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October 31, 1998

Yevgeny Kafelnikov

Stuttgart, Germany

Q. During the whole week everybody was talking about the fight to No. 1 between Sampras, Rafter and Rios. Nobody took care of you, of course, do you like to be in the shadow?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah, that is probably the best position I would wish for. This is the first time I am doing an interview this week, so it is a great position to be in. I wouldn't mind just keep winning the matches and don't do any interview, perfect.

Q. How do you feel?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I feel okay. I feel happy, of course, being in the final and probably that was the best thing that could happen to me this week. Fortunately, I had a walkover yesterday over Marcelo and that probably helps me today because I was fresh. I was eager. I knew I had a chance to win over Jonas. I took the chance which God has given me, so that is important.

Q. Tennis-wise you feel you are at your top?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No. I still feel like I am playing maybe 50% of my potential what I can play. Like I said before, this year has been a disaster for me. It hasn't been any big matches, any big tournaments; before I am very bad in the Grand Slam. What I want to do, I just want to forget about 1998. Although, it has been a happy year for me because my daughter was born just one week ago. But tennis-wise, I just want to forget - just get ready for the new year.

Q. It has been a disaster, but you have good chance now to go to Hannover; gives you some ambition?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I don't want you guys to talk about it although, I am thinking myself in the back of my mind about it. But realistically, I don't think I can perform well in three weeks in a row which is here, Bercy and Moscow. I can - hopefully, I can win tomorrow. But then chances to play well in Bercy are very low because, you know, as the statistics show, I wasn't so consistent this year. I was winning a tournament; then I had five early losses in the first round. Who knows. But, of course, it doesn't -- don't mean that I don't want to play in Hannover. Of course, I would like to play if I make it. But if you don't know, big deal.

Q. When you say you want to forget about this year, are you eager to strike strong next year?


Q. Do you have any specific goals in mind?


Q. Anything that you --

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yes. Just like always, win as many matches, win as many tournaments, that is basically the bottom line. What I want to do next year So I know deep inside that I didn't put enough effort to be, for example, Top-10 because I didn't practice enough. I was playing and spending a lot of time away from the court. That is logical. That is why I am not really upset with myself. That is what happened to me this year. But next year, I would like to get back.

Q. Congratulations on the birth of your daughter.


Q. Did this also distract you a little bit during this year, the idea that you were becoming a father was a problem of concentration?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No, not at all because I have a very wonderful wife. She said: I will take care of everything, just do your job. And, she is also happy when I am winning the matches, winning the tournament. She rather stay home and not be away and winning the matches winning the tournament, so...

Q. So she helps you, but you must, in your mind --

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I was thinking about it a little bit. But like I said, it didn't bother me at all. Although my wife was pregnant, but I still wanted to win, wanted to play.

Q. What is the name of the baby?


Q. Are you already looking forward to the moment maybe when she is three years of age, when she will see you winning matches?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It is still long way to go.

Q. Can you imagine?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I don't want to rush the time. If it comes to that point, that is fine. I am sure it will come to that point. Hopefully, you know, when I will be 27, I still be in the top, so she can see her father playing good tournaments, winning the matches, winning tournaments.

Q. Sometimes it is not too bad to have a bad year, to rebound for the year after, don't you think - don't you take it in a positive way this way?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I definitely want to take advantage of that, although, I have a little bit point in the beginning of the year. But I had very bad spring which is clay court season. Normally '96 and 1997, I had a very good year, winning the French Open, of course, it was probably the best moment of my career. I definitely would like to take advantage. I didn't play Australian Open last year, had an injury. So if I do well in the beginning of the year, I think -- I think I really have a chance to be on the top again.

Q. Do you have any other reason why you didn't play that well this year?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I told you. I didn't put enough effort on the tennis court. That is the reason.

Q. What were you doing instead?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Just enjoying myself, enjoying family life, that is it.

Q. Are you going to play as many tournaments as you used to play in the previous years next year?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I always says in the end every year that I will cut my doubles schedule, but I always keep doing the same. I don't know, probably I will do the same again. My body still feels -- still can take a lot of matches although I do get sometimes tired, but hopefully before the Grand Slam and before important tournament, I will take it a little bit easier.

Q. Are you interested in this battle for the No. 1 spot by the end of the year?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think that was -- it is over. Obvious already that Pete is going to finish No. 1.

Q. It is obvious for you?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It is obvious. I knew that long time. Marcelo had his opportunity this week, but unfortunately he got injured. Patrick, honestly, I don't think he is going to perform well in Bercy. I might be wrong, but that is my personal opinion. Pete is going to again probably play well in Bercy and play well in Hannover which he always does, so he is going to finish No. 1. That is obvious.

Q. What about since you know everything, do you know something about yourself in the future with the coach, do you know if you are going to hire a new coach and who it is going to be?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I have one big candidate for next year, so hopefully he will agree to work with me.

Q. It's a secret?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I just want to keep it quiet for a little while.

Q. I am available in case.

End of FastScripts….

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