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Écrit par Jerome   


August 10, 2005

A. AGASSI/J. Bjorkman
6-1, 3-6, 6-2


THE MODERATOR: Ladies and Gentlemen, Andre Agassi. Questions, please.

Q. You suggested you weren't entirely comfortable in your first-round match. Did you feel any more comfortable this time?

ANDRE AGASSI: Slightly more comfortable, more accepting of the conditions out there. Different type of ball, too Jonas was hitting versus Alberto Martin. He plays with a lot of spin. Jonas hits the ball through the court. In some respects it was easier to groove today, to hit his ball, but then occasionally when he got good length on it, it was a bit hard to control in the windy conditions. You know, in conditions like that, really anything can happen and you just try to stay positive, keep taking good swings, and hope it falls your way.

Q. Were you surprised how quickly the first set went?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think it was a little closer than the score. First three games, I got off to a good start. He had 15-40 twice on my serve. You know, he was missing a lot of first serves which I knew he wouldn't do the whole match. Jonas is one of those guys that if he starts holding serve comfortably a few times, he even gets more dangerous with his return. So I anticipated it to get pretty tough out there.

Q. How happy are you with your situation in the bottom half of the draw? Roddick is out, Hewitt is out. You seem to be in a good position to go to at least the semifinals.

ANDRE AGASSI: I'll sign up for that. Just tell the tournament and I'll stay home tomorrow. I'll come back on Saturday (smiling).

Q. Can you talk about the recently ended relationship you had with Nike. It was, what, 17 years?

ANDRE AGASSI: More than that.

Q. Completely changed the way tennis was marketed.

ANDRE AGASSI: 19 years. Yeah, well, it's been a long, great relationship with Nike - no question. My 10-year deal with them was up early this year. We started some discussions that quickly led to an understanding and a comfort level on my terms and their terms as to what our business was. But like every relationship/partnership I have in my life now, I tie heavily into the foundation, to the kids that I have back home that I'm responsible for. I wanted a component of the contract to reflect that priority and that value. That wasn't something that they showed any interest in. You know, I didn't begrudge them for it. They make great shoes and that's their business. It's not my place to tell them they need to care about children. I'm at a great place in my life. You know, I don't have to worry about me. I've been blessed with this game, all the things that have come as a result of it. But I do have to worry about my foundation. I have to worry about the children that I'm responsible for. adidas stepped up and shared my vision and passion for it. It's just something I'm pretty excited about and glad to be a part of.

Q. On a purely practical level, you talk about the shoes, you've been wearing their shoes for so long, did you have to break in new shoes? Did you bring the mould with you?

ANDRE AGASSI: I've been pretty fortunate with my feet and knees. I've never had any issues over the years. But adidas make a great shoe. If you don't particularly respond to one, you've got other great ones to use, too. All these guys, you can see what they're using. Some of them are different. They're all great shoes. On the other practical side, me and my wife don't fight over what shoes the kids wear any more (smiling).

Q. So often these days you'll see a teenage face or a 20-something across the net from you. Is it fun, different or interesting to see a fellow 30-something out there with you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I think there's a lot to enjoy about playing against somebody that you've known and competed against for so long. I mean, there's a lot of mutual respect for just doing it for so long. And there's so many faces you sort of don't recognize any more, that to play against somebody you know makes you even that much more comfortable.

Q. You're supposed to play Kiefer tomorrow. What is your feeling about him?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, that's going to be a tough match. These are tough conditions, quick courts, windy. He's a quick-court kind of player. He uses the pace really well, moves the ball around, moves exceptionally well, counterpunches really well, too. You know, I'm going to have my hands full. I'm going to have to be hitting my shots and not hesitating. But I'm going to have to play a good match.

Q. Earlier today Greg was talking about the ball. Several players have talked about the balls being different, lighter than the US Open ball. Is that a major problem? Is it something the players are really concerned about? Anything you can do about it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, I would pull short of speaking for any other player or players. But I would definitely say there's a considerable difference between the ball we use on the ATP Tour versus the US Open ball, the Wilson ball. It's considerably different. It's an adjustment that has to be made by everybody. One side of the coin is, you know, that's what makes tennis so great, is two guys dealing with the same elements, see who can deal with it better. But there's no question there would be a higher standard of tennis if the players could certainly count on the conditions from one week to the next being as close as possible. But we've spent our lives making adjustments. It's nothing unusual.

Q. With so many of the top seeds making an early exit, is the commitment that the ATP asks for players, is it fair or is it excessively tiring?

ANDRE AGASSI: What they ask for?

Q. The amount of tournaments the players are required to play; penalties if you don't play specific tournaments.

ANDRE AGASSI: To be honest, I've been a little out of touch with that the last few years because my situation has taken a whole different turn. Regardless of what the penalties are, I've gotten to a point where I don't even think about them any more because I can't afford to weigh myself down with sort of the rat race of trying to keep up with everything. I can't do it any more. So I couldn't speak to what somebody has to play. I'm not sure exactly what the rules are, to be honest, is my answer. I haven't lived under them in a while. I've taken my medicine many times, and I've been fined a lot. But it's certainly better than trying to play all these tournaments and end up retiring. It's hard. It's getting harder. I mean, the standard of tennis is picking up. The pace of the ball, the violence of the movement, the wear and tear on the body, it's all -- it all builds up on you. It's no wonder why careers don't last as long as you would see in other sports. We're changing week to week surfaces, continent to continent, and playing a lot just to stay on top of our profession, and that's not easy.

Q. There's only a handful of guys over 30 that still play singles. As one of them, is it tougher mentally or physically to get out there?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think you have your moments of both. There are some days where it's much tougher mentally. Physically, you can feel great, but, you know, you might have a bad dream about your children, and you're three thousand miles away from them. Sometimes it's just harder to remind yourself about what you're doing and why you're doing it. Other times, you have a great desire for it, but physically you're not responding the way you want. That presents other challenges. Then sometimes it all comes together. It gets harder and harder, but I can control the mental, so I would prefer to take the health and deal with my tough days.

Q. Speaking of that, how was it today? Everything feel good?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I can't complain. Cannot complain. Felt good out there.

Q. Although it's a month and a half away, are you considering at all any Davis Cup in September? Patrick said he was hoping.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, listen, it's been hard for me to even plan on this summer right now. I'd rather not speculate on it at the moment. I think that it's too important of a decision to just guess. That's what I'd be doing right now. I still got a lot more matches on hard courts left this summer hopefully. I don't know how I'm going to respond. I hope it's good. But it has been week to week for me for a long time now. Yeah, that's the frustrating part. But it's also necessary.

Q. Do you think it might be possible for a teenager starting out to have a career like yours, 20 years?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think it gets harder and harder. You know, like I said, there's a lot more wear and tear on the body than there ever used to be because the pace of the ball has picked up. So it's one thing to hit the ball harder, but it's another thing when your opponent's hitting it harder. You have to move so violently. That's a lot more wear and tear. But when I won my first tournament, that was '87, Nadal was 1 (smiling). If he's playing right now, if there's a baby out there one years old, if he's still doing it...

Q. Might be your son?

ANDRE AGASSI: God bless him if he does that. It's a long road. It's a long road (smiling).

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