Anna Kournikova 2002 Toray Pan-Pacific 2nd-Round Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

2002 Toray Pan-Pacific Open at Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday, January 30, 2002
Anna Kournikova defeated Elena Dementieva 7-6(4), 7-6(5)

An Interview With Anna Kournikova

Q: Congratulations, it was a very exciting match and you looked very comfortable and seemed to play very aggressive. How would you rate tonight's match?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, well I think it was a very exciting and aggressive match. We both hit the ball pretty hard and I think that I was moving extremely well today. I was everywhere. She hit the ball really hard and you have to be always ready, because sometimes it goes in and sometimes it goes out. I tried to get as many balls back as possible and make her play. And like I said, I was moving extremely well, so that was great. On my side, I think that I played one of the best matches since my comeback, if not the best one, because we have never played each other before and obviously she is Russian too. It was just a tough match and with our games, our styles of game on this surface, it was really fast. I am really happy the way things went today.

Q: The instant you won you looked very happy to have won the last point, do you think there was a lot at stake in this game today?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I didn't want to go into the third set. You know, it was just really good that I finished the match from the first match point. I didn't want to move anymore. I was pretty tired. Like I said, we have never played each other before and obviously we are from the same country so it was definitely a very interesting match. I was really excited to play and I was really confident and I was ahead pretty much the all the time even though I was losing in the second set, it was only one break. I felt like I was in control pretty much because I won the first set, so it was just good to get it over with and not have to play the third set.

Q: You played really well today, but what parts of the game are not quite there yet?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I think these two matches I was quite there. You know, you can't play perfect everyday, then you?re going to be obviously No. 1 and even then you don't play perfect everyday. Like I said, I was extremely happy today. I did make of course a few unforced errors in the first set. I was up in a couple of games, I was up 3-1, and I let her back into the set, so that is where I have to improve. Once I have the lead, just play the same way and win the important points, which I did today in the tie-breaker and that was good.

Q: At a critical point out there you changed the rhythm, please comment?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Good question, finally a very good question. Yes, I was trying to break up her game a lot, because like I said, she is the kind of player who hits the ball extremely hard and she likes the pace. So, my goal was to get back as many balls possible, attack, of course, when I can, but at the same time not to hit to her too hard, because it will be easier for her. So, I was just trying to change the pace and I think it worked most of the time.

Q: We understand that you and Elena are first and second in Russia, would you consider her a rival and what period would you have played or practiced against her in Russia?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I have never played her before. We have never practiced together. I was kind of always a little step ahead of her, so she was always playing different tournaments. She has played some good tennis in the last couple of years and I haven't played that much, so that is it.

Q: As well as you were moving today, would you say that right now, rather than your mobility, your stamina is a big issue because you were dying not to play a third set?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, but I said it exaggerating. It is not like I meant it directly. That is the problem, you guys always take it seriously, take it straight. Of course, I would be ok if I would play. It is always better. I have been working really hard physically and I think I have really well prepared my body and I had two good matches. The first one was pretty easy, so that was good and today I had a tough one, but I will get enough rest and come back tomorrow.

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