Anna Kournikova 1998 Wimbledon Injury Withdrawal Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

1998 The Championships at Wimbledon, England, June 1998
Anna Kournikova withdrew from the tournament due to an injury to the ligaments of her right thumb.

An Interview With Anna Kournikova

Q: How do you feel about having to withdraw?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I feel of course very sad about it. I mean, this is my favourite tournament, for sure. It is Wimbledon and I feel very sad and I feel I could do well on grass and really, I do not even know how to say it yet, but I was getting ready for it for a whole year thinking about coming back here again and playing on Centre Court, but I have many more Wimbledon’s to come.

Q: What is the your thumb and how bad is it?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: They said it is a torn ligament -- strained ligament in my right thumb, so they said some weeks, three or four weeks.

Q: Is it torn or strained?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It is not like very torn. It is strained and minor torn.

Q: Why did you leave it to the very last moment? You could have made a --

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I was hoping a miracle could happen, I was hoping maybe it would get better and yesterday it got a little bit better but this morning when I woke up it was very difficult for me to move the finger, but, like I said, it is a very tough decision for me to make to withdraw, so I was hoping I could play. I was really ready and in great shape, playing at Eastbourne especially for Wimbledon, you know, so I was hoping in this way that I could play.

Q: How long do you think you will be now out of play?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I think they said three weeks, no tennis, so then I can start -- I have to do another X-ray and everything then I can start playing again.

Q: What will be your next tournament?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I do not know yet. It is difficult to say for me right now.

Q: What are you going to do over the next fortnight, two weeks?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I have not decided. I do not even know if I am going to go or stay. The plans are a little bit changed, so I have to decide.

Q: It might be tough to sit and watch a few matches

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Like I said, I come here and have the feeling of playing and it is strange that I am not playing, you know, but hopefully next year I will come back stronger and hopefully, you know, I lost the battle but I will win the war.

Q: Did you try to practice or no chance of you actually picking up the racquet with the way the thumb was?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I saw doctors and they said it is much better to rest it, if I would rest it would get better, so I tried to rest it hoping it would get better, but I guess it did not, so ...

Q: Did the doctor tell you not to play or did you decide yourself not to play?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Obviously, it is my decision, always, of course, but the doctor said of course I could try to play, but you know, he said maybe after one game it is going to be so much pounding and pressure, one good bounce and it will come back, pain again and everything, plus he said -- I said that I do not feel like playing going on the court and playing one match and then withdrawing. If I want to play, I want to do good. I want to, you know, win some matches, not just one match, so I thought that I had to be really ready to play.

Q: Obviously, your main priority is to get ready for the US Open?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: My main priority is to get rid of the injury.

Q: It must make you that much more eager to play in New York in August for the next Grand Slam?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: The Grand Slam is Grand Slam and always good to play and even if it is a regular tournament I am always eager to play, but this is more special to me.

Q: You had a lot of supporters here this week. They will be very disappointed.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, well, I think I am very disappointed myself too, you know, that I -- like I say, I play for the fans and, like I said, it is very difficult for me to express my feelings. It is a special tournament.

Q: Who do you expect will go on and win this tournament now?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, it is a close call, of course. There are so many good players and it is very difficult, but I think it is going to be one of the people who have already done it before.

Q: You have played her most recently, do you think Steffi will win, or do you think her game is not together yet?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Maybe, like I say, one day you play well and the next day you do not play well, and I do not really want to judge anybody. I just, you know -- it is difficult for me to say.

Q: Why is Wimbledon your favourite Grand Slam?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Wimbledon is the tradition, and this is my first semi-final for a Grand Slam and Wimbledon probably is the top of the top of the whole tournaments, so probably -- plus I really like the grass and the atmosphere here.

Q: If you hadn't withdrawn, do you think it would've been tough?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think all players from 1 to 32 are tough and you have to get ready for each match. I try not to think who is on the other side of the net when I play, as long as the ball is coming I am playing with me and with the ball, so, but of course, you know, there were some names in my half, but there are names everywhere, so ...

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