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November 13, 1997

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


Q. Yevgeny, could we say that today you played one of the best matches of your season?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah, I said that. I cannot play better than that. That was maybe the match that I was hoping to win, first of all, but I didn't knew that I'm going to win such an easy way. 6-3, 6-Love, to beat Chang, is quite an effort.


Q. Chang said that he did everything to make you play well. Do you agree with that?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah. I think so, because he was too passive and he give me a chance to dictate the game. And, once I was ahead in the match, you know, he never came back. He never went back to try to dictate his game. Because, you know, once he was trying to do something, I had an answer. Like I said, I played best what I could.


Q. But, did you think since the beginning of the match that you were going to play so well, to be a one-way match?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I felt like it's going to be a close match, but I didn't know who was going to win. I was ready to play a long match, tough match. I was prepared. But, once I had the first break then, you know, I started to play smart first. And, then, second of all, I played so easy. You know, even though I was taking -- once I was making the shots, everything was going inside. Just, you know, it was a day when I felt good.


Q. And what kind of feeling do you have when you're on the court playing so well? It's like when you have a big fish taking your hook.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Exactly (laughter). You know that the fish, it's not going to get out. Same thing today, you know, I knew, you know, when I had second break in the second set, I knew from this point that I'm going to win. Then I'm even more relaxed, trying to play everything what was -- maybe everybody see that I was laughing. Especially it was 5-Love, 15-Love, I played huge point. I said, "I can not play better." That was just example.


Q. You said even before playing Chang that you give you 90 percent of chances to get to the semifinal.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Exactly. Exactly. Basically yesterday was the most important match in the group. I beat Bjorkman. Then today I just came on the court and -- I haven't seen myself playing so good in a long, long time. That was maybe the time when I had to explode, to play good. That's what happened. I played maximum ability what I can. I couldn't play better.


Q. You've been looking for this form since you came off the three months with the finger injury. What's actually made the difference? What's made the form come back?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I just feel like I was hungry again to play good tennis, and that's motivate me a lot. Since I was injured, since I was kind of sad with the way I played in the beginning, in the spring, this spring, and then before Hamburg. But, then I made good results in Hamburg. Finally, from that point on, I started to believe in myself again. But then I was looking so shaky before Lyon, I was 15th for this tournament, on The Road to Hannover. Then suddenly, you know, in Bercy I made semifinal. It gives me extra motivation to do good in Moscow. Then I win Moscow. Then I came here with a lot of confidence.


Q. Would you say that Bercy was the turning point?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think so, to qualify for this tournament and play good again. I think, yeah, that was the tournament.


Q. Is this the best form of your career?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I cannot say that. It's definitely best match probably of the year that I played. You know, the way that I enjoy to play on the court. It's, by far, the best. I was in best form probably in French Open when I won it.


Q. Mr. Tiriac just said to me there's a new generation coming up which is pushing the old players. Do you think he can be right?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Time goes on. You know, you can't escape this moment. So the older players, they going out, and the younger ones are coming up. That's logical.


End of FastScripts....

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