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November 16, 1997

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


Q. So, Yevgeny, this match was too short to be disappointing?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I wanted to go off the court after the first set because I knew it's going to get worse for me because Pete started playing unbelievable tennis. Then on the other hand, I felt like I was getting tired. You know, I couldn't stand on the same level with him.


Q. So you had no chance to win after the first set, you knew?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I tried 150 percent to get back into the match, but I was unable. I was unable. I was simply unable to get back.


Q. So now you are tired, but you are happy anyway?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I'm not tired. I could play longer, you know. I still have some energy. But the energy which is necessary to play Sampras, I didn't have anymore. So that was the reason because, you know, he was making winners all over the court. I tried maybe to go for sometime for too much, but I was forced to do that. If I would have played passive tennis, you could destroy me. Basically that's what happened. His power was so strong today. You know, he serves big, his forehand. He was dominating, no questions about it.


Q. Do you think it's the best you have ever seen him playing against you?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, it was pretty similar story this year than last when he beat me 6-2, 6-2. I felt like last week, a couple weeks ago in Paris, I had much more chances than today. Today, even though when I had the break in the beginning of the match, maybe everybody start thinking might be so interesting. You know, he was too good. He was too good.


Q. And this morning, you were feeling good, despite the fact that Russia lost?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I'm still feeling good. I'm smiling. I'm pumped up. But, unfortunately, it's so frustrating to end up like that. But, you know, that's the way life goes on. You know, I have no words, no words for what happened today. Only I can tell you he played best tennis, that's it.


Q. So if you want to sum up what happened by the end of the year, you're happy?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I'm more than happy, to be honest. I'm more than happy. Played the final match of the year in this tournament, it's a big honor, you know, although I lost. But, I'm not so disappointed like I could have been if I wouldn't make it here. But, you know, I was here. I played five matches. And I'm really, really happy.


Q. Yevgeny, in a curious sort of way, was it almost a privilege to have been on the court with him when he was playing like that?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah. I felt so embarrassed. I felt so embarrassed because everything I was trying didn't go the right way. He had an answer for everything. Like I said, you know, I wanted to go off the court even after the first set because I knew he will start to play much, much better. Basically that's what he did. He was coming with the big serve in the right moment. He was playing so relief. His groundstrokes, you know, five times better than me, even though everybody thinks that my groundstrokes is much better. Totally, he was dominating. I had no chance chance, no chance.


Q. Would you say when Pete is at his best, he's in a class by himself, almost unbeatable?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I can say that, yes. Because that's his favorite surface. He likes the atmosphere. He likes the condition. And when he's hot, it's impossible to beat him.


Q. You said the other day after beating Chang that you had an incredible feeling because you were playing so well, you could do whatever you wanted to do. Today it was the opposite.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Opposite story, yeah.


Q. How is it to go from one to the other?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It's big frustration. When you doing something like this to your opponent, you feel great. But then when somebody turning around, making yourself look so bad on the court, then you don't feel such a good like I was feeling against Chang. You know, he did it to me. I ask him, "How could you do that to me?" He say, "Sorry."


Q. You could realize how Chang was feeling against you?



Q. I know what are you going to do, take some good holidays?



Q. Yes.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I'm going to try to regroup for the new year. It's too bad the season is over. Finally I started to feeling the court again, feeling my game, you know. Unfortunately, you know, it's going to be a little bit more than one and a half months before the new season starts. So hopefully, you know, I will not lose the touch which I picked up this week. All I can tell you, I'll try to be ready for 1998.


End of FastScripts....

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