Anna Kournikova 1999 Wimbledon Championships 2nd-Round Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

1999 The Championships at Wimbledon, England, on June 23, 1999
Anna Kournikova defeated Maria Alejandra Vento, 7-5, 6-4
Anna's rank: 17th   Anna's seed: 17th

An Interview With Anna Kournikova

Q. Anna, how happy are you with your form at the moment?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I'm definitely happy that I'm in the third round, and I think I played very well. She also played not bad today. She's a tough opponent. She has flat ground strokes, and good serve. So, yes, I'm happy the way I played today.

Q. Were you pretty comfortable with the way you're serving right now?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, definitely. I felt I served really well. I think I changed the direction all the time, and I think that I had a lot of clean winners on the serve.

Q. How much work were you doing on that in preparation for this? Any extra work or anything different?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, I always try to work on my serve, yes.

Q. Is there any part of the game you feel needs improvement at the moment? Anything missing?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, I think I'm -- like I say, I think I feel good. I'm playing well, and I just have to continue and play through the matches, you know, and practise a little bit between and continue playing the way I played, and just try to play my game, be aggressive.

Q. Were you disappointed that Martina pulled out of the doubles?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, definitely I'm disappointed, but, you know, she's got to do what she's got to do. She's got a problem with her heel. So it's no problem, and I have no points to defend. I didn't play here last year doubles. So it's okay.

Q. Were you aware that she had a problem before yesterday?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I can't tell about anybody's injuries.

Q. Were you aware that she had the problem?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I guess I don't want to say, then. No comment.

Q. Did she call you in order to tell you about this?


Q. When did you get that call? Was it late last night when you found out?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, yesterday night.

Q. Do you think that may have had a bearing at all on the result yesterday for her?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, I don't think so. She had no reason -- I think she's just having pain, and she's not ready to play. That's all.

Q. Do you think that was one of the reasons that perhaps she lost yesterday in the singles?


Q. Can you talk, Anna, briefly about the pressures that come to people like Martina and yourself? You have to play your tennis, but you also have a lot of attention and a sense of a lot of people are sort of passing judgment all the time, and you're under constant scrutiny. How difficult is it to just get on with your tennis in these circumstances?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, it is really difficult. I mean, nobody really understands what we're going through, unless they've been there, and most of you guys haven't been there, so it's very hard for you to understand, or for anybody, actually, who didn't play, and there is a lot of focus, there's a lot of everything on us, but for me it's okay. I just try to go out there and play, and sometimes for somebody it's too much, so --

Q. Us people who are in normal jobs might think it's very strange that someone who's earning millions of dollars a year says there's a lot of pressure.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, we're playing not for, like, money. I mean, I was five years' old when I started playing tennis. I didn't know money existed, you know, at all. So I'm here to play, just to play, and to win and to compete. And plus, on the other side, where there is that kind of big money, there is pressure. So there's two different completely sides.

Q. There have been a lot of casualties, Anna, you know, in this area we're talking about. How is it that you seem to keep your equilibrium so well? You don't seem to get into the pressure and the depressions a lot of your contemporaries have over the years, not just the last few years, but for 20-odd years, playing so young and having the pressure? Have you had a special philosophy, or has somebody told you something that helps to keep you pretty even?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, I think I just have a good team around me. I have a great mother, great father, great parents, great manager, and Avantage helps me so much, and just everything has been great. I have very -- I'm very lucky. I guess I have great people around me, and maybe I haven't, you know, like, really done that much so young. She was number 1 when Martina was 16. So for me I'm just even and I'm just trying to take it a step at a time and I know my time will come.

Q. Anna, can I ask whether you have a boyfriend?


Q. You told us the other day you didn't have a boyfriend.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I said no comment to that.

Q. Do you have a ring on your third finger?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I have no comment to that. I'm wearing everything all the time, every time different, so it's not like I'm wearing something that means something.

Q. Was it just a piece of costume jewellery, your ring, because there was a lot of talk about the ring you were wearing?


Q. Are you engaged to anybody?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No comment. I can say it one more time: no comment.

Q. Anna, it's hardly fair if you go on about it one time and then do something the next day which completely contradicts what you said before. You can understand why --

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I didn't say anything. I said no comment last time.

Q. You said you didn't have a boyfriend last time, and then suddenly you're seeing Sergei and the ring and stuff, everybody draws to the opposite conclusion, they're confused, they want it cleared up, really.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No comment, sorry.

Q. Anna, do you get sick of those type of questions?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I can't change it.

Q. Does it bother you, though, that people are always asking that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: If I would be bothered by it, you know, that would be not good for me. I would get nervous, or whatever, but I have to keep my -- I have to be cool about it, and just not think about it.

Q. Anna, have you spoken to Martina about her match last night?


Q. You haven't?


Q. Will you be playing in the mixed doubles now?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, I think so. I'm not sure. I think that the draw closed at 2.00. I think I will play.

Q. Have you got a partner?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I'm not sure. I'm sorry, because I just came off the court and it was until 2.00. But I'm going to try to play.

Q. Anna, a lot of people may think it strange, if you and Martina are such good friends, that you didn't discuss the match last night.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, because I was practising at 5.00 and she just finished about then, and it was -- and then I got home at 7.00, then I went to dinner, and we didn't, you know, meet each other, or weren't in the right timetable. Plus, you know, it's singles, it's her match, and I don't think she -- I think that she just wanted to be alone a little bit.

Q. If you could speak with her, what would you say to her as your friend?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't know. It's difficult to say. It would have to be then.

Q. Did you see the match at all?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Just highlights on TV.

Q. Anna, when you were going into Court 2 today there was a hell of a scrum to get you in there. With all this attention that you're getting, were you happy with the kind of security arrangements?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, it's great. I mean everything has been fine. I didn't have any trouble yet. Hopefully I won't. But it's been fine.

Q. Anna, you're saying that you're trying not to let it bother you, all the extra attention you're getting in the press. Do you feel like they're focusing more on what you look like and your clothes, though, than your actual tennis playing?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, if I wouldn't be playing, how could they focus on me? They wouldn't see me at all. So I'm playing here, and that's the main thing why I'm here. I'm practising and getting ready for my next match, and just that's all.

Q. I don't know if you've answered this question already, but what do you feel about Martina? What are your feelings on Martina going out? As a friend you must be upset for her.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, I mean of course it's very unpleasant for anybody to lose in the first round, and especially of a Grand Slam, and, you know, when you lose, it's disappointing. You feel like you lost everything, but I'm sure she'll come back strong and she'll be very strong.

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