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January 24, 2001

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


MODERATOR: Questions for Yevgeny.

Q. How do you analyze what happened today? You looked stronger than him two of the sets you lost. What happened exactly?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Sometimes happen like that, you know, where basically the result of the match could go either way in a matter of two, three points. I think that's what happened.

Q. What did he do particularly well today to beat you?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, it's hard for me to answer the question. But, you know, the main thing, I guess he kept fighting, even when he was down in the third and the fourth set. You've got to give him credit for that. In the meantime, you know, I let my chances slip away. I don't know why, but, you know, it's just one of those days where you trying hard, things just not going the way that I want it to go.

Q. Were you surprised the way the crowd really seemed to get behind him in the latter stages of the match? It almost seemed like you were playing an Australian.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah, it doesn't surprise me at all. Why should I be surprised? You know, I'm favoured, he's underdog. Obviously, you know, all the crowd behind him.

Q. You seemed to have trouble with your backhand. Was it something special that he did today?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I hit, you know, all day long, no rhythm at all. But it's part of his game. You know, at one stage in the match, I was taking the control, basically trying to play his game against him. It worked a little bit. But then, you know, I lost very bad game at 3-1 in the third set. If I would have won that game, perhaps things would be a little different because he was already, you know, down at that time. You know, I just don't know what happened at that time. Give him a chance to come back and he took that opportunity.

Q. You like to play your game at a certain rhythm, certain pace. He's always kind of fiddling, wiping, what have you. Was that in any way putting you off at all?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, I can adapt to any kind of game. Today I just showed that perfectly. In the beginning, obviously his game got me kind of off balance, lost a set, was down a break in the second set. Then I kind of regroup and start to adapt to his game. It worked, like I said. It worked perfectly, winning the second set. Things were going okay for me in the beginning of the third. I guess it's very hard to keep that momentum for such a long period of time where basically you can get tired. Obviously your opponent playing also as well as you are. It's one of those matches where basically two, three points in the match were, you know, affecting the results.

Q. Had you kind of looked ahead and thought, "If I get past him, the draw looks quite favorable," or were you concentrated --?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, I wasn't concerned at all. I was trying to get through that match, no matter how. You know, watching that match early in the day, Grosjean against Moya, I knew obviously if I would have won the match, perhaps my chances were really, really high to get to the final for the third consecutive year. But I wasn't thinking that at that time, no.

Q. How surprised are you to see not only Arnaud Clement but Sebastien Grosjean in the semis of a Grand Slam? Do you think it is the right place or a surprise?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Obviously they got hot this week. Nobody can take away from them. The guys obviously practiced hard before that. Definitely both of them deserves to be in the semifinal. But the other question is if they will sustain that level for the rest of the year. That's going to be very hard questions to ask -- to answer.

Q. Are they up to the class of Agassi and Rafter on the other side of the draw?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Say again the question.

Q. Are the two French players up to the class of Agassi and Rafter on the other side of the draw?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I believe so. If you look at the record, Clement/Agassi, I'm sure Arnaud can present trouble for both of them. As far as I know, statistics, you know, he beat both of them last time he played them. You know, it's definitely going to be different circumstances this time. You know, whoever wins between them, I'm sure pressure obviously would be huge because those guys who are in the other part of the draw, they've been in the situation before. I'm talking about winning the Slams. But, you know, it's another great example. We played today for 3 hours, 10 minutes. Seems to me Arnaud can handle the long matches pretty well. They just hope whoever wins between them won't disappoint the final of the Australian Open.

Q. You've been the ironman of tennis over six years in a row, playing the most matches of them all. Other guys like Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi tend to complain a little bit about the tough schedules. What is your secret? What do you do different? Are you just blessed with very good health?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I don't know. I guess it's a point where probably I know my body so well and I know exactly where comes the point where I feel really, really tired, where I need to take a break. You know, perhaps I was blessed with my health, you know, that I stay for such a long time injury-free, you know, never had any problems with my health. That's about it.

Q. Can you understand from your point of view the complaints of other players? Would you like to see a change in the tour?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I don't know what complaints are, what the players are complaining, I have no idea.

Q. Too tough schedule, too many tournaments around the year.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Everybody plays whatever they want, where they want, when they want. It's hard to criticize them. We have certain rules on the ATP that you're obligated to play certain amount of tournaments a year. It's too bad that those guys doesn't want to come out and play tournaments like Monte-Carlo, Hamburg, you know, those kind of events to make really European fans to look for the stars. I guess that's how it is.

Q. Thinking of this match, which would be your biggest regret?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, it's obviously big disappointment that I lost, period.

Q. First set point in the fourth set?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, like I said, it's one of those days where you trying hard, but things are not going the way that you want them to go. You know, who knows. Like you said, if I would have made that first set point in or made that set point in the third set, things would be a lot different right now than just me talking to you, feeling that particularly bad at the moment.

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