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June 26, 2000

Anna Kournikova


MODERATOR: Ladies and Gentlemen, Anna Kournikova.

Q. How were the bounces today?


Q. The question was, how were the bounces today? How did you find the court?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It's great, it's Centre Court.

Q. How special was that victory for you?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It definitely was very emotional. First of all, it was a tough first round. Sandrine is a player who fights really well. But I'm really happy with the way I played. You know, I think I was very focused. Yeah, it's definitely great.

Q. Why so much difficulty closing it out? You had opportunities in the second set, then another in the third before you were able to do it. Did you get nervous or was it the way she was playing, a combination of both?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I think that after the rain, I kind of was playing really well, and Sandrine didn't really get into it. But I think she's the kind of player that plays really well when she's behind. She was playing all the way very well, especially she was serving really good. You know, I was only one break in the second set. Even though it was 5-2, it was only one break. You know, she kind of really -- I think, you know, she was really relaxed when she was down. She just tried to play well. I got a little bit, of course, uptight. But I think it was a combination of both.

Q. How tough is it to be playing a top-seeded player for the first round in Wimbledon?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, that's the way it goes. You know, there are some even tougher matches out there that was playing today. It's a 128 draw, so you will get somebody tough. You just have to work. I was fighting really well today, I think. That was the key.

Q. How tough is it to play Sandrine Testud, who is a fighter as you said, first round in Wimbledon? You didn't have time to get used to the grass.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I had time to get used to the grass last week. I've been practising on grass already two weeks. I was really feeling really good on grass. I feel really good on Centre Court. I played there before. I had some victories there before. I was comfortable playing on Centre Court. Playing Sandrine, I was confident that I could play well against her because I already played her before, and I won. I kind of knew what I had to do to beat her. But I also knew that she will fight. You know, I just had to play well and fight myself, do the things that I did before playing against her.

Q. How do you feel about your chances on grass as opposed to the other surfaces in the Grand Slams?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I think my game is really comfortable for grass, so it's probably one of the most comfortable. But I would say that I feel comfortable on all surfaces, you know. But grass probably is the most.

Q. Does it hurt that everybody talks about you because of your beauty and everybody says that you've never won a tournament? Is that the main point?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: The main point of what?

Q. Does that hurt, that people always come back to that you've never won a tournament, talk about the beauty of yours?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think I'm only 19 still, so I have, you know, a long way before me. Just going to be working. I don't really pay attention to what's going on around. Everybody needs a story. You know, I'm just working. That's what I've been doing since I was playing tennis, is concentrating on it, trying to play my best.

Q. Is there any satisfaction in coming here and beating the tenth seed in the first round, let the tennis do the talking?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Definitely. First of all, Wimbledon is a special place for me because this was my, you know, Grand Slam where I really played well. As I said, grass, the Centre Court, that year I also played my first match on Centre Court, so it's a good coincidence. I'm just very happy about the win, of course, like I said. Yeah, it was really a really good day for me today.

Q. What were your thoughts when you lost the third match point?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I wasn't counting them, so I don't remember which one you're talking about.

Q. Is there more pressure on you because of all the publicity you get?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Like I said, I don't really pay attention to what's going on around. I kind of have to have thick skin. You know, I'm just concentrating on the tennis, and that's it. You guys are all making everything around, not me.

Q. How much does your support here, the fantastic following you have, inspire you?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, the crowd was just awesome today. It was full Centre Court. It was really exciting. We had a great match. First of all, for me it was really enjoyable to be out there. I enjoyed it a lot. I had a lot of fun playing. The conditions were a little bit difficult. At the same time they were perfect for a tennis match. The grass was a little bit slippery. Even in the beginning, before the rain, because it was so humid, you were always like thinking not to fall, not going the wrong way. At the same time the atmosphere on the court was really great. The fans were just awesome, very supporting. I think they enjoyed the match.

Q. Some of your colleagues, Medvedev, Mary Pierce, said they were not quite satisfied, happy with Wimbledon. What is this tournament to you personally?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: To me this tournament is how I do on the tennis court.

Q. Is it different because it has a lot of traditions, other habits than other tournaments might have, other customs? In which respects do players like you realise that it is a different tournament from any other tournament in the world?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: That's why it's so special, because it's different.

Q. How do you realise that? What is different?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, everything. When you go on the court, on Centre Court, or even in the stands on Centre Court, you feel the atmosphere, you feel the tradition, even just because it's grass it's already different. But for me, like I said, this tournament is just great. I feel good. It's very, very special to me because I had some great results here.

Q. Is the treatment of players in some way different from other tournaments?


Q. You said the people are making a fuss about you and you don't notice it. Isn't it hard for you to walk through London and see yourself on all the big billboards? Doesn't that attract you?


Q. Distract you. You say the people makes the fuss about it. Wherever you look, you see you on billboards.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No. I'm playing. If I have some other off-court arrangements, I do them also good. No, it doesn't bother me as long as I play good.

Q. Is it true that you complained about the house being too small for you?


Q. The house you live in. There's a story in The Daily Mail.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't read the newspaper, sorry.

Q. Is the story true?


Q. That the house was too small, your trainer had to --?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: What house? Where?

Q. Where you stay in Wimbledon.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Oh, in Wimbledon?

Q. Yes.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, it's not true.

Q. Did the trainer have to leave the house?


Q. Because it was not enough space for all of you.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: We weren't supposed to live together in the first place. I don't stay with my coach.

Q. Your coach said today you had moved houses to be nearer Wimbledon, you thought it was quieter, as well.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: What's the question?

Q. I'm just making the point that your coach today said you actually had changed houses, that you did feel it wasn't the right house for you, you felt it was too noisy, too near neighbours. Do you agree with that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't know what my coach said, but I'm perfectly happy where I'm staying.

Q. But you changed houses?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I'm perfectly happy where I'm staying.

Q. How is your ankle? You were injured.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, by the way I was moving today, I think I felt pretty comfortable. I was still a little bit nervous about it in Eastbourne last week because this is grass and it's a little bit different. It was first tournament after the French in which I completely didn't feel the rhythm and the movement, because I didn't practise for like three weeks before that. Today it was good. Sometimes I occasionally get a little bit of feeling in there that something was there, a reminder, but it's not pain.

Q. So do you still get treatment?


Q. In Paris, Nick Bollettieri said your attitude to tennis, everything improved a lot. Do you still have contact with Nick or ask him for advice, or is it just in the past, not important for you anymore? He watched you practising. He said, "She improved a lot."

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Nick, we had all we had. We always have a great friendship and relationship with Nick. He's helped me a lot. He's got some other work to do now. Obviously he's busy. You know, I saw him today. I saw his daughters. We have a great friendship.

Q. Do you think you'll get more respect as a tennis player if you didn't do things like endorse sports bras?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: What I do is my business. I don't think it must somehow take away something from me being a tennis player. Because I'm a tennis player, I'm doing that. I think I can help a lot of people by exactly doing the sports bra. Just like those billboards, I think it's very important for young women to get the message and to really treat their bodies good, just be healthy.

Q. Was it the best win of this season for you?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, it was probably. I mean, it was the most emotional probably. It feels really good. It's probably the happiest that I felt after a match. But I've also had some good matches in the beginning of the year where I beat Capriati in Australia. I had a few other good matches, but this is probably the most meaningful because it's at Wimbledon.

Q. Top 10 also?


End of FastScripts….

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