We have some guys that really play well on this surface. Americans grow up on the hard court, so they love to hit the ball and push forward and make things happen. And this is a great surface to do that on.

Q. Many years ago when you were a young man, you were disenchanted with Wimbledon and/or grass. How do you feel about it these days?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think it speaks for itself. I've sort of addressed that many different ways. But to me it's the greatest arena in our sport. You can't really get around that, tradition, the years, the history, the uniqueness of it all. This is where it all -- this is what the game is sort of built around.

Q. Anyone who knows Brad knows he's quite a character. Andy is going through the initiation of having him as his coach. Can you remember the early days of having Brad in your life, what that was like?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, Brad came in and taught me how to play the game. Taught me to start thinking for myself out there. He just always had a lot of information to give. I quickly realized my ability to process it was going to be more important than anything for the teamwork to work because his insights were going to come whether you're ready to hear it or not. So that's sort of the good part of it. He's elevated my life in many ways, outside of the tennis court even. He's introduced me to a lot of things that I still hold onto.

Q. Do you think he's probably playing a role in Andy's good results recently?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think it's always a step in the right direction when somebody feels like their situation is not what they want it to be, then they proactively do something to change that. Regardless of what input or positive sort of coaching that's going on, I think Andy has shown that he's committed to learning and to pushing himself forward. So to take his steps has been probably been the most important part. But I think he made a great decision in Brad. And I think Brad will really help his game come around in many ways. I mean, you still got to get out there and get it done, and that you've certainly got to give credit to Andy for how he's gone about his business in the last week and a half.

Q. You're renowned as the best returner of serve in the game. Is that down more to instinct or tactics?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think it's a function of fundamentals. I mean, it's two things: you have to be able to sort of pick up the ball with your eyes, then you have to be able to have the game and fundamentals to shorten your swings and still effectively hit the ball clean. I mean, that's -- I think they work together. And for me, I always feel like if I can get my racquet on the ball, I can return it. There's a lot of balls I don't get my racquet on, and those cause me problems.

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