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Écrit par Jerome   
20-09-2006

PACIFIC LIFE OPEN
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA

March 16, 2004

A. AGASSI/M. Youzhny
7-5, 6-2

ANDRE AGASSI

THE MODERATOR: Three of the top five seeds are now into the quarterfinals here. Andre advances into the quarterfinals for the eighth time. He's 3-1 lifetime against Coria. Questions for Andre.

Q. It looked like you were pumping your fist a little more after the match. Were you just a little more relieved?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, at that stage I was actually feeling pretty good. The first set was a bit dodgey, to say the least. It could have gone either way there for sure, down 4-2, 40-Love. Towards the end of the second, I started hitting a nice little rhythm, and just was excited.

Q. How were you feeling at that point, being down 4-2, Love-40?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, a bit concerned, I guess. At that stage, I was just trying to get myself to relax and hit the shots I know I'm capable of and make a guy play even better from there.

Q. Coria talked again today about how you're his hero, but he still wants to beat you.

ANDRE AGASSI: He's my hero. I want to beat him (smiling).

Q. He's a good player, isn't he?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, no question about it. A lot of strengths to his game. Tough competitor. Moves incredibly well. Good weapons off both sides. I'll have to play a good match start to finish.

Q. Where would you rank him in terms of the fastest players on the tour?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's hard to tell the difference between sort of lightening fast and super lightening fast, I guess. I can't make the distinction between him and a few other guys. But he's arguably the best.

Q. Are you comfortable with like a Coria or this player or that player that thinks of you as their hero? Does it make you self-conscious? What goes through your mind?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I don't know. I don't think about it too much. I mean, you know, we all grow up sort of looking at players' games and doing our best to emulate the parts of people's games that stand out for themselves. I always did that. I take that as a big compliment when a peer certainly says that. But I've seen that affect guys in a nervous sense, and I've seen guys play the best tennis of their life because they have that kind of respect. I mean, I take it as a compliment, and then get back to the basics of what we got to do when we're out there.

Q. Are you satisfied with where your game is at this stage in the tournament or do you feel you have to move it up another couple of notches?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I always feel like I got to step it up as I approach the end of the tournament. You got guys that are winning, as well, that you're playing against. The standard only improves every week. Certainly to beat the best in the world, you have to play your best. I think I still have some room to go. But you can't win a tournament on one day. You have to sort of relax and let it come to you a little bit. In my next match, I'll have to play better and so on from there.

Q. As you've gotten older, have you gotten better at putting negative thoughts out of your mind during a match? You never see you on the court talking to yourself really very much or getting upset? Is that something that has kind of improved as you've matured?

ANDRE AGASSI: That's definitely improved. You always have negative thoughts. It's just sort of nurturing them is something I don't do anymore. As tough as a day that you're having, to sort of complain about it while you're out there only makes it tougher. So experience has taught me that. You know, just keep working on the next point. The most you can do is change what's going to happen in the next point, you know, try to move on quickly. That goes for winning, too. I mean, if you're up a break, you're up a set, just forget about it, go to work, next point's important.

Q. Are you getting comfortable on the new stadium out there?

ANDRE AGASSI: I like the stadium a lot. It's a great stadium. Great lights. Easy to see the ball. Enthusiastic fans. It's a great place to play.

Q. Do you like it better at night? Do you like those night matches?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I do. I do.

Q. A little off the subject, but Andy Roddick may be the next sex symbol in tennis, if you will. You were the former one, or maybe the still reigning one. Are you willing to pass the torch to him? Do you feel there's a torch that needs to be passed? If so, is he the likely candidate?

ANDRE AGASSI: Don't talk about male sex symbols. Something doesn't seem right about that.

Q. Heart throbs?

ANDRE AGASSI: I've never quite looked at Andy any other way except just a friend, you know. Strictly platonic between us.

Q. Do you feel he can be the next upcoming American superstar?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yes.

Q. And are you willing to pass that torch to him?

ANDRE AGASSI: You don't pass anything, you know. Somebody comes and takes it when it's time, whatever that torch is, however somebody sees it. You know, for me, I'm out here working every day and trying to beat the guys I'm competing against, regardless of what the age factor is, regardless how sexy they are. You know, it's something where you step up and take it. There's a lot of guys out there that have that ability.

Q. Not to rush you along till next week, but some of us are doing advances. Obviously, you've had great success in Miami - three-time defending champion, six overall titles. Can you talk about being at that event, how you're going to approach it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, the same way I do sort of every time I go down there, which is it's a great arena for me, first of all. It's hot; it's a little breezy; it's great conditions. I enjoy it there. I just go to work, go to work and don't take one point for granted from the first match. You know, it's a lot of tough matches to win there. Certainly this year will be no exception.

Q. Is it a special event for you?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's really special. It's the only event I've won more than my wife. That makes it really special.

Q. She knows you feel this way?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, yeah.

Q. You remind her every day?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. Two years ago I thought I passed her there. I was sort of celebrating it around her. She was congratulating me, only for me to find out a few days later I hadn't passed her, I just tied her. She didn't have the heart to tell me that, which I appreciated.

Q. Do you have any of her other records in your sights?

ANDRE AGASSI: I'm shooting for 22 slams (smiling). I'm closing in.

Q. Can you talk about your Rios final there?

ANDRE AGASSI: There's been a lot of interesting finals there. I mean, one year where Pete was sick, we had postponed the finals a few hours. You know, another year where Rios was playing for No. 1 in the world, another year where Goran had to default at 3-0 in the first set. It's been an interesting tournament over the years for me. But there's been a lot of good work and a lot of great matches leading up to those.

Q. What do you think about the comeback of Tommy Haas? Have you watched some of his matches here?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I got to see a little bit with him. I practiced with him before the tournament. Looks like he's really picking up his game. A year's a long time to be away. It's going to take him some time. But I hope he stays with it, stays positive, because he's still a great player.

Q. What's the reason, if you can pinpoint it, as to why you haven't won this tournament more than just once? Sampras always made a point about not doing well at this tournament, even though he won it in the early stages of his career. Can you pinpoint a reason as to why you haven't necessarily won it more than just the once, 2001 being so recently?

ANDRE AGASSI: Terrible results, huh?

Q. I didn't mean it that way.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, I don't know. I come here every year feeling like this is a great place for me to play. The ball flies through the air a little bit. If anything, when my game has gone off, sometimes I hit the ball too big. Controlling is really important when you're dealing with air so thin where the ball's moving so quickly. So I think I've had a few disappointing matches here where I didn't play certainly what I felt like what I was capable of. But, you know, I've gotten beat some good matches, too. Just some places are just easier for some guys to win at. Ultimately it's very few points that separates some big matches. When you have success at one place, it tends to help with the success in the future there. If you have disappointments, the same happens.

Q. The first day you were hitting with somebody. You were coaching that player. Do you enjoy coaching? You dedicated time to showing them some things.

ANDRE AGASSI: I enjoy talking about the game, definitely, especially with players that I enjoy practicing with, I enjoy watching do well. Yeah, I enjoy talking about the game. If I feel like I can help somebody or somebody feels like I can help them, I have no problem doing that. I'm interested in beating somebody's best. Doesn't mean as much if somebody doesn't play well against you.

Q. Andy has just relinquished his first time at No. 1 after being there for a couple months or whatever. You've been in similar situations. Some kind of advice as to how difficult it is to stay at the top after getting there?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's pretty hard to do both. I mean, you have to just keep your mind focused on improving. You can't think about ranking. You can't think about off-court stuff. You can't think about certain players. You got to just think about improving. I think he's doing a great job at that. He's gotten a lot better.

Q. Do you miss having Sampras around, not personally, but the rivalry?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, well, there's a certain part of that that is very missed. I don't like the fact I would have had more Slams if it wasn't for him, but you're not guaranteed that. No matter how great your career is, you're not guaranteed that privilege of being part of such a special rivalry. It will always be special and will always be missed.

 
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