Anna Kournikova 1996 US Open 4th-Round Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

1996 USTA US Open at Flushing Meadows, New York on Monday, September 2, 1996
Steffi Graf defeated Anna Kournikova, 6-2, 6-1


Q. So how did it feel against the champion?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It was really great. I mean, I felt really comfortable out there. I think I played really good.

Q. Did you play as well as you would have liked to?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, yeah. I played all right. You know, I could play a little bit more inside the court. I played good.

Q. How about Steffi, did she play as well as you expected her to?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah. I mean, she played really good. She was always there, you know. She was really concentrated. She did what she's always doing.

Q. What did you learn from this match?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I learned that I could be out there and I can play those players. It was really good for me, good experience.

Q. Did she play better than you expected or was it just the way you expected it?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, it was just the way I expected it to be.

Q. You said you were looking forward to playing Steffi Graf. Has your opinion changed after the match?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No. I would love to play her again and again. I would play her.

Q. You didn't seem at all intimidated by playing her. Is that correct? Did you really feel okay?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Comfortable, really comfortable out there.

Q. Are you encouraged or discouraged after this match?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, I'm really happy.

Q. How long have you thought about being on a court like this in a major championship against the champ?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I don't know if I have thought about it, you know. Just it happened, so I'm glad it happened, that I played one of the best players.

Q. What do you think of Martina Hingis beating Arantxa Sanchez?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think she played really well today. It was a really good match. I watched it all on TV because I was playing after them. It was a really good match.

Q. What does it tell you when you see yourself in this round and to see Martina Hingis all at this young age? What does that tell you about your age group, your peers?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, there's not that many young players coming in now, so we're probably the ones that are coming in right now to the tournaments.

Q. Did it in a way encourage you when you saw that young girl, Martina, did beat Arantxa, to do the same to Steffi?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No. I was really happy for her. I think that she did really well.

Q. But it didn't give you some kind of extra confidence?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, you know, we're playing different. So, I mean, that's -- I guess Arantxa was a little bit irritated today or something.

Q. What did Steffi tell you at the end?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: What do you mean "at the end"?

Q. When you shook hands?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: She said, "Good tournament."

Q. Can you clarify again how many tournaments you're allowed to play?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Ten tournaments.

Q. Next year?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: From my birthday till my birthday. After my next birthday, I can play 12 tournaments.

Q. Are you friends with Martina?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah, normal kind of relationship.

Q. Have you ever played against Venus Williams?


Q. Where are you in your schooling situation?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I'm taking correspondence from Russian school.

Q. From where?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Russian school.

Q. You are?


Q. Moscow school?


Q. What's it called?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It's by numbers, number something, like 29.

Q. So you no longer go to school classes; you take correspondence?


Q. When did that start?


Q. When will that finish?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Two more years.

Q. Do you know yet where you'll be playing next?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, haven't decided.

Q. Is it tough to concentrate on the lessons when you are around playing tournaments?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No. It's fine. Whenever I'm waiting for my practice or anything like that, you know, I'm just doing.

Q. It's often tiring in the players' lounge, lots of people around. You still sit there?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yeah, trying to.

Q. Why do you want to study when you're doing so well in tennis?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I have to study.

Q. Who decrees that, yourself or your mother?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Just the way it goes. I have to go to school.

Q. Is that the Russian law that you have to do that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, yeah. I believe it's everywhere like that.

Q. How do you say your first name?


Q. What did you think about this morning when you were getting ready for the match? What were your goals? What did you say to yourself in preparation for getting ready to play Steffi the first time?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I was going out there thinking that I have to do my best, just really try to play my best tennis.

Q. Did you expect to win?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, it's hard to say what I expected, but just went out there and I was really relaxed going out there.

Q. Does it surprise you that Steffi said she recognized you having respect because you tried too much for winners?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Excuse me? She said what?

Q. You tried to hit a lot of winners, and that made her recognize that you have got a lot of respect. That was her explanation.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Respect for her?

Q. Yes.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: That's why I went for winners?

Q. Yes.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, yeah, I went for winners because I felt like I could make this shot. I do have respect for her, so.

Q. Did Nick Bollettieri tell you anything before the match?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: We just talked about how I should play, what I should do out there.

Q. Could you talk for a moment about what it's been like being at Nick's academy for all these years, just what your life is like there?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, our life is really great out there for tennis, for going to school. You go to school in the morning and then you play tennis. You have a lot of fun because you're always with other kids. You communicate with other kids really good, you know. Especially there is kids from different countries. You can learn a lot of languages there. It's really great to be there.

Q. You're going to the academy in the morning?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, no. I am practicing in the morning.

Q. You had done that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I have done that for four years.

Q. I know you and Nick connected when you were very young, nine or something. How did that happen?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't know. It all started on a tennis court, I played. We have a really good relationship.

Q. When did you start playing tennis, what age?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: About five or six years old.

Q. The rule that's passed says that you can't play a certain number of tournaments until age 16, is that right?


Q. Which is basically saying, in a sense, that you and your coaches can't decide what's best for your own future; they needed to bring in a rule. Do you feel like you're too young to decide what your own future should be?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I don't think that me or my coaches, they cannot decide what I should do. I think that this rule, it's maybe not for everybody because everybody has different mentality, different physical. I think it doesn't really affect me or anybody a lot. I think we could play a little bit more tournaments to get experience and, you know, playing a lot of tournament and matches, just learn how to win.

Q. When Steffi was about your age, she was pulled out of school, missed school to some degree. In her 20s she talked about that was a part of her life she wishes she had. Do you feel like you're missing anything now?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, I don't think I'm missing anything. I'm taking school and I'm just, you know, traveling around the world, I'm seeing everything that anybody would want to see, you know. I'm meeting a lot of different people, doing what I love to do: play tennis.

Q. So it's pretty fun?


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