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August 12, 1999

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


Q. He's played you pretty tough before. Anything that makes the difference against him?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I mean, the bottom line is he's a tough competitor. Every time we step on the court and face each other, it's a big battle. Today was basically the same story, but I was fortunate enough to win those crucial points in the ninth game of each set. That's what makes a difference. But besides that, we had some unbelievable long points and definitely was an entertaining match for the fans to watch.

Q. Talk about who you might play tomorrow.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Doesn't make any difference. It's going to be another day in the office. I have to come out and play hard like I always do. Hope for the best things that's going to happen tomorrow. You know, it's a quarterfinal match. It's again for me a big, big opportunity to make one step closer to the possible 1 ranking. It's not going to get any tougher than it is at the moment. Just going to try to focus on the match and try to do the best that I can. Don't get me wrong, this caliber of performance, everybody I should take very seriously. Every player -- you know, the level of the game is very high at the moment. The ranking doesn't mean anything. When I'm facing the player ranked 87, like Chris, for example, a few crucial balls, points, separate the results of the game. That's probably what might happen tomorrow. A few crucial points, and hopefully I won't capitulate those points, but I'm not looking for any easy matches.

Q. Pete and Andre go out, they automatically have a little edge. Do you feel like you have that edge?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, definitely, I'm sure a lot of players have respect for me as a tennis player. They know every time I step on the court, I give sometimes not hundred percent, but I give best what I can on a given day. But, you know, I also think that those guys, you know, they definitely favorites when they go in the tournament and competing, especially on hard court. But I don't think they are really favorites when they go in on clay courts. But definitely in their own country, every time they go, you take this tournament, next upcoming tournaments, Washington or Indianapolis, they going to be favorite to win, no question.

Q. When did you start working with Larry?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Beginning of the year.

Q. Around January?


Q. What different things has he tried to do with you?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: He kept motivating me. That was important aspect. I felt I was missing that in the past couple years.

Q. What kinds of things does he say?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, I'm the kind of player who likes to play for someone. You know, when we together, when he watches me play, you know, I know there's someone in the crowd who really supports me. That's important. That's what makes a big difference. Not you got to play for yourself, but you have to hold the responsibility for someone else.

Q. How did you find him?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Long story. Long story. We known each other for, say, six years, since I join the Tour.

Q. When you talk about wanting to play for someone, is that because lots of times, especially in America, people are neither for you or against you, the crowd is just out there watching?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No, it's just the way -- it really doesn't matter. For example, when I'm playing, even though the crowd is not supporting me, I don't really care about it. I know I have to compete with the player, the opponent who stands on the opposite side of the court. Even though sometimes I don't get enough support, that's the fact that I have to live with it. Sometimes it do help when the crowd is not supporting me, that I get a little bit ego, I want to prove that I'm a better player. It's nice feelings, like I said, when you have somebody who's holding their breath, wants you to win the match or the tournament.

Q. Did you have a coach last year, different coach?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I had a coach for six years since I join the Tour. You know, unfortunately, we split up. It was a period of time when I couldn't find anybody that I was really satisfied with.

Q. What were you looking for?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I was looking for the friend, first of all. Larry has been so far so good.

End of FastScripts….

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