Anna Kournikova 2003 US Open 1st-Round Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

2003 Australian Open at Melbourne, on Monday, January 13, 2003
#42 Anna Kournikova defeated #67 Henrieta Nagyova, 6-1, 6-2 excerpt on Windows Media

An Interview With Anna Kournikova

THE MODERATOR: First question for Anna, please.

Q. It must feel pretty good to break that Grand Slam drought?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah, definitely. I'm really happy about the way I played today, and I wasn't really thinking about, you know, the Grand Slam thing. I was just concentrating on the match today, and I think I played a nearly perfect match.

Q. How hot was it?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Everybody was saying yesterday it's gonna be really hot and everything. It was hot, but it wasn't as hot as I expected it. It wasn't as bad, with all the wind going around. I wasn't too long out there, too, so it wasn't too bad.

Q. What do you think of your next opponent, Justine Henin?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, obviously she's a great player. I've lost to her before, and the last time we played was here. But we've had, you know, a couple close sets, so just I have nothing to lose. I'm going to go out there and just try to play my best and fight for every point and have fun out there, you know. I really enjoyed being on the court today, and I'm going to try to do the same on Wednesday.

Q. What do you fear the most of her?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, she's a fighter, too. She moves great. She's really fast. She doesn't give any free points. So it's going to be really -- you know, I'm really going to have to be focused to do well.

Q. Today, serving went very well for you, 86 percent first serves, no double-faults. You must have been comfortable with that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah, well, today I didn't go for too many hard serves. I tried to get in as many first serves as possible. With this wind, it was really difficult. We had some bad miss-hits in general. But, yeah, I'm very happy with the way I served. It was good today.

Q. What are your ranking goals for the year?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, a year ago when I came back I was like 100 or something. This time around I'm something like 40. You know, my goal has been to get back to the same ranking where I was before getting injured in 2000, so it's still the same, to get back to Top 10.

Q. You have a very good relationship with Martina Hingis. With her being out for so long, have you been in touch with her? Are you hoping that she comes back soon to join the team again?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Oh, yeah, definitely. I'm hoping she's going to come back, because I really miss her. We do keep in touch. We saw each other about two months ago, a month and a half ago, in Switzerland. She's enjoying her time off and trying to, you know, get injure-free. She's taking care of her body. She's got to do what she has to do for herself. When she's ready, I'm sure she'll come back and be strong again on the court.

Q. In the times where you were losing the first round of the last four Grand Slams, did you get pretty down about that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Not really. I mean, yeah, of course I'm disappointed and stuff. But I didn't actually think, you know, "Oh, I lost four Grand Slams in a row first round." I didn't really think about that, because every Grand Slam, you just get excited in a new way. Actually, it didn't even cross my mind before playing or since I've been here in Australia that I lost four times in a row in first round. So I think that helped me pretty much. If I would be thinking about it too much, it would be not good I think.

Q. Just curious, you have a lot of excitement and interests off the court. What sort of effect does that have? Given the Grand Slam losses last year, did that compound the loss any greater, the fact that you had interests off the court and you seemed to be doing a lot?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I don't think that it has to do anything with the loss in a Grand Slam tournament or in a regular tournament. I mean, there's not, like, a huge difference. But, as you know, as I said a million times before, last year I was coming back from an eight-month injury and I started off well in the beginning of the year playing in general, playing well, tournaments. Then I got tired and my body started to get injured again. So, you know, I had to practice and go back and work on basic things after being out for eight months. At the end of the year, I played great except I got injured again, which, thank God, wasn't a bad -- a really bad injury. So it's not like, you know, I just was playing a horrible year last year. I had some great results, too. It's just that I was coming back from an eight-month period where I didn't play.

Q. Normally when you're in Melbourne you enjoy some of your hobbies like the zoo or swimming with dolphins. Are you planning on doing anything like that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I swam with the dolphins once, it was three years ago. I went to the zoo once, it was six years ago.

Q. So you're not planning on doing anything like that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Not really. I'm here to play. When you're here for the first time and when you're 14, obviously, I wanted to go through that.

Q. Are you still far away from your best level?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I think that I'm getting better mentally and better just in general understanding the game, you know, growing up and stuff and getting more experience. But definitely I can be much better physically, and I can be much better than I am playing right now - or today, although today was nearly a perfect match, nearly perfect concentration almost. So there's some ups and downs and, you know, you have to -- I'm going to have to work hard for it to be good for a long period of time, for it to be good for two weeks, you know, for a Grand Slam, or a week for a tournament.

Q. Has women's tennis become more powerful in the time that you were off?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah, but so did I.

Q. Did you feel like a benchmark had been raised by Serena and Venus, that it made it harder for someone of your physique to compete?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, it's definitely -- I mean, there's no denial it's definitely obvious that it's much faster and much harder. Obviously, Serena and Venus are, you know, one of a kind, they're out there. They definitely are much bigger and they hit the ball harder. But most of us are not, you know, not at that power level. So, you know, when we play against like the girl that played today or other girls, it's a little different. But I think that, you know, it doesn't have -- totally have to do with the power. You have to always use your head and play smart. So it's not like it's all about the power.

Q. There seems to be a lot of interest in your body art. Can you tell us whether or not the tattoo that's been spoken of so much is a new one, an existing one that has been touched up, what it says, and also whether or not we're going to see it this Australian Open.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: You actually saw a tattoo on my body?

Q. Well, you would have read the stories that you've got a tattoo...

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, I don't read stories, I'm sorry.

Q. The story is that you have a tattoo at the base of your spine.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I don't want to know, so...

Q. There's a plastic, a sticky plastic...

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I've been wearing a heat patch for about two years now. It just happens to be that my skirt is pretty low right now, and everybody sees the patch.

Q. Once and for all, can you clear up whether there's a tattoo under the heat patch?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't think I have anything on my body. I just have a heat patch. I have a chronic back pain, I'm sorry.

Match Statistics from

Anna Kournikova (RUS) 6 6      
Henrieta Nagyova (SVK) 1 2      
Elapsed Time by Set:  18 32      
  Match Summary
   Kournikova (RUS) Nagyova (SVK)
  1st Serve % 37 of 43 = 86 % 29 of 40 = 73 %
  Aces 1 0
  Double Faults 0 2
  Unforced Errors 12 22
  Winning % on 1st Serve 27 of 37 = 73 % 11 of 29 = 38 %
  Winning % on 2nd Serve 4 of 6 = 67 % 5 of 11 = 45 %
  Winners (Including Service) 16 4
  Break Point Conversions 5 of 7 = 71 % 1 of 3 = 33 %
  Net Approaches 4 of 7 = 57 % 3 of 10 = 30 %
  Total Points Won 55 28
  Fastest Serve 162 KPH 157 KPH
  Average 1st Serve Speed 121 KPH 130 KPH
  Average 2nd Serve Speed 108 KPH 113 KPH

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