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Écrit par Jerome   


September 4, 2004

A. AGASSI/J. Novak
6-4, 6-2, 6-3


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. As you look at today's match specifically, what are the things that you've done so far that you need to carry on into the second week to succeed, and what do you need to do differently?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, today was an important day for me because Jiri is the kind of player that requires you to put together a quality match. He does a lot of things really well out there and he makes you make good decisions because if you try to go through him, he really settles in the pace pretty well, and it's hard to get through him. If you play off anything, he's able to take the ball early and redirect it. So I had to make good decisions out there. I served real well today. Felt like I did most things well. I turned a corner that I needed to turn going into the second week. If I can continue that standard, that's pretty good.

Q. Can we say you were at the same level as Cincinnati today?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, you know, to beat somebody like Jiri in straight sets is a great match. You know, had some great wins in Cincinnati, and I consider today another great win.

Q. Lleyton said racquet technology is not an issue, but you're using the latest Headline. Do you think it's something that's eventually going to have to pull the reins in, or do you think players will always just adjust?

ANDRE AGASSI: As long as the sport stays mano-a-mano, I mean, you're talking about one person versus another. Give them any rules, and you still got to find a way to get it done. Are you suggesting that the pace of the game has gotten --

Q. I'm saying like the PGA. Do you think the racquets will ever get so powerful and technology so advanced that someone should step in and say, "Wait a minute, we need to cut this off"?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. I tell you, a racquet is a very personal thing. You have to grow up with it. I think for any real racquet to make that kind of an impact that needs to be obviously phenomenally powerful, but I also think you need to know it from a young lad. I mean, you can't just sort of pick one up and say, "Geez, I can hit the ball so much harder with this," because you've still got to keep the ball in. And there's still a lot to the sport that requires you to do other things. So until I see a racquet that can win a match for me, I mean, I think it's about the competitors out there.

Q. Specifically, is there any quality of LiquidMetal or technology that you particularly like?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, the subtleties in a racquet are something that you're highly aware of. If you were to grab my racquet from six years ago, I would notice a clear difference as I've sort of evolved with the weight, the balance, the strings, the technology. You don't want a racquet working against you. You want it sort of lending itself to your style of play. And I don't struggle with power. I sort of need more help when the ball is not quite in my strike zone. And that's where I feel the technology of the LiquidMetal really helps me. It sort of gives me a little bit extra on the shots I'm not hitting quite as perfectly. So I think it's -- I don't know if you would notice a difference if you hit with mine now versus six years ago. I can't sort of speak to that. But I certainly would.

Q. You've had a pretty easy road so far. How do you look at where you're going to go in the second week? Do you want to be challenged soon, or do you like the way these three-set matches are going?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, if I can do that four more times, that would be great. Three sets would be great four more times. What do you think about that? Good plan (smiling)?

Q. Are you expecting inviting in different players?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I expected that today. I really did. I go out with every match and expect it to be tough and feel like I need to be ready to step up my game. And it's no different now than when I was 20 years old. I mean, I enjoy getting through the first week uneventfully. But you never know, when you get through that tough match, and that is the match you needed to get through before you go on. Seen people win tournaments down match points in the early rounds. You never know when you need your best tennis. That's why it's always best to save it for when you do.

Q. Do you find it harder at 34 than perhaps 24 to put together your best tennis seven straight matches in a two-week period?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, well, I haven't done it at 34 yet. And I think it gets tougher every year, from the quality of your opponents to the distractions that exist in your own life. You're constantly being pulled with priorities, you're constantly having to balance everything that's important to you. That gets harder and harder. Your body feels differently at 34. I fortunately have been holding up this summer in a way that I haven't felt in a while. So that's a good feeling. But history would show that it so far has been harder.

Q. After Cincinnati, you spoke to confidence. Is there an arrogance that comes with being 24 that makes it easier to have confidence than at 34?

ANDRE AGASSI: That's what I love about tennis. You can't hide from yourself out there. Either you believe it or you don't, and you're exposed when you're out there. I think you have to have the goods regardless. If you lie to the man in the mirror, I mean, you're going to get out on the court, 20,000 people are going to realize it's not all what you think it is. So you need to have the goods. I'd say, generally speaking, it's easier to have the goods at 24.

Q. Could you give us your view on the two books that were released recently by your very closest relatives, one by your father and the second one by your sister? Were you somehow involved in these two books?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I was involved in my sister's book, which is a book designed to raise money for breast cancer, where I lent one of my recipes that I enjoy cooking, pictures of me and the family. It's a great book that a lot of sort of celebrities have given their time and energy towards. My father's book, I had nothing to do with that.

Q. You seemed to show a little skill in the shoemaking and shoe-repairing department. What happened there?

ANDRE AGASSI: I burn a lot of tread out there. I think it has to do with my speed at 34 (smiling). You know, I enjoy a good broken-in pair of shoes, let me put it that way. Sometimes you cross that line and you need to rotate it, but you don't feel like it's that big of a concern so you keep the nice used leather tightly strapped.

Q. And you always carry a bottle of glue in your bag?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I think you'd be surprised to look in the rest of my bag, too (smiling). You never know when you need it.

Q. Do you have a preference for a day or night match? Especially at your age, is your vision affected playing at night?

ANDRE AGASSI: Who is asking the question? I can't see (smiling). No, I haven't noticed any issues with my vision. What age does that start?

Q. 45.

ANDRE AGASSI: 45, okay. Come ask me again in 15 years (smiling). My math is bad, 11 years.

Q. You won the Olympics. I want to know if it was a surprise for you that Massu won singles and doubles?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, yeah, I think -- I think it was one incredible accomplishment that he had. Singles and doubles, it's a phenomenal thing he accomplished. He spent a lot of hours on the court, showed a lot of heart. Man, he'll have that to enjoy the rest of his life.

Q. How important was it for you when you won the gold medal?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it's one of the greatest accomplishments in my career for myself personally. I hold that as close to me as anything else I've done.

Q. Were you able to catch any of the unique way the Chileans won the doubles?

ANDRE AGASSI: I was actually playing, so I missed the fifth set. But I saw a good chunk of the match. Serving and staying back was one heck of an effort. It speaks to the quality of their power and ball striking because you can't get away with that unless you have a big shot to fall back on.

Q. Everyone here is thinking about the potential match-up between you and Roger Federer. Have you given any thought to that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Not really. I don't really look ahead. I mean, I know it's a cliche. It's a great problem to worry about, you know, when it's time to worry about it.

Q. When a high-ly-seeded player gets eliminated, as Moya was today, is there a sense or a surge of adrenaline that goes through the rest of the field that gets the higher-seeded players to play harder and the lower-seeded players to maybe believe they have a chance to knock somebody off?

ANDRE AGASSI: I personally have never underestimated my opponent. I mean, I'd have to go back to maybe my early 20s, the last time I ever took something for granted out on the tennis court. If anything, I have the tendency to give too much respect to what my opponent can do. Sometimes it distracts me from what it is I need to be doing. So when I see a guy like Rochus putting together another phenomenal match - beating Ancic was a great display of tennis, too - against Moya, I'm looking at that thinking, "That's why you don't underestimate anybody." So for me it's sort of a perfect example of the preparation and anxiety that one feels in trying to prepare to be at their best for a tournament like this, because anything can happen out there.

Q. It looked as if you thought you won the match a moment early. Any particular thoughts on instant replays in tennis?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know sort of - what would you call it - scientifically how accurate the shot cam is that they use. But I got to believe it's closer to perfect than linesmen trying to watch the ball. I mean, I can't see the ball out there, and I've watched the ball my whole life. There are times where I'm really unsure. One of the hardest things in practice when you play against a guy is just calling balls. It's easy to miss calls. I think it would save time on arguments and all that. So it would be a nice feature. It would be relieving for the player. Even if they knew there was a possibility that it's not accurate, everybody's at least playing by the same sort of rules. You can live with that. So, I mean, that would be I think a good addition to the game.

Q. Besides the glue, would you share any of the other oddities you may have in your bag with us?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I couldn't do that. I couldn't do that (smiling).

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