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Old 12-17-2004, 05:37 AM   #91
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Default Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

Shoulder forces out Capriati; Agassi coming to Forum in March

A shoulder injury has forced Jennifer Capriati to pull out of Saturday's Hurricane Tennis Slam at the St. Pete Times Forum. But the marquee attraction Maria Sharapova will still be there for the 3 p.m. event.

Meanwhile another big tennis event was formalized on Thursday. Andre Agassi will headline the Mercedes-Benz Classic, March 2 also at the Forum. Agassi will be joined by Tampa-area residents James Blake and Mardy Fish in a charity event spearheaded by Jim Courier.
Angela Haynes replaces Capriati and taking on Sharapova. Other future stars according to the WTA, Nicole Vaidisova and Maria Kirilenko, will take part in an event that will benefit the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund.

Capriati will be unable to compete but will still be at the Forum Saturday, and will be involved in the various activities throughout the day, all helping to raise funds for the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund.

World No. 4 Sharapova will meet Haynes in the featured singles match. The doubles match will follow, with Sharapova teaming with Maria Kirilenko against Rennae Stubbs and Nicole Vaidisova. Former ATP world No. 1 Jim Courier will offer commentary and entertainment during the star studded doubles match.

Haynes, 20, hails from California and is an exciting young player to watch. She enjoyed a great run at the US Open, reaching the third round as a wildcard and defeating former Top 10 player Magdalena Maleeva in the second round. Haynes is being acclaimed as one of the future American stars in women’s tennis.

"I am proud to be a part of this event and assist with the rebuilding efforts in Florida." Haynes said.
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Old 12-18-2004, 04:09 PM   #92
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Thanks to karenpoon's group for this article:

Two for the ages



Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi are as different as two players — and two people —
could be. That's what made their rivalry so compelling, and why their individual
legacies will be forever entwined.

THE relationship between Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi is that of two men so
different that, in a way, each serves as a looking glass for the other. Andre
and Pete; Pete and Andre. Never mind that their on-court rivalry has been less
exciting at times than their off-courts struggle for the loyalty and affection
of tennis fans, that their personal exchanges are merely cordial — they are not
great friends or, for that matter, great enemies. The intriguing thing is that
in the eyes of the public they are nearly inseparable, each of them the measure
of the other.
For some 15 years, theirs has been a fabulous game of trump: Sampras' nonpareil
serve against Agassi's stunning returns; Sampras with the running rope of a
forehand, Agassi with the steam-press stroke that is his backhand; Agassi with
flair, Sampras with discipline; Sampras all feel, Agassi all fight. Finally,
they've attained a like stature. If Sampras' legacy is 14 Grand Slam titles,
Agassi's testament is having won all four major trophies. And each can boast a
unique claim to the No. 1 spot: Sampras finished the season on top for an
unprecedented six consecutive years, while Agassi, at 33, is the oldest man in
the modern era to be ranked the highest.
They are opposite, these two titans, even in mannerisms: Sampras, long and
tensile in a white shirt buttoned to his neck, his ancient Wilson racquet black
and dull as an iron skillet; Agassi a darty-eyed, pigeon-toed pirate in denim or
black, his untucked V-neck shirt billowing around his waist as he waves a bright
ceramic racquet. Sampras was always by the book, more self-willed and
accomplished. Agassi was ever the hooky player, or maybe the actor searching for
motivation, evading responsibility; and breaking rules. They are similar in two
ways: They both wear white socks, and they both want to win everything,
including a conversation.
Agassi's early brassiness, the dyed blond mane and exhibitionism, disguised a
more stubbornly substantial nature than anyone could have predicted. His
knee-jerk honesty and a surprisingly searching mind have not permitted him to
give up on a career that, despite long hiatuses, has been one long
self-exploration. Sampras' rebelliousness was buried beneath a cropped,
introverted neatness, his equanimity concealing an ulcerous hypersensitivity.
He's far more profane and driven than most would suspect. Sampras liked to
celebrate wins at the U.S. Open by going to the Peter Luger Steak House in
Brooklyn and eating so much he made himself sick. His favourite book remains The
Catcher in the Rye, the story of a desperate, smart-alecky loner who says,
"Don't ever tell anybody anything."
Perhaps this dissimilarity accounts for the peculiar fact that Pete and Andre
have rarely played their best against each other on the right occasions. When
Sampras was great, Agassi was absent. When Agassi was finally fully present,
Sampras was already tired. Or so it seemed. Their overall record is 20-14,
advantage Sampras, and of their 34 matches only five were Grand Slam finals. But
in the last three years they finally made the rivalry a material thing — both of
them ready to live up to the moments they shared in the spotlight. And in the
2001 U.S. Open quarterfinals they created an epic, just when we thought they had
begun the long, slow fade into retirement. It was as though they made a private
accord to play for a final prize.
The scoreboard on that September day in New York read 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (7-2), 7-6
(7-2), 7-6 (7-5) Sampras. They may have been the best four sets of either
player's life, and even announcer John McEnroe was nearly struck speechless. "I
am lucky to be a commentator," he said humbly. "I am lucky to be here." Then
they went two rounds better in 2002, meeting in the final. Again Sampras won in
four, but it hardly mattered, both were victors over time and over a field that
was growing ever younger. As Agassi said, "We're still out here and there's no
getting around it."
Curiously, though, the only other period in which both players were at their
best at the same time was in a short but splendid span in 1995 when their match
record was square at eight wins apiece and they were at a youthful peak. In late
March of that year, they also agreed to a brief dйtente in their rivalry to play
a Davis Cup tie in Italy. It was an obscure but telling episode, this
uncharacteristic decision to take a buddy trip together to play for their
country.
The Italians had chosen a slow red-clay court in Palermo, and the Americans knew
that without a strong team they could easily lose. So Agassi and Sampras struck
a deal with the USTA: Each would abandon his Grand Slam preparation to play only
if the other agreed to as well, and if they could take the Concorde to London
and a private plane from there to Palermo. The USTA acceded to their demands and
booked the flights.
But first, a day before they were scheduled to leave, Agassi and Sampras met in
the final of the Lipton Championships (now the Nasdaq-100) at Key Biscayne,
Florida. Agassi won a three-setter and two weeks later attained the No. 1
ranking. After the match, he offered Sampras a lift to New York on his private
jet so they could get a decent night's sleep before travelling to Europe.
The two of them took so little time to shower and change that when they jumped
into Agassi's rented car, traffic leaving Key Biscayne was still backed up.
Agassi casually veered onto the breakdown lane and bypassed the traffic, waving
at the other drivers and the occasional bemused cop.
While Agassi drove, he and Sampras made awkward small talk, trying to find
something they had in common.
"Do you like Neil Diamond?" Sampras hazarded.
"You know, I do," Agassi said. "I do like Neil Diamond."
They moved on to talk shows. "Do you watch Sally Jessie?" Agassi asked.
"I watch her," Sampras said. "But I like Montel better. Do you like Montel?"
"I like Montel."
Soon they arrived on the tarmac at Miami International Airport where Agassi's
Citation 10, a burning tennis ball emblazoned on the tail, was waiting. They
climbed aboard and a flight attendant greeted them with food and drink. Sampras
was awed. He unwrapped a turkey sandwich and bit into it.
"You travel like this all the time?"
"It's the only way to do it," Agassi said. "It's going to add years to my
career."
Sampras' habitual austerity gave way. He rocked back in his deep leather seat
and swivelled it. "Oh man," he said. "I like the way you travel. What does this
cost?" They lapsed into a discussion of chartered hours versus time in airports.
Gradually, they relaxed and spent the rest of the flight trading ATP tour
gossip, and their strategies against players such as Michael Chang, Boris
Becker, and David Wheaton.
The next morning they met at Kennedy Airport and boarded the Concorde. As they
sat together they evaluated each other's and their own games. Sampras wondered
about Agassi's reliance on his coach of the time, Brad Gilbert. "What does he do
for you?" Sampras wanted to know. Agassi said that Gilbert gave his game
structure; previously, he had been a belter with no idea of shot selection — he
just "wracked it." Now, he had a blueprint to build points and matches.
Sampras shrugged; all he wanted a coach to do was check his toss.
They were met in London by a VIP escort who gave them expedited forms to get
them through immigration quickly. Agassi, typically, figured that meant they got
to skip the paperwork. But Sampras paused at a counter to fill out his entry
card. Agassi waved him on, impatient. "Come on, we don't have to do that."
"Yeah, we do," Sampras replied, correctly.
Outside, a limo waited to take them to a private terminal for the flight to
Palermo. But Agassi was hungry. He said, "Let's go to McDonald's."
"I don't think they have one here."
"Sure they do," he said. "It's on the outskirts of the airport."
Agassi directed the driver to McDonald's. Sampras and Agassi placed their order
at the drive-through window: Agassi wanted a couple of burgers. Sampras ordered
the same, and they both added Chicken McNuggets as an afterthought, along with
large fries and apple pies.
They spent four days in Palermo sitting side by side in identical USA
sweatshirts. Pete and Andre; Andre and Pete. But in the end the difference
between them showed, as it always did. After the USA won 3-0, the question of
dead rubbers arose. For Sampras it was a question of responsibility: having
decided to do this thing, he was going to do it right. For Agassi it was a
matter of love; he could only play if he cared, and he didn't care about an
exhibition.
Agassi came down with a case of the tweaks and a doctor's note. Sampras played.
ANDRE
"How old do you have to be before people forgive you for your past?" Agassi
wanted to know.
This was a couple of years ago, after he had finished an exhaustive interview in
Las Vegas in which ESPN's Roy Firestone had brought up all the old bad-boy
episodes, the blurted insults and the tantrums and the tanks and the weird
haircuts. Agassi answered the questions, but afterwards, as he left the studio
and climbed into his SUV to drive home, the conversation still bothered him. "At
what point do people let you move past your childhood?" he wondered. "Is that
ever going to happen?"
Agassi drove through Vegas at a sedate speed. Against all odds, he had made a
man out of himself and he took pride in that. He wanted a little credit for
that. He pointed to the left while passing the Andre Agassi Boys & Girls Club,
established to benefit at-risk kids. His foundation also had funded a shelter
for abused children and a charter school, the Andre Agassi College Preparatory
Academy. Agassi liked to say of the school, "It's not the first two words that
matter, it's the last three."
Agassi, himself, did not grow up as a normal kid taking college-prep classes.
His childhood had been surrendered to the obsessive desire of his father, Mike,
to make a tennis champion. Andre was a certified prodigy — on the junior circuit
at 7, shipped off to Florida to train with Nick Bollettieri at 13, and by the
time he was 18 the No. 3 player the world. In that taxing process, he also had
become his own biggest opponent.
Later that afternoon in Vegas the question of the past came up again, in a
meeting with Nike over the design of new sneakers. Andre wasn't pleased with the
cartoon-like shape and colours of the shoes. He was stripped down now, to a
basic and unpretentious adult. "Look what they're trying to take me back to," he
lamented mockingly. He wanted a design that reflected the lean, clean lines of
his adulthood, not the thrashings and yowlings of his adolescence.
Still, Andre knew that much had been given as well as taken by the singular way
Mike Agassi taught tennis. Other kids had the schooled strokes grooved by
country-club teachers, $25-an-hour backhands with proper mechanics and
racquet-back preparation. Not Agassi. He stood at mid-court while his father
stood at the net and fired balls at him as hard and fast as possible. Shot
after, the boy would whip his racquet around more tightly, shortening his swing
and picking the ball up earlier and earlier, until he was almost volleying his
ground strokes. Then Mike would order his son, "Faster!"
As Rita Agassi, Andre's older sister, once said of the way Mike taught tennis,
of the kind of man he was, "My father was a sober drunk."
But if Mike was drunk on tennis, he was also inspired. His methods were based on
his intuitive grasp of velocity and speed-to-power ratios. Several years ago,
Mike privately expounded on the theory underlying Andre's strokes. Standing in
his Vegas living room, with a tennis court and desert dunes visible beyond the
picture window, he held up a gauzy cotton handkerchief and waved it around.
"See," he said, "is that going to hurt anyone?"
Then he twirled the handkerchief around and around until it formed a tightly
wound whip. He snapped it in the air and said, "Now that will hurt someone."
Mike stared out the window, at the court with the ball machine at the far end.
It mostly went unused now that Andre was grown, had a home of his own, and
rarely played at his father's.
"I wish there were some little ones to teach," Mike said sadly.
But maybe it's just as well Mike didn't put his mark on any more children.
Agassi remembers being paraded around on a tennis court at the Tropicana in Las
Vegas, his father advertising his prodigy to visiting pros. Once, when Agassi
lost a junior tournament, Mike took the runner-up trophy and hurled it into a
nearby garbage can.
In that moment, a lifelong mutineer was born. "You know what?" Agassi has grown
fond of saying. "I'd rather feel I missed out on some good tennis than some good
living."
PETE
He always has been a great killer of momentum, all but his own.
He abbreviated so many points, squelched so many hopes, with that great blast of
a serve. He lulled opponents and audiences alike with the trancelike rhythm of
his game and the monotony with which he acquired titles and records. But Sampras
played complete and deeply realised tennis, too; he never bored the connoisseurs
or those who understood that beneath the seeming indifference lay a craving for
the game so powerful that he twice vomited on the court and once even wept on
it. As his former coach Paul Annacone said, "Pete makes it look too easy. People
watch him win and think, `That doesn't look too hard.'"
The ease of his game did Sampras a disservice: It obscured his supreme
professionalism, no common commodity these days. We thought Sampras would always
be there. He's been more than just great; he's been dependably, reliably great.
For more than a decade, we could count on him: 64 singles titles, while the
lurkers and bangers and transients came and went. He never really changed.
Sampras won the U.S. Open as a 19-year-old in 1990 with a thoroughly unaffected
manner and a quirky sense of humour. When told the President might call him, he
smiled, grimaced shyly, and said, "The phone's off the hook."
Asked to describe himself at the time, he said, "I'm a normal 19-year-old with a
very unusual job, doing very unusual things."
But that was only partly right. He was a fragile, touchy creature, too. Before
he became an invincible champion, he was all lethargy and sensitivity, not a
good player in the heat, or in the mornings, and not yet insensitive to
pressure, either. Two years would pass before he won his second major, and of
them he says, "I had to learn how to play tennis. I was the greenhorn, the kid
who had to do it all by himself, learn it all by himself. Nobody told him
anything."
Sampras has always felt this curious sense of isolation, almost as if he were
orphaned on the court. And if Pete and Andre seem different, what about Mike
Agassi and Sam Sampras? What of the way Sam would drop little Pete off at junior
tournaments and then simply turn and leave? Pete remembers being abandoned, the
sight of Sam's back, moving away. Sam was too nervous to watch, sure. But he
also wasn't certain he approved of this whole costly and troublesome junior
circuit. Sampras would stand on the court, watching his father retreat, and
years later he said, "I still remember feeling alone."
Sam made a self-sufficient player of him, and a self-effacing one, too. On the
afternoon Sampras had a big win and was interviewed by the press for the first
time, his father cautioned him: "just tell them you were lucky."
The next day Sampras lost. As he sat there, brooding, his father tapped him on
the shoulder, pointing to the winner — and new darling of the press.
"See that?" he said. "That's what happens."
PETE and ANDRE; ANDRE and PETE
They are what tennis needs more of: grown men. Over the years, the public has
developed a relationship with them, a continuous connection that it doesn't have
with any other players. Maybe one day we'll know Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick
this well, but for now they are superficial characters, rude bashers with sticky
hair.
Agassi and Sampras have known each other for two-thirds of their lives. We have
known them for half.
They start as two small boys, Sampras 8 years old, Agassi 9 or 10, and they are
on a court in Northridge, California, about to play each other for the first
time. Agassi, if you can believe it, is the bigger of the two, recalling years
later that Sampras "comes up to about my chin." But Agassi has no real ground
strokes yet, and Sampras remembers saying of him, "He's all trick shots." Then
again, Sampras has no serve, and with his two-handed backhand he's a tiny
baseline grinder.
They could not be more different, and the same will be said of the way they will
go about things from this point on. Sampras will worship tradition and study the
greats and attain a pure classicism. Agassi will become a work of junk fiction
and then mature into an artist.
Neither can remember who won that first match.
We cannot remember, or imagine, the game without them.

_____________________________________
Andre Agassi forever
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Old 12-18-2004, 05:04 PM   #93
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Default Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

American needs to figure out how to topple
dominant Federer from No. 1 ranking in 2005


..........................................

Has Andre any magic left?
Roddick's eager and anxious to take it a few notches higher in 2005, append major titles to his U.S. Open of 2003, and he also hopes that other compatriots will follow his lead, particularly his buddy, Mardy Fish.

That isn’t happening.

Other than his Olympic silver medal, Fish has been a disappointment, and Roddick faces a new year as probably the lone American in the top ten.

That’s unless “Father Timeless,” Andre Agassi, hangs tough past his 35th birthday in April.

Everybody hopes he will because Andre is the most popular and respected American male in the game since Arthur Ashe.

Given his demanding training regimen, competitive drive, shotmaking verve and experience, he just might present himself and his public with a 16th top-10 finish.

Incredibly gifted in size, speed and shotmaking, Russian Marat Safin, if he keeps paying attention, could follow up favorably on a fine Masters.

Determined Lleyton Hewitt has the heart, legs and youth to stay near the top.

Watch out for the 18-year-old Spanish southpaw Rafael Nadal, whose first day jolting of Roddick made it certain that the U.S. wasn’t going to overcome Spain in the Davis Cup final.

Burly Carlos Moya, also a Cup hero, appears set to do big things, but will Juan Carlos Ferrero, considered the best of that Spanish crop, regain his confidence and prime fitness?

Olympic gold medalists, Nicolas Massu, 25, (singles and doubles), and Fernando Gonzalez, 24 (doubles), have lifted Chile to the prominence it once had momentarily in the person of retired Marcelo Rios.

They could go further than the difficult Rios.

The Argentines should do well, although Guillermo Coria and David Nalbandian are looking brittle physically, and French Open champion Gaston Gaudio (thanks to Coria blowing two match points in their Paris final) may be a one-shot wonder.

Desperate for a Wimbledon champion, the Brits shouldn’t give up on 30-year-old Tim Henman just yet.

He’s living up to the old Jack Kramer adage that a man should reach prime after 30.

Four young guys who ought to cause trouble are 6-foot Russian Igor Andreev, 21, and biggies 6-foot-5 Croat Mario Ancic, 20, 6-foot-4 Czech Tomas Berdych, 19, and 6-foot-6 Swede Joachim Johansson, 22, who deposed Roddick at the U.S. Open.

Brighter Davis Cup outlook for Americans
For the U.S., bereft of a Davis Cup since 1995, the new season looks better, a schedule with the possibility of playing four matches at home.

That means Roddick and the Bryan twins, Mike and Bob, could pull it off without a reliable second singles player.

That’s the dream of U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe.

Meanwhile, with the offseason lasting all of 28 days, another endless campaign begins Jan. 3 in Adelaide, Doha and Chennai, with the first major looming in Melbourne Jan. 17: the Australian Open, celebrating its centennial.

Defending champion Federer and Safin were the finalists a year ago, but Hewitt, straining to break the Curse of Eddo, would be worth a few bucks with an Australian bookmaker.

Not quite the 86-year-old Curse of the Bambino that the Red Sox buried, but Australians are moaning and hoping within a 29-year drought.

The last native to capture the title was Eddo -- Mark Edmondson -- in 1976.

© 2004 MSNBC Interactive

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Old 12-28-2004, 08:26 PM   #94
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Default Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

Behind the scenes at Flushing Meadows

....



AGASSI: SUPERSTITIOUS

Up close each player is distinctive, and none more so than Andre Agassi.

The 34-year old must be one of the most superstitious players on the Tour. He needs the same towel that helped him win the day before, placed by the ball boys in exactly the same spot as before.



When he's done, precisely 45 minutes pass from the moment Agassi shakes the hand of his opponent to the moment he enters his limo.


Story is here:
http://www.eurosport.co.uk/home/page...to669431.shtml

Eurosport - 23/12/2004 glanzenberg@eurosport.com _________________________________
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Old 01-10-2005, 01:55 AM   #95
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Default Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

some new ideas from Scud "side"

Scud's battle to mix love and sport
By Stephen Corby
January 9, 2005

............................................

"Sportsmen are in a situation where people want to get a piece of them all the time and they are surrounded by garbage distractions," Crampton said.

"A partner can help them with these distractions and keep them focused, but sometimes it can be the case that the partner is creating the distraction, as I think Philippoussis has found in the past."

Crampton said Andre Agassi had benefited from a partner.


"Obviously Andre and Steffi Graf are a good act together. Probably it's because Steffi understands the sport.

"With a girlfriend who wants to go to the beach, or go shopping, or wants to go partying when you should be on the practice court, it's obviously not a good distraction."

Agassi, whose world ranking slumped to 134 during the late '90s, when he was with Brooke Shields, credits Graf with his return to prominence.



....................................
The Sunday Telegraph


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Old 01-17-2005, 10:57 AM   #96
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Default Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

Andre Agassi is a 100% starter for the Australian Open


Andre already won his first vs. German Kindlmann!



00:37 2005-01-17
Andre Agassi is set to play in the Australian Open despite a hip injury that forced him to quit an exhibition match leading up to the year's first Grand Slam tournament.

Agassi, a four-time winner of the Australian Open, said the small tear in a tendon in his right hip didn't trouble him too much. He lost in three sets to Tim Henman on Saturday and is a "100 percent starter" for the Australian Open, which begins Monday, reports San Francisco Chronicle.

According to the Times of India, the 34-year-old American was hurt on Thursday but came through an exhibition match against Tim Henman at the Kooyong Classic on Saturday and pronounced himself ready to go after a practice session at Melbourne Park on Sunday.

"I pulled up pretty well after two hours of play yesterday so that's a good sign," Agassi said.

"I'm a 100 percent starter and I'll be out there giving it everything I've got. The 34-year-old American, winner at Melbourne Park in 1995, 2000, 2001 and 2003 and seeded eighth this year, is due to face German qualifier Dieter Kindlmann in the opening round on Monday.

Agassi is seeded eighth for the Australian Open v the first Grand Slam event of the season v where he reached the semifinals a year ago.

On the women's side, Belgian stars Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters, who played for the 2004 championship, are both sidelined with injuries. Two-time titlist Jennifer Captriati of the U.S. withdrew earlier this week, citing a nagging right shoulder injury.
The main draw of the Australian Open begins Monday, says CBC News.
_________________________________________
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Old 01-19-2005, 05:48 PM   #97
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Default Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **



It Takes A Thief
By Richard Pagliaro
Tennis Week
01/19/2005

He is a power player on and off the court, a philanthropic force whose extreme effort on the court is matched by his willingness to dig down deep in his pockets and contribute to charitable causes, including the foundation that bears his name. But don't let Andre Agassi fool you. A man can change his clothes, but altering his competitive character is a much more taxing task.

Whether he's willing to admit it or not, Agassi is rapidly reverting back to his old habits.

Put the 34-year-old Las Vegas native between the lines he immediately starts positioning the ball kids as if they're lookouts on his latest competitive caper. Agassi does more than play tennis, he turns major matches into Grand Slam larceny.

The second-round Australian Open clash between the eighth-seeded Agassi and Rainer Schuettler was a rematch of the 2003 final, but tennis' top thief turned it into stick-up conducted in broad daylight before thousands of witnesses and a slew of surveillance cameras.

Stealing more than the show, Agassi stole the strength from Schuettler's legs with crisp crosscourt combinations, pilfered his power by ripping shots on the rise, robbed the veteran workhorse of his resolve by forcing him into a constant state of retreat and walked away with the cheers of an adoring crowd ringing in his ears after completing a 6-3, 6-1, 6-0 conquest to cruise into the third round.

"I felt like I was playing good tennis and that's a great feeling," Agassi said. "It's only the second match, but it's certainly a great one for me."

Agassi, who did not surrender serve in the match, stole Schuettler's serve seven times and shook Schuettler down so thoroughly, you half expect him to swipe the German's wristbands and watch during the post-match handshake — if he'd been wearing them.

The match began in oppressive heat, which Agassi welcomes. Since retiring from last week's Kooyong exhibition with Andy Roddick due to a strained right hip flexor, Agassi's movement has been monitored more than a man wearing an electronic ankle bracelet. But the former No. 1 has shown no signs of slowing down in surrendering just 11 games in his two tournament victories.

"I felt as the match went on I was getting more comfortable with my movement, and that's a good thing," Agassi said. "To say it was 100 percent would probably be overstating it, but to be able to have the time to get it better up to this point is a great sign that it will be 100 percent."

The four-time Australian Open champion raised his record in Melbourne to 46-4.

Fellow American Taylor Dent, who scored a 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 victory over Michal Tabara in the second round, is Agassi's next opponent. Dent's serve-and-volley style has been tailor-made for Agassi's penetrating passing shots in the past. Agassi has swept their three prior meetings, but Dent posed problems for Agassi in their most recent encounter. The classic clash between tennis’ top returner and one of the game’s biggest servers came to a premature conclusion as Agassi held a 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-5 lead when a hobbled Dent retired from their fourth-round 2003 U.S. Open match with tightness in his lower right hamstring.

In that match, Dent handled Agassi’s kick serve effectively by taking it early and knifing biting backhand returns that landed deep in the court and gave him the opportunity to approach. Agassi, who owns the best two-handed backhand in men's tennis, typically exploits opponents' backhands and opens the court in the process by pounding crosscourt backhands. The combination of Dent's variety off the backhand side and his repeated runs to the net nullified that tactic somewhat and Dent's seismic serve earned Agassi's respect.

"First of all his serve speaks for itself — it’s a real big serve," Agassi said. "He has great hands at the net and he was getting great length on his returns and not just coming forward on a bluff, but coming in on a real good shot. He was playing close to the lines, he was playing real well. It was hard to deal with."

Since that meeting Dent has played a bit more predictably on his backhand side — he tends to chip his backhand return and employ the standard backhand slice as his approach rather than mixing in topspin backhands as he did in that match — but if Dent can serve effectively and mix up the depth, pace and spins on his approaches he could test Agassi. Dent must make Agassi feel apprehensive on his second serve by attacking that shot, which can be challenging given the fact Agassi's second serve can kick shoulder high and serve as a strait jacket to a player with a one-handed backhand.

As an attacking player, Dent is capable of dictating the course of points, but his conditioning remains questionable and he's going up against one of the fittest players in the sport. Agassi played many memorable matches with another serve-and-volleyer, Australia's Patrick Rafter, and should Dent ever completely commit to a conditioning program and build his body into Rafter-type shape there's no question he could be a force at three of the four majors. But the son of former Australian Open finalist and Aussie Davis Cup player Phil Dent, is not yet at his physical peak and tennis' top thief should make him pay the price.

The winner of the Agassi-Dent match could face big-serving U.S. Open semifinalist Joachim Johansson in the round of 16 if the 11th-seeded Swede beats 24th-seeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez. An Agassi-Roger Federer meeting looms large as the marquee match of the quarterfinals, but the eight-time Grand Slam champion knows there's more work to be done before he gets there.

"It would be nice to play against him because that means a couple more matches I would have won," Agassi said. "All these guys are real talented and if you don't show up and aren't at your best then anybody can beat you — and that includes Roger. Roger has to show up and be at his best. When he is, he's proven it's better than everybody else so you have to play a great match against him. Like any great player, you can't point to a weakness, but you can point to maybe one side that's not as strong as his other side, which is not very optimistic for his opponents. But you have to go after him, you have to take your chances, and you have to play a great match."
__________________
"What kind of shape am I in now? Well round is a shape." said Roddick with a laugh. "I had a very detailed retirement plan, and I feel like I've met every aspect of it: a lot of golf, a lot of carbs, a lot of fried food, and some booze, occasionally — I've been completely committed ... The results have shown."


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Old 01-29-2005, 08:21 PM   #98
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Default Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

Saintly lucre
By Barry Dickins
January 29, 2005

There is definitely a saintliness about Andre Agassi's income. And a spirituality also when he gestures in a kindly way towards his parish, those worshipful followers of his bankable lobs. He is genuinely shy, but not shy of $30 million, which is what he's made from the art of hitting a cloth ball. If he's ever broke, I hope he remembers me - that's all. I made him what he is today.

When he was just 15, he conquered Vitas Gerulaitis, whose first name's the same as my sacred breakfast cereal, just about. I used to gnaw whole boxes of Vita Brits as I watched Vitas strike the ball with surrealist panache. It is next to unbelievable that Vitas played for Clifton Hill Tennis Club in the late 1980s. Right next to the old railway station, it is. If you venture in there, you can easily read his name on the gold mementoes and posters. And Martina played for them, too!

I was saddened to learn of Gerulaitis' death. He dabbled in the witchcraft of supernatural sports income as well as drugs, and I just hope his spirit discovers a repose not possible on high-octane sports money.

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AdvertisementI wondered, not that it's any of my business, how much Andre's entourage cost him, his masseuse as well as his spiritualist, his mind-reader, toenail preparer, wig-maker (not that he needs one). His French chef alone must set him back a few centimes. But tennis isn't big money anymore. It's just outside the realm of ordinary understanding.

The divinity of Andre is depicted wholeheartedly when he puts his talented fingertips to his lips and blows the sweetest kisses to those on less than $55,000 a year. The crowd loves him eternally.

But what phenomenon links Agassi and Dickins? Well, we both are very bald. We're both pretty old. He has extremely bandy legs, while my bandiness is often remarked upon, not merely in the street but wherever my family is. "Geez," I overhear them, "Look at that guy, would you! Look at his legs! He looks like a mattress fell on him!"

We had a few foaming pots and agreed it was for the best to remain ourselves.This morning I lay in my bed dreaming of Lleyton Hewitt's income. He and I, in my momentary summer concussion, actually traded identities, and I trained with his new coach, swam a few chloride lanes at Carlton baths, signed a million-buck contract for Sorbent lavatory rolls to promote their exquisiteness in TV ads, then I swapped his youth for my decrepitude. He laughed like a good sportsman and said: "Yes, why not trade?"

So, in my half-dream state, there we were, the two of us, outside the National Australia Bank in Smith Street, Collingwood, and I wondered really why he bothered trying on a new identity as me. I hit the ATM with Lleyton and it went into a tie-breaker. My first serve at the digits was a foot-fault and I received a warning for racquet abuse, or was it card?

"Advantage mortgage," said the forlorn printout, and I haplessly appealed to the umpire for another printout. This time I was sent off the court for verbal abuse of a machine.

It just didn't work, him being broke, no matter how novel it was. We had a few foaming pots and agreed it was for the best to remain ourselves. Then we had a hit in Smith Street.

Dreams can prove exhausting and so it was at the completion of my dream that he was happiest rich and I was happiest rich in love of family, where nothing goes into deuce and there is no advantage given or expected. The real serve in tennis, as well as life, is to love your wife and son more than a tennis ball, and much more than temporary envy, one of my most awkward sins.
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Old 02-03-2005, 01:14 AM   #99
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speculations on Andre's Davis Cup participation

McEnroe, Agassi Share Steak In Davis Cup




02/01/2005

Patrick McEnroe has discovered the cure for jet leg: tennis. As soon as the United States Davis Cup captain got off the plane from Australia, he stepped on court in Los Angeles. A few hours before meeting the media for Monday's Davis Cup luncheon, McEnroe squeezed in a hit on the hard court of the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.

"It the best way to get over jet lag," said McEnroe, who spent the past two weeks in Melbourne serving as a tennis analyst for ESPN2's coverage of the Australian Open. "I make it a point to try to get in hit in as soon as possible whenever I’m on the road."

The next time McEnroe hits at the Home Demo Center will be during Davis Cup practice week. McEnroe met with local members of the press to discuss the opening-round Davis Cup tie between the United States and Croatia, March 4-6th at the Home Depot Center. The captain was accompanied by several former and current Davis Cup players: 1939, 1946 and 1947 U.S. Davis Cup team member Jack Kramer; 1962 and 1963 U.S. Davis Cup captain Robert Kelleher, 1997, 1999 and 2000 U.S. Davis Cupper Alex O'Brien and current U.S. Davis Cup team members Bob and Mike Bryan, fresh off their runner-up men's doubles showing at the 2005 Australian Open.

McEnroe's passion for playing tennis matches his excited exuberance in exclaiming "the Dropper!!" during tennis telecasts.

The man who led the United States to the Davis Cup final last December may look forward to another hitting session today with a Las Vegas legend who knows his way around the grill better than George Foreman and still hits like a heavyweight.

McEnroe is scheduled to sit down with Andre Agassi at his Las Vegas home to discuss the eight-time Grand Slam champion's prospects of playing future Davis Cup ties. To be sure, a first-class feed awaits him during the recruiting dinner.

"I'm heading to Las Vegas tonight and will sit down with Andre," McEnroe said. "He’s going to have a nice steak on the grill ready for me, knowing him it will be the best steak you can find. And then I’ll head back to New York tomorrow."

While McEnroe places the possibility of Agassi playing at "less than 50-50" he's excited that Agassi has initiated the discussion for the first time in his tenure as captain.

"I don't have any expectation other than I hope he says yes. In my mind, it's probably a less than 50-50 chance that he will play," McEnroe said. "He opened the door as far having a discussion and hearing what I had to say and that's the first time that's really happened since I've been the captain. In my mind, I have to field the best team I can and I have to exhaust all possibilities. That means that getting on a plane and sitting down with him face to face, that's a small price to play for trying to get him to join up."

The 34-year-old Agassi, who owns a 30-5 career record in 10 years of Davis Cup competition, has not played a Davis Cup tie since sweeping his singles matches in the United States' 3-2 quarterfinal conquest of the Czech Republic in 2000. Since his last Davis Cup appearance nearly five years ago, Agassi has reiterated his decision to step aside from Davis Cup play to devote more time to his family, raise money and awareness for his charitable organization, the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, and focus on the final stage of his tennis career. But Agassi has remained a supporter of the U.S. players and the team and has consulted with McEnroe prior to almost every tie.

Agassi has said his Davis Cup success remains a highlight of his career and the prospect of playing with the younger generation of Americans — third-ranked Andy Roddick and twins Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan — in a team competition is appealing.The Bryan brothers, who have not dropped a set in four career Davis Cup victories, welcome the possibility of Agassi playing.

"Everyone’s excited about the possibility of Andre playing," Bob Bryan said. "He’s been really big supporter of Andy and us. Right when we came on tour he took us under his wing."

Traditionally, Agassi has enjoyed success at the March Masters Series events in Indian Wells and Miami. Agassi has won a record six Nasdaq-100 Open championships, including three Miami titles in the past four years. Since Agassi uses those events as a springboard to his spring season, it seems unlikely he would play the opening-round Davis Cup tie as he'd be committing himself to competing the entire month of March. Given the chronic hip condition that can cause him pain, it's unlikely Agassi would subject his body to the pounding of playing hard court tennis for four weeks without much of a break.

Still, the ongoing dialogue between Agassi and McEnroe is more than a Davis Cup dance. The mere fact Agassi is willing to talk to McEnroe about it suggests he is considering playing a future tie that would suit his schedule. If the United States beats Croatia and Romania defeats Belarus, the U.S. would host Romania in the Davis Cup quarterfinals, July 15-17th.

Agassi remains one of the most popular players in the sport, which is another reason the USTA is pleased he's willing to discuss Davis Cup participation: Agassi's appeal is so strong that his interest in Davis Cup competition raises awareness of the event for the both the press and the public, which can't hurt tickets sales even if he opts against playing the opening-round tie. Additionally, Agassi's interest could inspire some of the young Americans to improve on their recent disappointing results.

Clearly, McEnroe has been hoping one of the young Americans who have played singles in prior ties — Mardy Fish, Taylor Dent, Robby Ginepri or James Blake — would step up and seize the second singles spot or that Vince Spadea, who has publicly campaigned for a position on the team, could compete for the spot. But none of those players have been able to solidify their status as the No. 2 singles starter. Illness and injury have set Blake back. Ginepri, who bowed in the opening round of the Australian Open, has not reached a tournament final since winning Newport in 2003. Dent shows signs of his prodigious potential, but has not yet sustained it over the course of a season. McEnroe has been a big believer in Fish's game, but may be growing disillusioned with his inability to translate his talent into results and the captain points to Spadea's struggles in Grand Slams (Spadea has succumbed in the first or second round in seven of his last nine majors) as a reason for his reluctance to start Spadea in a best-of-five set Davis Cup match.

Should Agassi skip the first-round tie as expected, Dent is the top candidate for the second singles spot.

"Taylor Dent has had the best start to the year out of the potential second players," McEnroe said. "He had a win over Hewitt in Adelaide and had a pretty good Australian Open. James Blake looked pretty good and is trying to get back into shape. Those guys looked good. There are a few tournaments over the next few weeks that could determine who that second guy would be if Andre can' make it."

With no clear candidate, it's no wonder why McEnroe wants to keep an open dialogue with Agassi and continues to listen in the hopes that one of the greatest Davis Cup players in American history may just talk himself back onto the team.

Tickets for the U.S. vs. Croatia Davis Cup First Round can be purchased be calling (888) 484-USTA (8782). The transcript of McEnroe's press conference with the media is reprinted here:

Who is line to be on the team if Andre Agassi decides not to return to the U.S. team?

Patrick McEnroe: Taylor Dent has had the best start to the year out of the potential second players. He had a win over Hewitt in Adelaide and had a pretty good Australian Open. James Blake looked pretty good and is trying to get back into shape. Those guys looked good. There are a few tournaments over the next few weeks that could determine who that second guy would be if Andre can't make it.

What are Andre Agassi's feelings toward Davis Cup?

Patrick McEnroe: When Andre played Davis Cup, he was committed to it. He was committed to playing not just when it fit in his schedule. I think he finds that right now, it's hard for him to commit to every match because of his family and his responsibilities and because he is going to be 35 and it's a little taxing on him. My job is to alleviate his fear that we don't necessarily have to have him play every match. That's the way I look at. It rarely happens that you have the same four players for every match. It's how the system is set up. The way the schedule is and the way it is when you play on difference surfaces. As a captain, you have to be malleable. You have to be willing to adjust. I want make it clear to Andre that irrespective of where he's coming from that's the way I look at every match. The last couple of years, whether it was James Blake, Mardy Fish or Robby Ginepri who played. I don't need to hear from Andre "I'm going to play every match." My feeling is, let's see how it goes. Let's get you to play in the first round and let's see what happens and take it from there. The second round is right after Wimbledon, if we win, let's cross that bridge when we get to it."

Can you comment on the new buzz that surrounds the U.S. Davis Cup team?

Patrick McEnroe: "People see and the press see how much our guys care about Davis Cup. When I took over as captain, I wanted the guys who wanted to play, period. I wanted to focus the attention on them. There's a buzz back because people see how committed these guys are. They see their passion and they see how devastated they are when they lose. When we lost to Spain in the final, we were big underdogs there, and we went over there and gave it our best shot and we lost. People respond to them. They are not doing because they are supposed to or because they have to. They are doing it because they really want to be there.

What type of arguments will you present to Andre to encourage him to play?

Patrick McEnroe: Andre expressed interest in playing to me because he's seen what these guys have done to the team. He's seen the chemistry, the camaraderie and the commitment that our young guys have. I think he'd like to be a part of it. He genuinely thinks "This could be something fun and something good for me and good for where I am in my life." I take that as a compliment to what we've done and what specifically our players have done, where he's watched for afar and taken a keen interest. Obviously, having him on our team helps our chances. We've had a good couple of runs, making the semis in 2002 and the finals last year, but we'd like to win it. Having him as part of our team will certainly help our chances, not to mention what it would do for tennis, period. It would be a positive thing for the sport and tennis overall in this country in having people see our young guy, Andy Roddick, with a legend playing together with the Bryans. It would really take the interest up a notch or two.

Do you expect Agassi to say yes?

Patrick McEnroe: I don't have any expectation other than I hope he says yes. In my mind, it's probably a less than 50-50 chance that he will play. He opened the door as far having a discussion and hearing what I had to say and that's the first time that's really happened since I've been the captain. In my mind, I have to field the best team I can and I have to exhaust all possibilities. That means that getting on a plane and sitting down with him face to face, that's a small price to play for trying to get him to join up.... Our press sort of look at "Hey how come everyone doesn't play Davis Cup", which is not entirely accurate. Andre has played Davis Cup for 10 years and is the second winingest player after my brother in Davis Cup. Sampras came and went, but he still played, although he didn't play every match. We oversell that aspect of it. These guys really love it and love playing with each other and being part of something as a team.

On the camaraderie of the U.S. Davis Cup team

Patrick McEnroe: These guys are buddies. They hang out together, support each other, play doubles together and go out with each other when they are at tournaments. I've been very lucky. We brought them up together. When Roddick played his first match my first tie as a captain, he was a teenager and just turned pro. We experienced a lot these things together as a group. There's a real sense of a team. That's hard to get in tennis since tennis is such an individual sport.

When do you expect Agassi will make a decision on possibly returning to the Davis Cup team

Patrick McEnroe: I think it will be relatively soon. My guess would be that it would be by the end of this week. Maybe if Andre comes, we may bring in an extra guy, a fifth player, just in case. I like to include as many guys as possible. Dent would be one possibility, based on his success. James Blake and Mardy Fish are also possibilities. Vince Spadea didn't play well in Australia, but his ranking is up there.

What do you think about the Home Depot Center in Carson as a facility?

Patrick McEnroe: This is great facility. I came out here last summer to look at it. I saw the women's event on TV and they had great crowds. It's a great court. It's a great stadium court. As for the surface speed it really depends on who plays the second singles. If it were Taylor Dent maybe we make it not quite as slow. It's the perfect size. The facility is outstanding. The key for us to get the awareness of tennis fans out here that this is a big-time venue. That's the challenge, is to get the fans that are used to going to UCLA or what used to be Manhattan Beach to come here.

How do you feel about the the way the Bryan twins are playing?

Patrick McEnroe: The Bryans are consistently getting to Grand Slam finals. They would love to win another one, and I'm sure they will based on how well they are doing. They get so pumped up for Davis Cup matches. They bring so much energy and it helps the whole team, knowing that they are going out there on Saturday. Their record speaks for itself. They haven't lost a set yet. At some point, I've said to them, that they are going to lose a set and maybe lose a match. They are going to have a tough match this time. The Croatians (Mario Ancic and Ivan Ljubicic) have a very good doubles team. This may be their toughest test.

What are your thoughts on the Croatian team of Mario Ancic and Ivan Ljubicic?

Patrick McEnroe: We played them there in Croatia on fast indoor courts (in the first round in 2003). Roddick got injured at the Australian Open so he couldn't come, so we had a tough go of it over there. The crowd was crazy so we want to give them a taste of their own medicine. Their players are both solid players. They are both ranked in the top 30 and both have big serves. Ancic played well at Wimbledon last year, reaching the semifinals and played a very tough match with Roddick. They are serious players. They are guys that when they are playing well, will beat you, but they are also two guys that if we play our best, we're in good shape.

The Tennis Channel's Brad Falkner is a Tennis Week contributing writer. Brad's last story for Tennis Week magazine was an interview with Brad Gilbert in the January issue. An accomplished teaching pro, Falkner recently won the Tennis Angels celebrity singles title, executing "The Dropper!" on match point to take the title.
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Old 02-24-2005, 12:53 PM   #100
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Default Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

The Tennis Week Interview: Patrick McEnroe Part II


Photo By Susan Mullane By Richard Pagliaro
02/24/2005



Tennis Week: Taylor Dent shows flashes of top-level tennis, but he's never been able to sustain it over the course of a complete season. Do you think part of that is the fact it takes serve-and-volleyers longer to develop because they have to master more shots or in his case is it just he has to learn to consistently train hard, get in shape and do it week after week?

Patrick McEnroe: It's both. To be a serve-and-volleyer in this game you've got to be incredibly, fit, agile and explosive. If you're not in phenomenal shape it is very difficult to play that style and be consistently successful match in and match out week in and week out. Clearly, Taylor's got the game that can trouble anybody — there's no question about that — but as far as having the game that can sort of steam roll people, he's not able to do that yet. I think a lot of that is physical and just how fit he is point after point. That's something only he can decide: how much he wants it.

Tennis Week: Do you think he's reached the point where he's realized: "I can't keep procrastinating on the fitness issue if I want to be a top 10 player?"

Patrick McEnroe: Only he can answer that question for you.

Tennis Week: Last month's Australian Open was one of the most exciting majors in years. The Australian fans seem to supply an energy and enthusiasm unique to that tournament. Is there anything we can learn and take from that tournament and apply it to the U.S. Open to make the Open a more fan-friendly experience?

Patrick McEnroe: It's hard, Richard, because down there the Australian Open is basically like our Super Bowl. Imagine this: Channel 7, which is the host network at the Australian Open hosts a national news program from the Australian Open. So imagine Dan Rather hosting CBS's nightly news from the U.S. Open site. I think the U.S. Open is a tremendous event and I think the USTA has taken it to another level in recent years as far as the entertainment goes, etc. I love the fact that the Australian Open had that night final, which was tremendous. We showed up at about 4 o'clock for that 7:30 match and I walked into that plaza area and the place was jam-packed at 4 o'clock. I mean, it was like a tail-gating situation.

Tennis Week: I remember the crowd for Serena's first-round match being so big and loud and Mary Carillo said something to the effect of: "Can you imagine this type of crowd on opening day of the U.S. Open at 11 a.m. in Arthur Ashe Stadium?"

Patrick McEnroe: Obviously, the problem is that it (Arthur Ashe Stadium) is too big and that's never going to change. But Arthur Ashe Stadium is filled for the final weekend. And it's filled quite often for the night matches during the week. Look, they (the USTA) paid for that stadium with all their own money. It's not like the city built the facility for them, so they have to pay their debt off on that. So you have to understand that part of the equation..

Tennis Week: I understand: they spent a lot of money building it and they have to make the money back to pay for it.

Patrick McEnroe: Obviously it's too big for a tennis stadium — we all know that — but at the same time it is packed for the final weekend. But the environment for the U.S. Open is good and the Australian Open has a few advantages: they've got two roofs so if it rains they've got two matches, its easier to get to because it's right in the middle of the city, the people there are sports crazy and tennis is the second or third biggest sport in Australia.

Tennis Week: And they had two popular Aussies — Hewitt and Molik — go very far as well.

Patrick McEnroe: All of the majors sort of learn from each other and I think the Australian and U.S. are most similar in the way they have night matches, they have entertainment, they try to make it more fun, etc. Clearly, they're not going to do that at Wimbledon or the French Open, not in the same way. You can't argue with any one of the Grand Slams — they are all incredibly successful events.

Tennis Week: ESPN produced its best Grand Slam coverage in years, I thought, during the Australian Open in showing so much live tennis. Do you think they've established a standard they will strive to maintain at Roland Garros and Wimbledon?

Patrick McEnroe: I certainly hope so. It was more exciting, it was better television...

Tennis Week: And it was better ratings.

Patrick McEnroe: It was better ratings, which for the Australian Open is the most challenging to get people to pay attention. It's a hard time of year, it's the middle of winter in the north east. The Australian Open got a tremendous buzz back here and I think ESPN really did a great job with a lot of live coverage and going over our scheduled coverage time many times. I think the fact we were on one network — ESPN2 — really helped because people knew where to tune in.

Tennis Week: How close is the U.S. Open to using instant replay this year?

Patrick McEnroe: Very close. I would be very surprised if they don't use something this year.

Tennis Week: On Ashe Stadium court or all the stadium courts?

Patrick McEnroe: On all the TV courts.

Tennis Week: Before your first tie as Davis Cup captain in February, 2001, I remember talking to you and you saying then you thought Federer was a future number one. Now you saw Nadal in a big spot in the Davis Cup final in December. I'm not saying Nadal is going to be another Federer — two totally different styles of play — but would you agree that Nadal really has that big-match presence and that he is a guy who gets up for the big moments and can rise to the occasion?

Patrick McEnroe: He's got that presence — definitely. I mean to show up and play one hell of a match against Roddick in the Davis Cup final was just a tremendous performance. It was a physically-demanding match. Both guys killed themselves physically. Roddick gave everything he had and Nadal gave the same. He handled the pressure well. I don't think he has the power in his game to be a serious factor on a surface other than clay. But I think that on clay he is a serious threat. I don't think he hits the ball through the court enough just yet. His serve is terrible, which is not a huge factor on clay, but you put him up against a great clay-court player who has got a big serve and then he might have some trouble.

Tennis Week: But look at the two guys in the French final last year: neither of them is a big server.

Patrick McEnroe: That's true. That's exactly true. So clearly on clay, he's going to be a factor on clay this year. So I put him as maybe not the favorite, but certainly a contender for the French Open, but on any other surface absolutely not until he first of all can serve a little bit better or hit the ball a little bit flatter off the ground. Because he hits with so much spin guys can really get to him on a faster court.

Tennis Week: But don't you think those are adjustments he can make over a period of time?

Patrick McEnroe: I think they are, I mean I saw him take the ball earlier in that match against Roddick. His tendency is to hit a heavy topspin shot and I just don't think in the men's game right now, that's enough.

Tennis Week: If you had to pick any one shot in tennis — Federer forehand, Roddick serve, Agassi backhand, a Safin stroke — as the biggest weapon in tennis right now what would it be?

Patrick McEnroe: Federer's mid-court forehand. Anytime he gets a forehand in that area it's over. The Roddick serve is up there. Safin can hit some returns that are pretty amazing. I mean any of those guys you mention, but if I had to take one, I'd take the Federer forehand.

Tennis Week: Mats Wilander told me last year if Safin matured mentally he could envision Safin having an Agassi-type surge in the second half of his career and play some of his best tennis as he got older. Given his great effort in Australia, do you think Safin can do that?

Patrick McEnroe: I think he played his best tennis in Australia. He played an incredible match to beat Federer, which still tells you Federer is the best because he was still down match point, came up with a miraculous shot and played about as well as he could play, I thought. I don't think Safin will be able to have the focus Andre has had over the years to sustain it as he gets older...

Tennis Week: But then again he serves bigger so theoretically he can make his life easier on serve.

Patrick McEnroe: Yeah, but he's also a bigger guy so it's harder for his body to hold up. So I don't see him playing in his mid 30s.

Tennis Week: Maybe not playing tennis, but I'm sure he'll be playing something else.

Patrick McEnroe: He'll be having a blast whatever it is he's doing. To me, if he has his head on straight why can't he be a serious threat at Wimbledon?

Tennis Week: Because he hates grass and goes into it doubting his ability to win there.

Patrick McEnroe: So did Lendl. So did Sampras, who said he didn't like the bounce on grass. I'm not predicting he will have a Sampras-type career on grass, but I think if he comes into Wimbledon with the right mind set, which is a big if, obviously, he could be a real threat to win.

Tennis Week: What's your view on Nalbandian? He hits the ball so cleanly when he's playing well and can look so good yet he never quite gets that big win a major and in fact he's only won two tournament titles.

Patrick McEnroe: To me, here's the story with Nalbandian: if he goes up against a great player in a major match it seems to me that the great player has that little bit extra whether its Federer with a bigger forehand, Roddick with a bigger server or Hewitt with that competitive x-factor. It's almost like certain players when they get to a semi or final — players like Chang, for instance — Chang would get to a semifinal of a major and would play Sampras or Agassi or Becker and if those guys are in the semi or a final they're playing their best tennis at that point and he's not going to beat them. He might beat them in the quarters of San Jose or in early-round matches, but when you get to the semis or final of a major, most of the time the best players are playing their best tennis. So I think that's what happens to Nalbandian.

Tennis Week: So you're saying Nalbandian's just a shade below those top guys?

Patrick McEnroe: Yes.

Tennis Week: If Coria is healthy I like his chances at Roland Garros. Who do you see as the favorite there and what do you see for Coria, who made the decision to play indoors in Europe rather than the clay these past couple weeks.

Patrick McEnroe: Well, that was probably a financial decision. For me, it's a little hard to know with him because of how well he's recovered from shoulder surgery. I mean, he doesn't rely on his serve, but it's still a factor. He ran out of gas against Nalbandian in Australia. He's got to get his fitness level at an extremely high level because he relies on his legs so much. Certainly, on clay, he's a favorite. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see him back dominating on clay again, but there's still a couple of question marks about him that he has to answer in the next few months.

Tennis Week: Ferrero plays Federer next in Dubai. Do you see Ferrero bouncing back this year?

Patrick McEnroe: I think he's got to bounce back somewhat, I mean it was such a terrible year for him last year.

Tennis Week: He can really only gain points and go up the next several weeks if he wins.

Patrick McEnroe: Bounce back? Yes, he will. Whether he will bounce back to be top five is questionable.

Tennis Week: People tend to compare Agassi and Connors as charismatic American champions, great returners, take the ball early and have had longevity. You know and have played both of them. Do you think it's a valid comparison and how would you compare them?

Patrick McEnroe: Agassi is a little more offensive. Connors was more consistent though I'd say Agassi later in his career has obviously gotten more consistent. Agassi has more firepower, but certainly similar kind of game. Connors can pick you apart with precision whereas Agassi can pick you apart with precision and power when he's really got it going. I think the comparisons are valid. Obviously, they are different mind sets as far as Connors is in your face in his attitude. Agassi does it without sort of flexing his muscles the way Connors did.

Tennis Week: Not as abrasive?

Patrick McEnroe: Certainly not as abrasive. Andre's whole attitude is one of respect of the game and respect for his opponents. Connors' attitude was more of a "me against the world" type of attitude.

Tennis Week: Going back to your point about Agassi being too aggressive against Federer in Australia, don't you think sometimes against the elite players, playing the percentages just isn't always going to get it done and in those matches, he might be better off playing closer to the lines and taking a bit more risk?

Patrick McEnroe: I think it's true, but not from the first swing of the match. I remember the first game when Federer hit a second serve out wide in the ad court and Andre ran into the doubles court and took a full swing at a forehand which was completely out of character and to do it particularly that early in a match. Yeah, if you get to four-all, 15-30 and you think "Hey, Federer's going to come up with a couple of aces here if I don't go for something" and you get a look at a second serve you take a shot at it. But I felt that he just did that too early and almost showed Roger too much respect in that match. He was excited and Andre looks forward to that type of match. Andre has been playing top five tennis in the last couple of majors, he just happened to run into Federer in both of them. I also think that obviously he was a little unsure about how his movement would hold up and he's not as quick as Federer is anyway so that played a factor and that's why I believe Davis Cup will help him.

Tennis Week: You led the U.S. to the Davis Cup final in December, you were in the semis in 2002 and you signed a two-year contract extension as U.S. captain. Do you feel a sense of urgency to win the Cup in the next two years?

Patrick McEnroe: Definitely I feel an urgency. It's time for us to win it. We obviously came close without Andre last year, we had a great run. We should win it.

Tennis Week: You mean you should win it this year?

Patrick McEnroe: Yeah, I mean this year, next year, both. We certainly have a good shot. We're one of the teams favored to win it. Do I feel a sense of urgency to win it? Definitely.

Tennis Week: Of the teams in the draw, who is most dangerous?

Patrick McEnroe: Obviously, Argentina at home, Spain is defending champion and will be tough. And Russia with Safin and Davydenko and Youzhny has a solid second guy. Look, Croatia is tough. Ljubicic is top 15 and Ancic is tough so they have a good one-two punch.

Tennis Week: You are one of several captains and former players who have proposed alternatives to the current Davis Cup format. Yet, the ITF continues to do nothing about it and we're seeing top players pull out of Davis Cup because they can't commit to the scheduling demands. Do you think it will take more top players like Federer, Henman and Moya pulling out to compel the ITF to make a format change or do you think this is the format we will have for the foreseeable future since the ITF is resistant to change?

Patrick McEnroe: What it will take is for countries to pull out. That's the only thing that will do it (force the ITF to change). Because their attitude is: "Oh, Davis Cup is bigger than individual players..." which to some extent is true, but you don't see individual players bypassing Grand Slams. I mean, they bypass Grand Slams if they're hurt, but they don't make a conscious decision to skip a Grand Slam. I believe that Davis Cup deserves to be as prestigious as the Grand Slams with all the top players playing and the way the format is now it is simply unrealistic to expect that.

Tennis Week: Well, why wouldn't the ITF at least experiment with changing the format? To me, Federer, who has always played Davis Cup, not playing is a pretty big deal. I mean not having the best player in the world in what is supposed to be the world's best team event should tell them that they should re-examine the format?

Patrick McEnroe: Well, I think it's a calendar issue to be honest. They see these other tournaments going on every week and then you go to the Davis Cup final in Spain and see over 27,000 people a day show up and you've got to say to yourself: "There's something wrong with Davis Cup? What?" I still think that Davis Cup could become a bigger event and go from a regional event to a big global event like the Slams. If you had it every other year you'd play the final and you could still play home and away matches in between and that would give them some income and you create sort of a final four type event where four teams come to one location.

Tennis Week: Last question: of all the young players coming up is there anyone who really stands out to you, like a Tomas Berdych, who is potentially a big-time player?

Patrick McEnroe: Berdych is certainly one. He's been a little shaky since the Olympics, but he's got a great game. He's very smooth and easy, you know Federer-like in sort of the way he feels the ball, not as good, obviously. Monfils is one. You know, Monfils knows how to win matches.

Tennis Week: Monfils seems like he gets up for playing the big players and rather than stressing it, he looks forward to it.

Patrick McEnroe: He does. And the other factor is he also wins. He just won a Challenger and beat some good good players. I watched him play Ginepri at the Australian and he just has a knack of knowing how to win big points at crucial times and that's something you can't necessarily teach so certain guys know how to win. Nadal is already there basically, but I think Berdych and Monfils have bigger games than Nadal, they're not as consistent yet and maybe not as good on clay, but they've got games that are explosive and they hit the ball big.

Tennis Week: When you're not commentating on tennis do you watch a lot on TV and what do you like to see or hear from commentators? Before you actually do a match on TV do you go in with a game plan of what you're going to focus on or do you let the match tell you the story?

Patrick McEnroe: I watch tennis as much as I can. I have the Tennis Channel, which is nice and I think they've been doing a very good job so I love that. I come to my own TV work with two things: trying to educate and trying to entertain. I try to have some fun and not take myself too seriously. I really follow tennis and try to get into the heads of the players. Because it's hard to sort of emulate what Andy Roddick does on his serve or the movement of Roger Federer, but what you can do is say: "the reason he's trying to do that is because this player doesn't like that or he's most comfortable doing that under pressure." I try to bring those things to the table and I come into it with an idea of what I want to talk about, but I come in and let the match speak for itself or let the match dictate. I look at the strategy of the match and what the guys are trying to do because to me that's what's interesting about tennis: it's one-on-one. And when people say "this guy is playing terrible" most of the time that's not true because of what the other guy is doing so I don't really come in with pre-set agenda.

Tennis Week: Have you ever said something on air that really pissed a player off?

Patrick McEnroe: Definitely.

Tennis Week: What?

Patrick McEnroe: There's been plenty of times where it gets back to me in one way or the other or where someone will give me the cold shoulder. Of course I have to walk a bit of a fine line, and sometimes a tricky one, as far as being a captain and being supportive of the guys who are going to play for the U.S. and I have to do that and I want to do that, but I have to be critical when it's necessary. I am not criticizing guys for the sake of criticizing them. I'm criticizing them for the court. I try to go on what I see on the court and that's it.
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Old 03-13-2005, 03:32 AM   #101
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Default Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

The Agassi Story - Mike Agassi
By Edmund Tadros
March 12, 2005

When parents don't achieve their dreams, their children suffer. That's the main message of this book by Andre Agassi's father, Mike.

The book, an easy and interesting read, charts Mike's obsession with moulding his children into champion tennis players.

Mike grew up in poverty in Iran but developed a childhood love for tennis. He put the sport aside to become a boxer, representing Iran in two Olympics. Tennis stayed in his heart, however, as shown by reaction to visiting the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, home of Wimbledon, during the 1948 London Olympics: "My social position, my family's financial situation, had denied me my shot at tennis greatness."

But, he writes, "someday, somehow, somebody from my family would win this tournament". Mike forced his tennis dreams onto his four children by coaching them virtually from birth.

"People say I pushed my kids too hard, that I nearly destroyed them," he writes. "And you know what? They're right. I was too hard on them."

Advertisement
AdvertisementBut for Mike, "it was worth it", with Andre's success, including his 1992 Wimbledon win, justifying the price. Mike's other children might think differently.

Published by Allen & Unwin. RRP: $29.95

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Old 03-14-2005, 02:08 AM   #102
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Default Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

INTERVIEWS
An interview with:


ANDRE AGASSI

THE MODERATOR: Andre making his 17th appearance here in the desert. He has the most match wins in the field with 33.

Questions.

Q. I asked Federer about the little exhibition you had at the top of the Dubai hotel. Tell us about that, please. How was the feeling?

ANDRE AGASSI: It was an incredible experience. Pretty intimidating. Everything they do in Dubai they do in a spectacular way. This was the most interesting place I've ever played tennis.

Q. The proceeds went to UNICEF, that is my understanding?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I don't know. I don't know.

Q. Was there very much seating?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, no. You actually had to sign waivers before you went up there. There was two of us and a cameraman.

Q. We missed you after Friday in Carson . Can you talk about your feelings Saturday and Sunday.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, that was needless to say a pretty disappointing weekend. Every point is so huge in Davis Cup . Getting started off 1-0 down was difficult. Losing the doubles put us really behind it. We were up against it at that point on Sunday. You know, we needed a few good things to happen.

But the way Ljubicic played, you can really only tip your hat to him. It was a brutally tough court to make any progress on with your shots. He still have an ability to do that, which was a credit to the way he's playing. Somehow if Andy had gotten through, maybe we had a chance there. But, you know, we all contributed to that loss, and so did Ljubicic because he really earned it.

Q. It sounds like you're being critical of the surface choice.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, no. I'm just saying that it was -- the choice was a hard court, and the choice was at slow to medium pace. But, you know, you need to get -- it needs to be executed properly. You never quite know with the sand in there. It was the slowest hard court I've ever played on. I think it was a difficult assignment for all the players.

I think Ljubicic's ability to play better than us was a function of his confidence and his ability to make adjustments. It's easy to sort of call things in hindsight. Any time you lose, you'd change anything and do it again.

Q. What were you going through during Andy's match? It was very topsy-turvy.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it was not easy. I committed to not watching most of it, and I don't think I missed a point (smiling). You know, four hours of sort of nail-biting tennis, it's draining. You know, I've been through it before. The temperature had gotten really cold by the end. It would have been quite a challenge to win both those matches on Sunday.

Q. It's quite a few months away, but how would you feel about playing again in September?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, like I said before, I think every decision is made leading up to it. This is a great team. I loved being a part of it, and I would look forward to doing that again, for sure.

Q. I think everyone knew that Ljubicic was playing very well. He came in hot. He's obviously accomplished and has proved a lot. Looking back, should the US have won that tie anyway? Really, how disappointing is it given, at least on paper, how good the team is? You have you, Andy , Grand Slam titleist, the Bryans , Grand Slam titleists. Is that a tie the US should win on home soil?

ANDRE AGASSI: I believe we should win that tie no matter where I play, because that's how I approach stepping out on the court, that we should figure out a way to win this. But you've still got to do it. It still boils down to the guys getting out there, executing what it is they know how to do.

You've seen a lot of shocking things happen through the years in Davis Cup . I think it's the result of inspiration on some players' sides and nerves on other players' sides. In this case, I think it was clear that Ljubicic outplayed us both and even raised his level quite significantly in the doubles.

It wasn't like the boys played bad at all. I mean, they played a quality match, and were outplayed. It's not easy to say you should have won after seeing that happen.

Q. On a positive note, you're the most winning active player in the Masters series. Does that give you more confidence? Do you think your opponents give up a little bit when they step on the court with you now?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, they don't. Maybe make that suggestion to them. I wouldn't mind.

No, I've had 20 years of playing these things. I'm sure if anybody else had 20 years, they'd have a lot of titles, too.

Q. How is the back and hip?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's been doing good. I've been working hard. It feels about 10% of what it used to be. That's a great sign.

Q. You mean, the pain?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. The cool-down, I'm aware of it about 10%, which is that's how it was three years ago. Hopefully it will last for a while.

Q. Any exhibitions with you and Steffi still in the works?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, no.

Q. Is it possible when World Team Tennis comes this summer that your team would play Steffi's team? Is it possible that you'd both be playing?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I suppose it's possible, seeing that we're from the same house. We might as well travel together, right (smiling)? I suppose it's possible, yeah.

Q. It would sell a lot of tickets.

ANDRE AGASSI: Might be our first fight.

Q. How often does she manage to get out on the court?

ANDRE AGASSI: It goes through stages, depending on where she is. For example, here she's been out on the court every day either with myself or Darren or Darren's wife Victoria . She'll go hit balls. Still has better footwork than me and better legs.

Q. Is she completely recovered from all the leg injuries she had in '99?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. I mean, she wouldn't be the same if she had to play and then recover and play again. Her knees have taken quite a good pounding. She claims to feel that difference, you know, getting down as easily for the backhand slice.

But her high end is still pretty darn special to watch.

Q. There's absolutely no temptation before you retire in 2010 or whatever it's going to be to go out and play maybe one mixed doubles? Even with the knee, doubles and singles are different.

ANDRE AGASSI: Temptation for me or temptation for her?

Q. For you.

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I've tried to talk her into it a lot. I'm the good guy here.

Q. You're just not going back there again; you know when to stop asking?

ANDRE AGASSI: She has a very quiet way of communicating. She says a lot without saying much at all. They wrote a song about that, didn't they?

Q. How about somebody else in your family playing tennis besides the two of you? The youngsters, see them getting into competitive tennis?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know.

Q. I understand you've been giving lessons this week. Like a good father, you're very joyful at the good shots and so on.

ANDRE AGASSI: Sure, sure. We have a lot of fun out there. I mean, I don't know how it's all going to go really. Once he starts showing any competitive spirit to do it, I certainly would nurture that because I believe in what tennis has offered me. But tennis has given me a lot because I've poured a lot of myself into it. Unless the decision is yours to really give of yourself, it would never be the same experience anyhow.

Q. Do you golf?

ANDRE AGASSI: I've golfed before.

Q. Can you put Scott Draper's accomplishment in any perspective?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, unfortunately I can only sort of speak to one side of his accomplishments, which is the tennis. I mean, golf, I don't know if I really have a perspective of just how difficult that is. But it is pretty amazing. I don't know if that could ever be matched. You're talking about a sport that's year-round, both of them. You know, while we hit a ball like they do in golf, I mean, everybody knows it's a lot easier to hit a ball that's moving than the ball that's just sitting there. So it is amazing.

I've never seen him hit one golf ball, I've just heard about it. I don't know exactly how hard that accomplishment is. I just know it would be impossible for me and I'd be really surprised if we ever saw that again.

Q. Ellsworth Vines , champion of both golf and tennis.

ANDRE AGASSI: What kind of champion in tennis?

Q. He was a Slam winner.

ANDRE AGASSI: What year was that?

Q. '31.

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, yeah, I remember watching that match (smiling). That's a good effort.

Q. Andy was speaking about this yesterday before Donald Young played today, that he thinks maybe he's been playing pro matches at this level, Masters Series , too early. He's won something like 11 or 12 games in three matches. For a 15-year-old kid who is not that big physically, is it maybe a better idea to play ITF Juniors a little more, Futures? Is there a danger of him being pushed too fast, maybe losing his way?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I have never actually seen him hit a ball yet, so I would look forward to that.

I think it's important to have good direction for one's career at all stages, but especially sort of this stage. I wouldn't say it's necessarily a mistake to be out here taking your lumps because it's what you have to face ultimately. And if there's areas of your game that are suffering, it will be highlighted. I think it can wear on you mentally if you're not being directed and responding, sort of making the adjustments necessary where you could feel the improvement and the motivation in it.

But I don't know who's even guiding him. I'm not even sure, outside of what I hear, about what he even plays like.

I don't think by definition it's a mistake, no.

Q. How is the class of 2008 for your college preparatory academy doing?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's doing amazing. I watched them grow. Most of those kids were there since third grade. Now they all know how to fill out college applications. They're all dreaming about where they're going to go. It's going to be an emotional time, 2009, first graduating class.

Q. Can you talk about the Top 4 that have emerged in tennis, Andy Roddick , Roger Federer , Lleyton Hewitt , and whatnot. Is there a motivation for everybody else to catch up to that pack?

ANDRE AGASSI: The "whatnot" would be Safin , right (smiling)?

I think it's great for a sport to have the best that are out there be so sort of recognized and appreciated by tennis fans for one reason or another. I think the way Roger's played separates him. I think Lleyton's competitiveness and persistence on the court is easy for people to appreciate. Certainly Andy lets it all hang out out there. That's always admirable. Safin is always good value. You've got a great group of guys there that can help push the sport forward, while at the same time they all can play pretty darn well.

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Old 03-14-2005, 12:03 PM   #103
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Default Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

PACIFIC LIFE OPEN
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA

March 12, 2005

A. AGASSI/W. Arthurs
6-4, 6-1

ANDRE AGASSI

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. What have you got against Wayne's serving streak?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I've been sort of the long list of players in
his wake. I mean, I just have to deal with it. You know, it's
nothing short of luck sometimes when you do get that break.

It was a bit breezy tonight. I think maybe he couldn't serve as
close to the lines in the second as he might have wanted to, a few
double-faults. If you don't serve close to the lines, you push to
get forward a little quicker, and maybe it caused a few foot-faults,
as well. I was seeing the ball good, I was hitting it clean. I was
down three set points at Love-1 in the first set. That was a bit
nerve-wracking. I don't know if I've ever been down three set points
in the first game of a match, but that's certainly how I was looking
at it at the time.

Q. Breakpoints?

ANDRE AGASSI: Set points. I call them set points against him. Set's
over if you lose one of those.

Q. Ending two long streaks like that, does that say something about
your service returning game?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, I don't know. I mean, listen, I've had plenty of
matches -- I mean, I'm on the receiving end of the most aces ever
hit. So that doesn't speak too highly of my return, does it? It was
nice to get ahold of a few tonight.

Q. Second set, you seemed to be reading them well. Broke him three
times.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I think he probably got discouraged, too. It was
important against a player like that, that you return the second
serve well. I mean, he has such a fast arm, so versatile with what
he can do with the first serve and the second. But the second, if
you get your racquet on it, you've got to put a good cut on the ball
to make an impression. Tonight I was doing that well.

Q. It's probably rare to say about you, but it's just nice to get a
W. Must feel pretty good to go out there. Last couple matches must
have been rough.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I was certainly disappointed last week. But, you
know, I felt pretty good coming here. The whole week's been a great
week of practice. It would be nice to string a few good matches
together. I was playing well in Dubai. Don't let my score against
Federer deceive you. I played pretty well.

Q. Aside from breaking Wayne four times, the rest of the game you
made five unforced errors the rest of the match.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, he's not the type of player that you can hit a
lot of unforced errors against because he's pressuring you, so every
shot is sort of a forced shot. But, you know, I walk that line
pretty well of being aggressive but yet not taking too many chances.
And that's important to do against a guy that can play some pretty
scrappy points. I mean, he can take you out of your rhythm as good
as anybody out there.

THE MODERATOR: Andre will play Pavel or Carraz next.

ANDRE AGASSI: I play both of them (laughter)?

Q. In Dubai, there's a photo of you looking way down. What is going
through your mind?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, that was pretty nerve-wracking. I wanted to get
close to the end, but I didn't want to get so close that a little
gust of wind would push me over. Just looking down to get a sense
for exactly how high we were. I concluded we were pretty high.

Q. Throughout your Grand Slam for Children, we've seen how Hollywood
stars can help raise some money for the charities. Last night we saw
how the tennis players can be entertaining. Are you going maybe also
to initiate or join any other future events like last night to help
the causes all around the world?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I certainly wish I could do a lot more than I
do. You have to be, unfortunately, selective just based on schedules
and everything else you're trying to balance. You've got to
designate the time you're going to give throughout the year and
focus on the change you want to make. You know, it's not possible to
do it all. But last night was a great opportunity, being here,
getting in front of the crowd that supported this event for so many
years, to come together for such a great cause is a great feeling
amongst your own peers. Something like that, it's a great thing to
be a part of. I would love to do it again.

Q. A couple days ago Charlie told the Los Angeles Times that the
tournament was in financial trouble, that he possibly might have to
sell the tournament after the '06 event. What are your thoughts on
that possibility, the impact for the community here and for tennis?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, this event has been certainly a staple of the
desert over so many years. That would be an unfortunate thing. You'd
hate to see it move. But, you know, you certainly would hate to see
Charlie not be a part of it either. I mean, he's been great for our
sport. I certainly hope he stays heavily involved. If the tournament
did go anywhere, I would hope it to be Vegas, to be quite honest.

Q. According to rumor, it would go overseas. Do you think that would
be a problem for American tennis?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, the sport is growing internationally. Seats
are filled. American market has been a little bit tougher on our
sport the last number of years. Certainly losing tournaments here
wouldn't help that. We definitely need the market here. So I'm sure
that would have somewhat of an impact. But we'd be picking up a lot
of support internationally. But we need it here, for sure - not only
the tournament, I mean the market of America and tennis.

Q. It was reported somewhere, did you have a direct financial
interest in Scottsdale?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yes.

Q. Why didn't you just pick up that tournament and move it to Vegas?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's not so easy as doing that. You know, you
have relationships and you have certainly a lot of things to
consider. Plus Vegas isn't sort of prepared just to take on an
event. It would require some good thought as to how it can happen
there. I mean, you're talking about the entertainment capital of the
world. Not easy to compete with all that entertainment for a week
and get some arena to sign off on a week of tennis. Weather's not
terribly ideal at that time of year. You know, there's just a lot of
relationships to consider.

Q. Have you ever gone down that road a little bit? You mentioned all
the problems of bringing something to Vegas. But some sort of tennis
tournament?

ANDRE AGASSI: Sure. Originally worked hard to have the Masters Cup
here the two years that it went to Shanghai. We brought the Davis
Cup there, as you know, as you remember, in '95. Davis Cup's a great
format for the Vegas market. Nice way to spend your weekend. Yeah,
my comment's it's just hard to do everything you want to do right
now when you feel like you're treading water.

Q. Having said what you just said about the fact that Scottsdale
could necessarily go to Las Vegas, but you also said you'd like to
be able to see this one go to Las Vegas. Do you think you need
something of this size and magnitude on the tour to be able to fit
in over there? If that is the case, would you support it by whatever
means? Do you think this could go to Dubai, because they're
screaming for a bigger event there?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, first of all, I'll say the common sort of thread
in all these questions is me really wanting to have tennis and Vegas
correlated. Both have been such an important part of my life. Do I
think like an event like Scottsdale or this could succeed in Vegas,
would it need to be sort of this size? You know, I don't know. I
really don't know. We're a city that you come into town for a week
and you'd be able to see, you know, 12 different bands coming
through at any given intersection. The competition for
entertainment, it's pretty tough. You know, you have to bring a
strong package, for sure. I think this event is a great event and
would have the potential. It would need to be a big tournament to
have a chance. I played Dubai for the first time this year, and was
blown away with their tournament and how they run it. They certainly
have a great platform to host a big event. Whether it was this or
something else, I'm a big fan of it over there. To see all those
cultures sort of living together, living together peacefully, is an
amazing thing. I think it's something the world should be more aware
of.

Q. When you were in Dubai, did you mention you might want to visit
Iran?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I was back in LA on Monday for the Davis Cup.

Q. I mean, in the future maybe.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it's something I would see, absolutely.

Q. I've watched you from age six to when you were throwing your
shirt in the crowd. Last decades you've done wonderful things. Do
you sense you're a role model now for other players hopefully going
in the same direction and giving back what you're giving?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think we're all role models, to be quite
honest with you. I mean, I don't think it's just players. I think
it's people. I think everybody needs to assume a level of
responsibility and accountability to making, you know, this world a
better place. If I've done anything to help inspire somebody else to
give more of themselves, whether financially or with their time,
then I'd feel honored by that. I'd feel very flattered by it. I
think it's part of why I do what it is I do. It's not just to raise
awareness and money, to change children's lives, but it's also to
create the belief in people's minds and hearts that change can be
made if you step up and do it.

Q. Every time you come out to play, you put on a show. It always
looks good. It never looks like you lack any motivation. Deep down
inside playing so many years, so many tournaments, do you ever have
problems motivating yourself for another tournament, another day,
another year? What do you do to deal with it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, if you say I haven't struggled with that, then I
should be a poker player in my next life. Looks can be deceiving,
you know. It's not easy. It's never easy. Some days feel better than
others. Some days go according to plan. You know, in between all the
fun you have, there's work. Work isn't always something that comes
easy. But those are the days you ultimately can feel most proud
about yourself if you see it through.

Q. Do you have any mental training to psych yourself up? Does your
family, does your base help you? What is it that you have that
others don't that helps you doing it so many years?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know what others have. I can say the days I
don't feel like it, if I just find a way, that's what makes me most
proud. It's a challenge. That is the battle. That is the difficult
part. It's easy to play great tennis when you're playing great, you
know. It's easy to play well when things are going well. It's all
those other matches that happen, all the other reasons for why you
might not feel good, whether it's the traveling or the rest or the
injuries that one might have. I mean, there's a lot of reasons not
to feel good; but it's never a reason not to give your best. And
that's something I always strive for and quite often don't succeed
at.

Q. Does the cyclical part of the game get to you or is it no more
cyclical than other sports? Is it not a problem?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I think it's a great part of our sport. I mean, in
any sort of normal life of not traveling around and playing tennis
for a living, once a year or New Year's you take stock in your life.
You look at yourself and say, "Where was I a year ago? Where am I
today?" You know, we have that opportunity week after week. You're
going back to the same places, to the people that you've known for
so long, to the places you've seen for so long. You've seen them
change; you've changed. And every week is sort of a real opportunity
to take stock in your own life. That I'm pretty thankful for. I
mean, I know exactly, last year sitting out by the pool, I know how
scared my son was to jump in the water. I remember it well. It was
just a year ago. It's pretty amazing. Pretty amazing opportunity to
be so aware of the passing of time week after week. That makes up
for any redundancy that might exist.

Q. Something really special has been built here since the La Quinta
days, the Hyatt, this new site. It also means a lot in a lot of
people's lives. Attendance is actually up. An argument could be
built that the first thing to do would be to somehow try and make it
work here. Is that something that rings true to you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, no question. I mean, I think a place that has
been so successful at running a tournament and created an incredible
facility in the middle of a desert, I mean, deserves that chance. I
don't know the accounting of it. I don't know sort of the inherent
stumbling blocks that exist. And I would be very open to helping and
figuring out how maybe we can manage it. Listen, I'm sure there's a
lot of intricacies about it that at this present moment I'm not
aware of that I couldn't speak to.

Q. I want to find out how Steffi spends her day. We love her and we
miss her.

ANDRE AGASSI: How do you think somebody spends there day with a
three-and-a-half and one-and-a-half-year-old? It's really busy. []

Q. Is she happy with that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, she's no different than her tennis. You're
convinced there's no other place she wants to be than where she is.
That's a testament to who she is. Tennis was just merely an arena
that we all got to witness it in. But that exists day after day. I
mean, it's amazing watching the kids grow. As long as she gets in
her good hour of exercise, not a whole lot can throw her off course.
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Old 03-29-2005, 04:59 PM   #104
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Default Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

for all agassi fans, here's a nice article from espn classic. hope you all enjoy it, much as i enjoyed reading it...

AGASSI HAS FLARE FOR THE DRAMATIC
By Mike Puma
Special to ESPN.com




"You're from Vegas, you understand show business. You know what the people want and you know how to give it to them. And Andre came from the school of giving the people what they want. He understands that innately. He just knew something we didn't know about pleasing crowds," says Jim Courier on ESPN Classic's SportsCentury series.


Early in his career, he was the renegade of tennis who once promised to "wake up the country club." Andre Agassi did just that, making a name for himself with his long hair, loud apparel and rambunctious behavior as much as his talent. He also drew headlines for his "image is everything" commercial and with his romance -- and marriage -- to actress Brooke Shields.



Early in Andre Agassi's career, he made a name for himself with his long hair and loud apparel as much as his talent.



Now into his 30s, Agassi has mellowed. The mention of his name no longer evokes thoughts of a rebel, just one of the game's top performers, someone who has won eight majors, which is one more than John McEnroe did. After his divorce from Shields, Agassi is in love again, this time with former tennis star Steffi Graf, whom he wed in October 2001.


Agassi is one of only five men to have won a career Grand Slam -- Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open. Not even his arch-rival, Pete Sampras, has accomplished this feat.



Agassi also has an Olympic gold medal from 1996 and helped the U.S. to Davis Cup titles in 1990, '92 and '95. Once a staunch supporter of the U.S. Davis Cup team, Agassi says he doesn't have it in him to continue playing the event despite a lifetime 30-5 singles record.


The winner of more than $26 million on tour, Agassi had 55 singles titles through the 2003 Australian Open.


The defiant Agassi skipped Wimbledon for three years early in his career because of his discontent with the playing surface and what he deemed a stuffy atmosphere. He's also seen his career plummet twice, only to both times recover and regain his place among the elite.


"I've had these years where tennis hasn't been the top priority," Agassi said after winning the 2001 Australian Open. "There can be some regrets there, but that has saved me for the long run. My best tennis can still be ahead of me."


The youngest of four children, Agassi was born on April 29, 1970 in Las Vegas. His father Mike boxed for Iran in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics before immigrating to Chicago. But Mike, who concentrated on tennis after ending his boxing career, couldn't tolerate the cold winters and moved his family to Las Vegas in 1962 so he and his children could play tennis year round. Mike took jobs in the casinos while his wife Betty worked as an alien certification specialist.


As soon as Andre could stand, he was given a full-sized tennis racket. When he was four, he hit balls with Jimmy Connors and played an exhibition match against Bobby Riggs. Growing up, Andre and his brother and two sisters hit thousands of balls every week. By Andre's count, he hit 3,000 shots a day, seven days a week.


"Dad raised me to play," Agassi said. "I never considered doing anything else."


Early in 1984, Mike Agassi sent him to the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The 13-year-old wasn't happy about leaving home, but his father was determined to make his younger son a champion.


"It was impossible to ignore Andre for long," Bollettieri wrote in his autobiography, "My Aces, My Faults." "He was too talented. He was a short, skinny kid who tried to kill every shot, who never held back. You could also see that he was a scrapper, a street fighter, and that he would scratch and claw to win."


Turning pro two days after his 16th birthday, Agassi's first Grand Slam event was the 1986 U.S. Open, where he lost to Jeremy Bates in the first round. He finished the year ranked No. 91.



Agassi is one of only five men to win a career Grand Slam.
Agassi's Wimbledon debut came in 1987, when he lost to Henri Leconte in the first round. A disgusted Agassi -- he hated playing on grass -- later said, "This isn't tennis."


Agassi's career took off the following year as he won six singles titles and made a dent in the Grand Slam events, reaching the semifinals of the French and U.S. Opens. He finished the year ranked third.


In 1989, Agassi surpassed $1 million in career earnings in only his 43rd tournament, faster than any player before him. At the 1990 French Open, Agassi's black denim shorts covering his pink stretch pants and his multicolored headband raised some eyebrows. But that didn't stop him from advancing to the final, where he lost to Andres Gomez.


Later that year, he beat Boris Becker in the semifinals of the U.S. Open before losing to Sampras in the final.


After refusing to play Wimbledon from 1988-90 because of his distaste for the surface and atmosphere -- including the all-white dress code -- Agassi returned in 1991. The next year, as the 12th seed, he won the tournament, beating hard-serving Goran Ivanisevic in the final for his first Grand Slam title. "If my career was over tomorrow, I had a lot more than I deserved," Agassi said.


But he couldn't immediately feed off the success. He was struggling in 1993 when Bollettieri quit as his coach, citing a strain in their relationship and that he wasn't happy with their financial arrangement. After losing in the first round of the U.S. Open, Agassi underwent surgery to remove scar tissue from his right wrist, ending his year.


Just as Agassi was being written off, he pulled a stunner in 1994 by becoming the first unseeded player since Fred Stolle in 1966 to win the U.S. title. Agassi, now coached by Brad Gilbert, beat Michael Stich in straight sets in the final.


And Agassi wouldn't let down after this Grand Slam victory. Four months later he made his first appearance at the Australian Open and won, defeating Sampras in a four-set final.


Agassi ascended to No. 1 for the first time and assembled a streak of 26 straight victories, a career high that was halted by Sampras in the U.S. Open final. "In 1995, I proved to myself that I can go day in, day out, week after week, winning," Agassi said.


The highlight of 1996 for Agassi took place in Atlanta when he became the first American man to win the Olympic gold medal in singles since 1924, defeating Spain's Sergi Bruguera in the final.


Agassi missed most of 1997 due to a recurring wrist injury. On April 19, he married Shields in Monterey, Calif. With the love of his wife taking precedence of his love of the game, Agassi's performances dimmed and by November his ranking had slipped to No. 141.


But Agassi was about to prove once again that there's no overestimating his desire to be the best. With the love having gone out of his marriage, Agassi resurrected his game on the tour challenger circuit. Returning to the ATP tour, he continued his outstanding play and was ranked No. 6 at the end of 1998.



Agassi has won eight Grand Slam tournaments.
In April 1999, his divorce to Shields was final. That June, he defeated Andrei Medvedev in the French Open final, enabling him to complete a career Grand Slam.



A month later, he reached the Wimbledon final, but was crushed in straight sets by Sampras. Despite the defeat, a week later he regained the No. 1 spot -- from Sampras -- for the first time in three years.

Agassi's big year continued with his second U.S. Open championship. In beating Todd Martin in the final, Agassi became the first man in 26 years to rally from a 2-1 deficit in sets.

Agassi made it four straight appearances in a Grand Slam final -- the first time a player had accomplished that since Rod Laver in 1969 -- by beating Yevgeny Kafelnikov in the 2000 Australian Open final. Agassi successfully defended his Australian title in 2001 when he defeated Arnaud Clement in the final.

Two years later, he won his fourth Australian Open with a rout of Rainer Schuettler. At 32, Agassi was the oldest man to win a Grand Slam title since Andres Gimeno in 1972.

Last edited by joice : 03-29-2005 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 03-29-2005, 05:33 PM   #105
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Default Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

thanks for the article joice!




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Andre Agassi forever
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