Pressconference with Andre Agassi, ifÖ Stockholm Open 2004-10-26:
Q: Did you have any thoughts on going directly to Paris instead of coming to Stockholm and play?
A: Well, I think, like Iíve said for many years now sometimes making decisions by the week is an important part of what I do. So Iíve always left open that, maybe there wouldnít be an opportunity for me to play but after Madrid I knew that I wanted to come here.
Q: Three times before youíve played in the Globe, now the tournament is in a new arena. What do you think of it?
A: I havenít seen to much of it yet so, it looks like a great facility for the fans and it seems very intimate. Five thousand people so Iím sure that weíll have a great environment to compete in. And I look forward to experience it.
Q: What do you feel about changing, you played with Penn balls in Madrid, and here itís another sort of ball?
A: Thatís right. The courts are quicker here than in Madrid, but the balls are heavier and thereís no altitude so it feels like good playing conditions. But the Dunlop balls definitely gets heavier than the Pennís.
Q: I read that you will play next year also, is it hard to find motivation to keep on going?
A: Sometimes, but sometimes itís very easy, itís like everything people do thereís parts of it thatís very difficult and thereís parts you enjoy very much. Iím very clear about the fact that I want to play next year.
Q: Itís your 1072nd game tomorrow. Is it easier to prepare now than it was when was when you started?
A: Itís never easy, I think you just get more experienced, sort of aware of what you need to do to be at your best. But in some ways it makes it more difficult because you donít have the same eagerness as you did when youíre 18 years old, but you have the experience so itís a little bit of give and take.
Q: Is it still as fun as it used to be?
A: Parts of it are funnier now. Parts of it are more difficult. Playing in front of people and experience the city, I havenít been here since 1994 and just to drive through the city, itís just an incredible feeling to look around, itís so beautiful here. And I think in 1994, ten years ago I didnít even see this. So life changes as you get older and I enjoy being here in Stockholm, I enjoy playing in front of the people. This moments are very few and theyíre going to be over one day
Q: What parts are less fun?
A: Travelling is not so much fun. Itís pretty difficult to take two kids everywhere you go.
Q: You have won every Grand Slam, What is your goal next year?
A: To win them again! You always want to win. Once you won once it makes it something you want to do again. Itís an incredible feeling to find a way to beat these guys that are playing so well. To win a championship is a great feeling, so itís always motivating trying to do this.
Q: Andre, you have achieved as much as you can do on the court, but you havenít won the ifÖ Stockholm Open yet. What do you say about the main draw?
A: Itís hard, for me itís one at a time, so I need to take one match at a time. Itís very simple, if you donít concentrate on the first one the rest of them wonít matter.
Q: I know you are very well aware of this, but how is your shape at the moment?
A: Well we travelled in today so itís not easy, but I was playing well last week and it feels good to continue here.
Q: Everyone wants to see you at the end of the tournament, you and the Swedes. What do you have to say about the Swedish rising stars, SŲderling and Johansson?
A: Well, these two guys are playing some great tennis, I mean Johansson has had an incredible year heís eleven in the world or something right now. Such a powerful game, strong player and to play them here in front of the Swedish crowd is not going to make it any easier so, and they have a lot of great tennis fans here and they have a lot to look forward to in the future of Swedish tennis.
Q: One Swedish player said that Federer is the best player ever. What is your opinion?
A: Well, when I compare them to Sampras, thereís sort of ten Grand Slams difference so itís a long way, but what he has done this year is the best ever. So itís fair to say that when I play against him I always treat him as the best because he has earned that. But to compare to other great champions is not possible. This is only for you to discuss, and for me to read.
Q: Whatís is your explanation to that you have been a top ten player for almost all of your career?
A: I have been lucky for twenty years. Is that possible to be lucky for twenty years? I donít know, I have been very fortunate to be healthy a long time and my game is a game that plays against all kinds of players. You play from surface to surface and you play from year to year, generation to generation and have the chance to find a way to succeed and itís been a privilege for me for I get to still do this.
Q: You picked the right kind of game?
A: I didnít picked it, my game picked me.
Q: Do you think the young players have to many injuries now?
A: I think the schedule is incredible important to a young player, especially if itís a year around sport. If you donít get the chance to recover and prepare. Itís a challenge because everyone is fighting to be the best and if youíre not playing you donít have the chance to be the best. Everybody is pushing each other. The upside is that the standard is always improving. But I think the downside is more injuries and shorter careers.
Q: Tennis has developed a lot since you started. What do you think is the main difference now from when you started?
A: I think the quality of the ball striking is incredible now. You go out to the practice court and you see these guys hitting the ball, Itís incredible the way they strike the ball. Their athletes are getting stronger, they are getting faster, they are getting bigger. More powerful. And everybody takes chances now so if youíre not playing your best, you donít win. This is something you didnít feel twenty years ago.
Q: You donít see that much serve and volley now. Do you think we will see less of it in the future?
A: I think there is still a lot of room for somebody that serves and volleys well. So many of these guys use their legs to get in to the point, they move so well. But the return has not been their biggest shot so I think that somebody that serve and volleys always presents a different problem for many players. Because there is so few of them you donít get to chance to play against them to often. So when you have to face it itís more difficult. To play Henman or Mirnyi that goes forward is not so easy.
Q: The day you quit tennis, what will you do?
A: Get rid of all my suitcases. I donít think I have the time to right now what I want to do. Iíve been blessed with a lot of options, so when you retire from tennis you get the chance at your second career when people are starting their first. I consider that a big advantage.
Q: You think you will miss tennis?
A: I think I will miss the challenge, the pressure you put on yourself to find a way to succeed. It teaches a lot about yourself. These are hard lessons to learn, when you lose or are embarrassed in front of thousand of people you donít want that to happen again. You have to believe in yourself and go back out there again. It teaches you to persevere.
Andre Agassi forever