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December 1, 2002

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


MODERATOR: Questions for the Russian team.

Q. I would like to ask to Youzhny if he's surprised of what he achieved today. How much are you surprised? Before the match, what was your feeling?

MIKHAIL YOUZHNY: You know, before this match, when I go to warm up, I didn't really know if I would play last match. But I was good. I try play my best tennis. First two sets, it was not so good, but after I play like I can play.

Q. Can you say what was your emotion at the last point of the match?

MIKHAIL YOUZHNY: No. It was no emotion. I don't understand what's happens. I just know we're winning. I was very glad after the match.

Q. Marat, how is the taste of this victory compared to the US Open?

MARAT SAFIN: It's two completely different stories. I mean, when I won the US Open, I couldn't believe that I could beat Pete Sampras in the finals. I was still too young to win that kind of tournament. I was so happy, but I didn't know how to enjoy it. Right away I had to fly to Tashkent to play another tournament. This victory, you know, it's a team tournament. We won, we're basically the world champions this year. We have nothing, I don't have to go to any tournaments, I don't have to rush, I don't have to do anything next week, so I have to enjoy. I will enjoy, of course. I want to congratulate all my team, all the players. They deserve it. Yevgeny, he played great. He saved so many times the Russian team. Our captain, he was great. He was perfect. He was supporting us during all the match. Thank you very much. Of course, Mikhail for today's victory that basically nobody expect that he could win after two sets 2-Love down. He surprised I think even himself. He showed that he's a real man, he's a Russian man, he knows how to fight, he knows how to come out of such a difficult situation. Thanks a lot for the victory. I'm so happy, I'm so glad. I cannot describe what I'm feeling right now. It's just something that is just so great, it's the best. Better than sex, you can say that (smiling).

Q. Yevgeny, you were not very supportive during Mikhail's match. Can you tell us why? We saw you speaking a lot on the phone, not paying much attention.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: To be honest, I was paying too much attention. Maybe I talk once or twice during the time. Believe me, when you are trying to support your fellow teammate as much as you can, sometimes you're running out of energy. That's what's probably happened during my first match when Marat played. He played a tough match against Grosjean. Second match, I at least knew that we're going to be here for long, long match. That doesn't mean on my mimics that I wasn't supporting Mikhail. I was trying to do it as best as I could. Sometimes you're unable because you're sitting on the bench.

Q. Yevgeny, you say a few weeks ago if you win the Davis Cup...

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Q. So?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: So the final statement will be made through next week.

Q. Next week?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yes. Let me explain once again. It's very enjoyable moment for me right now. I do respect what I said before. Like I told you, the final decision will be made throughout next week.

Q. You won the Davis Cup final with two very, very young players. What does it mean for the future, Youzhny and Safin, to have two players like this 20 and 20 years old?

MARAT SAFIN: 22 (laughter). Is such a difficult question. We didn't think so far already what was going to happen in the future. We just want to enjoy the moment. I think it's great to have two young players, but still I don't think Yevgeny is still too old. 28 years old, it's just the beginning of your career (smiling). I think he will stay for another year. He will join us on the team and bring a lot of support for the Russian tennis. He's very important for us and for tennis in Russia. I think he will make a decision to stay one more year, just enjoy the moment. Anyway, he has nothing to do because he dedicate himself during already more than 20 years for tennis. I think it's his life and his job, and he loves it. I think he will stay and welcome very much Mikhail with such great success, that he give the opportunity to whole Davis Cup. We're looking forward for the future. Of course, you have to enjoy first of all this victory and then to think about next year, next matches of Davis Cup.

Q. Yevgeny, was it a difficult situation to give your place to Misha or not?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It depends from which angle you're going to look at it. Probably my ego was saying that I should play, but realistically I felt like he was going to give the best effort than I could. You know, lately he was playing well, and I wasn't. It was tough, but I did everything for the best interest of the team. You know, right now I'm proud what I have decided. It's definitely best team effort that we probably see.

Q. You're not a little bit disappointed after all your efforts for the past in Russia? You've won, but is it disappointing to have not been actually playing at the final moment of victory?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You could say that. Like I told, you know, my ego is now somewhere probably back in Siberia. It's in the best interests of the team I did. It's in the best interests of the team. You know, that's why it's a team competition. Sometimes you've got to put your personal ambition somewhere else, where no one wants to see that. That's what happened.

End of FastScripts….

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