Anna Kournikova 2002 French Open 1st-Round Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

2002 French Open at Roland Garros, Paris, France, on Wednesday, May 29, 2002
192nd-ranked Christine Wheeler defeated Anna Kournikova, 6-4, 6-3
Anna's rank: 54th (BBC Sport: story - game-by-game - photos)

An Interview With Anna Kournikova (See this on Real Video: 56Kb - 256Kb)

Q. I'm sorry to bring this up, but I have a question about your lawsuit against Penthouse magazine. [This magazine published unauthorized photos of another woman, topless, claiming the woman was Anna. Both Anna and the woman actually photographed sued the magazine.] Can you tell me the status? Can you tell me what you're doing to protect your image from people that would usurp it for their own gain?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I wasn't expecting this one as the first one. Let me see. How do I put this? Well, first of all, obviously it's not me. I think people who have seen it know that, just in general (laughter). I'm not really allowed to talk about it for the legal, you know, purposes. I really don't know what to say about that.

Q. How are you protecting yourself?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I can't protect myself. I don't think I can.

Q. The result had to be highly unexpected today, coming out against someone who hadn't won a match all year, doesn't have a lot of experience on clay. You seem to have been practicing pretty well.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I didn't know that. I didn't know all those factors about her. It's not like I expect -- you know, it's not like I expected to come out here and play the best tennis. I've only been, you know, working on my game, trying to change some things in the last three, four weeks. That obviously is not enough to feel totally confident, just in general feel good about my game. I'm still trying to recover from the injuries I had. Of course, the big one last year, then the little ones this year. I started playing well in Rome, then got a little one there. That kind of set me back again. All those things are playing a big factor. So for me, you know, right now I'm just thinking about getting ready for the second half of the year, doing well there.

Q. Why are there technical changes necessary? Why is that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Why? Because I want to improve. So, obviously, I have to work on some things that haven't been necessarily done right in the past. Just in general, have to build up my game where it can be a more dependent game, that I can depend on.

Q. Do you think you're playing in a bit too many tournaments?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It's not like I won a lot of matches (laughter).

Q. Where are you planning to next?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think I'm just going to practice until Eastbourne. I think that's what I need to do. I need to work hard and spend lots of hours, just like I've been doing. You know, like I said, it's not like I played terrible today. It wasn't very bad at all. I just have to get back that confidence of winning matches, and that's it.

Q. It seemed like today on your groundstrokes that you didn't have much confidence in the forehand, didn't find the backhand that reliable, you were kind of struggling.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Struggling with both.

Q. You were kind of struggling to find something in your game that could deliver. What is going on in your head when you're out there?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I was really thinking just about the next point and the next point. You know, when you play a match, you don't really think about the technical stuff at all. You just think - I do - how to win a point, you know, what to do in order to get the next one, next one. You don't think about how to hit it, how to hit the ball. I was just basically trying to play the right way tactically. And I had lots of opportunities. I mean, I had deuces and ads all the time, in the first set especially. Then the second set, beginning of the second set, you know, I was up 1-Love, ad, 2-1, ad, 3-2, ad. You know, I had chances all the time. It's just a matter of me using those chances and just playing confident tennis again.

Q. Has there been any time this year where you felt your Top 10 game was really coming back? Have you been constantly struggling, trying to find the confidence?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think in general it's been pretty tough, you know, to find my game again after such a long injury, not playing all the big tournaments, the Slams and everything last year. You know, you kind of lose the feeling of that a little bit. Everything this year, again, is new for me. It's like I'm a beginner again, going to all these big tournaments and everything. It's all new again. Yeah, I did play some good tennis in the beginning of the year. I played well in Japan and some other tournaments, so there was some highlights.

Q. Does it frighten you at all that you might not find that game again, that you might not get back into the top?


Q. So you're pretty confident that it's going to come?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I know that if I work hard, I can get my tennis to the level where I want it to be and where I think it should be. Obviously, I have a lot of work to do. You know, there's no question of that. That's what I'm going to do. If that's what I have to do, that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Q. How is it working with Harold [coach Harold Solomon]? Is it a permanent situation?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: We've been working really hard. You know, like I said, the last three weeks, I can definitely see some improvements. It's been working out great. We're the two people -- we're the kind of people that like to work hard, you know, spend lots of hours. We don't mind that. It's fine.

  Match Statistics from
   Kournikova (RUS) Wheeler (AUS)
  1st Serve % 57 of 66 = 86 % 32 of 53 = 60 %
  Aces 0 2
  Double Faults 5 5
  Unforced Errors 48 35
  Winning % on 1st Serve 26 of 57 = 46 % 19 of 32 = 59 %
  Winning % on 2nd Serve 2 of 9 = 22 % 8 of 21 = 38 %
  Winners (Including Service) 15 14
  Break Point Conversions 5 of 6 = 83 % 7 of 14 = 50 %
  Net Approaches 6 of 16 = 38 % 10 of 15 = 67 %
  Total Points Won 54 65
  Fastest Serve 158 KPH 161 KPH
  Average 1st Serve Speed 118 KPH 137 KPH
  Average 2nd Serve Speed 99 KPH 120 KPH

Anna Kournikova pages at
Find thousands more sports interviews at the archives.

This page's URL is: