November 29, 2002
RUSSIA vs. FRANCE, PARIS, FRANCE
MODERATOR: Questions for the Russian team.
Q. Yevgeny, yesterday you said it could be a question of mental. Do you think it was a question of mental today against Grosjean?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It's difficult for me to answer I think because it wasn't a mental game at all. It was basically one-way traffic. You know, I wasn't able to keep up with him in the second and third set. First set was very close. But in the second seems to me, you know, he run away from me. I tried to do everything I could to stay in the match, to keep the points longer, to keep the games longer. Unfortunately, I was making too many mistakes.
Q. You made two double-faults, the first one in the tiebreak, and one at the beginning of the third set. Do you think it was because you were too nervous?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No, no. You should go back a little bit earlier to that first set because I made a break at 2-All, and I was up 3-2 serving. You know, if I would have keep up the game that I was playing in the beginning, we couldn't come to the tiebreak, I would have won the first set comfortably. You know, he made a break back, and then obviously the match became, again, quite a close one until the tiebreak. Like I said, in the tiebreak, it's always a lottery. You have to gamble sometimes. Unfortunately, I took the gamble at the wrong time.
Q. Maybe you put yourself too much under pressure because you wanted to win this so badly.
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, it's another difficult question for me to answer. You know, I felt the pressure, because a 2-Love lead, it's always much more nice rather than 1-All after the first day. You know, it's one of those situation where you cannot look far ahead. I was quite happy that Marat won the first match, to give me that kind of freedom that I was playing without such pressure. But, on the other hand, I was maybe not thinking too much how to approach every single point. I wasn't really paying too much attention to the score. I was just trying to play my best game. Sometimes when you do that, you make mistakes. That's what I did, I think.
Q. How do you feel going into the doubles? Tired?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Not really. Not really. I can say it's a logical score, 1-1. Deep inside, I felt I wasn't at my best. To beat Grosjean on the home field in front of such a crowd, you got to have, you know, big guts to do that. Like I said, unfortunately, I was not able to do that. You know, Marat proved again, you know, that he's the best player on our team by winning the first point.
Q. Did you feel the pressure during the match of Marat?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No, I felt comfortable after the first set. He was playing at home. Like I said, after he won the first set, I felt quite confident that he was going to win the whole match because he was playing quite nicely, with good rhythm, a lot of confidence.
Q. Grosjean plays a lot of dropshots to you. Do you think you will be tired?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I could have gone another three sets. Unfortunately, it didn't last that long. I'm not tired. I'm ready. The question is if I can put a hundred percent performance like I always do. It's a different thing.
Q. Captain, how do you analyze the first day? Are you worried about the form of Kafelnikov?
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: I will say that Kafelnikov was not playing badly. What he lacked was the speed. I think the days that are coming, he will improve his game, and I think that he'll be playing better tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.
Q. I would like to know what you think of what Kafelnikov did, the effort he put into this match, and is it very disappointing for you?
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: We are not disappointed because we thought that after the first day that the score would be 1-1.
Q. I would like to know what you think about the match of Marat against Mathieu.
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: I would divide a the first match of Marat in two parts. He was playing rather nervously for one set and a half, then he improved and he gained the speed, he gained the form, and he played pretty well at the end of the match.
Q. Yevgeny said that he preserved a lot of stamina and he's ready to play tomorrow. Could you comment on that?
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: Well, taking into consideration that they should play doubles, it's better to lose in three sets in singles than to play five sets in doubles.
Q. What is the key tomorrow in the doubles against Escude and Santoro? Did you study that particularly?
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: Well, I wouldn't like to go into details for naturally you can really understand me. We have our own project. We have our own inner thoughts about the match. What I should say is that everything will be decided by the quality of the serve and by the returning of the serve.
Q. The French public did not support Mathieu because they didn't believe in him. On the contrary, they gave a lot of support to Grosjean.
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: Well, it depends. The supporting of the crowd, it depends very much on the score. If the home team or athlete is leading, naturally he got more support. That was the case in the second match.
Q. Generally the team winning the doubles will win the tie. Do you feel the same and do you believe tomorrow is the key?
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: Well, really you're right in most cases it's like that, but sometimes it happens that the fate of the match is decided by the singles.
Q. Last night Yevgeny was serving extremely well, but today his serve left much to be desired. How can you explain it?
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: Well, he did that because he wanted to make the first service to be very sure. Grosjean returned the second serve extremely well.
Q. You just said that you count very much or stake very much on Yevgeny Kafelnikov for tomorrow, maybe the day after tomorrow. Previously you mentioned that Youzhny may play. Give your comment on that.
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: You know, we are coaches. We coaches, we act like the weather shows us to act. If it's a sunny day, we act like it's a sunny day. If it's raining cats and dogs, let it rain cats and dogs and we will change.
Q. I would like to know if the whole team is going to have dinner together tonight? Are you going to try to create something or each one will be on his own?
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: First of all, recreation procedures, really they are very important. After that, we'll see what will go on, what we'll do.
Q. What interests me very much really is the attitude of the French team towards their national anthem. They were singing the national anthem. It looks like they know it by heart. Why did your team not show the same attitude towards the anthem?
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: Well, the thing is that we are patriots really. We made it big, we're already in the final, and it's a big event for us. I promise, we'll learn the words.
Q. Did the first president of Russia give his comment on the result of the first day?
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: Well, maybe he'll tell us something, but he did not permit me to go to him and hear his comments.
End of FastScriptsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.