Anna Kournikova 2000 US Open 3rd-Round Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

USTA 2000 US Open at Flushing Meadows, New York, on Saturday, September 2, 2000
Justine Henin defeated Anna Kournikova, 6-4, 7-6

An Interview With Anna Kournikova

Q. What happened?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: What do you mean?

Q. Why did you lose?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I think that I didn't play well, first of all, made too many mistakes, didn't use my chances.

Q. You were down a couple of breaks. You were down early in both sets, got right back in. Did you feel a lot of momentum? Did you feel like you were on the way to winning both sets or did you not really have it all together today?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah, it was kind of a strange match, up and down always. I had chances, and I didn't use them. I made too many mistakes, just didn't play aggressive enough.

Q. How disappointing is it?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, of course it's disappointing.

Q. But how much? How do you feel?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Disappointed.

Q. Are you in shock at all?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I'm just disappointed.

Q. Would you ever consider playing in a smaller tournament just to win a title?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I think I've answered this question many times already. If I'm going to play a smaller tournament, like really smaller, and beat somebody in the finals that ranks 100, I don't think it's going to bring me a lot of confidence.

Q. Is this the kind of a loss that makes you start to think, "I have to make changes"? How significant is it?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I know I can play well. I played well the two matches before. I played well a couple weeks before here. It was just a bad day for me. I didn't make the connection between points, between shots today at all. It was pretty windy. She played well. I just made too many mistakes.

Q. This lack of aggressiveness that you speak about is kind of a recurring theme in your game. Is this something that you're consciously working to be more aggressive? What are you doing to try to be more aggressive out there?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think I was just very defensive today, playing very defensive. I gave her too many short balls. She was taking advantage of it.

Q. As you review the four Slams you played this year, not getting past the Round of 16 in any of them, is it possible that all of your outside interests are taking away from your focus on your tennis and causing a decline in your performances?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't have any outside interests.

Q. No outside interests at all?


Q. Go back to talking about being defensive again out there today. I'm sure you didn't go out there with that plan. I'm sure you probably said to yourself that you had to go out and play aggressive. Why, when you went out on the court, did you find yourself hitting short balls?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It was kind of a match where I was maybe, like I said, making too many mistakes. She was serving good, then hitting some good shots in the beginning. I failed to, like I said, make a connection between shots and points. Just to make her work and run more, I should have done that. I should have made her play more shots, play out the point more. We had too many quick points. The person who won the point was whoever hit it -- made a short ball first. The other one just had to attack or approach.

Q. Is your serve consistent enough right now for you to get back in the Top 10 and maybe into the Top 5?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, if I'm playing well, my serve gets better. It wasn't just because of my serve I lost today. It was overall everything, kind of.

Q. Will you play the Invitational in Vienna?


Q. What do you expect from this tournament? Have you been to Vienna before?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah, I have, but I haven't thought about it yet.

Q. Obviously you played Ashe Stadium today. Lindsay, the No. 2 seed, had Armstrong. CBS covered your match, not Lindsay's. When Lindsay came in, there were just a handful of reporters. Now there are many of us. Why do you think that occurs?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't know. You should ask the people who made the schedule for TV, not me.

Q. What are your thoughts on that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't have any thoughts on that.

Q. What will it take for you to get to the top?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Right now, I just have to go back and work and prove my consistency. I know that I can play well. I've shown it before. I've beat a lot of players, all five No. 1's in the last 10 or 15 years. Just have to go back out there and work on my consistency.

Q. As well as you played this summer, you go out today and you lose to a player who is obviously very good, but has less experience than you. You're not going to get a chance to play Lindsay. Are you pretty stunned about that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, just like I said in the beginning, I'm disappointed because I lost. Of course it matters to who, but it's just the way you lose. If you play well and you lose, it's okay. I just didn't play too good.

Q. Could you have imagined coming in here, as well as you played this summer, and going out in the fourth round to a player like Henin?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, like I said, this is a Grand Slam. Everybody are going to fight till the end. Nobody's going to give you nothing. You can see that a lot of players are having tough matches. It definitely shows the depth, that you have to get ready for anybody, if it's No. 1 or 100. Doesn't matter.

Q. You're saying you weren't ready?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I didn't say that. I said that you have to get ready and prepare, that everybody are going to fight to play and win.

Q. The Open marks the cooling down of the season. How would you assess your year?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: For me, it's not a cooling down. It's one of the beginnings after the break after Wimbledon. I've got about maybe ten more tournaments until the season finishes, so it's a lot.

Q. How would you analyze your year to date?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I wouldn't want to say it's been a year, like I said. But I played good after Wimbledon. I played good before April. That was good.

Q. Do you ever consider retiring from tennis to pursue a full-time career in, say, modeling or the movies or something?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I told you already that before. I don't have outside interests.

Q. Not now. But would you consider, perhaps, considering that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't have outside interests.

Q. Are you just a little concerned that maybe you're on a treadmill right now, where you don't feel you're improving as much as you can? Is there concern that you're not as far along, you're sort of stuck in the same spot?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, I think I'm improving the way I'm playing. It's always easy to play first or second year on the tour because nobody knows you. The players don't know your game. Players don't know what to expect. You just have to be steady. If you're there for a long time, then that shows how good of a player you are.

Q. You said that players come to play against you every match.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Not just against me. It's a Grand Slam. Everybody wants to win here.

Q. Do you feel players should try a little harder because you're so popular and there's a little resentment there?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No. Like I said, this is a Grand Slam. Everybody wants to win as many matches as possible. This is where you get the most points. It's the US Open.

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