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July 7, 2000

Andre Agassi


MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Andre for you.

Q. How surprised were you at Pat Rafter's tactics this afternoon?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, I thought he played pretty much like I expected him to. He just did it well. You know, he served real well. You know, there are times when you're surprised by things and other times that somebody just executes a little bit better at the right time. I just felt like at the biggest moments of each set, you know, he continued to execute and I fell off a little bit. He started serving in every one of the sets. I was always behind, so it was really tough to kind of expect to keep holding 4-5, 5-6, all the way through. He stepped it up and played, you know, enough quality shots at the right time.

Q. Your double-faults today came at real inopportune times. You hadn't been broken in a long time. Just time today or what happened out there?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you know, I think my first service percentage wasn't quite, you know, up to standards. I had to hit a lot of seconds. I think if Pat's playing against my second on a regular basis, you know, he puts pressure on it, he starts zoning in, starts getting in on it, makes you feel the pressure. You know, there's only a couple of ways to go about that: just play a safe second and hope you can, you know, pick up his approach shot there; or pick up the pace of your serve, take a few chances. You know, you don't win Slams by getting careful at those moments. You know, you have to pick your opportunities. 30-All, 2-3 in the fifth, you know, I just went for a 97 mile-an-hour serve to his forehand. It was breezy out there, and it got away from me. But I think it was the right call. The last thing I want to try to do is pick up a low slice approach after a second serve 30-All, 2-3 in the fifth. I had to bring my game at him and hope that it went well.

Q. After questions kind of surrounded whether his shoulder would be ever where it was after the surgery, he seems to have had an incredible Wimbledon. How do you think he'll fare against either Pete or Voltchkov?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know Voltchkov's game too well. Hard to say. I mean, only a few guys have beaten Pete here at Wimbledon. I'm not going out on a limb to say I think Pete's going to win. I think Pete's going to have to do everything well. I mean, Pat is a great athlete, and the guy can go out there and hold serve with the best of them when he's playing his game, and he's fast enough to make a few things happen on the return game. You know, it's certainly going to be a straightforward match and blow down to who executes, and hopefully Pat will be playing his best tennis so you could see how it's all going to match up.

Q. Has he changed since you played him last year? Has he changed as a player to now?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, you know, Pat's gone through a tough stage here with his injury. He's been through, you know, some disappointing times over the last year. But he looks like he's found his game. I mean, I thought he was playing well. I mean, maybe he missed a few shots that normally he can keep in play another, you know, four or six shots. Sometimes he just missed one, which I wasn't expecting him to do. But I thought at the crucial times of the match, he was the same player, he was playing tough.

Q. How did you feel after you got even at four sets, going into the fifth?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, certainly I was feeling pretty good that I was in the fifth set there after losing the third. But, you know, it's hard to feel like you have the momentum in the fifth until you get that break of serve. You know, if I had broken him to beat him 6-4 in the fourth or 6-3 in the fourth, served first game of the fifth, gone up 1-0, I think that's when you can start feeling like, you know, you have the momentum. But, again, he started every set. It just didn't fall right. It was a difficult position to be in. In the fifth, I think if you're serving first, it's a definite advantage. So he managed to neutralize any momentum I had by holding serve, 1-0. Three hours of the match is behind us, and it's 1-0, you know.

Q. You haven't played great tennis since the start of April. Do you think this Wimbledon has really reignited this stage in your career?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, I think I started playing a lot better here, you know, but needed to step it up another level, apparently, and I didn't do that. So I'm disappointed. And I certainly have to work hard now to get myself even better because, you know, it's not good enough if you lose. You've got to do something else, you've got to get better. I have to do something else. I didn't serve as well as I wanted to today, made some careless errors, you know. It was a little windy, so it's kind of tough to generate a quality cut on a no-pace ball that he was hitting. But, you know, to his credit, he played well at the right time, and I'm disappointed with the way I handled the same situations.

Q. Even though you're disappointed, you can't have played in many better matches that you lost.

ANDRE AGASSI: I have no objectivity on that right now. As far as I'm concerned, the match sucked. What do you want me to say to that?

Q. You must have thought during the match, though, before you actually lost it, "This is great tennis"? It was fabulous to watch.

ANDRE AGASSI: Good. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Q. Could I ask you one general question about the nature of Wimbledon since you first won it. There seems to be forces, very competitive forces, young people come in who we might not have associated being great successes at Wimbledon. Have you noticed any change in the feeling of Wimbledon since you first arrived?

ANDRE AGASSI: The feeling of it? Are you talking about the tennis?

Q. The tennis and the sense of the way tennis players come here, the way they're performing.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, it's a little easier to get away with playing from the back court here at Wimbledon. The balls are playing heavier. You know, getting through the first week is crucial for the baseliners. But I think it is possible to win here from the ground, more than it's been in the past, going back a few years.

Q. I was thinking more of the type of guys who are coming through, the tougher age, it seems there is a generation really pushing through. I'm thinking of the Williams girls who come from somewhere we wouldn't have associated before with great success at this kind of place.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, they've had great success. I don't understand what you want me to say. Every year players get better. Sometimes they're new ones.

Q. I suppose I was asking when you first arrived, you seemed a little bit surprised at the way Wimbledon was. Now it seems to be much democratised by people like yourself. You don't feel there's more of an edge?

ANDRE AGASSI: An edge - I wouldn't, no.

Q. I'm sorry.

ANDRE AGASSI: Don't apologize. I don't understand. I mean, Wimbledon , few things in the world feel like it never changes. Wimbledon, it's untouched by time. Every time you come back here, it has the same feeling.

Q. How frustrating is it playing against a no-pace ball?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, if I'm striking it clean and I'm controlling the point, I tell you, sometimes it's great. You can just control left and right. But if you start second-guessing yourself a little bit, if you're missing first serves, playing a lot of games 30-All, 15-30, I mean, it's tough to keep your swing clean because, you know, it was breezy out there today and the ball was floating around a little bit. If you don't hit it clean, it really gets away from you. That was really frustrating.

Q. Pat Rafter has had the kind of game that most people would consider perfect for this kind of surface, yet he hasn't had the kind of success as you or others have had. Do you think now he has gotten his game, and seems to be playing really well out there, that he can win this kind of thing, this year or another year?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, the guy is one match away from winning this title. That's a pretty good effort. It certainly says to me he's doing something right out there. I mean, you know, who can say what's ideal for the surface until you see it played out? For six, seven years, Pete's game is ideal. I always thought Rafter was a good enough athlete to win on any surface. His game is a factor on clay. If he's playing well, his ball is jumping, he's forcing a lot of guys to return and pass on the surface that they don't normally have to do that. On grass courts, needless to say, he can really keep the pressure on. I mean, it's like I always say, if he's healthy, he's been playing some matches, he's right up there with the best of them.

Q. Second game of the fourth set where you had to save five breakpoints, seven deuces, so on, was turning the tide your way?

ANDRE AGASSI: Sure. After that game I felt like I started relaxing on my serve, started controlling the baseline rallies. I felt it was a matter of time before I broke him maybe even a couple more times. You know, I think he did himself well to hold serve throughout the rest of that set. Because if had I beaten him 6-2 that set, it really would have put me with the momentum. You know, he held on the rest of the set, so he kind of reestablished himself again. Again, I'm down 1-0, 2-1, 3-2. You need a break. But he played a great fifth set.

Q. Do you look forward at this stage to Santander or is it too far off?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, you know, I'll have to think about that one. I'm not quite ready to think about clay just after this match.

End of FastScripts....

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