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Écrit par Jerome   
20-09-2006

THE CHAMPIONSHIPS
WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND

June 30, 2003

M. PHILIPPOUSSIS/A. Agassi
6-3, 2-6, 6-7, 6-3, 6-4

An interview with:

ANDRE AGASSI

THE MODERATOR: Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen. Andre Agassi for you.

Q. Was that one of those days where you felt he won the match rather than you losing it? Things you're unhappy about your game?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I felt like we both were doing well to sort of give ourselves the chances, and he ended up being the one to take them in the end. I mean, you know, I had my looks there. So little can decide each set that it's pretty frustrating at times. But, you know, he was definitely the better player today at the right time.

Q. It seemed that the third set tiebreak might be key. Having won it, did you kind of feel it was going your way?

ANDRE AGASSI: I felt up two sets to one. That's how I felt. You know, I've been around a long time. I don't need to be comfortable in the middle of the match, I need to be comfortable at the end of the match. You know, there's still a lot of tennis left. He got off to a good start in the fourth, played a long game to break me to go 2-0. You know, you always feel against a player like him that once you lose your serve, the set's close to being over with. Yeah, I had a chance at 2-4 in the fourth. I had him Love-40. He made five first serves. Not much I could have done there. I think I only got one in play. In the fifth, I had three breakpoints at, what was it, 3-All. One of them, second serve, he hit 120 miles an hour. I actually made good contact. The thing just went right by him. For a second, I didn't know where it bounced, if it hit the line or it didn't. And it didn't, so... Then he played a good game. Couple more breakpoints to get back into it. You know, there was a lot of moments there where either one of us could have sort of taken the match, and he ended up doing it in the end.

Q. As you walked off the court, did you have any thoughts about broader implications of leaving Wimbledon, whether you'd be back?

ANDRE AGASSI: Sure. Why wouldn't I be back? I'm still a tennis player. This is the place to be.

Q. Career plans, family plans, all the stuff you've been talking about the last couple weeks.

ANDRE AGASSI: It's not stuff I've been talking about. It's stuff you've been talking about. I have always said I won't know when it's over with till it's there. My plan is to be back here next year.

Q. You had years where you played up to your potential and did everything you could do, then years where you did other things. Mark was talking about sometimes he feels like he's wasted his potential. When you're in a moment in a tennis match in years like that, do you feel it? Do you have any regrets? Or is it later when you notice that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Are you speaking as I look back over my career or when you lose opportunities such as the chances I had today?

Q. Your career.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I think as you get older, you're more aware of how short-term all of these opportunities are. I think it's easy to take a lot for granted when you're young. That's the age of the tennis players these days. You come out young. I came out young, all the best ones are young and out here competing because they're good enough to be out here. The downside to that is you don't have experience to sometimes realize exactly what a great opportunity it is to be out here playing for championships. You know, the good news is that Mark could acknowledge that now and still have time left. Who's to say how much time? Could be a lot. I was 22 years old, I would have sworn I was in the middle of my career, getting onto the latter stages of it, you know, four years left, what have you. But you never know. So to realize it and then to just make the most of it... He's had some unfortunate injuries. He seems like he's mentally in the right place, and his body's holding up. He has a lot of weapons. There's no reason why he still can't do it.

Q. We know the story of how you came back from 141. What finally clicked in your mind to make all the commitments you made?

ANDRE AGASSI: I pushed it a lot further than Mark did. I mean, you know, I was 141 in the world. So at some stage it just became a personal embarrassment. I had no business being out there competing in any tournament, let alone the biggest ones. It was time to make a choice, to either not do it or do it fully. You know, my life compromised. I had to sacrifice a lot in my life to do that. You know, fortunately I built a life around a lot of, you know, dedication and focus.

Q. How far do you think Mark can go now?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, turn the corner and run the straightaway. It's in the quarters. You know, for me to say that anybody in the last eight wouldn't be able to win it is not respectful of what sports are all about. I mean, you know, you have to deal with them. He has a lot to bring to the table. It certainly bodes well for him.

Q. There was one game deep in the match where you had six looks at second serves, and he came up with such big ones. Did it remind you of the match with Sampras at the US Open final, lights-out stuff, not much you can do?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it didn't remind me. I mean, actually you don't try to recall those sort of things. In hindsight, it's quite the same animal at work. You know, it's somebody who's willing to push the boundaries of what they can get away with out there, and coming up with it. The only sort of question I have to ask myself and answer is, am I making him do something special, or am I letting him get away with something? You know, today I felt like I made him earn it, I made him play the big shot at the crucial time, and he came up with it. So that's just full credit to him.

Q. After the Australian Open you said these victories get sweeter and sweeter as time goes on. By the same rationale, do defeats like this get more and more difficult to accept?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, they get more disappointing. But I think they don't last as long because, you know, you go home to your boy. It's that sort of thing. You go home to your life, and you realize, well, you get another chance tomorrow. You know, the bad news is that it is more disappointing because you sort of realize that it's another year lost at Wimbledon. But the good news in it is that you get to go home to your family and you get to sort of regroup and you get to get out again and keep trying, hopefully make something special happen. If something special happened all the time, it wouldn't be so special. So try to keep it in perspective.

Q. Did you learn your fantastic serve return from hitting against ball machines? It's truly unbelievable.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, thanks. It's a combination of being able to pick the ball up with your eyes and having the fundamentals to shorten everything up enough.

Q. Ball machines part of that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I grew up -- you know, my father used to always set me against the ball machines, firing it as fast as it could possibly go. He'd move it as close to the net as possible, stand me as close to the baseline as possible. Tell me if I don't figure a way to hit it, the ball's going to hit me. I did better if I was hitting the ball.

Q. Roddick made it through the quarters. Do you see him as the player to beat now or not?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. I can't say that. Listen, you're down to eight guys. I mean, while he's playing well and certainly needs to be dealt with, none of these matches you're able to take for granted. That's how I see it, whether I'm playing the match or looking on. You have to get out there and be the better man on the day. A lot can still happen.

Q. Forgetting the result today, you decided this year to stay over and play Queen's. In the past you've gone home after the French, come back the Thursday before. Do you have any regrets, regardless of losing today? Did it work this way?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, there's two sides of the life that you're trying to balance. You're trying to balance, obviously, the professional decisions, but also the family. It wasn't an option to fly back for a week with the little one. There's no regrets as far as that goes. As far as me thinking if it was the best preparation, yeah, it was the best preparation. Gave me the chance to feel good about my game, to feel like I was executing on the right shots, to make somebody play a great match to beat me. You know, that's ultimately what happened.

Q. What's the first thing you're going to do when you get back to Vegas?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. I don't know. Put my clothes through a good washing. I'll start with that. Especially the socks. They still have clay on them.

Q. People like Roddick, Hewitt, Federer, other priorities in your life, do you think you might never win Wimbledon again?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's always a possibility, yeah. Again, you know, it's not sort of easy to win Wimbledon, so... For it to happen again would be quite an amazing thing.

Q. Are you saying you didn't just toss out those socks at the French Open with the clay in them? You kept them so you could take them home and wash them?

ANDRE AGASSI: I wear two pairs of socks when I play. I was wearing the dirty ones underneath (smiling).

Q. Are you ever looking up at the board, miles per hour, when you play a guy like Philippoussis? He was consistently in the high 120s. Sampras doesn't serve as much as that.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, you need to. Again, you have to ask yourself, "What is beating me out here? What is getting the job done?" If he hits a wide serve in the deuce court that I'm a little early on, I smother it in the net cross-court, I want to know did he hit that thing 103 and held me up or is he hitting it 109 and I'm actually seeing it well right now. I should take that as a bit of a positive. You need to know what serves are beating you and what serves aren't getting it done. Just another asset in understanding what's going on out there.

Q. Are you impressed at how fast and consistent he was at that level?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. He stopped impressing me a long time ago (smiling). 131, it takes more than that now (smiling).

Q. Earlier in The Championships you didn't want to speak about the ATP, men's tennis. Does what's going on concern you, talk of this boycott, or are you happy with the direction?

ANDRE AGASSI: What I said was during The Championships it wouldn't be something I discuss out of respect for the greatest tournament in tennis.

 
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