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September 8, 1999

Andre Agassi


USTA: Questions for Andre.

Q. How did you feel today the first set? How do you feel the level of play of Nicolas?

ANDRE AGASSI: It was very difficult. He's a very talented player. I can see why he gives guys such a hard time and how he can qualify and get to the quarters. He's pretty dangerous. He moves well, has a very good backhand, very deceptive serve, anticipates the ball well. When you actually hit quality shots, it improves the quality of his shots. He's one of those players that really does raise his game with your game. You always feel like if you let up at all, he's ready to hurt you. I think he's a real good player.

Q. Did you see him playing before your match with him?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I know his game from the past. I haven't actually seen him play this tournament, no.

Q. Playing him in the quarterfinals and beating him handily, did this feel like a quarterfinals match?

ANDRE AGASSI: Full stadium out there. Felt beautiful. Felt great. Nobody gets to the quarters without deserving it.

Q. You feel your game is at the level you want to see it now?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it was today. I mean, I have to ask more of myself as I get closer to the finish line because the competition is going to get tougher. Yevgeny is playing very well. It's going to be a great match on Saturday, and one to really look forward to.

Q. What are the toughest parts of his game for you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Who is that?

Q. Kafelnikov.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, he's a talented player. I mean, he moves well, and he has a wide range of shots. He can flatten out both his forehand and his backhand. He can hit them up the line. He can hit them cross-court. He moves well. A guy with versatility who moves well is in a position to have options. Kind of where my game is right now. I have some versatility. When my movement picked up, I became somebody that really needs to be dealt with. He can go in streaks of serving well. He can play, you know, net well. He's experienced playing a lot of doubles. The guy's good. That's what's difficult about him.

Q. Since the beginning of the French, he's one of two guys, the other being Pete, to beat you. What do you remember about that match? Was there anything specific that will be a help to you when you face him now?

ANDRE AGASSI: I remember more about Washington (laughter). No, Montreal was a very fast court. He played great. He played great. I just felt like I had the best seat in the house that day.

Q. This is for No. 1. Does that add anything to it or really meaningless given the fact it's a semi at The Open?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's great that you're playing a match at the semis of the Open that has also that riding on it just because somewhere you kind of feel like it should be that way. I can't honestly say that neither one of us will be thinking about that. I'll give him the 1 ranking if he gives me Saturday.

Q. You've spoken in the past about the last time you were in the final here in '95 as being a very difficult loss for you to take. Could you discuss a little bit about why that loss was pivotal for you, changed your approach to tennis?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it was a great year for me in many respects. That summer I won 26 matches in a row going into the finals, beating Pete two of the three times we played going into that match that year. Just felt like I was tired, I was real tired. You always want to feel like at the biggest of situations you bring your best. I found that I wasn't quite where I wanted to be. I was tired. I'm sure he was, too. It was a long summer. I was just disappointed because that match seemed to mean more than them all combined. But that's what makes the biggest of situations so special. You're going to take the good and the bad. I was disappointed. Nothing else really seemed to mean a whole lot to me the rest of the year. I tended to carry that on for a couple more years.

Q. How do you feel now? Do you feel tired or very well?

ANDRE AGASSI: I feel like a spring chicken.

Q. How enjoyable have these two weeks been for you? You're through to Saturday. Given the fact that everybody's looked at you since Sampras and Rafter were out, has that added any element for you to these two weeks?

ANDRE AGASSI: How can you not enjoy New York? I always love it here. The energy of the Open seems even to add something more to the city. I love playing here. I love being here. I haven't really thought much about Pete and Rafter outside of the initial disappointment of the tournament losing a little bit of its excitement in the men's field. You know, it was highly anticipated to watch the best this year kind of give it their shot and see how they do. For it not to happen was unfortunate because of injury. But I didn't really assume any additional pressure. I kind of felt like, "What difference does it make until I get to the finals anyhow?" They were on the other side of the draw; I had a lot of guys in my way. I just try to take one step at a time.

Q. In this tournament you prefer to play the daytime or the nighttime?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it really depends who I'm playing. I like elements. I tend to feel like the daytime always presents more elements: the sun, you know, the heat, the wind. It always seems to be a little bit windier in the day. I'm good with elements because I have different ways of playing. I can play with spin, play flat. I like to control the points. So if it's hot, it's better for me normally. I have to say, generally speaking, I prefer the day. But whatever the situation calls for, two people have to deal with it. It's my belief that for me to deserve to win, I have to deal with it better than him. It's something that I'm committed to. Night or day, we both have the same variables.

Q. Can you talk about, going back to '95, compare or talk about why you do feel fresher now? Is your motivation different now, what makes you want to play tennis?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think everything changes as you get older. Your perspective changes. You appreciate things differently. In a lot of cases, you appreciate things more. I have to say at this stage of my life I'm appreciating the opportunities I have in my career more than I ever have. The motivation really seems to come rather easily for me now. I feel like I'm better, too. It's nice. It's nice to have the experience behind you and to still have the opportunities ahead of you.

Q. People, including Yevgeny Kafelnikov, seem to think that your match will be the final. Do you have the same feeling?


Q. What's the difference? Is it dangerous to think like that, do you think?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. When you have to play on Sunday, it's very dangerous to think like that. It's actually absurd. It's a ridiculous, ridiculous concept.

Q. Can you talk just briefly about John McEnroe being named Davis Cup captain, what the implications are for your participation?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, yeah. I mean, you know, first of all, I would like to make clear that I never -- while I've disagreed with a few of Gullikson's decisions through the year, it was never an issue of Gullikson being captain or not to my participation or not. My concerns have always been how the decisions are made, not what decisions are made. I think the players might agree, might not agree, but somewhere the players need to come to the conclusion as to what it is they want for the captain, for their doctors, for anything that has to do with their ability to compete and to do what it is they're asked to do. Players need to decide. My battle, so to speak, or my issues have been based on how the decisions are made and not what decision is made. With that being said, I have felt rather strong about John being the captain, and I am glad that John is the captain. But it's more important that it was a decision that the players made behind closed doors. That's more important because that really does open up a whole new approach to the Davis Cup, and I think allows opportunity for the players to actually feel more like a team.

Q. Does your satisfaction with that approach mean that there's a good chance you will be participating?


Q. In Las Vegas, we're not used to this humidity. Is that much of an adjustment for you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Not when you travel 35 weeks a year; doesn't matter where you grew up. It matters how prepared you are. It matters how much fluid you have. It matters what kind of shape you're in. It matters how much you run your opponent in relation to how much he runs you. Yevgeny is playing really well. It's going to be a great match on Saturday and one to really look forward to.

End of FastScripts….

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