Anna Kournikova 1998 Lipton Championships 4th-Round Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )

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1998 Lipton Championships at Key Biscayne, Florida, on Tuesday, March 24, 1998
Anna Kournikova defeated Conchita Martinez, 6-3, 6-0

An Interview With Anna Kournikova

Q. Anna, good match. Did you expect that? Did you expect it to be done so quick?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I played Conchita last week in Indian Wells, so I was really -- I knew what I had to do to win. I think I did it pretty well. I'm really glad the way I played. I basically did everything my coach and I decided to do, so I'm very happy about that.

Q. How important is this tournament to you now that you picked up the victories over Monica and over Conchita? Do you see this as maybe a big stepping stone in your career right now?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, yeah. This tournament has always been a big influence on my tennis, even last year or the years I came here before. It's always a special tournament, it's in Florida. But, of course, now that I've beaten top players here, it's even more special.

Q. You're 25th in the world right now. The photographers are just lined up out there; in here taking pictures. Does it take you a bit to get used to all the photographers at the matches?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think I'm used to that. I think it's always been that way.

Q. Why do you think that was?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: You should ask them.

Q. You play Davenport next. Will you change your game? You're going to keep on playing the way you've been playing?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I played her in Sydney, in the beginning of the year. It was three sets. She's obviously playing well right now. I'm playing not too bad. We'll see what's going to happen. I'm going to try to do my best, of course, as always, see what happens.

Q. Anna, what do you think will be different today from the last match against Martinez when you lost?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think I was much more patient. I didn't try to go for winners right away. I did go for winners and they all went in. Unlike Indian Wells, I went for winners and they all went out. I think I had a little bit more control. Of course, I had good confidence by beating Monica yesterday. That helped me a little bit also. When I played her at Indian Wells, it was first time. I didn't really know how to play her or anything. This time I was really prepared. I knew what I had to do.

Q. You mentioned patience. You obviously have the ability to hit those shots. Is patience something you're still learning in your game?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah, I think so. But I'm already there. I mean, this last -- since the beginning of the year, I played a lot of tough matches. The reason I won those I think because I was patient. I think I've already, you know, got that experience that I needed. Right now I just have to keep on playing, you know, not stop what I have done, not to stop what I have done, just to continue doing the same things.

Q. Anna, I think you won 15 of the 17 points when you came to the net. Can you talk about the importance of the net game to your play?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, for sure, it's one of the most important, strongest part of my game. I mean, at least I hope so. I'm really an aggressive player, like you probably know. Every time I come to the net, you know, I try to come to the net every time, as much as possible. I feel great at the net. I think that I can make all the shots over there.

Q. Is it something you plan to do, do you think, even more as you advance as a player?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Especially on this kind of surface. For me, I think it's great. I really like to play volleys. I like to play an exciting game. You know, for sure, it helps me a lot.

Q. Anna, as far as rankings go, did you fix yourself a goal this year?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, not really. Of course, I want to be as high as possible. It all comes the way you play. I'm just concentrating on the way I play right now. Depends on how I play, there will be my ranking.

Q. In order to move up into the Top 15 or Top 10, what do you think needs to be better in your game at this point?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, like I said, I think -- like you saw, playing pretty well right now. If I continue to play this way, I think I'll be able to do that. I played a lot of tournaments since the beginning of the year. You know, I have to just really try to maintain physically, you know, healthy and stuff like that.

Q. We're seeing a lot of young players well. Martina is No. 1, Venus and her sister doing well, yourself. Do you see yourself and these other players as the next group of Stars in women's tennis?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think we are. I mean, every period of time has its new generation coming, so it's not a surprise that some young players -- the players that have been playing, they can't play forever, right? Every time there's somebody new coming, it's not a surprise. A couple years ago, ten years ago Monica was coming, Steffi was young, everybody. Just right now happened that I think right away, like four or five players, young. Before, it was maybe two or three players. Right now there's like four and five, so that's why probably it's such a big deal.

Q. Can we ask you a question that has nothing to do with tennis?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: What is it about?

Q. Fedorov.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: What's the question?

Q. Is he happy in Detroit?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: You should ask him. What do I have to do with this?

Q. I thought that you were very good friend.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I haven't talked to him in a long time.

Q. No?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No.

Q. Okay, that tells us something. A year ago I think you sat here and we talked about --

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: -- age eligibility rule?

Q. Right. My question now is, do you find that that limitation hurt you in any way or maybe in some way there was some benefit?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think it was no benefit for me. I mean, everybody sees that I'm ready to play. I mean, I think I could have done -- my ranking for sure would be much better right now than it is if I would play more last year. I think that I would get much more experience earlier, it would be much better for me. But, you know, I can't change anything, so I'll just have to go from here.

Q. Are you motivated by the fact that you couldn't play as much as you wanted to?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: When? I still can't play as much as I want.

Q. But do you use that as some sort of motivating force, meaning every time you're out there --

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: That puts much more pressure on me. Every time out there, I have to do well, because I have a limit of tournaments.

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