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Écrit par Jerome   


January 25, 2004

A. AGASSI/P. Srichaphan
7-6, 6-3, 6-4


THE MODERATOR: First question for Andre, please.

Q. A little adventure there in the first set - five set points?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I had to fight off a few there. The set was imbalanced the whole way. I mean, I felt like I could have blown the first set open a lot earlier, having some chances. And then when I didn't put that away, he hung in there tough, and I had to come up with some pretty good tennis late in the set to pull it out.

Q. Were you particularly pleased with your serve? Seemed to be hitting the spots.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I think I did everything pretty well today. Today was really important for me not to have any part of my game sort of give him a look at his shots. I had to be executing everything well. If I left any serves hanging, he takes big cuts at them. If I left any groundstrokes hanging, he takes advantage out of it. Against Paradorn, I'm much better if I'm sort of doing everything well and nothing spectacular. That's sort of the way you need to go about it against him because he takes advantage out of any opportunity. Over the course of three out of five, you just can't give him a lot of looks.

Q. Is there ever, in that first set when you lost to him the last time - you've been around the track quite a few times - but a little bit of doubt that maybe he has your number? Is there something about his game? Did you ever have any anxiety like that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, if there's sort of merit to it, absolutely. You try to assess why you lose the matches you do, how you feel about what you did out there. You know, I didn't leave the court in Wimbledon feeling like I played my best tennis, by any means. With that being said, he had a lot to do with that. But I certainly knew that I could play better. So you try not to get ahead of yourself on somebody's game until you can bring your best stuff, and then see what they can do.

Q. What sorts of thoughts go through your head, what do you tell yourself when you're facing break points?

ANDRE AGASSI: "Watch the ball, move your feet." That's the first thing you learn; that's the last thing you learn.

Q. Have you played your best tennis and lost a match?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, an athlete is always searching for that perfect game. And if you lose, it's not perfect, so... That's a hard one to answer. I feel like I've lost matches where there was nothing I could do.

Q. Like Pete at Wimbledon?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, that's a good one. Thanks for reminding me (smiling). I'm sure you have a list of them. No, but -- because tennis so much sort of depends on how you play the big points, not to say the match would be different. But I remember having Love-40 early in the first set. You don't convert, there's your opportunity for the first set. Maybe momentum would have changed. Maybe I would have picked up my game. Maybe his game never would have hit that level it hit. So sort of a lot of things can change from point to point. You try to assess it on how you play the most important points. I've had a lot of matches where I've had absolutely no regrets. Just wasn't good enough.

Q. You had a little chat with Paradorn at the net. What were you talking about?

ANDRE AGASSI: I was just inquiring if he was all right, because one rally we had, he sort of -- I heard him moan. I was worried he pulled something. It looked like he almost went down. So I was just asking him if he was all right, if he pulled anything. That's all.

Q. There's no question that these courts, the traction with your feet is very firm. Do you have to use different shoes down here than you use on other hard courts, or do you use the same ones?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I use the same one because I find that you can have too much traction certainly on your shoe. But I don't have the kind of shoe that has that problem. But it would be a concern if you use the sole of a shoe that has sharp edges to it that grips the court. But they wear out pretty quick, too, out there. You're never really using a fresh pair. It takes half a set before the edge comes off of them anyhow.

Q. Can you remember an Aussie Open that has been so cool the first week?


Q. And how does that sort of play out, do you think, as the tournament goes on?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, the elements are always something you come down here prepared for. Sort of the heat has become traditionally anticipated coming down here. You know, for me, I always enjoy playing in the heat, so I'm always hoping for it to be hot. You just want to make sure that it's not terribly hot if you happen to have a grinding match. There's always that bit of luck that falls into somebody's tournament that helps them get through it. And you never know when the weather's going to be your friend or sort of come as a curse.

Q. How much of a difference has Darren made to your game? Do you view a coach as important? Obviously, Roger doesn't have one.

ANDRE AGASSI: Absolutely. Darren has made an incredible difference to my game. I mean, you know, he's coached the youngest No. 1 player in the world, and he's coached the oldest No. 1 player in the world. Those stats are hard to argue with. He constantly helps me improve by always being aware of the subtleties that make my game tick. They're not the big things so much anymore. A lot of little things that a coach has to know you well and give you that objective eye as to, you know, what your shots are doing and what you're not doing. He's made a big difference. And I think a great coach is important. Again, I say "great coach," because a coach can be a liability, as well. A coach has a big influence on a player one way or the other. And if they're not having an influence at all, then they're not coaching.

Q. You wouldn't go without a coach?

ANDRE AGASSI: I would go without a coach before I'd go with a bad coach, or with a coach that had the potential of, you know -- I think a great coach is somebody that commits to learning as much as teaching, and that's very key with this sport because there's so many subtleties going on there, and it's one-on-one. There's no time-outs to gather your thoughts, to regroup your game plan. You have to be ready and prepared and have your homework in. That requires a lot of detail.

Q. Usually even if you make a few mistakes, your body language says nothing. You don't know what's going on with you. You look cool. Today during the first set, it looked like you were a bit nervous.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I'm not sure how I look. I can only tell you that when I'm out there, I'm focused on a standard of play that I'm trying to achieve. Today I made a few more errors off my backhand side than I would have wanted to in a couple crucial situations, which I don't normally do. But you could call that nerves. You could call that respect for the fact that I have to hit a pretty good shot against Paradorn or else he's going to do a lot with it. You know, there's a lot going on out there. And ultimately my game came around nicely.

Q. Except for two years ago when you didn't play here, in a Grand Slam event, you're playing seven matches on that court. Can you compare that court to other center courts in Grand Slams, what you like or don't like about it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, starting with the surface, you know, it's a great surface for my style of play. You can play with a lot of spin here, you can hit the ball through the court the times that there's a chance to do that. You know, that brings out options in my game. That's sort of what my game is built around, hitting different shots to accomplish different goals.

Q. What about atmosphere, compared to Wimbledon, the French Open, general atmosphere of the court?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's a great atmosphere. I mean, the sports fans down here, they love their sports and they know their sports. It's just great to play in front of such an educated audience because you get the feeling like they're really aware of the crucial parts of the match. And, you know, when you go out there, you feel, even if you're not ready, you can't help but get carried away with the environment stepping out on the courts. It gets you really motivated and pumped.

Q. How about the structure compared to Wimbledon, the architecture of it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I haven't seen it from any other perspective really except, you know, walking through the tunnel there. It looks like there's not a bad seat in the house. When I'm here practicing, you can roam around about anyplace in that stadium and have a great view. It's not sort of so far away that you lose perspective of the point. But yet, you know, it can hold a lot of people. I think they've accomplished a lot of great things with it.

Q. Talk about both Grosjean and Ginepri, anything about their games?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I played Robby a couple times; Grosjean many times. Both guys rely heavily on their movement. Both guys have good firepower from the baseline. They look for that, you know, one ball that they can really do a lot with. You know, in both cases I'm going to have to be executing control over the match. I mean, I can't let them dictate with their speed or their shots. I'm going to have to be stepping up my game from here.

Q. Do you feel your return of serve gives you a little extra boost of confidence, especially during a tiebreak?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I like my return. I do. I feel good returning. If somebody misses a first serve, I feel confident. That always helps. But, you know, there's so many parts to the game out there. You just want to feel ultimately that you're not giving somebody much daylight at any part of the game from start to finish. And when I get to my return, I feel like that's one area that I put pressure on my opponents and make them feel like they have to do something special.

Q. Obviously fitness is going to play a big role. Apart from yourself, who do you reckon is the fittest players around?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I've seen some incredible stuff. I mean, look at what we saw yesterday with Canas and Henman playing for five hours, 6-7, 5-7, 7-6, 7-5, 9-7. Five hours of running for every ball, not giving up on any ball. That was a remarkable performance. You look at something like that. But, you know, there's also a big difference between being fit and being prepared. You know, I'd rather be not fit and prepared than I would in great shape and going out on the court, you know, without the fluids, dehydrated. I mean, you could be in great shape, but if you don't take care of yourself, you know, it's going to show. You got to be at your best in all areas.

Q. Is it getting harder for you to prepare for tournaments like this? I mean, obviously you're known as one of the fittest players. As you advance in your 30s now, how much tougher is it, the preparation for you?

ANDRE AGASSI: It gets harder. Every year gets harder, on the court, off the court. Training has never been something I've backed off on. You know, I have no problem giving up a few hours of my day to feel better. I have a lot of belief in my training program. I always leave every workout wanting to come back, which tells me, you know, me and Gil are doing something right in there. So when you have a lot of belief and a lot of trust in what you're doing, you have a lot of motivations and reasons to do it as you do. Every time I put in the work, in my training, I feel like what I do for a living gets easier. So I don't struggle with the motivation, but you struggle with getting older and having to make different decisions. So it gets harder.

Q. How close do you feel that you're to the top of your game right now?

ANDRE AGASSI: Close enough. I mean, I feel like I've experienced every part of my game throughout this first week, and I've liked the levels I've hit, and I'm in position to go further, to take it higher. But, again, you've got to come out and execute every day. So I think when it's asked of me, I'm going to give it a good go.

Q. Fourth set point, you played serve and volley the only time. Was that just you felt that was the right time?

ANDRE AGASSI: I did on set point?

Q. Fourth set point, 12th game, first set.

ANDRE AGASSI: I was down set point or up set point?

Q. In the first set.

ANDRE AGASSI: I served and volleyed down set point?

Q. Yes.

ANDRE AGASSI: That's a shocker (smiling). I should just apologize for that. You know, my guess is that I hit a good serve.

Q. To his backhand.

ANDRE AGASSI: And it floated. I took advantage out of the fact that he was stretched. It wasn't planned, I guarantee it (smiling).

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