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August 16, 1996

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


JOE LYNCH: Yevgeny is heading on to Long Island next week after a long day of tennis here. First question?

Q. Yevgeny, what happened today?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Nothing happened. He just was the better player on the court, that's it.

Q. What's that?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: He was the better player on the court. That's it. That's what happened.

Q. How about in doubles?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Same story, a lot better team than us.

Q. Are you a little frustrated with his serve, that you weren't able to return it better?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, I wasn't so frustrated because, no, I know how hard he can play. He played probably the great match as he's ever playing by far. He definitely deserved to be in the semis.

Q. In the beginning of the match, you seemed to have more chances.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I never have any chances.

Q. Well, you didn't have a breakpoint. You seemed to be a bit more into the first few games.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I didn't think that way. From my point of view, I might have felt that I had a chance today. He was just better player.

Q. Didn't take very long to decide it was going to be a difficult day?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No. I knew from the beginning.

Q. (Inaudible)?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No, because I felt like -- you know, after we had a couple volleys from the baseline, he's not going to give up. I had to play 150 percent just to beat him. I felt like, you know, at the moment I cannot play 150 percent.

Q. Was that due to his second serve?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: He's an aggressive player. He likes to play someone like me.

Q. (Inaudible)?


Q. Is that something you would like to work on?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It will come. It will come. I know it will come back.

Q. Is that one of those things, yesterday when we were talking about the Open, you said you wanted to work on a couple things. Is that one of the things you wanted to work on?


Q. Are there other things as well?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: There are other things that I'm missing. As I said, it's several days before the US Open start. I definitely will try to do something big at the Open.

Q. If it's going to be a difficult day at the Open, if things aren't feeling right --


Q. -- where do you find the reserve?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It's the best of five sets, I have a great experience playing best of five sets. I will come back. I'm not going to give up.

Q. Yevgeny, you've had so many great moments this year. Is this the lowest moment?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No. I had so many lowest moment. I can't consider today was a terrible day of my career. I had so many bad days. All I have to do is just take it as a man, as a professional tennis player and as a top player.

Q. (Inaudible) is it hell to be talented?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Especially, you know, when everybody is saying you are a great talent, your potential is unbelievable, it's really difficult to handle it.

Q. What makes it difficult to handle?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: The pressure, the pressure. Everybody thinks, you know, I can win everything, I'll be No. 1. You know, it's not easy to handle that.

Q. Makes you like a machine?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Not like a machine, but they feel like I'm unbeatable, which is not true. Yeah, maybe they feel like I'm the Cyberg or whatever, the machine.

Q. Is that especially true in your home country?


Q. This pressure. Is there more pressure here?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: At the moment I'm the most popularity in Russia, I think. Maybe I'm wrong. That's why so many people follow my results. They can see me on TV a lot when I'm playing. Even today when I call my family, they said, "You are on TV." It's great. "Too bad that you lost today."

Q. You get used to it?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: As I said, you know, I'm not a junior anymore. I'm 22, but it seems to me I've been here forever. Like other players my age, for example, Medvedev and Enqvist, I feel also they've been here forever. So many young guys coming up. It's almost like a long, long time ago.

Q. What do you need to be No. 1? Everybody wants you to be No. 1. Of course you have to want to be No. 1. If that is true, what do you need to be No. 1?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I'm not going to tell you what do I need. I know what I need to be.

Q. Your opponents already know.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: They know I want it. That's why they play with twice the damage coming, twice for example when they play someone else. Plus they want to prove it's nothing between me and them, we're staying on the same level. It's not sure. I'm better for them it says in the ranking. But they have completely different opinion. That's why it makes it much harder now these days.

Q. Yevgeny, in the doubles, you looked like a very frustrated player when you got the code violation. You just looked like a guy that was --

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It's not a great feeling when you lose a match, no matter singles or doubles. It's just very hard to handle. When you know that you can win the match or when you know in your mind that you are better than other players, to lose to them is so difficult to handle. But as I was saying, you know, everything that happen in the match, you know, I think things came around very quickly.

Q. You're talking about the fact that early in the match you knew that Alex O'Brien was the better player today.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Before the match I knew it was going to be very difficult. Once we stepped on the court, we play a couple of games, I knew that it's not going to be easy. I mean, in the end, you know, I realized he's the better player. He has all the shots and he was performing all those shots today just perfect.

Q. When you go to a match, have a game plan, see your opponent is playing well and change that?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: When the match goes so quickly, you don't have so much time to get back to the match. As I was saying, when you have the best of five set match, you have time to think or slow it down, the game.

Q. Your rhythm, ever think about slowing that down when you get into trouble?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I never thought about it. I never thought about it. I play the rhythm that I like, which helps me to win the matches. I don't think I'm going to change it.

Q. Is this as good as you've ever seen Alex play?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Against me, yes. I've seen him play a couple of times. Probably, yeah, today maybe I wasn't at my best and he was on top of his game. It's really difficult to answer your question.

Q. Which match do you remember right now, of course it could change tomorrow, in your career where you were so completely in control of your opponent's thoughts, you weren't in control at your end of the court, but you were controlling how they were thinking?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: A couple of days ago, I was looking in the draw how many matches in my career I play, about 300 matches. It's so difficult for me to remember all those matches.

Q. Nothing stands out?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No. 300 matches, that's a lot.

Q. (Inaudible)?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No, I'm not. I will continue.

JOE LYNCH: Thank you.

End of FastScripts….

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