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August 29, 2002

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What was wrong tonight?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Very exact question I am asking myself. There is no answer for that, unfortunately.

Q. Were you irritated? Does this court change at all?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, perhaps was the fact that we had rain all day and, you know, I came in really early. Obviously, you know, schedule is second match without knowing what was gonna happen. But I don't want to blame it the weather effect on the results which is just happen 30 minutes ago.

Q. Andre Agassi said that he purposely didn't get here till about 2:30. He didn't have the waiting around. Would you say the waiting around did sort of bother your preparation?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, it's -- it's obvious it would have been ideal situation not to come really early. But, you know, weather factor here is always unpredictable. You never know what's gonna happen. As soon as the wind start blowing, the clouds were going, 30 minutes, the match is right there on the court. So I didn't want to also be caught in between, you know, going back and forth in the stadium back to the tennis center. So that was the reason. But like I said, I wouldn't blame what happen just on the court on the circumstances.

Q. Is it a question of motivating yourself?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I am motivated. Believe me, I am motivated like I never been before.

Q. Would you say that, well, Davis Cup is the most important thing for you at the moment?


Q. If you win it, you might maybe call it a day?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Not might; I will. But, you know, obviously there's still long way till there. Even right now it's only Thursday end of the month and we have Davis Cup on 21st, 22nd. I got to be somehow in the shape for the next 22, 23 days before Davis Cup. So there is obviously a big motivation.

Q. Do you think you could kind of in your mind put all of your eggs in one basket saying, "All that matters is Davis Cup"?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Perhaps I did, but, you know, it's -- I don't want to see that as an answer to my results, that I already said I have one goal for myself for the rest of the year and that is to win Davis Cup, without, you know, not giving such effort for any other tournaments. Hopefully, that's not an answer. But it seems like it is happening this way. But believe me, it's not what I feel inside. I feel like I'm trying very much every single match I go in. But it's just, you know, it's just not there. Confidence not there. And perhaps, you know, it's all started in Australia this year where I also lost, you know, second round, sort of similar type of a match of what I had today. And that kind of, you know, set up the whole season like that.

Q. Has it surprised you, because you had reached the quarterfinals in three or four Slams? You always perform well.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It did. It did. It did surprise me. But, you know, in the end I said, you know, that perhaps was the only one time it happen like that. So I wasn't paying too much attention. But then again, the French Open was also the same kind of story. I was also early in the tournament. You start to realize that you are doing something different. And with me, it's always been confidence the most important factor in my game. Right now I feel like, you know, when I go out, I'm in between, you know? I don't know what the outcome of the match will be. Where before, a couple of, you know, months or even back in last year, I knew exactly what the outcome would be.

Q. The tie is going to be in Russia. Who do you think will win?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think so, we'll win.

Q. Why?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You can answer me that question right after we finish that tie. But right now I cannot tell you why I feel that we're gonna come out victorious in that match.

Q. Why have you positioned it that way, that if you do win the Davis Cup as a whole, you'll retire?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It would be nothing to accomplish for me.

Q. You reached the semifinal here two of the three previous years. Do you feel like you can draw on that confidence even though you may have struggled this year? Can you not draw on past good results here?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You do, when you go back to the tournament where you had success in the past, you do tend to feel that kind of confidence going into the tournament even though your past performance in previous tournaments was not good, yes. But, you know, unfortunately, you know, the tennis we have today in the men's game is not the one that we had even, you know, two, three years ago. It's different now. The depth is so big that even a guy ranked 100 in the world can pull some upsets. That's what happened.

Q. You've had a great career. Who do you think the toughest player you've faced would be, mental toughness?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Over the years... You know, Hewitt would be out there, that's for sure. Agassi, when he played tremendously good, I remember, back in '95, '99. Although '99 I felt like I had a chance to beat him. But back in '95 when he was 25 years old in Australia, he played extremely well.

Q. Was it an aggressive style?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Just, you know, I felt like he was basically the wall. He was covering the court well, so was Hewitt. Well, both of them covering the court well and creating every angle that is possible, doing everything what was necessary to be really top player at that particular time.

Q. How do the two distinguish? Andre has a little bit more of an aggressive game, but Hewitt is pretty fierce in his approach.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, it's lot of similarity in their games. But obviously, they are different. You know, Agassi is type of player which likes to dictate the game when he's on. Hewitt, so-called counterpuncher, you know, he plays more defensive style. But meantime, he always plays aggressive when the players do try to come in on him. So basically he likes a target. But, you know, they're both good athletes. You know, obviously if one of them would not have such a strong mental, I don't think they both would be that successful.

Q. On Monday when ranking your list of accomplishments, you kind of put the Australian Open win a little bit lower than the others. Why was that?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, it's just between us players, you know. We do rank the Grand Slam particularly different, you know? Some -- obviously we do put probably Wimbledon in the top spot, then US Open then French then Australian. So Australian without a doubt for each one of us is staying in fourth place. That's why I felt like to me probably biggest thing was to win Olympics. Like I told you, it's one every four years and it's big.

Q. What's your feeling when some of the European players and Latin players put Roland Garros first?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Just because we're Europeans. You know, for us, it's -- we live on that continent. It's -- we do get probably better TV coverage in each of the European country, and that's why. Like I said, you know, I would have probably put also French Open on -- you know, if you compare it to the US Open, perhaps, because like I said, it's in Paris.

Q. You still would put Wimbledon first, is that what you're saying?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I would do that, yes. I would do it just because it's history, where tennis has begun.

Q. So there's still a goal for you to accomplish, maybe?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Unrealistic. It's just out of my reach unfortunately.

Q. You're so realistic. You're more realistic than almost all the players.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: My ego is not so big like many others, you know. I look in the life from little bit different angle than perhaps any others.

Q. You used to say, "Pete's in the draw, I don't have a chance." Between us, do you think Pete should retire?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No comment on that (smiling).

Q. You wish to win Davis Cup. Imagine it doesn't work, you lose semifinal, you lose in the final. Will you still play next year?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No comments on that either (laughing).

End of FastScripts….

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