Anna Kournikova 1999 Wimbledon Championships 3rd-Round Interview ( Sports - Women's Tennis )  

1999 The Championships at Wimbledon, England, on June 25, 1999
Anna Kournikova defeated Ines Gorrochategui, 7-5, 3-1, retired
Anna's rank: 17th   Anna's seed: 17th

An Interview With Anna Kournikova

Q. You must be really happy with the way you're playing, Anna. You seem to be doing everything really well?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, I think it was a good match. She's also a tough player on grass, you know, she's got a lot of experience, she plays very good doubles, so she knows how to mix it up, so I think that I was playing really well to stay in the beginning with her, and then I just started playing better, and I couldn't give her a big lead, otherwise she would get confident. So it was good for me to stay with her at the beginning of the set and then it was my game that was dominating.

Q. Do you feel that you're playing better as you go on in the tournament, you're playing better than you were on Monday?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, for sure. I played much better than I played my second round match. I think that I played aggressive, and I was seeing the court really well and playing some very good ground strokes, and also a few volleys. So I think I'm getting better with each match. That's always how it is. You always -- it's tough to play the first two, you know, the first match, and then you get your rhythm, you're ready, you're in the tournament. So that's usually what happens.

Q. Can you talk about the possibility of playing Venus in the next round and what kind of challenge she presents to you?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, it's going to be -- if she wins, it's going to be a tough match, you know. She has a big serve, she's a big girl, so I have to just outthink her and, you know, try to play my game, because grass is obviously not her favourite surface. So we'll see. I'll just have to play smarter.

Q. What do you remember about the last couple of times you've faced her? How have those matches been?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, the last time I lost was on clay courts and I didn't play very well. She played well that match. So it's good -- it's a new match, we'll just have to get ready -- I'll just have to get ready for it, it's a new match, and not worry about who's on the other side and just try to play my game.

Q. You have another match today?


Q. Have you ever played doubles with Bjorkman before?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Mixed doubles, no.

Q. Have you ever hit with him?


Q. Is that an odd situation for you?


Q. You're used to playing with people you haven't played before?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, it happens all the time, mostly people who are in the draw, they don't usually play together all the time, so ...

Q. Anna, I understand now you are in the WTA Partners Progress in which you get a mentor, obviously one of the ex-players who sort of you can go to and talk to. I've been told that you're now part of that programme.


Q. Who is your mentor and how has that helped you?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Kathy Rinaldi is my mentor. She lives in California.

Q. What has she said to you which has helped?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Oh, we just talk all the time, and just talk to each other about all different things that I'm not going to discuss here.

Q. Has she been helpful to you in dealing with problems on tour?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, well, but I don't talk to her like every day, of course, but it's not so hard to deal with the problems on tour, you know, I mean --

Q. Maybe not for you, but for others of your age in the past it has been difficult.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Like I said before, I think I have a great team around me, and my family, and my management, and everybody helps me to keep it this way. So I will not have any problems, and I'm really thankful to them, and I have a lot of fun doing what I'm doing.

Q. Anna, there was a moment I think during the fourth game where a fan accidentally wandered on to the court. I'm not sure if you noticed that. Does that concern you, that it seemed relatively easy for a fan -- obviously this was just an innocent mistake, but someone could get on the court -- in the light of security scares in the past?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, I think it was when she went to the dropshot. I didn't know how it happened, but I turned around and he was already leaving. No, I don't think -- I mean, of course we're very close to the spectators, but I don't think it represents any danger. I mean, I don't know. It's a tough question, but I like when the courts are small and when the spectators are close to you. It feels, you know, cosy and warm, and the court seems to be a little bit smaller, so you have less space to play and to run. So the game is a little bit faster when the court itself is a little bit smaller, you know, the surroundings.

Q. Are you able to walk around Wimbledon with all the crowds, or do you need special security when you go around here?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't go around Wimbledon. I've done that many times when I was junior, so I know everything.

Q. How important is it to you to win your first tournament? Is that something that you'd really like to achieve as soon as possible?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, I think it's important for everybody to win something, you know. So you just have to work for it, and continue working. I think that everybody who won the first tournaments, they started playing with small tournaments, so they won with small tournaments. I started playing -- I played maybe two small tournaments and then my ranking was high enough to play the big ones. So I played the big ones right away, and of course that's much tougher to win them. They're good draws, and you have to play a good two weeks. So we'll just see. I'll have to continue working.

Q. Lindsay suggested the other day that you might even go back to and win a smaller tournament to get a victory. Is that something you would ever consider?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think we played twos all the time, two and two and Grand Slams, we played that. Like I play now in Eastbourne, that's two and two now.

Q. Is grass your favourite surface?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Yes, in some ways, yes.

Q. Would you say that the fact that the courts playing harder this year, as Jana Novotna said the other week, is helping you out?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I don't really see a big difference. I mean, for me, grass court is a grass court, I don't know faster or slower. So I'll just adjust to it when I'm playing, and just try to play my game.

Q. Court 2 is known as the graveyard court.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I won three matches there.

Q. That's what I'm saying. Is it something you kind of like?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I had no idea it was known as that, but I played there many times also in juniors, and it was fine.

Q. Are you looking forward to a bigger court, or maybe Court 1 or Centre Court, the opportunity to play on that?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Whatever the schedule will be, I'll play there. I mean, it's not -- a tennis court is a tennis court. Of course it makes a special atmosphere and everything if you play on the big ones, but not every day. That's why we cherish it so much when you play on the big one.

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