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Écrit par Jerome   
20-09-2006

WESTERN AND SOUTHERN FINANCIAL GROUP MASTERS
CINCINNATI, OHIO

August 2, 2004

A. AGASSI/M. Fish
4-6, 7-6, 4-1 (ret)

ANDRE AGASSI

THE MODERATOR: Andre improves his career record here in Cincinnati to 26-10. He'll take on the winner of Carraz- Thomas Johansson in the second round Wednesday. Questions for Andre.

Q. Did you notice at all that his back was bothering him?

ANDRE AGASSI: For most of the match, no, I got to say I didn't. But, you know, once his serve fell off in the third set, obviously it was hard not to notice something, something he was feeling. But he was still serving in the 130s throughout the second set, so I just can't imagine serving in the 130s healthy let alone with a back. So I wasn't thinking anything was wrong with him until his serve dropped off. Then that got a bit concerning.

Q. Obviously, all things considered, a really good one to get through and get out of the way?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, definitely. Last time we played it was a tough match where he just played better than I did in the third. Today I was happy to -- well, it was disappointing the way a match like that ends, but I was happy with the fact that the way I was playing as the match went on was getting better. I was starting to let my shots go a little bit more. That's always a good sign for me.

Q. Before he started to experience the back pain, did you feel any turning point?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, it was really sort of spotty tennis out there. I mean, his serve was -- got him through when I had some chances in the first set. Then he put together a few good returns to break me. Second set, neither one of us had much look at the other one's serve. Then I stepped up and hit a few good shots. I let my game go in the tiebreaker, which would have been the momentum changer there. But I thought it wasn't until the breaker that anything sort of revealing started to happen. I started hitting my shots a little bit better, took a little bit control of that tiebreaker, and then started feeling even better as the third set progressed.

Q. Do you feel like you're near where you want to be, or you're getting nearer to where you want to be?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, getting there is certainly -- I need all these matches to do that. Got to string a few together now. So it would really be nice to see my game elevate as the tournament progresses. That's what I'd be looking for.

Q. You feel like you're ready for that to happen?

ANDRE AGASSI: I'm, yeah... I've been more than ready. More than ready for that to happen (smiling).

Q. There was a lot made of the fist pumps or whatever after the San Jose match. Did anything of a rivalrous intention play over today?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. I mean, it was a high emotional match we played in San Jose, no question about it. But, you know, he won that match on the merits of his game. You know, he stepped up and he kept playing better as that match went on, and it started off at a pretty high standard. You know, today was, again, the tennis was a bit more up-and-down. There were moments of great shots and then there was periods of games where there weren't a lot of opportunities to do much except hit one good ball or one good serve. And, you know, it's sort of hard to emotionally get connected to a match that has waves like that. But, you know, he's a good player. He does a lot of things well out there. I need to step up to win a match like that.

Q. Do you feel the main thing lacking right now is match play?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I suppose that -- I mean, I think fundamentally speaking, it's just believing in my shots and letting them go, you know, which you get that sort of from confidence and the confidence comes from the matches. So I think that, you know, when I'm on the practice court, I'm practicing so well, you know. That's always a sign that things are about to get good, but it doesn't necessarily translate when you step on the match court and it hasn't yet. You know, I'm feeling a lot more relaxed in practice than I am in the match, and that tells me there's some matches I need to get through before I can just go out there and treat each match with the approach of, "I'm going to let my game fly and somebody's going to need to stop it." That's from playing these matches - that only comes from playing these matches.

Q. You said you thought you started to let it go a little more as the match went on today.

ANDRE AGASSI: Uh-hmm. Yeah, the tiebreaker, I think the first point of the tiebreaker was a good example. I hit a big forehand up the line. While it was a lot more dangerous than I would have cared for it to be, it's the first point of the tiebreaker and I just said, "I'm not gonna let this match finish on his terms. If I lose it, I lose it, but I got to hit my shots." And then I carried that into the third.

Q. You've won everything that could be won. Can you still win all those things again?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. I mean, I suppose that's the challenge in it, you know. If I knew it, I don't think it would be as exciting every day. So I don't know, is my answer. I mean, I'd like to believe when I'm out there letting my game go that I can beat the best. But I'm only going to give myself a few years to talk about stuff like that as opposed to doing it.

Q. Most guys your age are thinking about just playing a few matches or maybe even retirement, and yet you still play at this high level.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, well, I appreciate you considering it a high level. I'm pushing myself to get back to what I believe I can still do as far as how I feel out there. I mean, you know, if I'm out there in practice every day taking a pounding and not finding my game, I would have to really be objective about, "Okay, what's not right here?" But I do believe there's gears that I know I can hit that I haven't hit now in a while, and that's -- I can't settle for not doing that. I mean, it's gonna take me -- it's taken me more time than I'd wanted for a number of reasons this year. But when I let my game go, I still have a lot of belief in it.

Q. There are others who have let their game go and said, "Wow, I'm going to make this comeback," and never do...

ANDRE AGASSI: When I say "let it go," I mean bring it.

Q. I understand.

ANDRE AGASSI: Okay.

Q. There are others that have fallen below what they think they're capable of and have not been able to get back. You've done it several times, even when you were very young. You fell down in the rankings and came back.

ANDRE AGASSI: Sure.

Q. Maybe that gives you confidence that you can do it again?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, this certainly does. Again, I feel like I have to professionally be responsible with assessing what's going on out there between the lines. I have to understand the reasons for my successes and failures out there, and I have to be objective about it. You know, when I'm relaxed and I'm letting myself run, I move well. When I'm uptight and thinking too much about my shot, I don't move as well. So if one day I'm not moving as well, I got to know am I not -- can I not move well anymore, or am I just not letting myself do what I know how to do. And to this point, it's been a lot of the latter. I feel like I've just grinded some gears. I mean, I had some physical issues for a few months, but this summer I'm just trying to get my game back to where I know it can be. And that's not going to come overnight, so I need to stay positive. I hope that I can see my best tennis again. But, you know, only time will tell.

Q. You're a person they keep referring to as a "Future Hall of Famer." Are you flattered by that, or was there a part of you that was like, "Let's not rush this"?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I don't want them to get my hopes up too much (smiling). I mean, it would be terrible if I don't make it.

Q. I think you'll make it. Are they pushing it too soon or you don't feel that?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I didn't sort of take it that way. I took it as a big compliment, yeah.

Q. Have you enjoyed it as much this year?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think this year's had a lot more struggles to it. No, no.

Q. Have you made any concessions to age as far as how you practice or how you play?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, playing week after week has never been -- hasn't been ideal for me in a number of years. Playing 13, 14 tournaments has been about the number for the last four years, five years - four years. My practices are hard as ever. When I get out there with all these guys, I want them to feel like they need to show up ready. And they do. But I go hard in the practice. None of that's changed. As long as I'm not feeling anything in my body, I go as hard as I ever have.

Q. Do you think there should be a certain point, like an age or something, where maybe the requirements are different for like somebody like yourself, where you don't have to sign up for all the events or lose money if you don't show?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, nobody's twisting my arm. Nobody's holding a gun to my head. I've been blessed to have an incredible life and a lot of options. I don't really think much of -- we need a system that makes sense for the game and makes sense for the players. You know, I appreciate any bone somebody throws me (smiling). But, you know, for me, it's about making the best decisions that keep me at my best. What I'm ranked is less relevant to me than what I can bring when I step on the court.

Q. I meant like pulling out of Indy and getting fined or something because you pull out late.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I'd like not to get fined for that, but I'm a little biased to myself (smiling).

 
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