Anna Kournikova 2003 US Open 2nd-Round Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

2003 Australian Open at Melbourne, on Wednesday, January 15, 2003
#5 Justine Henin-Hardenne defeated #42 Anna Kournikova, 6-0, 6-1 excerpt on Windows Media

An Interview With Anna Kournikova

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Anna, please.

Q. What can you say about it?


Q. About your match?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, it was a tough -- sorry?

Q. Was it a match?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, we were both on the court. I think it was a match. It was a tough match, you know. It was -- Justine played really, really well. She didn't give me any opportunities or any chances. When I did have them in the second set, you know, I missed a couple easy volleys and stuff. It was very hard to get into the match. She started off playing really, really well. Every single point, she was fighting for it. I was always on the defense, and she was always a step ahead of me. She was being -- she was playing aggressive. And, you know, I really had no weapons against her today. I couldn't find that spot where I should have played, so...

Q. Compared with your last match, you were very happy with the way you were serving.


Q. Today, it just crumbled badly. Any idea why that happened?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, it wasn't too bad. But, yeah, well, I guess it's just -- the matches are -- the matches were so different than the first one. This one, here I knew that I had to do a little more. I had to not give her so many opportunities, and I went for a little too much probably sometimes.

Q. Were you having to go forward because you knew what a good player she is?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Obviously, there's a huge difference between the last opponent I had and Justine today.

Q. How difficult is it when the serve starts to go wrong, as the way it did today, to get out of it while the match is in progress? Is it something that preys on your mind, or you try to shut it out?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I try to get into the match, you know, as we were playing. I was really fighting for every ball. You know, I tried to turn it around and find some kind of a weakness in her game today, but there was just none. You know, she was just hitting great backhands, as she normally does. She didn't make too many mistakes on her forehand, which is I think her weaker spot. She was playing really confident from that side today, too. She was serving extremely well. So, you know, like I said, I tried to find a way during the match, but it was just too hard.

Q. Does all the publicity and attention that you get make it hard for you to play good tennis?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I think I really don't see, you know, how it is different from other players or I really don't think about it, you know. It's been like this ever since I was a little girl, so I'm kind of used to it and I don't really pay attention to it.

Q. Do you feel lucky in a sense, because you're ranked in the 40s, you've never won a major singles tournament, yet you're the highest female earner on the tour?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Who said that? I wish I would earn as much as everybody says, which is not true obviously.

Q. You've obviously got a lot of fans here in Australia, a lot of support. What would be your message to the thousands of young Australians, particularly young male Australians, who are all keen to get your phone number?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I'm sorry? I didn't get the question.

Q. What would you say to the thousands of fans, the young male fans, who are all very keen to get your phone number?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Phone number, and then do what?

Q. Does that sort of attention worry you at all?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, I'm used to that attention.

Q. Saw you practicing this morning. You were hitting your serves really well, really straight.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Oh, good, somebody noticed that (laughing)!

Q. Then it falls apart completely at the end of the first set.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah... I noticed that, too (smiling). You know, like I said, it was just -- I guess I knew that she was really ready to return and everything. I tried to go for too much. I tried to make her think too much. I probably maybe should have played more simpler, more simple. I'm going to have to go and practice more.

Q. How disappointing is this?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Disappointing, obviously. But, you know, it's just, you know, she's No. 5 player in the world or something like that. So obviously, you know, she's a great player and we had some close points today, even though the score was pretty bad. I'm just going to have to go and practice and work harder and, you know, get ready for the next tournament in Tokyo.

Q. Was it a relief to win this one game in front of such a huge crowd?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, I don't think it really mattered. One game, two games, it's not a big difference.

Q. Weren't you afraid to lose 6-love, 6-love?


Q. There are a lot of Russian tennis players coming up right now. Are you surprised at their success?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, not at all. We've all played Juniors and under-10s together, so I knew, you know, that we have great tennis players. We always had great competitions, a lot of young kids and a lot of tennis clubs, and there's just a lot of kids playing, and it was a very popular sport, especially with Yeltsin being the president. It was just a matter of time before everybody could travel and had enough money to travel and get out of the country.

Q. Since a few years ago you had much better results. Do you think that your tennis was better then, or it's just a mental factor, the fact that today you're not playing as well and having the same results than four years ago?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I would say that it's all -- I don't think it has to do anything with the years and stuff. I think there is just -- first of all, two years ago I got really badly injured around this time in February, so it's going to be two years. I didn't play for eight months, and it's very hard to come back after that. I had also some bad injuries before that, when I was 16 and stuff. So, but, I've been playing some great tennis even last year, I played great in the summer and indoors. I played great. It's also kind of hard, you know, but for people forget how early the Australian Open is and everything. This was just my third match of the year. I know a lot of players go through that and everything. I tend to play better the more matches I play and more tournaments I play in a row. So I'm just -- you know, it's the beginning of the season. I'm looking forward to a long and healthy one. That's the most important for me. But that's been the trouble, staying healthy in the last years.

Q. But in terms of tech technical ability, you think you made progress?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah, I think that in general my game has gotten better. Before I was just hitting the ball hard. Now I play a little smarter.

Q. Justine Henin just told us in two years, you are referring to the two years you were a little bit going down in the ranking, that tennis has changed. Do you have the same impression? Within the last two, maybe three years, tennis has changed a little bit?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I mean, obviously it doesn't stand still, you know. But it changes all the time. Just like it changed ten years ago, you know. People I'm sure could tell the difference, and people can tell the difference now. It's going to be different two years from now. It's a normal process of things growing and developing and, you know, it always happens.

Q. But it's not a huge difference?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, we were just watching, in fact, some tapes of old matches they were showing on TV. It's a huge difference from before and now. I mean, you can't stop that process. It's just gonna get better and change even more.

Q. You're playing Tokyo. Will we see you in Antwerp also this year?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't know yet. I haven't decided.

Q. When you go back to Russia and you walk out and see all these kids looking at you, wanting to be like you, how does that feel?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It feels great, but I don't go there back -- back there that often. It's awesome that kids are getting involved into tennis, and that's the way it should be. We should have as many kids playing as possible.

Q. Do you have any advice for them?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Enjoy it, make sure you enjoy it, first of all, and work hard.

Match Statistics from

Justine Henin-Hardenne (BEL) 6 6      
Anna Kournikova (RUS) 0 1      
Elapsed Time by Set:  18 30      
  Match Summary
   Henin-Hardenne (BEL) Kournikova (RUS)
  1st Serve % 24 of 50 = 48 % 17 of 30 = 57 %
  Aces 2 0
  Double Faults 2 6
  Unforced Errors 14 29
  Winning % on 1st Serve 18 of 24 = 75 % 7 of 17 = 41 %
  Winning % on 2nd Serve 15 of 26 = 58 % 2 of 13 = 15 %
  Winners (Including Service) 8 5
  Break Point Conversions 5 of 6 = 83 % 0 of 1 = 0 %
  Net Approaches 5 of 8 = 63 % 5 of 14 = 36 %
  Total Points Won 54 26
  Fastest Serve 172 KPH 157 KPH
  Average 1st Serve Speed 160 KPH 121 KPH
  Average 2nd Serve Speed 138 KPH 107 KPH

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