Andre Agassi: Australian Open results [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Andre Agassi: Australian Open results

MisterQ
01-19-2004, 01:21 PM
(4)A Agassi (USA) d (WC)T Larkham (AUS) 61 63 64

6 more matches to go, Andre!!! :woohoo: :worship:

MisterQ
01-19-2004, 02:29 PM
Andre's interview from Sunday (before his first match):

Interview with Andre Agassi
Sunday, 18 January, 2004

An interview with:



ANDRE AGASSI

THE MODERATOR: We're here today, thanks to American Express, and their Long Live Dreams campaign, brought Andre here for us. I'll maybe kick off by getting you to say a couple of words about the campaign, your thoughts.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's a pretty general question there. But I've enjoyed very much being a part of American Express. The campaign, especially, was a lot of fun for me. They've done a lot of great work for my foundation, and they've helped me change a lot of children's lives back home.

And I just support their involvement with tennis. They've been 10 years the official card of the US Open, five years the official card of the Australian Open. I found a lot of reasons to enjoy this relationship that I hope continues for a long time.

THE MODERATOR: We'll open it to questions.

Q. How has your preparation differed this year, if it has, from any of the other years you've won?>

ANDRE AGASSI: It's hard to sort of change something that isn't broken. As you get older, you have to make adjustments. You have to listen to your body a little clearer, which means pushing yourself when you're feeling like you can really make progress, and sort of being aware of where you need to give yourself the breaks.

But overall, it's been an intense program that has lived up to everything I expected it to be, and every bit as good, if not better, than years before.

Q. Was there a starting date for it after Houston? Did you take a little time there?

ANDRE AGASSI: To be honest, it was before Houston sort of the plan started. You know, I took advantage out of the time away from tennis with the birth of our daughter, to use that as sort of a long -- a lot of days where I could slowly build and get myself to feeling good again. I was dinged up pretty good last year for a about part of it, feeling uncomfortable in the hips, a lot of things that were sort of you don't get over in two days like you did when you were 19. So I used it to feel better, but also to start building and strength training.

Trained through Houston, got in a lot of great matches there, which helped me, but then just picked right back up. So it's been more time I've had now getting ready than I've had before, which is probably needed.

Q. How do you rate Melbourne? Is it on the card as another tournament, or do you and your family think, "Great, we're going to Melbourne next week"?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, excluding being confined in the cabin with two kids that you're trying to keep from disturbing other passengers, we look very forward to coming here (laughter).

This is one of the greatest places to be once you're here is sort of how we approach it. We look forward to it. We're glad we're here for a number of weeks - at least hopefully be here for a number of weeks. It's just really relaxing.

Q. And as a tournament, how is it rated, in your opinion?

ANDRE AGASSI: This is one of the big ones. This is one of the ones that you keep with you the rest of your life. It's a great achievement to be a part of this field, to be playing in this tournament, let alone the possibility of winning it.

Q. How do you see the competitive balance this year now that some of the young guys have confirmed themselves? How do you compare the state of men's tennis at the top, compared to other times in your career?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I'm looking at it through a different lens now than I used to. I think the game is deeper and stronger. There's many more great ball-strikers now, which means on any given day, some spectacular tennis can happen and you can lose, starting with your first match.

I never remembered it being quite that way in the beginning part of my career, through most of it. You always felt like there was the opportunity to really get through a few. Now you can't take anything for granted. I think that speaks to the depth of tennis and, again, the ball-striking ability of most of these guys.

Q. What are your thoughts of Lleyton Hewitt, where he was, where you felt he was last year, where he is now?>

ANDRE AGASSI: What's my?

Q. Your observation of where Lleyton Hewitt is now, considering how long he was at No. 1, then his sort of trouble last year. Do you think he's back to where he was or he could be?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, certainly he could be. I mean, if he thinks falling to 15 in the world is an accomplishment, he should, you know, have been around me a few years ago. I would have shown it what it really means to work hard and fall to 140 in the world (smiling).

So things can change fast. It's not easy to be on top. Everybody's firing at you every single time you're on the court. Especially the way he plays the game, he works so hard in every match, it's easy to understand any sort of physical or mental struggle that could occur at any given time.

But we've seen him rise above that many times. To finish No. 1 in the world two years in a row speaks to his capabilities. He didn't play the fall. He looks to be in great form. I'm sure he has a great year ahead of him.

Q. It's been such a successful place for you the last few years. Why is that? What are the key things that make this so great for you?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think, first of all, I always come down here prepared, rested and prepared, which you don't always have that luxury through the course of a year because there's so much tennis going on and there's so much traveling happening. You're always negotiating the rest and the training and the preparation and the recovery.

And I think as you get older, it's more key to make sure your body's had the rest, make sure your body's well prepared to sort of be at your best.

I also think the court is a great court for my style of play. I enjoy the hot conditions, the breezy conditions. It sort of all works together where I try to make somebody play a great match to beat me. That's ultimately the most you can hope for.

Q. What have you learned about your first opponent tomorrow night, if anything?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I watched him play a little bit on tape. You know, you never quite know what you're in for till you feel it firsthand. But I've seen the basics of his game. It's hard to know what somebody's capabilities are based on a match or two on the tape. But, you know, I'm going to have to go out there and execute my game and try to make him stop it. That's sort of what I do most of the time, is focus on that side of it.

Q. Were you ever in that position where you had a wildcard into the US Open? If so, what was your feeling then?>

ANDRE AGASSI: The first US Open I played was 1986, and I was straight in. I didn't have a wildcard.

Q. Every year you prepare, you kind of do the same thing. But every year you're getting a year older. I assume you can't do exactly the same thing. Do you kind of raise the increments, lessen the increments, try something a little different to try to keep an edge every year?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think the difference of sort of getting older and the changes that need to get made is sort of knowing how to listen to your body better so that when you tell your body to do something, it listens to you. So I found my training changes not from the standpoint of intensity, but sometimes the structure of the intensity..

If I pull up a little bit stiff or sore, tired from the day before, I try to pay a little bit more attention to that. I try to take advantage out of the times that I'm feeling really good and make sure I'm looking out after myself if I don't.

Sometimes it means taking an extra day off. Other times it means asking more of yourself. It's sort of a long-winded answer. But the truth of the matter is, it's such a negotiation as you get older to know how to push yourself without running yourself into a wall.

Q. Having had the forehand experience of David Nalbandian in the last few days, how do you rate his chances here? Would you put him up with the favorites to win here?>

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. How can you not? He's proven himself to be one of the best in the world, period, let alone the way he played down here. He played great in Kooyong. He played tennis that's very capable of beating anybody.

He's going to have to do it seven times, and he's going to have to show that he knows how to do that. And that's all part of putting your career together.

Q. I know it's a little early in the game, you haven't had much experience with it yet, but how much more is two children than one child to travel with and try to compete?>

ANDRE AGASSI: It's probably about ten-fold, to be quite honest. The toughest part I find, quite honestly, with one child, sort of you and your wife, you know, you play with the child, you feed the child.

Q. You double-team them?

ANDRE AGASSI: You're doing it together. You feel it's the life you've always had, but now all of a sudden you have two, and I don't see her for hours at a time. At the end of the day you put your feet up and go, "Oh, doesn't this feel good. Maybe we should go to sleep so we're ready for tomorrow."

So you don't do everything together very much anymore, for a period of time. We have to tough out the next year and a half.

Q. You said this might change your whole idea of what your schedule would be like. Do you think that you will have to make adjustments according to the second kid?

ANDRE AGASSI: For sure. One thing I know for sure is Stephanie's already had to make adjustments. You know, it's just extra work, you know, making sure that I'm in position to be at my best or to accept the compromise. I haven't compromised anything yet, as a specific answer to your question. But it's a lot of work to keep sort of that from happening.

You know, the traveling probably wouldn't happen as much, which might leave me in sort of a different state of mind. But as I get older, I'm going to have to be pretty selective, too, on what I play. I played 13 tournaments last year, kept myself in position to give myself a look at the big ones. And this year I'll have to do the same. I don't know if that's going to mean 13 tournaments, maybe one more, maybe one or two less.

I feel like I'm constantly making decisions. And with two kids, it throws in another variable.

Q. Last year John McEnroe in commentary said Todd Larkham had no place being on Centre Court. Those were the words of John McEnroe. What is your reaction to that?

ANDRE AGASSI: If I remember correctly, he played a four- or five-hour match the first round, and he was on IV drip from cramping. I mean, I got news for you: that's not easy to recover from that, and on top of that to have to play Lleyton.

It wasn't a great platform for him to show his best tennis. But I don't know if I would have been so quick to criticize that as to sympathize with it.

Q. I have a picture of you as a toddler with a tennis racquet. You've obviously fulfilled your dreams in your career. What would you say to kids or anyone, adults, who maybe have set a goal or set a dream, and they're struggling, trying to get to fulfill their dream? What do you say to people to inspire them to reach their dream?

ANDRE AGASSI: Any dream, just by definition, is a long ways off. It's something that you dream about. You need to sort of work backwards from it.

To me, you have to first understand what it is you want to accomplish. You have to then sort of look at yourself and be honest about where it is you actually are. Then you have to set up a plan that keeps you focused on a million small steps that need to happen that continually build that momentum for your life.

So you set your plan, and then you work your plan. And your plan should include a lot of little victories every day.

Q. Long live dreams?

ANDRE AGASSI: Long live dreams.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports...

tangerine_dream
01-19-2004, 09:37 PM
I thought Andre's match with Larkham was kinda strange. Particularly, there was one obnoxious fan who wouldn't shut up; constantly yelling at Andre "We love you!" "You're playing great!" "C'mon Andre!" and bascially just keeping up a running commentary of Andre's game. The support is nice but I think this guy was turning into a distraction for Andre and it was taking him longer to finish off Larkham than he'd anticipated. Towards the end of the match, he looked like he wanted nothing more than to get off the court and the hell out of there!

And the bigmouth fan wasn't winning any friends. I heard a few other audience memebers yell "Shut up!" at him every time he tried to talk to Andre. Even Pat Mac remarked that security was trying to get him to be quiet. LOL.

Such is the life of a superstar. LOL. :lol:

RebelNYC
01-20-2004, 01:51 PM
GO ANDRE! I really believe this is Andre's BEST Chance for yet
another GRAND SLAM!

Andre'sNo1Fan
01-20-2004, 05:43 PM
Yes i agree Rebel he is looking good. Cant wait for his match tonight, gonna stay up til 3 to watch it but it'll be worth it.

MisterQ
01-21-2004, 10:34 PM
OK guys, let's get a good vibe going for a potentially dangerous match against Enqvist!

Go Andre, trust your strokes, you're the best!!! :woohoo:

tangerine_dream
01-22-2004, 04:30 PM
Andre in three. :D

RebelNYC
01-22-2004, 06:02 PM
I think Enqvist is a good player, but I don't think he has what it takes
to hurt Andre - Andre is looking good! Let's send the SUPER POSITIVE
VIBES DOWN UNDER TO ANDRE!

MisterQ
01-23-2004, 04:54 AM
Andre wins first set against Enqvist 6-0 in something like 23 minutes!

Keep it up Andre!

He is really in the zone. How does he half-volley balls at that pace from the baseline AND change direction precisely? ---- I dunno, you'd have to ask him! :worship:

J. Corwin
01-23-2004, 10:15 AM
Andre wins in easy straights :D

tangerine_dream
01-23-2004, 12:49 PM
Whooooooo!! I actually got a prediction right! Andre in three!!! WHOOOOOO!! All hail King Andre!!! :worship: :banana: :dance: :bounce: :D :rocker2: :cool:

MisterQ
01-24-2004, 06:33 PM
OK, folks, another possible tough match coming up. Paradorn Srichaphan has been playing VERY well this week. Andre will need to be in good form! Paradorn won their only meeting, at Wimbledon, but one would think that this is a completely different circumstance. A) the element of surprise is gone, because Paradorn's game is well-known now, and B) it's the Australian Open!

I'm hoping we will see a great match from these two.

GO ANDRE!!!

Andre'sNo1Fan
01-24-2004, 08:26 PM
Yes, cant wait for this match, could be a good one!

I remember that match at Wimbeldon but i think this is different and i know we all hope for a better result. I have faith.

Good luck Andre!

J. Corwin
01-25-2004, 01:55 AM
Good luck Andre. I hope for a great match. Too bad I have to be out, but I will tape it.

MisterQ
01-25-2004, 04:40 AM
Another straight sets win, but this one could have gone to four easily. Andre was shaky, but he played well on certain crucial points (five set points against him in the first set). Good work Andre, come back in even better form for the next one!

MisterQ
01-25-2004, 04:44 AM
Something I just realized:

Andre got rid of two losing records already in this tournament. He is now even head-to-head against Srichaphan and Enqvist. :rocker2:

J. Corwin
01-25-2004, 07:52 AM
That was a great staving off of 5 set points. I still need to watch that part! Good luck in the next round Andre.

tangerine_dream
01-25-2004, 05:34 PM
That first set with Paradorn was just a tad close for comfort! :scared: But Andre finally got into his groove and wore the Thaiman down.

I hope Andre pulls it all together.

tangerine_dream
01-25-2004, 10:26 PM
Agassi still in ripe form
By John Parsons*
(Filed: 26/01/2004)

Andre Agassi, 33, is giving away at least 10 years to the majority of the most serious challengers for his Australian Open title, but gives no indication of abdicating the crown lightly in a year when all the top men have reached the second week.

Having completed another stunning display, avenging his Wimbledon defeat by Paradorn Srichaphan two years ago with his relentlessly potent pace and length, he was asked how close he felt he was to producing his best tennis.

"Close enough," he replied. "I've experienced every part of my game in the first week and liked the levels I've hit and feel that I'm in position to go further and take it higher." His 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-4 win extended his record of consecutive victories at this first Grand Slam tournament of the year to 25.

Wary enough never to allow his excitement run ahead of his results, Agassi added his customary note of caution. "You've got to come out and execute every day."

Not that he lacked confidence for the tussles ahead. "I think when it's asked of me I'm going to give it a good go," he added as he considered his upcoming quarter-final against the stylish Frenchman Sebastien Grosjean, a winner in four sets over the American Robby Ginepri.

Although the popular Srichaphan was noticeably hampered by a sprained ankle in the third set, Agassi had stamped his supremacy on the match by then to such an extent that the injury had no bearing on the outcome.

So much so that Srichaphan suggested he was not disappointed at losing because it had been such a great match. "He's really playing well and was moving me a lot from side to side," said the Thai.

He added that his slice down the middle, that had worked so well for him at Wimbledon, was never going to be such an asset on this surface with a much higher bounce.

Srichaphan had his chances in the closing stages of a formative first set, most especially when he held three set points in the 10th game, but he allowed Agassi to hustle him out of them.

He said: "To get him to 0-40 we'd been playing a long point and we were both breathing hard, but I didn't take my time and was beaten as he served a couple out wide and then hit a forehand winner that found the line."

Agassi, who regards January as "a nice month" because he always feels fresh after taking two months off at the end of the previous year, said he had done everything pretty well. "Today was really important for me."

World champion Andy Roddick, also impressing everyone with the way he was playing, said: "It's Andre's title until someone takes it away from him," after outplaying the Dutchman Sjeng Schalken 6-1, 6-2, 6-3.

He believed any one of seven could still be champion, including himself and the winner between Lleyton Hewitt and Roger Federer playing during the British morning rush hour today.

"I can't remember the last time in a Slam that we had so many of the favourites still going in the second week, and as a fan of tennis that's really exciting," said Roddick, the top seed, yet to drop a set.

"I feel I'm getting better with each match. My game really feels solid right now, especially from the baseline." He felt his all-round form against Schalken was his best to date.

Roddick's next opponent is the former US Open champion and former runner-up at Melbourne, Marat Safin, who maintained his way back after injury with a rumbustious 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3 defeat of the American James Blake. The point with which he broke for 5-3 in the fourth set was the most spectacular of the day.

Safin, having first been pulled wide on the forehand, had to change direction rapidly to play a lunging backhand volley lob that forced the racket out of his hand - though it did not elude his grasp until after the ball had bounced on Blake's side of the court.

Roddick lost their only previous meeting, but that was three years ago since when, as he said, a lot had happened to both of them.

He said he was not surprised that Safin was already a serious threat again. "He has the game. His talent didn't go away. He was injured. He's still one of the top guys despite his ranking of 86."

======

I like what Andy said: "It's Andre's title until someone takes it away from him." :devil: Honestly, if Andre wins the AO again this year, they should just rename the Australian Open to the Agassi Open. I'm serious. :yeah:

MisterQ
01-26-2004, 06:10 PM
Good luck against Grosjean, Andre! Run him around! ;)

J. Corwin
01-26-2004, 09:19 PM
Good luck Andre, the big PUN! ;)

MisterQ
01-27-2004, 05:14 AM
Well, Andre is through to the semifinals. He played excellently against Grosjean, but then Seb retired in the second set. That's too bad.

I think even Andre was disappointed about the way the match ended. But he is probably happy not to get too worn out in the quarterfinals. He will need lots of energy and great form against Marat or Andy!

GO ANDRE!!!!

J. Corwin
01-27-2004, 06:06 AM
yea, that really was too bad for Seb. Wish him well.

I haven't decided whether I'm gonna root for Andy or Andre yet if that match happens. ;)

hythger
01-27-2004, 01:44 PM
Go Andre!!!

Crazy_Fool
01-27-2004, 05:26 PM
I haven't decided whether I'm gonna root for Andy or Andre yet if that match happens. ;)
Dont need to worry now do ya ;)
Go Andre, and win this i wanna see it now. He was destroying Seb yesterday, totally running him all over the place. Hope the same thing happens v Safin!

tangerine_dream
01-27-2004, 05:43 PM
C'mon Andre! Take down the Big Red! :worship:

RebelNYC
01-27-2004, 07:41 PM
THIS IS SO EXCITING! GO ANDRE! He should be well rested for the
match against Safin! (where do I send the thank you note to Safin for
taking out Andy? BORING! Good riddance!)

I'm telling you guys, Andre CAN DO IT!

J. Corwin
01-27-2004, 08:36 PM
Dont need to worry now do ya ;)
Go Andre, and win this i wanna see it now. He was destroying Seb yesterday, totally running him all over the place. Hope the same thing happens v Safin!

Exactly ;)

Much relief. Andre all the way!

MisterQ
01-28-2004, 09:31 PM
It's really too bad Agassi/Safin won't be broadcast live. But it's understandable that they made it a night match down under.

GO ANDRE! Believe in your awesomeness! lol

J. Corwin
01-28-2004, 09:45 PM
Come out all guns a-blazing! Go Punisher! Lay the smackdown!

J. Corwin
01-29-2004, 11:34 AM
Too bad Andre had to lose. But Marat is just playing amazing! I can't wait to see the post-match interviews.

MisterQ
01-29-2004, 12:12 PM
That match was awfully close.

Andre should still be very proud. :worship:

I fear it will be his last AO. :sad: :sad: :sad:

Fumus
01-29-2004, 02:43 PM
That match was awfully close.

Andre should still be very proud. :worship:

I fear it will be his last AO. :sad: :sad: :sad:

yea..but, something tells me Andre will be back and he has another grand slam win left in him..

tangerine_dream
01-29-2004, 05:01 PM
You think, Mr Q? :sad: I don't want Andre to retire yet! :bigcry:

I feel Andre has another slam or two left in him as well. If not the AO, then which one? I think he'd have a great chance at the US Open title.

Fumus
01-29-2004, 05:29 PM
You think, Mr Q? :sad: I don't want Andre to retire yet! :bigcry:

I feel Andre has another slam or two left in him as well. If not the AO, then which one? I think he'd have a great chance at the US Open title.

He has a chance a wimbly. He made the semis last year...

If Federer, Ferrero, Coria, Moya, and a few other clay courters all catch explosive diarrhea, (I hear that’s going around btw) he could have a chance at the French.

Of course, he has a chance at US Open, that's what Tigers do best!

MisterQ
01-29-2004, 06:06 PM
If Federer, Ferrero, Coria, Moya, and a few other clay courters all catch explosive diarrhea, (I hear that’s going around btw) he could have a chance at the French.


:haha:

thanks Fumus, you made me laugh on a depressing day :)

RebelNYC
01-29-2004, 07:21 PM
I am totally bummed out that Andre lost - he certainly put up an
AMAZING fight, and can feel good about that - but I too am concerned
he might retire after this year.....I really believe that the Australian Open
is the one slam he could win again, and I am disheartend today! But
Marat he is on fire! But I LOVE ANDRE for everything he has already
accomplished, on and off the court, and I am very proud of how hard
he fought. I'd like to see these other guys play as good as he is at
the age Andre is! You Go Andre!

Crazy_Fool
01-29-2004, 10:08 PM
I'm really hoping he can just win one more slam. To me, the fact that he is still matching a player who is almost 10 yrs younger than him shows me how amazing he really is. Some players can be replaced. I do not think Andre Agassi can ever be replaced. That is why i want to see him play for a while yet.

J. Corwin
01-30-2004, 02:32 AM
He has a chance a wimbly. He made the semis last year...

If Federer, Ferrero, Coria, Moya, and a few other clay courters all catch explosive diarrhea, (I hear that’s going around btw) he could have a chance at the French.

Of course, he has a chance at US Open, that's what Tigers do best!

He didn't make the semis. He went out in the 4th round to Scud, who was serving great.

Andre'sNo1Fan
01-30-2004, 03:04 PM
Tough luck on the loss. But Andre has still got it, he matched Marat totally. I really wanna c him win another slam.

Go Andre.

tangerine_dream
01-30-2004, 07:50 PM
Waaaaa! How dare that Russian devil beat our Andre! :( :tears: :bigcry: :sobbing: :crying2:

Legendary run ends

Andre Agassi may be the great entertainer of tennis but even he knew the show had to end some time.

The American has performed one of the greatest encores in modern sport, winning three of his four Australian Open titles since turning 29, long after his contemporaries had taken their final bows.

But the curtain had to fall eventually and it did on Thursday when he was beaten by Russian Marat Safin 7-6 7-6 5-7 1-6 6-3 in the semi-finals.

It was Agassi's first loss at Melbourne Park in 27 matches dating back to 1999 and he felt the pain sharply.

"It's definitely the toughest day I've had," Agassi said. "It was really close but I felt like I could never quite get over that hump."

The 33-year-old Agassi knows his chances of adding to his eight grand slam titles are beginning to fade.

He is not planning to retire quite yet but like any gambler who visits his home town of Las Vegas, he is starting to hedge his bets.

NO PLANS TO RETIRE, BUT...

Instead of giving the crowd a customary wave before returning to the locker room after losing to Safin, Agassi strolled back on to centre court, bowed his head and flashed his famous smile.

"You never know when it's your last, so you want to say bye properly," he explained.

"I have no plans to (retire) but, you know, a year's a long time."

Agassi's career already reads like a Hollywood blockbuster. A prodigious talent who won the biggest prize in the sport then threw it all away, he staged an unlikely comeback to complete his set of all four grand slam titles and become the oldest world number one in history.

A broken marriage and a successful one to former tennis champion Steffi Graf, with whom he has had two children, could not stop the American in his tracks but Safin may have.

Agassi described the loss as more painful than any he had suffered against his great nemesis Pete Sampras, and the fact he was agonisingly close to beating the brooding Russian only made it worse.

He recovered from losing of two close tie-breaks to force the match into a fifth set, only to run out of gas against a man nine years his junior.

"It was really close," Agassi said. "That match could have been straight sets -- both ways.

"I felt like I had the momentum but when a guy has a weapon like that...he can get through so many games without sort of spending that energy and hitting those crucial nervous shots.

"It was a tough one today. Marat played at an incredibly high level and he came up with a lot of great shots when he needed to. I hate it when he does that."

tangerine_dream
01-30-2004, 08:34 PM
:worship:

tangerine_dream
01-30-2004, 08:35 PM
:sad:

tangerine_dream
01-30-2004, 08:36 PM
:awww:

tangerine_dream
01-30-2004, 08:37 PM
:bigcry:

tangerine_dream
01-30-2004, 08:38 PM
:tears: :sobbing:

tangerine_dream
01-30-2004, 08:40 PM
:sobbing: :crying2: :hysteric:

tangerine_dream
01-30-2004, 09:06 PM
:sad: I need a tissuuuuuuue! :bigcry:

Agassi's Australian Exit Has the Feel of a Final Bow
By CHRISTOPHER CLAREY, New York Times
January 30, 2004

ELBOURNE, Australia, Jan. 29 — It certainly looked like a farewell gesture Thursday night. Andre Agassi does not typically blow kisses and bow to the crowd unless he wins a match. He lost this one in five sets, and considering how well Marat Safin had served and returned and hustled in their Australian Open semifinal, there was no shame in losing, no glaring reason for Agassi to question whether he still belongs at the highest level.

But Agassi is not certain he will be back as a player at Melbourne Park, the Grand Slam site that suits his quick-hitting, quick-thinking baseline game the best. So the 33-year-old Agassi, who is deeply attached to on-court rituals, decided to break with habit, walk to center court while Safin was still exulting near the umpire's chair and say a formal adieu, just in case.

"They've been great to me over the years, just a lot of fun to compete in front of," Agassi said of the Melbourne crowd. "And you never know when it's your last, right? So you want to say bye properly."

If this match does indeed turn out to be his last, it will be an appropriately dramatic closing scene to one of the greatest acts in the Australian Open's 99-year history. The level of play in Safin's 7-6 (6), 7-6 (6), 5-7, 1-6, 6-3 victory over Agassi, a four-time champion, was often astonishingly high on both sides.

"I think I played one of my best matches in my whole life probably," Safin, the 2000 United States Open champion, said.

Safin's game, for now, needs no improvement. After struggling with motivation and missing much of 2003 because of a serious left wrist injury, the unseeded Safin has roared back here to reclaim his place among the elite: defeating the world's No. 1 player, Andy Roddick, in the quarterfinals in five sets and eliminating Agassi, the defending champion with a 26-match winning streak.

Now Safin will face the winner of the semifinal Friday between No. 2-seeded Roger Federer of Switzerland and No. 3 Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain. Asked if Safin was the toughest opponent he had faced in Melbourne, Agassi replied, "It's definitely the toughest day I've had."

The first two sets were consistently remarkable, beginning with the first point, an extended, corner-to-corner duel that Agassi won when Safin knocked a forehand out. In the 3 hours 42 minutes of tension that followed, there were many more forced errors than unforced errors, many more winners and attention-commanding rallies than flubbed opportunities and anticlimaxes.

The difference was Safin's brilliant serving on big points and his ability to attack Agassi's second serve consistently. The swaggering Safin, who had not played in a Grand Slam tournament for a year and arrived here ranked 86th, slammed 33 aces and not one double-fault. Agassi typically puts pressure on servers with his big returns.

The quick start has become Agassi's trademark. Though no one had won a set from Agassi in this event since Nicolas Escudé took one in the third round last year, Safin held his ground against Agassi from the start. Safin chose to match strength against strength from the baseline and grabbed the early lead after saving a set point on his serve at 4-5 and another at 5-6 in the tie breaker.

Safin saved another at 5-6 on his way to winning the second-set tie breaker, and when he jumped out to a 0-30 lead on Agassi's serve at 5-5 in the third set, it appeared that Safin was very close to the final. But Agassi won the next four points, then broke Safin with relative ease to win the third set. After an early break in the fourth, Safin began husbanding his resources for the fifth.

Agassi should have been the fresher man, mentally and physically. Coming into this match he had spent less than half as much time on court as Safin, who needed five sets to beat Todd Martin in the third round, four sets to beat James Blake in the fourth round and five to beat Roddick.

But Safin, who tore a ligament in his left wrist here last year, has worked overtime on his fitness, working with a trainer six days a week in December in Monte Carlo. He worked out on the track, using interval training devised by the former British Olympian Sebastian Coe. Safin threw the medicine ball; he lifted weights; he ran up hills, as many as 36 times in a session.

In the fifth set, Safin took charge in the fourth game by breaking Agassi's serve with the help of three unforced errors from Agassi, who was about to become Safin's fifth American victim in this tournament.

"I feel sorry," Safin said to John McEnroe in an on-court interview after the match.

Agassi had shuffled off to the locker room. Asked later what the chances were of seeing him here again, Agassi responded: "Well, right now, pretty good. I mean I have no plans to do otherwise, but, you know, a year's a long time."

If it proves too long, no one who was at Rod Laver Arena on Thursday night can say that Agassi didn't take the time to wave goodbye.

Crazy_Fool
01-30-2004, 10:45 PM
Agassi had shuffled off to the locker room. Asked later what the chances were of seeing him here again, Agassi responded: "Well, right now, pretty good. I mean I have no plans to do otherwise, but, you know, a year's a long time.

If it proves too long, no one who was at Rod Laver Arena on Thursday night can say that Agassi didn't take the time to wave goodbye."

:sad: :sad: :sad:

MisterQ
01-30-2004, 11:08 PM
tangy thanks for those pics/articles

but you are making me SAD! :sad: :tears:

My mind tells me that there is NOTHING to regret about Andre's amazing play and perseverance in that semi.

But I still can't help being down about it.

Crazy_Fool
01-30-2004, 11:19 PM
But I still can't help being down about it.
I know what u mean. I dont care about most losses but its the fact that is probably his last one :sad:

tangerine_dream
01-31-2004, 05:04 PM
I'm sorry I'm depressing you guys but I was more upset by Andre's loss than Andy's and I just wanted to commisserate with fellow Andre fans. I'm so paranoid this may be his last year and that pic of him blowing kisses nearly made me lose it because he almost looked like he was crying, doesn't it? His eyes are red and kinda swelled up.

I'm gonna be soooo depressed when Andre retires. It'll be tennis armageddon for sure when that day arrives. :sobbing:

But I'll try to post more happy stuff later on. Don't wanna make anybody else suicidal besides me. ;) :)

J. Corwin
02-01-2004, 12:10 AM
Thanks for the articles and pics.

I'm confident that Andre will be back though. :)

Dirk
02-13-2004, 02:21 AM
If Andre doesn't win a major this year but wins some titles. He might be back next year. Open is his best shot, but say he wins a masters and a few other titles and posts great results in the slams which I think he will. He might give it one more shot.

swellde
02-13-2004, 05:05 AM
Hi everyone, I just discovered this site and signed up. I've been a huge Agassi fan since probably around '91. I have a question to throw out there, do you think Andre has any kind of decent chance of winning the US Open this year? I think he's definetely capable of beating the top players in the world but to win the whole thing, it kills me, but I just don't see it. With players as good as the current top 3 are, he's more than likely going to run into one of them in the semi's if not the quarters too based on where his ranking is at the time, and without even a day of rest between the semis and finals, I just don't see how it can happen. Of course I hope I'm completely wrong.

WyveN
02-13-2004, 05:46 AM
Hi everyone, I just discovered this site and signed up. I've been a huge Agassi fan since probably around '91. I have a question to throw out there, do you think Andre has any kind of decent chance of winning the US Open this year? I think he's definetely capable of beating the top players in the world but to win the whole thing, it kills me, but I just don't see it. With players as good as the current top 3 are, he's more than likely going to run into one of them in the semi's if not the quarters too based on where his ranking is at the time, and without even a day of rest between the semis and finals, I just don't see how it can happen. Of course I hope I'm completely wrong.

I agree with your predictions. Andre may very well beat a Roddick or Federer or Ferrero or Safin in US Open and make the semis. But I can't see him winning a lot of tough back to back matches and winning the whole thing.
He would certainly need a easy draw

MisterQ
02-13-2004, 12:08 PM
Hi and welcome, swellde! :wavey:

I agree also. Andre definitely has a chance at the USO, but I wouldn't bet on his winning it. Still, I will be cheering for him.

Steffi
07-14-2004, 04:56 AM
I hope Andre will win AUS Open in 2005!

Go Andre!