Anna Kournikova 2002 Australian Open Singles Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

See an excerpt of the Anna Kournikova 1st-round post match interview on Real Video

Anna Kournikova 2002 Australian Open
1st-round post-match press conference interview.

Kournikova was defeated by Justine Henin 6-2, 7-5, on January 15th, 2002:
Q. Anna, Bud Collins, Boston Globe. You had terrific passages in the second set. What happened; you couldn't keep it up, do you feel?

Anna Kournikova: Well, I think I wasn't playing well in general, you know, just everything, and I started to play well in the second set, a little bit better, and she lifted her game up also, and I didn't play well the important points.

Q. Anna, Norm Beaman from the Seven Network. How hopeful, how confident are you of a turnaround in your luck, both from an injury point of view and your performance this year?

Anna Kournikova: Well, this is only, you know, third tournament of the year, so just - I've got to be, you know, I've got to be positive, and try to play well, better and better every time and, you know, I have plenty of time. It's already getting better from last year, from end of the season, so it's getting better with every match and, you know, that's the way it should be.

Q. Have you set particular goals this year?

Anna Kournikova: I do want to get to the same position and shape that I was before my injury.

Q. Anna, when do you remember you were happy with your game, the last time you really played well and you were satisfied with the way you played?

Anna Kournikova: Well, I think first match in Sydney I was really satisfied the way I played, and against Serena I think I played well, not, you know, perfect, not good enough, but I think that I played well, after, you know, after my comeback.

Q. What would you say was the peak of your performance as a professional? Was it the Wimbledon semi-final? What would you say was your best tennis?

Anna Kournikova: Well, there has been lots of times I think that I was playing great and in great shape when my injury happened. So, last you know, February, and I played greater this tournament last year, and I played some great tennis in every year I can remember.

Q. Is there one match in particular that you recall as the best ever, the one you dream of, to repeat?

Anna Kournikova: Well, I do have quite a few of those matches. I think that, you know, beating Graf, Hingis, Seles, all those players, they were all great matches, and those were the matches, you know, that I really think that I did well
Q. Anna, how do you regard labels like "perfect athlete," "combining beauty with playing talent"?

Anna Kournikova: I don't understand the question.

Q. Some people label you as the perfect athlete because of your attractiveness, combined with your tennis ability. Do you regard yourself as a perfect athlete?

Anna Kournikova: Nobody is perfect.

Q. Well how, then, do you look on people who concentrate more on your appearance on the court, rather than your playing ability?

Anna Kournikova: That's their problem. That's their decision. That's their, you know, whatever. I don't think about that.

Q. It doesn't distract from your game?

Anna Kournikova: Around me there are no people that think that way about me. They think of me first as a person, and then everything else.

Q. Anna, what do you think you need to really come back to the top? Is it just more matches, or are there other aspects of your game that you must improve?

Anna Kournikova: Well, there's quite a few things. You know, now I feel good physically and, yeah, I have to play a lot more matches, and become more comfortable on the court during rallies and the important points. And that's what you lose when you don't play for a long time, is, you know, that automatic decision, making automatic decisions, and everything. So that's probably - you know, I don't need to go and learn how to hit a ball or learn a new stroke. I just have to improve more, you know, with tactical things and being more comfortable and automatic on court.

Q. What was it about Justine that impressed you?

Anna Kournikova: Well, she was playing her usual game.

Q. Was there any particular phase of her game that is stunning to you?

Anna Kournikova: Well, she's a great player obviously. She's well rounded. You know, she has got a good serve; although she wasn't serving too well today. I think she was serving a lot of second serves. But, you know, she's is good player. She is playing to win, and she does fight very well and run for every ball, so - - -

Q. Did you find the backhand exceptional today?

Anna Kournikova: I think that she makes winners and mistakes in both sides, kind of equal.

Q. Do you have a goal for this year, in terms of ranking?

Anna Kournikova: Well, I already answered that question. I said that I would like to come back to the same position before, like before, the way I was before my injury.

Q. Do you care to predict how long it might be before your game is back on track?

Anna Kournikova: Can you predict the weather? The same thing here, you know: you just try to - I'm going to try to work hard, and I can't predict anything. Nobody can, I think, and just hopefully, I'll be doing all the things that, you know, I need to do to get there.

Q. Anna, how do you work to get back confidence, your - - -

Anna Kournikova: How I work?

Q. To get back confidence?

Anna Kournikova: The way, the only way to work on that, I think, is practising so you feel comfortable in practice and, you know, that you worked hard. That way, you go out and you play and you feel confident that you have made this shot a hundred times in practice so you know you are going to make it in match, and then winning matches. That's how you get your confidence.

Q. HERALD there was a lot of speculation last year about you possibly being engaged. Do you find interest in your love life a bit disconcerting?

MODERATOR: Would you ask another question instead, please?

Anna Kournikova: It's not even interesting any more.

Q. Just a trivial question: how do you spell your name, because I've seen the English version K-O-U and in Russian it's K-U-R?

Anna Kournikova: Because I think that U, in English, is not pronounced as "oo"; so you have to say O-U, so it's pronounced - - -

Q. What is in your passport?

Anna Kournikova: I don't know. I don't look. I don't know.

Q. But how do you write it?

Anna Kournikova: In English I write it K-O-U. In Russian, I don't even write it but it's K-U.

Q. How do you like it to be written in Europe, in Germany, in France, in Finland - - -?---What do I care. I doesn't matter.

Q. Okay?

Anna Kournikova: English way is fine.

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