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September 2, 2000

Yevgeny Kafelnikov

Flushing Meadows, New York

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Yevgeny?

Q. What happened? You seemed to be in the game, the match, the second set.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It's hard to answer. But I guess that was the way the match was going on. I had the control in the first set. Got an early break. I wasn't able to capitalize on that opportunity. Same story was in the second set. But you got to give him credit. He kind of likes -- my game kind of suits his game. And that's why he's always -- you know, doesn't matter, you know, how good we both play. We always have very close sets, and I guess in the third set he just dominated completely.

Q. Do you think playing you, he's more confident than a normal match? Do you feel he's very confident?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It does nothing to his confidence. When I walk on the court today, I was confident too that I was gonna win. But, you know, I guess, you know, when I was -- got an early break, I started to play a little bit more tentative, started to play full high-percentage shot. Give him much more room to play his game. And, you know, he took the opportunity and basically went for his shots, and all the shots went in. It's very difficult to play against him when you're under pressure all the time, when you have to play defensive game. It's basically impossible.

Q. The reason why he's so good against you is because...(Inaudible)?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah, he always puts me under pressure from the first point, when I'm serving. Even I don't think I served it badly today; I served a high percentage for the first serve. Even though he was putting me under pressure for the first shot. It's very, very difficult to play.

Q. For 95 percent of the players on this Tour, the year that you've had peaked great. But I suspect for you, as you look back over the year, it's not good enough.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Big disappointment, yes.

Q. What do you think is missing this year that was there last year?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, I guess, you know, this year was kind of the season where, you know, I had my chances in the beginning of the year. I played the final of (inaudible). Unfortunately lost it. Then also had another chance to play well in London indoor, lost it. From that point I kind of let it go a little bit, wasn't ready for the clay court. I was kind of playing the catch-up game. With those guys, it's particularly impossible. You got to be all the time in shape. You got to be focused. Even though I play a lot of tournaments, I wasn't able to put myself in better shape throughout a period of time. So hopefully I'm not gonna say that I'm gonna give it up this season. My main goal for the rest of the season would be to finish in the top eight and play, you know, Masters at the end of the year. If I accomplish that, it will be, you know, kind of bonus.

Q. Have you thought about what sort of training changes you might want to make next year?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Definitely if I continue the way that I did this year, you know, I wasn't gonna be able to play lot longer. I got to do major changing and hopefully I can do that.

Q. Like what kind of changes?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It's -- I don't know. I have to, you know, I have to look back to the tournaments that I've played, look back to the matches, where I made a mistake. Then perhaps I will go from there.

Q. Are you playing too much?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I don't think so. It's just I'm not -- I'm not particularly dedicating myself to the tournaments. That's all I can say. For example, I'm not gonna say that I wasn't trying to win the US Open. Believe me, I try hard, you know. And it's a big disappointment to go in the third round. But it's what I deserve I guess. And hopefully, like I said, you know, we'll try to change things around in next eight tournaments which remain until the end of the year.

Q. Did you have other things on your mind?


Q. Maybe other than tennis?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Not at the moment, no.

Q. At all during this year?


Q. At all during this year?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No. Just, you know, it's -- if you look at my career, I'm probably the one and only player who has been in the Top 10 for the last six years consistently. And you guys criticize me a lot, but I don't think anybody ever accomplished that except Pete Sampras. He's the other great example. He's been so successful for at least eight, nine years. But I'm now the person who has been playing top-level game and nobody can take it away from me.

Q. So it just gets to be too much after a while?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Perhaps. But I'm not gonna say it's too much. I like to compete. Simple as that.

Q. How's the relationship with Larry? Still going strong?


Q. So you're planning on staying together?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Nothing to do with anything.

Q. There are some players that take some time off when they are in this state of mind.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No. You know, I still like to be around. I still like to compete. But, you know, it's -- when you are not winning a tournament, I'm putting myself so much under pressure, I know I have to win to keep my ranking in a very high position. It's not easy. Those guys are basically training hard every single day, and, you know, preparing theirselves for particular tournaments. I can't do that. So I think that's mistake.

Q. Who is your pick for the tournament?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think it's either gonna be Richard Krajicek or Pete Sampras.

Q. Is it hard for you to train -- you live someplace where I presume there's not many players?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No, it's just nothing to do. It's the way that, you know, our particular calendar's set up. And, you know, from this tournament I got to play another tournament and go to Olympics. It's not easy to do such a thing because, you know, such a long way to go there and then come back and play, you know, high-level tennis. It's basically impossible.

Q. Where does the Olympics rate for you? How important is that?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, you know, this moment I don't even know if I'm gonna play. Because ATP might take the points away. If they do that, I'm not gonna go.

Q. If they don't have a points --?


Q. So no Olympic gold medals?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: At this stage, no.

Q. Because you're tired or...?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, I got to be realistic. I think my chances are not very high to even compete for any medal at the moment. I'm not playing as well as I can, first of all. And if I don't, what's the point going there?

End of FastScripts....

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