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DAVIS CUP - RUSSIA vs USA


April 5, 1998


Shamil Tarpischev


ATLANTA, GEORGIA

PAGE CROSLAND: We'll begin the questioning in English.

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Q. Coach, could you go through your reasoning today for playing the two players you did instead of your doubles specialist, Olhovskiy?

CAPTAIN TARPICHEV: Olhovskiy was injured, and I was afraid that he will not be able to play till the very end of the game. I was put Kafelnikov and Safin just to play the singles tomorrow.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: We knew we were going to get through the 30 games in the doubles so we can play our singles tomorrow.

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Q. How important was that for you to have it go over till tomorrow?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, I got tired from yesterday, 3 hours, 40 minutes. To be honest, I felt like we had a pretty good chance to win. If Marat would have played like he played third set, I think, you know, we would have won. Unfortunately, he was uptight, which is understandable. The guy playing first time in a Davis Cup against United States, against Agassi, Courier, Martin and Reneberg. It's pretty understandable that he's nervous. You know, in the beginning of the third, he got, you know, loose, and he started to play very good tennis. He has ability to play. But then, you know, he got back to the situation which is he was in the beginning of the first two sets. You know, he could not recover.

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Q. I saw you talking to him. Were you trying to calm him down?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I tried. You know, I was in the same situation like he, you know, when he played first time Davis Cup, you know, for the country. No experience behind his back. It's understandable. You know, I'm not blaming him for playing like that. But I'm sure, you know, next time we play anybody, he's going to be ten times better.

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Q. You said he was uptight. In the tiebreaker in the first set, you missed several shots you don't usually miss. What was going on with you?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah, yeah, yeah (laughter). I knew in this situation, I had to only rely on myself. Just, you know, Todd made two double-faults at the first point of the tiebreaker, I knew I had to convert those two points. I was not able to handle the pressure. Once I got myself down, there was no way to get back.

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Q. Going back to the main issue, why did you decide to play tomorrow instead of today?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Because I felt like we had a chance. Like I said, you know, if he would have played normally.

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Q. But you play the single tomorrow.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah.

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Q. You play the single tomorrow.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Why we choose to play singles tomorrow?

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Q. Yes.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, I'm sure everybody can understand why. I played 3 hours, 40 minutes yesterday, plus two hours today. You know, I'm not expecting myself to go back on the court today and perform a hundred percent, because I'm really tired. But I'm sure, you know, I will have a good night's sleep today and I will be very fresh tomorrow.

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Q. Realistically, how much of a chance do you give you guys, you against Agassi and Marat?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Realistically? I have to beat Agassi first, which is not an easy thing today. But, you know, I try. If it happen, it happens. If not, we are looking forward to play against them next time.

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Q. What is Olhovskiy's injury?

CAPTAIN TARPICHEV: He had surgery on his knee two months ago.

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Q. How about Volkov, what was his situation?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Volkov retired already (laughter).

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Q. How come he was here?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, he's a good teammate. Always nice to have around him. Very good friend of us.

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Q. Companion?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Right. Very good one.

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Q. When was it apparent that Olhovskiy could not play, because he did play last week?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: In the beginning, we knew he was not going to play. We knew that. But we just want to make, you know, strange move that everybody would think that he's able to play. But, unfortunately, we knew he was never going to play.

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Q. For Safin. First Davis Cup tie. It could come down theoretically to maybe the whole thing being on your last match. What do you think about the possibility of facing that?

MARAT SAFIN: I will try to do my best.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: If it comes to that (laughter).

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Q. Any chance of getting a little more from you?

PAGE CROSLAND: Can he elaborate, can he say more about playing Courier?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: He will try to come down, because he's still in that mental breakdown. He expecting too much from himself, that he cannot recover. I'm sure, you know, tomorrow, these two matches will help him a lot.

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Q. Yevgeny, do you feel by playing us tomorrow, you're taking the crowd out of it, too?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think so. I think so. I'm sure, you know, we'll have some supporters on our side, and that will help me to get through.

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Q. Yevgeny, it seemed like from your reaction when you realized you had clenched the 30 games, that was almost -- it was almost like that was all you came here for today, just to get to the 30 and get to tomorrow. Was that sort of the strategy?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: When I realized that our chances were not so much in the doubles, you know, when Marat was kind of uptight, basically what I was trying to do didn't work. He was still didn't get through. But then, you know, I was kind of happy that I would not play singles because, like I said, I'm really tired. I'm glad that we can play our singles tomorrow.

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Q. How much have you played doubles with Marat?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: First time. First time.

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Q. How much doubles experience does he have as a junior?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: He has ability to play. That's the important thing. But, you know, always come to the experience. The first time, like I said next time we play doubles together, he'll be ten times better.

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Q. Could he answer that, how much doubles experience he has?

MARAT SAFIN: I was start playing doubles since I was 13. The tournament I won was Challenger in doubles, doubles competition.

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Q. What do you think his chances are, obviously as nervous as he's been in his first two matches? If you beat Agassi tomorrow, and he comes down to the match, what chance does he realistically have of getting over all his nerves and, I guess, Jim Courier?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Let's not put the pressure right now (laughter), on the youngest. I have to win first, then we'll see.

PAGE CROSLAND: Any other questions in English?

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End of FastScripts....

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