Jul/19

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Biofiles with Hall of Famers Pierce and Kafelnikov

I managed to do these two Biofiles with 2019 Hall of Fame Sunday Inductees Mary Pierce and Yevgeny Kafelnikov…

The Biofile Yevgeny Kafelnokov

Status: Former ATP world #1, French Open, Australian Open, 2000 Olympic Champion. Led Russia to first Davis Cup victory in 2002.Ht: 6-3 Wt: 185

DOB: February 18, 1974 In: Sochi, Russia

Tennis Inspirations: There are a few people I loved to watch while (I) was young. (Who?) Well, obviously Borg was one of them. Johnny Mac was one of the few.

First Tennis Memory: Oh. Been a few. First time I traveled I was six-years-old, to a junior tournament. That still keeps in my mind. To inside Russia, one of the national tournaments. (How did you do?) I don’t remember. But that first time is the memory.

Greatest Sports Moment: I can say there are four or five.

Most Painful Moment: Ooh…ah…ooh. You know, I’m gonna say there been a few where I had a chance to of perhaps winning the Slams that I didn’t do. I would say those.

Favorite Tournaments: Maybe a few countries. Russia was one of them. Australia, France – where I had my most success.

Closest Tennis Friends: There are many. There are many.

Funniest Players Encountered: While I was playing – Goran (Ivanisevic). Goran had the best sense of humor of all.

Toughest Competitors Encountered: There were like ten guys.

Which Matches Did You Feel At Your Absolute Best: French Open ’96. Because that’s the tournament I won where no one could even get close to me. (What happened?) All aspects came together at right moment. I had signs that I was going to play well there. Beating Pete Sampras 62 62 the week before.

Childhood Dreams: As a young one I wanted to win, first, tournaments. Then, obviously, the appetite got bigger. Then, of course, when you accomplish one, there’s always another.

Pre-Match Feeling: Pretty much same routine all the time – warm-up, have a little bite before the match, then just get ready.

Favorite Movies: I don’t recall. Nothing comes to mind quickly.

Last Book Read: Also long time ago, hasn’t been any lately.

Musical Tastes: Just pop, whatever pops up on the radio.

Favorite Meal: Russian.

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Chocolate.

Funny Tennis Memory: Nothing comes to mind in the moment.

Embarrassing Tennis Memory: There was a few ones. Pretty much almost lost 60 60. (To who?) 60 61 to Jeff Tarango, believe it or not. Back in ’94 at one of the tournaments (in Bordeaux, France).

Favorite Athletes To Watch: Always thought that (Michael) Jordan was the best athlete of all time. I like to watch the New York Yankees, I like to go to Yankee Stadium when I’m in New York. I did like to watch Mike Tyson when he was the best. (Evander) Holyfield I admire for his courage and his toughness.

Favorite Tennis Players To Watch: Oh, Nadal is the most person that I like to watch and of course Marat Safin. Many people in our country miss his glory days. (Why Nadal?) I think he’s a character, he brings charisma to the courts. He’s got good, fresh energy.

People Qualities Most Admired: Honesty. That was, at least how I was with anyone. Anything that came up to my mind I was always straight to the people, never hide anything, so, that’s what I admire.

Career Accomplishments: First Russian to achieve no. 1 ranking on May 3, 1999; Won 1996 French Open and 1999 Australian Open; Won Olympic gold medal at 2000 Olympics with five-set win vs. Haas; Lead Russia to defeat France 3-2 in 2002 Davis Cup final – Russia’s first Davis Cup victory; Winner of 26 career ATP singles titles and 27 doubles; Career Earnings over $23 million; Won four Grand Slam doubles titles; Won Moscow ATP event five years in a row – after fifth title donated prize money of $137,000 to families of victims of Oct. 4, 2001 plane crash in Black Sea.
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Biofile Mary Pierce

Status: Winner of 1995 Australian Open and 2000 French Open. Winner of 18 WTA singles titles and 10 doubles titles.

DOB: Jan. 15, 1975 In: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Childhood Hero: Chris Evert.

Hobbies/Interests: Reading, cooking, dancing, music, jet skiing, biking, backgammon, playing cards.

Favorite Movies: Funny movies, anything that makes me laugh.

Early Tennis Memory: The first day I started. The pro at the club asked me how long I’ve been playing. And it was only like 45 minutes. And he said, ‘No, no, how long have you been playing?’ I said, ‘Yeah, just 45 minutes.’ He couldn’t believe it. It was kind of special because he put me right in with the kids who had already been playing.

Greatest Sports Moment: Winning the French Open (2000 vs. Conchita Martinez).

Most Painful Moment: Hmm. I don’t know about painful. Maybe disappointing. When I lost the finals of the French Open (64 64 to Sanchez-Vicario in 1994). I was really hoping to win that tournament.

Favorite Meal: Anything but liver and brussels sprouts [laughs]!

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Chocolate with peanut butter.

Favorite Athletes To Watch: Dennis Rodman – because he’s different, he’s fun, he’s entertaining. I like him because he shows his emotions. Mike Tyson. Jimmy Connors. John McEnroe. They were entertaining too. Tiger Woods. Patrick Rafter. Mark Philippousis.

People Qualities Most Admired: People who are honest, with a good sense of humor. Sincere people, down to earth and simple.

Scoop’s latest books Facing Andy Murray and Facing Marat Safin are available for $9.99 at amazon.

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6 comments

  • Harold · July 20, 2019 at 7:42 am

    Kafelnikovs biofile is embarrassing…

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 20, 2019 at 10:20 am

    Some fairly interesting nuggets in the Kafel Biofile but his english is not his best language was never a media darling or into the media part of tennis but he was nice enough to answer my questions albeit reluctantly so we have to take what we can get. Not many Kafelnikov one on one interviews out there.

  • Jeff · July 20, 2019 at 10:41 am

    Off the topic but the Hamburg draw has thrown up the first-ever matchup between Chardy and Paire. Hard to believe both these guys are 30 and have never met. Tough match to bet.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 20, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    That is odd Jeff that Paire and Chardy have never played but Bublik and Sandgren have played four times this year. Chardy just lost easily to Jarry this week, he beat Jarry 76 in the third in Miami with a severe pro Jarry crowd which really bothered Chardy.

  • Jeff · July 20, 2019 at 10:51 pm

    How boring is it that Isner racks up these points by winning 250s? He will win Newport and Atlanta against the weakest fields in the ATP this season and pad his rankings.

    Atlanta has some interesting matches, with Jack Sock playing Kechmanovic in No. 2 seed Taylor Fritz’s quarter (!). Grigor Dimitrov has taken a wild card. He is down to No. 52 in the world – even below Kyrgios – and has not played since choking away a two-set lead at Wimbledon.

    The college player in the draw is Georgia Tech’s Cole Gormley, who went 12-9 in NCAA tennis and faces the rising Ugo Humbert in round one Tuesday night in Atlanta.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 21, 2019 at 8:32 am

    Isner has not had an easy route to the final and keep in mind these are his first matches since Miami not counting Wimbledon flop so Isner deserves some slack. Never even heard of the name Cole Gormley, like how ATL always gives no name Rocky Balboa’s a shot, Eubanks and Trent Bryde in past.

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