DAVIS CUP SEMIFINALS: USA v SPAIN
September 18, 2008
TIM CURRY: Questions for the team.
Q. Talk about playing Ferrer.
ANDY RODDICK: David has improved as much as anybody in tennis over the last couple of years. He's definitely earned his spot in the top five in the world. He's been one of the most consistent players on tour. His run at Shanghai last year, I should say from the US Open through Shanghai last year, was extremely impressive. He's a very good clay court player. I'm going to be up against it, that's for sure. But I'm going to go out there and give it my all.
Q. Would you have preferred to have played first?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. You know, Sam is going to get out there and there's probably going to be a little bit of nerves involved with him. But I think there's going to be nerves involved with anybody if you're human.
Whatever happens happens. I think people maybe put a little bit too much emphasis on who plays first and who plays second. Maybe it is better for Sam not to sit around and think about it all day. Maybe it's easy to get out there and hit some big serves.
Q. Andy, can you comment on the way your game has evolved, and your serve, does that make it more suited to clay than maybe five years ago?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know. Clay with me, it's always been if I'm playing well at the time, I can translate it to clay. It's those kind of middle-of-the-road matches where I might not be playing as well on the hard court, I can figure out a way to get through them on clay, it's a little bit tougher.
I've been hitting the ball pretty well
this week in practice. You know, it's basically just a matter if I go out and play well, I should be all right, regardless of surface. If not, clay's probably the roughest one for me to kind of navigate my way through a match.
Q. How big are your chances to scare Nadal, if you have a plan for that?
SAM QUERREY: Yeah, I guess make some faces at him. I don't know how much that will do (laughter).
I got to go out there, be aggressive, hit big serves, try to dictate the point if I can. You know, hopefully that will do something.
But, you know, you never know. He's arguably the best clay court player ever. It takes a lot to intimidate him.
Q. You have the experience of playing here against Nadal in front of 27,000 people. What would you say to Sam in terms of calming the nerves going into that match?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean, I think it's a little bit of a different situation. I think Nadal was kind of a young up-and-comer then. But I don't know if there's any words of advice. It would be weird if Sam wasn't a little bit nervous going in. I think he's going to be. But I think he'll be fine.
The one thing, Sam is a little bit more relaxed than I am, than I was in '04. I think he might actually handle it a little bit better than I did back then.
Q. Mike and Mardy, how is your partnership going at the moment? How practice is going? Should your brother be worried that you're going to defect?
MIKE BRYAN: I think we've had a great week of practice, Mardy and I. Our communication is down. We've had five days of practice, played some sets together. Yeah, we got signals we're using.
Mardy is a great guy, a great doubles player. He's got a big serve, good returns. That translates well to doubles.
Yeah, I mean, so far so good. No complaints. Bob should be worried (laughter).
TIM CURRY: Mardy, do you want to respond?
MARDY FISH: I think he hit it right on (laughter).
Q. Captain, how long have you been practicing on clay before getting here to Madrid to the tournament?
CAPTAIN McENROE: Obviously, with the US Open just ending, not particularly long. But the guys were able to get a few days of practice, probably about a week or so since the US Open, to get used to the clay back at home, then we a got here - most of us arrived here on Sunday.
Q. Patrick, are you happy with the draw? What is the feeling in the team? Is everyone pretty loose?
CAPTAIN McENROE: Yeah, we feel great. We're going to go out there and have fun. I think obviously we're the underdogs. But they've got a lot of pressure on them playing at home, but we've got a lot of crowd support and motivation, as well.
I think it's an opportunity for us to just go out there and to let our games fly, take some chances, play aggressively as often as we can.
So we feel good. It's a privilege to play in a match like this, to see a bullring that's going to be filled with over 20,000 people, just like it was in Seville. We kind of take that as a compliment, that there's that many people in this country that have come out to see our team play the last two times we've been here. I think that says a lot about the rivalry that we have with this team and this country and the respect that they have for us.
Q. The team has shown an ability to win on European soil the last few years. What is the mentality that you need to have when playing on this kind of surface?
CAPTAIN McENROE: Well, you need to be able to obviously adjust your game to the clay, but you need to deal with the other elements, which are the crowd whistling before first and second serves. They would never do that in Spain (laughter). I know that wouldn't happen. But you just need to be able to deal with things that are going to be unsettling. You just have to kind of keep your head down, understand that that's going to happen.
I actually think it's good that Sam's playing first. I think he doesn't have to sit in the locker room and hear 20,000 people screaming. Andy's heard that many times before, so he'll be prepared for that. So I think for Sam, to just come out and play first, is good for us.
Again, our guys have to basically expect crazy things to happen and just concentrate on playing their game. As Sam said, you know, try to serve well and be as aggressive as he can because, you know, these guys are too good from the back of the court for us to just out-rally them point after point.
We think with the conditions here, with a little bit of attitude, with the way the guys are hitting the ball and serving, if we can use those weapons, we've got a chance.
Q. With the altitude, is this the fastest clay court you've ever seen or is it very slow?
ANDY RODDICK: Probably not the fastest I've ever seen. The other thing is, a lot of times hot weather will make it a little bit quicker.
But, I mean, the ball definitely carries a little bit more because of the altitude. It's not a slow clay court, but I don't think it's overly fast either.
Q. Patrick and maybe Mardy, you had such a stable lineup for so long, then all of a sudden two last-minute changes this week. Does the fact you kind of promoted an atmosphere where other guys besides the starters are part of the team make it easier to adjust? Mardy, did that play a part in your being willing to come on such short notice at such a delicate point in your personal life?
MARDY FISH: You know, I've been around the team quite a bit as a practice partner and playing as well. Obviously it's an important thing for me personally. Davis Cup has always been fun, whether I was a practice partner or not. I love these weeks. So for me it was a no-brainer, to answer that question.
I think it's also important, you know, to state just how much Bob really wants to be here, really wanted to be here, just how injured he really is.
You know, he certainly was one of those guys that every time P-Mac called to ask him to be a part of the team, you know, he wanted to be one of those guys that always said yes. I think it's important to realize that.
CAPTAIN McENROE: I would just say that I'm the luckiest Davis Cup captain there is because we have a tremendous group of guys that will play no matter what the circumstances. You know, Mardy is a perfect example. I mean, he and I were talking, when it was apparent that James wasn't going to be able to come, about him maybe playing singles, as well. When I made a decision that Sam was going to probably play the singles, you know, Mardy was just so incredibly understanding. Then a day or two later I say, Hey, we need you to possibly play doubles. You know, right from the start, he was, Whatever you need.
I can come and be a practice partner. I mean, this guy just got to the quarters of the US Open and is back in the top 25 in the world.
So I've been so lucky. I give the guys a lot of credit. I mean, you know, Andy has been first in line over the years to say, Hey, we should bring this guy or that guy and have them be part of the team. So they deserve a ton of credit for all their support. None of these guys have ever said, I need to come, I need to play singles, I need to do this. It's just like, Whatever is best for the team.
I think that sets an example for our younger guys coming up, too, that you basically do what is best for the team. Obviously at the end of the day I have to make some real tough decisions about that. But I've been pretty lucky with these guys.