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May 10, 2003

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I would guess that must be pretty frustrating?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I would say yes, the fact that I lost in a semifinal in a Masters Series event, having served for the match at 6-5 in the second set, yeah, it is frustrating factor. But I'm not disappointed at all with the way I played. That's good progress for me in the right direction.

Q. Your dropshot was sensational early in the match. Do you think you overdid it? Was it because you were tired?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No, I think I never thought that I was overdoing something. Just the fact is that I extremely got tired in the end of the second set and the beginning of the third for about 15 minutes. That's, I think, the reason why I lost. But like I said, I'm not going to blame myself for anything what I was doing on the court. I think I played sensational. It's just one of those days where I was a bit unlucky and played perhaps a little bit tentative at the moments when I needed to play aggressive, especially when I was serving for that match.

Q. You showed more emotion than I've seen you show.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah, I was surprised with myself with the emotion that I showed. It's been a while, like I said, that I was in the tournament on the weekend, so...

Q. Is this a feeling that you're starting a second career? You thought you were through. Now here you are again playing very well.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, I said, you know, some time I am surprising myself. You know, the reason is, like I said, I started to feel healthy again, you know. When you are playing well, you know, all of a sudden emotions comes in to the factor, too. So it's combination of both. And, you know, I see no reason why I cannot continue to play that tennis again.

Q. Which part of his game makes him difficult to beat on clay, Mantilla?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It was perfect example today how everybody should play against the Spanish guys, the way I did it. If I would have maintained my focus for that small period of time, the score would be 6-4, 7-5. But, unfortunately, I lost that focus for short period of time and it cost me the match. But you have to play aggressive. You know, aggressive, dominate them. Otherwise, if you give them a chance, you know, play tentative, defensive game like they do, they can hit that yellow ball for a long time. That happened throughout the third set. I was tired and my ground stroke wasn't that effective like it was in the first set. Felix was playing his usual game. Once I started to do different things, you see I got back in the game in that third set, in the end of third set. Unfortunately, I lost. But, still, that's how you should play, how everyone should play.

Q. You are obviously an excellent player and you've played top level. You're still young, only 29. Don't you think it's too early to think about retiring?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, again, we coming back to that subject because to be honest, in my mind, I didn't felt like I was gonna feel healthier like I once was. And that was the reason why I had that thought. But right now, right now I feel physically stronger again, and I still have energy to compete with the young guys. Yeah, 29 is not the limit, of course, for the tennis players. Hopefully, you know, I can do what I was doing when I was at a young age, and who knows, maybe I can be long enough here.

Q. Do you take pride in being one of the few really good players who plays doubles, too?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I am, yes. But it's becoming extremely difficult to compete singles and doubles. Yesterday I had a tough match against Verkerk and I had to go out and play doubles. Perhaps it was the reason why I run out of energy in the end of that second set. But, you know, I always said it, that, you know, I got better in my singles game throughout playing doubles. You know, I improved my serve tremendously, volley. It definitely helps. If I would give advice to young guys who are playing only singles, I tell them they should go straight to the double -- play doubles. That's the reason how they can improve their game.

End of FastScripts….

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