Re: Kooyong Classic Results
ANDRE AGASSI [14/1/04] Transcript of press conference
COMMONWEALTH BANK INTERNATIONAL
January 14-17, 2004
ANDRE AGASSI [14/1/04]
Q: Andre, it looked pretty good for your first match?
A: Yes, I think so. * It's tough conditions out here with the wind moving around and I knew I was going to get a lot of chances to hit my shots that I needed, take my chances when I got it because if you give Sebastian one look he's fast and dangerous, especially in the wind, so it felt pretty good the way it went.
Q: .... Houston?
A: I think so. * I think I'm better off right now than I was in Houston. * In Houston I was in shape, I was fighting hard, but never sort of felt like I got over the hump of feeling really comfortable and, needless to say, against the best players in the world it's not easy to do. * But coming down here I've quickly found a nice rhythm and feeling real comfortable on the court.
Q: How did you find Sebastien today, a little bit rusty?
A: Yes, I suppose so. * If you're striking the ball cleanly in the wind it's big problems for the other guy because the ball is moving around, you're hitting through it and they're trying to control your pace so today that's what I felt was happening, I was hitting the ball very firm and I was hitting it through the wind to control it and he was sort of backing up trying to control it and he gave the wind an opportunity to move his ball around.
Q: Did you change anything in your preparation this year?
A: Not too much. * I trained hard. * All my numbers and training is better than it's ever been. * Every year I don't put much time on the court early in my training and then I start bringing the tennis into it as I get closer.
Q: (inaudible question).
A: Yeah, I think if anything Houston showed me that at this stage in my career it's not that I can get away with some time off but it's probably a little good for me right now to look after myself and make sure I'm playing the tournaments that my body and mind are ready for. * I think the Fall was a great decision for me, professionally and personally, the birth of my daughter, an opportunity to train and get my body to feel good again; I think I feel pretty ready for hopefully another great year.
Q: Given the record that you've had here previously and * also with this one match, you've come here before and hit the ball really well right from the start, are you superstitious about what you do in the lead-up - - -
A: I've been doing this for almost 18 years now so I feel like I've learnt a few things about myself, how to get myself to be at my best with what I need to be, and I wouldn't call it superstitious, let's say it's more ritualistic, it's more about pushing the buttons that you know you need to push in order to come here ready.
Q: How far away from your best are you now?
A: Hard to say. * Every day you're measured against your opponent and certainly today was a good step forward for me to establish control of that match and the next couple of days I will have even more of a challenge so off we go.
Q: How do you react to the declarations of John McEnroe who said that for six years he was given steroids without knowing it during his career?
A: Well, you try to find the understanding in why some people choose to say the things that they do and in reference to those specific quotes or admissions I'm not quite sure who that benefits and I just find myself a bit ata loss for words when it comes to that sort of stuff being expressed. * I'm not sure what to say about that.
Q: Do you think it's possible that somebody would have gone through so many years taking something without knowing it?
A: I think our game has gone through, like I said before, our game is built on sportsmanship, it's built on the respect for the game, and I think there was many years where it wasn't the business that it is today and as sort of the nature of the game has changed I think it's left room for the potential, like any other sport, for the odd person to look for an advantage, even an unfair advantage. * But with that being said, I believe the game has evolved every bit as quickly when it comes to the process to detect those that are trying to cheat the system. * I just find that every positive test that may come out is a reflection of just how serious our drug testing program is. * I believe we've moved with the times, and even ahead of them when you compare us to other sports, so to say that there was ever a window of time where it could have occurred with any given player, would be me just taking a wild guess. * But speaking to the game as a whole, I think it is a very healthy approach towards the drug testing process.
Q: The Olympic this year, I don't know if you are going to go and fight again yourself?
A: No, I'm not.
Q: Looking at all the young players coming through now, do you think that any of these young players can emulate you and win not only the four majors but on top of that gold medals at the Olympics; maybe not in one year but in the coming years?
A: To win all the Slams and the gold medal?
A: Sure, it's possible. * It's very possible. * When you look at the talent that exists, you've got guys that can win on a lot of different surfaces. I think Rodger is a great example of a guy that has won on different surfaces. * It will be interesting to see how Andy goes on the clay but everything would suggest that his game is designed to win on clay as well so these are the young guys that are going to be at the top of the game for a long time so you throw in a competitor's heart and mind and some great things can happen.
Q: Why you are not in the Olympics; the fact that you have won a gold medal before?
A: Not really, I would love the experience again but the criterion for playing has been your Davis Cup play and now it has been a number of years - I played Davis Cup for 12 years, I haven't played in the last few years, so for me it's not right at this stage of my career to take the spot of somebody that's earned that spot, it's based on that requirement.
Q: (inaudible question).
A: You measure yourself on strength and you measure yourself on the intensity of your program and I can tell you that in both cases it's better.
Q: Motivation is better too?
A: Yeah. * It's the same for me every year, I approach it from the standpoint of being so challenged by the next day that I don't look at it as a mountain to climb, it's sort of one step at a time, and I feel very motivated to be down here and try to take that next step, put myself in the position to hopefully win.
Q: .... this year is maybe your last year or not?
A: I've felt like that for a number of years now so I'm tempted, I'm constantly tempted, to look at it as my last year but I don't because I can't say it is. * It's very possible this could be a great year for me, I could be down here next year answering the same question. * I always try to assess things in hindsight as opposed to foresight because at almost 34 years old there is just a heck of a lot you can read into a bad day and you have to resist the temptation to do that, like continuing to work and keep plugging away and take a look at it at the end.
Q: Do you regret that you didn't come down to Australia earlier?
A: Sure, absolutely.
Q: Is there a reason why?
A: I can't say I've always had reasons for any of the things that I've done in my life. * I suppose what I thought I was doing was giving myself the rest I needed at the end of a season. * You remember I did the same thing at Wimbledon for the first few years. * I wish I hadn't done that. * These are the opportunities that change your career for the rest of your life and I missed out of a lot of them.