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August 31, 2001

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You survived another one.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I did, yes (smiling).

Q. What happened the first two sets? How did you get yourself back into the match?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I guess, you know, all the guys, 127 guys in the men's draw, can play the game of tennis. That's the only explanation I can give you. Doesn't matter where you are in the ranking, you still have to come out and try to play hundred percent every time. There is no more easy, easy matches these days. You know, the guys are coming out with a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm, trying to make a big, big statement. For about two sets, he was going to make big statement. But I guess in a Grand Slam, you know, unfortunately is not best-of-three sets, it's best-of-five. You know, the strongest and the better players will survive. I just proved another time to myself, no matter how big of a hole you in, you know, you still have a small chance to come out of there. I did, just like I did in the previous match.

Q. Did you not feel like, "Here I am two sets down, just had a long match, I'm going to need another two hours to beat this guy"?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It's never an issue to me. I know I've been in those situations before where I was two sets to love down and then be able to come back and win the match. You know, it's a beauty about men's tennis these days. If you look at the statistics, you know, first two rounds, you know, we had big number of matches in five sets. All of them are quite exciting. No, I never felt like that. All I was worried about was just to win, you know, each point at a time and perhaps to give myself a chance to be able to - of course not to win the match, but to be able to come back and have a better performance than I was going through the first two sets.

Q. Are you a factor in this tournament? Do you consider yourself a factor or do you say, "I have to get to the second week before I know where my level is"?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I believe in myself. I can be a factor, no questions about it. You know, unfortunately, like I said, there is no more easy matches, even from the first round. You've got to work your way through the tournament. It would be good thing to get through the second week. I believe once I get there, you know, I'm sure the interest level and the performance level would be a lot better, although I cannot say that I was playing quite poorly today. I got to give lot of credit to my opponent the way that he came out and fought. He did best that he did. Unfortunately, it was a little bit too short for him.

Q. Do you look at your draw?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: A little bit. A little bit.

Q. You know you're on Guga's side?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I'm not looking that far ahead. I have to be concerned about my next match. I'm sure it was going to be even harder than my first two previous matches. One match at a time, then perhaps I can be looking.

Q. You've heard this question a lot. Are you going to go to the end of the year and then reassess as far as how long you're going to keep playing?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: To be honest, I'm quite happy we going to have a longer period of time of break, not like previous years. Right now I'm looking at least six-week break before the new season starts. I think that would be for me quite long break really to get the energy level back, and perhaps we'll see. Like I said, it's really long and tiring season. To be able to play all the time on the very high level, it's not an easy thing.

Q. So there's no possibility you're going to go into your break in November and December and say, "I like being at home, maybe I'm not going to play next year"?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Perhaps. I just don't want to look that far ahead. I have a US Open right here in front of me. Like I said, this is the Grand Slam that I haven't won yet. I don't feel like I am favorite. You know, I believe I can do it. It's one of those tournaments where I always felt I had a great potential to succeed someday. Who knows, it could be my year. Like I said, I'm not going to look that far ahead. Even if it's not happen, it's not going to be a big deal.

Q. Is it fun to play in Grand Slams at your level?


Q. It's not too intense after a while?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No, no. I think that's what we're playing, you know, for. Grand Slams, it's obviously the major goal for each one of us here. We are all trying to succeed as much as we can.

End of FastScripts....

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