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January 20, 2001

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. That was obviously a bit of a struggle out there. Was it as hot as he was a dangerous opponent?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think combination of both. The conditions was quite difficult and obviously Chris had to play 100 percent to be in the match with me. And I think that's what he did up until the middle of the third set. And I guess the fact is that he played a few tough matches in the beginning of the tournament, I guess, that played a huge role. He got quite a bit tired in the third and fourth set.

Q. Your form in general, are you at the stage you feel you have to be at to win the tournament?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It's hard to answer. I guess having played those three matches that I had, I probably could say I am playing well. But how well, we shall find out in eight, nine days, or maybe in two days. Who knows? But, you know, I can't complain with my performance. Not at all.

Q. Do you know much about your next opponent, Vinciguerra?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Absolutely. I played him a couple months ago in Stockholm Open. I have quite a bit idea what I need to do to get a victory.

Q. Exactly what is that? What do you need to do to against Vinciguerra?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I'm not going to talk to you about that. Having played him once before, I have an idea what exactly I need to do. Of course I'm not going to share those thoughts with you right now. But I'm not going to expect an easy match. I'm going to prepare hard because that is already the stage in the tournament where, you know, seems to me everybody is playing well enough to get through the fourth round, and no exception with Andreas. He had three tough matches, and he obviously deserves to be in the fourth round.

Q. Did you expect him to beat Ferreira? Were you surprised with that result?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I was quite a bit surprised. Wayne is always a tough opponent when he is playing best of five set matches. I heard something happened at the beginning of the match, I don't know exactly what. But that result seems to me a little bit -- I expected obviously Wayne to win. But that's tennis. Maybe he didn't felt that great when the match was progressing. It's hard for me to answer that question.

Q. At the end there I think you were down a break in the final set, then you sort of ran off --?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: In the fourth set.

Q. And ran off those games towards the end. Can you pinpoint anything in particular that made a difference? Was it just him running out of steam a little bit?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Probably, yes. That was the main factor. I was feeling tired myself in that second set. Probably if I would have lost a set, I don't know what would happen. But I kind of hang on there and get necessary break at 5-4 in the second set, and of course winning the second set was huge relief. You know, I knew that I'm back in the match and my chances will come up. That's what happened.

Q. Were you surprised at the reaction to your comments about the pay scale in the Grand Slam tournaments?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, at least I'm a standup guy and I say what I want to say. You know, some guys don't appreciate that, but I don't really care much.

Q. Do you think Pete Sampras and Andre might have a point, though, that from a fan's point of view it might be an inappropriate thing to say?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, once again, you know, I don't really care what the American Democratic opinion is. And, you know, if you look at the release of the press this morning, the only guy who made a statement, it was Americans. Sampras, Agassi and Martin. Besides them, nobody even speak about it. So many guys in the locker room share my thoughts. I even got support from the female locker room, thanks very much to Lindsay. She was supporting me.

Q. Have you had players come to you over this?


Q. What has been the general --?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: They're supporting me. 100 percent.

Q. Did Agassi say anything to you?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I haven't talked to him since he made such a comment last night. I haven't even seen him. Either Pete Sampras or him.

Q. What would you say to Andre if you walked up to him now?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I wish I know. I have to think about it. (Laughter.)

Q. What about the distribution of the prize money, apart from the total prize money, do you think it should be differently distributed between the tournament winners and the first-round losers? Or is the distribution okay as it is?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, it's hard for me to answer that question but, you know, the whole point is that particularly prize money on this event is not up to the standard compared to other Grand Slams. You know, if obviously you look at the prize money, it's less than -- to win Grand Slam here, it's less money than to win the Masters Series tournament. And I don't think it's quite right.

End of FastScripts....

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