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Écrit par Jerome   


April 1, 2005

R. FEDERER/A. Agassi
6-4, 6-3


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How did you feel you played?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, everything pretty well. First serve let me down in the second set, and couldn't buy one there for a while. Just giving him way too many, way too many -- I needed some free points on my first serve today, and didn't quite get that in the second.

Q. To have five breakpoints and a chance to get into this second set, the guy keeps coming up with the goods in every critical situation. Was that a testimony to what a great player he is?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. So three of them he hit unreturnable serves. One of them I had a look at a backhand up the line that I took, would have beat him by like eight feet, but I just hit it long.

Q. Half-volley from the baseline?

ANDRE AGASSI: Then I hit a stretch to the forehand, he hit it with spin back to the middle of the court, and I played a redirectional backhand back up the line that I hit in the net. Had that gone over, it was probably the worst shot I could have played. So, you know, you get one or two chances to make the right decisions and execute, and I didn't make the right decision on that shot for sure.

Q. Ever since you were under the tutelage of BG, once you won the toss, you put your opponent to serve first because you thought you could get the break straight off. Against Federer, is that a good tactic?

ANDRE AGASSI: It doesn't matter. I mean, if you serve first in the first set, you're going to serve second in the second set. I mean, if you do your job right, I never did it because I thought I was going to break the first game, that was never my reason. I feel like I treat my serve a lot more urgently when I'm down Love-1 versus serving 0-0. When I start a match, when I'm down Love-1, I feel like I'm into it right away. There's no chance to get careless.

Q. The business end of the set, like you're 4-5 down, you're serving, you're under more pressure?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, but had I lived up to the pressure, the second set would have been the same thing. He would have been serving 3-4, Love-40 instead of 3-All. So whatever happens in the first set is going to be opposite in the second anyhow, if you take care of your business.

Q. Is it too soon to judge what a brilliant match that was?

ANDRE AGASSI: Wrong person to ask.

Q. Did you feel you were part of a brilliant match?

ANDRE AGASSI: I know nothing about the game. I only had him pegged to go to the semis. He's in the finals now (smiling).

Q. We liked it.

ANDRE AGASSI: Good. I'm glad. I aim to please (smiling).

Q. Can you talk about the crowd here. They obviously love you here.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I love them. It's been an incredible 19 years for me. They've seen me through a lot. There was a stage here when I wasn't losing first round, I was winning it. That's a lot of ups and downs, peaks and valleys that we've lived through together. They were certainly electric tonight, giving me so much support. You know, just disappointed I couldn't deliver a little bit more.

Q. On the final point of the first set, long rally, you had that final forehand, crosscourt, bang, there he was sitting there waiting for it. Did you have a choice of going up the line on that one?

ANDRE AGASSI: What happened, I hit it crosscourt?

Q. Short angle crosscourt. He was sitting there, camped on it. I don't know if you remember it at all.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I mean, I didn't make too many bad decisions out there. I made one crucial bad decision on breakpoint when I tried to hit a redirection backhand up the line against the wind, of all times. That particular one, you know, when you get a little late on it, you know, that's not a high percentage one for me to take up the line. I was just trying to play it thick to the court and make him hit a special shot up the line, give me some time to get back. But, yeah, just missed it. I mean, that's the thing, you know. You can play quality match, quality match, but he has the ability at any given moment (snapping) to play spectacular tennis and break something open, break a set open. That's what happened at 4-5, and when I didn't convert on any chances at 3-All in the second, you know. He did the same thing in the next game. I missed some first serves and, boom, he took advantage of it.

Q. Back on that final point in the first set, how many players have the intuition to read where that ball is going? It looks like a winner to just about anybody else on this tour.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, there's a number of departments of his game that is arguably better than anybody. I mean, that's an incredible thing to say when you realize that most players count on one thing to be special. And if they have one thing that's special, it makes them hard to deal with. He has a few things. I mean, you got to give him his credit, the guy moves incredibly well. His forehand is dangerous from anywhere on the court. When you think you're in good position, you're not. He changes the whole perspective of the dynamics out there because you think you have daylight, you think you have a hole, and you just can't be tempted because you really don't, and you have to be very disciplined and execute perfectly. You know, that's a sign of somebody playing a level above.

Q. Andre, are you slightly less disappointed tonight than you were, say, in Dubai or Melbourne?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, that's not accurate. That's not accurate. It's disappointing.

Q. Is the disappointment as great even though the match was closer than those two?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, arguably more. When you play a match where you don't have any chance, regardless who it's against, it's useless to spend much time thinking about it, you know. Here you have times where you just replay it and you wish you could have done a few things differently so... Probably more disappointing.

Q. Looking back on the game, did anything in particular catch you off guard at all tonight?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. No. He came up with some great shots on big points, pretty much expected that. No, he's still playing well.

Q. In that 4-5 game, were you disappointed with anything aside from missing the first serves?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I made a couple errors. You know, you walk a fine line out there 'cause you can't get tempted into pressing against the guy because then he uses his speed and his ability to handle pace and uses it against you. You end up living on the edge and he ends up more comfortable as a result of it. So you try to sort of resist playing too aggressive. But at the same time, you don't want to leave anything hanging, and there's just a couple swings I put on a couple balls there that hit the tape - one backhand I missed, one forehand hit the tape - and all of a sudden I'm down a few set points and he plays a great point and there you have it.

Q. Andre, is there anything about your stage of maturity that makes you either more capable or less capable of (inaudible)?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. I can't be objective about myself like that. I mean, for me, every day's a challenge; it really is. I've been asked for years how am I playing now versus before, and I don't know. I know that I have no excuses tonight, so you can assess it from there.

Q. Once you get this put behind you, you look forward to the next Grand Slam. That's always a difficult thing, to decide, "Okay, how much preparation do I need without overplaying so that I go into Paris as fresh as possible."


Q. What is your outlook on Paris right now?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, exactly that. I have to make some good decisions here and understand what the big picture holds for me and then sort of work backwards. I don't know what that is right now; I really don't. I was leaving a lot open to just when I finish the hard court season, and to sort of assess everything, see where I'm going to go from here. I'll need to put some good thought behind it, and hopefully make some good decisions.

Q. Did you feel comfortable with the way you approached the French last year?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, no, it was a terrible call I made. I mean, I was beside myself. I'm not the kind of person that does well without matches. I can do well without practice; I can't do well without matches. I need to get relaxed out there and remind myself how hard I work to make it seem easy at times. It's not easy for me to remember that when I've been away for six weeks.

Q. That difficult thing of being 34, knowing that you have to have your legs fresh...

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, my legs are treating me well right now. I don't have an issue with that. My back is better. My hip, as a result of the nerve that they found, it's better, I got it treated, and I'm able to lunge, I'm able to sprint to balls and recover and force myself to play to the standard. That's a good sign. So I'm not worried about my legs. Be more worried about, you know, what I need mentally right now just to feel prepared.

Q. You said before that you replay, when it's such a close match and there's only a couple mistakes, you replay it in your mind, "If I only did this, that," how long will that go on? Will you lay in bed tonight and think about it, or will you be able to sleep fine?

ANDRE AGASSI: I'll tell you that tomorrow (smiling).

Q. Are you the type who does, when you lay in bed after a match like this, do you think about it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it sort of depends, but those are personal sort of parameters that we probably shouldn't discuss.

Q. Has it become more difficult to play today because of young players, the density of good players is bigger today than a few years ago? Like taking Nadal, an 18-year-old player who made the final.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I think the quality of tennis has improved. I think every sport does. I mean, every five years it seems to make enough of a difference that you notice it. You see the evolution of the athletes, getting bigger, stronger, more powerful, faster and explosive and hit the ball harder. I mean, you know, me at 18, looking at Nadal at 18, from the neck down you would think one person was 26 and another person was 12. It's true, but... Everybody gets stronger, and it gets harder. But, you know, I don't know, you know. I get asked all the time about assessing everything from now versus 20 years ago, but I just, I just don't know. I know that it's harder for me.

Q. Coming into this match, did you take a look at the tape of Safin defeating Federer at the Australian Open to pick up some tips, maybe see how he hit his backhand down the line to take Federer out of his comfort zone?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, no matter how much I watch that tape, I won't be able to wake up 6'5", serving 140 miles an hour, and crushing backhands that, you know, would be above my head up the line. So the answer is no, I did not watch the tape.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the season that Roger has had. It's a pretty remarkable season. Of course he's No. 1 in the world. Is he playing that much better than everybody else out there, or is it on any given day he could possibly lose to No. 15 in the world?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think both those statements are accurate. They're both true. I mean, he's playing levels above everybody else; he's proved that for a while now. I don't know how long, 46-1 since the Open. It's crazy. Before then it was probably just as good of a record. So he's playing levels above, but he has to show up every day and do it. And if he doesn't, he's going to have problems like everybody else. But he does have more to fall back on, which is why his upside is so good. So it does help to have a number of weapons. I mean, if he doesn't like the way he's hitting his backhand, he serve-volleys. If he doesn't like the way he's hitting his slice, he doesn't hit a slice. If he doesn't like topspin, he doesn't hit topspin. That's good options.

Q. Do you have a favorite for the final on Sunday?

ANDRE AGASSI: Let's see...

You know, I'm from Vegas so I don't mind taking some chances. I'm going to go on a limb and I'm going to say the person who's 46-1, 47-1 over the last six, seven months, is the favorite.

Q. In the ways that Roger can get out of a Love-40 hold, like Pete did, seems like he's even got more tactical options than Pete ever did. I mean now you've had to play two of these geniuses.


Q. Do you almost feel that Roger gives you less options because he can make the kind of adjustments not even Pete could make?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think the biggest distinction inside the lines that I feel playing Roger versus playing Pete is there were a lot of lapses with Pete. You could play a bad set and, you know, possibly get into a breaker with him. With Roger, there's just no relief, you know. In every department, you have to be concentrating and ready to go because he'll take advantage of you on any part of the court. That's not to say that Pete's upside wasn't just as spectacular, because Pete's -- when Pete missed a first serve, I still thought to myself, "God, just get this thing in play so you have a chance." With Roger, he misses a first serve, I'm thinking, "Okay, here we go."

Q. It seems like Roger always wants to break. Pete wasn't necessarily breaking.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I think Roger has a better return than Pete. I think Pete volleys better. I think Roger moves better, is better from the baseline. But Pete's serve was probably better. So, you know, you got -- I mean, I'm just assessing it inside the lines playing them. They pose different problems entirely, but Roger makes you do it from start to finish, and Pete made you do something incredibly special at a lot of given times.

Q. On a lighter note, you've made a lot of fashion statements in your time. What do you think of the clam-diggers?

ANDRE AGASSI: What is that?

Q. The pants Nadal is wearing.

ANDRE AGASSI: The not-pants, not-shorts look (smiling)? I like them on some people, I just won't say who.

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