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November 29, 2000

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


MODERATOR: Questions for Yevgeny.

Q. Right at the end there, that was a cramp in your hand?


Q. It looked very, very painful.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It was, yeah. You know, it's actually first time it happen to me that I have cramps in my forearms. I just got so excited after winning that point at 4-1 breakpoint to go up 5-1 serving. I put my racquet into the left hand and then made a fist around the right hand. Then I started feeling the cramps, which is quite unusual. Never happens to me. First time.

Q. It was obviously a very satisfying victory.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah, absolutely, no questions about it. I mean, from a situation where I was being a set and break down, 4-3, come back and win the match, I think it is a very satisfying win.

Q. What do you think made the difference and turned it around? He actually was playing well for a spell.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah, you know, but right from the beginning, I felt like I was in total control of every single point. The problem was that I was missing a lot. That was the story basically first set, and, you know, throughout the middle of the second set where I couldn't find my range on my groundstrokes, especially on the forehand. I don't know really what happened when I was 4-3 down in the second set. I just settled down, you know, tell myself, "You got to play a little bit more safer points so you can really wait for the little shorter approach rather than go for the big shots every single time." You know, I think that's where I was starting to really, you know, play well, you know, really be patient. From that point on, I think I won seven out of eight games. I think that was the turning point.

Q. You were talking the other day at the round tables about the strength of Russian tennis, yourself, obviously Marat, all the girls. How big a sport is tennis in Russia now compared to soccer and stuff?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think those two become really, really very big, significantly big compared to what it was maybe five, six years ago when I was the only one basically on the top of the tennis sport. You know, with Marat, now it's two of us. It's never happened in the history of Russian tennis that two guys play in the World Championship at the end of the year. You know, it's a big, big honor. I think even right now, basically everybody realizing Marat is going to be No. 1 in the world, I think it's going to be even more bigger.

Q. How big celebrities are you in Moscow at the moment?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Can't go anywhere (laughter).

Q. You get mobbed, autographs?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah. People recognize me. It's just a great example. When I was in Moscow for the soccer match between Sparta and Arsenal, fans started to recognize immediately. When 50,000 people recognize you and calling your name, it is big.

Q. How big is Kournikova in Russia?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, she's a female, of course.

Q. I've noticed.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: That is the difference.

Q. How much of a role has Larry played in your success the last couple of years?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think what I have accomplished since basically January '99, I think we both equally have done as much work as necessary. So I think, you know, my success is together with him, I should say, you know. Obviously, I am playing tennis. That is right. But Larry is my coach. You know, he dedicated himself a hundred percent to me. That's why, you know, what we have at the moment is because of the work that we have, you know, made together.

Q. Obviously with your talent and the fact that you've been on the tour for so long, you've got better and better. What specifically, though, do you think he did?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, what I was missing before we started, it's motivation. I think I need that aspect more than anybody, to be motivated every single time I step on the court. You know, I do have a natural talent to play that game, but without motivation, without really dedicating yourself a hundred percent to the sport, I don't think you will have that success only by having the talent. I think he's the one who really, you know, put me into the right mind of, you know, working hard and really, you know, be professional.

Q. What present will you ask Santa Claus for Christmas ?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think I already had my present at the Olympic Games. You know, at this moment, I don't need anything specific to ask Santa Claus.

Q. You've probably talked a lot about this in Stockholm, but will you tell us a bit more about your trip to Moscow to see the football? Did you actually go in your own plane?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah. That was part of the reason that I ask the organizer of the tournament to put me first match on Wednesday morning, that I could have a time to actually go to the match. I think they start at 8:00 local time, and two hours difference. You know, I made everything perfect. Won my match in an hour, then jump into the plane, flew to Moscow, and had a really fantastic time there.

Q. You came back the same night?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No. I came back next afternoon. So I slept overnight and then came back Thursday afternoon.

Q. Who flies the plane?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, I have a few people who are really taking care of my aircraft that I trust.

Q. Are you taking flying lessons yourself?


Q. Did you come here with it?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Sure. Every single time when I'm playing European tournaments, I'm traveling that way.

Q. What type of plane is it?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: American Cessna 750.

Q. Doesn't it worry you the way private aircraft can sometimes seem to be quite dangerous, you know, we had Payne Stewart --?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: A lot more safer than airliners on my aircraft. I don't know what I'm going to do when I sell my aircraft, going again through the airport, going through that hassle, one and a half hours in the airport. I don't know if I can be able to handle that ever.

MODERATOR: Any more questions?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Nothing about tomorrow?

End of FastScripts….

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