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Écrit par Jerome   
20-09-2006

THE STELLA ARTOIS CHAMPIONSHIPS
LONDON, ENGLAND

 

June 12, 2006

T. HENMAN/A. Agassi
6-4, 6-4

 

ANDRE AGASSI

             

              THE MODERATOR:   First question for Andre.

             

              Q.   Not an ideal first-round opponent for you, was he?

              ANDRE AGASSI:   Yeah, it's hard enough coming back from a few months without playing, let alone to sort of play a style like Tim's, you know.   He mixes it up well.   If you are uncomfortable, he'll expose you out there.   I felt that's what happened.

             

              Q.   What did you expect from yourself today?

              ANDRE AGASSI:   Yeah, I just wanted to settle in.   I wanted the match to end better than it started.   I knew I wouldn't be, regardless of the score, I wouldn't be comfortable early.   Just looking to settle in and see if I could start at least, you know, executing my shots and reacting to the ball better as the match went on.

             

              Q.   You were, weren't you, towards the end?

              ANDRE AGASSI:   Yeah, I started hitting a few cleaner shots.   Turned out to be a bit too late.

              But, yeah, you know, it's hard to assess it too effectively, you know.   It's the first match in a long time.   Wasn't terribly pretty.

             

              Q.   Your first match on grass, as well, for a long time?

              ANDRE AGASSI:   Yeah.   That always makes it a bit more precarious.

             

              Q.   No twinges?

              ANDRE AGASSI:   No, no.   Although it looked like it on the last shot, didn't it (smiling)?

              No, felt great.

             

              Q.   How long have you been able to prepare for this?

              ANDRE AGASSI:   Well, I've had about two and a half weeks on the hard courts back home, and then a good week here, you know, three, three and a half hours a day.

              So it's a lot of work for 50 minutes of tennis.

             

              Q.   How had you been feeling up until the match today?   Did you feel you were in good shape, your game was in good shape?

              ANDRE AGASSI:   Yeah, felt good physically, and mentally looking forward to it.   But feeling good in a match is a whole different proposition.

              So I went out there today expecting to be a bit unsettled, you know, reacting to the ball and sort of getting through the nerves of just executing my game.   Yeah, it wasn't, you know, as good as I'd hoped, but I suppose it could have been worse.

             

              Q.   Did you have to have another Cortisone shot to prepare yourself?

              ANDRE AGASSI:   I didn't.   I just opted not to.   I just felt like with a little bit of rest and preparation, if that doesn't get the job done, then I'm probably hoping for too much at this stage.

              But, you know, back's been feeling good, so no complaints there.

             

              Q.   Any idea what you'll do immediately now leading up to Wimbledon?

              ANDRE AGASSI:   Yeah, it's -- no, I don't know.   I mean, obviously, I don't have to travel very far, so that's good.   But, yeah, it's a long ways away still.   Many more practice hours and sets away.   So just try to get right for then.

             

              Q.   What did you make of Tim?   He's had a tough time recently, but today he played okay.   Just your thoughts on him really?

              ANDRE AGASSI:   Yeah, you know, I don't think I'm in a great position to assess him.   I mean, he did everything he needed to do out there and kept me, you know, out of any rhythm that I possibly could have found.   So, you know, he played an experienced match today.   He's only going to get better as he gets each match under his belt.

             

              Q.   Two players who have been around for as long as you both have, is it a shame from your point of view that you haven't played Tim more?

              ANDRE AGASSI:   Yeah.   Tim is one of the more enjoyable guys out here.   I mean, he's really a pleasure off the court, and on the court he's, you know, a tribute to the game.   He's a hard competitor and first-class professional.

              So it's been enjoyable, you know, being up here alongside him.   But to have not played more is a bit disappointing.

             

              Q.   What expectations do you have of yourself over the next few weeks?

              ANDRE AGASSI:   Yeah, I'm sort of working that out, as you can probably tell, in my own mind.   Yeah, I don't know.

              Today I wanted to go out there and start average and end good.   I feel like I started more uncomfortable than I wanted to and ended pretty ordinary.   So that's not good.

             

              Q.   Do you still feel totally committed to playing Wimbledon?

              ANDRE AGASSI:   Yeah, you know, health was my biggest issue, you know.   So if everything sort of holds up, that would be my plan.

              But, you know, the past year or so, maybe even more, it's been a week-to-week proposition for me.   Most cases, physically.   So I'll have to, you know, just get over the disappointment of this start and make my decisions from there.

             

              Q.   How do you deal with the fact that you might not ever be as good as you want to?   How do you work it out?

              ANDRE AGASSI:   I don't know.   I'll fill you in as I experience that.

             

              Q.   What is it like coming back to Wimbledon this year after not having been there for years?

              ANDRE AGASSI:   Yeah, you know, that's why I didn't play the clay this year, just to sort of give me a chance to be here again.

              But, you know, it's the first one I ever won, so it's a special place to me for sure.   First of the four and the last of the four are the best memories I have in this game, and it all started here.

             

              Q.   You feel you can be a contender?

              ANDRE AGASSI:   Not at the moment, no (smiling).   No.   It's hard for me to be overly confident with the match I played out there, but I certainly don't want to be pessimistic either, so...

             

              Q.   It's getting slower and slower at Wimbledon, bouncing higher every year.   Do you think that's going to help you this year?   Do you think you'll notice a big difference having not been there for a couple years?

              ANDRE AGASSI:   Yeah, I noticed it two years ago, you know.   There was a dramatic difference between two years ago and sort of five years previous.   I don't know if you can pinpoint it year by year, as much as you can, sort of how it's evolved over the last 10 years, certainly 15 to 20 when the court's used to get chewed up a lot more.   Now they're almost such good grass courts that it bounces like a hard court.

              Balls have definitely gotten heavier, guys have gotten bigger and faster, so there's a lot more rallies now.   It's deceptively hard work, too, physically on the grass because the ball is lower than a normal court, so footing is more unsure, so your every step is taking a lot out of you if you're running hard.   It's a good game, though.

             

              Q.   Do you think you would have won more Wimbledons if the conditions were like they are now in the '90s?

              ANDRE AGASSI:   I don't know.   I lost a couple semis to Rafter, who certainly plays well in fast conditions, you know.   I just have to look back over the years at the chances I would have had.   I had a couple chances there possibly, or some of those finals against Pete the year he played an incredible match.

              So, yeah, I'm not sure a lot would have been different, but I wouldn't roll the dice if it meant putting my 1992 on the line.

             

              Q.   Given the changes in grass, what do you think Rafa's potential on grass could be?

              ANDRE AGASSI:   Well, I think any surface, movement is such an important part of it.   I mean, it's easy to say that -- it's easy to see that he's going to have more difficulty on grass than any other surface from his side of the court, as well as how effective his ball is on the other side of the court.

              I respect how much he's valued Wimbledon and what he's said about it.   It shows you the competitor's heart he has.   Any time you got a ticker like that, you got to leave room for some great things.

             

              Q.   What did you think of yesterday's final?   Were you a bit surprised the way it turned after the first set?

              ANDRE AGASSI:   Well, I was surprised the way it started and the way it turned.   It was patchier than I was anticipating it, you know.   You picture sort of a titanic battle from start to finish because that's what you've seen so often from both of them.

              But it was a bit patchy, and certainly Roger had his chances early in the second and seemed to lose a little belief there.   But, you know, he hung on and he made Rafael put it away at the end, and you never know how he could have snuck back into it.

              But it's a big match.   It's hard to know how anybody is going to really respond to that opportunity.   It would have been an incredible feat.   Even what he's done is an incredible feat.   To have three finals, three wins in finals sort of on board is pretty amazing, and how long he's been doing it now and how he's separated himself from the field.

              But, yeah, to have a dominant No. 1 sort of be dominated by the No. 2 is an amazing, unique thing.   I mean, I don't know if you can ever really say we've seen that.

             

              Q.   Is the rivalry up there with you and Pete, do you think?

              ANDRE AGASSI:   Well, I look forward to watching it, I can tell you.   It's hard for me to be objective as to how anybody felt when me and Pete played.   For us, it was Sunday and it meant a lot of big things on the line.   But I look forward to the matchup.   I look forward to how it's going to play out.   You always seem to feel like Roger has the weapons to do it 'cause you've seen him do it so many times, but somehow the persistency of Nadal with the spin and the height of his shots and the speed that he plays at, you know, as far as covering court, makes Roger have to hit three or four good shots in one point to win the point, and a good shot for Roger tends to get it done in one or two against anybody else.

              So it's a fun dynamic to see play out.

             

              Q.   Can you see Roger winning the French one day?

              ANDRE AGASSI:   Sure, he can.   Yeah.   He's arguably the best player on clay besides one, you know.   I think a lot has to go wrong for Nadal not to win more on clay, and a lot has to go wrong for Roger not to have his chances again.

 
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