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Écrit par Jerome   
18-09-2006

THE LIPTON CHAMPIONSHIPS'94
Key Biscayne, FL

March 20, 1994

P. SAMPRAS/A. Agassi

7-5, 6-3, 6-3

AN INTERVIEW WITH

 

ANDRE AGASSI

Q. When did you find out that Pete was sick?

ANDRE AGASSI: About 20 to one.

Q. Not until then?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah.

Q. Who came to you and told you -- what was the scenario?

ANDRE AGASSI: Just Allen Mills and Butch would come in; they called Brad aside, they were talking only to Brad about something. Brad was kind of not letting it get to me, because we still figured, I guess, they were talking that Pete -- Pete still thought he wouldn't play. Brad didn't want me to know that he was sick to relax my mind in any kind of way. Then it got to a point where Pete couldn't go out unless he had more time, and then they asked Brad to make the call, if we are going to give him any extra time or not. Brad didn't want -- obviously wouldn't make that decision for me. Then he talked to me about it.

Q. Was there any doubt in your mind that you would want to give him the time?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, no doubt at all. I mean, it is not about winning the tournament, you know, it is about taking pride in what you do and, you know, it is like I said when I was out there, you don't deserve to win the tournament unless you beat the best players that are playing the best that we can, and if I couldn't go out there and beat Pete healthy, I don't deserve to win the tournament; certainly, if he is not feeling well.

Q. What do you learn from losing --

ANDRE AGASSI: I am sorry?

Q. -- and why?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it depends who you lose to and it depends how you lose, really. But there is a lot to, you know, it is very important to learn from losing because if you don't, it is just a loss.

Q. Andre, did you ever get a feel for that match; it seemed like there was no real pattern today --

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, there really wasn't. I think -- he wasn't obviously feeling great, so he felt like he had to serve big and go for big shots and he was making it. I think I was really disappointed myself early because I -- my intensity wasn't quite the same because it is just strange when you go out there an hour after your time to play and the guy is feeling sick. You are not really sharp and I was really delayed in getting into it and that kind of bothered me. Then at 5-2, I realized whether he is sick or not, I was getting an ass- kicking out there. I had to really dig down and say, "start playing." I felt like I pulled it back together and the worse game of the match for me was the first game of the second set when I lost my serve. I felt like I let him come to the net six times that game and I didn't stay on top of him. Part of me felt like there is no way he would stay out here for three. My intensity dropped. He got on top. When he gets on top, he starts serving pretty big.

Q. You were playing so sharp this week; and you are getting out not getting a chance to swing because of the serving. What kind of feeling or frustration is that?

ANDRE AGASSI: It is frustrating, yeah, to a degree, but by the same token, he has the pressure of having to make those. It would be one thing if he was winning easy points off his second. I felt like as soon as he missed the first, I had a legitimate, you know, better than fifty-fifty chance to win the point and it is just a question of what kind of service percentage he has. He has been serving under 50% against Jim, and today I would be interested in seeing what his serve percentage was, but it felt like it was in at least the mid-'60s.

Q. 52.

ANDRE AGASSI: That is what I was saying, like I was saying, it was about 52.

Q. Not in the last two games?

ANDRE AGASSI: Nine aces the last three games.

Q. Even more than his serving, let us say do you remember, last year, Wimbledon, do you remember his forehand being as potent as it was at times here?

ANDRE AGASSI: Wimbledon, he didn't prefer -- doesn't get a chance to hit it as big because the ball stays a lot lower, so it is a lower percentage shot. Here on the slower hardcourt, it bounces up; does a wheelhouse. Every time he is waiting; leaning forward; you can take that to the bank because he is going to make it.

Q. In your mind, that is not a new shot for him?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, that is a shot he always relied on. It is definitely getting better, but grass is a -- would be a little tougher for Pete, in my opinion, because the ball stays a little lower and he is not quite as confident on his movement and he doesn't hit those big running forehands quite as often as he does on the hard court.

Q. Andre, is it a little scary to think that if he were feeling under the weather and played like this today, what he would be like on a perfect day?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. Can't be -- tennis doesn't get better than that. I mean, you know, the reality of it is, when you don't have the pressure of really feeling like it is going to be an intense match, you loosen up; you can hit big shots. I mean, that is quite common. He came up with some big ones and he had to serve well. He did. But had he been feeling good, I mean, it is very possible he could have played worse. You just never know. Whether he was sick or whether he was well, he played great tennis today and you have to give him that.

Q. What was your plan for winning points, did you have an idea in your head what ways you were going to hurt him?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I did. Didn't go very far, did it?

Q. What was it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, the one thing that I was -- well, no that is nobody's business. Forget it. Changed my mind. I am going to do it again next time.

Q. Did you see him in the lockerroom at all between that 1:00 and 2:00?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, when I heard he was sick, I went into the doctor's office; told him that I am sorry he felt that way. I hope -- and told him to take as much time as he needed. That was it.

Q. Did he look pretty terrible to you?

ANDRE AGASSI: He looked a lot worse than he did in the third set, yeah.

Q. Andre, you did get some big topspin lobs when he needed them, kind of like reverse roles. That is usually your shot. Did it surprise you?

ANDRE AGASSI: The sides that he hit it on was when I was with the wind, so it is easier to hit a topspin lob against the wind and, you know, he came up with them at big times. Usually, it did surprise me. Usually he likes to tee off on that forehand and he was leaning forward and I didn't even have a chance at it. And that was just too good at the time. I mean, to come up with that on crucial points, it is too good. I probably had no business being inside the service line, but I was there and he did what he needed to do.

Q. What does this match tell you for the future?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, the tournament speaks -- I think says more than this match does. I think it has been an incredible tournament for me. It has given me an incredible amount of confidence. The thing is with Pete, too, I don't -- there is not that domination intimidating factor I feel with him. We have played nine times now and, you know, grew up together and I always feel-- I always go out there confident against him, which is a good feeling. You play other guys, you know, when they beat you a few times, the first two times Becker beat me, you almost feel like, how can I beat this guy with Pete you don't -- you have to give it to him if he plays too good. And he did. And I look forward to playing him again, but the whole tournament itself was an incredible stepping stone for me. And I couldn't hope for anything more. I mean, to get this much I think is pretty, in my mind, an incredible accomplishment because I wasn't expecting this. Now I got to go from here, this tournament is done, and it is on to the next one.

Q. What is your working relationship with Brad Gilbert?

ANDRE AGASSI: He was coaching me and working with me this week, and it has worked out really, really incredible. I think you don't talk to anybody who knows more about tennis than he does. It is quite incredible the things that he has been helping me with, and I would look for that relationship to continue.

Q. So you are going to work with him at other tournaments?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, absolutely.

Q. Did you read his book?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I haven't read the book yet.

Q. Here is where I am a little confused, you are being coached by Brad Gilbert; yet he is still playing. Wouldn't people say that is a conflict of interest either for you or for him?

ANDRE AGASSI: It depends. Not if you take pride in what you do. Whether he is towards the end of his career now and he wants to help me and, you know, I got to respect him for that. If we happen to play each other, we are going to go out there with no different than anything else, which is you know, play our best tennis, and we have a close head-to-head record, so whoever wins, wins, but that is not going to interfere with what our goals are on the other side - which is to help me get to the best that I can be.

Q. Is he more of a strategy coach?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, much more strategy, and mental.

Q. Do you have a formal agreement?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. We sure don't. We sure don't. The agreement is just like it is with the people that are real close to me which is, hey, don't worry about it; I got you covered and you just make sure I am covered, he helps me and you know, I am going to make sure that he feels good about our situation too.

Q. You said earlier that Brad was concerned about telling you about Pete's illness because he didn't want you to get soft mentally. You kind of said it, I am not sure, that you did kind of get soft mentally in the beginning?

ANDRE AGASSI: Not in the beginning. I mean, in the beginning I had a hard time getting intense. It wasn't like I was feeling like, oh, he is sick. Early in the second coming back from 5-2, winning the first, in my mind, there was no way he had any energy at all to want to stay out there. That is when I really relaxed; got a little soft early in the second set.

Q. Did you think - and I hope this doesn't interfere with the strategy that you don't want to tell us about - did you at all think to try to run him maybe more? First couple of points you did. I am not sure you ran him as much as maybe you could have?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I had a couple of big shots early; it wasn't like I just kind of looped into the other side. As a matter of fact, it was quite the contrary. I felt like when I just moved the ball over to his forehand side to get him to move a little bit, he stuck it up my gazoo, you know, couldn't touch the ball. I mean, when he tees off on it, it is very important when I play Pete that I stay in control of the points because once he you know, his weight is leaning forward on some of those forehands, you just you hope he misses.

Q. What would you say that lead you to believe that he didn't have the energy, I mean facial expressions?

ANDRE AGASSI: That big I.V. that he had in his arm before the match. That was my first clue.

Q. Andre, now that your game is back to what you could hope, is there any goal you have practically for the next part of the season?

ANDRE AGASSI: I want to turn weeks like this-- I want this to happen consistently where I come out here and beat the guys who I am supposed to beat; then have my occasional upset over the guys that are playing the best tennis; that is what I am hoping for; to come out here and to beat the guys I beat to get to Edberg and then to play well against Stefan and handle Rafter very comfortably which I want to win a lot more of those matches that way. And to come out here and feel like I have a shot at the guy who is playing the best tennis in the world. That is all I can hope for right now and that is what I want to do, is have this happened consistently now. I mean, I have proven in the past that I can put it together for two weeks and win a tournament or put it together for a week and win a tournament; that is not where my head is at. I have done that before and I have been there and I have done that. Right now it is different. I want this to be something that consistent-- something I do week after week.

Q. Comment on this tournament, your point of view of the players' view on the stadium and all?

ANDRE AGASSI: It is incredible. I have completely enjoyed being here. It is, in my opinion, next to Wimbledon and the French and what I hear from Australia it is the best stadium to play in.

Q. Thanks, Andre.
 
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