Anna Kournikova 1998 US Open 2nd-Round Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

USTA 1998 US Open at Flushing Meadows, New York, on Thursday, September 3, 1998
Anna Kournikova defeated Radka Bobkova, 6-3, 6-4

An Interview With Anna Kournikova

Q. Seemed to be having a little trouble with your overhead. Are the lights very difficult in that big stadium?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It was my first match playing at night, so I kind of had to get used to it a little bit.

Q. It affects the overhead more maybe than some of the other shots?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, of course, because you have to look up. I got used to it, then I made quite a few afterwards.

Q. How do you feel about your match tonight? Very happy with the result?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I am happy that I got through. She played very well. Today she was running everything down, but like I said, I had to get used to playing at night and I have, other than that I felt great. I think my serve was going very well, and I was just trying to go for the shots, I was hitting a lot today.

Q. How many times have you played in this stadium?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I played here last year.

Q. A couple of times? How many times?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't know.

Q. I am told that there is a pretty unique swirl of the wind.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, the wind goes around and it is very difficult to predict where it is going. It is kind of difficult because it is a side wind. It is not like going one way or the other.

Q. Is there any other place that you know of that reminds you of this or is it really unique?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: The stadium kind of reminds me of Lipton. It is kind of, probably, built like that and a little bit looks inside like the stadium at Lipton.

Q. How is the thumb?


Q. It is hard to get up maybe when you play someone like that who is ranked a little lower than if you were out there against Novotna, something like that? Is it mentally harder to play your very best and go for every point or what?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well. It is kind of difficult because you never know what to expect from those kind of players and they can play awfully well sometimes and you have to be really ready and you have to be focused because like I said, if you are going to sleep for one point, they are going to start playing very well.

Q. Do you have someone scouting her?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I played her before.

Q. You have been asked before about the situation in Russia. I was curious if you talked to your grandparents at all in Moscow this last week or so?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Of course, I talk to them very often.

Q. What was their take on the situation? Are you more worried now than you were say a few days ago?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Like I said before, everything in the newspapers and everything that you see in the TV, it is a little bit over exaggerated. Maybe there is some problems, but they have always been there. It is just that right now maybe it is a little bit more and people are still living the same lives as they lived before.

Q. Do you think you might have come in a little more to the net? Looked like you were playing more from the backcourt than you usually do?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, Radka played very deep today, so it was kind of difficult for me to come in.

Q. Do you get a sense of how closely the Russian public follows your career and results?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't really divide Russian public and American public or whichever public. I think I am glad that all people enjoy watching tennis, coming here, or watching it on TV because I am glad that the sport of tennis is going up.

Q. More referring to like the Russian newspapers, do you see your playing -- do you get clips from Russian newspapers?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Not really, no.

Q. For example, the Russian magazine Sport Express put you on the cover one time?


Q. Sport express. Isn't that it?


Q. When you are on the cover there in Russia, does that give you some pride just to know that the people back home are --

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I am on the cover here too, so -- well, for me, it doesn't really make any difference. I mean, I am not like -- it is not my goal to be on the cover or it is not my goal to be in the newspaper. My goal is to play good tennis so I don't take it as -- I am not proud of that I am on the cover of something because it is not my goal.

Q. You made some great strides actually in your game this year. I am wondering if this is what you expected or actually you have gone a little further than you thought you would this year?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, my goal -- my coach's goal, he was always saying that I had to get to the Championships and I had to be in the top 16 by the end of the year and that happened really fast after Lipton that I got into top 16. So I am happy probably with it. But now I see what I can do, I would probably like to go forward on and on.

Q. They said that when you were younger you practiced a lot with Safin. Do you follow his matches at all or not?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I didn't practice a lot with him.

Q. Another miss --

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, I was -- we were raised like in the same club and we were always on the same courts hanging out and from the -- from like six years old and we were just there all day from like 9 o'clock in the morning our parents would drop us off there until like 9 at night. We would always hit with everybody. There were a group of kids.

Q. You don't necessarily follow his matches?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, I do. He is a very nice person and as long as I have known, he would always play with me even though I am a girl and --

Q. They said you beat him.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, that is true. Before he was, you know, he used to cry a lot. No, I am just kidding. No, he was really nice. We always played. It didn't matter that I was a girl or I was playing worse than him or better. We were just playing and we did a lot of physical activities together.

Q. Any other people in that group that we would know?


Q. Could you see him being a top player, No. 1 some day? Do you think he has it?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: He has got a great game. As long as I can remember, he was hitting the fence because he was always like playing very -- he was -- all the juniors before were keeping the ball in play and just trying to win that tournament or point or whatever. He was always trying to hit the ball and I think that helped him a lot, that he got those big strokes and he is playing really relaxed. I love the technique that he has got and I think that it helped him a lot that he moved to Spain because like we know in Russia it is very difficult to practice. I think that he should be a great player.

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