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Écrit par Jerome   

Key Biscayne, FL

March 17, 1994

A. AGASSI/ S. Edberg

7-6(9), 6-2




Q. Andre, that must be a very satisfying result.

ANDRE AGASSI: To say the least, you know. More sothan just beating Stefan the entire week, from Boris, then to playing the contrast in Pioline, then to come back to a guy like Stefan who covers the net better than anybody in the game. It's really given me a lot of confidence.

Q. How about being able to win a tiebreaker like that? How important is that right now to your comeback?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think that was crucial, you know. I think if anything that reflects kind of my state of mind. I'm not really getting discouraged out there; I'm not getting down on myself. I'm really staying in it, mentally, and, you know, working for every point. If it's 40-Love or, you know, 30-All, I'm really forcing myself to want that point and down 6-2 in the tiebreaker and come back to win, it is really a big confidence booster for me.

Q. I heard you mention the wind out there; was it a factor?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's interesting; it was definitely a factor; it was moving, and it's tough to keep the returns low, especially off his heavy bouncing serve. Anybody in the game knows if the ball is even close to the top of the net level, Stefan is going to win the point. I was trying hard to -- when I threw a few lobs, I swore I hit them perfect, then the wind factored in and made it long.

Q. Is this new stadium prone to that?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I think Florida is it prone to that.

Q. Is that the way a lot of your matches go with him, you get on a roll sometimes, then he'll get on a roll, then go back and forth like that?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, he's the kind of player that he really, he's tough to stop once he gets the lead, you know, it's so important to keep it close with him and look for those few opportunities you're going to get, and once you get on top of him, you have to stay there; you can't get lackadaisical, you know, like the second set his intensity dropped a little, had he held serve the second game and there is a chance we could be in a third set battle right now.

Q. How did you keep him away from the net in the second set?

ANDRE AGASSI: I just tried to discourage him by doing my best to pass him. I mean really, I really was moving well; I was moving toward the ball, hitting effectively. Really everybody who plays me is a little hesitant just to come running on everything. I think you have to be selective when you approach against me, and he was doing his best to do that. He does that as well as anybody in the world, if not better. So he -- he was just sticking to his game plan, and I was doing my best to mine. I was keeping the ball deep. You give him too many short balls, he can hurt you.

Q. How far along the trail back do you think you are now?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, if I was playing my best tennis, I would feel great about this tournament, so, you know, it's tough for me to say. I still feel like I need the match play, I don't feel -- I feel like I missed some crucial first serves in the tiebreaker. I feel there are a couple of things I need to improve on, a few easy volleys that I got a little anxious because it's been so long since I've, you know, really have been in those match situations where you just have to make that. So there is a lot of things I still need to improve, but it's definitely coming along a lot quicker than I anticipated.

Q. Can you feel it coming almost match by match, because that's what it appears to be from watching you, anyway?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yes, there is no question about that. It seems like I go into each match feeling really confident about my last one, but then the match I played takes me to a new level of confidence. It's just, to beat Boris and Stefan back to back like that has been very important to me.

Q. Andre, just how much fitter are you, and what did you do to put yourself in this position?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you know, I mean my fitness really speaks for itself, just looking at me really more than anything. But it's been a combination of a lot of things. A combination of diet, a lot of cardiovascular training and weights. It's been an all-around training program that I've been very disciplined about. I've hit a standard physically now that I don't ever see myself -- ever see myself slacking off on. I don't think I could accept any other standard for myself, physically, right now, and it's exciting. It is not so much I just did it; it's really become a way of life for me.

Q. Something like -- seriously, no donuts; are you off that kind of stuff?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you know, I mean, we all have our moments. But I just, I try to monitor, you know, monitor my fat intake, you know, and you could do that a number of ways. You could do that by not eating fat, then splurging every now and then, or you could eat a little bit of fat every time, you know, but, you know, sometimes it's this and sometimes that. But I monitor it with how I'm feeling, how I'm looking, and how fit I am. I mean it's not, it's not magic. You just have to be willing to pay the price.

Q. Diet-wise, have you had to sacrifice anything you actually really love?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, my entire appetite.

Q. I mean any particular food or item?

ANDRE AGASSI: There are just too many; really everything. It's -- I mean, I go to restaurants now and it's -- my whole mind set is totally different, you know. It's just a step that I've made because it is important to me.

Q. Do you drive by Taco Bell -- I'm not trying to goof on you, really -- you don't pull into Taco Bell or --

ANDRE AGASSI: Let me ask you something: Could I still do that and be this fit?

Q. Well --

ANDRE AGASSI: Is that possible? Do you think?

Q. Occasionally, I suppose, yeah. I don't know.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, occasionally I may then, you know. Reality, the bottom line is, I'm fit. We don't need to worry about the rest.

Q. Andre, I came in on the tail-end of an ESPN interview where it sounded like you said something, mentioned the phrase going back to college.

ANDRE AGASSI: Uh-huh. What's your question?

Q. Are you going to college?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, no, they just asked me what would I do if I wasn't playing tennis anymore. Something that would probably be important to me would get back to college and go to school. I would enjoy that.

Q. To do what, what would you work on?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know, I don't have -- I don't even -- I have no concept of what college is all about, to be quite honest. I left high school early; finished, but left school. So I, you know, I don't know, but I definitely would go.

Q. As far as your training is concerned, the basic difference between you now and say 18 months ago that you're doing more varied training, or is it you've changed the number of hours on the court, is everything more intensive, or what?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, you know, my -- I have -- my gym in Las Vegas that just opened really as my injury came to a peak at the end of last year, about five months ago, and equipment that's been designed with me and my trainer, Gil Reyes, and the equipment is really state of the art and it's not something I would ever really, really show or share with anybody. But it's been a combination of being very disciplined with my eating, being very disciplined with my strength training, with the weights, being very disciplined with my cardiovascular training, running and a few of the machines that we have. And also, on-the-court training. It's just been a total commitment, really. I mean people want to look for magic answers on how to get in shape, and really just, you know, you've got to pay the price, you know.

Q. Andre, is this the Andre of old, or are you better than the Andre of old now?

ANDRE AGASSI: Tennis-wise?

Q. Yes.

ANDRE AGASSI: I should be disappointed if I wasn't better, you know, really the game has moved on, and to be out there competing with these guys, you know, speaks for itself, so I have to say I am definitely better. I think we all are.

Q. Do you actually feel better in your general health because of all these things, respective of the tennis?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. Most importantly, I like the way I feel; a lot faster, and I feel a lot stronger. But that's only reflective when I'm on the court. I don't necessarily walk around, you know, and feel better; I just know I'm strong, and I know I'm capable of going the distance. And knowing that, its really offered me a lot of confidence on the court.

Q. Do you enjoy the extra work that you're putting in, or is it a bit tedious and boring and monotonous?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's only as hard as it is important to you. It's very important to me, so it's not difficult at all. Its a just become a way of life, really.

Q. How many hours do you work, rough, a day?

ANDRE AGASSI: It depends, really. It depends where I am in my schedule, you know. How tired I am from playing. After Palm Springs I was very tired because it's just tough to get back and play matches when you haven't for a while. I took off four days, five days, didn't do a thing and practiced two days before this tournament. But during my five months off, I was going six days a week, hour and a half in the weight room, 45 minutes of cardiovascular training, and at the time, I wasn't playing any tennis. But then my diet is something I do all the time.

Q. About your wrist, might you let up on the tennis until the French Open or continue full --

ANDRE AGASSI: We're really assessing it week by week. I came back committing to these tournaments because I felt like I'm going to need the match play and I can't count on going out there and winning, but now I've been doing that a little bit, I have to decide on what my next step is and how it feels. I have some time to rest after this week, I have a week off and I'll play Osaka then two weeks off. By the time I get to Monte Carlo, this will be long behind me.

Q. During those frustrating months and had the injury and couldn't play, how close were you following what was going on on the tour?

ANDRE AGASSI: Not very closely, really, at all. I was kind of doing my best to stay away from it because it was too hard being away and being very aware of the fact that I was away. I just tried to pretend, you know, like I was, like tennis wasn't a part of my life, at least for a few months to get through.

Q. Are you a good tennis watcher, anyway?

ANDRE AGASSI: Not really, I hate -- I've never been into spectating, you know. I like to -- if I watch, and especially if I can do it, you know, which is why I watch all the other sports, because I can't do any of them.

Q. Andre, this gym, this is not part of your home, this is a private --

ANDRE AGASSI: Yes, it's not part of my home.

Q. Is it just a public gym that you go to?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, it's mine.

Q. Oh, its yours but -- got it. Okay. A couple of years ago when you started going into various fitness programs and you seemed to have bulked up a lot, with this new program, the diet, exercise, etc., how much have you slimmed down, and how much bulk have you dropped, or what is the position?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you know, bulk is really, I mean, there is a lot of misconceptions about that. You know, if you're building muscle and you're not losing fat, you're going to look very bulky; if you build muscle and lose the fast you're going to look very defined. My weight training has stayed very disciplined and very hard. I've just been able to cut out a lot of fat out of my diet and be able to work out hard cardiovascularly to burn the fat. And then when you're done with that, you have somebody who looks in shape. You can't lift weights to get bulky and you can't lift weights to get toned. You lift weights for muscles and the tone comes from losing the fat. If you don't believe it look it up.

Q. Have you set any bench marks for measuring your progress tournament-wise this year?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, really I'm assessing it week by week because there has been so many variables involved that, you know, I don't know, it would have been quite impossible to even guess how I would respond. I mean, it's kind of been assessing it as we go. And after this tournament, we're going to need to stop and figure how much time I'm going to need off and how much time I'm going to need to get ready and back peaking again for Monte Carlo.

Q. Presumably, the important thing is how you feel you play rather than rankings or overall results?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, you know, I've always said that's a reflection, really how you're playing, which is true, especially at this stage of my career, you know, coming back it is very important for me to be focused on really getting my game to where I feel it should be and the ranking is going to take care of itself. I don't even -- from here on in I don't think I have any -- I don't think I played a tournament from here on in last year, maybe Barcelona. Not maybe, I played Barcelona, and then not till the summer. So the rankings is going to take care of itself, I just need to get out there and let the guys know I'm out there and ready to compete.

Q. Andre, was there ever a time you said to yourself, maybe, look, I'm not a kid anymore, I'm really going to be remembered as one of the real greats of the game I'd rather --

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I haven't done that yet.

Q. I mean a moment of truth as far as --

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, that's what I've been talking about for months now. Really I've made, you know, it's not just this emotional, I'm excited to be back. Tennis has become a very important part of life to me. Not that it's bigger than life, not it's my entire life just something I'm focusing 99.9 percent of my energies towards. It's taken a strong priority because it's -- it really presents challenges that I haven't been able to overcome so far, and I really want this for myself, not for anybody else. You know, I'm done with that. I wanted it for my dad for a lot of years, I wanted it for Nick for a lot of years. I wanted it for, you know, a lot of, you know, for approval just from the public, for you guys, you know, really there has been a lot of reasons I felt a need to work my butt off to do something. And now it has nothing to do with that, it's just for myself.

Q. Andre, getting back to the rankings, you said Tuesday night that at this point you'd be willing to play number 30 for money right now.


Q. Are you ready to boost that number to maybe 20, 10, or maybe 1?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, we had a lot of money on the line today, you know. No, but, you know, I'm playing well, and yes, I know I'm playing a lot better than where my ranking is. I think that's quite obvious, but I got to get out there and prove it week after week. I can't just come out here, have a few good matches and have the people accept the fact I'm going to do it every week. I have to come out here and do it every week. I don't spend too much time thinking about that.
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