"Vedomosti Peterburga" February 23, 2003
By Elena Onikul

Evgeni Plushenko, a St.Petersburg skater, this season is considered the strongest male skater in the world. Not so long ago he won without contenders the Europe Championship. Evgeni doesn't hide his wish to win Grand Prix Final too. Our reporter Elena Onikul met the skater.

- Zhenya, there is a lot of talks in the press that at the absence of Alexey Yagudin you have no stimulus to astonish the audience with the difficult elements.

- It's not so. At the absence of Alexey Yagudin the figure skating development doesn't stop. You always have a skater, which can be your contender. So I try at all competitions to perform my programs with 90% of my abilities. If you remember this season on GP in Moscow I did first time the difficult 4-3-3. I want to repeat it on GPF in St.Petersburg. Soon I'll be able to astonish the audience with two quads - lutz and salhow. And answering to all talks about what I didn't do my best on Euros I can say that I had a serious reason. Before the Russian Nationals I had flu and I began to train just three days before coming to Malme. Besides I couldn't get rid of small injuries.

- The biellman, which you do, is a big load for the back. Perhaps you should refuse it for your health?

- This year by the way my back is almost all right. But anyway I'd keep the biellman. It's my visiting card. And if I stop to perform it I'd loose the part of my individuality.

- This season you work with new choreographers┘

- Alexey Nikolaevich Mishin and I try to work with different choreographers. And with an every choreographer I begin to work like it's a blank piece of paper, forgetting all that his predecessors taught me. Now I was helped by the male ballet group leader Valery Mihailovsky and a choreographer from Mariinsky Theatre Kirill Simonov. My coach and me chose those specialists not accidentally. For instance Valery Mihailovsky danced himself Albinoni Adagio and helped me a lot with my SP.

- A lot of skaters complain that on GPF they have to perform both LP and SP on one day. Is it really so difficult?

- Of course, to skate two programs on one day doing your best is hard for an athlete. And I'm not sure it's necessary. New Final rules according to which the skaters perform two long programs were made not so long ago. And I wouldn't say before that the audience and the press were less interested in it. A lot of skaters dislike the qualifying round in Worlds and Europeans. Is it impossible to deliver the ten of strongest skaters from the additional LP? Because anyway just two or three of weakest skaters are fallen out.

- Zhenya, it's not a secret that you play tennis. What are the achievements of Plushenko the tennis player?

- Now I almost gave up playing tennis. I have no time and injuries prevent. But two years ago I participated in amateur tournament Gloria Open and even came to the third round.

- Now it's fashionable to open restaurants, cafes. And do you plan to make restaurant business?

- Maybe some day I will really open the restaurant. If I have enough of earned money. But I don't look so forward. My nearest plans - just skating.

Translated by Yulya (Pyatatchiok)



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