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Écrit par Jerome   
20-09-2006

2005 TENNIS MASTERS CUP
SHANGHAI, CHINA

November 14, 2005

N. DAVYDENKO/A. Agassi
6-4, 6-2

ANDRE AGASSI

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Andre, you appeared to be holding your right shoulder there. Is that what was giving you trouble during the match?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, no, less than the ankle. But when you haven't played in so long, you know, I mean, I couldn't really hit balls for a couple of months because of my sprained ankle, or for a month at least. You come back, try to get ready in a hurry and you force it and things just don't respond if you try to do it too soon. Just from serving, in the last week of trying to get ready, it was just a little stiff and sore. But the movement is more of an issue.

Q. How do you think about your triple breakpoints, sixth game in the second set?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, that was probably the highlight of the match for me, unfortunately. Good opportunity to get back in the match. But you base so much on the -- you know, how the meat of the point is going, and I wasn't on top of it, you know. Where I should have been controlling the match I wasn't, and then the other areas he was even doing better still. So I just would have prolonged my agony out there.

Q. But we saw the same thing happen in the fifth game when you take the lead, but you just can't make it. So what do you think about that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think it's probably a sign of just not playing many matches and not feeling terribly good.

Q. What is the state of your ankle exactly? Is it hurting? Is it apprehension for you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it's not easy to ask it to do what I'm asking it to do. Especially on this surface, it's very sticky. It stops and everything else moves. It's hard to have confidence. Then when you try a little bit, it's still painful. You know, movement is everything. If you're not in position, you're playing high-risk. Yeah, so today was obviously taking a chance to test it out. I practiced for an hour and that's pushing it. And today, I was just getting worse. It's not ready.

Q. How do you expect your next two matches, and how do you adapt to the surface or something like that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, listen, with the state of my ankle right now, there's no chance for me to be able to play again. This is -- for me to go out on the court to play like this, nobody wants to see it. It's very dangerous and risky for my future to be ready for anything in the next four or five weeks. So this is just, you know, an unfortunate setback. But for me to get on the court and to be ordinary and for my ankle to get worse as the match went on, it's not good.

Q. Will you play in the tournament?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I can't play like that, absolutely. With what I'm feeling, I cannot.

Q. Did you expect it to be that bad, or when you went on the court?

ANDRE AGASSI: Listen, I came here a week ago. Coming here a week ago, I felt there was a 25% chance I would be playing. It was still very swollen. But the first few days it made good progress. But to play 35 minutes, I was starting to really feel it in practice. To play an hour, I had to stop the practice. As a few days go by, I thought, "Okay, it's 50/50, I can play." Last few days, it's arguably not getting worse, so I have to try and see and give it a chance to push through. But it has way too much effect on my movement. I'm scared to hurt it worse. It's still very painful, especially after 35, 40 minutes of being on the court. It doesn't do anybody any good for me to be out there, except for my opponents. That's it.

Q. Are you very disappointed at that, first? Second, do you think there's a risk of also having a problem getting ready for Australia?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think that's always a risk whenever you're playing with an injury. I mean, three weeks ago was very unfortunate. When I sprained my ankle, I had a third-degree sprain. It's still swollen. It's still very painful. That's when it was unfortunate. I mean, to come here and to have a chance was optimistic. You know, today was just clear for me that it's not -- I can't be on the court like that. I just can't do it. I swore I'd never do it before today, and I did it.

Q. Although you lost today, your first serve percentage I believe was higher than Davydenko's. Are there any other positives you can take from the match?

ANDRE AGASSI: I got to spend a week in Shanghai. This is good.

Q. I'd like to thank you personally for playing today despite your injury.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, well...

Q. You are going on to play next days, after all those negative considerations?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. I've said this now four times. It's not possible for me to be on the court.

Q. I'm so sorry. Just arrived.

ANDRE AGASSI: Thank you.

Q. Another question. Have you heard that Nadal is not going to play, too?

ANDRE AGASSI: I just heard that tonight. That's terrible. I hope his injury is something that doesn't last very long, because, you know, it's just been terrible this year for the amount of players that haven't been ready to play here. It's probably a sign that, you know, things need to change somewhere for guys to feel better about their physical ability to get ready for a tournament this big. It's the end of a long year and it's not easy. It's very unfortunate.

Q. At what point in the match did you know you could not go through?

ANDRE AGASSI: As you're moving and you're playing, you're not having the confidence, which is fine. I wasn't trusting it. I wasn't moving good, but it wasn't so bad I could push through. But then when you feel like it's only getting worse, not when it either stays the same or sometimes it can warm up when it keeps getting worse, and this happens after, you know, 30 minutes of tennis, it's 30 minutes of movement. But at the end of the day, even if it affects your movement a little bit, there's no chance out there. Guys play too good. This tournament is too strong. It's impossible - for me at least.

Q. A lot of players talk about the scheduling being too hard, and especially now you see Madrid, Bercy and even here, it seems with all the injuries, there is really something wrong. Everybody talks about it, but doesn't really seem that players do a lot about it. Can you players not do more about it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's everybody's choice when they play. Ultimately there's penalties and it's not easy when your opponents are playing. The schedule of the year is a difficult one and requires lots of adjustment, and you do not have much off time and all that. I try to make my own decisions that keep me healthier. But the physicality of the game is also getting more, you know. It's too difficult for guys to run as hard as they do over and over again, you know. The ball's faster. Guys are stronger. The movement is much more violent now. So this means the potential of more injuries, you know. So maybe somewhere as athleticism of the game improves, maybe there has to be some adjustments that make it possible for guys to go 100% all season and then have some time. But it's too bad it happens here, you know. I mean, Shanghai deserves more than this, to have so many players not be here, if China does as well as the game does. This is a big tournament and should have everybody here and healthy, and it doesn't. That's very sad.

Q. The second set you were broken. Did you think about giving up, or you decided to keep going?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, giving up is relative. You're still hoping for something good to happen. It's very easy to get discouraged and to not have much hope. Again, the areas of the match that I should have been controlling; I wasn't. I wasn't in position. I was playing very high-risk tennis because of my movement. He's too good for that.

Q. I know you told us, Andre, that you did it playing racquetball. Could you just explain a little, elaborate how the accident happened.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I just came down on my foot on the movement and rolled over and snapped it to the floor. I mean, it was a third-degree sprain, which, you know, sprains are in one, two and three levels, depending on how many ligaments are damaged. All three of mine were torn, had tears. Ankle was swollen. I couldn't walk for, you know, 12 days. Tried to rehabilitate quickly. Came here with very low expectation of being healthy, but as I practiced the first few days it improved. Okay, I thought maybe if I tape it and I support it, maybe I can push through, but I couldn't, you know. But the foot went to the outside and down. So on the outside, three ligaments were gone and on the inside I had the compression of the bone hitting bone. So I have a bone bruise on the inside, on the inside of my foot, which is actually more of a pain than the outside.

Q. Since you said it's impossible to play, what is your plan the rest of the week? Are you leaving or are you staying? Second question is, we heard that you injured your back, too. What is the situation with your back?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, my back is okay. But, you know, what I do is I have to figure it out now. I mean, I don't know the best way to get my ankle healthy. I have some time. The most important thing is that it's healthy for next year because this year's over with. Most likely I'll leave, go back to my family, and try to get healthy soon so I can continue my preparation for another year.

Q. I know you probably don't want to spend too much time debating the future of the sport, but all the elements of tennis come to this event, the players are here, the ITF, the ATP under new leadership. Do you think this is an opportunity for tennis to get together and debate what is best for the future of this tournament so we're not in this position where players have to forfeit in big events? It's an opportunity for the players to have a stronger say in the calendar so the sport isn't in this position in the future.

ANDRE AGASSI: I think there's areas where it's important the players have a stronger say but there's a lot of areas where it's important that they don't. You know, doing things right requires a lot of sacrifice from each party, and it's understanding and accepting that sacrifice and leading the way with a short-term cost for a long-term gain. I think any time everybody's together to work this out is ideal. But, you know, you just can't stick a bunch of people in the room to talk about it. Somebody or something has to truly represent the better interest of this sport or else it will never move as a unit. We all have opinions, and we all think we're right, but it's important for there to be resolve in the direction that we're going, and that's not going to happen by trying to appease everybody's opinion. I'm not sure. It certainly starts with communication, but I'm not convinced that everybody trying to represent themselves is the best way for it to happen.

Q. Three times in Shanghai, didn't win a match. Your fans will be more sad than you are. What do you want to say to your fans here in Shanghai?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, yeah, it makes me feel very good that people will be disappointed that I've lost every time I've come to Shanghai. You know, I mean, that's some consolation to have that support. But nothing removes the disappointment of not being able to play at my best or have success here, you know. This is not just an important tournament; it's an important area of the world, and one that I think the game can benefit a lot from. So, you know, I'm sorry for four ordinary performances. It's not what I hoped for.

Q. How do you deal in your mind with the fact that a kid like Nadal, an 18-year-old, is dealing with all the problems in the last three tournaments? He's just a player that just won in Madrid. He pulled out at the very last minute. He had to walk over in Bercy and he has to walk over now. Even a kid at 18 couldn't go all the way.

ANDRE AGASSI: So the question is he's young and injured, is that a concern?

Q. Yes. He's 18. He's not doing the whole schedule.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, yeah, you know, listen, Nadal is a great talent, and he has for sure raised the bar for how players need to approach this game, you know. It's a very physical game. But he's writing checks that you only hope his body can cash. He plays very hard every single point. You hope he can stay healthy. But it is a lot of wear and tear. A great career not only takes what he has, but it also takes some luck too, you know. You have to be healthy.

Q. There has been a lot of talk about the surface. Could you comment a little bit more on it. Is it a little bit hard to play on it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's a difficult surface. I think, you know, it's always good to have a court that represents -- a tournament that represents an entire year of success. The top eight should have a court that allows that sort of a compromise between all of them: if you want to play up, you want to play back, you want to play high, you want to play fast. I mean, this is what the court should be, you know. It's definitely a court that's going to favor some players over another. It's difficult also to move on. Some of these indoor courts are, you know, but this one especially. The surface in Paris, in Bercy, is the same. The surface in Basel is the same. It's very difficult on the body because your feet stick, you know, when you move.

 
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