Anna Kournikova 1999 Wimbledon Championships 1st-Round Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

1999 The Championships at Wimbledon, England, on June 21, 1999
Anna Kournikova defeated Barbara Schwartz, 7-6, 4-6, 6-2
Anna's rank: 17th   Anna's seed: 17th

An Interview With Anna Kournikova

Q. Anna, that was a tough match out there for you.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, definitely. She's a great player, you know, she had a great French Open, and she's a very tough player to play against on grass. She has a good slice backhand, she's a lefty, a good serve. So it was a tough match, but I'm happy that I went through the first round. That's the most important one.

Q. Were you a bit nervous to start with?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, not really, not just nervous, but always you feel something when you go out to play, and it's just you feel emotions when you go out to play, and especially in the first round. It's tough a little bit every tournament to play first rounds, especially at Wimbledon.

Q. Do you know that court's reputation?


Q. It's supposed to be the graveyard court.


Q. The graveyard court. I don't know if you've ever played there before?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, I've played there in juniors, many times.

Q. Can you tell us, did you find the extra press attention leading up to this Wimbledon, have you found that it's put more pressure on you?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, not at all.

Q. Have you not noticed it at all?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, it's the same. No, I don't think about it at all. I just concentrate on my tennis. I'm here to play, and I've just been practising, playing at Eastbourne, and that's all.

Q. There was a story in the papers yesterday linking you romantically with Ronaldo. Is there any truth in that at all?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, the last time I saw him was the only time I saw him, at the French Open last year, when we were just introduced to each other and that's all. That's the one and only time I ever saw him, and I ever talked to him.

Q. Is your boyfriend here supporting you?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, I don't have a boyfriend.

Q. Have you split up with Sergei?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No comment to that.

Q. How do you feel about your form at the moment?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I think I'm playing good. I played a few matches at Eastbourne on grass, so I'm feeling well. Like I said, I'm happy I'm through the first round. That's the most -- that was the difficult one. You practise, you wait for the tournament to start and it's good to play already and get it over with, and I'm feeling good, I'm serving well, I served like 7 aces today, so I was happy with that, and I am in pretty good shape.

Q. Do you find your doubles helps your singles play?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It always helps singles practice, and especially practice in doubles, playing matches doubles, it's always great. It's good for rallies, and it's very good mentally.

Q. If it's so good, why don't more men play in the doubles, do you think?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Because they play five sets, first of all, probably they get more tired.

Q. Anna, are you supporting the WTA's campaign for women to get equal prize money with the men at Wimbledon?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I think that yes, why not? I mean, if other tournaments do it, why not this one do it either? But on the other hand, men play five sets, and there are pluses and minuses in it. I'm not like on one side. It's hard to say. But we get better ratings on the TV and stuff. But it's hard to say.

Q. Anna, you say you don't have a boyfriend right now. Would you like one, or are you too busy?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I have no comment to that.

Q. Would you have liked to have made more volleys out there today?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, but it was very difficult to go to the net from her kind of very low shots. So if I would go to the net I would have to bring it up and she would have easy passing shots. So I think I did just what I had to do to win. So that was the most important for me.

Q. Do you think there's more to come from you? You played well enough to win today, but you can play better than that, do you think?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, for sure. I played well I think anyway, but against that player, like I said, it was very hard to catch rhythm. You never know what to expect, good serve, bad serve, but she's a good player, you know, and it was tough, no rhythm.

Q. You were a semi-finalist two years ago, couldn't play last year. Was that really very painful, when you thought maybe you were on the brink of a title and then you couldn't be here?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It was very just difficult, because I had a great experience, like you said, in '97, and grass is my favourite surface, and last year I was playing very well and beat Steffi at Eastbourne and I was really really looking forward to coming back here, you know, for the first time after the semi-finals, and then it just crashed, and I was very disappointed. I never had to pull out of events before with an injury, so I didn't know how it is -- what's it like, and it was very disappointed.

Q. What's your coaching situation right now, and how do you think that's working out?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, right now I'm just working with a sparring partner, and I feel great. It's how I used to be before. My Mum is helping me, and that's -- I like it the way it is now.

Q. If you were to get to the final at Wimbledon, who would your preferred opponent be in the final?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I have to play Vento first, after tomorrow, and then I'll think about who I will want to play.

Q. For a real show case confrontation in the final?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I don't know. I didn't think about it. It's difficult to answer.

Q. You're playing doubles with Martina. What has that been like? What have you picked up or learned from her from that experience?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, it's been great, and we have a great friendship, and we support each other and help each other, and I learn a lot from her. So just playing, but just, you know, some little things that I'm not going to tell you, but she's a very nice person, and we just seem to be playing really well together. We lost only one match, and we had a match point, so it's been great the way we've been playing.

Q. Can you tell me a little bit about after her match against Steffi? You were with her.


Q. She talked a lot about that. She said you were very helpful to her. What was your sort of feelings about that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: About that I was helpful, or about what?

Q. About the match, and about her afterward and sort of --

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think it's very hard to judge for anybody. I think the only two people that really know how it is, and how emotional it was, was Steffi and Martina. So for us, for everybody that even were just watching, it's very difficult to judge, because the emotions that are going through -- we, the players, are going through when we're going to play, they're completely different, you can never control, you're in a different world, you just think about the ball and something else, just how to beat the other person and win. So it's really difficult for anybody to understand, even for me -- I'm a player -- to watch, it's very difficult to understand. But I think, I don't know, I think that maybe it could have been different, but you can't change it now. So we should forget about it and just, you know, move on, because it's -- there is no reason to talk about it any more, and that's all.

Q. What did you think of the way Martina behaved?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: How did she behave?

Q. Well, what she did, how she reacted under that pressure of that match?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I think anybody -- this was not something outrageous. We've seen something crazy before, you know, like reacting to line calls, McEnroe, or whoever, so I don't think it was something new for tennis, it was just something new in women's tennis.

Q. Is it good for women's tennis?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't know.

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