November 28, 2002
RUSSIA vs. FRANCE, PARIS, FRANCE
MODERATOR: We'll start our press conference.
Q. Are you satisfied with the results of the draw?
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: Well, I would say we'll see tomorrow if we're satisfied with the results of the draw. It will be clear tomorrow. I think this is absolutely normal procedure, yes.
Q. Marat, are you ready to win over Mathieu because you lost to him in Moscow during the Kremlin Cup?
MARAT SAFIN: Always ready.
Q. Paris is a lucky city for you. How do you feel yourself on this court in Bercy?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, the time will show. But I have good practice on the court. Tomorrow we'll see during the match.
Q. Are you surprised by the replacement, by the appearance on the team of Mr. Mathieu?
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: We were up to such a possibility. It was not our problem. It was mostly the problem of the captain of the French team. It was his decision. It was up to him to decide who will play.
Q. Kafelnikov said he would prefer to play second, after Safin winning, he would feel more comfortable. Is it important for you, the captain, that Kafelnikov is playing second?
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: I would say that it's not bad for us that Safin starts to play first.
Q. Is this one any more special than the others you played, particularly in view of the fact that the years are going by?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Absolutely is because, first of all, I think that I'm really seeing that perhaps it could be my last chance to win the Davis Cup while I'm playing. Second of all, it would be a great accomplishment for me to win such a competition, not only for myself, but for the country.
Q. It's always difficult to play the first match in a Davis Cup tie. Do you remember yours? Is it difficult to play, risky to play a first match?
MARAT SAFIN: First of all, I don't have any other options. The draw has been made already. I think anyway you have to bring the point. It doesn't matter playing first, second. Of course, I think it's better to play second if the first one brought you the point. I have to play my match, I have to win it, that's it. There is nothing else I can do. It's not easy, but I don't have any other options.
Q. To Marat and Yevgeny, what feeling do you have now playing in France, a lot of people are working all together just to make you tired, playing three matches in a row?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think that the pressure will be totally on the French team's shoulder because they're defending champion and playing in their home crowd. That's first. Second of all, you know, me and Marat, we've been playing a big number of years on the tour. For us it's not unusual to play three matches in a Davis Cup tie, especially in the final. We know how to handle situations. We know how to put up with it, the physical pressure. You know, it all will come down to which team is mentally stronger. I don't think the physical factor will be playing any big role in the match.
Q. In Moscow, you lost to Mathieu, playing a guy who has no background behind him, who is a newcomer, can play so risky and so well. What do you say now about the match?
MARAT SAFIN: Well, this is not an individual match, I would say. This is a team match. The pressure, the burden of pressure, will be on Mathieu's shoulders. So I don't think, I cannot really presume, that he will play so risky as he did in Moscow during the Kremlin Cup semifinal.
Q. You have millions of fans in Russia, a lot of fans maybe here, whose emotional support is most important for you.
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: It's the first time we'll have so many fans, Russian fans, while playing abroad. I think, I presume, maybe we'll have 1500 special supporters here to Paris from Moscow. We have a very special fan, the first president of Russia, Mr. Boris Yeltsin. He will be here in Paris to support us. Besides that the Mayor of Moscow, Mr. Lushkov, will be here as well. Naturally, I will tell you that it gives us a lot of support.
Q. Has the captain considered that his players are in their top shape, the best they could be for this final?
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: I would answer you like this. The coach is never satisfied by the shape in which his guys are. But to put it frankly, I would say that our team is at the best, excellent form, taking into consideration all the things, all the obstacles, all the things that we had before us during the last two weeks.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much. We'll see each other tomorrow.
End of FastScriptsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.