Anna Kournikova 1998 US Open 1st-Round Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

USTA 1998 US Open at Flushing Meadows, New York, on Tuesday, September 1, 1998
Anna Kournikova defeated Lea Ghirardi, 6-1, 6-3

An Interview With Anna Kournikova

Q. How did you feel you did today?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I felt very good out there. It was a first match. It is always difficult to play first match, but I am glad that I went through. And I felt very comfortable on the court.

Q. What are your expectations for this US Open?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I am just going to take it match at a time and really concentrate on each match and just try to enjoy being here.

Q. What percentage is your thumb, 100 now?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It feels great. It feels great.

Q. What is it like hearing all the kids screaming your name after the match for autographs?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I am glad that they are here and doing something and that they are enjoying watching tennis and that they have something to look up to and, you know, enjoy watching the sport.

Q. You seem to have a lot of success (Inaudible.) -- you had a lot of success with your drop shot in the first set. Surprised you didn't have much more of an effort to try and return --

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I guess I just did it at the right time and maybe she was wrong footed or something like that.

Q. When you look at what you did at the Lipton this year, I mean, does that make you think about how well you can possibly do in a tournament like this?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I know that -- that tournament showed me that I can play well and I can play well a lot of matches in a row and beat top players in a row. So I got a lot of confidence from that and experience from that tournament.

Q. Do you refer, though, mentally to that tournament that often?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Not really. It is in the past. I just have to look into the future.

Q. This isn't a tennis question per se, but if you would I'd like you to consider answering this. Your homeland Russia is going through so much troubles now. What are your thoughts about that? Are you in touch with relatives or friends in Russia?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Of course I have grandparents there, and everybody. But I don't really follow-up with the stuff that is going on there in terms of politically. I know that all that they show on TV and write in the newspaper, it is a little bit exaggerated and the people are living normal there as we lived before.

Q. You are not too worried about the decline of the ruble?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It is the same. It is just people are overreacting, like, you know, in the newspapers or on TV, I think that -- well, always I think that everybody else in the world that Russia is so poor and there is nothing, but there -- it's a normal life there just like anywhere else.

Q. There have been some reports that some of your sponsors or endorsers maybe wanted you to tone down your image a little bit. Could you talk a little bit about that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I have never heard that from any of them. It is probably one of those things that has been rumored or something like that. But it has no basis to that. There is -- it is not true. My sponsors are very happy with everything.

Q. Actually, I imagine it would be, but being the poster girl for the WTA, does that get a little tiresome?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I am playing tennis and I am trying -- I am going to do everything for the sport and, you know, if WTA asks me to do something, I will do it for them.

Q. I am seeing like, for example, probably the most amount of photographers I have seen here. Does that get tiresome?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I guess it comes with the job.

Q. Did you know that Barry McKay has picked you as his dark horse to win the tournament?


Q. He is an old-time player.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't really follow-up with the peoples' picks and stuff like that.

Q. Do you see yourself as a dark horse or not?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Like I say, I am just going to try and take it a match at a time, enjoy and try to be here as long as possible, so I can enjoy it and I am just going to take it a match at a time.

Q. Speaking of photographs, there have been so many of you - you have been on so many covers and so forth - are there one or two photos that you particularly like?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't know. I don't have one in front of my face right now. No.

Q. As few matches as you have played this summer, is it realistic that you can get far in the tournament?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Definitely. I think I feel fresh and that is maybe a good thing. I feel good. I have played a couple of matches in previous tournaments before this so I feel good and I just have to be really focused and try to keep my concentration on the court.

Q. What did you lose on the tennis court today?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Oh my necklace.

Q. Did you find it?


Q. On a conference call maybe a month ago you had said you were inviting others, besides Sergei, some of his teammates, Scotty Bowman. Is there going to be any Red Wing players? I know Sergei was here.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Scotty had just had an operation and I talked to him and he wasn't able to come because he is getting treatment for like another two months.

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