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June 27, 2007

Anna Kournikova

THE MODERATOR: This is Rosie Crews with World TeamTennis. We've got Anna Kournikova on the call today.

Q. I see that last year, Sacramento came in second, they reached the finals and they're coached by Wayne Bryan, of course. How would you describe his coaching style?
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Oh, he's just a blast. He is a true tennis enthusiast. He loves the game, and he really is an amazing motivator. He's just -- he's awesome. I mean, there's not much people like him who truly care about the game so much, know about the game so much, and he really -- and makes it fun, too. He really is great.

Q. Wondering, too, you only played one game last year, is the schedule a little better for you this year? I see --
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: One game? What do you mean?

Q. Did you play just one match last year?
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, I actually played, I think, four last year. Was it three or four, I think?

Q. And you're playing pretty much that number this year, too.

Q. Does that work well with your schedule to play early in July?
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Oh, absolutely. I think it's -- you know, I can pretty much play pretty much any time. It's something that they have to work out the schedule between the league and the teams. And, you know, some people are still playing at Wimbledon, and stuff.
So I think there are a bunch of factors that have to be worked into this, you know, arrangement, this schedule.

Q. What do you do the rest of the year? Do you have business projects or other things that you do?
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah, I have a few, yeah. I have a few, you know, a few projects going on here and there. I still play lots of tennis, like the TeamTennis. Like a lot of charity events, a lot of tennis exhibitions.
I work mainly with the -- the main thing I'm doing now is work with the Boys & Girls Club of America, just traveling the country and doing speeches and visiting clubs and doing fundraisers and stuff. And then, also, in 2008 we'll be coming out with a new line, it's called K-Swiss for working out or like going to the gym, playing tennis, doing yoga.
So I'm working with K-Swiss on bringing that out. We're launching that, actually, in 2008. So that's been really fun designing clothes and stuff. But really, the most important for me is working with kids. And I have just released a DVD with Cartoon Network and Boys & Girls Club for kids who are in school and who can do exercise -- it teaches them how to do exercises.

Q. Sure, that sounds good.
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: So that's been really fulfilling with me to work with kids.

Q. What do you like best about World TeamTennis? It's pretty fan friendly. Lot of kids there, team atmosphere.
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Definitely. It's an amazing format. There's a reason why it's been around for so long. Definitely, there is demand for it. First, it's awesome that tennis gets to be displayed in cities where normally you don't have big tournaments, so that's great. And, just the format is so approachable, it's so friendly for the fans. It's so much fun.
You get to see in three hours in one evening you get to see really men, women, singles, doubles, mix, you know, everything in together. You get to see players that are retired. You get to see the current players. You get to see the young and up-and-coming. So it's just a diversity. It's so many different.
It's like there is something for everybody, you know. There's something for the kids. There is something for the parents. There's something for everybody, really. Just, it's a great display of tennis. It's a lot of fun with the music and everything.
THE MODERATOR: You mentioned the dates. Anna, you're playing, July 5th for the home opener, and the Caps in the new stadium in Roseville.
And then we've got July 6 for a new stadium in Newport Beach. She's playing against the Newport Beach Breakers. And then July 8 in Newport -- I mean, in Houston, against the Houston Wranglers, where she played a couple years ago as well. So we'll go on to the next question.

Q. First of all, we're looking forward to you coming back for what, I guess, is your third year here in Sacramento.
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah, I definitely look forward to it. I'm so excited. I've been really looking forward to it, like every year. Oh, my god, I wonder when TeamTennis starts, it is so cool.

Q. Hopefully, it won't be so hot when you come out here.
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It's okay, I don't mind. I really don't mind. I have such a great team. It's like a family. And we play at night, so, you know, the hard part is practicing during the day a little bit. You know, that's when it's the hottest, but at night it's perfect, actually. I love the heat, as you know, I live in Miami.

Q. Right, exactly. Yeah, lucky you.
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, lucky, I don't know. With all the hurricanes. I had to put up shutters the other day. Now it's all dark inside when I leave.

Q. I have two quick questions for you: First of all, probably get asked this a lot, but how's your health these days? Your back and what was it? Your foot or your hand?
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, my back is fine now. It's really fine when I'm just exercising one hour a day. Playing tennis one hour a day. It really doesn't bother me unless I'm training like professionally, you know, for the tour or like six hours a day, you know. So I can definitely do a substantial amount, but it's not in a professional level where you have to compete, you know? So, I'll be pretty fit. I feel pretty good.

Q. And my second question is: We all know how well you excelled as a doubles player when you were playing on the pro tour. Can you maybe answer a question why you think you're such a good doubles player?
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't know. I think I didn't put so much pressure on myself. I think that I -- because I had maybe someone to interact with, I didn't, like, go inside myself so much and just, you know, go through ruminations in my own head, basically.
I think that it kind of, like, I didn't, like I said, put so much pressure on myself, probably. And I didn't feel like I -- it's all mental. You know, I think women's tennis is 80% mental. You know how to hit a forehand, you know how to hit a backhand or a serve. It's so mental. I think that that was probably a big part of it for me, too.

Q. Well, thank you, Anna. We look forward to having you out here.
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, thank you.

Q. What are your thoughts on Newport Beach? How do you like the area? What are your thoughts on Newport Beach?
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I think it's very beautiful. I've been there a few times now, and I'm very confused with all the events that I've played there. Because I've done, I think the Elton John and Billie Jean King thing there. I've done the TeamTennis there. I've done a few commercials there. I'm very confused as to which event I did and when.
But it's definitely very beautiful. It's so country-like, like country club like. It's very clean. I like California in general, so, it's great. The only thing is it's a little cold during the winter for me. Like it's a little too dry. I love the humidity and the heat, so.

Q. Do you ever get a chance to shop around here?
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, I haven't, actually. I've always been kind of in and out or staying at the beautiful resorts.

Q. I've also read somewhere that you have a cousin who plays?

Q. What are your thoughts on him, and how do you think he'll be able to do, his potential?
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I hope he's going to do really, really well, you know. He's been training his whole life. I mean, literally his whole life. I remember he started playing tennis when he was, I think, three the first time we gave him a racquet or 5, or somewhere there. And he literally, the whole family has worked really hard. They all moved to Germany like ten years ago. And they've all worked really hard for his success. So hopefully he will do really well.
And he's a good kid, you know, and he's young. He just needs to get some experience and just play as much as he can, and win some, lose some. No big deal. Just keep going at it, you know.
Because in boys and guys it's different. I think, you know, you get better as you get older with guys. You get a little more experience and stuff. So, you know, hopefully, he can just learn and go ahead and go forward and play well and achieve some great results.

Q. One last question. Why do you like working with kids so much, with the charities?
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Oh, my god, just the innocence in their eyes and the curiosity in their eyes. Just, you know, everything. Kids just need a little fun. They just need a little attention. They just need, you know, just a little guidance in everything. So it's really something that I just feel so passionate about.
And really, I know it sounds cliche, but I feel like if we all do a little bit, it can be better, you know. That's why it's cliche, because I think it's true. But it's for me, personally, just very satisfying. Giving the attention to children.
And also, talk to go adults or doing events, bringing awareness to adults, what the simple steps and things that they can do to help organizations like Boys & Girls Club. And to really keep the kids off the streets or to really give attention to kids that parents with three jobs, just to be able to support their homes and stuff.
So it's -- it's very, very satisfying for me. But at the same time, I feel that I'm enjoying it probably even more than, you know, I'm helping them. But, hopefully, it goes both ways, you know. That we both, me and the kids, get something out of it.

Q. We know that World TeamTennis is really fan friendly.

Q. So I was just wondering what have been some of your most memorable moments with the fans there?
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Oh, god. It's always so much fun when, like, there's kids in the stands, and we'll bring them out to play a few points. I think that really makes their, you know year, probably, I hope. So that's really always so much fun.
And then I love seeing, just, all the little kids around the matches, running around and dressed in their little tennis outfits, you know. They get into it, they get into the atmosphere. And then, just the whole TeamTennis experience, it's really, it's really different. It's really fun.
There's a reason why it's been around for so long, because it really does bring out a fan in everybody. And there is something for everybody in those three hours that we're out there, you know. There's singles, doubles, men's, women's mix.
You know, there are people that are retired already. There are people that are playing right now, currently on the tour. There are people that haven't even played their first professional match yet, but they're playing already TeamTennis. So it is such a diversity. It's really an amazing experience, I think, for true tennis fans or sports fans.

Q. And ever since you have been a part of TeamTennis, how would you compare the fan base, the United States to say some places in Europe?
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I'm sorry, a fan base for tennis?

Q. Yeah, do you think that World TeamTennis has expanded the fan base in the United States?
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Oh, absolutely. I think that it's a big part of having -- being that it is so popular is that it actually goes -- you know, we play in the markets where there are no big tournaments, really. There really are no displays of tennis of any kind. So I think TeamTennis has really brought awareness and, you know, just exposure to the game being played in all these different markets.

Q. The magazine often, whenever we get a subject, tries to do some sort of Top 5 list, And I know this is going to be off the top of your head. But who are the Top 5 tennis players that you enjoy watching today? And that would either be in person or on television.
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, for me, it's always going to be my two favorite players ever are Monica Seles and Andre Agassi. I mean, I know they're not playing right now. But, for me, they are like the most amazing people ever. But did you mean by any player or right now?

Q. I'll take both, actually. Let's even say just over the course of your tennis career.
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah, it's Monica Seles, Andre Agassi. And then, right now, it's really, I mean, I don't know if there is like someone particular player that I like to watch. I just watch kind of everything for results. I spent yesterday watching, oh, my gosh, the match between Henman and Moya, you know, that was like crazy.
So, yeah, I don't know if there's one particular player right now I love to watch my friends. I love to watch Kim Clistjers, but, as we all know, she stopped. She was amazing in the last few years. She was always very entertaining to watch her.

Q. That's pretty good. Can you give me two more quick ones so we can sort of round it out at five?
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Let's see, I mean, Nadal is amazing to watch right now, I guess. Who else? Who else? Serena, I always like to watch Serena. There's always drama, like in a good way. She's a complete fighter, so that's great.

Q. I agree. Thank you so much, Anna, appreciate it.

Q. When you were playing on the circuit, do you think that media and fans focused too much on the fact that you didn't win a singles title rather than the things that you did accomplish?
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: You know, I mean, you can say yes and no to that. You know, it's very hard to -- it's very hard to judge that, I think. It's really something that I don't think about it I mean, they kind of had a point. But at the same time, it was, I don't know. It's not something that I've ever really thought about what they were focusing on. Obviously, they did focus on everything else, so I guess they had their reasons.

Q. You mentioned pressure earlier.

Q. Do you feel that you put too much pressure on yourself?

Q. Is that just part of your personality?
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I am just, very O.C.D. I'm too much of a perfectionist. So I think that I get disappointed. I used to get disappointed a lot when something didn't go the way I wanted it to go. And that's probably sometimes that hurt me, you know.
But I'm almost like too disciplined and too much of a perfectionist. You know, and it's very important to understand that you will make mistakes sometimes, and you will make the wrong decisions, and the wrong moves, or, you know, make mistakes.
And I think it's very important to know that. And before I kind of took it really hard when I did make mistakes, or when, you know, certain things didn't go my way. I think that I took that pretty hard.

Q. We're looking forward to you coming to Sacramento again. I can't believe we make you practice.
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Oh, why? What do you mean?

Q. You shouldn't have to practice in this heat.
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Oh, no. That's fine. I practice in heat all the time anyway. No big deal.

Q. Oh, good. Is it hard to make the adjustment to the rules in TeamTennis? I know I'm a pretty old player.
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: You can handle it. It just takes a few points and a few minutes, really. It's no big deal.

Q. Is there a part of your game that you're currently working on?
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I'm just working on serving and volleying and coming to the net as much as I can.

Q. Okay. Great. And any plans? What are your plans with regard to the pro tour?
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No plans right now.
THE MODERATOR: But big plans for July 5th in Sacramento. Everybody tell Coach Bryan. Thank you all so much for calling. Anna, thank you for joining us today. We really appreciate it.
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Thank you so much. I'll talk to you soon. And I'll see everybody in Sacramento, whoever is from there. Okay, bye.

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