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March 14, 2002

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


MODERATOR: Yevgeny advances to the quarterfinals here for the second straight year. He'll take on the winner of Todd Martin, Karol Kucera. Questions?

Q. Your thoughts on playing in such a big stadium, but so few people in it.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It was too early. 10:00 match. Not many people in this place don't wake up that early. I kind of expected. But as the match went on, stadium started to fill up more.

Q. How good does that guy play?


Q. Yes.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: He definitely has a good game, good game. He's got a great serve. You know, it's difficult to play him. If you look at the match, he was holding his serve very comfortably. You know, just one break of serve throughout the whole match. It just shows that he's very talented and plays well off both wings - backhand, forehand - although his volley wishes to be better. You know, tough competitor.

Q. Does that abbreviated service motion that he uses make it difficult to read his serve?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It does, yes, to a certain degree. He probably the only one who has such a service motion. It's unusual because he can create, you know, big angles on that serve. Like I said, you know, he is very powerful. You know, when his first serve goes in, it's basically difficult to play him.

Q. Year after year you play more than anybody else.


Q. Everybody else is breaking down all the time. You've been injured, but you don't break down as much as they do. Are you just tougher than anybody else?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Probably, probably (smiling).

Q. Another question would be, why do you do this?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I'll answer the first one, how I do it. I was fortunate enough throughout my career to be able to play a lot of matches. Being on the tour for, I don't know, nine years, was to be able to get to know my body so well, actually time comes to the point where I am feeling like break down. That's when I'm taking it easy. I'm never pushes myself 150% to the limit. That's why I was able to stay healthy without any major injuries. The second one, why? I like it. I like to win matches, I like to win the tournament, that's what still keeps driving me.

Q. You've spoken before about players and compensation, money. Do you want to clarify that? Do you think players are under-paid?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: If you look at the global economic, we're all struggling at this moment.

Q. Are you struggling?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No, I'm not. I'm not. I don't know why you bringing that question. I'm not. I like what I have.

Q. So you don't feel that players are under-paid?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, if you compare to the golf players, I think we do under-paid. But golfers obviously an extreme example.

Q. How do you think you're hitting the ball at the moment?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, based on my performance today, I have no complaints. But, like I said, if I can carry on through the rest of the tournament like this, I'll be very happy. But, you know, tomorrow's another day. Whether it's Kucera or Martin, I don't know yet. I will have to prepare very well to play against either of those two guys.

Q. If you look at both of them?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I like Martin's game a lot. About Kucera, he's very unpredictable. He's got very tricky game. It's always difficult to play him. You know, if I would have a choice of who I wanted to play, of course it's Martin. Whoever comes on the top in they match tonight, you know, doesn't really matter. It's already quarterfinal. There are no easy matches starting from that stage in the tournament.

Q. You had some big serves in that first set tiebreak.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I did. I did. I've been working on the serve last few days. It just, you know, helps.

Q. Any particular technical things you're doing?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No, just throw out the number of serve I did every evening, it just helps. In the crucial stages of the match, I was able to come up with the needed serve in the right time.

Q. You make the point, compared to golfers, you guys are under-paid. A first-round loser in this tournament gets more than $8,000. A professional golfer goes out, doesn't make the cut, he doesn't make a dime. So how are you under-paid?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: If you look at the guys who wins the tournament, they make 700 almost every week. We have only nine tournaments where we get paid, winner gets paid, little over than 400 grand. In that perspective, you know, we do under-paid. You also brought a good point, you know, it's loser in the first round get $8,000. On the PGA TOUR, you have to make a cut to earn the paycheck.

Q. Do you play golf?


Q. Not on the PGA level?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I wish I was. I wish I was.

Q. Do you think it's an advantage having played this early when the rest of the guys are going to be sweating it out?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You saw what happened yesterday. You know, I was able to finish the match in the right time, and obviously the weather come to the player, we have the sand storm. I was so lucky to get the match over with. I could have the rest of the afternoon off, where the other guys had to basically stay throughout all day waiting for the match to be resumed. I think to a certain degree it is advantage.

Q. Can you get a golf game in this afternoon?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I don't think so. Like I told, I might go back to the tennis court, hit some more serves, which hopefully would be necessary to win my match tomorrow.

Q. Is it a goal of yours to do some more improving of your serve?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think that's aspect of game that, you know, helps me to win my matches. It's probably the easiest aspect of the game that you can improve. You don't need a sparring partner. You just basically take the basket of the balls and hit as many serves as you can and you get better.

Q. How many would you typically hit?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Probably 150 to 200.

Q. You're talking about why you like to play the game, winning, the competition, all that. Do you have to be good at everything you do? Do you have to be competitive on everything you do?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah, it's good questions. I normally -- when I set any goals for myself, I like to get it done. You know, I normally do get upset with the things which is normally does not go my way. That's why I told you, you know, two days ago that, you know, my priority at this stage would be to win the Davis Cup at least once. We've been through the final twice. It was a big disappointment. Davis Cup is small piece which I want to add it into my career, that I'm missing. That's why I set this goal for myself. I want to fulfill that wish of mine.

Q. What about away from the courts? You're talking about the fact you play a bit of golf.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I'm on 28 years old. I'm still young. Basically I haven't seen much besides, you know, tennis court. I have been dedicated to the game of sport pretty much. That's why when I was 18 years old, I wanted to win, you know, first professional tournament. I've done it. Then to make it into the Top 10. You know, slowly I was making some goals for myself, enough that I have accomplished that. I was making another one, another one, another one. Right now Davis Cup is my goal. So, like I told you, I want to win it pretty badly.

Q. Do you want to be No. 1 again?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No. 1? Perhaps when I win the Davis Cup. You know, I promised that I will retire when I win the Davis Cup. I don't want to be No. 1 anymore. I have been once already. Not at this stage.

Q. It's not fun?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It is fun. It's a lot of fun. Believe me, when I was No. 1 in the world, it was pretty big enjoyment. But, you know, time is moving. Obviously, the wishes are moving, too.

Q. When you come to the desert, do you see Larry Stefanki?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: He's too busy. He's running behind Henman full-time. He doesn't have much time for me anymore.

Q. You don't play golf?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: He's busy. Every time I ask him to go play golf like we did in the old days, he says, "I'm sorry, I'm busy." We had a good time, we basically played every day golf. It didn't bother him. Right now seems to be he's too busy.

End of FastScripts….

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