October 14, 2003
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Yevgeny.
Q. What's the injury today? I presume it was an injury. We were watching the other court, when you retired.
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah, it was injury, my foot.
Q. Is it the same injury as the one in Lyon?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yes.
Q. The one that caused a furor?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yes.
Q. What is your reaction to all the fuss that's been over that?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think it's all bullshit. That's all I can tell you. To read what you guys writing, you know, it's definitely hurting my feeling.
Q. Which bits in particular?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: All. It says I have been involved in the match fixing in the men's tennis. You know, to read that, you know, I don't even have a comments for that.
Q. That was not actually stated in the original report in England, what you were saying. Is there a danger that this is being translated over and over?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No, that's how I understood. I understood it says Kafelnikov has been involved in match fixing in tennis. You know, it just completely tears me apart.
Q. I was going to say that I think the thing that started it is obviously so much money has been put on a match.
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I'm not aware of that.
Q. 80,000 pounds.
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: That figure doesn't mean to me anything. 100, 200, 1 million.
Q. That aroused suspicion. It could have been any two players. The fact that this amount of money has gone on a particular match has aroused all the suspicions.
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I have no explanation for that, for what you're saying, you know. Like I told you, you know, I don't even know what figures normally, what bookmakers are doing. It's not interesting me.
Q. I think, in fact, most of the reports have suggested that it was people other than players who were involved. Presumably somebody must have known that you had a foot injury. I don't think anyone has laid any suspicion or blame on you individually, despite the way you read it. That's not the way I read it. It is more or less that people knew you were not fully fit for that match, and have taken full advantage of it.
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, you know, like I said, there is nothing I can do about it. Whatever the people doing, you know, websites or anywhere in the bookmaker's office, it's not my fault. All I can tell you, you know, tennis players have never been involved in the match fixing, especially in our sport. We are playing for our living. I'm completely hurting myself fixing any kind of matches. How much money I make in each tournaments, it's my money. It just completely -- you know, I don't even have the explanation for what's happening right now. You know, when I walked in yesterday morning, in the locker room, all the players looked at me like I'm the worst enemy of all time. And it completely tears me apart. Because what you have written in the newspaper, everyone has readed it. Back in my own country where basically people looking at me like I'm role model, and now they look at me like, you know, I'm worst enemy.
Q. You've been involved in tennis for many, many years. Have you ever heard of anything going on like this?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Not in our sport.
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Not in our sport.
Q. You've been around longer than almost anybody.
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I've been around since '92, yes.
Q. Are you going to take some legal action against them?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: If it doesn't stop, of course, I'm going to try to do whatever it takes. You know, you got to be responsible for what you're saying. Somebody has to be punished for that.
Q. Did you talk with Fernando Vincente?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I talked to him. He told me his mother was crying on the phone when she found out about it. He told me, "What is going on?" I said, "It's out of our hands, nothing we can do about it. This is the press. They basically in charge for what they writing." I don't know. I think he did the press conference before, right? I don't know what he had to say. But between us, we completely shocked.
Q. Did you have time to read all the articles?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Only one which is hanging on our wall in the locker room. I think it was the Telegraph.
Q. Sunday Telegraph.
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yes, that's the only one I've readed. Like I told you, I have no comments. I can't even express myself. You know, if you would have understand Russian, I would explain you in Russian what I feel.
Q. If you were allowed to bet on tennis, not being a tennis player, would you feel safe to bet on tennis at the moment or not?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Why you asking this question? I think betting itself, it's completely hurting any sport. Believe me, I would punish myself the people who created this kind of gambling, especially on sport, because this is completely destroying the life of many other sportsmens. Look what happened in cricket. I completely like to see gambling completely out of the picture. If I were allowed to make that rule, I would make it right now, believe me.
Q. If there are people, either within or on the fringes of tennis who are gambling on matches with inside information, what would you say to them?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I would completely -- first of all, I'd like to find out if there are any. Of course, if we would find out there is some guys who has this kind of information or perhaps trying to not give hundred percent effort on the court while they playing, you know, I think we would be definitely taking some action against those people.
Q. How long have you had your injury? How long have you been playing with it?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I had it since right after I lost to Sargsian first round of Kremlin Cup, so about two weeks, yeah. I thought I could play, but unfortunately...
Q. What is it exactly?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It's tendonitis. I just had an MRI. It showed on the picture.
Q. Do you have any theory about the fact that there were big bets before the match?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I have no idea.
Q. You don't have any clue?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I have no idea. I have no idea. I don't even know where was this stuff kind of going around. No idea.
Q. Do you have any regrets about not retiring at all? The Davis Cup final last year when you said you were going to finish, here you are still playing with an injury, now these stories are coming out. I just wonder do you think, "How do I carry on or why do I carry on?"
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Why I was trying to carry on this year? Because I was trying to give myself another chance to see if I was going to make right decision. As I see right now, I'm going to make a right decision after Paris, that's for sure, what I want to do. It's clear to me now what I want to do after season is ending.
Q. As we said, you're one of the most experienced players around. We all respect your views. It's been a difficult year for men's tennis with the drug matter, the strike talk, now this. What is your feeling now about the image of the men's game?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: The only thing I'm not happy about it that the players are not standing together on any kind of issues. That's what tears me apart. And hopefully when I'll be gone, there will be some major changes. They will stick together like one union, like in any other sports. Because if they do, it's going to help towards the end of the road.
End of FastScriptsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.