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Écrit par Jerome   


January 27, 2004

A. AGASSI/S. Grosjean
6-2, 2-0 (ret.)


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Did you realize that Sebastien was injured?

ANDRE AGASSI: Not really, no. You know, I started noticing there late in the first set just him pulling triggers a little bit sooner on the shots, going for more shots, which once he was doing that, I was just thinking strategically that he was playing low percentage. So I didn't know he was struggling.

Q. What did he say to you when he came up there at the end?

ANDRE AGASSI: That he had pulled his groin in the fourth game or 4-0 game of the first set, and that it wasn't getting better; it was getting worse.

Q. Does it matter to you that you had such a short match? Would you have preferred going through a three-set match?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I would have preferred to finish the match, no question. You know, not for any reasons of concern. It's not that I feel like now I'm sort of not prepared. But you just don't want any match to end that way. I felt like at different stages of the match have sort of different personalties to them. You try to rise to the occasion for what's required. Starting a match is a heck of a lot different than finishing one. It's always nice to play a complete match.

Q. You look like you were really mixing it up out there. Did you feel like sometimes you're out there playing a bit of a chess game?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think one shot leads to the next with my game. I try to make sure that each shot has a purpose, and depending on who I'm playing, what it is I'm trying to accomplish. So I suppose in some ways you're thinking one or two steps ahead.

Q. Is it hard to assess your own form considering what's happened out there? You look like you're really on. Does it sort of confuse you a bit?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't find myself concerned about anything. Up to that point in the match, I was feeling really good. So that's really all you can assess. You can't read into it more than that. Again, it's disappointing and unfortunate that a match would ever have to end that way for the sake and the health of the player, also for the spectators. I mean, it's not a good situation. But you don't read more into it than that. I was playing well, and the match finished.

Q. I've never seen or heard you were hurt. What's the secret of your fitness?

ANDRE AGASSI: You never what?

Q. I've never heard you been hurt or had any problems?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, no, I've had plenty. I've had plenty. I've had plenty (laughter).

Q. Everybody says, "Agassi will win this tournament."

ANDRE AGASSI: I've had wrist surgery before. Last year I missed a few tournaments because of my shoulder. My hips. I have gone through different times where they hurt. My back. I mean, everybody has ailments out here. Everybody's playing with a little something. It's just the nature of the beast. You know, for me, it's about making sure I listen to my body so that when something does hurt, I don't ignore it until it becomes a real problem; I tend to take care of it. I have the luxury these days to choose my tournaments carefully. Again, I believe that if you listen to your body, your body will listen to you when you ask it to do something. But if you don't listen to your body, you're going to tell your body to run to a shot and it's gonna say, "Sorry, can't do that."

Q. It seems like match in, match out, you're able to produce a pretty high level. Some players, Pete, for example, he could produce a high level, but then there's some matches where he looks pretty off. What do you attribute that to, day in, day out, at a pretty high level?

ANDRE AGASSI: The style of game I have to play. What I have to do to win was a whole different animal than what Pete had to do to win. Pete could play a match 7-5, 7-6, 7-5 and have it be the most uneventful match he's ever played. It could be something that he never was concerned for one second throughout the whole match. And if I'm playing three close sets, I'm asking myself, "Why didn't the last sets get better," because my game is sort of designed to pick apart what it is I'm trying to do out there and to elevate on a consistent level. I tend to squeeze more than just hold serve and play one, two good points to win the set. I try to put together a set that's gonna allow me to win the second, the third, so on and so on. So I think it is a style of play that has conditioned my mind to go out there and concentrate. It's really a function of concentration.

Q. Is it almost like you expect, as the match goes along, because of your style, your rhythm is going to get better and better so by the end of the match you're...?

ANDRE AGASSI: That's definitely the game plan. I mean, obviously, there's matches that don't go according to game plan either, based on my own execution or based on what my opponent is doing to me. Sometimes those guys are just too good. But that's ultimately my goal, is to make somebody play too good. And if they can do that, then I have no problem learning from it because I feel like it makes me better. But, yeah, I need to play with a sense of purpose and plan.

Q. Roddick or Safin in the next round. Do you remember the last time you played Marat Safin and what the result was?

ANDRE AGASSI: Last time I played Marat was in Lisbon where we had the World Championships, and I beat him, I think it was 3 and 3. He was going for No. 1 that tournament. So, yes (smiling).

Q. The weapons, particular weapons that might weapon you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yes (laughter). Big serve. That worries me. 6'5" always tends to worry me a little bit. Monster forehand is a bit concerning, as well as a backhand that he can crush both directions, and the fact that he moves well is a bit unsettling (laughter).

Q. What about Roddick?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, well, that's going to be a great match tonight. If both guys are ready physically and mentally, it should be a battle. The biggest weapon Roddick has, as we all know, is his serve. That's something that I think - Safin is one of the handful of players that can -- not neutralize, not so far as to neutralize, but to be able to make Roddick play a lot on that serve, you know. Again, if Andy's missing a few first serves, and getting away with seconds, then I think guys -- he tends to pick up a lot of momentum. But Safin is a good returner of the ball who's 6'5", so I think he's going to have his opportunities. And it's going to be who plays better on the big points, which is going to be nice to watch.

Q. You don't look or play like the oldest man in the tournament. Short match today, cooler conditions this year, does that fuel the belief you can win again here or is it just match to match?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's always match for match. I come here with the belief I can win. That's, like I said, my motivation, is the fact that "If I play my best tennis, can I still win?" I need to be able to answer that question "yes." Again, you have to execute and you have to play your best when it's asked of you. If you lose, you've got to be objective as to why and could you have done things differently? Could it have gone differently? Today was the first warm day we've had in a while, I mean, going back to the start of the tournament maybe. I think it sort of snuck up on us. It was, all of a sudden, you were well-reminded that you're in the middle of summer down here. But that's something I've prepared for and so have many of the other guys, something you come to expect, so when the cooler conditions come, it's more of an adjustment than it is when you get the hot weather.

Q. Lleyton said last night the court was a bit slower than last year. What are your thoughts?

ANDRE AGASSI: Actually, I thought it was a little quicker than last year. That's what I thought.

Q. You're pretty brave last year with the mixed doubles issue. You reentered the fray today. Is there more hope for this one to happen?

ANDRE AGASSI: Listen, you can count on something: I'm not going to say anything that's going to get any sideways looks when I walk through the front door (laughter).

Q. Haven't said anything?

ANDRE AGASSI: I promise you, Steffi can say more without saying anything (laughter). It's just a great ability to have.

Q. She just arrive or has she been here?

ANDRE AGASSI: She's been here, yeah.

Q. Can you imitate that look?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. If I could imitate that look, I'd have it on the tennis court. That's where I'd have it.

Q. Can I ask you how you prepare yourself when you have a big match to play in the afternoon or evening, how do you spend your day before the match?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's not easy to play in the evening, for the sake of the whole day, you have to -- you're preparing by resting, you're preparing by not doing anything, by, you know -- and you have to, you have to not do anything. You have to keep your mind fresh, keep your mind distracted but not expending energy. You know, it's a long day waiting to play, especially with two kids.

Q. A lot of players speak about the game plan, a lot of players look for comfort during the match by watching all the time up to their coach. You never do that. Can you speak a little bit about the main tasks that the coach has to have for you now, and how that has maybe changed over the last couple of years?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, first of all, coaching is illegal, so I think looking up only tempts the situation that, you know, it wouldn't be fair play. For me, the homework's already done. The work's already done. Until the sport changes, until we have time-outs or coaching or... You got to go out there with the belief that, "I'm prepared to handle this situation and make the necessary adjustments." Coaching is a huge part of the sport, especially with the way I play the game. I need to have an objective eye. I need to have somebody that understands the subtleties that make my game tick to make sure I'm pushing all the buttons I need to push so that my game can elevate when it's necessary. When I'm out there on the court, the preparation is done, and now it's about the work. After the match, it's about you and the coach again.

Q. Do you support a call for time-outs or coaching?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. I don't know. You know, I've come down on both sides of that issue a few times. I've come down on that issue a few times. I've come down on both sides of those issues a few times. On one hand, there's a certain tradition in the game that I believe needs to be sort of nurtured and protected, which is it's the only sport in the world where you got two guys going out there and having to deal with the environment, the elements, the circumstances just themselves. It's a lot to respect about that. On the other hand, I do wonder if coaching would help the standard of play and where you could actually have game plans changing throughout the course of a match that might give more of an interest to the spectator if they were a part of that interaction somehow. So, you know, I don't know if it would be a good thing or not.

Q. Assuming you play Roddick in the semis, do you feel any different playing an American, playing for the No. 1 spot in your country, or playing against somebody else?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I don't. To me, it's always about the Xs and Os on the court, it's always about what a player brings to the table, what a player's weaknesses are. There's a lot of guys out here that inspire me to improve, and every time I step on the court, I step on the court with the intention of learning something else. It would be no different.

Q. Do you have any good-natured kidding with Brad now that he's coaching a rival?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, we get along great. I mean, Brad and I have been close friends for a long time, you know, and still are and have a lot of support for each other. You know, it's a different sort of thing. I mean, he's coaching a whole different animal now, you know. You know, the things that make Andy's game go are pretty different than the things that make my game go. Like any good coach, you have to make those adjustments. And he seems to be doing a great job with Andy. I'm happy for him as far as that goes. I think it's great for Andy and it's great for American tennis. It's been a good thing. Listen, we all won. We all won. I got who I consider to be the greatest coach now, and Brad has the guy that's ranked No. 1 in the world, and we might play in the semis.

Q. If he does win tonight, would you expect any trash-talking leading up to the match tomorrow (laughter)?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. That will come a week later or something. No, no, no. There's a great respect we have for the other one's profession. We still try to maintain the integrity of the sportsmanship side of things. So, you know, you shake hands when it's done and it all stays on the court.

Q. When you come to Melbourne, does your confidence immediately rise because of the success you've already had here?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think sort of the other way around. I mean, I've had success because I play well here. It's not that I play well because I necessarily had the success. That's the reason why, because it's a great place for me to play and compete. I kind of try to come down here ready and prepared, which always gives my confidence a boost when I come down here knowing I'm ready to go as opposed to, you know, dealing with some sort of body ache or feeling not rested or not prepared or. You know, there's a lot of times through the year -- it's a long year. That's why it's so hard to finish No. 1. It's not just about playing great tennis or how you play when you do play great. Finishing No. 1 is about a lot of environments, a lot of surfaces, a lot of countries, a lot of weeks. It's not easy. For me to come down here feeling rested and prepared, that's the part that gives me the confidence.

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