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Écrit par Jerome   


October 19, 2004

A. AGASSI/M. Mirnyi
7-6, 6-3


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andre.

Q. It was a difficult match or in the key moments you were superior to Max Mirnyi?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think it was definitely difficult. It was difficult because the first match is always -- he has one match he's already played and probably more comfortable. And he plays a type of game that is very difficult. It's tough to get a rhythm. He can go through periods where he serves so well, then if you get a chance, you must do something with it. And he puts a lot of pressure on you. So I felt good with the way it went. I was pretty lucky in the first set. I think he was outplaying me in the first set and I got fortunate on some big key points. But then I liked the way my game picked up. I started getting more comfortable in the second.

Q. With all these players that couldn't come, was it your mission to come? Do you feel comfortable in a place that you won two years ago, it was a special reason, or just because you want to win in Houston after or what?

ANDRE AGASSI: Every year, every month I have to make decisions based on where I am physically, mentally, what my goals are, where my plans are. You know, this year, it was very important for me to be here. It's a big tournament, gives me a chance to gain some ground and confidence going into next year. I was very motivated to come here and play.

Q. You look very fit. What have you done since The Open?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, missing Wimbledon was pretty disappointing to me, so I was excited for the summer to hopefully get some good matches and some confidence going, and I did. And I felt like I was playing some of my best tennis at parts of the summer, and I had a good chance at The Open. So I was pretty inspired to keep working and pretty excited to get back on the court again. So I've been training. You know, this was the time of year where I have my foundation event, my charity, that we raised $6.1 million for the children in Las Vegas.

Q. You've been known occasionally to choreograph the ball kids. How did it go with the models?

ANDRE AGASSI: It was difficult, to say the least, to concentrate on the ball. But I suppose I had an advantage. I'm used to playing with my wife (smiling).

Q. Was there anything that the perfectionist in you didn't like? Was that okay for you? Was it just a gimmick?

ANDRE AGASSI: I suppose I need some time to let it absorb. You know, I think it's important for our sport to understand its product clearly. And I'm not quite convinced it's part of our product. But the skirts look like they're a little difficult to run in, too. I think they need to be shorter maybe.

Q. I'm from Costa Rica. I'm also the president of the Federation of tennis. We are starting 20 schools. We made a survey. By far you're the most famous player that our kids know. Would you send them a message?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I would just say thank you for all the support, to really continue with the sport of tennis because it's an opportunity to learn a lot about yourself. It teaches you how to problem solve in life. It's a sport that can take you through a lifetime. It's a great sport, and I hope for everybody in Costa Rica to get the opportunity to enjoy it.

Q. I wonder if you could offer us some thoughts on the kind of paradox which is evident here this week. Obviously, the tournaments want the best players in the world to play, but obviously the individuals have their own schedules, their own agendas. Is there a solution to that in your mind?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I assure you that every top player's agenda is to keep themselves at their best for what is a sport that demands your best so many different times through the year. So I think the reasons for why players aren't here are sufficient. It's an ongoing balancing act to make the best decisions possible for yourself. You know, I think playing too much is a risk for any player. It's a short career. It's easy to be tempted, if you're not feeling a hundred percent, to still go out there and take your opportunity and show up and try to be at your best. But in the long haul, I think it affects your career. It affects the length of your career, the longevity of it. I think no matter what you do with the schedule, you're always going to have the issues of just basic health needs and the demands on your body. I mean, when you watch football and somebody's injured like Beckham, for example, you go, "Well, it's okay, it's one of 11 guys. You still have a great team." But in tennis, if one guy's injured, there's nobody there to take his place. It makes it more apparent for the sport. But it's part of sports.

Q. You've already ruled yourself out for the Davis Cup. I was wondering if you had any thoughts on who might be the favorites going into the final or how the competition is shaping up.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think you always have to favor, give an advantage to the home team. And I think going into it, they have so many strong players from Spain, playing on their surface, you have to give them the advantage. But, you know, I've seen crazier things happen in Davis Cup before. You know, I'll sit back and root for our team very strongly. Us not winning four years ago wasn't the reason why I didn't play. And us winning today can't be the reason why I decide to play. I have to be able to have a clear perspective on what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. I watch a little bit with envy because it's a place you want to be, but it's not for me at this point in my career.

Q. You just mentioned your foundation. It's something that you've been doing for years. You are helping children not only to play tennis but to develop as human beings. That's because of your personal beliefs or a way of saving taxes? What is it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Actually, tennis is a very small part. I have a program that brings tennis to the inner city. But the bulk of my work is done through education. We've built a college preparatory academy which educates children that don't have that opportunity. It takes children a year to two years behind in school and actually has managed to bring them back to grade level inside a year. We clothe over three thousand children a year. We help a group called Child Haven, which is a shelter for abused, abandoned kids. I built a school on the premises there so these children can continue their education while they wait for their parents to get out of courts or in jail, drug rehab, whatever it may be. I think the better question is, you know, "Why not to do it?" Because it's changing lives.

Q. What do you think about the Spanish player Rafael Nadal? We don't know if he's going to be ready to play against you because he's a bit injured, but what do you think about him?

ANDRE AGASSI: He's ready to play against anybody. He's a great talent. Watching him play is a lot of fun. I haven't had the opportunity to play against him or to practice against him. But very strong player. You never know what somebody's game is like until you play them yourself. I certainly enjoy watching him.

Q. Who is your favorite in the elections in the United States, Kerry or Bush?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, me, I'm voting for Kerry for sure. And I wish everybody would.

Q. You've always been one of the best returners in the game. Guys like Mirnyi or Roddick, have they changed the way you return the ball? Did you have to adapt over the years?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you have to be more careful because it's more dangerous now. But the ball's coming so fast... I think one of the things that always has been part of my game is to take the ball early, and I have short swings on the return. So as the speed of the serve has improved and gotten faster, I've managed to be able to still return the way I've always returned. So my return hasn't changed much, but I think I've had to get stronger to handle the speed more. Physically, I've had to get in better shape, to get quicker, to get stronger.

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