Anna Kournikova 1999 Lipton Championships 4th-Round Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

1999 Lipton Championships at Key Biscayne, Florida, on Tuesday, March 23, 1999
Barbara Schett defeated Anna Kournikova, 6-1, 1-6, 6-1

An Interview With Anna Kournikova

BROOKE LAWER: Questions?

Q. I just have a few fun questions. What do you think is the one thing people underestimate about you?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, probably that I'm a hard working person and that I enjoy what I do, play tennis, and that's it. They don't know how hard it comes to be out there as an athlete and play and try to focus on tennis. You have to be very focused and you have to stay tough.

Q. With all the distractions, how do you maintain your focus? How are you able to block it out, or can you?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, sometimes it is very difficult, but it comes with our job, just like the actors and whoever. Like all other athletes, it comes with our job. The pressure of everybody watching and everything, we've been used to it since very early age and I try not to think about it. Like I said, just enjoy what I do.

Q. How disappointing was today in singles, obviously?


Q. How disappointing was today for you?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, it was another match that I lost and I have to look at the positive way. Some time of the match I played good and sometimes I played bad. Barbara just played unbelievable today and she was just playing very powerful and very deep and very solid, solid from the baseline. I just -- I was always on the defensive side. It's another match and I'm going to go on and forward and I served great today, so that's good. And I had some good shots, so it's not all a disappointment.

Q. Are you going to play more doubles with Hingis at all this year? If you can just comment on what you learn playing doubles with her and what she learns from you?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, we had a lot of fun together. I don't know who learned what, but we had a lot of fun playing together. It was -- we enjoyed. We haven't lost a match yet, so we enjoyed it a lot. I think that we are going to play Rome, Italian Open, and definitely it helped me to play with Martina. She has a lot of experience and I respect her as a player, so it definitely helped me.

Q. What did she tell you to do on your serve?


Q. In Australia, did she tell you anything?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, I didn't have any problems serving in doubles.

Q. When you turned pro almost four years ago, if someone had told you after 50 tournaments you still wouldn't have a title, would you have laughed and thought that's ridiculous?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I turned pro when -- yes, that's right, three-and-a-half years ago, or something. I played only, what, four tournaments a year for two years, or eight tournaments a year for two years. I was this little girl and playing very good and then playing the seeds all the time, so it was a little bit difficult. If I would have more matches, it would be much easier for me, if I would have much more experience. Just like that, you have to have experience to win a lot of matches in a row. You know, you have to play very good for ten days just like here at this tournament, or play very good for two weeks. You have to have experience for that, in a row, and I didn't have that when I started playing until only last year I was able to play a full schedule, since 17. So I needed to play a lot of matches in a row. Before that I didn't have that. I was playing one tournament a month and just practicing. So I think it takes a lot of experience to win a tournament and play in a row.

Q. Back to my question, if someone had said to you after 50 tournaments --?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, that's what I answered. I said it takes a lot of experience and a lot -- to play good in a row and to win a tournament.

Q. What I actually wanted to ask you, if someone had told you that after 50 tournaments you wouldn't have a title, would you -- back when you turned pro four years ago, would you have thought that was ridiculous?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I wouldn't think back then about anything because I never say what's going to be happening in the future. I never say tomorrow I'm going to be No. 1 or tomorrow I'm going to be No. 100, because you never know what's going to happen. Like I said, I just like to live match-by-match, day-by-day and take it a step at a time.

Q. Anna, what do you think is your strongest strength, or your quality, characteristic and what's the one thing you'd like to change about yourself?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, one thing is that I'm a fighter. I like to fight. I don't know if it's good or bad because sometimes I get myself in trouble first and then I have to come back from it. What was the second part?

Q. What is the one you'd like to change?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Oh, change, it is very difficult to say. I wouldn't want to say anything.

Q. This is for a fashion program. Everyone talks about how pretty you are, about your outfit, how important is that for you?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I didn't hear that a long time that my outfit was pretty, but, well, I just play in what Adidas makes for me. Of course, it is important to look nice, but it is not like the most important thing in the world. There are some more important issues.

Q. You are one of the few players that play with trousers instead of with a skirt, is that kind of a message?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Message? No. No message. It is just, I guess, the way Adidas thinks the fashion is right now.

Q. No, but the other girls play with skirts, you play with trousers.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, like I said, the company has certain lines made, so I play in what is right now, what they have set up for this time. And then maybe in June I'll be playing again in a dress. So it's not up to me.

Q. Is that the kind of image that you have, a pretty young girl?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I guess so, if you are saying that.

Q. Anna, just about Barbara Schett, one question about Barbara Schett and Mauresmo, do you see any -- there is a lot of power, they are hitting -- do you see a trend in tennis where there's more power, more weight lifting-type of -- bigger physiques and things like that or do you think tennis is a balance?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't think it has nothing to do with the way the match went today or with Mauresmo or whoever. I think that tennis in general, of course, has gotten faster and stronger because of the balls, because of the rackets, because of the surface and plus it is almost 2000 and everything. Of course everything is going forward, not just tennis, but everything else. So I don't think there are still -- Martina is still No. 1 and she doesn't have those big muscles, or whatever, so it doesn't really matter. But of course, tennis has gotten faster. But if you play your game, you can, you know, pretty much control the matches. So I don't think it is a big difference of going to -- having big muscles, going to the gym, you know, physical.

Q. Do you live down here on Miami Beach?


Q. So it is very close to home?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I've been living here eight years, yes.

Q. Do you enjoy the nightlife on South Beach?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, I never went. I'm under 21, remember?

Q. Can you just give us an idea how many hours you do train a day when you are not in a tournament, when you're off?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Two hours and a half, two hours tennis and then just a light workout. Basically I do running and jumping. Not a lot of weights, but just a little bit.

Q. Will you be changing any of that, do you think, getting ready for the clay?


Q. So about three-and-a-half hours?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, three, three-and-a-half?

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