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March 26, 1998

Anna Kournikova


Q. What was the difference after the first set?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I think in the first set, obviously I made a lot of unforced errors. I tried to go -- because she has -- they look easy, the top high balls. I tried to go for winners. But it was very difficult to find rhythm. Unbelievable strong wind today. It was going around. It was not like going to one side. I had to find my rhythm a little bit. You know, I started to play in the second set a little bit more aggressive. So that was the big difference, I think.

Q. Lousy week? Having a bad week?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Oh, yeah, terrible week (laughter).

Q. Four Top 10's in four days. What's going on in that head of yours?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, probably shows everybody that I can play.

Q. And maybe when they let you play a few more tournaments, you could --

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Exactly. It's not just -- it didn't happen just one time, you know, unexpectedly. I proved to everybody that I can play good tennis, a lot of matches in a row.

Q. Anna, how exciting has this been?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Oh, it's definitely best time of my life right now, for sure. I'm enjoying it really a lot, having a great time. Even when I was playing, I really enjoyed. Even after I lost the first set, I thought, "Wow, this is great, I'm playing." I was not nervous at all. All these matches I'm surprised, but I'm not nervous at all.

Q. You mentioned what happened between the first and second set, but you did not really try to explain what you did actually to change your game?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Like I said, I started to play more aggressively. I started to attack her forehand more. I didn't try to go for winners right away. I kept the ball three, four, five times in, and then I went -- when I had a good shot to go for, I went for it. I started to come into the net much more probably.

Q. Have you ever hit a forehand that hard, that consistently, over an entire match?


Q. Yes. Seemed like your forehand was really on tonight.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't think, not in the first set. I think in the first set, I made a lot of unforced errors. In the second set and third set, I think both my forehand and backhand worked really well.

Q. That's what I was referring to. How about your first final ever, talk about what that means?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, it's great, of course. I'm not going to try to get overexcited about it. Of course, I'm enjoying it a lot. I'm looking really forward to it.

Q. Have you seen Venus play at all this tournament?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes. I saw the semifinals today.

Q. What did you think?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Today, the semifinals I think was difficult for both of them, for Martina and Venus. I think they were both a little bit tired in the third set. I mean, there's a lot of changes right now in this tournament, in women's tennis. It's going to be something different, something new. I've never played Venus before. Going to be a new experience for me.

Q. Martina is only 17 years old. She said today she's tired from playing two tournaments in a row. Given the fact that some of the younger players do want to play more, would you think you might run into a wall if you play as much as she did?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think she used that just like as an excuse. I don't think she really meant that. Probably, of course, she's tired. I understand she's been on top for already quite a long time. Of course, you get tired. You know, you should just take a couple weeks off, get ready for another tournament. But right now, I mean, I feel great. I played Indian Wells. I practiced for a week here. I get ready for a tournament. I play. I'm not tired at all. You may be tired physically, but not mentally. I mean, physically everybody gets tired.

Q. Anna, the crowd seemed to be behind you. Does that kind of spur you on a little bit? What are your thoughts, not being from this country, but seeming --

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I'm almost like from this country. I've been here since I'm nine. But, I mean, the crowd obviously wants to see a good match. I hope they're enjoying it. I play for the fans. Like I always said, I always play for the fans. If they're having a great time, it's great for me.

Q. What will be the keys for you against Venus, do you think?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It's hard to say. You know, I just try to play my game. I will not try to adjust to her game. We'll see. I haven't really thought about it. I was just concentrating before my match and yesterday on today's match. I didn't even think about it yet.

Q. You're doing really well obviously at the net this week.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think I'm doing at the net not bad always.

Q. True. This week is special. 75 percent about. Do you see that as a big factor come Saturday?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Definitely. This is hardcourts. I try to go to the net as much as possible, every opportunity I try to take. I think that was why the big difference today. In the first set, I didn't come to the net probably a lot. So, you know, I really enjoy playing at the net. I think I can make any shots at the net.

Q. There were a few situations when you were leaning over, bending over your racquet. From far it looked as if you were tired. Maybe you weren't. What were you doing?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I was just trying to forget about the point that was just played, just trying to concentrate next. I wasn't tired. I felt actually great. I slept whole day today.

Q. You've never played Venus before, have you?


Q. How are you going to face that game?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It's going to be a new experience for me, of course. Just going to get ready for that match. I haven't thought about that match yet.

Q. Have you thought about any strategy? You said you saw her play today?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I was just thinking about the match I just played. I haven't yet time to think about the next match.

Q. What are you going to do tomorrow?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Play doubles.

Q. And after that? Any preparation, special preparation?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: What kind of special preparation? No. Regular, the same, usual.

Q. Anna, have you decided as yet on whether you're going to play --

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: -- Fed Cup? It's your favorite question, isn't it?

Q. I have to ask. You're going down to my country.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Like I said, nobody from my country have talked to me yet, still. So I have no idea.

Q. In Australia, they've announced that the Russian Federation have nominated you as part of the team.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Good to know. Like I said, nobody has ever told me anything officially, unofficially. I have no idea what's going on.

Q. What would a win of this tournament really mean for you?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I'm playing the final first. Then we'll talk about the win. I can't say what if, what if. I'm just getting ready for my next match.

End of FastScripts....

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