Anna Kournikova 1999 Australian Open 1st-Round Interview ( Sports -- Women's Tennis )  

1999 Australian Open at Melbourne, Australia, on January 18, 1999
Anna Kournikova defeated Jill Craybas, 7-6, 7-5

An Interview With Anna Kournikova

Q. It was a bit too close for a first round match?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, there have been some closer matches - yesterday 9-7 in the third. Well, I'm happy with the performance for the first match. Jill played really well. You know, she was hitting close to the lines and she was keeping the ball in play, so she played well. And it was good for me to fight, and I was really fighting and hanging in there in tough times, and I think I should have been more aggressive, but, you know, I figured it out later in the match, then I started doing what I should have done in the beginning.

Q. And you obviously had a problem with your serve today, but you still got away with it. What is your plan to overcome that? Are you - - -

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I think I served really well in the important points in the tie-breaker and, you know, in the important ones. And I am still trying to mix up a lot of serves and go for it, and go for first serves, and so working on the serve.

Q. Is it more of a technical problem that you have, or is it mental, do you think, because, as you said, you served well in the tiebreak?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah. Well, I think it is half and half; it is half mental, half technical. But it is not like a huge problem. When you have a mistake in the forehand, nobody notices, but when you make a double fault or low percentage of serves, everybody talks about it, but it is just like any other shot. I should just think about it like any other shot. I should go out and prepare myself to really try to do my best on the serve.

Q. You had a huge support base out there. Do you find having so many vocal fans a distraction or do you really enjoy it?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, like I would say, I couldn't really change that probably, so of course I enjoy it. Of course it is good when you have a lot of people supporting you. It definitely helps, and it's great, you know. I'm really happy and I'm glad that the audience was full today.

Q. Do you see any similarities between your career and Sabatini's? There have been so many comparisons made between you and Sabatini?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: To tell you the truth, I don't even know her career. When I started playing, she already kind of finished. I played against her once, doubles, like three years ago, so I never heard any very close similarities between me and her, or anything like that, so.

Q. When you first started double faulting a lot in the fall, were you trying to make any technical change at that point?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, I think I was just tired at the end of the year, and I wasn't keeping my body up, but nothing. I didn't try to change anything.

Q. Has your coach suggested technical changes or has he said "Forget about it"?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, no. Right, forget about it.

Q. You look in good shape. What have you done in the off season?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah, well, I am really happy with my physical shape right now. I can move well. I can run well right now. Basically, I was running every day and working out in the gym and looking after myself, eating a little bit more.

Q. Is it cold out there? Did you notice the wind?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No. Well, it was windy on one side and the wind was going around. It was spinning only on one side, to the left of the umpire chair I think it was windy, but on the other side it didn't feel like it was windy.

Q. Where do you see yourself five years from now?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, right now I just see myself tomorrow and practising, and after tomorrow playing another match. So I will just take it a step at a time. I don't want to plan anything. You never know what might happen, so I am just enjoying every day, and I am happy. I am 17 years old; I am 13 in the world and playing doubles and I am happy to be here.

Q. What is your view of the fans who have the big sheet with the telephone numbers in the audience?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I didn't see them because I was trying to keep my eyes on the ball, but like it really helps when a lot of people support you, and I am glad they have something to do. They come here and they have fun.

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