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September 8, 2001

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What is it about Lleyton that gives you so much trouble?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, I'm not the only one who having the trouble when I'm played him. You know, he's definitely tough competitor. What makes him so good is that he gets so many balls back to the court, it's just amazing, you know. You feel like you dominating the point, and then all of a sudden he's coming up with the shot that you would never expected he's going to come up with. Basically that kind of story was today. You know, I tried to, you know, play one game plan in the beginning. Middle way through the first set, I realized it wasn't working, and I tried to do different things. You know, every time I was asking him a question, he had an answer, you know. Just too good.

Q. What was that first thing you were trying to do? You say it wasn't working.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, obviously I know that Lleyton obviously good counter-puncher. In the beginning, I was try to be patient, try to wait for absolutely perfect opportunity to come into the net. But then, you know, he kept a good depth. You know, he was playing solid off the ground. Then I try to basically rush him as much as I can. But it wasn't working also. Like I said, you know, everything I try, I was not able to come up with the goods.

Q. When you played Kuerten, you said you felt that winning the first set was extremely important. Did you feel that way today?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No, I didn't, because that was probably the easiest match that I lost to Lleyton. Every time we played, it was quite tough, tough matches. Even though when I lost the first set I knew, you know, there's still a lot of tennis left behind. But, like I said, you know, I was trying to do different things throughout the match. You know, it's just one of those days where he was on top of his game, wasn't give me much errors. He just played good. He just played good.

Q. Did you lose your spirit, too, in the third set? Not only was he outplaying you on the points, but did you kind of lose the feeling you had any chance?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, the last thing I wanted to do is just to call the trainer, try to do some weird stuff. But, you know, I felt like, you know, if I was going to be a loser, lose like a champion, don't call for the trainer, don't do stupid things. That's kind of I'm proud of that. But, like I said, any loss, especially in this stage of a tournament, is very difficult to swallow. But I'm sure I'll get through that.

Q. Did you have some physical problems?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No, I did not. Absolutely nothing wrong with me physically. You know, I wasn't tired at all. You know, it's just one of those days where in the tournament, unfortunately it came in when I was playing a semifinal. You have a stages where you trying, you know, best, but it's not working, unfortunately.

Q. Can he be beaten right now, the way he's playing?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, my style of game is kind of matches to him. You know, I'm a baseliner. You know, he likes type of players like I. But, you know, when he goes against Pete or Marat, it could be different ballgame. I'm sure about that. But if he's going to chase tomorrow so many balls like he did today, it's going to be very difficult for both those guys to beat him.

Q. Does losing like that diminish the satisfaction you might take in your performance here?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Absolutely not, I think, just because I know I had a great tournament, winning five difficult matches. But, you know, unfortunately it is kind of depressing to see yourself losing the way like I did today, 6-1, 6-2, 6-1. But, you know, I've been around a long time. I feel like I'm, you know, one of the best guys. And I'm sure, you know, like I said, I'll get through that loss.

Q. You said that he's been chasing balls down amazingly. Does he do that best in the game?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Right now, probably yes. You know, he's very quick around the court, no questions about it. That's what makes him strong. Amazingly, you wouldn't think that a guy like Hewitt would play such a great tennis on the fast surface. But I think that is his best surface because he does use the pace of the opponent. You know, his legs make him definitely one of the best players.

Q. How do you see those match-ups if it is Pete or Marat?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: If one of those two guys, whoever wins between them, can overpower him, they going to win. But, like I said, it's going to be very difficult. You know, fortunately for him, you know, his confidence going to be very, very huge tomorrow because I don't think many times you win in the semifinal match the way that he did today, 6-1, 6-2, 6-1. I'm sure, you know, Marat and Pete will have a tough battle. It might wear them both down. I just don't want to make any prediction, whoever wins between those two guys.

Q. You played flawlessly Wednesday. How would you explain you weren't able to do it again?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It's different. It's different completely game. You know, Gustavo, he likes to control the point himself. So basically I was kind of in a position like Hewitt was today. I was using the Guga's pace perfectly. And today was different story. Today I needed to do something extraordinary to beat him. I tried to, you know, play fast. I tried to play slow. Lleyton was using my pace perfectly. That's why, you know, it's such a big contrast, you know, Wednesday to Saturday, because the opponents quite a bit different to each other.

End of FastScripts....

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