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Écrit par Jerome   


Flushing Meadows, New York

August 29, 1995

A. AGASSI/B. Shelton

6-2, 6-2, 6-2



Q. How different is your motivation for this Open than from the last one?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't think the motivation is any different. I mean, I was in the finals here in the '90 and needless to say, I have only dreamt about what it feels like to win here. So last year, I wanted to and this year if I do it again, it will feel like the first. It is because, it is that important.

Q. Feel good to be on that court, you know, in a match situation since last year, twelve months ago?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I mean, I have to say that to be back out where it all started for me, it was a great feeling. I mean, this last years -- needless to say, been the best year of my career. It all started here. So I kind of step on that court with a lot of great feelings.

Q. First ttime you have played as No. 1 Sense everyone is shooting at you?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, not -- I mean, I sense guys wanting to win this tournament, and, you know, the bottom line is I think every time you step on the court against a top player, you raise your level to the best that you can play. And I have always felt like I have had to beat my opponents best tennis, day-in/day-out. You know, any time you play on the Center Court or stadium, you know, it is -- crowds are full and it creates interest. So guys are playing -- I am used to that feeling playing guys who are just playing, in a sense, outside themselves. But, you know, I don't spend too much time thinking about the ranking very much or I just kind of want to win tournaments, you know, that is it.

Q. How much more complete as a player are you now, Andre, than you were twelve months ago?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it is quite differently, surprisingly enough. I have watched some of my matches from a year ago, and I kind of find myself pin-pointing a lot of areas that I, you know, that I could have done a lot better. That is just -- that is just what a year of constant improvement will do, you know.

Q. What areas?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I just -- I think that a year ago a lot more tentative on a lot of shots. I chose to keep the ball in play when I could have finished the point. Some stages, I tried to finish the point when I should have kept it in play. I don't feel like I utilized my serve as much - little things.

Q. Would it be fair to say that you think better out there on the court now?

ANDRE AGASSI: Very fair to say. I think that is probably the ultimate difference. I am -- I have thought now on that court for a year, and it is not only am I thinking well now, I am executing, you know, with total confidence. So that really highlights your game plan.

Q. I may be wrong, but I think a few years ago you had said here that you are not at your best when you are thinking. So you have kind of changed your thinking about your thinking?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. I haven't thought about it, to be honest. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER) You know, it is one thing to have a game plan, which is what Brad offers me, you know, it is one thing to learn how to think versus thinking about things. There is a big difference there. With a game plan, it is like you teach yourself how to think on the court versus just having a million things running through your mind constantly; second-guessing; thinking what you were doing because you were thinking something else. So it is basically -- if you can understand the distinction.

Q. Steffi said a few minutes ago, her ideal first-round opponent for her is somebody giving her a hard time, even somebody recently beating her. What is the ideal first-round opponent for you? How did it work out for you.

ANDRE AGASSI: Somebody that is just going to let me get on with the tournament. I have been asked it before. I played here and had some tough matches early; won this tournament; played in Australia; had a lot of relatively, as far as score goes, easy matches. And I have kind of concluded that the thing you want to do, you want to get through each match however you need to get through it. As long as you are still in the event, good things can happen. And to me, I don't want to play my best tennis in the first week, in the first match. I just want to get through them. And when you get to the players where you know you need to play your best, you want to raise to that level and hope it is there and. . . But to get through them, is the most important thing. I can't say whether it is better to have tough ones or easy ones.

Q. Andre, last year being unseeded you weren't necessarily expected to win. This year you are expected to win. Has Brad Gilbert been rash enough not to make any bets?

ANDRE AGASSI: He is going to shave his head if I win, yeah.

Q. Are you going to do it?

ANDRE AGASSI: My head is already shaved.

Q. Are you going to shave his?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yes. Yes, I will assist.

Q. Pete Sampras said that the one thing he doesn't like about Andre Agassi, he said, "he has an airplane." What is the one thing that you don't like about Pete Sampras.

ANDRE AGASSI: That he doesn't have one, probably. There is not much not to like about Pete.

Q. Has that made it easier, your relationship or your friendship with Sampras, to play Davis Cup and do the things that you have done already this year on the Davis Cup team looking ahead?

ANDRE AGASSI: There is no question that you much rather get along with somebody than not; no matter how often you deal with them. That is just -- always my preference. Especially, when you are meeting them in a lot of tournaments, and you are in the lockerrooms with them, and you are playing Davis Cup with them. It is all the more important why -- how it feels good to be able to get along, to be friends. It is nice. To be able to leave it on the court is really what it is about. I think the game has missed out on a lot of that over the years. It is nice to feel that with Pete.

Q. John McEnroe said because there is kind of no off-court tension between you and Pete, he doesn't think the rivalry really is at the level his rivalry was versus Jimmy or versus Borg?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, I think John is the kind of guy that likes a lot of tension in a lot of relationships in his life. Just not quite sure he is easy with anything being easy, you know. I mean, he never stayed in the same hotel with Jimmy Connors and there is a downside to that too, which is -- it is unfortunate. It is, because I don't know -- I just think it reflects poorly on -- to what this game is about. I think it has a bad reflection to young ones who are learning to play and, you know, to me, the only thing that reflects a top level rivalry or not is how often do you play, and is there the contrast in styles; contrast in games; contrast in personalities; and are they enjoyable matches; does it bring out a level of tennis that you don't get to see. And, you know, only time can answer that and not me; nor John McEnroe.

Q. Kafelnikov just -- he was a little bit complaining about everybody concentrating only on you and Pete Sampras here in the states. He says it is not fair and that there there are other good players. Can you understand this point?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I mean, talk to yourself about that. I don't talk about me and Pete. I mean, I think there is a lot of great players here. So much so that I haven't even thought about Pete outside of when I am asked about him. As far as I am concerned, I got, you know, there is 126 other guys who do not want to see me and Pete play in the finals and I understand that. So I just think about my next opponent, and, you know, if Pete and I are what people are talking about and writing about, there is not much I can do outside of forgetting about it and continue with my business.

Q. Do you think tennis is helped by having two guys in the opposite extremes with the kind of contrast that you two have to anticipate meeting in the finals?

ANDRE AGASSI: Sure. I think rivalry is really what supports any sport. It is the No. 1 -- it is the No. 1 ingredient in making a sport successful, I believe. It is important to have personalities in the game and it is important for a game to be something that the public can understand, you know, there is a few things that really make a sport big.

Q. Does it do the same thing for you as a competitor to have somebody - a guy to look forward to; a guy to anticipate instead of having 126 opponents out there?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you know, it is like I look at Pete like if he is playing his best tennis; he is the guy that I got to worry about the most. It doesn't mean I am not going to lose to a million other guys on the wrong day. It obviously has happened and it can happen and it will happen again. But it is nice to see somebody with a level of tennis that, in a sense, keeps striving forward. I feel like Pete plays the game of the future, so to speak, and he pushes me to play more, to play better, to play stronger and any time you have that, I think it is good - it is good for the game.

Q. Do you do the same thing for him?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know.

Q. How have you come to this point in your life, No. 1 in the world, you were probably in press conferences where you probably said things you regret. Now it seems like you say all the right things; everything is really going well for you. How have you come this far?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. I just -- I mean, I have definitely taken my lumps. I have definitely learned my lessons; some of them the hard way. But I guess ultimately, I have never given up.

Q. Would you just talk a little bit about your -- I mean, you were talking about your opponents always having their best game against you, but being No. 1; being so dominant, is there a point in a match when you sense that they think about your dominance and it changes the game for you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think that, you know, when you are -- when you are ranked 1 people raise their level and they play stronger against you; that is the downside. But the upside to it is, it is a little nerve-wracking trying to beat the top guy when you might not get that opportunity again for a long time, so, you know, it creates a certain amount of nerves, I think. But either way, you know, you got to win to be No. 1 and you got to win to stay No. 1. So if you don't, it is not going to last very long.

Q. Of the four Grand Slam tournaments, which is your favorite?

ANDRE AGASSI: I have gone through different feelings throughout my career. I would have to say at this stage, I am playing my best tennis on hard court.

Q. Andre, you played Mats last week, or ten days ago. Would that be a reach to say that he has any chance playing against you guys next month in Davis Cup the way Wilander is playing?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, if I was the captain of the team I would -- I think I would probably be picking Eddy and Enqvist. You just -- I mean, you never can tell. Mats is a great competitor and I think that if Stefan isn't feeling up to par for some reason that Mats is a good alternative, but at this stage, I would have to -- unless he did something incredible at the Open and proved that he could really, you know, beat the top guys, or at least some of them, I would probably still stick with Enqvist and Edberg.

Q. Do you have any input in what you wear on-court in the clothing selection?


Q. What do you have to say?

ANDRE AGASSI: Anything I want.

Q. I mean, if you say "I don't like that outfit" that is what they are marketing, you can choose to wear --

ANDRE AGASSI: I say I don't like it long before you know it is going to be marketed.

Q. Do you like what you are wearing out there right now?


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