DAVIS CUP SEMIFINALS: USA v SPAIN
September 16, 2008
TIM CURRY: Questions for the U.S. team or captain.
Q. (Question about the stadium.)
CAPTAIN McENROE: I think it's pretty awesome. When you walk in from the outside, it's not the traditional tennis venue, but I think it will make for a great weekend, something different. So I think the guys are really excited about being here and playing in such a unique environment.
Q. And the courts?
CAPTAIN McENROE: I think they're getting better. Obviously when you lay down a clay court, usually the first couple of days it's got a lot of bad bounces. I'm sure by the time Friday comes around, it will be much better.
Q. Mike, we notice your brother isn't here. Talk about what's going on with him?
MIKE BRYAN: Yeah, shoulder has been bugging him since Wimbledon. He's had a long summer. He's been doing a lot of treatment on it. At the Open, it was pretty sore. I'm not a doctor, but I think it's fairly serious.
He wanted to obviously be here. He took a few days off after the Open, got back on the antiinflammatories. It still wasn't good to go. He's got a month off now. He is going to take a couple weeks off now and start rehabbing it down in Florida. He'd like to be here, but it's not happening.
Q. Who might you play with?
MIKE BRYAN: There's a lot of options. I've been practicing with Mardy the last few days. Obviously Mardy is a great doubles player, got the right instincts.
Q. The setback with James Blake having pulled out, then losing Bob. Do you feel Spain is the favorite?
CAPTAIN McENROE: Spain has always been the favorite. There's not big difference. I'm excited about having some of these guys up here. I think having Sam come and be part of the team as one of the four guys is great for us and great for him.
You know, I think the time was coming for us to get a couple of the young guys into the mix. Obviously having Mardy here, he's played singles, doubles for us in the past, done quite well. So we sort of look at this, obviously it's a difficult match. We're all well aware of that. At the same time I think it's a great opportunity for us to come out and play with the enthusiasm that these guys have always had for Davis Cup.
In no way do we look at this as a setback. I think it's more of an opportunity for some other guys to get in there and show what they can do. There's no question that coming into this match we were going to be the underdog no matter what.
Q. Mardy, when did you get the call that you were needed?
MARDY FISH: Just I think Friday, Thursday or Friday. Left Saturday. So had a couple days to put it all together and make travel arrangements and stuff.
Q. Don't you have a wedding to plan?
MARDY FISH: In a couple weeks. I'm not planning it.
CAPTAIN McENROE: He just has to show up. He'll be there.
MARDY FISH: I have the time, the date, the place. That's it (laughter).
Q. Do you feel any pressure now that, Andy, more pressure?
ANDY RODDICK: No. About the only thing that hasn't changed in the last week is that I need to win some singles matches. You know, I'm probably the person least affected by all the change. It's not all of a sudden I'm going to have to play Rafa. I've known that for months now.
We're going to go out. We're going to compete. We've always been a country that's taken a lot of pride. We're going to take this team and we're going to give 110%. We'll leave it out there.
Q. Patrick, what are your expectations from Sam?
CAPTAIN McENROE: Well, let's see. He's playing in his first tie against Spain away, against arguably the greatest clay court player of all time. So, Sam, you better win, man (laughter).
You know, Sam has been great. Sam has obviously come a long way in the last year. He's earned the opportunity to play. We've also got someone in Mardy that can step in and play singles, as well.
I think it's a great chance for both guys to get in there. I'm expecting Sam to play well. I mean, obviously going up against Rafa here is a tall task. But I think the environment and the situation, you couldn't draw up a tougher task. At the same time we're hoping he's going to go out there and, like Andy said, play 110%, put it out there, see what happens.
Whatever happens, I think he'll get a lot out of it. We as a team will get a lot out of it, the experience. Maybe that experience pays off for us on Sunday.
Q. (Question for Mike about not playing with Bob.)
MIKE BRYAN: I mean, obviously a lot is going to change. I'm used to playing with Bob. Mardy is a righty. These guys are all righties. You know, Bob and I play well together out there. We don't use a lot of signals. I'm going to use signals with whoever I'm playing with. All week we're going to be working on things that Bob and I do on the clay that are effective.
But, I mean, you don't need that much time to play with a partner to feel well with them. If I would play with Mardy or whoever, these guys are all good doubles players. Bob is the big server. All these guys are big servers on the U.S. team. From that standpoint, there might be some things that these guys do better than Bob, maybe return a little better (laughter).
It's going to be exciting. It's a good experience to step away from Bob and find my own identity for once.
Q. (Question about Rafa being tired.)
ANDY RODDICK: I don't think it does. You know, it will be amazing how 22,000 of his closest friends will probably eliminate any sort of fatigue that he may have. I think he knows that he's got a little bit of time off after this event. So I don't put much stock into it at all. He's too much of a competitor.
Q. Talk about the full package he brings to the game.
ANDY RODDICK: He's been great for tennis. Everything from kind of how hard he plays to kind of his charisma and his style on the court. But then off the court he's a perfect gentleman, he's very humble off the court. I think he's very well-respected around the tour. He's great for the game.
Q. Your impression of the court? Do you feel a difference in the altitude?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, in the altitude, the ball, it carries a little bit more through the air. As Patrick touched on earlier, this stadium is great. I don't know if we'll ever get a chance to play in a bullring again. I think it's great for Spain to represent itself in such a unique way that's kind of specific to the country.
It's just cool. I mean, you walk in and it's unlike any other stadium that we've ever played in.
Q. (Question about the U.S. team's chances.)
CAPTAIN McENROE: I don't think it's impossible. It's definitely not impossible. We feel we have a chance. As I said, we're the underdog, but we're certainly not here strictly for our health. We're here because we think we can win.
Saying that, we've been in tough situations before, in Seville in the final, 2004. It was a great team. Rafa was just coming up then. Moya was playing well. Ferrero. They had many great players. We went over there, we fought extremely hard. Andy played a great match against Rafa on the first day. He had a chance to go up two sets to one in that match.
I feel like if we can be in that kind of situation on the first day, we have a chance to win a match, anything can happen. So obviously it's difficult, but we played a lot of away ties, particularly these guys here played in a lot of away ties. We've got that experience of sort of expecting the crowd to be loud, expecting lots of things to happen.
We'll just try to go out there and play our best.
Q. Sam, how are you feeling?
SAM QUERREY: Feeling good. I've been out there and practiced the last few days on the court. You can still get your serve. It still flies through the court with the altitude. Each day I'm here, get to practice a little more, get used to the environment. It all helps.
I think I still might be a little nervous when I'm out there but I think that will go away pretty quickly.
Q. (Question about the atmosphere.)
ANDY RODDICK: I think any time that you get 27,000 people in a close environment, they're cheering for their country, if it's not noisy, then there's a problem. That's what is supposed to happen when you're at a sporting event, when you're supporting your team.
It was a cool experience. I mean, I think it's the biggest crowd that has ever seen a sanctioned tennis match before. I could do without the guy that came out of the crowd with a bat and a funny hat on. That scared the stuff out of me. Do you remember that guy?
CAPTAIN McENROE: Yeah.
ANDY RODDICK: It was fun (laughter).
But, no, it was a cool environment. It was fun.
Q. (Question about not playing with Bob.)
MIKE BRYAN: Last time I played without Bob was 2002 in Long Island actually. I played four tournaments that year without Bob because he was still playing a lot of singles. I think I suited up with David Rikl, Mike Hill, Mark Knowles, and Mahesh Bhupathi. My record was 13-2. That means I made more money than Bob that year, too (laughter).
TIM CURRY: Thank you.
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