Anna Kournikova 1998 A&P Classic Injury Withdrawal Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

1998 A&P Classic at Mahwah, New Jersey, on July 7, 1998
Anna Kournikova withdrew from the tournament
due to a injury to her right thumb.

An Interview With Anna Kournikova

Q: Anna very nice to have you on the program


Q: Now Anna you had to drop out of this event, and I know you missed Wimbledon and the Federation Cup is out as well. Anna I’m not a doctor but but I’ll play one here on tv. I'm guessing your thumb's not getting much better right now.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well I’m trying to heal up as fast as I can, you know, and waiting for word from my doctor to say when I can start playing and hopefully it heals fast.

Q: Obviously this was going to be a breakout year for you, things are very good, your ranking is going up, your visibility has never been better, the bank account is probably pretty good. Anna how important is it to you to get that first Grand Slam win, the Championship?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well I think, for me, it is real important to win as many matches as possible. Every match is important for me, of course every tournament is important. But you know, I just try to think, and take a step at a time.

Q: You know what you --(?) with the renaissance of women's tennis. You, Martina Hingis, Venus and Serena Williams. The interest is so high right now in women's tennis, and the rivalries are so good. My question is, it's one thing to have these rivalries, and you never want to lose, but do the women have a healthy dislike for each other? I mean, is there actually hostility there?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well i think, you know, the women's game right now is so exciting because there are so many different personalities, and young, and the players that have already been there, and I think that's why it's so exciting.

Q: I mean, you don't want to lose no matter what. But bottom line, Anna, you really don't want to lose to Martina Hingis or Serena or Venus, right?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well I don't think anybody wants to lose to anybody. I think it's real important to win as many matches as possible and it's difficult as to play number 1 or number 100, no matter who you play you have to be your toughest and you have to play your game.

Q: I guess what I'm getting at is, no matter what, you need to compete, and you don't need to be friends with everybody but because you're all so young and you're so gifted you're going to be together for a long, long time. 10 years, 12 years. I mean, do you have to have a certain amount of stability in the locker room because you are going to be together for so long?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, we are competing on the court but off the court it's just like any other people. We're talking, we're having fun, we're going to the parties together. Because we have to see old players every time, every week, and we play alot of tournaments the whole year, so we are basically spending this year together, and for me so far it's been just great.

Q: Anna, you are a very creative player. I mean, you like to play the angles, you have a nice dropshot. I'm guessing your idea of a perfect day would not be to sit behind the baseline and hit alot of groundies.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No. I like to create, I like to try new stuff, I like to discover and, you know, I like to use the court.

Q: Because there is so much interest in women's tennis right now, do you thing you've reached a point where the women should be paid the same as the men for Grand Slam events?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't really think about it that much, but men play 5 sets and I think that it's, for sure, much tougher to play and they have to be in better shape, always.

Q: Anna you said you've been having alot of fun this year. When you get right down to it, you might go down, that's putting more pressure on you, but you might go down as the most marketed female athlete ever. Do you ever think about that or do you feel that kind of pressure at all?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, I try not to think about anything outside of tennis. I'm just concentrating on tennis right now, because that's why I'm here.

Q: Now that's the one thing. You want to think about tennis, and you want to play tennis. But no matter what, you are on magazines that are not tennis magazines, and there is alot of interest and there is alot of intrigue with you because physically you are very attractive and you have alot of a charisma. I'm wondering, does it trouble you that people want to write about things that are not tennis related, for instance your personal life or how you look?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well I don't think that I would be able to change that so i just might as well try not to think about it.

Q: There's no way around it thought, people will always write about that and want to know about that. I mean, do you ever want to say "I'm here to play tennis, I just want to talk tennis"? --(?)Anna, even I'm doing it now.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, I mean, if people want to know other sides of me, that's fine with me.

Q: That's not a problem then, so you can talk about these other things.


Q: If you had to win the grand slam, when it ultimately comes, and you almost made it to Wimbledon and won the thing two years ago. If you had to pick a first one, what would be the one you would like to win?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Like I said before, I think that every tournament to win is important and memorable, and of course the Grand Slams are the best tournaments you can ever win. But, you know, you just have to take a step at a time.

Q: You know, the powers that be in tennis try to measure up some of the other players, older players with some of the younger players. So, you see where Chris Evert relates to some of the younger players and Martina Navratilova or Billie Jean King. And some of them seem to think that the younger players are not respecting them enough. In your mind Anna, do the younger players of today owe the older players anything?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't think we owe anybody anything, but personally I show respect to everybody and I have never had any problems with the older players and never ever had any disagreement or something like that.

Q: We will wait and see for when the injury gets better. Anna Kournikova is missing this tournament and the federation cup but the future is very, very bright

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Okay, thank you.

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