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August 21, 1998

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


MIKI SINGH: Eight straight match wins for Yevgeny here in New Haven. This is his second consecutive week he has reached the semifinal at an ATP event. He will play Goran Ivanisevic in the semifinal match tomorrow. First question.

Q. Pretty hard work?


Q. A long time to get ahead of him?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah, took me two hours. Two hours work, but that is how every match is supposed to be, you know, big battle and fortunately, I was able to close it out.

Q. Why was it so tough?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I don't know. Everything was tough.

Q. What was wrong in the second set?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I felt a little bit bad in the beginning of the second set, but I was able to continue and paid out. I won the match.

Q. How do you feel now?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I don't know, we will see. I feel okay, but I don't know how it is going to be tomorrow.

Q. What was bothering you?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, it is hard to describe it, but felt really, really bad, you know, felt almost like exhausted or going to hit the wall. But, like I said, I was able to continue, then it was good for me and won the match. What else can I say?

Q. The game that you called for the trainer you had to hang on. How did you manage to do that?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I don't know. I still don't know. But believe me, I was close to give up because I was really feeling very bad.

Q. How much of this do you think is part of the fact that you aren't really in the mood to play either? You said earlier in the week that you didn't feel enthusiastic --

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Nothing to do with that. Has nothing to do with that. That was one of the days maybe where I had sun stroke or something like this, but it has nothing to do with motivation at all.

Q. Still going to play doubles today?


Q. Is there something that you can use later on and say: I don't know, I felt bad and I still came back as part of the motivation --

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Perhaps, but I don't know.

Q. Talk about your match with Goran if you will, what will be the keys of winning that match?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, a lot of factors has to be, you know, has to go my way. Depends how I am going to feel too. I have to be fresh, of course. The main factor will be return of his serve and if I would be able to deal with his serve I am sure I have a shot.

Q. How do you normally make out against his serve?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Experience. Simple answer.

Q. Would you prefer to play maybe an earlier match knowing that you had to play doubles?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, yesterday was -- I never thought about it, but perhaps if I would have played first match early in the morning, but I guess they played late last night so they couldn't schedule him early matches tonight. So, whatever.

Q. Are you concerned about how you will feel before the doubles match?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: A little bit, but not so much. Whatever happens in doubles, you know, I guess I have to still come back tomorrow and play my singles.

Q. Do you think he made a lot of mistakes; didn't have very good breakpoint percentage and he said he felt tired too?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: We both felt tired, but I guess it is every time like this once you are not able to close it out, when the opponent gives you chance on breakpoints, but on the other hand, I was able to win a few breakpoints, just few crucial points made the match. It could go either way in the match.

Q. You say you don't feel motivated, but then a couple of days later you are out here working your way through something where you could easily give up; then you are going out and playing doubles. You just feel the need to play tennis even if you don't feel the desire to play it?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Good question. I -- I guess maybe on the other circumstance I would give up, but not now and not right -- not here.

Q. Is tennis fun for you? I get the --

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Very much. Very much. Especially when, you know, a few friends of mine they come on the court and give me support, you know, once and after that you feel kind of loose and make jokes with the friends which are seated on the side. Otherwise, if I take too much serious there is too much pressure on me.

Q. You said: Not here and not now. Do you mean because the US Open is looming or because you really enjoy being in New Haven and want to defend this?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I guess it is both factors. One, I want to prove that I could win back-to-back and of course with the upcoming US Open, that is another factor. And with those two factors combined together, you know, it is probably the main reason why I still playing here or why -- and why I didn't give up the match and like you said, probably all the others circumstances would be different story. Maybe -- because today, believe me, I pushed myself to very big limit. On the other circumstance, I would probably retire in the match. But sometimes you have to go through the wall and it paid out. I won the match.

Q. What did the trainer do for you?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Nothing. He give me -- just asking for the aspirin from the headache and that is about it. He said: I have to carry on, take my time and he told me it is going to get better.

Q. You seemed a lot more deliberate today rather than your quick pace. Was that part of it? Just figured you had to slow down and relax?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, in the beginning I was hoping to get together fast pace. Then I kind of hit the wall. He was coming back with big shots and then after I felt a little bit exhausted, felt not good, I tried to slow it down. And, you know, it works successfully because he is the kind of player who likes to dictate the game and be fast on the court, play fast shots, off both sides and today, seems to me, just it was one of the days we both felt really tired and fortunately for myself I was able to win the match.

Q. Again you say you are not motivated, but you still play such a heavy schedule, I mean, still leading the Tour in --

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I am in the United States; what else can you expect me to do? It is a long way from Europe.

Q. What was the difference between the second set and the first set in your play? What turned around for you?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I guess probably was able to win that important breakpoint in the fourth game of the second set where I had the chance in the beginning of the first and then, you know, finally broke him for 3-All. Then all of a sudden, goes my serve, I was playing a lot looser, without any pressure in the second and third set when I was kind of uptight in the beginning of the match.

Q. Was being sick the reason for you were like you were like okay, I can't start yelling at all the linespeople; got to concentrate on something else?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: That is right. Everyone is obligated to make mistakes. I know sometimes I make big mistakes, even the line judge also can make -- can afford to do mistake even though maybe he doesn't want to do it, but unfortunately he makes those mistakes. Sometimes it does drive you crazy, but nothing much you can do about it. You just have to hang in and keep focus.

Q. Who is the friend that has been here?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It is Medvedev. You have seen him.

End of FastScripts….

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