November 13, 1995
Q. I heard that you have some kind of problem to the knees. Is that true or how bad is
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, at the moment I know nothing because I haven't checked myself
completely. As you know, I have been playing in Moscow last week and I kind of felt that I
can move pretty well. I felt no pain at all.
Q. It has been the first time?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It is nice to be a part of the top players for the World
Championships. Everybody is playing their best and I am looking forward to it.
Q. Do you know something about Frankfurt?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: This is my first time here in Frankfurt, and first time for the
Q. Are you going to play in Davis Cup?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: We will see. I am going to check myself after this tournament. I am
going to see how I am. Hopefully, it is not a big problem as I think, and I really want to
play Davis Cup final as you know. It will be very exciting against the United States.
First I have to just concentrate on the World Championship.
Q. Do you think it was an accident about the water on the court?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I guess it was an accident. Nobody did it on purpose. That is for
Q. Do you think that is bad reflection on Russian tennis?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I don't think that it hurts -- damaged the tennis in Russia. Just
that accident happened. I am sure it will never happen again.
Q. Did you feel too much pressure in Moscow during the tournament?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yes. It was pressure because I was the top seeded and everybody
expected me to win this tournament and I have to play my best tennis to get through since
my first round matches and every match from first round the level of my game was improving
and improving. We will see. I am sure tomorrow I am going to be in my best shape.
Q. Two years ago in Monte Carlo you said that Medvedev was only always working hard;
you had probably more talent when you were young, but you didn't practice as hard. Now two
years after, you are playing the World Championship and Medvedev is not. What has changed?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, the thing is that I think I am more focused than him. Since I
started working with my coach four years ago everything has been changed for me. He was
the one who really pushed me into it. I kind of knew that I could get to the best spot in
ranking. I was number 4 in April this year, so trying to get to No. 1, -- (Inaudible.).
Q. Do you think that a coach must be a higher level player than the player?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Well, let me take my example. My coach was never a world tennis
player. He is a specialist. He knows everything. And I really don't know why all the other
players choosing for their coach a former tennis players. I think it is just -- I really
can't explain why it is happening. My opinion that the former tennis players, they cannot
(Inaudible.). It is difficult being a coach after being a tennis player.
Q. How fun it is for you to travel with your coach?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think the coach is the the most important thing. He is motivating
you and he knows everything. He knows me pretty well. He is almost like my second father.
At the same time, I like to travel also with my family. I just want to feel focused on my
tennis. I don't want to spend time with my friends for nothing. During the tournament I
like to be with my coach:
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: In Barcelona in April.
Q. Past years you have never felt anything like that ?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I haven't checked myself. Some of the doctors say it is tendinitis.
I am going to check myself after the World Championship.
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I just knew I am going to come here. Maybe it will be my last
chance to play the World Championship. You never know. Maybe my professional tennis career
will be over next year. You don't know. I didn't want to miss that opportunity to be a
part of the the best tennis players in the world tournament.
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I am going to play five tournaments less than I played this year.
Q. You are going to play doubles in all tournaments?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I am not going to play doubles in the Grand Slam tournaments. That
is the decision that we make with my coach. We will see. We will see how it goes with
Q. How do you feel about that?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think since I started doing well in the Grand Slam tournaments;
quarters in Australian Open; semis in the French Open; quarters at Wimbledon, I think it
is really difficult to be -- to play good singles and be in the doubles tournament too.
Playing doubles, you spend some energy which is you need for your singles the next round.
Q. Davis Cup final, how do you think it is going to be against USA compared -- do you
think it is going to be more intense?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I am sure it will be the same, but we expect more people to come
and watch Davis Cup final. They never saw Andre. They never saw Pete and everybody is
looking forward to it.
Q. Do you think it is going to be more to your team to play against them?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Of course we want to win Davis Cup as a team badly and we are going
to try to do best as we can, even with the best team in the world with the best players,
Pete and Andre.
Q. More of a challenge than last year?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah, I think so.
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Usually the clay court, the chances are little bit better than
playing on the carpet or supreme because Chesnokov, he can -- that is his best surface and
I beat Andre twice on clay, so I think the chances are 50/50.
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I talked to him last week. He is pushing himself hard. He is
Q. I understand this is quite forward in your schedule, but you have to play Italy in
Davis Cup next year and in Rome. I mean, I know that you have the final before the
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Rome indoors?
Q. Rome outdoors. Red clay. Were you somehow pleased or not?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Of course. First of all, all the Italian people there, when you go
there, they really serve -- they support the team very good. We are expecting something
big, but it is really still a little bit too early to predict anything. First of all, I
have to play good year, Davis Cup and hopefully I will have some rest after the Grand Slam
Cup and before going to Australia and I have to be ready for the next season. .
Q. What kind of relationship do you have to your racket?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I would say that is my best friend. The racket is the most
important thing that you can have.
Q. How important it is for this tournament and for the spectators that Andre Agassi
isn't here? Do you miss him?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think everybody misses him, but there are a lot of players that
can play great tennis here - Jim Courier, Michael Chang. To be honest, I cannot predict
who is going to win the World Championship. Anybody can.
Q. What do you know about Enqvist ?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I know Thomas Enqvist six, seven years. He is a dangerous player. I
am sure everybody is really looking forward to this World Championship.
Q. How much do you think?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I was not disappointed with the season, but I was kind of sad not
making Frankfurt, but this year I am very happy. I am playing well. I am playing very good
tennis. I am at the World Championships again; Davis Cup final. Can't complain for this
year. Won four tournaments. Did well in the Grand Slam tournaments.
Q. Being at this tournament is it a goal or you just happened to play good tennis?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I wasn't sure if I was going to make it, but I was thinking about
it. Since I made it, I was really happy to be one of the eight best players to come here.
Q. Did people ever talk about the Masters, did you ever hear about this tournament ?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Medvedev was here two years ago.
Q. What happened in Russia now, they follow more tennis than they used to before; is
there a difference that you can.....
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think the Russian team, the Davis Cup team they build the tennis
in Russia. I think now the tennis is on the first spot in the sports in Russia. More than
football; more than ice hockey. You should see the stands when you are playing Davis Cup,
always good crowd, 15, 20,000 people standing to watch. And they really want to see
something special - like they were really happy that Boris came to the semifinal and
Michael Stich was there and they are looking forward to Andre and Pete there.
Q. Apart from tennis, what is it that you like most to do? I am not talking about women
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I am not interested in women anymore because I find nice girlfriend
since two months.
Q. So you have a nice girlfriend?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah.
Q. What else is nice to do for you?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: As you know, I am travelling a lot. I am playing a lot of
tournaments. When I finish my professional tennis career I will do something else - that
is for sure, but now I want to focus on the tennis.
Q. Given your experience of travelling, do you view your country differently now?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I would say, yeah, I see it a little bit different. It is almost
impossible to walk in the streets because everybody recognize. Everybody asking for
Q. Moscow too?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yeah.
Q. They know you everywhere?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Yes. Well, I am not going there often to my country now. So...
Q. How many days do you spend in Russia a year?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: This year I would say one month.
Q. What would be a bigger win, winning here this week or a win in Moscow?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: You can't compare those two things. To win here, it is nice, as you
are winning the Davis Cup final. Davis Cup final is your team; you bring the trophy to
your country. Here, you are playing for yourself.
Q. If you would have to choose --
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: It is two different things. I just don't want to say anything.
Q. It happened quite quickly '93, I saw you qualify in Doah, three years later you are
here, that is quick; isn't it?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I felt I could do it, but I didn't know it was going to happen that
quickly in four years time. I knew one day maybe, six, seven years time I could be a good
player, but not very good as I am right now.
Q. What made you believe that?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: My coach was telling me every time if you will keep working hard,
everything will go your way. And we did that job together, so we didn't waste the time for
Q. What was the low point?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: First satellite in 1992 when I had no money and we had to stay in
some shitty, shitty place, you know, without shower and everything and here I am right
now, I am staying in a nice hotels with everything, so just amazing how things change
Q. What do you want to achieve in tennis? What is your goal? Are you in it for the
prestige, for the money? What is the thing that makes you want to play?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I just want to be well known. When I finish my career, let us say,
like John McEnroe where you go, you just ask the name, do you know John, everybody will
say "yes." Because he has done so much for tennis, and that is what I want to
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I was young at that time. I was a teenager. For me, it was very
exciting to win the satellite. By winning that satellite, my confidence was growing by
winning the matches and everything.
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I would say that the chances are 50/50 against the United States.
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: The court will be clay, very slow.
Q. How do you think last year's match will compare to this year's?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: For sure, we have more experience than last year. Of course, I have
more experience with Davis Cup than I had last year. But I think it is going to be very
difficult for me to play the final in Russia in front of 20,000 people.
Q. Are people coming up to you and asking you for things and you are not sure where
peoples' motivations are, people are asking you for something; do you find that?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: These are good questions. Hopefully when my professional tennis
career is over I will be going to live somewhere -- maybe somewhere on the island where
the people cannot find me - with my family; with my wife and kids. I will be well known in
my country, but that is the life. I cannot escape it.
Q. For you it is more --
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I would say have to be physically more stronger, but I think right
now -- I am trying to improve everyday. I am doing some things.
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I had some problem with my knee two, three weeks ago, that was a
very good sign for me that -- next year I am going to play five or six less. Just to watch
out for my body.
Q. When are you going to have the knee surgery?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I don't know. I haven't checked myself. I am going to do it here
after the World Championship.
Q. Do you absolutely need surgery ?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I don't know. I am definitely going to check myself out.
Q. It is cartilage?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Nobody knows. Even I don't know.
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I think they respect the sportsmen because we make money by doing
something; not like we are trying to steal money from somebody else; you know what I mean?
Q. Do you think what happened in the semifinal of the Davis Cup damaged the image of
Russian tennis ?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I am saying that that was accident; that one of the -- I really
don't know -- nobody did it on purpose. Obviously it hurt the tennis image in Russia.
Maybe it was a little disappointing for the Federation, but they did a good -- it was an
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I was really upset with the condition of the court on Friday day
because I almost twist my ankle playing the second match on Friday. Everybody was
complaining. I was complaining,. Chesnakov was complaining. Everybody was complaining. It
was really dangerous to play on that court on Friday.
Q. What would it means to Russia if could you do it next month?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: I would say it would be a huge thing.
Q. How will winning improve the development of the sport in Russia, if indeed, it needs
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Tennis image now,, I was saying before, is better than ice hockey,
better than football. Lots of supporters from the government, everybody is really in favor
of the tennis.
Q. I am surprised because traditionally states sponsorship has disappeared, it is
private investment that is, you know, that is needed; in fact, there is more support?
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: Tennis is a very famous sport all over the world and all the people
they play tennis, they really watching for -- they are really getting into the tennis.
Q. What sort of party would it be in Moscow if you were to win? Can you....
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV: We had a nice party after we beat Germany. I am sure if we win it
will be great.
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