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Écrit par Jerome   


March 30, 2004

A. CALLERI/A. Agassi
6-2, 7-6


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andre, please after you're able to break him back late in that second set, you won back-to-back games. Did you feel maybe at that point things were turning your way.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I figured they could only get better from there. Let me put it that way. He started off, he was just hitting the ball so well. He was just playing too good for a long stretch of time out there. You know, I got into the set, which I think allowed me to settle down and allowed him to settle down. Had some chances there when I didn't convert. He just played a good tiebreaker, and that was it.

Q. He gave you a look at a lot of second serves near the end of that match. You weren't able to convert those. Any particular reason why?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, you know, there's a couple times I left a few backhand returns hanging on crucial points. I mean, you try to take a good swing at it and, you know, the ball was sort of sitting there. It was probably a little bit easier of a shot than I was making it. Could have probably even have played those as forehands, be more offensive. You're telling yourself not to do anything too stupid because he's living on the edge out there, hitting the ball real big. You just feel like at any point he could start missing. But, you know, I needed to step it up and play to his standard, and I didn't do that. He just played too good today.

Q. When a guy's taking huge cuts at the ball like that, do you feel you might have taken a few more risks yourself, trying to get him off the ball?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, yeah, ideally you don't want him doing that. I couldn't stop it for a long time out there. It was just too good. He was just playing great tennis today for a set and a half. You know, then the edge always comes off your game. You've been moving for a while and, you know, if you're not quite in position taking big cuts, you could start making some errors, which he did. You still have to close out a match, so I felt like there was a lot of tennis left. But he was hitting the ball real well today.

Q. Backhand down the line, just well disguised or was he just red hot?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, his backhand cross-court is pretty nasty, too. I mean, he was hitting rally shots that were dragging me outside the devil's alley, so you got to respect that, which leaves a big hole up the line. He just has a good backhand all the way around. That's pretty much the story there.

Q. I know it's been a while since you guys played, but obviously you've had a clear advantage the last couple of times. What was different today? He just seemed to be hitting everything.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I don't know. I wish somebody would tell me why he hit the ball so well. But, I mean, that was a good standard. I raised my level to hang in there, but it just wasn't enough. Those days happen. There's not much more I can say to it than that. I was lucky to win two games in the first set. I was down breakpoints on, you know, first game of the second. Held on. He then broke me and was up 3-1. Broke back. Then he broke me again. I mean, the guy was just making me play great tennis, and I wasn't coming up with it. Then when I settled into the match late in the second, I had some chances, and that's when I needed to step it up and I didn't take my chance.

Q. Can you talk about how this speaks to the depth of men's tennis. There's just so many players out there.

ANDRE AGASSI: Hmm, yeah, sure. Well, I think as a player, you're well aware of that.

Q. Fans don't seem as aware though. They're like, "Who is this guy?"

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, well, I mean, guys hit the ball big now. Anything can happen if you're not careful, if you're not playing your top game. So, yeah, there's a lot of guys out here that can play great tennis. Certainly today should show that.

Q. Nineteen wins in a row is never enough if you lose when you're going for a tournament. But can you reflect on the last three and a half years of this tournament.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, well, I've always played well here, you know. It's always been a good place for me. I mean, you have to get a little lucky to win that many as well.

Q. Is your clay court preparation going to start with Houston, or are you going to push it back or have you decided yet?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it's a bit of a whirlwind at the moment. I'll need to take some time and...

Q. Think about it?


Q. Do these losses change your thinking as far as your future at all and where you are at this point in your career?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. Those questions do, though.

Q. How would you judge the first start of the year for you? Is it very disappointing? Is it okay?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, yeah, it's disappointing not to win. It's always disappointing. But, you know, I try to assess how I'm playing more than that. Sometimes it doesn't happen right away when you play well. You know, felt like I've been playing -- played well in Australia, played well last week. You know, was playing well this week but just ran into a guy that played a lot better.

Q. Like Safin, just a whirlwind.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, well... Sure it's not the last I'll run into those. Sure it's not the last.

Q. Going back to the last few tournaments you played here, I mean, is it something about the tournament itself? You seem to play well here.

ANDRE AGASSI: I like the surface and the conditions. It fits my game.

Q. Would you say he was in the zone today?

ANDRE AGASSI: It sure felt that way. I mean, you'll have to ask him that. I give him the credit of being at a pretty high level out there.

Q. From up high where we're sitting, you can't always see what you see down below. Looked like there was a little glaring at each other going on down there. Then there was the somewhat ironic rubbing out of the nonexistent mark on the court. Was there glaring going on between you two guys?

ANDRE AGASSI: Glaring, I wouldn't say "glaring," no. I was trying to watch the tennis ball that I could hardly follow. But, no, that mark, it was just a crucial point. When somebody's sort of just standing there, looking beyond what I consider to be a reasonable length of time, I was just making the point that it was, you know, clearly, clearly out. Certainly not the time to take an extra 10 seconds. But in competition stuff like that happens. You forget about it quickly. And, you know, shook his hand afterwards and told him it was one hell of a match he played.

Q. Have you seen Nadal play much, the 17-year-old kid? What do you think of his game?

ANDRE AGASSI: I haven't seen him much, but he certainly seems pretty exciting to watch.

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