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Écrit par Jerome   


September 2, 2003

6-7, 6-4, 7-5 (ret)


THE MODERATOR: First question.

Q. Do you think you were able to settle into a rhythm?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, not as much as I certainly would have liked for a couple reasons. Obviously, the conditions play a major factor in a match, sort of establishing itself. Also the way Taylor was playing. He's a guy that can really take you out of your rhythm. He's a difficult guy to play against.

Q. At 4-3, I think it was, in the third, his coach said on TV he thought Taylor should just come off the court. Did you have a sense the injury was as great as it apparently is?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I didn't. Well, I know that he was getting some treatment, you know, you never know what a guy is getting treatment for. Sometimes you're sitting around, your legs get a little stiff. You're trying to warm up, trying to get them to relax a little bit. You know, I've seen a lot of guys get rubbed out there and continue at a high standard. So for it to sort of abruptly come to an end was definitely a surprise to me.

Q. Did you see, though, his serve - which obviously the first set, he served great. He served well in the second set. Third, his speed seemed to go down a little bit?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, yeah, it did. No question about it. Again, you're never quite sure what the reason is for anything, as far as you're not inside a guy's head. I was returning his second pretty well at that stage. I didn't know if he was trying to take a little bit off of it or what have you. It started to become apparent he was struggling with his leg. I was just surprised that he was unable to continue.

Q. What makes him so difficult to play against?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, the whole match, really. First of all, the serve speaks for itself, it's a big serve. He has real good hands up at net, covers the net really well. But he was getting, you know, great length on his returns today. If I missed a first serve, he was sort of charging forward. Not just coming forward on a bluff, he was coming forward on a real quality shot that, you know, he didn't have to move a step to cover the passing shot, because I was in such trouble off his approach shot. You know, it was just he was playing close to the lines. He was playing really well. It was just hard to deal with.

Q. Is he playing any better than when you played him before?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, no question about it.

Q. What kind of things did you do to stay loose during the long rain delays or short rain delays, too?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, you just sit around and tell stories and, you know...

Q. You don't stretch or...?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you know, you warm up when you sort of get the idea that you're within 30 minutes of going out there. But the rest of the time you try not to -- you try not to fatigue yourself, you know, thinking about the match too much because there's nothing you can do about it and you got a long day. You're gonna have to concentrate long enough when you're out there.

Q. You've been talking about this for years, but you hit a couple critical volleys out there tonight. Are you doing that more with Darren now, or are you comfortable, is it just a change in tactic for you?

ANDRE AGASSI: As of right now, I only really want to be coming to net on my terms, which means if I'm just coming in to really finish something off. You know, I think there will come a stage of my career where sort of it's harder for me to get things done from the back of the court and I need to start implementing that more just because it becomes about winning points as opposed to breaking guys down. But, you know, as of right now, I stick to my guns, I stick to my strengths. Certainly try to be confident when I come in. But if I'm coming in, having to play two volleys, I'm doing something pretty drastically wrong.

Q. You seem to deal with these conditions well, your stamina, strength. Rain delays don't seem to faze you. Can you talk about that?

ANDRE AGASSI: I'd be a good poker player then 'cause, you know, these conditions affect everybody. It's just a question of trying to get the most out of yourself. A lot of years of experience, but it's still difficult to do.

Q. French Open, after you lost to Coria, you expressed the desire to play him on a hard court. Are you hoping he beats Bjorkman so you get that opportunity?

ANDRE AGASSI: Actually, my quote was to play him at Wimbledon.

Q. He's up a set and a break. Just talk about playing him on a hard court, because it's obviously not grass but it's definitely different than clay.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, well, yeah. I'd rather play him here than in Paris, that's for sure. He played a great match that day against me in Paris. You know, not to say that he's not effective on the hard courts. He's been doing a lot better on the other surfaces now, too. He's a great mover, a great ball striker. I'll have to have a lot of conviction in my game. You know, should be a good match.

Q. The first rain delay in particular, did that unnerve you more? You were coming off a break, seemed to find momentum after the first one?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's always hard to sort of get the engines going again. When there's sort of so much riding on that first opening game, sometimes you think more about closing out the set than you do about playing quality tennis. You know, when you start a match, you just let your game happen, you know. When you go out there and it's 5-4 and you know if you can get up a set lead, four points -- you know, I just played a bit of a tentative game, but he came up with a few real good shots. So it was a bit of both. You know, but he earned that first set. There was a lot of tennis left, but I think the second rain delay was more frustrating being down 7-6.

Q. What are your thoughts on the compressed schedule the next few days, given the rain-outs?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, they have the option of going Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, so I don't know what the conclusion's gonna be on the scheduling. But, you know, it's a tough situation for everybody. It's tough for the players, tough for the fans, tough for the tournament to sort of make all the calls and sort of the, you know, audibles at the line. It's hard to make those calls. They have a lot of experience doing it. So there's a lot of variables to consider. I wish it was only my match they were worried about, but it's unfortunately the rest of the tournament.

Q. How would you like to see it handled based on what you've experienced in the last couple days?

ANDRE AGASSI: (Smiling). Well, listen, I have full confidence in Jim Curley and Brian Earley and all the folks that are responsible for trying to handle a difficult situation. So you wouldn't want me making those decisions.

Q. How tough would it be for you to play if you had to play three matches in three days, best-of-five?

ANDRE AGASSI: It would be really tough. Be tough on everybody. But that's sort of what makes tennis so special, is regardless of what the circumstances are, two guys usually have to deal with it, have to find a way.

Q. I don't know if you were asked this before, I got in a few minutes late, but as a competitor, can you talk about are you disappointed that you don't get to complete a match all the way to the end, especially against a guy who's playing well? Just what do you lose by not finishing a match?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think the standard of tennis is always compromised when there's interruptions. I think there's -- tennis, there's so much flow to it, there's so much sort of rhythm and match settling down. To stop and start, you know, it makes it uncomfortable for both guys, which means that it's not usually the best tennis. But tonight was pretty high standard with all things considered. I thought Taylor was doing a lot of things really well. I was having to respond by doing the same. You know, had we just stayed out there the whole match, I think it just gives it a better feel all around.

Q. This was your 200th career victory in a Grand Slam. Is there any significance to it, do you wish it had not come on a retirement?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you never wish for retirement. I mean, part of the challenge of what we're trying to do out there is find a way to win, you know. And, you know, Taylor's a great competitor and a great guy. To see him get injured in a big match is just outright disappointing. But it's disappointing for everybody. You know, both players don't like it, the fans don't like it. It doesn't matter if my 200th or my first match, it's not how you want to see it end.

Q. Do you have any thoughts about that significant milestone, if it is one to you?

ANDRE AGASSI: I really haven't thought about that, no. I've been out here a long time and you can look at a lot of stats to sort of reflect that.

Q. Taylor said on the TV interview that if it were up to him, maybe he would have kept playing. But that's been a problem in his career; that he's pushed himself too much. As disappointing as it was, it was probably a smart decision. Can you talk about for him, what he was going through having to make that decision. Have you been in that decision?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's not an easy decision to make. Certainly it's happened to me before where I've fallen down and my back went into spasms on a couple of occasions. At that point I was only getting worse. A person -- you have to know your own body and you have to be able to make those calls. Nobody's gonna know what Taylor is feeling better than him. We don't have the luxury of saying, you know, "Well, this is the World Series, just find a way to get through it and the season's over with." It's not that way. He'll be playing two weeks from now, I'm sure, regardless if he gets through the match or not. So you always got to sort of look out for your overall career. You don't have the luxury of the off-season. You don't have the luxury of just pushing yourself through certain obstacles. You have to listen to your body so that when it comes time, your body listens to you when you ask it to do something.

Q. When you have adverse conditions like today, is there a time when to start a match beyond a certain time is compromising the integrity of tennis or the match?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, like I said before, I think that's one of the things that makes tennis so unique, is that it doesn't matter what variables you throw on any given match, two guys have to find a way to deal with it. At the end of the day you're seeing sort of the human spirit try to prevail. While it's not comfortable for anybody, while it's not enjoyable for anybody, sometimes it can lead to some real special moments.

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