Anna Kournikova 1998 Lipton Championships Quarterfinal Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )

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1998 Lipton Championships at Key Biscayne, Florida, on Wednesday, March 25, 1998
Anna Kournikova defeated Lindsay Davenport, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2

An Interview With Anna Kournikova

VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Questions for Anna.

Q. Anna, is this victory bigger than the one against Monica?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: In terms of ranking, yes, of course. But I received much more joy beating Monica.

Q. Anna, what did you tell yourself after the second set there? She felt you took over the momentum. What did you --

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I was just glad that the second set was over, it was off my shoulders. Just started thinking what was happening. At the end of the second set, I was already, "Okay, I have to get ready." I was already thinking about the third set. I didn't really concentrate at the end of the second set. I was glad it was over.

Q. What do you think is the key for the great win you're having?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I think I've been working very hard. I had a very tough draw here, playing Lucic, Monica, Davenport. I always play better against better players. I was working really hard, practicing since Indian Wells. I think it pays off.

Q. Do you think beating all these big names, girls that are your age, do you think it's going to give you confidence for the next matches, maybe next Grand Slams?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think I'm getting sure confidence by beating No. 2 in the world.

Q. If you have a match-up against Hingis, would you be nervous at all?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I still have to play somebody else before her. I'm just looking to my next match.

Q. Anna, your ranking might not reflect where you actually stand among your peers, because of your limited schedule. Where do you feel you stand up compared to them? Do you feel you're a Top-10 Player?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I mean, I think I lost most of the last year in time. I was not able to play. I can't change it now, so I have to start from where I am and prove one more time to everyone that I'm still a good player, even that I wasn't able to play. Even with eight tournaments, I was ranked No. 25 in the world.

Q. Do you feel you're a Top-10 Player even if your ranking doesn't suggest that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: The victories that I had might tell you something. So I don't think about that.

Q. What is more important with Lindsay, to avoid her forehand or to make her move?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, for sure probably make her move. I mean, you can't avoid anybody's best shot, if they have a best shot. You have to find the weakness.

Q. Your dropshot worked well against Monica and Lindsay today. Was that part of the strategy?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Of course. I mean, they're not the fastest player on the Tour, so I try to use that.

Q. The more you win, the more media frenzy, the more photographers that go out there. Do you totally block that out?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think it's always been happening. Even if I wanted to, I don't think I could be able to change that.

Q. Are you impatient with your results?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No. If I would be impatient, I think I would already quit or something. I mean, I had so much pressure by not playing, because I was not playing. I still had to do well. I've learned to take it a step at a time. Even now, I hope I'm going to continue playing, but I'm going to take it easy, a step at a time.

Q. Are you playing your best tennis right now?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I would say so. I played great tennis at Wimbledon, but right now I'm much smarter. I mean, I got much more experience since then. Every time on the court, even if I'm losing, even in the second set, I stop, think about it, started doing new stuff. Right now it's all just mentally probably, because physically, the way of making shots, I could do anything probably.

Q. How much difference does it make with Lindsay to see her emotions? She shows her emotions, negative and positive, more than some players. Does that make a difference on the court?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't think she showed any emotions today. Maybe once. But I don't recall that she was -- I think I was showing emotions.

Q. You never looked over and thought by the way she's looking or acting, "I think I'm in pretty good shape"?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No. I was focusing pretty well. Focusing on the way I played. I always try to do that. Like I said, you can never change the other way players play, you can only change the way you're playing.

Q. Do you think the wind affected her more than you?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, probably. I try to use the wind. I think I did it well. For me, you know, it was hard. Of course, it was really hard to serve. When you toss the ball, it was going different directions. But I think I used the wind pretty well.

Q. Somebody just asked the question that you might be one of the hardest hitters on the Tour. Do you agree? If so, how would you explain your strength?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I'm not definitely the hardest player. I think there are a couple girls that hit harder, bigger than I am. But I don't just try to hit hard the ball. I try to play the point, use my head to win the point. I mean, physically I understand that I'm not the biggest one, right? So I don't try to hit it harder than somebody.

Q. What difference, if any, has Pavel made in your game?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: He's got a lot of experience, so he helped me a lot mentally. It's great to have somebody every day with you on the road, on the tournaments, talking before the match, after the match. He's done, you know, a great job so far. I really like it.

Q. What specifically does he work on with you, like strokes and that kind of thing?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Like I say, hasn't really changed my game. Like I said, I could probably do any shots I want. It's just everything is in my head. I have to prepare and learn how to win matches.

Q. Anna, when you lost the two match points in a row, did it upset you very much? How did you react to that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No. It was her serve, first of all. She was on serve. She served really good those two serves. I couldn't have done better. She served really well those two shots.

Q. Are you feeling more comfortable on stadium court, Key Biscayne? Are you feeling like it's more your home turf since you do live here?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: For sure, I enjoy it really a lot. It's great to stay at home, when you're playing a tournament. Any court is a tennis court. I learn to play on tennis courts in Russia.

Q. When did you move here?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: A couple of months ago.

Q. When you practice, where do you practice now?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I basically practice at the tournaments because I've been on the road since the first of January.

Q. Do you have a home base to practice?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes. In Russia and here in Miami Beach.

Q. A public place?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Uh-huh.

Q. Do you work as much volleying and approach shots as you do on your ground game at this point?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: For sure. Right now I'm basically even working on my groundies; I'm just working on my all-around game, serves, volleys, returns. I've been always, you know -- I've always liked to volley. Just continue to do that.

Q. Are you committed to play an aggressive game where you come in at every opportunity?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: For sure. Especially on this surface, it's very helpful to me. I feel great at the net. I feel like I could do any volley I want, you know.

Q. Is there any part of your game you're not very happy about?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I just have to get set with my serve, you know, and then probably that's the only thing.

Q. Anna, when you're done with tennis, when you're done with your match, what do you do to cool down, relax?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Oh, I have to go play doubles (laughter). I'm relaxing playing doubles.

Q. When you get back home, do you turn on the TV to relax? What do you do?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Right now -- what time is it now?

Q. Almost five.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: By the time I start playing doubles, it will be six. By the time I'm done, it will be eight. By the time I get home, I'll go to bed.

Q. Do you enjoy playing clay also, you originate coming from Russia, coming from clay?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I've been originally coming from Florida, you could say. I've been there since I was nine. Originally, I practice much more on hardcourts. I like to play any surface because you can do so many different things on each surface.

Q. Are you planning to go to Hamburg?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes. I am playing all the European tournaments.

Q. You've gotten a lot of media attention just from the time you turned pro. Do you enjoy a lot of the media spotlight and do you feel that you've been portrayed pretty accurately in the media, your personality and that sort of thing?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't know. I don't know what to answer. I mean, right now I'm only thinking about my tennis. I'm not like reading anything. I don't know about that.

Q. Doesn't it take too much out of you to play doubles? Mentally how much does it take out of you? Is it kind of a training thing also?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I enjoy playing doubles, first of all. It's a lot of fun. I have a great partner. It's also a little training. So all things. I've always played doubles; since I was playing juniors, I've always played doubles.

Q. Anna, a brief comment, we don't know who in the semifinals.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I played both of them. They're going to have a tough match today, I think. We'll see. Whoever wins, I'll have to play them.

Q. No preference?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I mean, if I say I want to play Arantxa, Novotna will win. If I say I want to play Novotna, Arantxa will win.

Q. Favorite spot in Miami?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Miami Beach.

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