Anna Kournikova 1999 Lipton Championships 2nd-Round Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

1999 Lipton Championships at Key Biscayne, Florida, on Saturday, March 20, 1999
Anna Kournikova defeated Kristina Brandi, 6-7, 6-0, 6-2

An Interview With Anna Kournikova

BROOKE LAWER: First question for Anna.

Q. How did it feel out there today?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, it was my first match. It was a little bit nervous in the beginning, coming back here. She already played a match, so she already has a feel of the courts and everything. I haven't practiced here the last two days because it was full. I came here and the courts were a little bit slow, but I'm happy the way I played second and third sets. I'm getting there. I feel good.

Q. You were nervous even though this is kind of home now for you?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, it's always more difficult to play at home because you want to show everybody you play good and everything. It's kind of a little bit more pressure. But it was just new for me.

Q. Anna, it seemed like right after the first set, you decided, "I'm going to push it, I'm going to really attack more."

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: That's true. That's exactly what I decided.

Q. Was it kind of you relaxed after losing the first set? What happened?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes. It's always difficult to relax when you're at 6-All or something. You're like, "Oh, my God, I can't miss." When you already lost the set, you have nothing to worry about. You just relax, start playing. That's exactly what I did. I decided to start over and forget about the first set, think that I'm starting the first set, that's it.

Q. Are you feeling a lot more comfortable with your serve right now than a couple weeks ago?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Oh, yeah, definitely, for sure. I'm having no problems at all with my serve since Australian Open.

Q. What's it like to go out to these matches, grandstand match, every big name player is there, and they're packed in to see you? What kind of pressure do you feel? How hard has it been to get used to that? Do you even think about it anymore?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: What do you mean?

Q. In terms of the attention that you generate wherever you're playing.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I'm in the finals last year. I should get some attention here.

Q. I know. I'm just saying wherever you go, there's 20-some camera lenses on you for every match.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I think it comes with my work. I think it comes with my job. I'm an athlete. I think a lot of people are focused on athletes. I think it's just natural. I'm playing not bad, so they're focusing probably.

Q. Do you think you're helping increasing the popularity of women's tennis, bringing some "attractiveness"?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: You like that, huh? I think it's really good for tennis to see young people coming like me and Martina. I think it really definitely helps. Tennis has a great potential right now, women's tennis especially has a great potential around the world. Not just in sports, but in general, in all areas, especially women's tennis. So I think it's good for tennis to have the players that already established their names, Sanchez and Graf and Seles, on and on, and players that are just coming, so it always creates a new interest and also a different interest. People that have been following tennis for a long time, for 20 years or 10 years since Steffi was playing, Monica, and people that are being only attracted now by young players. It creates a lot of interest, for sure.

Q. What's it going to take for you to win this tournament this year?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I'm just thinking about how to win my next match. I think everybody who's in this tournament definitely concentrates on each match. It's really, really a tough one.

Q. You have a little drawback because you could not play the full schedule at 14. If they changed the rule now, would you be against that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Of course, I'll be against. They didn't change it for me. I think it will be unfair. I think the rules are there to be there. I think the rules shouldn't be broken. When I was saying something about the rules, about the WTA, basically they didn't do anything for it. I will be very surprised if they will do it for somebody else.

Q. Say potentially you are to start at 14 like Hingis and Williams, would you then be against it if they change it again?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It's difficult for me to say. I'm just glad that I passed that age where I can finally play everything. That happened only last June, that at 17 I could play everything. I'm just very happy about that. I haven't thought about it ever since because if I will be thinking about it, I'll be thinking too much, "Oh, my God, if they would let me play, I could be already better, I could be already in Top 10 for two years." Or, "If they didn't let me play," all that. I'm trying not to think about it because I cannot change it now. I'm just forgetting about it.

Q. What if there are some girls out there that have the potential?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: That's the player's problems. It's not my problems. I have a lot of different problems to worry about than somebody.

Q. But you would be against?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, I didn't say I would be against. I have no word in this. Nobody would even listen. It's not up to me.

Q. Agassi lost today. A guy who was in the finals last year. When you see him, do you consider him as old or over the hill?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No. I think he's an unbelievable artist on the court. I think he's great. He has the best hands. He's just an artist on the court. He creates the points really. It's amazing.

Q. When you see all these players getting in their late 20s, they don't seem to be able to compete as they could before?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: They competed. They competed the best when they were in their early 20s. It's normal for generations to go on, new people to come. It's life. That's what happened to Connors, McEnroe and everybody. It's the same thing. It's the way it goes.

Q. Do you enjoy playing in the doubles? Seems like your volleys were really crisp in the second and third set. Does playing in the doubles help that or is it just something in practice?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, definitely you get much more confidence. You really have to volley a lot in doubles. I play doubles, first of all, for fun. Really, I love it. I've been always playing doubles, Juniors, always. It's just a lot of fun. Also it gives you great practice, also confidence if you win. It definitely helps me.

Q. How much did winning doubles in Australia help you?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: A lot. I said already before that it really helped me, just to be in a Grand Slam final, just to feel the atmosphere. I just have to bring it over to singles.

Q. I saw in the first set you were reaching down to your left ankle. Was that bothering you at all?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No. I was reaching at both. I had my ankles taped. It just came off.

Q. What are your feelings about Internet sites that are built around you, Anna-mania?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I'm really probably very bad, but I never use a computer. I don't even go in there, just sometimes in the players' lounge when I have nothing to do, I'll go and do something. I haven't really seen anything, so I can't tell you nothing. I'm terrible at the computer.

Q. Do you feel like you're completely over that double-fault problem that you had?


Q. What cured it? How did you get over it?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, work, of course, practice. Just gone.

Q. Was it mental or was it technical or maybe both?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think it's combined. The mentality controls your technique. It's both.

Q. Today you had five in the first set, but two the rest of the way. Obviously, no factor.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think she had also four or something. It's not that something is wrong.

Q. Did you feel if it came down to a third set, in a close match towards the end, you were in better shape?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, I feel like I'm in a good shape. I've been practicing after Indian Wells ten days very hard. I think I've always been in good physical shape, except injuries, when I had injuries. I feel like I can go on two, three hours. My match today was two hours. I feel like I can go play now again, but I wouldn't want to.

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