Andre Agassi knows how it feels to face Roger Federer when the Swiss plays at his best. The American legend defeated Federer the first three times they faced each other – 1998 Basel, 2001 US Open and 2002 Miami – then Federer beat him in eight matches out of eight.
In an interview to ESPN, Agassi explained why the 37-year-old Basel native is different than anybody else. 'When a ball left my racket [with most opponents], I knew exactly where it was going and I could assess to what degree I would gain the advantage in that point,' Agassi said. 'With Roger, you could not count on the advantage no matter where you hit the ball.
He was leaps and bounds better than anyone I had faced. When I faced him late in my career [in the 2005 U.S. Open final], the biggest reaction I got was him looking down at his shoes. Then he just went to a gear I'd never seen before.
It was a privilege to see, a privilege to have the worst seat in the house watching it. The truth is, me at my best, him at his best -- I would have had to be perfect to cause him any distress. What I needed to do to display what I was good at, he could neutralize.
That turned me into a relatively average player.' Jack Sock lost all the four matches played against Federer, including at the London ATP Finals last year. 'He makes you so uncomfortable,' Sock admitted.
'Any ball lands short, he's on top of it so fast. He's into the net, taking time away, angling into balls. He may be 37 now, but his footwork is like a fresh 18-year-old on tour. You're playing a style of play you don't want to play and feeding right into how he wants to play.
The next thing you know, you've lost 6-2, 6-2 and are feeling like an idiot. People don't talk about his serve a ton. I don't know if I've ever broken him. I'm pretty crafty on the return games, but I have no idea where [Federer] is serving.
It's not coming in fast, 116 to 121 mph, but he's hitting his spot. You feel like if you don't hit a great return, don't neutralize perfectly, you are on the defensive already, and he's holding 98% of the time.' ALSO READ: All red: Roger Federer's 2018 US Open Uniqlo outfit revealed