with a stunning 6-2 6-2 6-1 he crushed Rainer Schuettler.
A. AGASSI/R. Schuettler
6-2, 6-2, 6-1
ANDRE AGASSI: Making me blush (laughter).
Q. How does it feel?
ANDRE AGASSI: How do you put it into words? Really overwhelmed with it because, like I've said so many times, as you get older, you sort of realize so quickly how these moments pass. You want to make the most of them. To take advantage out of the opportunity today and to win down here again was just more than I could dream of.
Q. I notice you unwrapped a strap around your right wrist when the match was over. Was that the one that kept you out of last year?
ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I've been taping my right wrist since I came back in February of last year just as sort of a -- maybe more than anything, just psychologically it feels good to have a little support there.
Q. What does this mean for your camp now? Steffi gets on the court?
ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, she's not too pleased about that, but (laughter)... Hopefully I'll have 50 years with her to be mad at me about more things.
Q. A bet's a bet though, isn't it?
ANDRE AGASSI: It's going to be my responsibility to make it happen. I'm the one that said it, so... (Smiling).
I got to make it up to her somehow. Count on me to work on it.
Q. How about Darren, have you organized a time and place?
ANDRE AGASSI: It's something we've talked about for a while. So it's probably going to happen in my bathroom (laughter). With my clippers, at my doing.
Q. Do you still surprise yourself achieving so much as you get older?
ANDRE AGASSI: How can you not be surprised to win any time? I've been overwhelmed with winning from the first I experienced it. I play the game with urgency when I'm out there. I feel like I can always see what somebody can do. I'm always trying to impose myself. When I get through it, I'm sort of always somewhat surprised.
But to really absorb this takes some time. That's certainly something I've experienced in the past.
Q. Do you think that the gap that you took three or four years ago, five years ago now, has helped you come and have such longevity in your career, have so much success at a time when some players would be winding down?
ANDRE AGASSI: I suppose there's a wear-and-tear issue you always have to look at when it comes to how many miles you put on your legs and your body. I think there was definitely times where I wasn't putting as much trauma and sort of stress on my body as others.
But with that being said, I play the game a certain way. I hit the balls in front of me. I'm never sort of on the full stretch and torquing the joints and knees and hips. I built a certain strength level up. So I can't say if really I would be done with the game had I given it a real consistent push throughout my career.
Q. Do you have the feeling that the players of the past generation, I mean of the oldest generation - yours - are better players than the ones now? Don't get offended?
ANDRE AGASSI: No, please (laughter).
Q. Technically, you seem to be playing better, you, Sampras, when you are at your peak.
ANDRE AGASSI: So exactly?
Q. I'm asking if you think the players of your generation are better than the ones of today technically?
ANDRE AGASSI: I can tell you in my opinion that Pete is the best player I've ever played against. That's what I can tell you. The rest I cannot tell you. I don't have any idea, day to day, how it all compares to each other.
I mean, to talk about the new players is, to me, no different than talking about Laver and all the greats. Because you just -- there's just no way of knowing.
But I know what I feel when I'm on the court against players. Pete's the best I've played.
Q. I asked Rainer to assess your achievements in the past few weeks about your form. He said you're the best player in the world at the moment. Hard to disagree, isn't it?
ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I don't really think that way.
Q. I don't want to embarrass you .
ANDRE AGASSI: It's not really a matter of that. I just don't think that way.
Every day is a new day, every match is a new matchup, every surface is a different issue. Conditions, everything changes. It's one-on-one. Things can happen. I can say that over the past two weeks I've been hitting the ball better than I ever have. I feel stronger and better, and it's just great when that sort of reflects in your results. It's a great feeling to work hard and have it pay off.
Q. Have you ever gone into a tournament feeling so well, playing so well?
ANDRE AGASSI: I always try to anticipate curves, anticipate obstacles, anticipate the unexpected. You go out there ready for battle. You're ready for anything that could possibly happen. Because winning Slams is a function of getting through the days that things don't go as you planned. It's also a question of playing your best tennis when you need.
There were a lot of things that were very familiar to me about how things were transpiring. From another standpoint, you never allow yourself to be sort of too -- take anything for granted.
Q. Are you going to let her play the forehand side?
ANDRE AGASSI: We have a lot to talk about before we get to the conversation of which side of the court she's going to be playing (shaking his head). I don't think anybody appreciates how hard this is going to be for me to get her out there (laughter).
ANDRE AGASSI: There is nothing about this she is going to enjoy.
Q. Obviously this puts you in front seat for the Tennis Masters Cup already. It's in America, Houston. Is this great for American tennis?
ANDRE AGASSI: Sure. For me, I've been in that tournament so many times. It's always a great feeling to be amongst the best in the world, especially at the end of a long year. You sort of look at everybody and you say, "We've all about through this together, we've all been fighting each other all year long." It sort of takes place one more time. I look forward to that.
Q. Are you aware the promoters took three commercial spots from the Super Bowl?
ANDRE AGASSI: Mac is phenomenal . The guy that has the tournament in Houston is one of the greatest things to happen to tennis to be quite honest. He's a phenomenal promoter, great for the sport. It's going to be a great event.
Q. You're one of the fittest men in the circuit. What is the secret of your fitness?
ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's hard work. It's hard work. It's also spending a lot of energy making sure your opponent works harder than you. That helps your cause a lot.
Q. Beating Lleyton at the US Open, it seems to me there was a great weight to that win, allowing you to know you can compete against the No. 1 player in the world, against the youth of the game. Was it as big a deal as all that?
ANDRE AGASSI: For me, it's a big deal because it what I assess when it comes to me continue to play this game is if I play my best tennis, can I still win? That's really important to me because I need to sort of be able to shoot for that. If I can't even shoot for it, then really I don't know where I would find my sort of desire, inspiration.
And I've seen many players come and go. I've seen many players come and stay. Lleyton is one of those guys that you know is going to be there. He's one of those guys that is looking to push the standard of tennis. To beat him in a big match is a great result because you have to earn it and you have to prove yourself to be the best. I think it's fair to say that that did mean a lot to me.
Q. Is it your appetite for hard work, as you were talking about a few moments ago, or your appetite for winning, or is it a chicken and egg situation that continues to drive you on?
ANDRE AGASSI: I would say it's neither. For me it's about challenging myself, pushing myself. I can live without the competition, to be quite honest. I can live without the hard work. But I can't live without knowing what it feels like to try to accomplish something that I don't believe, that I question if I can. I think that's what drives me.
Every time I'm on the court, it's -- it feels to me like I have to overcome, I have to overcome a lot. I enjoy pushing myself.
Q. You said in the first week that the No. 1 ranking was a secondary consideration to winning more Grand Slam titles. Now that this fortnight has gone so well for you, is it now a consideration for you to perhaps try to win the No. 1 ranking back this year?
ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think my point and what I said about the No. 1 ranking, I think the No. 1 ranking is a result of not just playing great at one tournament; it's about playing great throughout the whole year. A lot has to go right for that.
My goals aren't directed at the overall long-haul of grinding through a lot of different circumstances and difficulties and putting myself through it mentally and physically. So that's going to hurt my chances, if I'm not out there playing every tournament that I can, or certainly the big ones.
So my goals are still the same, which is to be at my best for the tournaments I want to play at my best - and that obviously means the Grand Slams and select others.
The No. 1 will be a result of a lot of things going right - and it's a long year.
Q. You seem to have the right concept against 99 percent of the games. How have you achieved this tactical maturity? Is it learning from all the games or is it learning mostly from defeats? How has that happened?
ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I always try to learn. But my game is designed to sort of adapt. I don't -- I feel like I can play the game a few different ways, depending on what I need to do when I'm out there: playing with spins, playing with angles, playing with pace, playing with power, taking it early, playing with less pace, even coming in more often in any given match. So my game sort of forces me to always be thinking. I think I've had plenty of matches to learn.
Q. Rainer Schuettler wouldn't have been a name two weeks ago that you would have thought would be between you and the title. You've played him once before. What sort of preparation did you put in for today's game?
ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I watched him. I watched some of his matches. Watched him a little bit against Blake and certainly against Roddick.
You try to assess what a guy does well and what a guy doesn't like to do. Everybody has their strengths and weaknesses, and then you sort of have to figure out how you match up to that and what's the best way to sort of attack what they don't like the most.
So it's really all I did, was watch him and put some good thought to it.
Q. You scored three consecutive points at the net in the first set. Was that a personal record (laughter)?
ANDRE AGASSI: No, I've done that before.
Q. I haven't been privileged to see it.
ANDRE AGASSI: Well, then maybe you're right (smiling).
Yeah, Rainer moves phenomenally well. I think early in the match I had a couple short balls that I thought he was going to be a little bit more in trouble on. But he moved and he was actually in position. I found myself sort of already committed. Towards the early part of the first set, I started figuring out, "Okay, cut this guy a little bit more slack. He's gonna get there. Wait a little bit longer and see if that opportunity presents itself." Because you don't want to -- a player like me doesn't want to commit to coming in if a guy is going to be in position to pass. That's not coming in on my terms.
Q. Can you talk about your abilities as a frontrunner. It seems if you win the first set, you win the match.
ANDRE AGASSI: My game is designed to sort of control the points and to control the tempo of the match and how hard a guy has to work. So if I'm doing it well, that means I'm going to win the first set in a lot of cases. When I do win the first set, that means they have to work hard for 45 minutes or an hour, and then they have to come back and now play three good sets.
So my game is designed to sort of attack the body and the legs and break down the shots. So if I can get out to a good start, that really gives me sort of a great platform to work with.
Not every point has a purpose; it's a puzzle out there. It's not sort of treated individually.
Q. You said before that you like to challenge yourself, that's the reason why you play tennis. If you're thinking about the four Slams, of course you would like to win them all, but what is the most difficult challenge that you would put on yourself? What is more difficult, Wimbledon or Roland Garros?
ANDRE AGASSI: Hmm... You know, they're both difficult in different ways. There's more great players on clay that you have to beat. It would be more difficult for me to win in Paris.
Q. Is the Rebound Ace a better surface for you than at the US Open?
ANDRE AGASSI: I would have to say so at this point. This is a surface that fits my game really well. You can play with spins, the ball kicks up, my kick serve is effective. I can also take the ball early and hit through the court. If you hit through it, it can skid on you. But yet if you play with spin, you can get the ball up.
Also, too, the conditions sort are a big factor. It's usually hot and it's usually windy. If you were to look at my history in those environments, I tend to play well - for example, in Key Biscayne. Tends to be hotter, it tends to be windier. It's just a good environment for me to play in.
Q. If you have any regrets on your career, I assume it would be not playing earlier here?
ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I've said that for a long time. I wish I would have played here a long time ago.
Q. Jimmy Connors, you had an early career rivalry with. You now have as many Grand Slams as him. Does it mean anything to you?
ANDRE AGASSI: It means the world to win a Grand Slam. To win eight is beyond my wildest dreams. You know, you always look towards all the great players and what they've accomplished and how you've respected what they've given to the game, and how they played the game. There was a lot to respect about how Jimmy played the game. So in that respect, I do appreciate that.
Q. How far does this victory go regarding your Slam-less year last year?
ANDRE AGASSI: You can never get moments back. So it doesn't sort of take away the sting that was felt from not capitalizing on an opportunity like in the finals of the US Open. There's no way around that. It's just disappointing. That's what makes it so good when you do win. That's what you try to remember and that's what sort of balances out the scale in some respects.
I can honestly say that this year has been a great success, and we're only three weeks into it. And that's a great feeling.
Q. What about winning four times here, which is more than anyone's done in the Open era? When you hear that, what do you think?
ANDRE AGASSI: "Wow, I guess that's happened," that's what I think.
I don't... I wish I could sort of put words to how it feels to go out there and lay it on the line and find a way to overcome in some cases the odds, in some cases the obstacles and the doubts, the questions, the preparation leading up to it.
To do it once would fulfill your career, so it's crazy for me to think about it.
Q. Twelve months ago you told us how you feared for your career in this city, only a couple miles away. Does it make it so much more important that you've come through that very long, difficult road to enjoy it again?
ANDRE AGASSI: Well, yeah, no question. I think last year was a great success for me in many respects. I think starting with the fact that I made a very difficult but clear decision here, not knowing how I was going to respond physically, how my wrist was going to go, 31 years old, and a child, where I was going to find myself in the matter of a few months, let alone a year later.
But, you know, in those times, I feel like that's when I'm arguably at my best. It's when I put my head down, it's when I dig in, it's when I work, it's when I'm challenged by the very environment that I'm finding myself in.
And to get through that last year and actually have a chance at No. 1, actually win the tournaments that I won, and to have a chance at winning the Open, all those things meant so much to me based on the fact that in January I was very much scared for my career, the rest of my career being over.
Then coming back down here now, and to feel so ready to go, feels like it's been so long since I've played here. To sort of embraced by the people and be supported, to use that and to play some of my best tennis that I've ever played, you know, these are all the things that are sort of sinking as each moment, as each second goes by.
Q. Could you describe today, from the moment you got up until you walked on court to play your match.
ANDRE AGASSI: Describe it in what sense?
Q. What you did.
ANDRE AGASSI: What I did. Woke up probably around 8:30, went downstairs and played with my little boy, had a cup of coffee, drank about five liters of water, had a little late breakfast, drove to the courts, had a hit for 20 minutes, got my feet taped up and laced up the shoes.
Q. Would five liters of water help our writing?
ANDRE AGASSI: If you're cramping in your forearm it will.
Q. If you were a bookmaker in Las Vegas and you had to do the odds, Navratilova (inaudible) versus Graf-Agassi, what would be the odds?
ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I don't -- I assure you if we play, we don't have much chance. Definitely not.
Q. Does the surface matter?
ANDRE AGASSI: First of all, I don't play doubles. Secondly, if I did play doubles, I don't usually play against women. Thirdly, I could never aggressively hit at the woman. I just couldn't do it.
Q. So Steffi's right?
ANDRE AGASSI: On top of it, she's played probably just stroking the ball, hasn't played a match in years. But I guarantee you, you would see a big smile on my face and we would have a lot of fun.
Q. What do you think will happen if you try and poach?
ANDRE AGASSI: She tells me what I do. She's the boss. She's the boss. If she wants me to poach, she has to tell me.
Q. How are you going to celebrate this victory?
ANDRE AGASSI: That's a good question. Certainly with those closest to me, Steff and Gil and Darren. Don't know. Sometimes the greatest way to celebrate is sort of a quite moment. So we'll see how it feels tonight. We'll see if there's energy or we'll see if there's sort of reflection.
Q. You're not planning a swim in the Yarra?
ANDRE AGASSI: I don't think so. I did that last year and got some sort of stomach virus. Think I swallowed a little water or something.
Q. Thinking back to your first final, Grand Slam final that you lost, could there be some similarities to Schuettler being overwhelmed today by the occasion?
ANDRE AGASSI: You'd have to ask him that. I think there's always a possibility that somebody can go out there and feel overwhelmed with the situation, playing the finals of a Slam. But I've also seen others that go out there and play the match of their life. His countryman, Michael Stich, did it against Becker in Wimbledon. I mean he played an incredible match.
Some people sort of respond to it beyond their abilities, others respond to it below their abilities. Today felt pretty straightforward about the tennis. He seemed relatively relaxed, but I don't know how he was feeling.