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November 21, 1996

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


Q. What was the biggest difference today between today and the final in Paris?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, I think today I was a little bit more fresh than I was in Bercy. I had to -- today I had to play best of three sets; I think that was the difference. I was concentrating for long period, plus for the short -- that is why I was able to keep my concentration for one hour. That was good enough to win the match.

Q. How did you feel about the fact that he was able to play after Andre pulled out? Was that normal to you? Do you think that is right?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I was a little surprised. By the same time, I realized that it could happen that way, that Andre played a match against Pete. I am sure he was ill, that is why he was unable to perform 100%. So, yesterday night I got call from the ATP and they said I am going to have to play Thomas. So, in the beginning I was a little surprised, but then I just took it as any other matches.

Q. How do you like the speed of the surface?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I am sure it is good for Boris.

( Laughter.)

Q. And for you?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I don't know. It is just -- it is -- of course it is a factor against which opponent I am playing. For example, if I am playing Becker, no matter what kind of surface, I mean, if you are playing indoor, no matter what kind of surface Green Set or Taraflex, it is still going to be very difficult. But, I mean, this surface, to me, it is quite okay.

Q. Have you seen the whole match between Becker and Sampras?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Not very much. I saw some highlights. But, it was quite extraordinary. I saw the tiebreak in the second set. No question that Becker is playing the best tennis, by far, indoors, that I have ever seen him play.

Q. Have you ever seen him play?


Q. How do you feel to have to play against Pete, freshen up or --

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I don't feel any pressure because last year I was 0 and 3 in the matches and losing to Becker, you know, after that my chances were really low. But, and I still feel like Pete is going to be the favorite tomorrow. But, I will try 100% tomorrow because that is -- the winner of our match goes to the semifinal; maybe Pete got tired today and anything can happen.

Q. Because of your history with Pete; the fact that you played him earlier in your pro career and you have known him a long time does playing him excite you more than any other match?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It was exciting before I went to the court against Becker and that was quite exciting to play Becker and in front of his home crowd. And, to play Pete, he is No. 1 in the world, I am sure it is going to be the same feeling, and at the same time I will try hard as I was doing before. So, I am going to take that match very seriously. Even if I lose, it is not going to be the end of the world. I know that we are going to play so many other times against each other, so it is just going to be the normal, regular match.

Q. Are you taking any less in the months of December after all your matches you played last year?


Q. Any exhibition?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No I am going to have to play Grand Slam Cup. I am going to Florida for preparing for the new 1997 season. It is not going to be any weeks off for me. I will try to keep my shape, my form and my shape.

End of FastScripts....

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