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

2002 Italian Open (Tennis Masters Series) at Rome, Italy on Monday, May 13, 2002
Anna Kournikova (ranked 68th) defeated Marta Marrero (ranked 75th), 6-3, 6-3

An Interview With Anna Kournikova

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Anna, please.

Q. After a reasonably barren start, it must be pleasing to get this one under your belt?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah, definitely. I was really happy to -- with the result of the match, you know. Even though the score was 6-3, 6-3, it looked kind of easy, the score. But the match itself, I think it was much tougher. You know, I've never played against Marta before, so I didn't really know, you know, how I'm supposed to play against her. And after 3-1 in the first set, I found my way. And, yeah, definitely I'm really pleased.

Q. How much time and what do you think you need to go back to your level?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, normally, you know, I don't -- you can never say, you know, it's a certain time. But normally, if you're out eight or nine months, it will take you probably that much - and maybe even longer - to come back. I mean, that's what I heard (smiling). But, you never know. But, like I said, I'm taking it a step at a time. I was playing good in the beginning of the year, and then I wasn't playing so well. Now I'm starting to feel good again. So I'm not, you know, in a rush. I'm not worried. I'm just going to work hard and focus.

Q. After eight, nine months, which idea is born in your mind about how to improve your game?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think, well, when I got injured, I was No. 8 in the world, you know. So there are still certain things, of course, that I need to work on. But mainly it's, you know, playing lots of matches. That's how you get confident. And, you know, playing like today. And obviously there are some things to work on, because if there wouldn't, you know, you cannot go forward. And even No. 1 I think has to work on something. So obviously I'm not going to go and talk about them right now (smiling). But, you know, I am working on them. And it is an important time for me to, you know, get as many matches as possible and just try to go out there and not worry about who I'm playing, you know, or about the result even. Just to get my game back on track and to start winning again, I have to play my way. And like today, you know, even I was down 3-1 or I was losing some points or I was making some maybe stupid mistakes or whatever. I was going for my shots, and that's my game.

Q. What do you like most about your tennis life, and what do you like the least?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Most is because I love tennis. So, I mean, I like pretty much just being on the, you know -- the only thing that is the best is, of course, being on the court. That's where I'm myself. That's why I'm here. That's why I practice, work so hard, and travel, and you're away from home, is because of that. But I love it. And the least - it's not the worst, but it's just the least favorite - is probably not staying in one place or being home for too long. But, after a couple weeks, I do get bored at home. So I really cannot say that, you know, I don't like something about this life. I really enjoy it, and even more now after I haven't played for so long. And I'm, you know, really happy the way it is right now, just traveling and everything.

Q. Can you still remember when you were in Italy and you were 12 and you were playing here?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I was 8 or something. It was a long time ago. It's about 11 years ago. I was 9 actually. So, I mean, I do remember some things, but, you know, not much.

Q. When you were injured, did you watch a lot of tennis or not?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I mean, you know, not every day or not every week. I mean, I did, you know, find out the results or something like that. But I was always myself working out or trying to play or, you know... So it wasn't like I was totally isolated or whatever. I was always in contact with the tennis people and everything. So I was pretty much still there, except not on the court playing matches.

Q. If you have your desire to play yourself back into some decent form, you must have cringed when you saw the draw for the second round?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No. Because at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter. If I play good, it doesn't matter against who I play.

Q. You play Venus. Are you looking forward to the match?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah, definitely.

Q. Do you think you can win it?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Of course. If I wouldn't think that I can win a match, I wouldn't go on the court. You know... It's all -- we're all in the same position, you know. She obviously is a great player, you know - obviously. We don't even have to talk about that. I'm just in a different situation a little bit right now. But, you know, why go on the court if you don't feel or think that you can win? So I really -- I have nothing to lose. You know, she's the one who has to win. She's the one who has to beat me. I'm just going to go and play my game and, like I said, try to bring to life whatever I've been working on and, you know, see what happens. And that will give me a good sense of where I am and, you know, what I have to work on. And I did play her a couple times already this year, and we had some pretty close - pretty close sets, pretty close matches. So I do have a little idea how to play against her. We haven't played on clay, I think, for a while. I think the last time we played here. So that's going to be different, you know. And it's her first match also here, so you never know.

Q. You just said that you don't think you have anything to lose against Venus Williams. How many players do you think you have nothing to lose when you face them?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, right now I'm like, what, No. 78 or something? So 78 or whatever (smiling).

Q. In your mind. Forget about the ranking.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I can't forget about the ranking. You guys never do. You always give me my ranking, so...

Q. I wasn't.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well. I mean, in general, the people of press. So I'm not going to forget it.

Q. Can I get an answer about in your mind, forgetting the rankings, which players you think you have nothing to lose when you play against them.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It's a tough question because, first of all, you have to get ready for anybody, you know. Just like you said, the ranking, you know, I'm ranked No. 70 or whatever and I'm not too bad. So it's very difficult to say, you know. Obviously, I would like to think that it's Top 10, you know, that they are Top 10. But these days you really have to get ready for anybody, you know. Even the girl I played against today, Marta, you know, she's ranked pretty low, but she's a very tough player, she's young, she has nothing to lose also, you know. I cannot give a clear answer on that question really.

Q. Is there any indication of when you're going to play Venus? Have you had any indication of when it will be?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No. Normally we get the schedule the same as everybody (smiling). Sorry.

Q. Do you have a preference?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I can't change it, so I don't even really think about it. Sorry.

Q. How much do you actually look forward to playing a World No. 1 compared to any other player on the tour? How much does that get you fired up?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It's great. Like I said, you know, if I play well, I can beat anybody, you know. And it's all about going out there and having fun and playing well. And, like I said, it's great. It will show me where I am. And I have nothing to lose, absolutely. I'm really happy with my performance today, and I feel like I'm on the right track. And I have (inaudible) No. 1s in the last, you know, 15 years. So it's not like a big deal. I mean, it's -- of course it's a big occasion, but people play against No. 1s all the time.

Q. Is Harold Solomon here with you this week?


Q. What is the nature of the relationship you have with him? Is he going to be a full-time coach, or is he advising you?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Right now we did start work together. I mean, we tried -- we started, actually, you know, talking and everything around couple weeks - few weeks ago - Charleston or something like that. So we'll see how it goes. Right now it's working out great. And, you know, you never know. So right now I like it the way it is, so... He's taking over.

Q. What is he bringing to your game now that's different?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Right now, we haven't really, you know, worked on anything specific because we haven't had much time. Right now we're just trying to adjust in a tournament way, you know, where I cannot change, you know, much during a tournament. So just we're talking a lot, and that's really important, you know, just to get me in the right direction.

Q. Is this going to be a long-term thing?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Hopefully, of course.

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

This page's URL is: