home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
Asaptext.com
ASAPtext.com
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our
e-Brochure

ATP TOUR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP


November 10, 1997


Yevgeny Kafelnikov


HANNOVER, GERMANY

Q. In Paris you said you had good chances, you are here.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It's more than a great feeling. Basically, you know, I made what I want, qualified for World Championships with all the top eight players competing with each other. No question, it's a big thing for me, behind winning the Grand Slam. So I think I achieve what was my goal in my mind for this year.

テつ

Q. Obviously you are playing very well.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah.

テつ

Q. You played well in Moscow, played well in Paris. Maybe you can win this one?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: That's what I came here for. I think I'm on the peak of my game. I'm playing good. Tomorrow will help me to recover, to recharge the battery again. Wednesday against Bjorkman. I think overall my group is not as strong as the other one, but still, last couple years I was in the same group as Becker and Sampras. Fortunately, it went on my side. I have Chang, Bruguera, Bjorkman. I've beaten all those guys. My chances are completely increasing compared to the last few years. I feel it, too.

テつ

Q. Could you imagine that maybe a couple of months ago?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No, not at all, not at all. The year started with the injury, beginning of the time when I started, I never felt that I could make it. But, you know, I'm glad that I did this. This week I'm going to play relax. Hopefully I can show best what I can.

テつ

Q. (Inaudible)

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, Michael has been very competitive for a long, long time. Many players know that. It's not going to be an easy thing to play first Michael, but second of all to beat him, I have to be on my best form.

テつ

Q. (Inaudible)

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Jonas is obviously playing good.

テつ

Q. (Inaudible)

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Last two weeks obviously I played four matches in Paris and nine matches in Moscow. I can tell you, no, I didn't get tired. That's the most important thing. Second of all, I picked up my game, my confidence, which is very nice for this tournament.

テつ

Q. Did you expect to qualify?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No, I did not. You know, the way that all the things was coming into it, the way I played in the indoor season, I never thought that I could qualify.

テつ

Q. How did you feel yesterday before the match?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Before the match, I felt big, big pressure because it was a final, first of all. Second of all, to play in front of a home crowd, it was a lot of people. Third, I knew if I would win, I would qualify. So there was many things which could put me under pressure. But, you know, I'm glad that difficult, what was necessary to qualify.

テつ

Q. How did you feel after?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: After I felt great. I felt great. Everybody came to me, congratulate me. Because I won a tournament, but also because I qualified for the ATP.

テつ

Q. Can you explain to me what happened to your hand in January.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Just break the finger.

テつ

Q. How did you do it?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It was long story. I just don't want to go back because it brings me a lot of bad memories.

テつ

Q. It was your own fault?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It was my own fault.

テつ

Q. You won't do it again?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I definitely not going to repeat it.

テつ

Q. (Inaudible)

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No, no. It was accident. It was bad, bad accident made by me.

テつ

Q. . Tell me about the flying lessons.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Flying lessons?

テつ

Q. Have you done it? In Hamburg you said you started.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I started, but unfortunately I was playing a lot.

テつ

Q. When you're playing, you can't finish it?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Exactly. So hopefully when I finish here, I will have more free time and I will focus on it.

テつ

Q. Then maybe you're be flying to the tournaments yourself?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Perhaps.

テつ

Q. Muster I think also --

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Muster has done it with helicopter.

テつ

Q. And yours is single engine?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Single engine, right.

テつ

Q. (Inaudible)

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: All I can tell you, it's never easy to beat him, no matter what kind of day you play with him. Whether it's winter, summer, Michael is always dangerous. Very difficult to pull it together.

テつ

Q. And with Bjorkman?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Jonas is obviously playing good this year. He made some great results. Last week he won Stockholm. For sure, he's on the peak of his game, too. But I played him twice, and I won on both occasions, so I know his game pretty well, too.

テつ

Q. Sergi?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Sergi is very old opponent of me. Played a lot of times. Had some great matches. I'm sure, you know, if we're going to play, when we going to play, we going to have a great match.

テつ

Q. (Inaudible)?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Never had a chance to look at the surface. I heard it's hard court. Makes a chance of everybody pretty equal. You can serve and volley on this surface, you can stay back from the baseline. It's going to make the tournament very exciting.

テつ

Q. (Inaudible)

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I pick up my game at Bercy two weeks ago, reach the semifinal, lost to Pete Sampras. Last week Moscow really help me. I won the tournament. I qualified for the World Championships. I also feel I'm on the top of my game right now. Tomorrow, I'm not going to play the match, I will use it as preparation for the match on Wednesday.

テつ

Q. (Inaudible)

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: All these eight players, they know weaknesses and strong things of other players as well as I do. For me, it's not going to be dark horse Jonas Bjorkman. Like I said, I played him twice, I beat him twice. I know exactly what I have to do to beat him.

テつ

Q. (Inaudible)

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: My own game, I have to be focused first is my main thing. If I can focus, I'll be very difficult to beat.

テつ

Q. (Inaudible)

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: First of all, I have to qualify for the semifinal. You know, there's no question that my group is much, much easier than I had the last two years. I was in the same group with Sampras and Becker. Right now, I feel like I have a very good shot.

テつ

Q. (Inaudible)? How do you feel about the new faces here in Hannover?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, when you compare to last year, you had great names in the tournament, Sampras, Agassi, Becker. This year only Sampras and Chang been around, for long time. I'm only third time competing this tournament. Bruguera for third time. You have four newcomers. Maybe people will think it's something unusual compared with before. All the other guys, they proved they can play and they definitely deserve to be here.

テつ

Q. (Inaudible)

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It's big thing. Basically goal behind winning a Grand Slam for me. I'm glad that I'm finally here for the third straight here in a row.

テつ

Q. (Inaudible)

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I had Sampras, Becker, Ferreira, first year. I had Sampras, Agassi and Becker last year.

テつ

Q. Boris Becker is turning 30 in two weeks' time. I'm sure you have something to say to him as well.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Is ready?

テつ

Q. Yes.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Boris, I wish you very nice (inaudible) for your 30th birthday. Definitely when you finish your pro career, we're going to miss you very much. Happy Birthday.

テつ

Q. What is the most difficult thing about being a tennis professional, other than traveling?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think pressure when you're on the top. Everybody is expecting you to do well. When success is not coming, you know, everybody putting you so much under pressure. The people around you, they feel like, you know, you not succeeding anymore. That's the most difficult thing behind traveling.

テつ

Q. What's the best part of being a tennis professional?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: The best part I think is the winning, the feelings of the winning. I'm sure as everybody in this room, they feel the same way.

テつ

Q. With Becker cutting back on his schedule, he was such a dominant person, dominant player, what do you think this is going to do to tennis in general and European tennis, in particular?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It definitely hurts the European tennis. Becker, almost his career is finished. Stich is finished this year. In Europe, we don't have so much personality in the tennis players, which is sad. Basically, Germany is the main market for the tennis. I guess it's six tournaments in Germany. For the spectators, it's very sad thing.

テつ

Q. Could you step up and fill the void?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I will definitely try to compete with Americans, first of all, because they're strong. Sampras, Chang, Agassi hopefully coming back. I'm 23, I will turn 24 in February. I still have hopefully very nice career behind my back.

テつ

Q. What do you think about your group? Is it for you a good group?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think it makes my life a little easier compared to '95 and '96 when I had Becker and Sampras in the same group. This year, the fortunate was on my side. I drew Chang, Bjorkman and Bruguera. I think, you know, my life is going to be a little bit easier.

テつ

Q. Are you a little bit sad that Boris Becker is not taking part in this tournament because he's a German and it is a little bit better on the whole?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I'm sure all those people who will fill up the stadium tomorrow and the rest of the days will miss Boris Becker. He brought a lot of exciting memories into this country. We definitely going to miss him.

テつ

Q. If you will come to the final, have you got a favorite person you would like to play?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, first of all, I have to qualify for the semifinal. If I do that, I wouldn't mind playing anybody because I think I'll be on top of my game. If I'm on top of my game, I can beat anybody.

テつ

Q. You imitated Korda, not only two, but three times.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I just wanted to make fun of him. I think everybody liked.

テつ

Q. It was a good end of year for you?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Not yet. This is the end of the year. That's what I'm going to aim for.

テつ

Q. On the whole, last three months are good?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Exactly. I started in Basel, not so good. Vienna. Lyon was good, semifinal. Stuttgart. Finally Paris I pick up my game, semifinal. Last week in Moscow was very good.

テつ

Q. When you look at the last tournaments, empty seats.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Suddenly 18,000 in Moscow. This was great.

テつ

Q. Moscow was an exception. What do you think is the reason?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think we're losing the big characters in tennis. We had only one Becker. Becker is almost finished, which is very sad. Agassi is not playing well. Hopefully, you know, they can do something.

テつ

Q. Do you see in the future the (inaudible)?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It's hard to say. I think Goran was also good character for the tournament. He was a good character for the tournaments. A lot of people like to watch his game. It's very sad that he got injured. A lot of guys, Muster. Unfortunately, they are old guys. To get the young characters who can really excite more public, it's very hard. If they feel like playing too much, maybe because they need to get confidence, and that's how I am, I also play too much.

テつ

Q. Will you change your schedule next year?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Depend how it goes in the beginning of the year. If I play successful, then I will cut my schedule. I'm coming to Rotterdam.

テつ

Q. Amsterdam?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Amsterdam, no. I can't make it.

テつ

Q. (Inaudible).

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Moscow was special thing, yes.

テつ

Q. Because of the finals in Davis Cup, you had some criticism there.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I always have a criticize, no matter how I play.

テつ

Q. Even yesterday?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Even yesterday, yes. Many people criticize me that I was too nervous, too pumped up, because as maybe you saw in the beginning of the match, I was throwing the racquets. I was nervous. I wanted to win, that's the first thing. Right now, I don't know any other ways how I can motivate myself. I need it, I need the situation to play good tennis.

テつ

Q. After what happened yesterday at the beginning when you were mad, do you think why Rios lost in Santiago?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I didn't.

テつ

Q. Probably was nervous as you were.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Somebody told me if he would have win, he would have qualified.

テつ

Q. That's right. Exactly the same condition.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: 6-2, 6-1. I'm glad that I did it, with the pressure; I handle very nice. It was quite a thing.

テつ

Q. What is the difference with the other two you played?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: The players, the players.

テつ

Q. (Inaudible)?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: That's first. Second, you have only Sampras and Chang who can really dominate. But all those years before, you had Sampras, Becker, Agassi, Edberg. Nobody knew who's going to win the tournament. But, you know, right now, maybe it's easy to predict who is going to win.

テつ

Q. Easy?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Easy. But I'm not going to say.

テつ

Q. Are you going to bet money on it?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You have some players who can do well. But it's not like before. No, it's very sad, I'm saying. I feel like I have a chance. It's not like before.

テつ

Q. (Inaudible)?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I was close to beating him. I think every time I played him, it's a matter of one or two points always against Sampras. You see, in the French Open, before the French Open, Dusseldorf I beat him 6-3, 6-2. Then on the clay, I beat him three straight sets. Of course, this is his favorite surface, but it doesn't says that I don't like this surface either. I do like this surface.

テつ

Q. You like the match outdoors or indoors, if you could choose?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think both are the same, both are the same. I cannot choose any favorites. I think they stand on the same level.

テつ

Q. (Inaudible)

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Doesn't matter. I played him pretty close match last year here, too. I lost 6-4, 6-4. He had to play best tennis to beat me.

テつ

Q. (Inaudible)

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I saw a couple guys. They said they'll do everything I can to win.

テつ

Q. (Inaudible)

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It's so hard to follow Russian players. I'm not following the local Championships. To be honest, I don't know who is playing in which club: I know somebody who is playing in the German Bundes league.

テつ

Q. Nobody from Sochi?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No. But I love the team.

テつ

Q. (Inaudible)

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I don't know. Don't ask me these questions.

テつ

Q. (Inaudible)

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Kasparov.

テつ

Q. Chess?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yes.

テつ

Q. (Inaudible)?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Let me think. I don't follow Russian press too much also. I can't.

テつ

End of FastScripts....

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297