Anna Kournikova 1998 Lipton Championships 3rd-Round Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

1998 Lipton Championships at Key Biscayne, Florida, on Monday, March 23, 1998
Anna Kournikova defeated Monica Seles, 7-5, 6-4

An Interview With Anna Kournikova

Q. Would you say it's your biggest win?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, yeah, I think so. I enjoyed it the most probably ever.

Q. Why did you enjoy it the most?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, Monica's been always the player that I admired most. It was my dream to play against her. You know, I don't know words. I feel great that I played against her and that I won, of course. But, I just want to say that she's a great athlete and I admire her always, now, and will admire her.

Q. That was quite a squeal at the end of the match, that little scream. Do you know you did that?


Q. That you made a noise at the end of the match.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: If you heard it, I guess something happened.

Q. You weren't aware of it yourself, though?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't know. I think it was probably emotions.

Q. Did you go into the match expecting to use the dropshot as much as you did, or did that just happen during the match?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I knew that obviously Monica hasn't played in a while, so probably the dropshot has been always a part of my game.

Q. Did you have to change your game a little bit, thinking you were going in to play Monica to beat her? Was that just strictly your game out there?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I probably tried to get more balls inside the court, not try to go for winners, try to make Monica play a little bit more. So probably that's a little change that I did. But other than that, I think I was pretty much playing the same game, not as aggressive as I usually do, but I was trying to keep the ball more in play.

Q. You seemed very serious and determined on the court today. Did you have fun out there?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Oh, yeah. I enjoyed it very much. It was, like I said, probably my most enjoyable victory. When I was playing, I was trying not to think who I was playing.

Q. Anna, you've been working with Pavel since the first of the year. What difference has he made since your game?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It's great to have somebody with you every day, every tournament, traveling. He obviously has a lot of experience. It's made a great difference.

Q. What is it that you admire about Monica? Why has she been so important?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: When I was growing up, she was the young and upcoming player. I remember her playing French Opens against Steffi, when I was like eight years old or something. I like her game, you know, the way she plays, her style, very aggressive. I try to play the same way, aggressive.

Q. Did you feel a little tight at the end of the match?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: At the end of the match, yes, I did. 5-3, I felt a little bit tight.

Q. Do you think if you lost that game that you finalized the match, you would have had more trouble?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, I don't think so. I mean, I had everything in control, I think. Even though I lost that game, you know, I think I would still continue to do what I was doing. I was really, really focused. I knew exactly what to do to win probably.

Q. Were you concentrated on making sure that you were going to hit your first serves in?


Q. You started to serve a little slower.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I just told myself that I don't have to go for aces or anything, I just have to get first serve in. That way, it's always mentally easier -- I mean, harder to return first serve than the second for the opponent.

Q. Did you realize that she was going for the shots because she couldn't keep up with you from the ground?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, I think so, that she was trying to end the points a little bit too quick. I can understand, of course, she hadn't played in a while. Probably she wanted to finish the point quicker.

Q. That's why you didn't go for the ball so much?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, I wanted to keep the ball in play.

Q. Anna, do you have some compassion for what she's gone through? Like you said, she was the up-and-coming player. Now it's reversed. She's had some personal problems. Is it some compassion you feel?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah. You know, I feel bad for her, for her dad, what happened to her. I mean, I think she was the greatest ever. If nothing would happen to her, I think she would win another 20 Grand Slams or whatever.

Q. Did that cross your mind?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Not when I was playing. When I was playing, I was, like I said, trying not to think who I was playing against.

Q. She was leading 4-1 in the first set. I think, as you said, if she would be like she was before the stabbing happened to her, she would most likely win the set?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, you never know. I was up 5-3 in the second set, too. It could have been different. I couldn't even possibly physically play her when she was then. I was too young (laughter).

Q. Anna, what do you think of Miami and playing in South Florida?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I love Miami. I mean, I've been here for a long time. I've won Orange Bowl here, played many times Orange Bowl here, 14s, under 18s, spent quite a bit of time in South Beach.

Q. Do you have a home nearby?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I have an apartment.

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