January 23, 2004
THE MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. How much in a match like that, when you played him a lot of times, how much do you draw on past matches when you're in the match? How much do you think of combinations and things that might have worked before?
ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, yeah, you go out there with a real clear awareness as to what it is you need to do, what it is you need to worry about, the dynamic you want to set up from the baseline. And when you play each other so many times, you're sort of so sensitive to those subtle changes that happen throughout the course of a match that you constantly feel like you're making adjustments to get it back to the terms that you're looking for.
Q. Why was the score so lopsided this time?
ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, every day's a new day. You have to go out there and you have to execute and you have to bring your game. Today I was really hitting the ball well. It was breezy conditions. I wasn't making a lot of errors. I was running down a lot of his shots. He started the match off a little tough with a few double-faults. Hit a few good returns. Next thing you know, I'm up a double break in the first set. Once you get that lead, it's a big advantage. He had 3-1 in the second and I turned around and played another great game. I had a big return up the line which doesn't happen too often off that big of a serve. You know, I played well today. I executed everything I wanted to, and I'm not sure how he would feel about the way he played, but everything was real good from my side.
Q. Is the planning any different when you come up against a player, obviously not that often, who has a winning record against you prior to today over a sustained period of time? Does that change your preparation, the things you might look at, how you think of the match?
ANDRE AGASSI: It makes you more aware of what they're capable of and certainly makes you more concerned about what they're capable of. Thomas has a big game. If I'm not hitting the ball sharply and I'm not moving well, he can let one ball go and get a big advantage in the point. I think today, with a little bit of the breezy conditions, helped me, too. I have a little bit more margin on my shots, and he plays a little bit riskier with the flatness of his strokes. You know, I went out there certainly real clear about the sense of urgency I'm going to need to have in those rallies because I've played him so many times. Obviously, respect what he's capable of.
Q. Is it a more satisfying day at the office for you when you walk off the court and think you've played almost the entire match on your terms?
ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah.
Q. Do you feel like that now, looking back on that now?
ANDRE AGASSI: I feel like I did everything I was looking to do. I felt like when he hit a good ball, I was staying strong on my shots. I wasn't letting him back me up. When I got control of the point, I felt like I was keeping control of the point. Those are the things that, a couple things off the top of my head, that I look for to feel good about my game, is I'm making somebody play three or four great shots to win a point, from start to finish.
Q. Bottom line is obviously to win. Given that, how important is it to win quickly in the early matches of a Grand Slam?
ANDRE AGASSI: It's nice to win quickly. I don't think it's a necessity. But you do want to save most of your best tennis and most of your energy for the matches you need them the most, and you never know when those matches are gonna happen. You know, last year, from the Round of 16 on, the second half of the tournament score line was easier for me than the first half, you know. So you never know when you're gonna need your best tennis. It's just good to know that if it's needed from you the next day, you're gonna have it.
Q. Nice to get home in time for dinner?
ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah (smiling). Nice to get home to play with the kids before they call it a night. Really nice.
Q. Can you talk a bit about Ginepri and Blake getting into the fourth round here.
ANDRE AGASSI: It's good. I think we have a nice generation of players coming through right now. Robby and James are both great athletes, and competitive. They don't give you anything out there, and that's nice to see in the competitive heart of a player, that they have that sort of drive to keep pushing no matter what the conditions, no matter what the elements are out there. They both work really hard. They go about their jobs very professionally. They've definitely improved, and they got a lot more of that coming.
Q. Paradorn next.
ANDRE AGASSI: Hmm.
Q. Have you come up against him?
ANDRE AGASSI: I played once at Wimbledon, where he beat me, you know. Every day is a day where you have to go out there and execute, or else it doesn't happen anymore. On that day, he was too good for me that day. My hope is to go out there day after tomorrow and let him know I can play better than that.
Q. Fan asked me the other day, when you started bowing to the crowd like that and blowing kisses to the crowd, when did you first did that and why did you start doing it?
ANDRE AGASSI: I don't remember exactly when. It was definitely pretty late, meaning after my sort of "comeback." I think the reason why I started doing it is there are just certain venues, being away from the game, that I was pretty clear I was going to miss very much when my time is said and done. It's a little way that I just say my thank-you's and show my appreciation for the memory and the fans and just all the joy I've had on the court there. I just -- you know, for me it's a ritual I believe in because it's an effort to express my appreciation.
Q. Just happened the first time, or did you plan it out and say, "I'm going to do this today"?
ANDRE AGASSI: I think it just happened. I don't remember exactly when. It was nothing I really thought about, but now I do.
Q. Do you know what it feels like to lose here?
ANDRE AGASSI: Yes.
Q. Regardless of how many matches in between, you still keep that feeling of the other side of things? Obviously, it's been a while.
ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, we play week after week, year after year. You know what it's like to lose.
Q. Here in Melbourne, it's been a long time.
ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's been a long time. I'm way too experienced not to realize how on the line you play, you walk, every single match. So I don't know how it looks from the outside. I can tell you that it's hard work and I'm absolutely relieved every time I put together a good match here.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.