Anna Kournikova 1998 du Maurier Open 1st-Round Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

1998 du Maurier Open at Montreal, Canada, on Monday, August 17, 1998
Anna Kournikova defeated Alexandra Fusai, 6-2, 6-4

An Interview With Anna Kournikova

Q: Anna, when did you recover from your injury exactly? When did you hold the racquet?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: A week and a half ago I started playing first time.

Q: Why was it so long?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't know. My doctor said that it was okay for me to start a week and a half ago and I started. I have been doing checkups every five days, something like that. I don't know exactly what it was.

Q: And now it's okay?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah. Now it's perfectly fine.

Q: It's only your first round match, but certainly you might have had a bit of a scare there in the second set. How close did you come to losing this game?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't think it was not that close in the second set. I just lost my rhythm a little bit and she started to play better, of course, you know. I gave her a chance, but when you have a chance, of course, everybody tries to take it, but
afterwards, I got back in control, and I started to play more aggressively like I played in the first set. So afterwards, I felt very comfortable that I could close out the match.

Q: Here in Montreal we're getting the first look at the Kournikova phenomenon, the fan support and just the buzz that surrounds you. You're the one in the middle of all this. Is it distracting from the game of tennis to be the media darling, et cetera, et cetera?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I'm here because of tennis, so I'm concentrating only on tennis, and everything else I guess it just comes with it, you know. I just try to think about tennis right now.

Q: This is Montreal which is a hockey town. Do you like hockey?


Q: A lot?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Not a lot. One of my favourite sports.

Q: What did you work during your injury, did you work physically?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes. I was working out a lot. I didn't have a vacation. I wished I would rest a little, but I was working out two hours a day physically, running and trying to play some other sports and Rollerblade, and you know, swimming and doing everything, trying to be active.

Q: Don't you think the fact that you're back isn't too short from the U.S. Open, I mean it's tomorrow, the U. S. Open. Do you think you will be prepared enough?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It's not tomorrow. It's another two weeks. So it's fine. I mean it's not that difficult to come back. It wasn't that long. Maybe it was even good for me to take a break because I played first six months non-stop, so maybe it was very
good for me, and you know, I still have the feel, like you saw today. I didn't lose the feeling of the court. It's just going to be a matter of a couple matches playing. It's mentally, you know, confidence, get some confidence and I think I'll be ready.

Q: In the second set did anything change halfway through that allowed you to pick up, because you were trailing in the second set. Was there a change in your game, a change anywhere that you noticed that marked the difference?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, not really. I just think that in the second set she started to play a little bit better. She had to do something, obviously, because she was losing. And like I said, I gave her a chance, and she obviously took it. And that was
probably my wakeup call that I started to play more aggressively, and at 3-3 I was up 40-0 and I was supposed to be up 4-3, but I don't know. I lost that game. And you know, she started serving well in the second set.

Q: How about on the match points, the first two match points not so aggressive, the third match point very aggressive return. Did you say to yourself you wanted to be more aggressive?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah, I think for sure I think the first two match points I tried to hold myself back a little bit, but what I think I should have done, I should have gone forward and be aggressive on the first ones.

Q: How much did you miss tennis?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I missed a lot. I got tired of practising, of working out. I missed a lot, and it wasn't boring, but there was just something missing and I wanted to get back to tournaments as soon as possible.

Q: Did you follow the results and especially Davenport's success?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah. I just saw some headlines and some news. I didn't really follow.

Q: What did you think about the fact that Davenport won three tournaments in a row?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, obviously she's in great form right now and she's one of the top players for sure.

Q: Ruxandra Dragomir is your next challenge. How confident are you about your next match?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I've never played her before, singles or doubles, but I'm playing against her tomorrow in doubles and then we're playing singles after tomorrow. So that will be our first meeting tomorrow in doubles. I'm preparing for it like any other match and trying to be ready and looking forward to it.

Q: Do you feel there was anything that wasn't quite there tonight because of the time out?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No. I felt very physically in good shape, and like I said, I just have to get back into match playing mentally because no matter how much you practice, matches are totally different mentally.

Q: There seem to be a lot of great players coming out of eastern Europe and Russia. Do you have any explanation for why there's so many great tennis talents coming out of those east European countries?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, one explanation might be probably there's a school, like Czech Republic or Russia or Germany or any of those countries, there's been a school, maybe a good organisation, something like that; tradition.

Q: So is there anything during this time-out that you were able to say I got this time-out, now I can read 16 books or I can go to a museum or learn how to play chess or something like that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I know how to play chess. No. Like I said, I was trying to be really active. I tried to do a lot of spots. I went jet-skiing for hours. My body was killing me afterwards. My hands were like this. And you know, nothing really specific. Just tried to be outdoors as much as possible.

Q: And were you able to play? I forgot which wrist it was. I guess it was your right.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I was playing left-handed a lot. I got much better, but my serve is terrible left-handed.

Q: Did you practice on your foot work?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah. I was working on court, running and sprints and everything.

Q: The WTA Tour is very, very gruelling, a lot of events, a lot of practice, a lot of work. Do you feel that perhaps you're sometimes a little bit too busy and working too hard and in danger of burning out?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No. I don't think so. Everything I'm doing I'm doing reasonable. I'm not over tiring myself or something, because if I'm tired, I will say that I'm tired, you know, and I feel comfortable with it.

Q: There were lots of fans waiting for you after the match, waiting for your autograph. Is it the same thing everywhere you go and do you enjoy that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I'm playing for the fans, so they deserve to get my autograph if they want to, and you know, I'm enjoying that they are here and they're watching something that they enjoy watching.

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