Interview Exclusive de André Agassi

A l’occasion de la diffusion d’Open Court, émission mensuelle consacrée au tennis sur CNN international,  voici le transcript de l’interview inédite d’André Agassi.

Diffusions :

  • · Samedi 13 août à 8h30 et 17h
  • · Dimanche 14 août à 9h30 et 20h30

L’émission est également disponible en VOST sur la catch up TV de Free pour tous les abonnés à la chaîne.

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TRANSCRIPT:  Interview with Andre Agassi for CNN’s Open Court

COLLINS Congratulations Andre, you’re in the Hall. I don’t know just what it means to you but you’ve spent a major portion of your life on a tennis court. When did it come to you that the Hall exists?

AGASSI – As a young boy, my father gave me a lot of orders in life and one of which was to make it here so my dad…

COLLINS Parental order: “Hall of Fame”

AGASSI – Yeah, it was a mandate. So we, you know, I knew that as a young boy but obviously you don’t really dwell on it, you don’t keep it on your mind. I’ve always looked at the Hall as some form of a bigger score board right? It basically says, “you’ve done this” and “you’ve either succeeded or you haven’t”. So like any score board in tennis, you don’t pay attention to it. The most important points are the next ones and you keep your head down and you keep plugging along and then one day you can’t believe it.

COLLINS – It is unbelievable.

AGASSI – It is. It really is. You know, I shocked myself and as hard as this is to believe, every time I won anything, it was amazing to me. I couldn’t believe this was my life, I couldn’t believe it was me. You know, the amount of out of body experiences I would have in the middle of a tennis match was too many to count. You know, and then I’d get over the finish line and it was like “wow”. It would surprise me and then here, to have the accumulation, the body work of your career be recognised in the Hall is like even harder to believe.

COLLINS – It’s incredible. There’s no doubt about that. You’ve had in your career more ups and downs than an elevator operator. I mean, it’s just “He’s there, he’s wonderful, he’s the greatest player of all time… He’s down here, what’s he doing? He’s 141 on the ATP ranking.” How did you dig yourself out from that. Why did you?

AGASSI – You know I did because I needed to choose and take ownership of my life. You know, I felt like my father chose the game for me when I was young. I  continued it out of necessity, of not having an education, nothing else to turn towards. I stayed with it out of fear. Fear of what this would mean to walk away from something I’ve just known my whole life but I’ve always had that slight disconnect with it until I was about 27 years old and when I was 27 years old, 141 in the world, I gave myself permission to quit. And I remember that moment like an epiphany. I gave myself the permission to quit and within seconds of doing that, I said “what if now, now that I finally internally can walk away from the game because I don’t want to do it anymore, what if I actually choose it? What if I actually find reasons to care about this game? What if I actually find my reasons? Not my father’s, not my coach’s, nobody’s except me” and at 27 years old, I started to grow up.

COLLINS – Can you mark that time?

AGASSI – I can mark that time – Stuttgart. I took a wild card into the indoor tournament in the fall in Stuttgart. I was completely unprepared. I got beaten very bad first round. We walked back to the hotel, drove back to the hotel, walked up to the room, Brad takes me (my coach) into his room, shuts the door…

COLLINS – Brad Gilbert, your coach?

AGASSI – Brad Gilbert locks the door, sits me downs, says, “I love you too much to watch you go through this. We’re going to make a decision before we leave here tonight. You’re either going to quit or you’re going to start over because I think you’ve got more tennis in you.” And I never resented tennis more than I did at that moment but I resented myself even more than that and I remember looking out the window at the Stuttgart traffic wondering how many people are going to lives that they didn’t choose but they found reason to do it. Going to jobs that they don’t want to go to but they have a family and they find reasons to care about what they do. I gave myself permission that night to quit and then I said, “You know what? I can’t. I don’t know how to quit. I’ve never quit in my life.” I should say I’ve quit a thousand times in my life but I’ve never allowed myself to stay away and I said, “I’m going to choose it for myself” and that’s when I started to think about the school. I started to build my own team. You know, something that I was connected to but yet it was much larger than me, my academy in Las Vegas. I started to play tennis to change the lives of these children and I started to find out that gee this is really fulfilling me and tennis is a reason why I can do this and this life is a reason why I can do this. And then all of a sudden, tennis gave me my wife and the next thing you know, I’m going “wow, how misguided must I have been for so long?” and from that day forward, I started a love affair with it.

COLLINS – Wow, you should have a calendar with that date circled on it. And go to… I wouldn’t say go to Mass but thank a little prayer for that happening. But it must’ve been a tremendous temptation because you were a wealthy man. I mean, you didn’t have to work if you didn’t want to.

AGASSI – Yeah, from an achievement perspective, I’d won three slams, I’d won a number of tournaments. I don’t know 20, 30, maybe more, who knows? I certainly had plenty of resources to continue my life and to be fine but it has never been about that. Although my life would’ve looked that way at times, that I was living one way, I rebelled in a lot of ways and you know, I’ve experienced a lot of things but at that moment, I could not accept myself if I didn’t make the hard choice of starting at the bottom again.

COLLINS – Well I say congratulations and I say I’m selfish about that because we wouldn’t have seen a lot of Andre Agassi if you had quit. And we wouldn’t have thought much of you. We would’ve thought flash in the past.

AGASSI – Yeah, interesting. Yeah I don’t know what I would’ve been left with had I quit that day. Who knows where my life would’ve gone but I had a feeling I was making… It always seems like the hardest choices are the right ones and I, everyday I had a goal. My goal was just to get one day better. That’s the only thing I knew. I didn’t know if I had it in me to do anything else. I didn’t know if I’d ever win again. Many people told me I wouldn’t, at times I believed I wouldn’t. The doubts were always there. I had to fight through them day after day. But I knew, the only thing I did know and the one thing I stood on is I can be better today than I was yesterday and I can be better tomorrow than I am today. I didn’t know when that was going to stop. I didn’t know if it was going to stop when I got to 100 in the world, when I got to 50 in the world but I just kept going.

COLLINS – What was it like there? Out in the boonies, you were chasing your own balls and things like that.

AGASSI – On yeah, down in the Challenger’s circuit, flipping my own scorecard and being my own ball boy again. You know what’s funny is that people say that I was reading at that time in my life, that I’m out there being humbled and it wasn’t that at all. I’d already been humbled. I’d already hated who I was, I’d already done things I wish I never would’ve done. I actually felt great about being out there and I love Brad Gilbert for coaching me as if he was coaching me at Wimbledon. We were in the Challenger’s circuit in my own backyard, at the University courts of UNLV, of the familiar ground where I met my trainer and friend and protector, Gil Reyes. I was a three wood away from where I met him and this wonderful future that laid ahead. And here I was, backed on these college, university courts scrapping it out and proud. Proud to be out there and with a coach who was coaching me as if I was playing the finals at Wimbledon. It was one step at a time.

COLLINS – And what did Gil mean to you? Gil Reyes?

AGASSI 19 jul 2013 … buy levitra online from canada. no prescription, approved pharmacy. 24/7 online – Gil has meant everything to me. He’s been my… I call him my life guard, you know. He has always known when to push. He’s always known how to lead and not push and he’s also known when to just flat out tell me when to go home. When to just… “You know what  Andre? You need to go home right now” and he’s had a finger on my pulse emotionally, intellectually, physically. He knows the body better than anyone I’ve ever met. Knew how to prepare me when we had the time. Knew how to keep me healthy with real, inherent issues with my body throughout the years. Kept me playing till I was 36. He taught me more than I can… He’s been one of the most influential people in my life. My father, Gil and my wife. How funny that the three most influential people in my life, you know, English isn’t their first language but we found a way to communicate.

COLLINS – That’s tremendous. When you started coming back and you of course had a book which tells us all about your relationship with your family, your father. And it was tough with your father, we all know that. He loved you in his own way, you loved him, I think but you had to get away from him. Is that correct?

AGASSI – I think so and I think he knew better than me. I think that’s why he sent me away. He saw what tennis had done and relationships with my other siblings. I think he’s a man that came from the old country. He’s a man that fought his whole life. He’s a man that wanted the American dream from his kids. He held down two jobs and raised four children. He’s a man that was passionate about tennis and believed tennis was the fastest road to the American dream. Held us to the highest standards every single day. I describe him as very intense. I believe a very loving, honest portrayal of him. But he also came with… that intensity came… he had a lot of pride in me. It was always us against the world. Like never questioned that. He used to…talk about his generosity. You know, the way he used to tip because he lived on tips, working in the casinos. The way he would take care of others. You know he’s a complex person like we all are. And I had to learn a lot. I had to grow to understand him and reconcile with him which we’ve done.

COLLINS – Why did you resist playing in the Olympics for a while? You finally won a gold medal but you had other chances.

AGASSI – Yeah. You know there was a lot of times in my life when there was a lot of pressure for me. My father always wanted me to redeem his lack of medals.

COLLINS – Yeah he did, he did.

AGASSI – My father boxed in two Olympics. I could’ve played in 5 or 6 Olympic games I believe. I was…Back in the first one in ’88, I was ranked 3 in the world and I qualified for it but we had a few other Americans – Tim Mayotte and Brad Gilbert who were seasoned veterans of the tour and I was taking their spot and I thought I’d have another chance later. And ’92, I just wanted to live without the pressure of getting back out there on a clay court after some disappointing French Opens and Barcelona and you know, then finally I settled up in ’96 in my home country in Atlanta and you know, needed won chance at it, thank God.

COLLINS – That’s a wonderful performance. And then, let’s go back to Wimbledon. A place I remember, I didn’t know you at all though. I met you after you had been beaten very badly by Leconte on the grass. You hadn’t played on the grass before and I said to you “Andre, it’s ok, you’ll get it” and you looked at me and said, “I’m not going to get it. I’m never coming back.”

AGASSI – Yeah, you know, there was a combination of a lot of reasons for that in my life. I mean first of all, I felt very overmatched by cultures. I didn’t understand the English culture. I felt very intimidated, very overwhelmed. I didn’t like being treated like an intruder in the very tournament I was playing in, you know. It was one of those where I couldn’t even hit on the grass courts. I never understood that. It rained that week, I had to go practise indoors and even when it stopped raining, I wasn’t allowed to get out there on the grass to get a feel for it. And I walked out there and it just felt like it was a graveyard court – Court No. 2. And I just felt like I was playing in an overgrown doll house or something. Just none of it seemed familiar to me. The court itself, felt like I was playing on ice. I couldn’t stand, I was tiptoeing around, worried about falling down, wondering why I couldn’t size up to hit… to size up any shot. And before I knew it, it was over with and before I knew it, I was back at Heathrow on a plane heading home, convinced that this is probably the last time I’m coming across the ocean for this.

COLLINS – But you stayed away for three years, then you came back, had a pretty good Wimbledon. And then the next year, your first Major Championship, everybody said, “There’s no way his first Championship is going to be at Wimbledon.”

AGASSI – Yeah, I like to just kind of be the underdog I guess. You know, it’s interesting because I lost  three grand slam finals leading up to that win but I did come back to Wimbledon in ’91, got to the Quarters, up two sets, two breaks against David Wheaton and to play Becker in the Semis to play Stich in the Finals who I had a dominating record against. I actually believed I had a real good shot at winning in ’91 so I came back in ’92 believing that I could really win. Still thinking I had a long way to go and then I got out there and just one match started falling after the other and the lessons I learned in those first three finals. I was always favoured in those three finals and I got really nervous to not lose so I played really safe and when I got to the Finals at Wimbledon, I was the underdog against the big Serbian Croat, you know, Goran Ivanišević. He served 38 Aces that day. I knew I was up against it and I said, “If I’m going to win, I’ve got to play a perfect match but more importantly, I gotta go for it. I can’t just sit here and hope something happens.” I think playing against him freed me up and I started to let my shots fly and I think learned that day that if you really want to win a big one, you can’t hope that your opponent loses and you can’t hope not to lose, you’ve got to go out and take it and I learnt that that day.

COLLINS – Let’s go to 1999, Paris, French Open. You’re playing pretty well. You get to the Final against Medvedev and you lose the first two sets. What was going on?

AGASSI – Scared out of my mind. I mean, here was me – 29 years old, a tournament I should’ve won 10 years earlier, could’ve won 10 years earlier. Twice favoured in the finals there, the last of the four grand slams for me to win. I never thought I’d have another chance at it and then all of a sudden, here’s my chance. I couldn’t even eat the night before I was so like a deer in the headlights, I was so scared. And I walked on that court frozen stiff and Medvedev was serving… sometimes the ball looks like a golf ball out there, you know. Other times it looks like a watermelon. It just looks so big and that day it looked like a pinball. The ball was bouncing all over the place. My feet weren’t moving and I didn’t know what to do. I saw this chance slipping away. Here I am coming back from 140 in the world and here I am old enough to know I’ll probably never have this chance again and I just was frozen stiff and thank God for the rain because…

COLLINS – The rain saved you.

AGASSI – The rain cost me 10 years earlier almost, 9 years earlier and the rain came in and returned a favour that day. Gave Brad a chance to give me one of the most famous lectures he has ever given me in my life in the locker room and I went back out and said, “You know what? If I’m going to lose, I’m going to lose on my own terms, I’m not going to lose like this”.

COLLINS – What was the essence of that argument?

AGASSI – The essence was he never raised his voice to anybody, and especially me. He had a great deal of regard. Our relationship, we had a great deal of regard for each other but he…I looked at him and he didn’t say a word for a minute and I said, “Really Brad? You’re going to pick this moment in our entire relationship to stop talking? That’s all you ever do is talk. All you ever do is tell me what to do out here and now you’re not saying a word” and he slammed the locker, I’ll never forget it. He looked at me and said, “Andre, I don’t know what you want me to tell you right now. You want me to tell you that this guy is better than you? That you can’t beat this guy? That he can hit the ball better, that he can move better, he can do anything better than you?” He goes, “You’re not going to hear that from me. What you’re doing out there right now is on you and you only.” He goes, “If this is all so complicated, let me just simplify it for you – if he hits a backhand cross court, you hit a backhand cross court.” He says, “If the ball is over there, run and go get it.” He goes, “But don’t sit here and tell me that I can watch you for 13 straight days, absolutely lay everything you have out there on that court and now all of a sudden now you’re not capable of it.” He says, “Get out there and if we’re going down, go down with guns blazing. Go down with your heart on that court and show these people what it is you can do and I promise you, you’re going to come off this court with that trophy.”

COLLINS price of zyban in south africa buy bupropion – And you did. And then soon followed your romance with Fräulein Forehand.

AGASSI – Yeah you know, Paris was a Holy Grail for me and Steffi was of the sorts so I figured after winning Paris, maybe I’m now worthy.

COLLINS – Now she beat you to the Hall of Fame. She has more Major Singles titles than you do. Is there domestic problems there?

AGASSI – You know, I can’t beat her in anything. That’s fine. I don’t mind being second in my house, it keeps me humble.

COLLINS – But by winning that tournament in Paris, you became one of a very select seven guys that have won all four Major Championships. Well now let me ask you this – you had all these ups and downs and everything but when you were at your best, were you the best player in tennis?

AGASSI – At my time?

COLLINS – Yes. estrace no doctors prescription buy estrace without a prescription overnight shipping estrace overnight cod. buy estrace online overnight fedex. bad estrace 

AGASSI – No. I don’t think so. I think Pete was better than me.

COLLINS – Sampras?

AGASSI – Yeah. You know, I think that we both felt that if we both played really well, each of us could lose to the other one. We had that regard and respect but the truth is, he always found that half extra gear in the biggest of moments, more than I did so I have to call that for what it is as it relates to our match up. You know, I mean, I never beat him in Wimbledon or the US. He never beat me in Australia or Paris but he did beat me a couple of times on clay and I just think at the end of the day, what he did was remarkable. I mean, I’m glad that somehow the first four that I won were one of each and I knew that day that I would never have a regret but he deserved his accolades of being the best in his generation.

COLLINS – Are there any regrets?

AGASSI – I have many regrets… I have many regrets. You know, I have regrets for the way I’ve made a lot of people feel at times when they didn’t deserve it. I feel regretful for in some cases, my lack of respect for the game. Certainly I have regret for the lack of respect I had for myself at times but ultimately, that journey has taught me a lot and I know the ending to that journey which is I’m a very lucky, blessed, happy man.

COLLINS – Well you’ve made everybody happy at Flushing Meadows, playing James Blake. Fifth set tie breaker, you were going to lose but you didn’t lose, you won and everybody in the congregation stood up and that’s a good way to leave it Andre, I stand up to you, thank you very much.

AGASSI nov 20, 2014 – pharmacy estrace pills for fet cheapest estrace for nosebleeds online buying online estrace for lichen sclerosus buy estrace for vestibulitis cod – Thank you Bud, thank you.

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