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September 6, 1999

Andre Agassi


USTA: Questions for Andre.

Q. Seems like the match might have been a little bit closer than the score indicated. What do you think?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, you know, when you have two guys out there battling a lot of long points, hard points, sets always can swing pretty easily. You know, double breakpoint, second game of the match there, if he converts, might give him a little confidence. The whole match can always be different. I felt good about the way I stayed focus from start to finish. I was making him earn everything he did win out there. I knew in the long run, I'd probably get the better of him.

Q. Was it your intention to wear him down? He was really running. You had him going.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, it's never my intention to keep the point going if I can end it. You have to understand the conditions and the matchups out there. It was windy, it was hard to get a clean hit at the ball. Plus, he doesn't give you much pace, and he's really quick. He kind of can bait you into taking unnecessary risks, so you don't want to kind of fall victim to that. You want to play disciplined tennis; not too conservative, but not too aggressive. It's much more about punching in the clock and staying disciplined with your shot selection. I'm a little bit -- I have more firepower than he does. So I knew if I could just continue taking good, quality cuts at the ball, you would keep the advantage in most of the points.

Q. Escude straight-setted Rios. Thoughts on his game? Have you played him before?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, yeah. He's a talented player. He has a real good backhand, sneaky first serve. He moves pretty well. He's obviously playing well. I mean, quallied, got to semis of Australia one time. Quallies, quarters here. The guy knows how to win good matches. I'm not going to take him lightly. I never would have guessed that he would have won in straight sets here.

Q. First qualifier into the quarters.

ANDRE AGASSI: Is there a question there?

Q. I was looking for a reaction to that.

ANDRE AGASSI: He's obviously playing well (laughter).

Q. (Inaudible)?

ANDRE AGASSI: Three sets today, a day and a half off, he'll be ready, all right. He'll be ready to go. I have no intention of making any further dreams come true for him (laughter). I'm just going to take him very seriously. He's obviously playing well.

Q. Do you feel that your game is at or getting to the point where it's more a matter of you're going to win or lose rather than somebody is going to beat you, if you know what I mean?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, it depends who you're playing, really. There are a lot of matchups that require you to stay disciplined, like today. He's not going to go out there and serve me off the court or blow winners by me. He's going to give me a look at a lot of shots. If I'm missing, I can lose. If I'm making, he can lose. Then you can play guys with a lot of firepower. They can beat me regardless of how I'm playing. In most cases, if I'm playing my game, executing my shots, I'm usually getting offense quicker than a lot of guys. That allows me to at least have a look at the basket.

Q. George Fareed has been hired back in a secondary role in the Davis Cup team. The fact that he's been hired back, are you now ready to reconsider coming into the Davis Cup?

ANDRE AGASSI: I'm certainly reconsidering it. There have been efforts made on behalf of the USTA to kind of allow the players to have a bit more input as to the things that really affect the players out there on the court. We're going to take it one step at a time. There's still further concerns that I believe exist. That the players having a complete say-so in who the captain is is rather important to all of us. But I'm very hopeful about the steps that are being made. That's not diplomatic. I really believe it's all going to make -- it's all going to start to work out.

Q. Would you play Davis Cup for anybody except John McEnroe?


Q. Yes.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I'm not as concerned with who the captain is as much as I'm concerned with how the captain is picked.

Q. Who would you like to see be captain? A few names you'd like to put out there?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think at this particular point, to be quite honest, we've been having some discussions behind closed doors. I'm going to respect the privacy and the decision-making process that is in place right now, and hope that our discussions have led to conclusions.

Q. Can you say who the discussions are with?

ANDRE AGASSI: I would prefer not to. You know, if you discuss that with the USTA, they might be comfortable with saying it.

Q. What are your other concerns besides the captaincy? You said there are a few.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think ultimately it's just the players having a position of power when it comes to any decisions that affect our on-court performance. Off the top of my head, I'm going to say those are the leading concerns and the ones that, in my opinion, need to be addressed for me to play. If they are, then I would.

Q. Are you in better shape now than you have been at any time in your career?

ANDRE AGASSI: Definitely.

Q. What would you attribute that to?

ANDRE AGASSI: Hard work.

Q. Many of the players from this generation get to their mid 20s, have success, then their careers begin to slide down. Do you see what you're doing as maybe reestablishing a different kind of precedent, that players can kind of reinvent themselves and have careers into their 30s?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, I think it's individual. I think it depends why people break down. I never fell in the rankings because of injury. I didn't fall in the rankings because of something that was all of a sudden gone in my game. My game didn't leave me. I fell because I wasn't in shape. I wasn't playing enough matches. There's a certain work ethic to why I fell. I knew I could address it. Other players might be different. You know, if you take a guy like Michael Chang who might be struggling physically now, dealing with injuries, it might be a different story. But I think athletes playing great sports in their mid 30s has been proven by a number of people, not just in tennis.

Q. Jennifer Capriati just had an extremely emotional press conference. One of the subjects of some emotion was the role of the media. Could you take a moment and tell us what your feelings are about the media? Do you like working with the media? Do you see them as a foe, as someone who helped build your career? What are your thoughts?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I've always felt like it's difficult when you're young because it's hard to find a place for it all. You know, it's the same element of separating business from personal. Sometimes there are jobs to be done. I certainly have an appreciation for that. I find the actual position of being in the media focus quite a good one. It gives me a really objective platform to take a good look at myself without actually having to actually take it personally. I feel like, you know, I can get a lot of opinions and not care about a damn one if I don't want to (laughter). It's actually good for a person like me.

Q. When did you come around to that kind of thinking about the media?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know if there's ever a point where you can say, "It was here." I think as you take a look at the criticisms and you understand kind of the nature of how people think and jobs and why things are said, you know, you just learn. One thing I've learned is there is some truth behind what's said in a lot of cases, and it's important to be able to make that distinction. What can I learn from it? What do I have to ignore?

Q. One of the next tournaments is Switzerland, in Basel. You always play very good there. Do you like this tournament?

ANDRE AGASSI: I've always played well in Basel. I've always enjoyed it very much.

Q. If Patrick McEnroe were named captain of the Davis Cup team, could you play for him?

ANDRE AGASSI: Could I play for him? Of course. But, again, who's picked is not as much of an issue to me as how it's picked. I certainly have strong opinions on who I'd like to be captain, but I think the first and foremost battle is on behalf of the team, is how the captain is decided and not who. I think the second issue is who.

Q. Have you voiced those concerns to the USTA?

ANDRE AGASSI: Very much so, yeah. Very much so.

Q. How have they reacted?

ANDRE AGASSI: Very, very well. Very well. We all got together early in the tournament and we had some real healthy, open conversation between the players and Judy. It's been good. I like the progress so far.

Q. Do you see things headed in the right direction?

ANDRE AGASSI: I do, actually.

Q. Is a change in captaincy necessary or would you play with Tom?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, again, it's about how they respond to what the players want. I'm really not at liberty to discuss what the players want at the moment.

Q. In politics there's an expression, "There's a person I could do business with." Do you have a good feeling about Judy? Is she a person you think you can do business with, so to speak?

ANDRE AGASSI: Based on the last few weeks of conversation, you know, it seems to me like so far every time she's been made really aware of the concerns, she has managed to take steps towards remedying any particular concern.

Q. Did she apologize about George?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, she definitely acknowledged that it's just a better decision for all people concerned that he's part of the team. You know, I mean, mistakes happen. I don't believe that was vindictive at all. It was just unfortunate.

Q. The guy you beat today gave you a hard time in the French Open. What did you do different today?

ANDRE AGASSI: I played him at the US Open (laughter).

Q. Besides that?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's a hard court. It's much different. He's very fast. When he has time, he can really take the ball early with a backhand and hurt you. On the clay, it was a lot slower, it was harder to end the points. He was getting a lot more balls in play. He was getting me on my back foot. It's harder for me to move on the clay. On the hard court, I can hit through the court a little bit easier, end the points when it calls for it.

Q. You were a strong favorite before the tournament started to be the winner. Now you are in the quarterfinals. How is your opinion about your chances? Is it a big responsibility knowing that some of the players are not there?

ANDRE AGASSI: It doesn't change what I need to do. I've played enough to know what I need to do to win each match, no matter who it is. I think being in the quarterfinals, all I've managed to do so far is put myself in position for some great things to happen. I think if you're in the quarters, it's fair to say you can see the finish line. A couple good matches, get through a tough one.

End of FastScripts….

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