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November 1, 1998

Yevgeny Kafelnikov

Stuttgart, Germany

Q. You could make only about fourteen or fifteen points on his serve. Was that a key factor?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Definitely. Definitely. I think overall this week Richard played outstanding tennis. He was on the top of his game and definitely deserved to win the tournament. This is without a doubt.

Q. Do you feel his confidence also off the court? Do you feel that he is a player with a lot of confidence now?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I did feel that. He knew his serve was working. He was getting a lot of easy points on his serve and basically he was gambling on the return. It paid off, you know, if he had one breakpoint first set, although I doublefaulted because I knew I have to take the risk myself because Richard, he played aggressive and he didn't want to play any baseline rallies, so he took a gamble and it paid off. He played unbelievable, extremely well. He covered the net well. I tried everything, make a passing shot; trying to lob him, but didn't work at all.

Q. Has there been one specific game where you had the idea maybe I can take over now?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Unfortunately not. I tried everything. I tried to serve and volley a little bit. But I am not the kind of player who serves and volley on this surface every point. It is not my game. Richard, he understands that very perfectly. On the other hand, he knows if -- if he would play points from the baseline, he knows he has less chances to beat me. I think, overall, he dominated me in the match. So that was the bottom line.

Q. In fact, only one game at 5-4 he was serving for the first set --

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I had some difficulties to read his serve. His first serve percentage was very high and I guess if someone serves 180, 190 kilometers an hour, any time first serve, it is poor, you know, you cannot be able to get the serve back to the court. If you do so, he is going to have easy - put it that way, to the other side of the court. It is difficult to play against someone who is hot and serves big as Richard.

Q. Is he in the best shape you have ever seen him play?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: He always plays good here no matter what. This is probably his tournament. He won twice, and twice he played in the finals. I don't know, he likes the Stuttgart -- he likes the surface, probably, I don't know. But something is really suit him this week.

Q. But you played him seven times.


Q. Is this his best performance you think?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: He beat me also pretty easy in Toronto this year. So last two times we played, he really dominated me. He played only one game, which is serve and volley every time and keep the point as short as possible. But I was not in that particular time, I was not in the best of my shape, so it is really hard for me to answer the question if Richard -- he is definitely on top of his game, this is without a doubt.

Q. Do you think a guy with his potential should be higher in the ranking than he is now?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: As you take statistics, he had so much trouble with injury, particularly in the end of the year. For example, last year in Paris he had also chance to qualify for Hannover and he came up with injury. And Richard is the kind of player who likes to take some time off and then, for example, here he didn't play last week and he came up strong and winning the tournament. Also he win a tournament on clay which no one would expect before so, I mean, it is hard to answer. If he would have been higher ranking if he -- he definitely would be ranked high if he played consistent, but important thing is consistency.

Q. What about yourself, hasn't been the greatest of years for you? Are you encouraged by being in the Finals and the Race to Hannover?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It definitely helps. I still think that I could theoretically qualify, for example, go into the final again and next week in Bercy and Moscow. So I still think about it. But like I said, if I don't make it, no big deal. I just want to forget what happened this year because I know deep inside that I didn't deserve to be in the Top-10. Let's get ready for the next year 1999.

Q. Going to try and stay fit for the Australian Open?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I definitely will try to stay out of injury, that is for sure.

Q. What sort of things will you be avoiding, skating?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You never know. You might -- I might come up with some stupid things which is skiing accident or firework accident, I don't know. But hopefully like I said, I will stay out of trouble.

Q. Will you try some horse riding maybe?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No. No horse riding, no. No. Definitely not.

Q. Have you named your child yet?


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