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Écrit par Jerome   


August 14, 2005

R. NADAL/A. Agassi
6-3, 4-6, 6-2


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andre.

Q. You said you'd have the best seat in the house. I'm curious as to your impressions of the young man.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, he has a difficult game. It's certainly easy to see why he's won so many matches. He does a lot of things really well. Just a great mover on the court. Gets good power from very stretched positions so you're never quite sure if you have complete control of the point. I found his serve more awkward than I was anticipating because if you don't hit a good return, he immediately gets on the offense. That's a sign of a great player: somebody who can play good defense, but also when they get ahold of a point, they don't let go of it. He's one of those guys that if he gets ahold of a point, he's not going to let go of it. It puts more pressure on you to hit a quality return, and it moves a little bit. I felt like today that was a big difference. I wasn't getting neutral enough right off his serve. That surprised me a little bit.

Q. Did your game plan change at all after the rain delay? Looked like in the second set you were maybe coming into the net a little more.

ANDRE AGASSI: I think it was a product of just playing a set against him. I mean, we never even hit balls together. So you haven't even felt what his ball does, let alone what his best shots are. And after the rain delay, I certainly had a good feel for what his ball was going to do, which allowed me to be a little bit more convicted on my shots. Yeah, so it changed a little bit.

Q. We know you like to take the ball pretty early. It looked like you were a little bit closer up to the baseline at the start of the match on Nadal's serve, a little bit further back towards the end. Is that a good assessment?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, that is a good assessment. That was the case. I thought -- you know, you watch him on TV, it looks like he just rolls that serve in. It looks like you should be able to hit it pretty effectively. But it is a lefty action with sort of a slice sometimes kick to it. So the ball's moving around a bit. If you don't hit it square, you leave anything hanging, and that's where he's really dangerous. So it's not so much that you can't stand up on the serve as much as if you don't hit it perfectly, you're going to pay for that. And I felt like I wasn't getting into enough points on his serve, so I drifted back to give myself a chance just to hit a quality cut and get into the point, which turned out to be pretty necessary. You know, the ball's jumping out there. The way he hits it, it's even jumping that much more.

Q. Tennis fans in Montreal are going to keep you to your word when you say you're going to be back here in a couple years.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, maybe it will be just to visit the city, but I'll be back here (smiling).

Q. We saw you after the match on the court. Maybe you had some problems with your hip. Was it hurting during the match, as well?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, listen -- no, no, no, not during the match. It was fine. Today he outplayed me in the third set and the first set, so he won the match. When I start to cool down, if I have to stand around, it's not very comfortable for me. It's been that way for a while.

Q. Was it the same after each game?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I don't usually stand around after each game because I don't have to. But when you're standing out there for the ceremony, it just starts to. I'm just trying hard not to irritate it more during those times because pain is a great indicator of you're doing something you shouldn't be doing.

Q. How would you assess where you are now after these two tournaments going into the US Open?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, listen, eight weeks ago I wasn't sure if I was playing tennis again, you know. So to be out here feeling healthy and being able to move and hit my shots, that part alone feels great to me, let alone actually playing well. So now all of a sudden I'm faced with the reality that I can actually go enjoy The Open this year because I'm doing a few things right, which is nice to feel. Yeah, I like where I am right now.

Q. Are you referring to your back from eight weeks ago?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, that's right.

Q. What are your impressions of getting two standing ovations during a match? Pretty special, no?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, yeah, some great, warm expressions of appreciation out there. Man, I just take those moments in more now than I ever have. It was pretty special. It's been a lot of years I've been coming here, so that just motivates me to keep trying.

Q. What do you do during the rain delay? It looked like when you came back out there, you might have had a little more energy.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, like I said earlier, I mean, I think the biggest difference is when you play somebody, you don't know what to expect, how their ball feels. I think both players are a little sort of out of sorts trying to figure that out. It was just nice to have a rain delay, to come out and then to know what I was in for, to know what I had to do. It allowed me to have a bit more conviction on my shot selections and pace of ball. Plus, too, there's a sense of urgency: you're already down a set; you need to establish yourself.

Q. Will you play Cincinnati next week?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, that's the plan. I'm going there tonight. I'm going to see how my body pulls up tomorrow. It's been a long few weeks for me. I hope I pull up good.

Q. He broke your serve I think twice in that third set. Obviously, that's somewhere you don't want to go.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, the 3-1 game, I mean, that's the game that I sort of consider to be the worst game of the match for me. We had a long first point for me to go up 15-Love. He took a lot of time to recover from that point when I was waiting to serve. I was trying to get Lars to tell him he has to play at my pace. So I lost concentration there a little bit. Immediately threw a double-fault in, then I made a quick error. All of a sudden, after a long point I won with him sort of breathing hard, he had 50 seconds in between those two points alone to recover, and I was serving 15-30. You know, I get it back to 30-40 and dump a forehand I never should have missed. That game was the nail in the coffin.

Q. Would you like to see that enforced more from the chair umpires, considering you seem to keep yourself in such good shape on the tour?

ANDRE AGASSI: I got to believe he knows the rules. I was always under the impression that you sort of have to play to the server's pace. Rafael is very a practical, calculated, sort of methodical player. He takes his time. It's great to see somebody have that sense about themselves at such a young age, where they take their time and they execute. He should have the right to do that. But there's also a need to play to the server's pace. I'm not sure where the subtleties fall on that particular rule. I just felt like if the server can play at a certain pace, so can the returner. That's certainly what I've always tried to hold myself to. But we might be splitting hairs there when it comes to how that's interpreted.

Q. Can you compare him to other players in terms of his quickness?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, there's so many different ways to assess speed. You got guys that are tremendously fast, but they only use their speed defensively, then you really don't care about how fast they are because they're only going to have to run more. You got other guys that can use their speed offensively, but if you get them on the defense they can't hurt you on the stretch, so you can take a point over early and they can be fast but never turn a point around. Nadal has the ability to run as fast as the best of 'em, but on the stretch actually hurt you. You know, he can transition those points into offense. That makes you sort of walk on egg shells. He draws out errors that I think normally you wouldn't make against any other player, which is a credit to the way he plays the game.

Q. When you came in on the Pro Tour 17, 18 years ago, they nicknamed you "the kid." Do you see yourself in this new kid on the block?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I don't see myself. He's a unique person to himself. I mean, everybody is.

Q. Do you agree you've been serving better than ever the last couple of weeks, especially when you needed to?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I think my serve has really come through for me the last few weeks. You know, but I always feel like my serve is a by-product of the movement and the rest of my game. When I'm moving well and hitting the ball clean, I'm looking forward to the first swing at the ball. I'm not really thinking, hit the ace or get the free point. I'm thinking effective serve, short ball, control the point. As my confidence builds around that, I think I just start relaxing. Sometimes I get into a great rhythm on my serve. But if I step out in a match trying to serve well or trying to serve big, you know, that's a recipe for disaster for me. Sort of in hindsight, I have been serving well, no question.

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