Anna Kournikova 2000 Ericsson Championships 4th-Round Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

2000 Ericsson Open (Tennis Masters Series) at Miami, Florida, on Monday, March 27, 2000
Monica Seles defeated Anna Kournikova, 6-1, 3-6, 6-0

An Interview With Anna Kournikova

Q. So just explain what happened in the third set.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I think I wasn't playing too well. I think that from the beginning of the match first few games were very tough and I didn't really hang in there. Then since then it was kind of up and down. And then in the third set I completely lost my rhythm.

Q. Was it a question of conditioning or just mental toughness or --

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah, I think Monica was very tough today. She did not miss a lot, or any easy shots. I went for it too much, probably I wasn't too patient.

Q. What do you think you have to do to cut down on your errors in your game?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Be patient. Play out the point.

Q. How disappointing is this just being home tournament and all that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: What do you mean?

Q. Would you like to have gotten further?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Any tournament you would like to get further, so, you know, it is just like any tournament.

Q. You talk about patience and now, you know, another tournament chance passes that you still haven't won. Is that something that it grows more tiresome with each --


Q. How do you deal with that, do you just try not think about it? Is that something that is a real goal for you?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, for me ranking is much more important and the only people that keep bringing it up is you guys. For me if a person is in the Top-10, she must have pretty good results.

Q. But don't you think it is natural that we would bring it up?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Of course. Sooner or later it will come.

Q. Is there any way you can transfer your success in doubles because you sure know how to win in doubles and win, is there anyway to transfer that in singles, mental aspect?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think it is a problem of closing out the match; not closing out the match, one single match, no.

Q. What do you think the problem is?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, like I said, I have to play more consistent against the top players.

Q. I know you probably don't like to talk about this, but I did want to ask, do you think your tremendous celebrity is a problem in any way with your tennis?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I mean, I try always to block it out, but sometimes it is pretty hard and I am a serious tennis player, that is what I do here, and that is why I am here. I want to play. Everything that is around, I try to always to block and, yeah, maybe sometimes it is very difficult, but I can't really change it. So I just have to be even tougher. I have to have thick skin and go out and play.

Q. In a private moment do you ever say: Gee, I wish I didn't have this all this hullabaloo, ever cross your mind?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I think it probably happens all the time. But like I said, I don't think I am able to kind of change it. So I have to be really strong mentally and everything and just shut everything out and try to play.

Q. A lot of people feel that the Schwab advertisement is one of the best tennis related ads ever. Seems that people seem to love it. What kind of response have you gotten?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think it was awesome, really fun doing it with Mary Joe and we had a lot of fun actually those two days. A lot -- actually all of the people that said something about it was really positive.

Q. Where did you shoot it?


Q. You said you are a serious tennis player, but yet the perception is that I guess with all the other sidelines that maybe you are not as seriously focused as maybe you could be. How would you respond to that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: How do I look on the court serious or not serious?

Q. You look serious, but are the results fully there from a serious player?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I think if a player is in Top-10, she must be serious. People who play professional tennis, it is not just, oh, you practice a half hour a day; you get out there and win a couple of rounds and be in the top 100. It is not that easy. You have to -- that is your life. You have to, you know, be prepared. You have to prepare everyday. You have to practice. You have to work and I think all of the professional tennis players and even athletes who play professional, they are all serious about it.

Q. Do you have a burning desire to win or just to be the Top-10?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think whoever plays wants to win. That is what we play for.

Q. Do you see yourself soon becoming a consistent threat to reach the finals in Slams?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Hopefully, yeah, definitely.

Q. Anything you can say -- no one really wants to ask you about this, but anything you can say about the incident on the airline that was recorded? Do you think the officials were unfair with you in that situation?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, all I can say that there was a misunderstanding and that is it. I don't see any trouble that was wrong and only thing that was I had to give the dog a pill; that is why I took him out of the bag because we were delayed two hours the flight, or one hour.

Q. So there will be no problem?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think it is just a misunderstanding.

Q. Are you able to look at your own progress from maybe a different perspective than people in the media might see -- I mean, there is a long horizon out there. I mean, when -- sometimes you might be asked why it is not happening sooner. Are you able to see it differently?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah, definitely. I think that my game has matured a lot in the last maybe six months since the injury, since I came back last fall so I think that it has changed a lot. It has matured. It is more stronger. All I have to do is continue playing the same way and then it will all get together eventually. I see a lot of progress. Every match I am getting better.

Q. You are known for working exceptionally hard. Ever been a moment of frustration where you thought, you know, I am working, I am working, but I am not breaking in the Top-5; not winning a tournament or really have you always, because you have been putting in the work, feel: I am putting it in and eventually it will come?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: That is what I think if I am working, if I continue to work eventually I will get enough experience and eventually my game will mature and I will be more patient. And like I said, with every match I learn more and more. And every time I am coming out on the court I am coming out, I am more experienced and a stronger player and person.

Q. Since the fall what single point in your game has matured the most?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I think that the fact that Eric is working with me, it helps a lot, you know, most of it he helped me with that, with the game and the fact that I play more consistent than before, the fact that I use the court; I play smarter point. I try to play out the points. Sometimes it doesn't work of course but I am trying.

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