Anna Kournikova 1998 US Open 3rd-Round Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

USTA 1998 US Open at Flushing Meadows, New York, on Saturday, September 5, 1998
Anna Kournikova defeated Silvia Farina (Elia), 6-4, 6-1

An Interview With Anna Kournikova

Q. Was this match a little closer than what the score indicated? Looked like she was doing pretty well returning your volleys, just didn't seem like she was winning the points.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't think there was many volleys in the match at all. But I think that it was just really difficult today to get used to the conditions because it was really windy, and the wind was going both ways. We both made some unforced errors, but I think that I played very good today and I'm really happy with the way I played because she didn't give many free points, and I had to work. I think I did a great job today.

Q. How tough was it with the wind swirling around?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It was very difficult to adjust because it was going all directions. It was very difficult to put away the ball because it flies a lot or it goes short. So you had to kind of get used to, you know, in the middle spot.

Q. Were you unable, as a result, to work on certain things that would help you against the next opponent?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I don't really work in a match to get ready for my next opponent. I play that opponent that I'm playing, so...

Q. I've always heard that the wind swirls in one direction. You're saying it was all over the place?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, for sure it was all over the place. It wasn't like going exactly this way (indicating). Then we would get used to it quick. But it was just, you know, stopping and starting, and stopping.

Q. Aside from the wind, you weren't scheduled to play in the main stadium today. Was it a pleasant surprise to find you were going to be playing in the big place today?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Doesn't really bother me where I play.

Q. What are you expecting now with your next match against Arantxa?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, it's always tough to play against her. I've beaten her the previous times that I've played. So I am going to have to be even more ready for that she wants to beat me. It's always tough to play against her. She chases all the balls down. You have to really keep your focus on every point.

Q. Do you think you're playing at a level right now where you can perhaps go until next weekend, or is there something missing?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, we're going to have to wait and see. I'm going to take the match at a time, step at a time.

Q. You have some downtime. Are you going to get a chance to enjoy yourself in the city?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Sure. I do that every night. I go out for dinners and stuff.

Q. Will a new face win the US Open?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think so. But it's really difficult to predict who and what is going to win, because there is just so much, you know, going on. But for me, I think it's going to be a new winner.

Q. So, not Hingis, not Graf, and not Seles?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, yeah, probably. But I just don't know what to say. It's very difficult to decide.

Q. How do you rate your own chances at this point?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Like I said, I'm going to take it a match at a time. I feel physically strong. I feel like I can go three sets or two sets, as long as is needed. But I'm just going to take it a match at a time.

Q. Are you surprised to see 14 or 13 seeds having moved on to the Round of 16? Are you surprised there haven't been more upsets to this point?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, not really, because I think that the Top 20 right now is playing really solid. You know, anybody who's like below that, you know, they have a little respect for the Top 20 probably.

Q. Who is your favorite celebrity outside of tennis, outside of sports?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't really have a favorite one. I just, you know, like in general people. I don't really have a favorite one. Everybody's different in everything. I just like to see the good stuff in every person.

Q. For the Fed Cup next year, do you intend to play that first round match?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I didn't even know they made the draw. I haven't -- I don't have any idea. But, of course, I would like to play.

Q. Thoughts on playing Arantxa?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Like I said, I've beaten her before. I have to get ready for the match because she's going to try to win this one. It's always difficult to play against her. You have to concentrate on every point because she chases everything down. Even if she's losing, she's going to try to win. So I have to be really focused.

Q. You seemed today to play the big points really well when you needed to, you were going to the net. Is that something that comes along, since you're coming back from an injury, that is starting to get easier for you now because you're playing a little bit more?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes. It's the matchplay, and match practice, so it helps a lot that I played some matches before. I'm starting to feel the game well, you know, when I need to come in or when I don't need to come in and play safer on the big points and win them.

Q. Marat Safin was in talking about when you practiced, how you always beat him. His friends would say to him, tease him, "How can you lose to this girl?" Do you remember when he finally beat you?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't keep count. I don't keep the track when I lose or when I beat a guy. I was just happy that he would always play with me, even though I was a girl. He didn't care. He just wanted to play tennis. The same with me. I didn't care. I just wanted to play and be on the court. And we had a lot of fun.

Q. But he said when he finally beat you at Nick's, he said there was one time --

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I've never played against him at Nick's.

Q. He said when he finally beat you, he never played with you again.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, No. I think he was at Nick's for like two weeks. It was like three years ago. I don't remember playing with him at Nick's.

Q. He does remember playing you there. He said he beat you and never played with you again.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It's not important, is it? Is it a big deal?

Q. How is your thumb holding up so far?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Oh, it's great. I don't feel any pain or anything. I don't even remember that it was there.

Q. So no concerns in the back of your mind?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Huh-uh, nothing.

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