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March 18, 2005

Andre Agassi


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andre.

Q. What happened?

ANDRE AGASSI: Last night I was experiencing a lot of pain with my big toe on the left foot. I thought it was possibly an ingrown nail, something I was not trying to wake up to assess it, I was trying to get my rest. Woke up this morning, it was blown up like a balloon. It was twice the size. I can't bend it or move it. So it's quite painful when I maneuver it manually. It's impossible for me to do anything. It's very disappointing.

Q. What did the doctor say it was?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I don't know. I'm going to go see if it's possibly a tendon that connects around that joint area or just a capsule of the joint. But, you know, all they can say is that that kind of quick inflammation and swelling is a result of your body trying to protect something pretty serious. I'll need to go get that done, which I am this afternoon.

Q. Have you ever had anything like this before?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, no, I haven't. And there's nothing I did to speak of. There wasn't a moment I felt it. But certainly it was very disruptive all evening when I was trying to sleep and didn't really look at it till I got up in the morning. I was pretty shocked by what I saw, for sure.

Q. Which foot is it?

ANDRE AGASSI: My left foot.

Q. I suppose if there can be any consolation in these circumstances, when you last were sitting in a chair like that in Australia, it didn't turn out to be quite as bad as you thought it was. You had a pretty good tournament.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, yeah, I suppose so. Hopefully I'm only a few hours away from knowing how long it's going to take.

Q. Are you going to have it looked at here or go home?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I'm going to get it done straightaway here. If there's any questions about what we're seeing, have a few people look at it. But, yeah, I don't know. Just be guessing right now if it's a joint capsule, if it's a bone, if it's a tendon. I don't know. Absolutely can't move on it. It's painful to do that.

Q. Are you feeling a little snake-bitten by injuries this year? Every month, even though you've gotten over some, it seems like something is happening.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, well, you'd probably have a better perspective on that than me. I just try to fight things off one at a time. Yeah, it's very disappointing. You know, you try not to grind your gears too much over it 'cause it's a long year. This is certainly not the way you want to see any tournament go for the sake of all those involved. It's disappointing, for sure.

Q. There was no indication, when you went to bed?

ANDRE AGASSI: Zero. Absolutely zero. I thought it was an ingrown toenail in the middle of the night. The pressure of the sheets alone was making it hurt. If I rotated left or right, it was bothering me. I put it up on two pillows, thinking I was just getting some throbbing and some pain, possibly an ingrown nail. Again, you know, night before a match, you're just trying to get your rest. Nothing you can really do about it anyhow. I woke up this morning, it was no nail. The thing was, you know, 80% bigger than my other toe.

Q. Is it the actual toe or the joint?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, the knuckle of the big toe.

Q. That's what's swollen?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. You're more than welcome to have a look at it. Prettiest feet in the world anyhow (smiling).

Q. Is it red and shiny? I have gout...

ANDRE AGASSI: They tried to assess it for gout or any sort of infection. I thought maybe then I was bitten by something or it was some sort of infection. But they ruled that out.

Q. No gout?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I suppose until you do the blood test, you don't know that for sure. They suspect it's related to trauma.

Q. How long did you hit for yesterday?

ANDRE AGASSI: Close to an hour. Close to an hour.

Q. New shoes?

ANDRE AGASSI: Coincidentally, I did, but it's the same shoe I've used. I do that every other day on a surface like this anyhow. I really don't know. You know, I had a bit of an accident a year and a half ago on that joint. But it was nothing that I didn't recover from pretty quickly. Maybe just the trauma that's been on it. I don't know if it had a reaction to something or if it's really now a much different sort of set of concerns.

Q. Related to the other accident?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. It was me stepping on a ball and sort of putting my weight on the top of my toe. I thought I could have done something serious there. But, you know, a few days and I was all right.

Q. What's next? An x-ray and an MRI?


Q. Is it too early to think about whether you can or can't play in Miami?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I don't know. This is -- if we were talking 10 hours ago, you know, we'd be looking forward to a good match right now. I've stopped speculating on things. It's not easy for me to do that, especially with as many question marks that exist at the moment there. I suppose those answers will be a little clearer this afternoon once I make sure I know what I'm dealing with, you know, whether it's tendon, a capsule or bone, all of the above.

Q. For an athlete, an injury in the middle of an event is a real brush with mortality.

ANDRE AGASSI: It's a difficult time to talk about it. I mean, I'm giving you much more of a reaction than a response. But it's very disconcerting, to say the least. Yeah, I mean, it's a terrible situation to be in because you have to make a decision that's very difficult to make. But, you know, slightly easier. There's not an option for me. I can't move on it. If I move left or right aggressively, it's not happening. So that's not going to serve anybody for me to walk around on the tennis court. And you just hope you can get yourself healthy, play some good matches. You know, I don't know. It's very frustrating.

Q. Yesterday were you feeling like your level during the last week was as high as it's been or higher than it was all year?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, yeah, for sure. Comparing it to this year, absolutely. I felt real good.

Q. Why aren't you using crutches to take the weight off and give you a little relief?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I don't have pain sitting here, you know. It's when I engage the movement of it. You know, we're talking about a sport that demands your full attention physically at every turn.

End of FastScripts….

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