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April 18, 2000

Yevgeny Kafelnikov

Q. You had a much easier start to that tournament than last year?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah, some year I have to have a little luck. I guess it was one of the years that fortunately went for myself. I got through the first round pretty comfortably.

Q. After losing two Davis Cup matches and losing in Estoril did you have visions of this time last year recurring?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No, not at all because after what happened last week in Estoril I felt like -- I felt like I was starting to pick up the game because it was pretty close match, having three matches points against Clavet, but I knew the same story would happen, you know, again and again. I was going to play terrible at least first two weeks on the clay, but then I was going to try -- was going to play better. That is what happened at the moment. I feel a lot more comfortable at the moment. I am not going to say that I am playing 100% but at least him in the right way towards the French Open.

Q. Is this still sort of a problem from an overcrowded circuit, inasmuch as there just isn't enough time for you to adjust quickly enough from one surface to another?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah, I was thinking that you were going to ask that question. I am happy to answer. Yeah, I think the schedule is quite tight and with the Davis Cup in between of the seasons where you have one beginning of the year on the hard court season and then you have only one week of Davis Cup which is quite destroying the preparation for the clay court because you finish in a tournament in Miami; then you have to go in any part of the world and you don't have the time to prepare specifically for the clay. I think the schedule is too tight. If ATP would extend to have at least the guys off completely where they don't have no tournament at all I think that would be best way to do it.

Q. You said you don't feel 100%. Is it possible to win the tournament like Monte Carlo without playing 100%?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I don't think so. I don't think so because the competition is very strong and like I was saying before, Davis Cup, you know, it is totally in favor of the Spanish guys because 95% of the year they are playing on the clay; then you have guys like Agassi, Sampras, Rafter and Hewitt who are not coming; they feel like they are not ready to compete with those guys. I think it is definitely favors those guys. Like I said, we need a lot more time to get ready for this surface because I said -- last time I have played on clay was nine months ago and I cannot expect to play 100% after such a long period of time. If you look in the past where I have played so successful on the clay, I have been struggling for the first months on the clay. I don't think I even won one set on the clay before I could really compete with those guys.

Q. Where do you think you are now in terms of the overall development of your career? At what stage do you think you have reached and do you still think you have got a year or two before you reach your peak?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Definitely it is not many years left in my career. Maybe three or four years really competitive where I feel like I can really still win tournaments. I think when I reach my peak, probably 30 years old, I think I will retire because I don't think I would be capable of winning the big tournaments and winning a Grand Slam. So like I said, I still have some years left. I want to totally concentrate on the rest of my career.

End of FastScripts….

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