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August 11, 1999

Andre Agassi


GREG SHARKO: Since the beginning of the French, Andre has won 21 of his last 24 matches. He moves into the third round where he'll play the winner of Costa and Novak. First question.

Q. The 30-40 point, I think it was the third game or fourth game of the second set, massive point. What happened on that point, if you can recall?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you know, it's certainly a big game. You're up a set and you have the break, so you want to continue with the momentum. You know, I made a couple errors that game. He hit one good shot. I found myself down a couple breakpoints. He managed to hit an ace. I was just thinking about winning this point any way possible. The point turned into one of those nightmare points, you know, where you just find yourself getting the worst end of every shot. It just was working hard trying to keep it alive. I managed to win the point. Made my job out there a lot easier winning that point.

Q. As you play a point like that, the only thing in your head is what? Get the next ball? You were always on the defensive almost.

ANDRE AGASSI: Every time you get to one ball, you watch your ball float back to the middle of the court, all you're thinking is, "Shoot, better hurry up," that's it. It's one shot at a time at that point. You know, there's not much control you have when somebody has the offense like that.

Q. Over the years, your career has been on and off. Now it's on. Is that something you've done constantly or is that a natural thing, you've had these ups-and-downs?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's easy to turn the switch off; it's not so easy to turn the switch on. It's never come easy. It's always been hard work and focus, you know. I've always tried to balance everything in my life. When I wasn't focused on the tennis court, you know, I had my energies elsewhere. I think as I turn the switch back on, it appears like it's a lot quicker because all of a sudden results started happening, but people don't realize how long the preparation goes into that being the case, so.

Q. When the switch was off, were you as happy with yourself as you are now?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, yeah, very much so . I mean, tennis is just, you know, one spoke of a very full life definitely. I've been happy and miserable playing well and not playing well. It all depends on many other things.

Q. You seem to be sort of a legend with some of the other players. Falling out of the Top 10 and coming back twice. Most guys don't ever make it. You've done it twice.

ANDRE AGASSI: That's a good observation there (laughter).

Q. How did you get it all back?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think one of the things that makes it so tough is that on your way back, you're always aware of where you're not. There's the one aspect of just straight motivation. Do you have the motivation to get back somewhere? That all depends on how much you enjoyed it when you were up there. But the other side of it is just the perseverance that's required because every step along the way and every setback is a clear - what am I looking for - every time you're out there on the court and you're not where you want to be, you're always aware of it because you've been there before and you know how far you have to go. It's easy for those questions or doubts, just straight out the road ahead, it's easy for that to discourage you, it's easy to lose focus. You know, when I get my eyes fixed on something, I'm usually pretty intense about it.

Q. What are some of the things away from tennis that make your life full?

ANDRE AGASSI: I enjoy everything, you know. I try to enjoy everything. Certainly my friends, my foundation back home, my marriage. You know, there's just a lot of things that make you sleep well at night.

Q. What would be a great day for you away from tennis?

ANDRE AGASSI: What city am I in? What city am I in?

Q. Whichever one you want (laughter).

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. You know, it all depends who I'm with, too. Female or male (laughter)?

Q. Whichever you prefer.

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, again, so much of our year is a full-time commitment that you find a lot of times your responsibilities being along the lines of just resting. If I was just going to rest a day, I would love three hearty meals, dinner being the longest, probably a nice matinee in the afternoon, you know, go to the theater for the evening, something like that. I enjoy experiencing anything.

Q. The last couple times, great matches, close matches with Pete. Do you feel kind of now that he has your number for right now, it's so close?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you assess each match as it comes. We don't know if Wimbledon could have been close. Had I gotten a lead, he might not have played so well throughout the match. LA was really close. That definitely could have gone either way. Some people you worry about beating you a few times in a row. Pete's one of those guys that I never seem to worry about that. You know you're always asked to play incredible to beat him, especially when I play him. I'm always playing him in the final.

Q. What did you think of Arnaud's play today?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's tough to say in these conditions. He hasn't for sure played much hard court. It looks like he needs a little bit more time to hit his shots. He's has a big forehand, moves really well. I felt like you could rush him a little bit and not give him time to really hit, especially his backhand. But I'm sure if he's playing somebody where he's on the offense, he's a rough opponent. For me on this surface, it's a good one.

Q. (Inaudible)?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, more this time than the first time. It was a symbol of a lot of hard work. I've been asked all through the journey, you know, if I can do it, if I can do it. My answer was always the same, and very honest, which is, "Yeah, I can do it. Whether I will or not is a different story." I felt like my game was capable of it, but it requires a lot of things falling into place at the right time. So when it happened, I think I just was at a place where I could really appreciate it a lot more.

Q. Now that you've had a little time to reflect on the French Open and Wimbledon, is this the best period of (inaudible)?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, I'm enjoying it probably more now than I ever have. I can say that pretty confidently. I think I'm playing better now than I ever have. I think the window of time left ahead of me is still in my control, which is a nice feeling. I don't feel like it's a race against the clock; I feel like I'm actually getting better, I can actually get stronger. So this part has certainly meant the most. Plus I'm older and more able to have a perspective and appreciation for all that it means.

Q. Do you grasp sometimes when it means, in general? You win the French, the kind of attraction that brings.

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I don't really think I'm that objective on that. It's hard. It's hard to have an awareness of that. I feel so much personal appreciation when I do well. I don't have an ability to assess that on behalf of the game. If ratings are up, that's a huge compliment.

Q. Other players have tried to come back, and they haven't made it. Do you ever think about that? McEnroe, Wilander, guys like that.

ANDRE AGASSI: I find myself thinking a lot more about all those who believed in me throughout the years. I don't have any vendettas against anybody. I haven't really chosen to live that way. It feels good to accomplish the things that I've accomplished on behalf of my own goals and my own heart. I feel very satisfied with my accomplishments. But you have to always assess what's the reason for why somebody's going down, too. You know, I mean, it can be a number of things. It can be focus. It can be the game getting better. It can be injuries that bring your abilities down. There can be a few different reasons. With me it was always very self-inflicted. It wasn't my game. It wasn't the game getting better. It's none of that. It was just about me being at my best. I've always responded well to things that are rather difficult.

Q. Pete talked about last night (inaudible) celebrity. Is that the difference between you and him? The role you had, that's been part of your whole livelihood really.

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, I don't choose it. I don't know if very few people really choose their place in the sport or in the world, you know. I mean, you just find yourself somewhere. For me, I think there's many upsides and downsides to every aspect of life. Certainly being well-known has its price to be paid, but I've got to say you actually also have the opportunity of making an impact on a lot of people. For what I value, I don't complain about it. I don't expect it. I don't complain about it.

Q. It's not necessarily what makes you tick then, that adulation?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. Not even close, to be quite honest.

Q. Can you comment on Kuerten?

ANDRE AGASSI: He's having a great year. It's great to see him playing well again. To watch him do well on other surfaces besides clay was really nice. To see in Palm Springs and Wimbledon. He's a good guy. He's a good talent, too. Nice to see him playing well. We both have to win, so we'll take that one day at a time.

End of FastScripts….

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