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January 22, 2001

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


MODERATOR: Questions for Yevgeny.

Q. I guess you're happy to have a comfortable regulation three-set match at this stage of the tournament?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yes, no question about that to get through the way I did today. I am quite pleased about it, yes.

Q. You like to play games sometimes, like to bet. You're the No. 2 favorite for the book-makers. Is that a good bet?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I have no answer for the question (smiling).

Q. Do you like your chances?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I wouldn't say so. It's still a long way to go to win the tournament. I've got to win three tough matches. But I'm not going to make any prediction at this stage. I got to take one match at a time. I have a very tough match coming up against Clement. You know, I wouldn't go that far ahead on making any statement at this moment.

Q. How difficult is it to play him, to play Arnaud? He has one of those games you can't put a handle on.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I have idea what to do. It wouldn't be as easy for both of us no matter how good we playing. I'm expecting a tough match. I'm sure each point in that match would be exciting. Like I said, you know, I wouldn't make any prediction who's going to win that match, even though people think I'm favorite to win. You know, it's not what I think.

Q. What makes him so tough to play?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, he's a competitor, first of all. He doesn't give you any points; you've got to earn your points. You know, before the match that he had today, many people would think that Rusedski was going to win the match. You know, when I came back to the locker room after I finished my match to see the results, I was also quite impressed with his performance, winning in three straight sets. But, you know, I'm prepared. I played him actually, you know, six months ago in Cincinnati, and he beat me pretty easily. Like I said, you know, his game is very tough for anybody.

Q. He doesn't seem to have any big shots.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, I wouldn't say so. He's got a pretty good serve, which you wouldn't think that he was going to have such a serve. He's a pretty short guy. Hits his serve pretty well for his size. You know, he's a tough competitor, like I said. He can have a long match, and he never gets tired. It's going to be difficult, for sure.

Q. You lost here only against top players like Agassi, Sampras or Becker. What makes Kafelnikov so successful on Rebound Ace?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I said it before, and I repeat again, I think the surface really suits my game because, you know, you can serve-and-volley as well as you can play from the baseline. I think this is the unique surface for anybody. That's why people can see so many great matches here in this tournament.

Q. It's not the atmosphere also?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I'm sure it has something to do also with atmosphere. The atmosphere is great inside. It's a nice stadium, great to play here, and I do enjoy it.

Q. The prize money, nobody ask you what's your opinion, which amount is adequate for you to win, if you win the tournament?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, I don't want to go back to the issue. I have no answer for the question at the moment.

Q. You were playing fairly badly at the US Open. All of a sudden you came here, played the Olympics, played well. How did you make a big turnaround?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It's a good question. I wish I knew the answer. Again, coming back to this place where I feel comfortable most, on this particular surface. Like I said before, no matter what kind of form I'm going to this place, for some weird reasons, you know, if I do have two matches in the tournament, that's when I'm confident. I got here on particular different circumstances last year. Last year I wasn't playing as well as I did this time. Also having had three competitive matches before that, I knew I was going to be on top of my game. That's what happened.

Q. You stepped it up out there in the third set. Just how much did you step it up?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, being two sets to love, of course it's a different situation than to have split the first two sets. Two sets to love, it's a huge advantage. I started to go for my shots a lot more at that particular time when I was two sets to love up. That's why the third set was quite a bit easier than the first two.

Q. Lifting your game 50% or 20%?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I don't know. It happens naturally. You always want to go 100%, every point you play. But it's impossible basically. When you do have advantage like this, two sets to love up, you feel a lot more looser, you can go for your shots a lot more. That's what happened in the third set.

Q. You predicted that Marat would maybe have a difficult time. Are you probably now not that surprised with what happened yesterday?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Hrbaty is a difficult opponent for both of us. If you look at the records he has against both of us, it is sensational. I think he is probably the only guy on the tour, besides maybe Pete Sampras, that has a winning record against me. Last five, six times I played him, he just too good. I'm sure result is not going to affect Marat's confidence before Davis Cup. You know, it's hard to make any judgment how well Marat is going to play this year on this particular tournament. He just run into the player who apparently has been really hot, winning tournament before, and playing well here. I'm sure Marat will have his success in the near future again.

Q. How do you rate Patrick Rafter's chances?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, I think he has his shot winning the tournament this year, absolutely. The way he's playing, how he handles the pressure, because I think he is the only one left from Australia here. He has the game to win the tournament, absolutely.

Q. If you compare these two matches with Andreas, do you rate him better than Stockholm?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, it's a different situation. Stockholm Open was last tournament of the year. This is obviously the Grand Slam. We're playing best-of-five set match. I think that's where the difference is. Probably I think he played this time a lot better than he played in Stockholm. I'm sure the more matches he play, the better he's going to get, because he does have the game to be, you know, Top 20 player.

Q. How impressed were you with Carlos Moya the other night?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, I have no word to express the way that he played against Hewitt. You know, I never thought he was going to have a chance to beat him. You know, he done extraordinary well, and he proved it, he still belongs to the top guys, absolutely.

Q. Did you stay up and watch that match?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I did stay up and watch the fourth set. It was too late for me to stay up and watch the final set.

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