March 25, 2003
KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA
THE MODERATOR: With the win today, Andre improves his match winning streak to 15 here in Miami. Now 52-11 lifetime, here in Miami. Questions for Andre.
Q. How is the shoulder, first of all? It seemed you may have been favoring it at certain points in the match?
ANDRE AGASSI: No, it was mentioned by Cliff in the post match, but, no, I mean, I'm always aware of it just because I'm worried, I'm always worried about it. I don't want to have to go through that again. I'm not feeling the same sort of pain I felt even as recent as ten days ago. So I felt pretty good.
Q. Feeling some pain?
ANDRE AGASSI: No, it's not pain. It's sort of a -- it's a difference. It's a little bit of a general fatigue. But nothing that prevents me from being able to muscle through it.
Q. Was it a case of waiting him out to where he started to make errors?
ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I had plenty of opportunities in the first set. The first set could have gone either way. I thought it was a high-standard match. But there's a few key points where I missed some second serve returns. That's what you need against him; you can't afford to give that away, because you're not going to get that many opportunities. So I felt like I just converted the right points in the second and third.
Q. Seemed at the beginning of the second as though there was a general lull and the atmosphere went a bit flat. Was that something you were happy with, because then you stepped up and he wasn't able to step up?
ANDRE AGASSI: I think, ultimately, it's about taking care of business. I came out and had a good first service game, which gets my nose in front. Now get back to work, make him work hard on every service game, and that sort of thing. We played a couple hard games there in the middle of the second which, I think, translated into my opportunity to break at 3-4.
Q. Took you a while to break him in the third game of that final set. Did you feel you were in control from that point onwards?
ANDRE AGASSI: You never feel in control against Mark. Mark has a great ability to make you feel like the match can be over within a very short period of time if you're not careful. So there's always a sort of sense of urgency and you want to convert on opportunities because you never know when it's your last, as far as breaking his serve. So, no, I didn't feel in control. I felt like I needed to really make something happen there.
Q. Did you go in thinking about playing a more defensive brand of tennis, or does Mark just dictate that?
ANDRE AGASSI: Well, he's an aggressive player, no question. He takes the match in his own hands on so many shots. So you always want to leave room for the possibility of him just missing. That's as good of a win as any, if you can get your opponent to miss. But he was working the ball well. His shot selection, I thought, was great. I thought he was moving really well. You know, I thought it was a high standard match. I needed to step up and I did on some crucial points.
Q. He needed a wildcard to get in here. Where, in terms of where he's been in the past, which is in the Top 10, do you feel his game is since you played with him?
ANDRE AGASSI: I think Mark has some of the biggest weapons on the Tour. Utilized right, he has the opportunity to beat anybody that plays, at any time, really on any surface. That sort of speaks to some strong potential. But to come out here and be Top 10 in the world, you have to do it over and over again, you have to do it week after week, you have to be healthy, you have to be motivated, you have to be disciplined. He's been showing some great signs the last few weeks. So I think he should expect only to see bigger and better things.
Q. How much was it in the third set when he broke you, and how much was it he kind of lost the way to utilize it in the right way?
ANDRE AGASSI: I think you have to ask him how he was feeling in the third. I thought the edge came off his game a little bit there, he was late to some of his shots, missed his first serves. That's key. If he's not in position, he swings too big to not be in position. To be quite honest, it's very similar to what I feel much of the time when I'm not moving well. I just swing at the ball too hard to not be in position, taking a percentage swing.
Q. Excuse me for taking you out of the game with Philippoussis, but today Marcelo Rios withdrew from the tournament because of a back injury. He said in the press conference he may be thinking about retiring because he's not feeling motivated. What do you think about that? You played twice Rios in Key Biscayne. What do you think of him retiring at age 26?
ANDRE AGASSI: It's happened to a lot of guys. A lot of guys have felt that way, whether it's physical or mental. With Marcelo, I think it's gone through many parts of his career that have been physical and many parts that has been mental. So, you know, certainly wish him well, whatever he chooses to do.
Q. Do you think it would be bad for the circuit? I mean, he's a talented player.
ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, he's a talented player, no question. There's a lot of talented players out here. So I think you have to show something more than talent; you have to show desire and a commitment and if you don't have that, it doesn't matter if you're playing or not.
Q. Playing Younes in the quarterfinal. What do you make of his game?
ANDRE AGASSI: Younes is a great player to watch and to play against him, it's a challenge. He's 6'5 with a big serve, big forehand, like we saw in Australia and we've seen here. He can play some big tennis for a guy that's 6'5 and actually moves well. He's a good athlete. There's a lot of things about his game that make him a problem for a lot of guys. I'm going to have to go out there when I play him and execute my shot and not give him a chance to do what he wants to do.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.