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Écrit par Jerome   


August 6, 2004

7-6, 6-3


THE MODERATOR: Andre advances to his fifth semifinals here in Cincinnati and also his fourth ATP semifinal this season. Possible head-to-heads: He's 4-1 lifetime against Roddick and 5-3 against Haas. Questions for Andre.

Q. That's got to be your best performance for many months, hasn't it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I think so. I mean, it was certainly a high-standard match. And, again, coming off a well-executed match yesterday, it couldn't have come at a better time for me, just to build on my foundation right now. It feels good to be hitting the ball that well.

Q. Why now? Is it because you've got over the hip problem and mentally you're starting to come up?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think you certainly can't be less than at your best to compete against these guys, especially myself. So when the hip was an issue, it was impossible for me. So I needed that to certainly get better, which has been feeling much better on the hard courts. You know, it takes some matches. You can be practicing well and sometimes it doesn't translate straightaway - and it hasn't for a little while. But a few matches now, and I'm starting to get the feeling of how to play the big points, how to make sure I'm playing my best tennis, and to execute my game. And doing that a couple matches in a row now feels pretty good.

Q. About a month and a half ago some people weren't even sure if you'd be ready to play here. How far do you feel you've come in that time span?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, a long way. It's been, you know, for the last four years it's been year to year. As recently as the last few months, it's been, you know, week to week. So I didn't know where things would be this summer. But I got in a few matches in LA and played a real good match against Tommy but didn't follow it up in Toronto, and then came here sort of looking to get over the hump and scraped through a few tough, you know, three-setters. Then my game started to come around. So, you know, I hope I can continue it.

Q. When is the last time you were in a tiebreak like that? Have you been in one?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't remember playing one that deep. 11-9 maybe ahead against Becker in the semis of the Open, 1990 first set. Could have been 13-11, but I think it was 11-9.

Q. What do you think it did to him?

ANDRE AGASSI: It put him a set down, yeah.

Q. This was long.

ANDRE AGASSI: It was, it was. But when a match is sort of in balance like that, you know, you're resigned to the fact that you can lose the first set when you start getting that deep in a tiebreaker. You know that it can go either way. You're just trying to obviously win the first set. But there's still a lot of tennis to be played. So I can only speak for myself, and I was prepared to continue that standard the rest of the match regardless how the first set went. But it certainly made life a lot easier to win that one.

Q. Was there a change in approach at all when you're facing a set point down 6-3?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I just thought to myself, "Hold these two points here and make him serve it out." He threw in a double at 6-5. You know, then it was back and forth on serve all the way until I got the set point.

Q. What's it like emotionally to go through a tiebreaker like that, just kind of back and forth?

ANDRE AGASSI: Easier for us than those who are watching and care about it. You know, you're just focused a point at a time. Again, every point is so crucial that, you know, it can take a lot out of you emotionally because you're -- every point has so much value to it that you're concentrating like it's a breakpoint. So, yeah, it gets pretty nerve-wracking, but there's not a whole lot you can do except execute and hope they fall for you.

Q. Did you feel he stepped it up in that game, he was serving for the first set?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I did. I mean, I did miss a few first serves, but that's bound to happen sooner or later. But he was taking his chances. I felt like he was doing good to hang in the first set, the way I came out hitting the ball. Was really returning well, serving well, hitting well, firing on all cylinders. And, you know, he was sort of hanging on. If he didn't come up with a few serves, it could have been -- I could have got up two breaks in that first set a couple different times. So then when I was serving for it at 5-4, he, like anybody that's been there and won championships knows, it's time to step up; and he did.

Q. Given the progress you've made over this week, do you think you could have won that tiebreaker at the start of the week, or have you come on so far since Monday?

ANDRE AGASSI: I can only tell you the way it feels out there. I'm much more committed to everything I'm doing right now than I was to start the week. So I think a tiebreaker like that would have exposed my lack of confidence.

Q. When you say a few weeks ago you were going week to week, you really didn't know what to expect, was there a voice in you that said that you still could do it or that the injury was going to be fine and everything? In other words, if you really didn't feel you were capable, would you even try?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, you know, for a few -- couple years now, this hip has been an issue for me. When it gets inflamed, it lasts for a few months depending on how long I keep trying to play through it. And so I knew I could get it better, I was just obviously real disappointed it came at such a crucial time of the year - the clay, the grass. But, you know, that could have been part of the problem, just being on the clay and the grass these days. I wasn't sure what -- the reason for it. But I knew that once it was better - you know, I can only base it on my practices and the way I was hitting the ball, it's one thing to practice well and to play well - but, you know, I believed I could start playing a much higher standard than I had been playing. And I certainly wasn't putting myself in a position to assess it while I was going through the -- sort of the process of getting my game back together. That's not the time to do your assessment. You need to just keep working.

Q. Is it the type of thing that doctors say years down the line will need surgery, or just rest?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's a slightly torn laborum over the course of years. It wasn't sort of one move that tore it, it was just the wear and tear every year. So the area is susceptible to getting inflamed and creating a pretty biting pain for me. Different things can set it off. I think this year I was working more flexibility into my program, and I think I put myself -- put my hip in more compromising positions than it was used to being in, and I think I paid the price for that.

Q. What was the key, the fact that you were able to dictate many of the rallies, that you were in charge a lot of them?

ANDRE AGASSI: Didn't feel that way (smiling). You know, he has truly one of the greatest forehands that the game has seen. He can really hit that ball from any position in the court, either direction, and he moves well enough to keep you from getting it to his backhand. So, you know, I knew I had to hit with conviction in order to stay in control of any points because the second I let up on any shot he was going to take control. I just tried to keep doing it point after point.

Q. Can you discuss Haas or Roddick tomorrow.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, well, we know what Roddick's going to bring; we've seen him do it over the last year and a half now or so. Listen, it's going to be an interesting match tonight. I think Andy is playing, behind Federer, the best tennis out there and will certainly be the next challenge for me if I have to go up against him. You know, the guy doesn't lose serve very often, so that makes it real difficult. You don't have to be a genius to see that. But Haas is a talent from all parts of the court - baseline, forehand, backhand, big first serve, knows what he's doing out there in the court, volleys well, moves well. In both cases I'll need to step it up from here.

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