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January 19, 2004

Andre Agassi


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. You've had some great successes here in Australia. What do you think of the proposals to move it later in the calendar?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think a big help to the sport would be having the hard court season lead up to the Grand Slam on this surface. It would make sense to me if we could somehow have a buildup to each Slam. Like the clay leads to Roland Garros, the grass leads to Wimbledon, and the hard court in the summer leads to the US Open. It certainly would make sense to the sports fan.

Q. So what time would you be looking for, around March time?

ANDRE AGASSI: I would have to put some thought behind that, sort of look at the schedule. You know, I've just been getting ready for this date. They tell me what the date is (smiling).

Q. Must have been about the best that you could hope for tonight. He put up a fairly good struggle but you still got off the court pretty quick.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, well, in your first match it's always a bit awkward because you're sort of getting the feel of the new year, the new conditions. And playing somebody you never played before presents a certain amount of working out to be done out there. We're both feeling each other out. Got off to a good start and I had to play well to close him out. That's what you have to do to win. So it felt good to get through it that way.

Q. Anything that you want to work on heading into the next match?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I always hope for it all to get better with each match. But I think it will be nice to get out there and, hopefully in the heat, and just hit the ball even cleaner and go to work.

Q. So even though some of the people coming from the northern hemisphere have had some problems adjusting, you like the heat?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I don't like it; I just try to like it more than my opponent. You know, there's two people out there that have to deal with the elements. Whether you're from the heat or not, it's about preparation and pushing yourself through it mentally. So for me it's always a challenge.

Q. This year's field is one of the most open in years. Last year you sort of rolled through the tournament. But last season, with the likes of Federer, Roddick winning Grand Slams, do you see this as an open tournament?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I see most of them that way. It's very rare that I approach a tournament not feeling like a lot of people can win it. You know, it's just my experience that tells me that. Certainly, top four in the world at the end of the year were the four that won the Grand Slams. Three of them, it was their first time. So that's a pretty amazing start of a generation; there's no question about it. And all these guys are capable of winning.

End of FastScripts….

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