Anna Kournikova 2002 Toray Pan-Pacific Open Semifinal Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

Anna Kournikova 2002 Toray Pan Pacific Open (Tokyo, Japan)
Semifinal post-match press conference interview.

Kournikova was defeated by Monica Seles 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, on Saturday, February 2nd, 2002:
Q: Did you have a problem physically since you didn't move as well in the first and second set?

Anna Kournikova: No, I don't have any problems physically. No, I think it was just more mental. It was a great match and it was a tough one, too. I kind of didn't have any chance in the first set, and then suddenly I was winning quite easily in the second, and then in the third it was going both ways, up and down. Monica was just stronger mentally and that is it. I don't think that I have anything to be disappointed about. I am playing much better than I did two weeks ago in the beginning of the year. I think I am starting to find my game and I am happy about this tournament.

Q: I think that you proved this week that you shouldn't be ranked No. 99 in the world. Looking at the top-ten, top-sixteen players, where do you feel, given a few more matches, you belong in the ranking?

Anna Kournikova: Well, I can't say where I belong because I am ranked ninety-nine. That is why we have the ranking, to have a number assigned to your name. Time will tell and tournaments will tell. Like I said, I am really happy that finally I am starting to find my form. I am starting to play confident and go for my shots. I am looking forward to my next few tournaments. I have a pretty full schedule so far right now. So hopefully, I will just play again as many matches as possible and do well. Right now my goal is to get back into the top twenty and I think that I can do that of course.

Q: Would getting a title be one of your biggest goals of the year and are you thinking of a specific tournament that you might be gearing your year around?

Anna Kournikova: I think it is very hard to plan something. You never know what could happen. This is a sport, you can get injured or anything, as we all know. Like I said, I am starting to find my form and I am only going to start to play better and better. Like I said, I have already had a huge improvement from the beginning of the year, even from the Australian Open, a huge step forward. It is very tough to say right now what and where I am going to do. It is just to get my ranking up and I am just really excited to be back and finally feeling like I can play.

Q: You said you feel a tremendous improvement from the Australian Open, is there anything specifically this week that you have proved to yourself that you can do?

Anna Kournikova: Well, just in general. I have played some great matches, including the one today. It was very important for me to win the second match against Elena, because it was a tough match and I know that she can play well. That one gave me quite some confidence and the other two I one quite more easily, and that gave me lots of confidence too that I can still play with some space between me and the other players. That was good, because all my other matches before were quite close and it was kind of tough. So, where I won a little bit easier sets, it was good. That was the difference and just winning three matches in a row and playing really well today, on not the easiest surface, that gives me lots of confidence. And, I think that I was also moving really well. Again, this is not the easiest surface. It is pretty hard to move here, but I was moving well. I am really excited about it and I am looking forward to the next tournament and the next few matches.

Q: Monica of course has nine Grand Slam titles and is an exceptional player, is there anything thing that you learned from player her today?

Anna Kournikova: Well, Monica has always been the player that I have admired since I was growing up. She was always the one that I looked up to. I think that not even today, but when I was younger, I think that I always tried to learn something from her game. Right now, it is a little bit different, because I have to go out there and compete against her. But like I said, she was my favorite player when I was growing up.

Q: Considering how well you have been playing after your long time off, have you thought that perhaps you needed that time off and maybe it was a good break for you?

Anna Kournikova: I don't think so. I think that eight months is way too long and I didn't start playing right away right now, good after a break. I was struggling a lot last year and the end of this season. In five tournaments that I have played, I haven't won a match. So, I think that it was definitely not good, the break.

Anna Kournikova pages at
This page's URL is: