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Écrit par Jerome   
19-09-2006

UNITED STATES TENNIS ASSOCIATION

1994 U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
Flushing Meadows, New York

August 29, 1994

A. AGASSI/R. Eriksson

6-3, 6-2, 6-0

AN INTERVIEW WITH

ANDRE AGASSI

Q. Relatively easy day for you out there?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I mean in hindsight you can say it was easy because you are not out there for four or five sets, you weren't really a threat to lose, but I have been in Goran's position a couple of times here and it is nice to get through it and you are not comfortable until you do get through it, so -- especially not knowing the player's game. I mean, I had no idea how my opponent played like. I mean, I knew to a degree, finding out through people, never experiencing firsthand makes it a bit more precarious out there. I felt good the way I played and the way I focused and stayed focus.

Q. Happy to not have music?

ANDRE AGASSI: That is nice. People talking, people yelling, people getting into the match. I mean, those disruptions, all those things that can disrupt your concentration is part of the sport. But taking people out of the match and giving them a concert between the games is something I am glad wasn't happening out there.

Q. Andre, wasn't the background noise today -- I mean the trains and there was like a siren going off, is that almost --

ANDRE AGASSI: When you are hitting the ball that well you don't hear too many things out there. Some days is a lot more quiet, you are not hitting the ball well, you hear everything. So you can put those things behind you where your mind should be out there. And I think that is part of the danger, I think, for the top players coming to the U.S. Open. It is very different. It requires a bit more concentration than other Grand Slams at the early rounds. You got to get through it.

Q. Is it strange not to be seeded here, Andre?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I really haven't felt it much. I thought for sure, you know, as I was going through the year I was -- my hope was definitely to make the top seeds at the Grand Slam tournaments; and I kind of felt it at the French Open. It was tough for me not to really be seeded where I wanted to. And Wimbledon, obviously, they gave me a seed because they do their own seeding there. Coming here I thought it was going to be crucial for me being seeded. I am quite surprised how I really haven't thought much about it. I think with Pete not having any matches this summer kind of opens up the door for maybe five, six or seven guys that actually believe they can come in here if they are playing their best tennis and win. And I guess a lot has to do with the draw that you have. And if I was playing, you know, Sampras or Goran first round, I mean, you know, that is not easy. But I like my draw and I feel like I can really work myself into this tournament.

Q. Did you get any sense with the baseball strike; no baseball and football, not starting for another week, that the Open and tennis really has center stage right now and this is a good time for the sport to promote itself?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, there is no question in my mind. I was kind of wishing that that strike happened -- not that anybody wants it -- I was wishing the U.S. Open was just a few weeks ahead of time, I think that it would have even been more private. For sure, without the baseball and the football getting well into the season, it is something -- I think people are -- people love sports and that is the bottom line. And the Open is a great sporting event and you don't really have to be a tennis fan in particular or really even understand a lot about the game of tennis to appreciate watching it and to actually get involved into the results. So I think we can use this as an opportunity to get tennis talked about positively again.

Q. With the loss of so many personalities to this game, and you have heard this before, but is there -- do you feel more pressure to put on a show out there and do you see anybody else out there, among your co-players out there, trying a little harder to put on a show?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I don't feel any extra pressure because I never felt like I did anything out there on the court for any other reason outside, quite honestly, being who I am. When I am out there on the court and when I am having fun and the people are into it, I am playing my best tennis. That is not quite as giving as one may perceive in watching me. It is a two-way street when I am out there. I give to the people, sure, but they are giving a lot to me too. So it kind of feeds off each other, that fuels itself regardless if other players are doing it or not. And as far as other players out there, you know, to answer that specifically, it's going to be tough. I am definitely a believer in that everybody adds something to the game. Maybe others aren't as charismatic or don't have a tendency to get extreme out there in one way or another. Sometimes I can, like, remind people of a McEnroe temper, and other times I can remind people of Connors having fun, and I think that is more my style. And I think to compare one style to another style isn't really fair to do to anybody. But the game needs, first and foremost, it needs rivalries. I think sports thrive on that. And I think secondly it needs personalities. And, you know, I just try to understand my own responsibility to the game.

Q. Is there any significance to the black hat look now? It used to be white.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, so did my socks.

Q. What does that mean?

ANDRE AGASSI: It means that it changed colors.

Q. Not a wrestling bad guy thing?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, it is just -- no.

Q. You must --

ANDRE AGASSI: My next line will give you something to write about.

Q. You must feel that you are one of the five or seven guys that can win here.

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I do. And to me, that is the most important thing in playing a tournament, when you step into the arena out there on stadium court, that you actually believe that you can beat who you are playing against, and I do. I think the win in Canada has really helped me. I have always believed it ultimately. I think specifically today I feel like I am playing my best tennis and that is a feeling that you need to have in order to win a tournament like this. But I do feel if I continue playing my best tennis that I do have a shot, absolutely.

Q. Andre, the music aside, do you feel that gimmicks -- there is a place in tennis for like music, something other than that, is there anything that they can do to juice up the game?

ANDRE AGASSI: My whole issue had nothing to do with defending what I want out there. It had to do with stepping up and giving my opinion on behalf of the game quite honestly. I think to build up to what the event is, I mean, the attraction why people are coming there is because of tennis; if we feel we have to give them, besides tennis anything -- if we have to bring in some kind of magic show on the changeover; if we have to bring in some kind of, you know, models to walk around with score cards, I mean, things like that, I mean, it is just not -- it is not respecting the game. I think to do pregame shows and like in New Haven they did a couple of great things there, I felt, like they had the M. C. down on the court; they had the crowd ask some questions. I like that. They had the crowd involvement. A lot of people were a lot more involved than I have seen in anyplace, and those are good for the game because it highlights what they are there for. It doesn't take people away from the reason why they came. And so my bone to pick with the music is specifically in behalf of the game and not anything else.

Q. So why is tennis different from all these other sports that have the music? Even during the action in basketball games and indoor soccer games or things, they play music during play, they have race car engines roaring in Indianapolis while the Pacers are trying to concentrate making baskets down court; why is tennis different from those?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, quite honestly it is the game that we always, you know, when you grow up playing a game a certain way, I mean, I think in some ways there is answers, like the people walking around and they say, well, in basketball you shoot the free throw and people are waiving stuff, but you know, what they forget is the basket is not moving. The ball is moving and you are trying to watch the ball and you got people walking behind. That is something I don't feel good about. You have to concentrate on the ball and that ball is moving everywhere. I think the music and tennis versus other sports, it could be just as simple as we have never had it and people aren't responding to it in a way that I feel is good. I was playing that match out there; I really felt like people had no sense of the fact that I was down a break a serve; then I turned the match around; now we are going into the third set. It took away a whole environment. It felt like an exhibition match I have been a part of a lot of times and that is something that I can't -- I can't answer specifically. I can only say that I am -- I don't like the feeling that it creates out there. You know, I just think that if we are going to make changes, we need to make changes on what we can do to help people enjoy the game and be more a part of the game, not take them away from it. And I do feel like like-- oh, forget it, I lost my train of thought.

Q. A couple of players have told me that the ATP didn't necessarily consult the players--

ANDRE AGASSI: That is exactly what I was going to say.

Q. -- when they went through the rule changes. Is that a real problem with you guys now? Do you feel like you should have had a hand vote or a voice vote on everything they put through?

ANDRE AGASSI: That is right. I think the most important thing is that you can do is talk to the players who are involved and talk to them; find out what they want and it is one thing to just enforce-- you know, the ATP is supposed to be, you know, the players' Tour. This is supposed to be the players Tour and I think everyday that I am a part of it I am realizing more and more how that is -- that is not the case. I mean, not only did we not vote on the music; when I asked if we can get the music turned off, we couldn't. And I don't understand that. So I wish we had a say so in it, and now Andre Medvedev is now on the board and he has been asking a few of the top players about 20 different questions and I sat down with him and answered them, what we think we should do about how much time between points; how much time between games, you know, the serves; what can we do to help the game and there is a lot of different things out there that I think now, we are starting to have a say so in, but that spectacle there in New Haven, nobody voted on it.

Q. You talk before about concentration during the Open and maybe you can tune out some things a little bit more here. Do you have a different level here than, let us say, New Haven and maybe you had a little harder time tuning out the music there?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. No. Again I want to say this has nothing to do with me tuning out the music. We can do anything. I mean, and force us to tune it out and eventually we are going to do that because playing tennis is what we do. I am not saying they shouldn't have music because it distracts me. I am saying we shouldn't have music because it isolates the people from what it is they are there for. Totally pulls them out of the match. You can't even -- by the time you get up and go back to serve, you know, you have no idea on really what took place the past two games; you have totally lost the whole momentum of the match, and I want to make it very clear, and listen to me, I can block out the music. It is not a problem on behalf of the playing. Eventually -- I don't think it is great for the players, but we can do that. It is what is best for the game - that is the platform that I am speaking from.

Q. You say you are playing your best tennis. Best tennis of this year or in a long time?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, the game evolves every year. I feel my best tennis now is better than my best tennis two years ago by far. I believe that 100%.

Q. The whole idea of the ATP Tour was for the players to run the game. Is that not happening?

ANDRE AGASSI: Do you want to run the Tour? I like that question.

Q. Is that not happening?

ANDRE AGASSI: I am just afraid that it is not as much the players' Tour as they are leading the public and the players to believe.

Q. Thanks, Andre.

 
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