Anna Kournikova 2001 Australian Open 2nd-Round Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

Anna Kournikova defeated Rita Kuti Kis, 6-3, 6-4


THE MODERATOR: First question for Anna, please.

Q. Anna, in that second set there you fell behind at the start. Worried at any stage?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, not really. I mean, for me it was very important to play well in the first set and then I guess after the first game I got a little bit frustrated and kind of let her play her game and she was playing extremely well, I think. She was hitting the ball really deep and hard and moving me around a lot. But, you know, I still was very positive, and I never thought that, you know, I would lose. I was just playing my game and I was very confident still even though I was down 4-1.

Q. How much do you feel you would have to improve on that performance to be a contender in the second week?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I think that today I played really well. Like I said, Rita played really well. She was moving me around a lot, and then she was playing deep and hard and had a lot of good rallies. And I think that there was interesting to watch, and I think that I showed some good tennis today. I served really well. I think that I had a few aces. I was moving well also, and didn't give her too many free points, which was good. So I think that I'm improving definitely with every match and I played today much better than I played in the first round. And, you know, I'm just going to get ready tomorrow for my next match.

Q. Second set, you seemed to be a little bit agitated with things. What was going on with that period where you seemed to sort of lose your rhythm there?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, like I said, I think that I was still confident. I think that I just started to make a bit too many mistakes and got frustrated a bit in the first game. I was still confident. I still knew that I'm gonna, you know, if I continue to play the way I was playing in the first set, I would win. And I just tried to continue to play that way and play aggressive and not to start to play defensive.

Q. Steve Wine (phonetic) with AP. I know that you've felt encouraged by the progress in your game. Here at the beginning of the new year, do you feel like you're on the verge of a breakthrough in your career?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I don't necessarily understand what that means, but I think that I'm playing really well right now. I think that I'm continuing to play well from last year, the end of last year I think that I played real well. And now, today in this match I saw that I was playing as well as I was then. So I, you know, I'm gonna have a tough next round and we're just gonna see how it goes there.

Q. I guess what I'm talking about is beating the top players: Hingis and the Williams sisters. What do you feel you need to do against them that you have not been able to do or had trouble beating them in the past?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I've beaten top players. I've beaten five No. 1s.

Q. You were 0-5 against Martina last year, for example.


Q. What do you need to do against her, for example, that you weren't able to do next year?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: First of all, I don't even want to talk about that match because I don't have to play her any time soon, at least in the next, you know, few days.

Q. Just the top players in general.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I prefer to take it a match at a time and concentrate on each player even though I'm not playing a Top 10 player next match, it's still going to be tough because she was a Top 10 player and she knows how to play. So you always have to get prepared and ready for any player you play. Just like today, you know, the girl, she has a fair ranking. Not great ranking. But she could play. You could see that. She had great hands and she was moving great and she saw the court. She sees the court. So it was still a tough match.

Q. Anna, playing doubles with her, does that give you an edge or an inside perspective on her game?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, we've known each other for a very long time, and basically all the players pretty much know anyway the other players. But, you know, we're very much used to it, playing doubles together with different players and then playing against them. This is how it is. So I guess it's, you know, it's normal. We're used to that.

Q. You have tomorrow and then playing each other the next day?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah, that's what I said. It's normal. We're used to that.

Q. How do you think that happened, that you played with Barbara?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: How? We just talked and we decided to play.

Q. And when?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: When? A few -- maybe a week before Sydney.

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