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November 4, 2000

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


MODERATOR: Questions for Yevgeny, please.

Q. He seemed to step it up a bit in the third set, become more aggressive.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I don't think so. It's just I think, overall, the third set wasn't as exciting as was the first two. You know, I think we both were pretty tired. In the end, the age played a big thing. I felt like I couldn't go along more because I was so tired from the matches I have played the last two weeks.

Q. It seems that you were more aggressive than he was. Do you think it was the right tactic for him to wait for you to make mistakes?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think we were both quite patient because we knew, you know, if one of us will be quite aggressive on every ball, you know -- we both have good groundstrokes, and sometimes it's good for both of us to use the speed of the opponent. So that's why you saw so many shots we're playing backhand cross-court because we're waiting for the right moment to attack. If we would have gone every single shot hard, hard, hard, you would not succeed, because that is the way we both like to play, as a counter-puncher. The tactic I think for both was wait and see for the short ball, for the right ball, to move to the net. But, like I said, the first two sets, I'm happy the way I played. In the third, I was too tired.

Q. Did you take too much out of yourself in winning that second set?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah. I mean, I had control of the second set right from the beginning. I was up 3-Love, Love-30. If I would have win that game to go up two breaks, you know, I wouldn't waste so much energy like I did in that second set. You know, winning 6-1 or 6-3, not even close than winning a set 7-6. Like I said, you know, first two sets, I don't know how long we played, but it took so much energy out of me.

Q. You both seemed to be waiting for the other player to make a mistake in the third set.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: That's not true. We're waiting for the right shot to make an approach, because if you go to the net from every single shot, you know, we're both have a good groundstrokes, so it makes no sense to go for every point. Like I said, we're waiting, waiting, waiting. Patient, you know. Probably he has too much respect for my game, as well as I have respect for his game. You know, I'm not going to say too much right now. But, like I said, I'm quite pleased the way I played first two sets.

Q. According to the stats, that was your 88th singles match of the year. That's why you're tired, I guess.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I'm not tired psychologically. I'm just tired physically. Last two weeks I have played, I played singles and doubles. I cannot go on like this forever, you know. Sometimes I will feel tired like I feel at the moment. It's good to have, you know, an easy week next week. I only going to play singles. No doubles. By doing this, I can recover physically and be ready for the tournament.

Q. Are you playing Lyon?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No, I'm playing St. Petersburg.

Q. You talk about yourself being tired, talk about the number of matches. Repeatedly, you say, "Next year I'm not going to play so much doubles."

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I'm not crying at the moment. I just said I'm tired because I've played last ten or eleven days, I don't know, nine singles matches and I think four doubles matches. Of course, you know, if you play like this every week consistently from one tournament to another, of course it's a huge, physical pressure. In the meantime, on the other hand, if you do play every tournament, lose first round, what the hell you can get tired from? There is never middle ground that you can be satisfied with.

Q. But you're the man who plays 150 every year, singles, doubles.


Q. May be time to tell yourself not to play so many, is it?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I always tell myself that. In the end, it comes to the point where I'm doing exactly the same thing all over the years.

Q. That's what I was trying to say.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah. You know, I guess it's my nature. This is the way I like to be.

Q. Compared with the previous seasons, are you more tired this year or not?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No, I'm not tired physically. It's one match where yesterday I played three sets with Schalken, also was very nervous. Tough psychologically for me. Today was another thing. I played Lleyton Hewitt, I knew how important the match going to be for both of us. I wanted to win as much as probably he wanted to win. Those last three, four matches that I have played here took a lot of energy out of me. I'm sure next couple days will be enough for me to recover that physical freshness. Like I said, I'm not tired psychologically. I want to go in and play again if I would have power. Unfortunately, it's one of these days where, you know, I feel empty.

Q. You were saying yesterday about the lack of superstars in the game.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You want to go back to that issue?

Q. I was going to ask you about Lleyton Hewitt, whether you feel that he could actually fill that void. Does he have that potential?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Obviously, everyone has potential. It's a question of winning. Obviously, sport, it's not about making interview, having your own website; it's about winning the matches, winning tournaments. That's why we're here for competing with each other. That's always been my main thing. I didn't want to be a superstar off the court. I wanted to prove to people I'm capable of winning a tournament, winning matches, winning a Grand Slam. I guess it's not the way people want to see at the moment. They don't want to see really hard workers who dedicated themselves to the sport. You know, I'm sure if Lleyton would win a few Grand Slams, he obviously can feel that way. It's a question of if. There's a lot of "if's."

Q. You think he's capable of doing that then?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I believe so, yes.

Q. What about your personal fan club here? I hear you like it very much.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Those guys did a great job, you know, of course. They were supporting me as much as they can, which is nice, in a place like Germany where you don't have too many fans. To see them, 10, 12 guys screaming, you know, it was a positive thing.

Q. Do you consider Lleyton now as a great favorite for tomorrow?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah, there's no question that he's having a good tournament, beating guys like Krajicek, Henman, Rusedski, myself. He's obviously on top of the form. I'm sure the other guy who will have play him tomorrow will have another idea. I really cannot tell you the answer. You know, I'm sure if he plays the way that he did today, his chances are very good.

End of FastScripts….

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