'Winning the title is good, holding on to it even better'
You are used to winning world titles. Has this win sunk in yet?
Well, it will slowly sink in tonight, I think. Basically, I'm still getting used to the idea that it is over. There has been so much pressure around the championship that it is not easy to forget it easily.
How different was the experience this time?
It simply was the toughest. It went down to the wire. The outcome was only decided in the tie-breakers, which were extremely tough too. All the four games were tremendously intense. I'm sure I'll not sleep well tonight.
Has Boris Gelfand proved to be tougher than you expected?
That's not true. I always expected him to be an extremel
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Was he better prepared?
Yeah. I knew he would spend months to see and neutralise the obvious problems. Actually, I expected to have some difficulty with the white pieces and that's how it shaped up.
It was said that you wouldn't be as motivated as Gelfand...
I had as much motivation. I was also fighting for the title. The main part was that I hung in there when the tension was exceptionally high. I'm happy I emerged unscathed.
But in the live coverage, you did not look tense at all…
Maybe, I looked calm, though that wasn't the case at all. I'm not used to showing my emotions, but I was tense going into the tie-break.
Garry Kasparov said you were going downhill...
I paid no attention to his comments. It was mentioned in the press conference, but I did not think about it.
What does the title mean to you?
It's not this world title in particular. The world title in general and defending it is a wonderful feeling. Winning something is good and holding on to it is even better. And this was my toughest test so far.
Does winning in Moscow give you extra satisfaction?
Definitely, I had a feeling that they would do an outstanding job in organising it. And that is the case.
You have won it five times. What more is there to achieve?
I think the world title is something you have to be grateful for every moment and enjoy it. At this point, I've not thought about anything else.
How will you celebrate?
Well, the team will get together and we will go out somewhere for dinner. We'll try and relax a bit because it's been a huge effort for everyone involved.
Many in India rate you as one of the greatest sportspersons...
I'm not going to argue with them. But I don't want to really start promising on this either. I will be lying if I say I'm not flattered. But that's about it.
Tendulkar was recently given Rajya Sabha membership. Do you have anything to say on this?
I think this is not something you canvass for. If it happens, I'll think about it.
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