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Anastasia Interviews

ANASTASIA MYSKINA and LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA
Tuesday, May 30, 2000

JIM FUHSE: I'll have each of the players pronounce their names correctly.

ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Hello, my name is Anastasia Myskina.

ELENA LIKHOVTSEVA: My name Lina Krasnoroutskaya.

JIM FUHSE: Both of our players were scheduled to play today so they can talk about what it's like waiting around to play.

Q. Perhaps you could both tell us, in the early 1990s, the impression we got was that there wasn't a lot being done to help juniors play tennis in your country. Now, it looks as wherever we look there are new young, exciting Russian players coming through. Was my impression true and what's changed it?

ANASTASIA MYSKINA: I think we start to practice more. We understand we have to play better if we want to be not in Russia, some country. Every time we watching television, and you see play Lindsay or Martina, I want to play like the same, practice, practice. I think not me, just likely that like the same, Elena, everybody wants to play better. That's why we're here. LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: Actually, I think the same as Anastasia. I think Federation, now they can help us more than in 1990. So we have more chances to be here, to play better, to win something.

Q. Are the opportunities for girls, in particular, to start playing tennis good? Where in terms of popularity would tennis be, say, for school girls in your country?

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: Now in Russia, tennis is very popular. I think the most popular sport.

Q. Before soccer?

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: I think, yes, before soccer. You know, we have so many people who play tennis well, like Kafelnikov, Kournikova, Likhovtseva, maybe all of us. When the young children watching TV, they can see that it's very popular, it's very interesting. Most of them, they have -- they don't have problems with something material, so they can play tennis.
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: I can say the Russian soccer team, it's not so good right now (laughter). That's why we a little bit better, I think. That's why it's be the most popular.

Q. With this same question, did you receive any help beside the Federation, from a club, from a sponsor?

ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Yeah. We have help from Federation, like the money, they sometimes give us. I have a sponsor, because without sponsor, you can't travel. You don't have money. Before, not now, but when you beginning. They really, really help us, the Federation.

Q. Who is your sponsor?

ANASTASIA MYSKINA: I don't know the name, but it's a little bank, they help.

Q. East Russian bank?

ANASTASIA MYSKINA: I don't know the name. I'm sorry.
LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: I have a big sponsor, Octagon. I'm in there from nine years old, so I've never had problems with the money or promotion. I have an agent, he's from the Russian Federation, and I don't have any problems with something.

Q. Did Anna Kournikova have a big impact on the young girls in Russia, the fact that they got so much publicity from being a young girl really, or was it nothing to do with Anna really that so many are playing?

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: Can you repeat the question?

Q. Is it because of Kournikova that tennis is so popular with the young girls, is she the main reason right now?

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: Yes, I think she is the reason. But I can say that she's not the only one in Russia. Of course, she is very beautiful. She's playing tennis very good. All girls can say like, "I want to be like Anna." Most of the time, she is on TV (laughter).

Q. How much publicity is there for people like Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov? Do your newspapers and television give a lot of space and time?

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: Yes, of course they have a lot of news about Kafelnikov and Safin. But I think Safin, they have more news about him than Kafelnikov.

Q. Is he as popular with Russian girls?

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: Very, very, very.
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Much popular.

Q. Can you just explain how you started? Did you have a good professor who taught you the basics of tennis?

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: I started to play tennis at three because my mom and my dad, they were tennis players. I started to play tennis when I was in my mom's stomach. She teached me how to play. She's still my coach, so -- .
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: I start when I was six. My first coach, it was mother of Safin. So I know like Marat when he was six. He teach me very, very good. She's good coach.

Q. Are you still playing in a club in Russia? Are the facilities very good for practice?

ANASTASIA MYSKINA: I'm practice in Russian club Sparta, like soccer club.

Q. In Moscow?

ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Yeah.
LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: I am not from Moscow. I live near Moscow. I don't have the big, big club. I have the small club. I'm only one in there, so I --.
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Krasnoroutskaya Club.
LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: I have all I need, all I want. I have time, how much I want.

Q. You have indoor courts?

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: Indoor, outdoor, clay courts, hard courts, everything.

Q. No grass?

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: No grass (laughter).

Q. Why do you think that Marat is more popular than Yevgeny? Even Marat doesn't live in Russia. Is it because he's better looking, has a better personality?

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: I think that, first, he's younger than Yevgeny. He doesn't have the family yet.
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: He doesn't have children and wife, so -- .

Q. Do the names Alex Metrevili and Olga Morozova mean anything to you?

ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Of course.
LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: Of course. It's very big names in Russia. Everybody knows them. I'm a friend with Olga.
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Me, too.
LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: Everybody are friends with them. They always on the tournaments, they always helps you. If you ask them, of course they going to help you, no problem.
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Olga help us when we play Juniors. We have like a little problem with some forehand or backhand. She practice with us a little bit, help us. Really, really good for Juniors.

Q. Are either of you aware of the help that was provided by Zvereva and Chesnokov, specifically with prize money, where in the old days you could not keep as much as you made and that you had to give so much back to the Federation?

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: No. Now we don't have that problem. Everybody's private. We never give the money to our Federation. We're returning our money to the companies, to the sponsors, not for the Federation.

JIM FUHSE: Do you realize that they were responsible for helping to change that?

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: Yes, they were.
JIM FUHSE: You look at it that way?
LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: Yes, because Zvereva was the first.

Q. You give the money to the sponsors, you say?

ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Yeah, we give back.

Q. It's the opposite, sponsors have to give the money to you.

ANASTASIA MYSKINA: They give first, then we give back because he help us.

Q. So they've invested in you?

ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Yeah.

Q. Lina, the way you behave here, you look very innocent. Are you that innocent in your private life?

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: I don't understand.
JIM FUHSE: I don't know the Russian word for "innocent." Very young.

Q. Naive.

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: Why do you think that I'm like this?
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: She just look like this, but she's not.

Q. I am very experienced, you know.

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: I am like I am. I never change.
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: She's good.

Q. A slightly more serious question. Is it expensive for young people to start playing tennis in Moscow or is it very cheap?

ANASTASIA MYSKINA: It's not cheap, but it's not so expensive. The children beginning to play tennis don't have money right now.

Q. How much, for instance, would it be to use an indoor court for an hour? Do you have any idea?

ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Yeah. One hour indoor courts, like $25, $30.
LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: But I want to say that the money, like when the people work, the parents working, my grandma, she's getting $15 per month.
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: That's why it's expensive.

Q. You said your agent is a member of the Federation. Is it a rule in the Federation for all the young players like you to have an agent in the Federation?

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: No. It's just like he's working there. He's working in the two places.
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: It's not true. You just have contact with Federation. But it's not true.

Q. It seems that most players, once they are successful, decide to leave home and go to other countries, either for taxes or for practice and taxes. Have either of you thought of perhaps anytime leaving Russia, Moscow specifically?

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: Me, never. I can't be outside of Russia for the long time. When I am like out of Russia for three months, I can't think, I can't sleep. I'm always thinking about home. I'm always want to be at home.
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: With family.
LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: With my friends, with family. I think I'm never going to leave Russia.
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Yeah, me too. It's really difficult.

Q. Do you find it surprising, as we do in Great Britain, that we have Wimbledon, such a big championship, and yet we don't have any female players doing well on the WTA Tour at all, yet we do have lots of money for junior development programs, but it doesn't seem to produce a lot of female players in England.

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: You know, we don't have much money for the players development program, but in Russia we have a lot of players, like two of them in the Top 20, one in Top 30.
I don't know, maybe we have Kremlin Cup, that's why we have so many females in the Russian tennis.

Q. Is there tennis in Russian schools?

ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Not every school, just a few, the private school, if the school wants.

Q. What other sports are there, apart from tennis, which are the most popular for girls to play?

ANASTASIA MYSKINA: For girls, volleyball, basketball. I think this. Gymnastics and swimming.

Q. Where do you think it's easier to make money, in which one of these sports?

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: Funny question.
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: It's really, really hard. I don't know. Not tennis. I'm sure not tennis.
LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: I think you can make money each sport if you want.
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Practice hard.

Q. How do you explain there are so few spectators during the Fed Cup in Moscow -- 20 or 50 people watching. Do you have any explanation?
LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: There were a lot of people there. Maybe you didn't see them, but they were there. I saw them.
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: In the restaurant (laughter).
LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: But I think Russian people, they like men's tennis more than females.

Q. That's the reason?

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: Yes.
JIM FUHSE: Anything else?

Q. What would you two be doing with your lives if you were not tennis players?

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: Me, I want to be like the press man on the TV.

JIM FUHSE: Commentator?

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: No. I want to have my own program (laughter), in Russia.
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: I want to be like - I don't know yet - maybe working some hospital or whenever.

JIM FUHSE: Doctor?

ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Yeah.

Q. Your games were canceled today. What is it like in the players' lounge? How much pressure does this put on people?

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: Everybody's crazy already.
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: It's true. Everybody play some games.
LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: Sitting, talking, eating.
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: It's so noisy there.
LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: Drinking, but nothing serious.
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: No alcohol drinking.

Q. You know the Alexander Popov story. Aren't you afraid of having this large popularity?

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: I think that he is very popular. He's a swimmer, yeah?

Q. Yes.

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: We have so many Alexander Popov names. I think it's really good for him that he is so popular. He's still popular in Russia. That's all.

Q. I met other Russian players who were very fond of reading. They were reading books which sometimes were very difficult to find. Do you read something yourself, some famous story or anybody?

ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Yeah. When I was in school, we read every time Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky. Now I like to read. Every time I have time, I read.
JIM FUHSE: What are you reading now?
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Arthur Haley.
LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: Me, I just had exams in school, so I had too much books for two weeks. I like to read very much. I like to read Dreiser (phonetic).

Q. Are you still going to school?

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: Yes, of course. I have to go two more years. I'm in school every day when I'm at home. It's really hard.
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: We have fun really.
LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: I just had an exams, and it was crazy, crazy.
JIM FUHSE: What subject?
LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: Algebra, Russian, English and geography.

Q. The year is over?

LINA KRASNOROUTSKAYA: For me, yes because I had exams before the year end.


 

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