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November 14, 1995

Yevgeny Kafelnikov


Q. How much did the injury affect your game?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: My injury didn't affect the results of the match at all. I felt pretty good. Just for me, it was too the way Pete played, his game was very extraordinary.

Q. Is it the best Sampras you played against today?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It is really difficult to answer because we -- I played Pete twice before. Once was the Australian Open. Second time was in the World Team Cup and that was the first time that we played and only surface indoors. I find that Pete's game was very good; especially his serve.

Q. But you had a couple of chances to break him.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah, I had five or six.

Q. Six.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Six breakpoints. Couldn't convert it. From the beginning of the match, Pete was on top of my game, you know, all the time, all the points. I was under pressure and today was really difficult.

Q. Do you think he plays better indoor courts?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah, I would say he is concentrating very well on those important points and he can serve huge breakpoints and I think he did.

Q. Do you feel he didn't give you more time to try approach because he tried --

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah, I tried everything that I could do. I tried to play my best game from the baseline, but Pete didn't give me any chances, either he was serving aces or he was miss -- he was doing mistakes. I knew that if I would keep Pete on the baseline, I had the chances, but unfortunately, it didn't work that way.

Q. He played a lot from the baseline. Were you surprised by that?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: If you see the statistics, all the points that we played from the baseline, I think the percentage was on my side. I won most of the points on the baseline, so he was serving unbelievable today. I didn't know which way to go, forehand or backhand.

Q. Did you have trouble with your knee?


Q. Looking at this match you are more happy to meet him.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I am not really thinking about the Davis Cup. I am still thinking because I am now in the World Championships; I have two more matches to play and we will see -- I am not really looking ahead for the Davis Cup Tie.

Q. It seemed that you lost your concentration at the end of the game.

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I didn't lose the concentration. As you know, all the matches here in the World Championships are very expensive. If you are losing the first match, it will cost you a lot. So my next two matches I have to concentrate two times more, just to stay in the tournament. I have to win next two matches; otherwise I will be out of the World Championships, so -- but, I mean, I think my performance is very good now. I am playing all right, so -- I think I have the chance against Boris and Wayne - if I play my normal game.

Q. I think about a year ago you said that you weren't ready to be a top 10 player; you didn't feel that you were that kind of player; you didn't want to get up early in the morning to put in the work. What has changed?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You know, I am one year older than I was last year - that is the difference. I have one year more experience than I had last year. I think by winning some tournaments, as I was saying before, I deserve that spot in the top 10 by beating some other top 10 players; I deserve it.

Q. So did you not have the confidence before which made you say what you said then?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: At that time, not. Last year I didn't have that confidence as I have right now. Right now I feel pretty good. I feel that my game belongs to the top 10 player.

Q. Did that then make you more serious and work harder as well once you knew that you did have the ability?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Sure, now I have much more motivation than I had last year because as you know, it is very difficult to stay in the top 10 because all other players that are behind the top 10, they really want to get in there and they are trying hard and for us it is much more difficult to stay there. We have to be more focused and do what we have to do to be there.

Q. So the people behind you in the rankings are more of a threat in the way than the people ahead of you; they are more to worry about than the Becker and Changs and Sampras's?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah, I think for everybody including the top 10, I mean, it is very difficult because when they go in on the court and they are playing somebody who is behind them, you know, the level of the tennis now is very high so everybody can be, for instance, a top 10 player, you can see the statistics. I was losing in some tournaments to the guys like 400th in the world, so this just shows that the level of the tennis, it is very high.

Q. You have one of the best return of serves in the game. Can you speak about the Sampras serve?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It is no question that his best serve is down the middle to the Deuce side and to the Ad side. And it is very fast, that is why you have no time to get to the balls. You have to be quick to get there, and not many players can do that and the ball goes very fast; that is my opinion.

Q. But you don't think his wide serves are quite the same quality?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: No. I don't think so.

Q. How is the pressure here any different than what it is going to be in Moscow?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I will find that I had some supporters today as well, so some people were supporting me. Some people were supporting Pete, but the condition was pretty good. I didn't felt any pressure. As you know, Pete is No. 1 player in the world. I am No. 6, so I just-- I guess that is the difference.

Q. What I meant is the pressure between here and what is coming up in Davis Cup?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I am sure the Davis Cup final the pressure will be ten times bigger for me because we are going to play in my own country. That will be the difference.

Q. Will that make it tougher against Sampras?

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I am sure it will be much easier because of the surface.

End of FastScripts….

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