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September 1, 1999

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


USTA: Questions for Yevgeny.

Q. Was it what you expected from him?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: To be honest, I would say yes. The way the first two sets were going, I thought it was going to be easy day in the office. He seems to pick up the game towards the end of the third set, and the crowd got behind him. He played some incredible shots. You know, that's why we got into the tough match. Like I said, you know, it was really nice for me to close out the match in four sets.

Q. Was there anything in your game that dropped off?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No, no. I wouldn't think so. I hold all my service games pretty comfortably. You know, I started to get some trouble on the return in that third set. You know, give Max the chance to win some games. In other circumstances, you shouldn't have done that. You play in the Grand Slam, you got to be able to close out the match as fast as you can. Unfortunately, didn't happen. The good thing was that I kept fighting, kept my momentum going. It was nice thing, like I said, to finish the match in four sets.

Q. What are your thoughts after Rafter and Sampras being gone? Suddenly your chances are even better than beforehand.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah, I would say yes. All I need to do is just take one match at a time. You know, I'm the kind of player who always seems to pick up the game towards the second week of the tournament. Once I get through the first week, I'm sure I would be able to pick up the confidence and the momentum. I will realize that, you know, it's the second week of a Grand Slam, you got to give everything what you have. Seems to me, I was able to succeed in those times where I got through to the second week.

Q. What did you think when you heard that they were both gone?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Especially with Pete, we did not expect him to pull out with the back injury. Everybody thought it wasn't so serious when he pulled out of Indianapolis. I guess it is pretty serious, forcing him to pull out. It definitely opens up room for the rest of the guys, which is including myself. When you have such a chance, you got to be able to capitalize on that. Not so many times the draw is wide open like that. So all I need to do, just to stay focused, like I said, to take one match at a time. I'm sure I will succeed.

Q. Do you look at the draw closely enough to have an idea of who might come out of that top half now?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Oh, yeah. I always like to know little bit far ahead what's going to be waiting for me in the future. Honestly, I did not to look at the top half of the draw. I was concerned about my section, just to get through one match at a time. I don't look more than two rounds ahead in the draw. You know, like I said, it's always a little bit relief when the favorites are gone out of the tournament for whatever reasons.

Q. Did it bother you that the crowd was rooting for the other kid?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Not at all. Not at all. Not at all. Always seems to me they behind the underdog. I was favored to win. The crowd likes to get behind the other player, give him a chance to play competitive match.

End of FastScripts….

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