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Écrit par Jerome   

Key Biscayne, FL

March 15, 1994

A. AGASSI/C. Pioline

6-4, 6-2




Q. Andre, you have to be happy with that performance?

ANDRE AGASSI: Very, very, very happy.

Q. Is it just feeling like everything is coming into place -- falling into place now?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, it seems like every match poses its different obstacles for me, being away so long, getting through it always feels like there is another piece added. To say if this was the biggest step for me than yesterday would be tough to say, but I think -- I think it is, every bit is important. I have always been so comfortable against Boris and I think the past couple of years of my career I have struggled, kind of, playing with new players who are a little strange for me and especially with the layoff and now coming back and just this was really a mental match for me. It was something - I went in there knowing I am going to have to stay focused, stay determined, hopefully break him down. The fact that it turned out that way was quite a confidence booster.

Q. Did you watch him play at the U.S. Open at all?

ANDRE AGASSI: Just I mean, I was out of the tournament early, so I was watching from the TV. It is not quite as easy to pick up things, but I watched him play a little bit.

Q. What do you think of his game?

ANDRE AGASSI: He has a very dangerous game. He hits everything real well and can hit winners off both his forehand and backhand. His forehand is a little erratic, but I am sure when he is playing well, like at the U.S. Open, he can beat some players. So that is why it was important more for me today to stay focused and disciplined.

Q. When you say that it was an important match mentally for you, was the fact that yesterday you played Boris, all the hype, and you hadn't played like two named players consecutively like that before made you really focus?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think that was part of it. I think the game style was a part of it. When you are away from the game and you play these guys who are consistent from the backcourt who move well, it is a struggling point. Like in Palm Springs against Santoro, it was weird for me, I didn't feel comfortable with my court position; I didn't feel comfortable with my shot selection. You are hitting five to ten balls every point. With Becker, it is a little different; more a shot making match. I have a lot more confidence in myself after five months off and hitting shots than I do with working a point. So I think that was what I meant by mental, really to focus on making the right decisions.

Q. Do you feel you carry something from what Pancho Segura told you last year in terms of staying patient?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, Pancho has left me a few things that I will keep with my forever. He knows the game real well, and I have learned a lot from him. To balance what he feels into my game is important because if I go too extreme, I think it kind of changes my instinct to the game. It is important I don't take it too extreme. But definitely, I have learned from that.

Q. If you could place yourself on the computer rankings, ignoring where you are actually ranked, where do you think you are at right now?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's a great question. I mean, I would be interested for you to ask Pioline that. I mean, it is hard for me to be objective because I am judgmental on myself when things aren't going well; then I have a match like today, I feel like I can beat anybody in the world. So it is tough for me to say. But I know that-- what is my ranking now?

Q. 31.

ANDRE AGASSI: I know one thing for sure, I'll play number 30 player in the world right now for a lot of money if he wanted to.

Q. How much is the fact that you feel physically stronger in a match like that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Physically stronger and physically fitter. I am moving extremely well, and I feel like I can do it as long as I have to, which is you know, different for me now than it has been for a year and a half or so, and just a lot of things has turned around in my life. Especially my career, and it is just really nice to see it all come together like this.

Q. Andre, who is the tougher opponent Cedric or Stephanie the ball girl?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I don't know. Playing those girls out there, you get a bit nervous, you know, it is kind of like that Martina/Connors thing. I would have to pick Cedric on that one.

Q. The fact last year, when did you decide exactly that you wanted to be back stronger or was it the same precise time?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know if there was a precise time because it was an accumulation of so many things. I think that it started with-- it started, I think, with Nick, you know, leaving me. It started me really thinking and reassessing a lot of things, and then it led into me, you know, not feeling like I can play tennis pain free was a big frustration and that and then all of a sudden having to pull out of the fall and then when the wrist surgery came up. There was a number of things that just kind of-- the longer I was away from the game, the more I had time to think about what I wanted from the game and what was important to me, so it was a lot of steps, and to say which step pushed me over the edge would be tough to say, but I know that somewhere over the past few months, there is-- a change has taken place.

Q. Did being away from the game for five months increase your appreciation for the game?

ANDRE AGASSI: There is no question it did. But I think it is more than that. I think that is more of a temporary frame of mind, wow, it is exciting for me to be back; all of a sudden it gets old again. That is not what it is. There is a core change. Tennis is a platform that I feel like I can use to really excel and to make myself the most I can be. Tennis has really presented a lot of challenge for me that I haven't been able to overcome, and I don't like that. If you knew me on a personal level, you would know that is something I don't accept. Trying to turn into a professional thing has been a big step for me. I feel like I am doing it. I feel like it is something that is going to last forever; not just, oh, I am thankful to be back.

Q. What about the next match against Stefan Edberg?

ANDRE AGASSI: I have always played well against Stefan, and really, he always played well against me too, it is a great contrast. It is an exciting match to watch because you kind of get to see it all out there, real similar to when I play Boris. It is exciting tennis. You get to see all kinds of shots, and you know, he is an incredible athlete. Incredible tennis player and he is somebody that you-- I have a tremendous amount of respect for as far as his abilities. I got to go out there and stay focused on my strengths, and make sure I am returning well. That is going to be very important and you know, keep him pinned at the baseline because when he gets the net, there is nobody can really-- nobody does it better than him up there, and it is going to be a question of who can keep the match in their strengths, if he can get to net, and hurt me before I can hurt him from the baseline, or if he can serve better than I can return or I can return better than he can serve, so there is a few factors that are going to make the difference.

Q. Thank you.
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