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August 12, 1999

Andre Agassi


ATP: Questions for Andre.

Q. After winning the French Open, you improved your ranking to No. 1. Do you care to comment on your success?

ANDRE AGASSI: What do you mean?

Q. How have you kept up your mental game?

ANDRE AGASSI: I've had the luxury of kind of having breaks from tennis throughout my career. I tend to find myself feeling strong at times when maybe guys aren't feeling so strong. Above everything, you have to make every point important and you have to find a way to win when you're not feeling your best. I think tonight was a good example of that.

Q. Jiri kind of gave you a harder time than you would have preferred?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, more than I would have preferred. But you can't expect anything less. If you're not at your best, it seems like you can lose so easily. Those are the ones you have to find a way. Today it seems like I had to really take care of my serve and just wait for more than a couple opportunities.

Q. When do you know that it's going to be one of those days?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, you don't know till you're in the thick of things out there. It's just not coming around. You're trying to get yourself to move, get in position. Somehow you're just picking up the ball a little bit late or you're a little bit flat-footed, you don't have quite the same snap on your groundstrokes. When you expect to put yourself in good position after a swing, the ball doesn't come off your racquet like you want, then you have already kind of committed your court position, then you find yourself reacting and feeling even slower or off. The momentum of the match builds. You're never really sure of it until you're smack dab in the thick of things just trying to close it out.

Q. Sampras came in here today, it's his 28th birthday, he said he's starting to feel the grind a little bit. Has it helped your career that you've been able to step away from the obsession for periods of time?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's helped my sanity certainly. I don't know if it's helped my career. I mean, you know, guys respond differently to preparing themselves. For me to sustain the grind year after year has never been easy or, quite honestly, even possible. I have to work really hard to win matches. Pete can win 5 and 6 and actually feel like it was pretty routine. I think it's been necessary for my career.

Q. Obviously you say it helps your sanity. Do you ever think about the possibility of missed opportunities or it just wasn't meant to be?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. I don't know about that. I think there's the other side of the coin, which is to turn me into kind of a methodical player, or certainly a methodical approach to the game, could have kept me from accomplishing the things I have. But all in all, what happened in Paris this year answered any regrets I'll ever be capable of having.

Q. (Inaudible) that was probably the match that you didn't play that well.

ANDRE AGASSI: Didn't start that way, but I got to say the tennis got high quality very quickly. You know, that was a lot more than just trying to find a way on a bad day. It was having to turn around and play well, because nobody's going to give it to you in that situation. Certainly Medvedev wasn't stepping down, so I had to step it up.

Q. Do you think you're unusual in that respect? Do you think there are other guys out here who would say, "I wish I could do what he's done"?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, everybody that's won less than four Grand Slams probably wants to do what I've done, you know.

Q. Might they say, "If only I work harder, if only I put more time in, I can do better"? Do you know what I mean?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't actually. I think everybody needs to find what makes them their best for the longest period of time. That could mean a great few years. It could mean a great number of years. It can mean kind of in and out like mine has been. Ultimately it's about what you need as an individual, because it's such an individual sport. There's such a mental aspect to it that if you question anything, it's going to show out there.

Q. We have the seven highest seeds plus Michael Chang left in the tournament. Can you comment on the strength of the eight guys left?

ANDRE AGASSI: This is what it all boils down to. It boils down to the best players being in the thick of things, certainly the best players this week. It's great tennis for the City of Cincinnati, certainly good for tennis. Doesn't matter which match you're watching in the quarterfinals, it's going to be a good one. At the end of the week, the winner will deserve it. That's always good.

Q. What are your thoughts on playing Kuerten? How do you match up with him?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, he's a talented player who is playing well on all surfaces at the moment. He's shown himself to be a clay specialist, actually shown himself being able to win on the hard courts, and grass. Great efforts to make it to the quarters of Wimbledon. Kiefer has been playing some of the best tennis this year. He beat him. I'm sure he's feeling confident. I'll have to be moving well and really striking the ball offensively and not missing. It's no different than many other days out here, which is I have to play well to win. Unless something unforeseen happens, it should be a great match.

Q. You were hitting with Brad in warm-up. At what point did you know that something was not right going into the match?

ANDRE AGASSI: I wouldn't have said something was not right. I felt like everything has been right. Everything feels right. It's just some days it's not all in place. That's why you have to come out and play or else you could just phone up and say, "I'm ranked this, he's ranked that, give me the win." That's what makes it all so interesting. Jiri played well today. He played well on some big points. He put me in a position where I was close to being not so good of a result for me. I didn't know it till I was out there feeling like, "Okay, I've had many chances to put this match, stretch the lead, even get on top, and I'm not taking advantage of it." I didn't know it till late in the second set.

Q. Did you buy Pete a birthday gift today?


Q. He has enough?

ANDRE AGASSI: He's 28, you know. He doesn't need mine. I wouldn't be quite sure what to get him.

End of FastScripts….

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