Anna Kournikova 1998 French Open 4th-Round Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

1998 French Open at Roland Garros, Paris, France, on June 1, 1998
Jana Novotna defeated Anna Kournikova, 6(2)-7, 6-3, 6-3
Anna's rank: 13th   Anna's seed: 13th

An Interview With Anna Kournikova

Q: How did you feel this morning just before going back to finish your match?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I felt good. But, you know, it was a new experience for me because I've never been -- I've never played the match overnight before. So it felt kind of strange. But, you know, Jana played very well. So she did a very good job.

Q: Did you forget everything that happened yesterday evening?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: What happened yesterday evening? What happened? You mean the match or what?

Q: You didn't look so happy yesterday. So you could just put it behind this morning?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, yesterday was yesterday. Today was today. You know, I had to get ready for it. It was difficult.

Q: When the match was called off last night, you seemed surprised. Earlier you had asked for it to be called off. Did you think maybe after the second set it could have been called off?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, you know, the match with Majoli and Martinez was called off when it was split sets. I think it was a half hour before our match finished. I think our match was the longest ever played. We finished like at 9:28. It was, I mean, pretty dark. Probably should have been called off. But, you know, it's difficult to say. They said it was darker over there (laughter), a hundred yards away.

Q: Were you confused actually by the reaction that you got, first of all, when you asked about the light, and could the match be called off; then you wanted to go to the bathroom, and you couldn't go to the bathroom? Was it all a very confusing experience?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I had a very difficult time understanding why I couldn't go to the bathroom. In the rule book it said I can go anytime, even during a point, I can take a bathroom break, two bathroom breaks. That was my first one, I think. The WTA refused me to go to the bathroom. I can't understand still why. Maybe you can help me find that out.

Q: I think they were they seemed to be concerned about it being an even number of games played.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: But to go to the bathroom, you can go during a point. So it was something very new for me. I mean, we played an hour and 40 minutes, 40-something minutes. First time ever in my life I decide to go to a bathroom break, go to the bathroom, and they said no.

Q: Did you really have to go to the bathroom or were you just looking to stall for a few more minutes until I got a little darker?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No. Like I said, it was first time ever I had to go to the bathroom. I think I have a right to go to the bathroom. It doesn't matter what I was doing. In the rule book, you can open the rule book and see that a player has a right to take a bathroom break twice. Doesn't matter if it's in the middle of the point, the warm-up, at the end. Even when you come on the court, you start warming up, you can go to the bathroom. Doesn't matter, one minute, two hours.

Q: So why didn't you just go?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, they told me that I couldn't.

Q: Did they say why?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I mean, I asked the referee twice to go to the bathroom. They refused. They said I have to continue play. I had to continue. What should I have done? Just walked through.

Q: Was it correct that you were crying? Which was the reason?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No. Something was in my eyes because I couldn't see well. Something was bothering me.

Q: Did you know the Martinez-Majoli match had been called when you were out there playing?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, I haven't. That's why I was really -- I asked earlier for the match to be stopped.

Q. After two sets, did you want it stopped?
A. No, I didn't.

Q: Why not?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I didn't ask.

Q: Why not?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Like I say, I always play by the referee. I always do, you know, what the referee, the umpire say. So I was continuing, you know.

Q: But you know you could have asked.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I know. But, like I say, I always go by the referee's decision. I didn't want to argue with him.

Q: She had just won the second set.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think it would be smart for me to ask, but I think it would be a good tactic, but I never use that as a tactic. So I didn't ask.

Q: Did you ask for a reason why you couldn't go to the bathroom? What did they say? Did they give you an explanation, or they said you couldn't go??

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: On the court, they said I can't go. He said it. The referee that came on the court, he just said that, "You have to continue playing." That's it. You know, I couldn't beg him in front of 20,000 people and the camera to go to the bathroom. I really don't understand the WTA's decision for not letting me go to the bathroom.

Q: Even today nobody explained it to you, to your coach, agent, anything?


Q: Did you went to the bathroom after the match?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, I was holding it until today (laughter). It sounds funny. Now, every time I go to the bathroom, I should ask WTA, "Can I go to the bathroom, please?"

Q: Anna, you said you didn't ask for the match to be stopped at the end of the second set. When exactly did you ask for it to be stopped?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: 4-1. I asked if we were going to continue playing, on the changeover.

Q: That was before you asked for the toilet break?


Q: Yesterday the crowd got very involved. How did you feel when all the people cheering?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Obviously, it was a great match. People, I think, enjoyed it very much because Jana and I -- I feel it was a great match, you know. I think that they got just very excited about it. They probably wanted us to play. I don't know. But it felt good being on the court with that kind of atmosphere.

Q: But the crowd got involved, when you got to the referee, then Jana got to the referee. You just played with the crowd?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, played with the crowd means what?

Q: You wanted to involve the crowd?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I mean, I don't necessarily -- how? I don't understand what I could do to get them involved.

Q: How was your night? Did you feel nervous?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No. Actually, I came back to the hotel at 12:00 yesterday. I had to wake up early today. I was sleeping like a baby.

Q: It was a new experience, today's match?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes. Like I said, I never played like this before. This morning I kind of felt weird. You know, it's a new match or it's the same match, 4-2. It's very difficult. But I think still yesterday, we played a great match.

Q: Martina was in here the other day, asked if she thought the rivalries have now been joined, you and she, the Williams and she. She said no, that she's three thousand points ahead on the computer, she didn't think there were any rivalries yet. Could you respond to that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: On the computer, she's right, of course. But we all, except Serena, have beaten her. It shows something. But, you know, I think she's the most experienced, of course, out of all of us. She has the right to say that because she's 300 -- 3000 points ahead of us.

Q: What are you expecting now in the double tournaments?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: In the doubles?

Q: Yes.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, you know, expecting to play good. I hope I'm going to play good. I'm going to try to use my bathroom break in doubles (laughter), and mixed.

Q: In the past, Novotna seemed to get tight to close out a match. Were you thinking about this during this match, that she might float balls, get a little nervous?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Not really. She never had -- I never played against her when she had any trouble. Like I said, she played just great tennis yesterday, didn't make any unforced errors, or even today I think she was playing well. I mean, I was not playing that bad, so we had a very difficult match. It was very tight, very close.

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