Anna Kournikova 2000 Chase Championships Quarterfinal Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

2000 Chase Championships at Madison Square Garden, New York, on Thursday, November 16, 2000
Anna Kournikova defeated C. Martinez, 6-4, 6-0

An Interview With Anna Kournikova

Q. In the semifinal match, you play your doubles partner, Martina Hingis. Can you give us some thoughts on that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I haven't had much time to think about it. I was just concentrating on my match that I finished. We just played last week, obviously, and three weeks before that. So, we're pretty used to playing against each other, I guess. You know, I'm just going to have to play my best tennis to try to beat her, and I know that it's going to be very difficult, but, as usual, I will try to do my best.

Q. The last two times you played her, you won a total of four games. What is different about you and maybe --

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: A total of eight games. The last two times.

Q. The last two times, 0-1 and 0-3?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: 6-3, 6-1, 6-4, 6-Love.

Q. This is wrong. Then I stand corrected. Still, what is different about you and what is different about she?


Q. I'm talking about Conchita.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Oh, Conchita. The last time what?

Q. The last two times you've played her you have won a total of four games, what was different tonight for you and for she?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, the last time I played her, I think was in Berlin in '98 -- or in Indian Wells, or in Montreal. Montreal, Canada. That was my first tournament after I had not played for three months with my thumb injury, after Wimbledon, the accident when I was playing against Steffi Graf. So that was my first tournament playing, and I won a couple of rounds, and, obviously, I was still into match play. But she was always a difficult player for me. She mixes it up a lot. She has a lot of slice and a lot of topspin on her serve, and it is very, very difficult to get used to, because she always changes the rhythm. And sometimes it's really slow and sometimes it's really fast. Sometimes she would bring it up really high and then suddenly she would hit a forehand winner. So you really don't know what to expect from her and you have to always be ready and bring back a lot of balls because she also moves really well. And I think that today I was moving really well. I was serving really well and I was always ready, and just very focused on every point. In the first match here she was down and then she came back; so I knew that she would try again and again. Even when I was up in the second set, I was just really focused and I'm really happy with my total game today.

Q. Does playing with Martina in doubles, show you the way she thinks -- (inaudible) -- does that help you in your singles?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, we've been playing together for a long time. We played all of '99, and four tournaments this year. So I think in some ways, for sure, definitely it helps my game and we're having a lot of fun playing together, and just support each other and, you know, of course, when we're out there on the court, we always discuss what we're going to do and the next point, the next point. So I think we learn something from each other.

Q. She is known to be one of those people who plays big points really well, very good on her strategy; have you taken some tips from her to help you in your game?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Like I said, we've been playing doubles together, but doubles and singles is a bit different. I can just say that it did improve my singles a little bit.

Q. Your results seem to speak for themselves, that you are more comfortable here. Is there anything different than last year and the year before? Do you feel more comfortable here?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah. Definitely. The first time I played here was three years ago, and I was pretty nervous, it was my first time, of course, and I was playing against Monica and she is one of my favorite players, and I think that we had a very tough match, and I was struggling with my serve. Last year I was playing against Mary. I was bleeding, I think. I think I was upset in 5-2 or something like that. That was also one of my -- couple tournaments coming back from my foot injury last year at the end of the year, so I was also pretty nervous. This year, I'm seeded in the Top-8; so I don't get to play the Top-8 right away. My ranking is much better. I'm playing much better. I'm much more confident. I think it helped me a lot after the US Open, playing a lot of indoor tournaments and just getting a lot of confidence and match practice.

Q. So do you attribute that to being less nervous, then?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Oh, definitely. I've learned how to not get overexcited and just play calmly and patiently and just trying not to go for it too much.

Q. Before it looked more like (inaudible) not playing your own game. Is that how you have really improved mentally; what is the key to that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Not really. I still try to play aggressive. I know that my game is aggressiveness, and you can't really play the other person's game, because then they are in charge. So you still have to try to play your game, but maybe with a little bit adjustment, of course. And even today, I tried to play aggressively, but, you know, like I tried to come to the net when I could, when possible, and just make her move a lot. And, of course, it is not always possible with Conchita's high balls to come to the net, but I tried, and I think that it worked well.

Q. Were you surprised by Elena's win over Lindsay yesterday?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Not really, no.

Q. Is she that good? Is she somebody to fear for 2001?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I would say that I think Lindsay had a tough time last week. I mean, she played the tournament in Philadelphia, obviously, and she won it, and she had a tough match in the finals against Martina. So obviously I think mentally and physically, she was a little bit tired, and maybe just a little bit, you know, maybe not too prepared for Elena. But I think it is just one of those matches where she didn't really finish if and Elena took advantage of it.

Q. Could you talk us through, I think it was the 15-40 point in Game 5 where you caught up with the lob and you hit a spinning backhand winner, just describe that point if you would, and also did you break a string on your racquet on that point?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No. No. My -- the thing that you put on the racquet, just kind of cracked so I had to change one.

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