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January 21, 2005

Andre Agassi


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. You can't get much better than six unforced errors?

ANDRE AGASSI: Is that what it was? It's always a bit of a deceiving stat when you got a guy that's putting so much pressure. It seems like any time I did miss, it was because he was putting pressure on me. Yeah, no, I felt great about the way I was hitting the ball and seeing the ball. Second set I could have made life a lot easier there, 3-1, Love-40. Then at 5-6, Love-40, he could have made life a lot easier on himself. So I felt like it was sort of a bit fair that I held from Love-40, seeing that I didn't break from Love-40.

Q. That was pretty crucial, wasn't it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, listen, I was settling in for whatever it was going to take tonight. I mean, had he won that set, he's going to play great tennis. The guy's really talented, can make a lot of shots that you just don't expect him to be able to pull off, and he does them at the most important times. He just really knows how to put pressure on you and come up with it. There were times I felt like I was outplaying him, but he just played those big points sort of so smartly. He got me in trouble there. You know, had I lost the second, I felt like I was still nestled in for some good tennis.

Q. You feel like the momentum is building nicely for you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. Today was a great day because I felt really good physically. Movement is so important in this sport, and it's nice to sort of feel that come around now heading into the second week. Can't ask for much more than that.

Q. Is there any discomfort at all with your hip? Nothing at all?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, none in sort of relation to the injury that I had in Kooyong. But generally speaking, I'm just old, so (smiling)... To sort of say I don't feel anything would probably be misleading.

Q. Is it a real noticeable difference from a couple years ago when you ploughed straight through the tournament, your physical condition now?

ANDRE AGASSI: As far as my health?

Q. Physically, I mean. Yeah.

ANDRE AGASSI: I feel great. Tonight I moved around the court arguably better than I ever have. So my upside is still pretty high. It's just always a function of making the right decisions that keep you in position.

Q. What do you say about playing Joachim Johansson in the next round?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, well, that's not going to be easy. I mean, I've seen his game. I've admired it from a distance many times. Quite powerful. Never playing somebody before, it's hard to know how their game feels and how your game matches. But I know there's not a whole lot of room to make mistakes out there. If you don't hit it aggressively enough, he's quite powerful, so...

Q. How does it suit you playing a big server like him?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I never like playing big servers. I like playing people that hit the ball very soft all the time (laughter). I don't care if they're serving or playing a forehand or backhand, the softer the better as far as I'm concerned. You know, he's a guy, he throws the ball up, there's a few guys out there that, when they go for their shot, there's nothing you can do about it. You just hope that you can make them do it over and over again and do it in pressure situations and take your chances when you do get them.

Q. Does it make you feel better knowing he went 13-11 in the fifth today?

ANDRE AGASSI: Tennis can be a very cruel and sometimes arguably unfair sport. But in the spirit of competition, you've got to deal with what's thrown at you. I can honestly say I'm glad I didn't go 13-11 in the fifth.

Q. What would be the key in that game, do you think, on Sunday?

ANDRE AGASSI: Again, there's a lot of sort of guesswork involved when you never played somebody. Really, there is. But he has one of the biggest serves and biggest forehands in the game. I mean, there's no question about that. I don't have a good sense for his movement. I don't have a good sense for his backhand. I don't have a good sense for his volleys. I don't have a good sense if he likes the ball up high or he likes the ball low. I have to sort of assess from what I see and then be able to make adjustments. Hopefully I can give him a few things to worry about, too, and we can call it even.

Q. Must be tough for the crowd to decide who they want to support, given his Australian connections and the esteem in which you're held in this country?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, that's all right. It's good. You come out here in this night environment, it's a great sort of -- there's a lot of electricity and enthusiasm in the air. That feels good to the players. I mean, at the end of the day, you have to be better than one person and you have to watch the ball. You don't hear most of the things that are said, but you do feel what's going on. Tonight it seemed like they were interested and enjoying the match, and that always makes it better for the players.

Q. Jim Courier, who you grew up with, is now in the Hall of Fame.

ANDRE AGASSI: And rightfully so. You know, he brought a lot to the game, changed the way players look at it. You know, he's brought a physicality to the sport. I don't have to look too many places to feel old. I just don't want to feel that on the court. And on the court, I'm still dealing with strengths and weaknesses and bringing my game. That, to me, is important.

Q. Does it make you feel even more your long longevity when guys like Courier are interviewing you after matches and guys you grew up with are moving to the other side of the sport?

ANDRE AGASSI: It is sort of a bit surreal in a sense, but I live this every day so I have a real appreciation for what goes into still doing this, you know. I live it every day. So nothing sort of surprises me when I realize, those few moments when something hits you, how long you've been doing it. I've been doing it a long time. I've been playing here for 10 years and I missed the first 10. It's weird. It's sort of surreal.

End of FastScripts….

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