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December 6, 1996

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


Q. It seemed like watching you was like the opposite of Goran today. He lives just by his serve and you overcame your service problems to win. How did you do that?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You have to ask the same question Jim, too. He was the one who was stayed on the opposite side of the court. I think the -- my problem was my serve. If I were able to capitalize half of the points I lost on serve, it would have been a much, much easier game. Hopefully, you know, tomorrow my serve will improve.

Q. But how depressed were you out there?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: To be honest, I played quite relaxed, even when I was down 5-3 in the third, you know, I felt all right. That's why I was able to play a couple of big shots, to break him back, stay in the match. Then I was waiting for the right moment. The right moment came. I broke him and was able to hold my serve and win the match.

Q. Because your groundstrokes stayed with you the whole time, despite everything?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah. Basically my game depending on the groundstrokes only. That's my main weapon. If I would have improved my serve and my volley, God, I would have been a better problem.

Q. Were there little mind games going on between you and Jim early on? It seemed like he delayed your serve?


Q. In the first set?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: We're quite good friends with Jim. We never have any problems on the court and off the court. We respect each other. We just enemies on the court, but in a positive way, not like we're trying to cheat on each other or something, no. We're just trying to prove who's better. Today I was a little bit better than him.

Q. What do you think the third set is not a tiebreaker?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It's good. It's quite entertaining for the public. Third set could last more than an hour, which is very, very good for the spectators. Today, we had 8-6 in the third set, more than two hours on the court, which was good. I think it's a positive decision made by the tournament organization.

Q. Do you ever watch your service moves on video?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yes, yes (laughter).

Q. What do you reckon?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I wish I could serve better, but nobody can be perfect.

Q. It creeps in your mind, of course, that's obvious.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: When the time comes to the very crucial moments in the match, I cannot trust my serve. That's my biggest problem.

Q. Yevgeny, you have a Grand Slam title on claycourt. Do you know already where you are going to start your claycourt season?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yes. I start in Estoril, that is my first tournament.

Q. Speaking of French Open titles, when you're playing a guy like Courier who has won the French twice, the fact that you've won it twice --


Q. I'm sorry. The fact that you have a Grand Slam in your pocket, does that lift your spirit at crunch time that you have respect for yourself that, "I can beat this guy"?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No question. By winning the French Open title, it helps my confidence very, very much. Before that, you know, I wasn't sure about my claycourt game because when I was going on the claycourt against Spanish players, it was quite difficult battle for me. But now I feel deep inside that I'm better than them, so that's why my record this year on the clay against Spanish players was perfect. I played 20 times and I lost only twice. Before that, for example, 1995, I wasn't even thinking close to that. Now it's different story.

Q. Have you been in touch with Andrei Medvedev?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Not lately, no. I haven't spoke with him, I don't know, one and a half months.

Q. Have you been speaking about your success on the circuit this year? You won a Grand Slam title.


Q. Yes.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: We talk, yeah. He congratulate me. We still good friends, but unfortunately we cannot be encouraged by one person. That's I think the sad moment. When we're on the circuit, we talk, ask what kind of form everybody has.

Q. Where is he right now? What kind of form is he playing?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think he's Monte-Carlo. He's practicing for the new season.

Q. Speaking of popularity, do you consider yourself a showman out there? Personally, today you really showed your showman's side with your serve problems and so forth. Are you getting more and more confident, maybe becoming a Becker type out there?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It's not because of confidence. I think it's personality. I consider myself as a hard-working player. For example, I'm not like Leconte, who are really the actors on the court. Maybe if I were men like them, maybe I wouldn't be so successful. This way I want to keep it myself as it is right now. I don't want to change anything, winning strategy or something like that. I just want to be cool and be focused on the main thing. For me the main thing right now is tennis.

End of FastScripts….

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