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March 11, 2005

Andre Agassi


THE MODERATOR: Andre making his 17th appearance here in the desert. He has the most match wins in the field with 33. Questions.

Q. I asked Federer about the little exhibition you had at the top of the Dubai hotel. Tell us about that, please. How was the feeling?

ANDRE AGASSI: It was an incredible experience. Pretty intimidating. Everything they do in Dubai they do in a spectacular way. This was the most interesting place I've ever played tennis.

Q. The proceeds went to UNICEF, that is my understanding?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I don't know. I don't know.

Q. Was there very much seating?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, no. You actually had to sign waivers before you went up there. There was two of us and a cameraman.

Q. We missed you after Friday in Carson. Can you talk about your feelings Saturday and Sunday.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, that was needless to say a pretty disappointing weekend. Every point is so huge in Davis Cup. Getting started off 1-0 down was difficult. Losing the doubles put us really behind it. We were up against it at that point on Sunday. You know, we needed a few good things to happen. But the way Ljubicic played, you can really only tip your hat to him. It was a brutally tough court to make any progress on with your shots. He still have an ability to do that, which was a credit to the way he's playing. Somehow if Andy had gotten through, maybe we had a chance there. But, you know, we all contributed to that loss, and so did Ljubicic because he really earned it.

Q. It sounds like you're being critical of the surface choice.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, no. I'm just saying that it was -- the choice was a hard court, and the choice was at slow to medium pace. But, you know, you need to get -- it needs to be executed properly. You never quite know with the sand in there. It was the slowest hard court I've ever played on. I think it was a difficult assignment for all the players. I think Ljubicic's ability to play better than us was a function of his confidence and his ability to make adjustments. It's easy to sort of call things in hindsight. Any time you lose, you'd change anything and do it again.

Q. What were you going through during Andy's match? It was very topsy-turvy.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it was not easy. I committed to not watching most of it, and I don't think I missed a point (smiling). You know, four hours of sort of nail-biting tennis, it's draining. You know, I've been through it before. The temperature had gotten really cold by the end. It would have been quite a challenge to win both those matches on Sunday.

Q. It's quite a few months away, but how would you feel about playing again in September?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, like I said before, I think every decision is made leading up to it. This is a great team. I loved being a part of it, and I would look forward to doing that again, for sure.

Q. I think everyone knew that Ljubicic was playing very well. He came in hot. He's obviously accomplished and has proved a lot. Looking back, should the US have won that tie anyway? Really, how disappointing is it given, at least on paper, how good the team is? You have you, Andy, Grand Slam titleist, the Bryans, Grand Slam titleists. Is that a tie the US should win on home soil?

ANDRE AGASSI: I believe we should win that tie no matter where I play, because that's how I approach stepping out on the court, that we should figure out a way to win this. But you've still got to do it. It still boils down to the guys getting out there, executing what it is they know how to do. You've seen a lot of shocking things happen through the years in Davis Cup. I think it's the result of inspiration on some players' sides and nerves on other players' sides. In this case, I think it was clear that Ljubicic outplayed us both and even raised his level quite significantly in the doubles. It wasn't like the boys played bad at all. I mean, they played a quality match, and were outplayed. It's not easy to say you should have won after seeing that happen.

Q. On a positive note, you're the most winning active player in the Masters series. Does that give you more confidence? Do you think your opponents give up a little bit when they step on the court with you now?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, they don't. Maybe make that suggestion to them. I wouldn't mind. No, I've had 20 years of playing these things. I'm sure if anybody else had 20 years, they'd have a lot of titles, too.

Q. How is the back and hip?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's been doing good. I've been working hard. It feels about 10% of what it used to be. That's a great sign.

Q. You mean, the pain?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. The cool-down, I'm aware of it about 10%, which is that's how it was three years ago. Hopefully it will last for a while.

Q. Any exhibitions with you and Steffi still in the works?


Q. Is it possible when World Team Tennis comes this summer that your team would play Steffi's team? Is it possible that you'd both be playing?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I suppose it's possible, seeing that we're from the same house. We might as well travel together, right (smiling)? I suppose it's possible, yeah.

Q. It would sell a lot of tickets.

ANDRE AGASSI: Might be our first fight.

Q. How often does she manage to get out on the court?

ANDRE AGASSI: It goes through stages, depending on where she is. For example, here she's been out on the court every day either with myself or Darren or Darren's wife Victoria. She'll go hit balls. Still has better footwork than me and better legs.

Q. Is she completely recovered from all the leg injuries she had in '99?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. I mean, she wouldn't be the same if she had to play and then recover and play again. Her knees have taken quite a good pounding. She claims to feel that difference, you know, getting down as easily for the backhand slice. But her high end is still pretty darn special to watch.

Q. There's absolutely no temptation before you retire in 2010 or whatever it's going to be to go out and play maybe one mixed doubles? Even with the knee, doubles and singles are different.

ANDRE AGASSI: Temptation for me or temptation for her?

Q. For you.

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I've tried to talk her into it a lot. I'm the good guy here.

Q. You're just not going back there again; you know when to stop asking?

ANDRE AGASSI: She has a very quiet way of communicating. She says a lot without saying much at all. They wrote a song about that, didn't they?

Q. How about somebody else in your family playing tennis besides the two of you? The youngsters, see them getting into competitive tennis?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know.

Q. I understand you've been giving lessons this week. Like a good father, you're very joyful at the good shots and so on.

ANDRE AGASSI: Sure, sure. We have a lot of fun out there. I mean, I don't know how it's all going to go really. Once he starts showing any competitive spirit to do it, I certainly would nurture that because I believe in what tennis has offered me. But tennis has given me a lot because I've poured a lot of myself into it. Unless the decision is yours to really give of yourself, it would never be the same experience anyhow.

Q. Do you golf?

ANDRE AGASSI: I've golfed before.

Q. Can you put Scott Draper's accomplishment in any perspective?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, unfortunately I can only sort of speak to one side of his accomplishments, which is the tennis. I mean, golf, I don't know if I really have a perspective of just how difficult that is. But it is pretty amazing. I don't know if that could ever be matched. You're talking about a sport that's year-round, both of them. You know, while we hit a ball like they do in golf, I mean, everybody knows it's a lot easier to hit a ball that's moving than the ball that's just sitting there. So it is amazing. I've never seen him hit one golf ball, I've just heard about it. I don't know exactly how hard that accomplishment is. I just know it would be impossible for me and I'd be really surprised if we ever saw that again.

Q. Ellsworth Vines, champion of both golf and tennis.

ANDRE AGASSI: What kind of champion in tennis?

Q. He was a Slam winner.

ANDRE AGASSI: What year was that?

Q. '31.

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, yeah, I remember watching that match (smiling). That's a good effort.

Q. Andy was speaking about this yesterday before Donald Young played today, that he thinks maybe he's been playing pro matches at this level, Masters Series, too early. He's won something like 11 or 12 games in three matches. For a 15-year-old kid who is not that big physically, is it maybe a better idea to play ITF Juniors a little more, Futures? Is there a danger of him being pushed too fast, maybe losing his way?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I have never actually seen him hit a ball yet, so I would look forward to that. I think it's important to have good direction for one's career at all stages, but especially sort of this stage. I wouldn't say it's necessarily a mistake to be out here taking your lumps because it's what you have to face ultimately. And if there's areas of your game that are suffering, it will be highlighted. I think it can wear on you mentally if you're not being directed and responding, sort of making the adjustments necessary where you could feel the improvement and the motivation in it. But I don't know who's even guiding him. I'm not even sure, outside of what I hear, about what he even plays like. I don't think by definition it's a mistake, no.

Q. How is the class of 2008 for your college preparatory academy doing?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's doing amazing. I watched them grow. Most of those kids were there since third grade. Now they all know how to fill out college applications. They're all dreaming about where they're going to go. It's going to be an emotional time, 2009, first graduating class.

Q. Can you talk about the Top 4 that have emerged in tennis, Andy Roddick, Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt, and whatnot. Is there a motivation for everybody else to catch up to that pack?

ANDRE AGASSI: The "whatnot" would be Safin, right (smiling)? I think it's great for a sport to have the best that are out there be so sort of recognized and appreciated by tennis fans for one reason or another. I think the way Roger's played separates him. I think Lleyton's competitiveness and persistence on the court is easy for people to appreciate. Certainly Andy lets it all hang out out there. That's always admirable. Safin is always good value. You've got a great group of guys there that can help push the sport forward, while at the same time they all can play pretty darn well.

End of FastScripts….

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