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August 5, 2002

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


Q. The heat a factor at all for you today?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Perhaps, but I wouldn't blame my loss on the weather conditions today. I think it is just in general, performance wishes only to be better. But all I am saying I am disappointed. That's the way things go.

Q. You usually play well here and get far --

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I have been playing very well here in the past, and actually it's the first time I am going out of the tournament this early. Like I said, it's frustrating to lose the first round in any tournament but all I am saying I have got to move on to the next week and only be positive.

Q. He had beaten you twice this year. Has he changed at all or is it just these two matches just didn't go your way?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No, he has definitely been playing better lately particularly since beginning of this year. Any time you win the type of matches like he did previous times before when we played in general, it gives me a lot of confidence going into the match today. I think it also was the reason that he came out very confident; that he felt like he had a chance to beat me. And perhaps I wasn't as confident as I normally feel like and I think that has been a factor lately to my game, that confidence, it's obviously a big part of my game, and I have been missing the confidence that I had in the previous years.

Q. Why do you think that?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It's just I think logical process. Other guys are getting better and obviously for us it's becoming more tougher and tougher to be playing that kind of level like we played before. Just the men's game is a lot tougher than it was before.

Q. When you say "We" do you mean guys like yourself and Pete and other guys who are struggling a little bit?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yes, obviously I am speaking only on my behalf, but, you know, if you look at the results the players that you just have mentioned, it's very logical what is happening.

Q. How do you deal with that?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, that's obviously many different ways to deal with it. First of all, I think you have got to train three times harder than you did to keep up with the young guys, and sometimes it's the hard way. But to be honest, I feel like it is the only way to be playing the kind of level of tennis that we played before, you got to be more focused and more dedicated than you were before.

Q. Everybody has to get to a point where you either want to do that or not?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Exactly, or not. You have got to make a strong decision where you want to really again go through the hard way or just kind of let it go.

Q. Do you have that drive, do you feel like you want to practice three times --

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I am in the middle right now. I am in the undecided period, but it is a nice feeling when you are in great shape, you are competing hard, you feel like you are unbeatable. On the other hand, when you are running out of steam it's the worst feeling you could have losing to the guys that you are not supposed to lose to.

Q. Does it happen quickly? Do you go from a point of thinking I can take on any young kid that comes around to thinking who are these young kids and why are they beating me? Does it happen fast?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Believe it or not, it does happen fast. You just -- you feel like it has been like yesterday, that you were basically unbeatable, you were strong in the head but all of a sudden things are changing quickly; all of a sudden those guys have beliefs that they can do it, and to deal with that kind of pressure and to deal with it, it's not an easy way. It's not an easy thing; especially when you have been here so much on the top for a long period of time and then all of a sudden you are back on a level with very average guys.

Q. Any comfort in looking around and knowing other guys are going through the same thing that you are going through?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: There are a few guys like that, which is also going through that hard period of time, and all I can suggest is just really have motivation and desire to -- because we have the ability to play the best level of the game, no question, but it is just whether you want to do it or not.

End of FastScripts….

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