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April 23, 1997

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


Q. Do you think it is just in your head at this point or how would you describe the way the game is going?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, I still have a game in my head. That is the one thing and the other things that I still cannot achieve to play such a high level that I was playing before the last year. It is a matter of physical condition first of all. And, second of all, I didn't had too many matches this year. So, it is a matter of dealing with confidence.

Q. It seems like watching you play the strokes are there in a lot of ways; striking the ball pretty well?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I am trying hard, believe me. But, the other guys was practicing, they played much more matches this year than I did. So, it is for them. Hopefully the next future, it will come back all to me again.

Q. Because you felt -- I could see at times seemed like you are not opening up the court with your groundstrokes as much as you were maybe the end of last year; not hitting the same kind of angles?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Crosscourt is not that powerful. I still cannot hurt the guys like I was doing before. That is the biggest problem; especially on this surface. And, if you don't hurt the other guys, they will make you run there. So, everything turns around. They are hurting you. And, basically, that is what was happening last three weeks with me.

Q. Why did you wait so long to come back; just the doctors told you that you needed to wait?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Believe me, it is still painful to hold the racket. And, I have been away for three months and it is such a long period, so I miss the game and I miss almost everything. That is why I decide -- maybe it was a little bit too early, but I am hungry again for the game. I want to compete.

Q. I am sorry to make you repeat yourself but when you were recovering, were you back in Russia or Germany?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No, I was under treatment in Germany.

Q. I guess it was a relatively pretty serious fracture?


Q. You said you have pain now?


Q. Just gripping the racket or when you stroke the ball?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: When I making my forehands, basically. It is not 100. It is 80%.

Q. What did they tell you? They told you that you are going to recover if you keep playing or you should rest more?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I cannot break the hand again, so that is why I decided to start even through the pain. So I knew that if I would start practicing, it will get better and better. And, believe me, it is getting everyday better and better, but still, it is not 100%.

Q. How much practice time did you miss? When did you actually start hitting the ball again?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Two weeks ago before Estoril.

Q. Obviously, of course it is frustrating, but, do you feel like looking ahead to the French and looking ahead to the summer that you can get things back in shape by then or is that enough time?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Not so early, to be honest with you. I don't feel like I will be on the same level, for example, as I was before. But, I know, you know, deep inside I feel it like I still can achieve everything what I was doing. It is a matter of time. And hopefully, you know, not this year, but next year, you know, I still have desire and everything for being on the top again. But, it is not such easy things.

Q. Do you think mentally as well as physically it will take you sometime to get back to 100%?


Q. And that was the problem wit what happened today during the match?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: That was the main problem. I had the game. I still have the game in my head. I know how to play every point, but physically I cannot achieve it.

Q. What would you say is harder for you to be away from the game; not being able to play, or to be out here not succeeding knowing the way you can?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think the hard things for me now is being on the court and losing. That is the hardest thing.

End of FastScripts....

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