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Écrit par Jerome   



November 14, 1994



Q. Brad is not here?

ANDRE AGASSI: He is not here.

Q. Is he not coming?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, he is with me. He is just not here in this hall. He is with me, yes.

Q. Andre, how does it feel to be back here in Frankfurt after such a remarkable year you had?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it is unbelievable for me. I guess mostly because even as recent as the middle of the summer I never would have guessed I was coming. So to turn the year around and to end being here No. 2 only looking to move up is a great feeling.

Q. What changed, Andre? Of course you had -- after your injury; it took some time; suddenly you played such great tennis again.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you know what? I think that, you know, the injury and then trying to come back, I found myself starting off strong, but then, you know, struggling and I just persevered and just kept on with the game plan and kept on believing, and then sometimes it doesn't happen right away and it didn't. I struggled on clay and then it really just came around for me, and it is different now. I think Brad's experienced -- he helped keep me focused and directed; always looking to the next accomplishment. So I don't think you will see the inconsistency as much as you used to.

Q. How much influence does he have, because let's say -- funny in a way that he was writing a book, "How To Win Ugly." I don't think you win ugly.

ANDRE AGASSI: I had a couple of matches this fall where they were pretty ugly. I was down 6-0, 4-2 double breakpoint to Kulti, and I came back and won. But, you know, I think Brad's strengths had been my weaknesses, and he has really helped make my game more complete.

Q. If there's any one thing that he has done or said to you which has uplifted you where you said yeah, of course, that is right?

ANDRE AGASSI: Just his absolute belief that I should be nowhere but playing for the best in the world, you know. I mean, and the confidence of which he speaks is incredible. I mean, he tells me I have played these guys and I know what your game is compared to them, and it's that kind of belief that I think really enabled me to believe in myself.

Q. You didn't have this belief for yourself?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think sometimes you do, but quite honestly, it is tough to be objective. I have always struggled about being objective with myself. There were times when I questioned -- yeah, I questioned if the game had even passed me by to some degree.

Q. If you look back on struggling after your injury, how desperate have you been about making a comeback? Was it difficult for you to make this comeback if you believed you could make it?

ANDRE AGASSI: The comeback, to me, started off on a very simple level. I missed the game and I wanted to come and play the game and enjoy the game and entertain some people and add something. And if I enjoyed what I was doing, I would accept anything that happened; whether I won or whether I have lost. Then, as I started playing, it all started changing because I felt like I could do certain things and I felt like I could win certain things. And this summer was a big turnaround for me, and in Toronto -- I felt like since Toronto, absolutely, I have played the best tennis that I have ever played.

Q. I have heard you found yourself back ranked 31?

ANDRE AGASSI: I started at 32. Well, I mean, it is not a good feeling, but the thing that I always -- like I had was the respect from the players. If I was in the tournament and guys didn't want to necessarily play me, and early in the tournament and I felt like I could win the tournament if I put together a week or two of good tennis, so that is important to feel that way. But you can't get around the fact that you are No.32 in the world, and that there are 31 guys that have played better this year than you have. So that is something that was a struggling point for me, but I didn't focus on it because it was senseless to focus on that.

Q. Is 1995 then perhaps probably going to be the most important year you have ever had; to sort of prove that you can carry on to what you have done the end of this year?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it will be the most important year, but I think the next three or four years will be the greatest years of my career. I am not trying to prove anything. As far as I am concerned, I am doing it. I mean, I am out here winning match after match. I am out here, you know, playing some of the best tennis and I don't accept anything less. To me, it is not a question of proving something as much as it is a question of being excited to get out there playing for another year or two, hopefully to win more titles and to be ranked No. 1.

Q. Do you feel you are tougher on yourself now than you were before?

ANDRE AGASSI: In certain ways; in certain ways not as tough. I mean, there are times in the past where I have beaten myself up over certain losses that I never should have, and other times where I took it easy at times where I should have been a little harder. I felt like I have really had a backwards approach. Now I think it has really changed a lot because of Brad's perspective.

Q. Looking back to the U.S. Open, Andre, so many people didn't expect that. Suddenly you're totally back in your own game, everything fits. What happened there if you look back?

ANDRE AGASSI: I just worked hard. I have been working out the whole year. Hard court is a comfortable surface for me when I haven't played in a year, basically. And the clay was the difficult part for me this year, but, you know, it is three out of five, and my game has turned around in front totally. I was beating these guys, and I have really felt like, you know, I was the favorite when I stepped on the court. That is a great feeling to have. I can't say what turned around. I just know that I put together the best tennis that I have ever played. And I mean, there wasn't one point that I wasn't 100% focused on.

Q. How important is the mental part there?

ANDRE AGASSI: The mental part is everything for me, because that has been -- I have always had the game. I think I have always struggled mentally.

Q. You also made a jump back into the top 10. Did you really believe perhaps I could make top 10?

ANDRE AGASSI: After the U.S. Open I certainly believed I could. And then when I went to the fall this year, I mean, Vienna was and Paris I played incredible tennis; better than the U.S. Open. If I had played myself at the U.S. Open, I would beat them 4 and 2.

Q. You start to like Europe now?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, absolutely. I think I have liked it for a few years. It is difficult travelling and staying away from home, but there are things that I appreciate about Europe that I never did when I was younger. Staying over for two or three weeks at a time is very, very comfortable for me.

Q. You told us in Stockholm, you said you criticized the system, that if you look back on discussions changing the rules, do you think the Tour is getting better; they listen more to top players?

ANDRE AGASSI: I feel like the game is not struggling as people want to make it seem to be, but that doesn't mean we can't do things to improve it. I think the ranking system needs to improve. I think there needs to be fewer tournaments. I think that we need to be playing each other a lot more often. I think there needs to be an off-season for the game itself; not for the players; not because I don't want to play. I just think it creates interest. I mean, when you don't have tennis for three months, it gives the public something to look forward to. You can turn on your TV and watch tennis any week. I think that needs to change. But I think we can do certain things to help change the game, help make it better. But I don't feel like it is so bad. I just feel like we've got to make it better. We always should make it better.

Q. Do anything about rackets and balls?

ANDRE AGASSI: What is that?

Q. Do anything about the rackets and balls?

ANDRE AGASSI: My personal feeling is you shouldn't play with wide bodies. I think that hurts the game. I also feel like there should be one Tour ball, there should be one Tour indoor surface, one Tour outdoor surface; clay, it should have four basic surfaces, you know.

Q. You are challenging Pete now for the first time for the No. 1 spot in these coming months because you don't have any points to defend until March, I think?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. Well, I mean, I have a good opportunity here, you know, but that doesn't mean anything if I don't go out there and keep doing what I am doing. I mean, there is a good chance Pete is going to be playing well too, so this is a year process. I just don't want to try to be No. 1 before I have to defend points. I want to try to be No. 1 every tournament I play.

Q. Where do you get this motivation? You had the motivation for a couple of months and then you lost it again.

ANDRE AGASSI: A couple of months was a long time.

Q. Where do you get this motivation; is it partly from Brad?

ANDRE AGASSI: Sure. Brad has a lot to do with it; maturity. I am getting older, 24 years old, three, four years are going to be the best years of my career; then that is it. Then you get to fight to maintain these years. I can get better. It is an exciting thought to me.

Q. What happened, for instance, a couple of years ago after one month of playing well? What happened then, you started losing concentration or you didn't want to play anymore; what was happening?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. Sometimes you don't want to stay in Europe three weeks. I never played Stockholm and Paris and did well. You know, there is a lot of other places you'd rather be. You want to focus on a few tournaments that you enjoy being at. You want to practice when -- you know, when you have already had your time with your friends. And so those are things that are changing. To me, I want to be on the court practicing all the time. It is a great feeling.

Q. What have you been doing since Paris?

ANDRE AGASSI: Since Paris?

Q. Yeah.

ANDRE AGASSI: I went back to see Brooke for a few days and went back to Las Vegas and stayed there a couple of days and then I came over yesterday.

Q. Did you work out?

ANDRE AGASSI: I took off Monday through Wednesday. Then I practiced Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Q. On a similar surface to this or what?

ANDRE AGASSI: Actually --

Q. Do you have one available?

ANDRE AGASSI: Not similar. Indoors, but not the same surface. Just worked on a few basic things, serves.

Q. You still have someone regularly to practice with?

ANDRE AGASSI: I haven't had any problems. I use Brad. It's great to have a coach that can actually practice with you. He plays a little better than Nick does.

Q. Just a little better?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think so.

Q. Many people said there should be more stars in tennis. It is sometimes difficult for you to accept that you are such a big star. Does it give a lot of pressure?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. I enjoy it and appreciate it, but they don't like me because I do my best to be something that they want. They like me because it turns out that they like who I am and how I conduct myself. These are things that I do, not because I am forced to or because I think about it, it is what I do. And I don't think about it.

Q. Do you think the audience will be part of the match? In your matches the audience takes part in the match. I think too many tennis players just play the game and focus on the ball. There should be more players on the court like you.

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't go out on the court and watch them play, so I don't know how they respond. But I know that when I play, I feel like people enjoy it and, you know, if they are complaining about other matches, you know, well, I mean, I wouldn't know because I don't go out there and watch. My perspective is when I am out there I feel like people enjoy it, so I don't worry about what other people do.

Q. Do you consider tennis like a theater; that you have to give a show?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think there is unbelievable skill to it that people appreciate. But as well as the skill, I think there is a certain amount of energy and passion you should have about the game that people can be inspired from. You know, that is what I feel.

Q. Just going back to your comments about the balls and tennis -- (Inaudible.) -- a slower ball for Wimbledon on the grass courts. Do you think that that makes a difference?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think it will make a little difference, but the reality is that Stockholm is faster than Wimbledon. I mean, you can say what you want, it is a grass court and Stockholm is a faster surface this year than Wimbledon.

Q. Was that a shock?

ANDRE AGASSI: Very much a shock. I played Todd Martin, we couldn't get the ball to the center of the court, we were hitting it so hard. Serious.

Q. You have changed a lot recently. Topics: Strategy, Brad, Nick Bollettieri, all these kind of things. But have you changed also the habit to have only some follow around you like a clown, always five people walking around Agassi, so difficult to have an interview with you where all the other players have always been a little easier?

ANDRE AGASSI: It is a little easier, but I see a few empty chairs over there too. I mean, it is one thing if I get the same requests somebody else gets, then I can't meet the needs and then there is a problem. But I mean, I don't think it is fair to judge, you know, what it is like to live in my shoes if you have no idea. I can't spend my life for you, you know, I've got things to do and I've got people that I want to be around, and I've got priorities. And if I've got 20 people and I can only do two, there is a good chance for a couple of years you are not going to get an interview.

Q. Going back to what you said about the court in Stockholm. Do you think it is a bad situation that some indoor courts have been faster than Wimbledon and, you know, every time they are changing the courts?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't think indoor should vary so much. They shouldn't go from so fast to so slow.

Q. Some indoor courts are also very slow?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, like here.

Q. Much slower than Stockholm?

ANDRE AGASSI: Much slower. Actually, it is slower than some clay court tournaments. I think they should all lets should be fault. If you serve to the net it is a fault.

Q. Andre, tremendous strokes, great legs, no endurance, does this sound familiar? Do you work on your endurance?

ANDRE AGASSI: All I can do is -- I mean, five sets against, you know, Chang at the U.S. Open, no problem. Muster got tired against him in the quarterfinals; four sets against Martin, no problem; four sets against Stich in Vienna, no problem; four sets in the finals against Rosset, no problem.

Q. So you have improved this?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, I have just been working hard. I have been training hard --

Q. Always a racket and ball or also running?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I have a strong cardiovascular and weight training program. It is very important.

Q. Is this a new training program?

ANDRE AGASSI: It has been new since my training center opened up in Las Vegas, right -- fall of last year right before I had wrist surgery then, I lost 20 pounds and --

Q. Did you lose these pounds from practices or controlling diet?

ANDRE AGASSI: My eating habits have changed as well.

Q. And you keep fit during the whole year or all the time that you -- like for a month now --

ANDRE AGASSI: I think diet needs to vary according to how much energy you have and how much energy you need. It all depends. I mean, sometimes it is important to eat more if you are feeling a little bit more tired. You know, so it does vary, but the basic foundation of it stays the same.

Q. So does it mean you like to go back only one serve instead of two?

ANDRE AGASSI: I'd like two serves. I mean, it is good for me. Hey, if they go to one serve, I like my chances. But I don't think that is good for the game. I think they should call let serves faults. And, you know, what is another thing that I would support is a no Ad scoring system, because if you remember playing against a guy and a guy is serving 40-30, you have to win that next point and then win two in a row if you lose it. Now if you can win one of the next two points there is a heck of a chance you are going to break the guy. If you are playing against Sampras, now he is serving 15-40, there is a still a 60 percent chance he is going to hold serve. No Ad scoring system that drops considerably 23 percent chance he is going to hold serve. I think the public can understand it better. What is it, 15-30, I mean, I don't know, 15-40? I mean, a lot of people might not understand that. One, two, three, four people understand.

Q. Because it is strange to see this scoring has never changed in 100 years?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, but a lot of things don't change about the game. It is important that the changes that are made have to do with the game; adding music has nothing to do with the game; going from playing sets out to going to tiebreakers, that has to do with the game; putting radar speed gun on the court, that has to do with the game; going from long pants to jeans shorts, that is what you wear on the court, it has to do with the game. But what doesn't have to do with the game is music.

Q. Andre, if there is one change in 1995 of all the things you have said in men's tennis that you'd like to see implemented, what would it be?

ANDRE AGASSI: Ranking system. ATP Tour ranking system.

Q. In what way, Andre?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, I feel like every time you step on the court it should count. Why can you go lose a first round of a Grand Slam tournament and just play a couple of extra events and then have it off your record? So, every time you step on the court it should count.

Q. Also, rock and roll approach with the Jensen brothers, you don't think that is good for tennis, making a rock and roll tennis?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think the Jensen brothers are all right. They add their part to the game. What is not all right is playing music during a tennis match. If you are listening to the radio during the tennis match or if the Jensen brothers are playing during the tennis match, it doesn't matter.

Q. Did you read this?


Q. Would you like to read it? You hear it every day; is that it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I live with it.

Q. You are planning to read it?


Q. Why not?

ANDRE AGASSI: Because I already know everything that is in there. I am hearing it every day.

Q. You have got a copy?

ANDRE AGASSI: I have got cliff notes.

Q. Andre, every year when you go to Wimbledon you have a special English press always asking very strange questions about your shaving your legs. It is something you like or something you hate or --

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, sometimes it is fun, you know, I mean, and sometimes it is tiring. It gets very old after a while. If it is not one thing, they jump onto something else when it gets too old. It is okay. I have never had a problem with it. I keep everything in a pretty good distance.

Q. You have the best record against the top 10 players of all the players here. Do you play better against better players?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I think that is a case with everybody.

Q. Why do you have the best record?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I just play a little bit better than everybody plays. I mean, if everybody -- I mean, to me, everybody plays better when you play against better players. The question is, you know, who can raise their game to a higher level. And I think that, you know, it has been the case that I have. I mean, since Toronto I have been playing unbelievable. My record is really good. So, I mean, my biggest weakness has been playing the other guys getting to the semifinals of the tournament. That has been my toughest thing in the past. Those guys have lost really early. If you look at what top 10 players lost early the most, I probably lead that statistic too.

Q. Is this due their game or your motivation?

ANDRE AGASSI: It has been to my motivation, to my intensity, to my concentration. It's a big challenge to play these guys and then sometimes it is easy to feel sort of -- I know that they can beat me. I still don't feel up to it. It makes you rise to the level when you play against the top guys.

Q. I don't know if you have been asked already. You were one of the people who backed Boris' stance, I think, regarding the potential rule change at the Australian Open. You have vented it for the first time. Do you still have the strong views about the 25 to 20 second rule?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, my views are such that I think indoor tennis should be down to 20 seconds. That is fine with me. I think it needs to change. You play in 110 degree weather, three out of five sets, that is not good to only have 20 seconds. I think outdoors versus indoors, hot versus cold, I think all these things are variables.

Q. What do you think about the groups? A lot of curiosity to see you have the serve and volley guys in one group and the baseliners in the other group; what do you think about it?

ANDRE AGASSI: I am going to serve and volley this week. I feel like, you know, it is an interesting way it has turned out. I mean, it is going to be very strange once we get to the semifinals because then the serve and volleyers are going to play the baseliners and the baseliners are going to face the big serve. It will be interesting. I don't know what else to say about it, but I hope that I am one of the best baseliners.

Q. You prefer this group or not?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, to me, you know, the most dangerous players are Sampras and Ivanisevic, you know, because if they are playing unbelievable that day, it is hard to beat them. So I -- those are the guys that, you know, that it is tough to play against. I have played Goran in Vienna and I beat him; then next week he beats me 7-6 in the third, then I played Pete and we have a very close match. I mean, those matches can go either way, so it is kind of nice that I wouldn't have to worry about that for the first three days.

Q. Some guys say Boris Becker got his unbeatable face. Do you think so?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think he is definitely playing some of his best tennis. Absolutely. But to say anybody is unbeatable against this field is ignorant.

Q. Why did you decide to talk to Brad Gilbert? Was this an idea already in your head?

ANDRE AGASSI: I knew, you know, that I needed to find somebody that knew a lot about the game, and to me, I had a list of a few people and I spoke to them all and Brad really stood out to me. I thought about Brad because, you know, I know he is at the end of his career, and we have talked before briefly and -- you know, not about coaching me, but just about the game, and I have heard him -- you know, I have overheard him talk about certain things, and I just felt like he really had a good perspective on what he could help me with. And just turns out that it worked out real well.

Q. Does it have something to do with the game he played against you; the way he adapted his game to your game and then --

ANDRE AGASSI: The fact that he can absolutely -- I mean, I felt like if I had Brad Gilbert's game I would be ranked 150 in the world, you know, and if he had my game he could be ranked the best. It is possible. So I felt like that he is one of those guys that, you know, he only does a couple of things well, but somehow he has always been on the verge of maybe winning the tennis match. So I always respected him for that.

Q. How long did it take you both to find the same objective?

ANDRE AGASSI: It took us about 45 minutes.

Q. This one dinner, one particular dinner?

ANDRE AGASSI: One dinner.

Q. Are you still talking with John McEnroe a lot about tennis or don't you see him that much anymore?

ANDRE AGASSI: I see John quite often. We talk about tennis, just because it is what we both do.

Q. Also an option to work with him because you doubled with him two years ago?

ANDRE AGASSI: We were going to, but he was going through rough things, you know, if you remember with his wife, and he had to be in New York a lot because of all the things he was going through, and the commitment level was a bit unknown. And so I couldn't -- to me, I'd have to go 100% or not at all.

Q. Do you still think it is possible that he will be Davis Cup coach one time?

ANDRE AGASSI: No way. They never will. I would like him to be, but I just don't see it happening.

Q. Why not, because of his image?

ANDRE AGASSI: Because of the USTA, they are more concerned about having somebody there that is going to, you know, do well for the USTA than they are for the players.

Q. Do you think there is a coach now who is doing the same now?

ANDRE AGASSI: I haven't worked with Tom. I am sure that he is doing a great job. I have heard great things, but I mean, I can't tell you firsthand because I haven't worked with him.

Q. Would you like to be back in the Davis Cup team next year?

ANDRE AGASSI: I enjoyed playing Davis Cup, but it is not a top priority to me right now.

Q. Not for next year?

ANDRE AGASSI: Or next year, that is right.

Q. (Inaudible.)

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know what John is doing. I think sometimes he does commentary.

Q. Would you say you are in a way the world No. 1 left at this point given your record over the last three months or should we be looking at you as the best player and favorite to win here?

ANDRE AGASSI: If I continue to play the way I have the last three months, I feel like I like my chances against anybody. Certainly it doesn't mean I am going to win, but that is the whole idea. You know, how long do you keep it up and can you continually get better because I think that, you know, if I don't get better this Christmas, you know, then I think in January I could be a step behind. You've got to keep improving too sometimes just to maintain. It is this mentality that keeps you going forward. So I hope to play better here than I have the past three months and I do feel like I can win these matches, but, you know, these guys feel the same way too, and sometimes you do and sometimes you don't.

Q. The new season starts next week for you or do you take a couple of weeks off?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, and I am playing Munich, and then to Australia.

Q. Practicing in between Munich and Australia or taking time off?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, just vacation. I want to pick -- I will pick up the tennis racket. Have you been listening to the press conference; the one here, the one you are sitting in?

Q. Yes.

ANDRE AGASSI: I have been saying that it is very important to -- I want to practice now and if I don't practice then I am going to be in trouble, all these things. Yes, I am going to practice. I have never really had a great fall, and it makes me believe that I can play well at every time of the year. I think you need that in order to fight for the best.

Q. Also you have to relieve stress right now. It is a very hard life because you are travelling, playing, travelling, playing.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it is.

Q. How important is it for you to be at home and be surrounded by a good team of friends?

ANDRE AGASSI: It is a core of what makes me tick. It is very important. Without that, there is nobody to celebrate with, nobody to be with. It is not worth anything.

Q. This time last year you were sort of eating pancakes and relaxing at home?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, this time last year I started my change really to turn things around.

Q. Were you in the gym at this time?

ANDRE AGASSI: Actually, since maybe a week after the U.S. Open last year I really made the commitment.

Q. Do you consider perhaps the best thing you did in your career making a comeback like this, perhaps even better than staying at top, but coming back on top?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it is very difficult. Great accomplishment for me.

Q. In Australia you played an exhibition once?


Q. Was it indoors then?


Q. You have no idea how it will play with the heat or anything like that?


Q. Obviously, you gleaned from your experience. Is that kind of surface that suits your style?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. From what I have heard -- Brad has played down there a few times, he tells me it will be more suitable for my surface than any other.

Q. You have played Sidney a couple of times?


Q. I know the Australian public will be very pleased to see you playing in a major championship. How did you sort of feel when you have gone to Australia? Do you get along well down there?

ANDRE AGASSI: I felt like -- yeah, I enjoyed playing down there. I felt like I have gotten warm receptions. I am looking forward to the Grand Slam there.

Q. (Inaudible.)

ANDRE AGASSI: I have gotten a couple of flu shots just so I don't come down with any sickness, and, you know, I am really going to -- I am really going to be careful. I am going to do everything in my power because there is no other place that I want to be than starting in Australia.

Q. Changing your mind about Australia?

ANDRE AGASSI: All part of wanting to win Grand Slam titles.

Q. It is symbolic the fact that you are going to Australia?

ANDRE AGASSI: I am not down there yet, so -- but it is -- I mean, I am not down there yet, so, but me going down there starting next year, assuming that that happens -- I mean, I say that because every January 7th I am always sick, but going down there will definitely be symbolic because it shows -- it reflects a change in a certain level of commitment. It was always difficult for me to leave home the day after New Year's, so it kind of is a reflection of what I am committed to.

Q. Also because you like to win this one as well, like you won Wimbledon for the first time. Would you like to have that same feeling?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I want to win all the Grand Slams.

Q. That is your main goal?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, French Open and Australian.

Q. Be strange, wouldn't it, if the French Open was the last one that you won?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, that would be because I feel like I should have won it twice. It is hard not to feel that way when you are the favorite going into both matches, but I didn't, and you know --

Q. What do you think about Jim Courier; do you think he can make a comeback as well?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, hey, nobody thought I could, you know. But I think it is very possible, Jim can. I mean, if he gets committed to what he is going to do -- I mean, I don't see Jim being No. 1 in the world again, but he is unquestionably a better player than his ranking, you know. I don't know what he is doing or what -- but if he is motivated in his training and practicing and committed to the game, he will be back and he will be a guy to have to beat. But if he is not, he is not. I mean, if I don't play for a few weeks it is possible I could still go out and play great. I don't think Jim is the same kind of player.

Q. That is the difference in talent, of course, because he has to work so hard for it?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know if it's talent. Maybe it is partly that, but I think it is also personality. I mean, Jim is a lot like Lendl, got his confidence from his training and from his practice and more nervous the more he played. And all of a sudden Lendl gets the kids and doesn't practice as much, then the confidence goes down, you know. So I have never really made that -- I been without it, so I believe that I can win without it, but now I am starting to realize it is easier to win with it.

Q. Because sometimes he gave the impression of being almost burnt out of doing too much, perhaps?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, that is possible too. He doesn't talk to me about it.

Q. Do you think that a system should protect these kind of players more; perhaps to play less, to give more breaks?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you know, I don't think we play too much. I just think there is too much tennis, You know. I mean, I think on behalf of the sport there is too many tournaments, you know. I think that we are responsible for our schedule, and I don't think 15 to 20 tournaments is too much.

Q. You are quite happy with the ranking system, are you?


Q. You say that 20 tournaments isn't too much. That is kind of what the top players generally are playing?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, but it doesn't mean I am happy with the ranking system. I think every tournament you play should count. I don't think you should be able to take a one pointer at a Grand Slam tournament and just play an extra five and get a better result, and all of a sudden it is not in your record. I mean, that is why Dallas against San Francisco today was -- or yesterday wasn't a big game because if one of them loses it hurts them.

Q. Andre, you came here in 1990, first time ATP final was in Frankfurt. You won it. What is the difference with you comparing to 1990; what has changed mostly?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, I don't know. I am just a much more experienced player.

Q. The serve perhaps?

ANDRE AGASSI: Serve is better, for sure. My volleys are better, for sure. I think I am a stronger a player now than I was then. I am a smarter player.

Q. What about the socks, superstitious?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. Certain things make me comfortable. One black, one white.

Q. The ranking system every year, we come here, everyone seems to be saying the same thing.

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't think that. I think generally the top players don't like -- Berasategui is going to feel differently, he has 31 tournaments, but most other top guys don't. And every year we talk about it, talk about it and now in Paris, I -- we will see what happens with the new ranking system. It just seems year after year not much changes, you know.

Q. Do you think it is all right that let's say a player like Berasategui can be in the top 8 only playing on clay?

ANDRE AGASSI: I have strong feelings about how the Tour should be set up and stuff. I mean, I think it should be much better -- more organized and the commitment should be a certain amount on each surface. I mean, there is no way that you should have to play on every surface.

Q. You don't think so, that you should play on every surface?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think you should have to.

Q. Now you have a strange situation: That the players here who play one match indoor in February and people didn't see him on indoor court still can make so many points and can be in top 10; is that fair to other players?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I don't think -- I think everybody should have to play, you know, certain tournaments. But I mean, the whole structure of the Tour would have to change to manage that.

Q. Because he didn't meet the top players over the last month? Because he didn't play indoors?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think the ranking system will help that a lot because I think that as Alberto goes down and plays the small tournaments, it just adds to his points; gets rid of whatever. I think if they did a system that every time you played it counted, you've got to play the big tournaments and do well to be top 8 in the world.

Q. (Inaudible.)

ANDRE AGASSI: I feel like -- you know, I feel like they have. As far as they are concerned, you know, they are an association of tennis professionals. There is a lot of tennis professionals; hundreds of them. In the top 10 there are only 10 people, you know.

Q. Those are the people that sell tickets.

ANDRE AGASSI: I have strong feelings about that, but it doesn't seem to mean a whole lot.

Q. You cannot think about the top 10 saying let us take some action, let us say it is over?

ANDRE AGASSI: You've got 10 guys travelling all over the world playing different continents most of the time and when they are not playing they are at home and they want to be at home, and there is no time to organize it. You tell me who can take out the time to organize it.

Q. Two weeks ago in Paris you were altogether.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, we were altogether, but it doesn't get solved in one week.

Q. And Grand Slam tournaments?

ANDRE AGASSI: It doesn't get solved though. Guys have a job to do. We are not there to worry about things, we are there to play. It is just not as simple as it sounds.

Q. Do you think something then will change?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't suspect too much to change, no.

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