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March 26, 1995

Andre Agassi


GREG SHARKO: Andre has now won 47 of his last 51 from the beginning of the U.S. Open through today. And with the win he now cuts the lead to 227 points on the ATP Tour rankings. Questions for Andre?

Q. Last time you won 19 points in a row, Andre?

ANDRE AGASSI: In a real match? That doesn't happen too often, especially against a guy like Pete. I think that it was pretty warm out there. We were both definitely playing strong. I mean, he got an early break on me, but outside that one game, every game was pretty intense. I had a couple of chances at -- 2 chances in 2 different games to break him back in the first set, and he squeaked it out. It was a high level I think of intensity. When he had Love-40, he ended up losing that game. I think that kind of, you know, it -- he just kind of he lost his intensity a little bit; probably got a little frustrated with that. I got a sense of life in me thinking that, "Geez, I could be down a break right now. Let us loosen up and start playing" and, you know, then it just worked out that way. It just -- you can't count on that too happen too often.

Q. If he gets one of those points, does he win the match?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I was so close to breaking him the whole match it felt like -- so I am still saying that I would have been contending to get back into it. However, the reality of it is when Pete is three service games away from winning the match, his serve elevates, I am guessing he would have had over and under four aces, would have been six for the last three service games, you know. So, I am saying my chances would have been slim.

Q. In most of the second half of the match on your serve, Pete backed up behind the baseline two or three feet. Just trying to topspin deep and play a little more conservatively. Do you think that tactic worked in your favor?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think that is his best option, unless I hit such a weak second that he is running around and pummel it with his forehand because when that ball is moving like that, you know, his return isn't a strength of his game. It is something that he uses to get back in play. If he is trying to take that ball early to hurt me off the backhand, I am saying, he is going to make a lot of errors. Everybody has their strengths and weakness. Pete's serve is his strength; his return sometimes can give him some problems. I think he just works around it pretty well, and I think he hits it pretty well, considering he is not all that comfortable with it. So, I don't criticize or judge; I think he did a smart thing.

Q. Before it turned around at 2-All in the second, were you beginning to wonder if it was going to go your way? You had a lot of bad luck as well as in the first set; couple of line calls which you might have got on very key points.

ANDRE AGASSI: As well as a couple of net cords on passing shots for a break point.

Q. Then the chances to break when he served for the set.

ANDRE AGASSI: Then the time violation, when I asked the ball kid to keep my towel back there, I jogged over; jogged back, got a warning, I thought that was a horrible call. Yeah, you do tend to feel like maybe it is not your day out here. But your only obligation in a situation like that, really is just to keep on, you know, just working through it and hope it turns around. Sometimes it doesn't. And today, it did.

Q. Seemed to be making a lot of unforced errors, Andre, was the wind largely responsible for those?

ANDRE AGASSI: It is combination of wind and respect for Pete's game. I mean, he doesn't leave you many options, I mean, he plays similar to Lendl does from the backcourt. Lendl used to always kind of tempt to you hit that ball to his running forehand; then you do, he makes you pay a terrible price for it. So, you know, you feel the pressure all of a sudden going, you know, up against a guy like Pete, it is a big step up, I feel. Against playing these other guys. Just a bit nervous and a bit tentative and then sometimes a bit, with the respect I had going for a bit too much, but all in all, I feel pretty pleased with the way I managed to control my shots at the right time.

Q. After the first set, Andre, do you think that your level went a little higher, or Pete went a little lower?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think we played extremely well the first set. I mean, I thought the first set was great tennis. I mean, I made a couple careless errors when I lost my serve, but, you know, to hold serving that first game is sometimes difficult. A little nervous big match. And outside that game it was a high level of intensity. Then I think that his came down a half notch. And that was enough to make the difference.

Q. You talk about your game and Pete said it too, I think you said in a TV interview is that something that-- you make a conscious decision to do -- to start cracking those forehands or just -- it just comes and so you start hitting that ball?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it is a combination. Sometimes you have to loosen up and just play and sometimes that happens from a result of getting lucky out there, you feel the momentum; then you get a little -- it just kind of happens, you start playing bigger, other times it is like today was a very conscious decision, you step out on the court and if I am just hitting a medium-paced ball to you and you were not hurting me on it, I am not going to go for anything bigger until I have the right shot. But if you are making me pay the price for not executing or hitting the big backhand crosscourt or the big forehand rally shot, then if you make me pay for that, I am going to feel the pressure to have to do more and then I am left with a choice, either to allow the match to be in his hands and continue, or step up the level if I can, and hope to answer the level that he is -- he is declaring out there.

Q. That is what you felt today?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I felt like I was playing a little bit, you know, too tentatively; hoping that somehow I could work myself into the points; then he was jumping pretty much all over me, so I had to pick up the level and start going for bigger shots, a little bit earlier.

Q. There was one fantastic rally in the tiebreaker giving you the lead for 5-3 and the rest there were many faults. What do you think, was it nervousness?

ANDRE AGASSI: Of the tiebreaker; of what?

Q. There had been many faults in the tiebreaker.

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I don't agree with that. First 3 points I mean, I hit -- I had the wind on my backhand. I had a good kick serve; then he missed the return understandable. He missed a few during the match. Then he hit a big serve up the middle to my forehand, and I made good contact, but it just got away from me. It was like a 119 mile an hour serve; then he hit, I believe, an ace or something, you know, I mean, he served big there. And -- but I felt like after the first three points of the tiebreaker, you know, then the points picked up and, you know, I went for a few bigger shots. I got there on him on 6-3. I thought the tiebreaker was a solid one. Didn't feel like it was a nervous one.

Q. This is getting to be as big as or bigger and better than any other individual rivalry in all of sports. Do you feel a real really significant extra surge of adrenaline when you go out there against Pete, different from playing other people?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, yeah, the intensity against Pete is above and beyond anything that I think I can feel with anybody at the present time. I mean, I do feel a sense of professional intensity when I play against other guys that I have respect for their ability, but with Pete, there is that added level of -- I mean, on top of the rivalry of people being very familiar with us playing each other now, there is also that hunt for No. 1. This is a great stage in tennis; that is nice to see everybody appreciating.

Q. Do you sit next to each other on the Concorde tomorrow?

ANDRE AGASSI: I haven't looked at my seat number. I don't know where it is.

Q. Andre, you hit a couple of pretty terrific returns off of Pete's hook serve on the deuce court. I wonder whether that might have made him try to hit a little too fine on his first serve today after that.

ANDRE AGASSI: That is the idea. He has a big serve. I have a big return, so the question is am I going to get, you know, a little gun shy with my return or he is going to get a little bit gun shy with his serve or am I requesting to go for it too much or he go for it too much. I felt like today, if he were to stick with just his heater, he is going to have problems. But one of the great things about his serve is it is so versatile. A guy like Pete is not going to hit a lot of doubles faults even on a windy day because he can do so many things with his serve. And, you know, I felt like he got away with a lot of second serves today that I missed some returns and I had my moment where I wasn't hitting them clean and then all of a sudden, I felt like at crucial times he did go for a little bit bigger shot. That is expected when he goes for those bigger serves and he makes them. Everybody says, well he can do it, but the bottom line is you are going to miss a few and it happened to him today.

Q. In view of this rivalry, it is really practical to kind of suspend hostilities for the next week, is that actually an easy thing to do now that the two of you are now on the same plane; same direction?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I'd have to answer is that by saying I don't -- Pete is not my enemy, you know, he is somebody that I have a great amount of respect for on a lot level levels -- geez, we both played our whole lives to come out here and have moments like these, you know, we couldn't look at the other one as if they are interfering with what we want we look at. It is helping create what it is we are playing for. So I don't -- it is not a problem at all. We have one thing on our mind, you know, next week and that that is to hopefully win, you know, that is what we are going there for. We are going to do it together. And then we are not playing in the same tournament until, you know, maybe Hamburg and then the French Open, so it is not going to wear -- not going to have a problem at all. We got a lot of weeks now to prepare for what it is we both want which is the French, and I think next week is going to be relaxing. I think it is going to have quite the contrary feeling. We are going to enjoy being on the same team for a change.

Q. Are you playing Hamburg for sure?


Q. If you were sitting next to each other on the Concorde what would the conversation be, mainly tennis related or do you actually find that you have quite a lot of other common grounds?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I don't think it would be limited to tennis, by any means, you know, certainly not this soon after the match, you know, I mean, you just kind of-- it is kind of said and done. Probably talk a lot about-- if we do talk about tennis, it will be based on what we are going there for, but no, I don't feel like that is the case. I mean, Pete is coming up with me to New York tonight in my plane and we are going to see if we can go catch Grease together, you know. So --

Q. Have you played Gaudenzi before?

ANDRE AGASSI: I played him in Vienna last fall.

Q. What do you think now they have been practicing for a couple of weeks and you are just going over?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think it is going to be tough. I mean, it is not easy. That is why nobody wanted to go. It is a very difficult thing for us to try and do. You know, to switch from hardcourt to clay and the traveling in three days; we are going to have Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday to get ready.

Q. Is Brad going with you?


Q. How do you shake jet lag; got a method there?

ANDRE AGASSI: I just, you know, shut the curtains and just stay in bed, you know, I mean, there is not much you can do. When you get in the morning you got to force yourself to stay up all night and try to adjust as quick as you can, and I find that actually when you are playing, it helps you then if you were just going over there.

Q. You are taking Pete up to see Grease tonight?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, we are both leaving out of New York, so we are going together and if we get there in time - if you guys stop asking questions, we will make the show.

Q. You played on his backhand side, do you think that this might have had a mental effect?

ANDRE AGASSI: That what?

Q. Whether this mentally affected him.

ANDRE AGASSI: What is that, that I played his backhand?

Q. Yeah, you extremely went for his backhand.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, if you were to see his forehand from my side of the court, you would do the same thing. So... You know, that wasn't any news to him.

Q. Is it part of your plan to go see Grease?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, if we can make it, yeah.

Q. You got a couple of good tickets?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know what? I can pull some strings on that one. I got a few connections. Is that it, guys?

End of FastScripts......

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