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August 15, 1996

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


JOE LYNCH: Yevgeny into the quarterfinals, also playing doubles shortly with Daniel Vacek, also a winner earlier today. First question for Yevgeny?

Q. You played him five times, all on clay.


Q. This is the first time on hardcourt. Much of a difference?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yes. Difference was I think my personal opinion I'm a better hardcourt player than claycourter. I just show it by beating him pretty easy 1 and 4.

Q. You weren't happy with the way you played on the first match. Said your concentration was the only thing working. Today obviously better. What did you do?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Basically I didn't do something different. The difference was that I had yesterday a day off. I was really focusing on my practice, you know. I had three hours practice, was particularly working on my baseline game. I think today's worked perfectly. I was pretty happy with my -- you know, groundstrokes, my backhand worked well, my forehand worked well. I moved pretty well. You know, I was pleased. I am pleased with the way I played today.

Q. Do you prefer having a day off to practice or do you prefer now playing? You have another match today, you play tomorrow.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think, you know, doubles, which is -- is going to help me. I will have time to serve much more and to return some balls, that I can keep myself in the match.

Q. What do you do you when you're serving in doubles besides try to hold serve and win the doubles?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: What I will do? My concentration will stay in the match. That I'm sure is going to help me. Tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, you know, I'd like to keep my body all the time in the match.

Q. (Inaudible)?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think much more mentally, you know.

Q. Is that why you play so much tennis, I mean the last two years, more than anybody on the Tour? You just need that to focus?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah. I feel I do need it to keep my concentration, to keep my confidence, to be focused, to stay focused every day.

JOE LYNCH: That way you could do twice as many press conferences.

Q. Yevgeny, can you talk more about playing doubles with Daniel Vacek, why that has worked so well for both of you folks?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, I think our games fit to each other pretty well. We understand each other on the court, plus we have a kind of different game. Daniel is very aggressive player. He's got a huge serve, perfect volley. I'm the kind of player who likes to be on the baseline. I prefer to stay on the baseline more than being aggressive. That combination really fit to each other. I think that's why we won the French Open.

Q. Talk a little bit about that. When you won both singles and doubles at the French, almost 20 years since anybody had done that, what did that mean to your career?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I just proved to myself that, you know, I do feel physically strong, that I can win both. I cannot only win singles, but I can also win doubles, you know. 13 matches overall in those two weeks. I just proved that I'm strong enough to do that.

Q. Must have been fun?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah, it was fun.

Q. After winning the French more confidence for the Open in a couple weeks?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yes, I do feel that. Plus, you know, Pete is not on the top of his game. Andre got GQ yesterday, so I'm sure he's not in a good mood. The other guys not in the best shape. I'm sure this year's Open will be very, very interesting. Nobody is dominating the game now. It's like, for example, last year Andre was dominating his game. He won like 26 matches in a row, hot favorite. This year I don't see anybody who can stay.

Q. Is that good for the game?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think so, yeah, because nobody knows who can win. Good for the spectators, I think good for the TV. You know, it just makes the tournaments much more, much more interesting.

Q. You wouldn't mind dominating it yourself?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, that's another point, you know.

Q. Are you on top of your game?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Not at the moment, but hopefully when the US Open starts, I'll be on the top. I'll be what I want to be, you know.

JOE LYNCH: Two or three more questions.

Q. What kind of mind set do have you have to be successful going into the US Open?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Everybody knows that's the last Grand Slam tournament of the year. That tournament is really important to me because if I do well there, I might reach the highest ranking point of my career, so I can be No. 1. That's what I'm aiming for right now. I'll put everything what I have now to that tournament. That's what keeps me, you know, focused.

Q. Where did your interest in tennis come from?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, that's a long story, very long story.

Q. (Inaudible)?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: My family is really, you know -- I was born in a sports family. That's why, you know, I'm a good athlete. I can talk about my family a little bit.

Q. If you're not at the top of your game, can you still win here this week and what do you need to do to get to the top of your game?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I'm sure I will be on the top of my game, not tomorrow. If I do win tomorrow, it's going to come Saturday, Sunday. When you're practicing hard, sooner or later it will come.

Q. What do you need to improve to get there?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I just need to hit some more balls. I'm physically strong. I think it's going to take some time to feel the ground strokes. I'm still missing little bit small on my game.

JOE LYNCH: Last question.

Q. (Inaudible) special place you like to go, go in the city when you've been here?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think this is my fifth trip to New Haven. I do like the atmosphere here. Especially the tournament is well organized, close to New York City. The weather is not, for example, like Indy. It's nice during the day, cool at night. It really fits into my schedule.

Q. (Inaudible)?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No. To be honest, I've never been. I didn't have a chance to go sight-seeing.

JOE LYNCH: Singles and doubles for you?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yes, and practice.

JOE LYNCH: Thank you.

End of FastScripts….

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