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August 30, 1999

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


USTA: Questions for Yevgeny.

Q. How was it out there as far as the conditions? Did the wind have much effect on you in the match?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah, it -- it was difficult, definitely. The wind was playing not in my favor. It kind of was an equalizer for both. He's the kind of player who likes to play a lot of balls. The wind makes my life so miserable, I had to struggle. But I'm glad I got it through.

Q. How are you feeling you're playing now?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I feel I'm playing well.

Q. What's brought your game around? You were having kind of a bad patch there in the spring.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah, but that time is already in the past, you know. It's US Open now. It's the only tournament I'm concerned about at the moment.

Q. As one of the elder Russians, can you talk a little bit about the development of your countryman, Marat Safin?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: To be honest, I did not see him when he was really developing as a teenager because he spent a lot of time in Spain, I think from 13, up until 17 and 18, when he became part of our Davis Cup team. But all I can tell you, what I saw was the last 18 months. He definitely impressed me with the way that he plays, with the way that he's behave, his attitude, positive. You know, he just won his first ATP tournament. That just shows that he's very talented and he can be around for a long time.

Q. Do you see him matching up well against Pete?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I would think so, yeah. I mean, he's got nothing to lose. It's a perfect, perfect position for him to be in. Nobody really expected him to win. Perhaps he has a shot, yeah. I mean, he's strong guy, serves well. You know, I just read in newspaper this morning that Pete was still hurt. His back was still bothering him. Who knows how that match-up is going to be.

Q. Talk a little bit about you're in the race here for No. 1 with Pete and Andre. Does that make it more exciting?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: For you guys, yes.

Q. How about for you?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I have my own personal feeling that I wouldn't want to share with you. But one thing is for certain, it makes the tournament a lot more interesting for the fans, for the media. All I can tell you, we definitely going to try to play as hard as we can. You know, it's basically not so many tournaments left until the end of the year. The guys who are challenging No. 1, they definitely going to give 100% what they can.

Q. Is it as important to you now since you've already been there?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It's very important. It's very important, you know. I've been in that position before where I held the No. 1 spot for six weeks, but I'd like to get back there, no questions about it.

Q. How do you think the new ranking system is going to affect players?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I don't know. I really don't know. I wish I know the answer. But it could hurt. You know, I wish I know the answer. I cannot tell you. We will see after the Australian Open next year how it's going to be, who's going to be in the top, who's going to be in the bottom. We just hope there won't be like any winners at the Australian Open that you can say the guy ranked 60 or 70 in the world and win the Australian Open will be No. 1 in the world. Let's just hope that doesn't happen.

Q. Speaking of Australia, I know you're concentrating on the US Open, but after this, you go down there for Davis Cup.


Q. How do you Marat and yourself will fare?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, it depends who is going to play for Australia. I know their team is hurt at the moment. Basically they don't have Philippoussis, still injured. Hewitt has been injured, too. I don't know how they playing at the moment. You know, the team Australia is strong. I'm sure Rafter could handle the pressure himself, Woodbridge, Woodforde in the doubles. We definitely going to go over there and try to win it. No question about it.

Q. Do you think Marat and yourself will fare all right on the grass?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: We need some times to adjust. Hopefully couple days before, four, five days before, we'll do something. Going in there, we're not the favorite to win.

End of FastScripts….

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