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January 18, 2001

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. That was a great fight back today. Could you tell us about it, how it came down.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah. You know, it's -- it's any time you win a five-set match, it's a huge relief off my shoulder, you know. Especially with a situation like I had today, being two sets to one down, a break down early in the fourth set, it's quite satisfying to come back and win the match.

Q. What do you think turned it for you in the last sets?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It's hard to answer. I felt like I was quite unlucky in the third set. I was having tons of break points, tons of opportunities to win that set. But unfortunately, things just go like that sometimes, where you basically are in control but, you know, you are unable to capitalize on the important point. That's what happened in the third. In the fourth set, I just let it go. I had one warning for ball abuse, but I felt like I got to try. And I did try hard, and it paid off.

Q. John Parsons from the Daily Telegraph London. How frustrating was it at that stage? Was that penalty point a help to you because you got it out of your system?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Believe me, it was frustrating. I felt like first two sets I think was quite logical result. I was in control in the first, won easy 6-2. Second set he started to play better and really deserved to win in the second. But third set, you know, from first game on, I had a break point on his serve, then I had tons of chances on my serve. Like I said, if you're not able to capitalize on very crucial points, you're going to lose. That's what happened, I got frustrated. Being already break down at the beginning of the fourth, I just lost it for a little bit. Maybe all my emotions went out. I started to be a lot, lot calmer. It helped.

Q. It looked as although he was playing very well, he was changing the pace. It was you really who were making a lot of mistakes which you shouldn't have made?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, it is a part of a game. Those unforced errors which is shown sometimes on the monitor, they are really, I wouldn't say they are unforced. You know, I was playing my game but sometimes you make those errors.

Q. Going for too much?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Exactly. I had to go for too much because he was playing steady from the baseline. He was playing well on the contraattack. You know, he was playing quite solid. I had to do something to change the things. But the thing was that when I won the fourth set, I knew that, you know, my chances are really high now to win the match. Winning the fourth set to equal the match, the way like I did, it was really helpful. You know, final decisive set was just history.

Q. You look sort of relaxed in your match. Do you suffer an injury at the moment?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I have no injury, no. Absolutely nothing wrong with me.

Q. What does a match like today, the up and down nature of that sort of thing, do for your confidence? The other day you were saying you felt really good after the Colonial, that sort of stuff.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, even in the match today I felt really confident. I was really feeling, you know, I am on top of my game but, you know, sometimes -- it happen like this: Basically Nicolas can play tennis. There is no question about it. He's been in Top 10. But in a situation like this, you know, where you have to -- where I was pushed basically 100 percent to the limit, it's quite helpful for the confidence, yeah. And especially when you get through it. And today was really, really big step for me to get through that match being the third round and, you know, I do believe that I can last in the match at least for three hours. Today match was 3:10. I think the standard of the game was quite high. That's -- I'm quite pleased about it.

Q. Barry Flatman, Daily Express London. You say you lost it out there and you got a penalty point.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I didn't get the penalty point, I just got the warning.

Q. What are the top players' views of the disciplinary actions that can be taken, given that there is a school of thought that says if more players lost it on court, it would be interesting as a throwback to the sort of McEnroe/Connors days and get the public more interested?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, things like this can only work against you because when you do lose like this, it gives confidence to your opponent and he sees that you are really frustrated, it doesn't make you any good. And I was quite calm all the way through except that part. But I had to give it away. It was too much pressure on me, and I, you know, sometimes it's really necessary to let it go like this. And after that, I was always -- I was settled down and played much better.

Q. But do you -- I mean you're not normally a player that gets involved in that kind of thing, but the warning, point, so on, so on -- ?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I used to be like this. But I guess with the age, you do improve and you do understand. You do understand a little bit different when you are at a young age, and you start to realize that it's, I mean tennis is not about throwing the racquet or swearing on the court, although sometimes -- sometimes it does happen like this.

Q. Chris Torchia, Associated Press. The ATP and tennis promotors are talking about cutting the size of doubles tournaments to save money. What do you think about these possible changes in the future?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, all I can say to you, the money's on the ATP it is ridiculous compared to what other athletes are making. You know, I've been on the court today for three hours 10 minutes, and, you know, when you look at the prize money check after the tournament is over, it's quite ridiculous.

Q. My question was actually about doubles tournaments. Talking about cutting the size of doubles tournaments in order to save money. As a doubles player, how do you see the doubles game?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, I don't really think that you do need to know my opinion on the doubles because throughout the years, doubles itself really helps me develop as a singles player. But, you know, it is quite understandable that there are some doubles players only making a living by playing doubles, and I don't think -- I don't think it's quite right and, you know, you got to also understand the tournament director on that perspective.

Q. Why isn't it right?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, some of the guys which is used to be great singles players, I don't want to name those guys. They used to be top 30, 40. When their singles ranking dropped, they started to only concentrate on the doubles games. I personally don't appreciate that.

Q. Do you feel that prize money should be much higher?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Q. On what sort of par? Compared with what?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, if you look at the golfers, we taking of course extreme example now. The golfers make $540,000 a week, which is to the winner. And this is the lowest tournament that they have on the US Tour. If you look at the tennis players, to win a tennis tournament, win five matches under absolutely lowest level tournament you make only $42,000. I think it is quite bizarre to see that kind of money in a tennis game.

Q. Richard Hunt from Sydney Morning Herald. Would you say the interest in tennis is as great as in football or golf or other sports?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It depends where you're coming from. Absolutely my opinion is that in Europe, tennis is huge, although in the United States and the rest of the parts of the world, it might be struggling. But, you know, tennis has been around for such many years, more than 100 years, and it's always going to be there. So I guess it's part of the life where, you know, sometimes you go through the hard period of time where people lose interest a little bit, but I'm sure it's gonna come back soon.

Q. Getting back to today's match, is this one that you feel that in the past you might have let go, you might have lost because you were in the mood you were in?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I didn't want you to bring that question, but perhaps, you know, looking back three, four years ago, I might have let it go. But not this time. Not this time. Because I do realize that the Grand Slams are important, as well as any other tournaments, you know. And probably, you know, with every match, you know, I go towards the end of my career, and every match to me is important now.

Q. And you in particular, you've proved yourself here in the past. You play well in Australia. How important is this tournament to setting the tone for your year?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No questions about it, it is important. To me, it kind of brings me good luck, you know, every time I play well here in Australia and, you know, after that my year is going well. I am in the Top 10 at the end of the year.

Q. So the better you do here, the more inspiration you have for playing the rest of the year?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Q. Patrick Miles, the Australian. Do you think the public can sympathize with you when you say you should get paid more?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I'm not talking only from my point, I'm talking on behalf of players. You know, some of the players, they just don't say things like this. But, you know, I guess I'm in the position where I can say stuff like this and, you know, a lot of guys would defend my opinion. You know, it would be a shame to see the public to lose the sympathy in me just because I am making such a statement.

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