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Australian Open - SF
Post Match Interview

Andre AGASSI defeated Pete SAMPRAS
6-4 3-6 6-7(0-7) 7-6(5-7) 6-1

Q. Pete 37 aces; have you ever made so many aces before?

A. No.

Q. How would you describe your feeling after losing the fourth set?

A. I was disappointed. I felt like that was my chance and I let it slip away a little bit in the tiebreaker.

Q. In the end it slipped away very quickly. Were you actually physically tired or what?

A. He just kind of got a hold of my serve a little bit in the beginning of the fifth. I got a little bit down on myself and he kind of just took advantage of it. There was an early break and that was pretty much it.

Q. What was the problem in the fifth set? Did you talk to one of the linesmen or one of the photographers?

A. Nothing really.

Q. People are talking about this as an epic match and how it's the best that they have seen. Can you take anything good from that or do you just see the loss at this point?

A. After losing you don't think of the epic match. Obviously I am very disappointed, but I don't think the quality of tennis was great. I thought I served well, he returned well and then we clashed pretty well. But, I think Andre and I have been a part of a lot of epics and today was definitely one of them and he got the best of me.

Q. Would you describe this as one of the best matches you have played against Agassi?

A. You know, it's hard to really say right now. It's definitely up there, it was certainly a big match - my final match going into the finals. Yes, we have played each other 30 times or so and this is definitely one of the better ones.

Q. Have you played better and lost? Served as well and lost?

A. Because I was serving well, I didn't put enough pressure on his service game and he was holding pretty easily.

But, when you play Andre you have to play a high level and I did that for most of the match and kind of lost a little bit of momentum in the fifth and that pretty much sums it up.

Q. It looked like in the fifth set you were not as focused as in the previous four sets?

A. I was focused. I just got a little bit down and like I said, it's quick out there and a couple of returns - I certainly had my chances in the fourth and that was really my chance to win the match.

Q. Was there any physical problem in the fifth set?

A. I just will say I strained a little bit of my hip flexor during the match and I am having some tests on it tomorrow to see if I am able to play next week.

Q. Pete, have you been surprised with his game, how well he played after he lost the tiebreaker 7-0?

A. No, I wasn't surprised. He came back strong and he had a lot of matches, but I was serving myself out of trouble. I served 4-3 and he came up with some good stuff and it was a good set.

Q. Andre said it was cold and windy out there and that was a factor of the match. Do you agree?

A. It was more the wind and the cold. It was gusting pretty good. I don't think we both felt that comfortable playing. We were missing a little bit here and there and certainly I think the tennis would have been a little bit better if it was a little calmer, but he is a good wind player.

Q. When did you last feel so disappointed after losing such a big match?

A. It's hard to talk about it right now. It will sink in in the next couple of days. Sure, it's disappointing but there's a lot of tennis left for this year. We're just starting off and this is one of the many matches I will play against Andre, and he got off to a better start this year. I'm disappointed, but I'm not walking out of here with my head hung down. I feel like I played some decent tennis this week. I'm certainly looking forward to a good year. I'm not going to look at this - it's disappointing, sure. I'm not sad. You've just got to move on and get ready for whatever is next.

Q. Do you think there is still a good chance you will make it to Zimbabwe?

A. Like I said, I will get some tests done tomorrow and see what it is and then I will make my decision tomorrow.

Q. Is there one thing - any kind of play or movement, or did it just get worse?

A. I did it 1-1 in the first set, 0-40. It wasn't the best timing. I felt it a little bit and I played the match feeling it and movement is obviously a big part of my game, but I am not sitting here with an excuse why I lost. He out played me and I had my chances, and certainly a little hip strain doesn't help. It was a little cold out there tonight and I did it early in the match and it took me a set to kind of figure out, as far as my play, how I was going to deal with this and I kind of got through it and fought hard and I just didn't have enough at the end.

Q. Which hip?

A. My right.

Q. Does either Yevgeny or Magnus have a shot in the final?

A. I think they have a shot. It is a big final. There are going to be some nerves out there. Andre has been in this situation many times and I think he will probably end up winning, but there are no sure things. Yevgeny believes he can beat Andre so we'll soon find out.

Q. Pete, you have never lost a five set here in Australia?

A. I was doomed.

Q. Why did you let yourself go down after the fourth set?

A. Well, that's a question I am going to ask myself over these next couple of weeks. It's an emotional match, an emotional situation and he got back. The crowd got behind him and I was still hanging in there doing my best, but he managed to hit a couple of good shots and break me and in the span of five minutes - the whole match changed after the fourth set and that's pretty much - it was kind of a downhill spiral for me from that point on.

Q. Pete, could you hear the constant talking that comes from his coaching box? Can you hear Brad talking?

A. Yes, I hear a few things here and there.

Q. Did that piss you off in the fifth set?

A. No. You hear things every now and again and it's competitive out there. I hear things from my coach; more encouragement, so it's not a big deal.

Q. You did appear to glare at Brad?

A. I heard a few things when I missed a shot. That's not a big deal really, is it?

Q. It didn't interfere with your focus that we all thought dropped?

A. No.

Q. Did you play a better tiebreaker in your carry over than in your third set; do you remember?

A. I played a lot of great ones, it's hard to say where I put that one. The timing of the situation means a great breaker, but I can do that sometimes.

Q. Is there any particular reason why you haven't been able to win the French Open? Is it the surface or something?

A. No, it's not the surface. Maybe they can change to hard court and maybe I will win it there. That is the reason, the surface.

Q. Do you see him as being very fit at this point?

A. We are athletes and we are all supposed to be fit. He is fit, I'm fit, we're all fit and we're all - five sets, you have to be pretty fit to do that.

Q. You don't think he is any stronger now?

A. Stronger than when I looked at him in the shower or something? The points were quick. Conditioning isn't such a factor in these conditions.

Q. Mentally there seems to be kind of a serenity about him, he seems pretty at ease with himself. Do you detect that in his mental strength?

A. He is just playing well; it's not that complicated. He's a talented player that is very confident and that's why he is winning. Mentally he seems pretty strong but we are all pretty strong out there. He's probably going to end up winning but there is a little bit of work on Sunday.

Q. You said your main aims this year are the Grand Slams and hopefully Davis Cup as well. There's a long way to go until the French. How are you going to maintain your intensity level between now and then? I suppose it's important to protect your position in the rankings?

A. My position in the rankings isn't really my motivation at this point in my tennis. You know, this next number of weeks the question mark is for Zimbabwe but I have some time off and I will play Palm Springs and Lipton and these are tournaments that you want to do well at and have everyone knowing you are playing well. It is quite a way off for the next Grand Slam, that's why this one is a big one, but they didn't happen and maybe it will happen at the French.

Q. Are you going to play the previous tournaments like you did last year?

A. Yes, I'm going to play quite a bit actually; Rome, Hamburg, a couple of other things here and there. More work.

Q. Do you suspect the crowd of being on his side more than yours?

A. The crowd were on his side. In the fourth set they obviously wanted to see a fifth set but they were pretty neutral.


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