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June 26, 2001

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


MODERATOR: Yevgeny Kafelnikov.

Q. Is this one of the better first-week draws you've had since you've been coming here?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah. I have no questions about that. I better take that opportunity right here this year.

Q. Rafter is waiting down the line someplace.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I wouldn't look that far ahead. You know, obviously the way that he's playing, I'm sure he's going to get to that stage. I don't know about myself. I have to take one match at a time. Just hope for the best, what can happen.

Q. What is it about this surface that seems to give you problems?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It's not the surface itself. It's probably Court 1. That's where all my losses coming from. There is something about that court. Probably what I can say is it's not particular court where you can serve and volley basically every single point. The surface itself is I think very, very hard. It remind me more of a hard court. I have mentality, especially for this kind of surface, I have to serve both serves. Seems to me I can get away with many of my serve. For example, with many of my second serve, when I'm playing on the centre court, where the bounce is really low, where the natural effect of the grass is how it should be, you know, bounces very low, ball skips a little off the grass. On Court 1, ball seems to me off the second serve perfect ball for the opponent where they can swing the ball as well as they could.

Q. If you don't like Court 1, what is your favourite court?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I did enjoy playing on Court 3. Centre court, obviously I had some good matches on that court. All my losses which I had last few years came from Court 1.

Q. But outside of Wimbledon, if you could choose a favourite court, do you have one?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I have many of those. Every single one brings me good memories. Centre court in Australian Open. Centre court in the French Open. Of course, you know, centre court in the US Open. They are great courts.

Q. How could you reveal you have problems on Court 1, you could be playing a Brit in the second round? Aren't they going to schedule you on Court 1?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I hope not. I hope it's either going to be centre court or Court 2. Like I said, I'm prepared for everything. Even if they schedule me on the Court 1, I will definitely prepare myself for very hard and difficult match.

Q. Are you still consulting with Larry by phone?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: We do, yeah. We do.

Q. Any chance that you guys are going to get back together or not?


Q. You want that to happen?


Q. What happened?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, you do get to the stage where communication is getting to the point where, you know, you are starting to not understand each other as well as from the beginning. That is important point for any person. If you do notice that, you have to make a first aggressive step to make a break, separation for short period of time, where you can have feelings back and that desire for each other, like we had in the beginning when we work. So I have no problem with Larry decision. He done it. I'm sure he been around a long, long time. Hopefully our relationship can come back in the future.

Q. What do you think he'll do?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I don't know. Good question.

Q. Offer him more money.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Not a question of money. We had our relationship way beyond just money. First of all, we're good friends, and we have lot of similarity on the lifestyle, on certain aspect in normal life. I think that's the most important thing.

Q. You said you like Pete because he was a capitalist. Is Larry a capitalist, too?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I'm not going to answer that question.

Q. What are Larry's one or two best qualities as a coach?


Q. How does he do it?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Just probably from being player himself, not having had that success as a player. He wanted to give everything to the player that he coach. That's something special about any player who hasn't had success while they're playing pro, professional sports themselves. I honestly believe if you fulfill your ability as a player, you cannot really dedicate yourself to be on the coach bench as well as you do while you're playing.

Q. Andrei Medvedev was in earlier, was asked about Marat, why he's not doing well. He said, "Old Russian proverb, win one year, celebrate the next." I think he was joking. Was he?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I'm sure he wasn't. I'm sure he wasn't. But that kind of comment doesn't belong to me, does it?

Q. No.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: So it does reflect a little bit of Russian particular personality. You have great year, then you kind of go on a vacation. I'm sure it doesn't belong that comment a hundred percent to Marat. He had an injury, back injury, short after Australian Open which could be reflecting his performances. But I don't want him really to think that way because if he does it, that means he does not have future as the best player in the world because once you have a problem, you always going to reflect on something which doesn't belong to the main aspect, why you playing that badly.

Q. How can he get better if he keeps playing with the injury, trying to make money?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I've told him that I was quite honest with him. You know, I guess when you're 20 years old, you're obligated to make those mistakes. Who knows, if I would have been in the same position, I probably would have done the same thing. But I'm 27 right now. You know, I do have a view on certain things in life completely differently.

Q. At 27 you've seen so many hundreds of players. Could you step back and say who you think the most graceful player you've ever seen?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Graceful? What is that?

Q. Beauty of motion.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, you know, probably while I was playing, there are few guys like that. Probably Pete, one of them. When I was start, I didn't get much of McEnroe, but probably he was the one who was natural. Boris, of course. Stefan, of course he was a hard worker, but I think he had a natural talent of the game. He understood the game. He was completely opposite, for example, to Muster. Muster didn't have much talent, but he was a hard worker and completely dedicated person. Edberg, on the other hand, was natural athlete. He understood exactly what tennis as a game is all about.

Q. If you had to have the innate ability like Edberg or be a hard worker like Muster?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I would have had combination of both.

End of FastScripts....

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