USTA MEDIA CONFERENCE
June 26, 2004
Olympic Team Announcement
ZINA GARRISON: We're here to announce the US Olympic team. My women's team will be Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Chanda Rubin, Jennifer Capriati, Lisa Raymond and Martina Navratilova.
PATRICK McENROE: The men's team will be Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish, Vince Spadea, Taylor Dent and Bob and Mike Bryan.
PATRICK McENROE: What are you surprised about?
Q. Exactly. Did you invite Lindsay Davenport and did she turn you down and why?
ZINA GARRISON: She was invited, but Lindsay was great. She has said in the press earlier that because of travel and also because she's kind of dealing with her knee situation that she just chose not to go this year, so.
Q. Have either of you in your conversations with various players picked up any concern about the security increase?
PATRICK McENROE: I haven't.
ZINA GARRISON: I haven't.
PATRICK McENROE: No, not at all. Only about how we're getting there, when we're leaving, that kind of stuff.
ZINA GARRISON: The usual.
Q. Serena at one point said if she didn't feel confident, she wouldn't go. She hasn't indicated to you since then?
ZINA GARRISON: Actually, it was very interesting because immediately when I woke up the next morning, I read that in the paper, then I called her and I talked to her. She was just as shocked waking up and seeing her picture on CNN basically saying that she wasn't going to go. So it was just kind of the way the question was posed to her. I mean, so naturally, I mean, she felt the way she felt. So we're here and we're going on.
Q. Zina, what did you think of Martina's performance here?
ZINA GARRISON: It was actually pretty amazing. I mean, and interesting because even though she lost the other day, I found myself, you know, trying to figure out how she could have won that match, looking at the different points where she, you know, could have maybe put a little bit more pressure on, laid back off a little bit more. So it was kind of interesting, but I know back in the States, I mean, the 30-something-year-olds were extremely excited for her being out there, so it was great - 30 something, 40 something, 50 something (laughter).
Q. We all know that our sport has a couple of problems, dysfunctional things. We have the Olympics, the ultimate team concept, national concept, yet it's a one-out straight tournament like situation. What can possibly be done to make it more of a team event so you are really playing for your nation?
PATRICK McENROE: Well, I think it could be made a team event, you know, with individual medals awarded based on how you do within the team event. I mean, the logistics of exactly how we come up with that we can discuss in detail. I don't think we want to do that here. But the World Team Cup setup format, maybe with a few more players. I know the way they do it in gymnastics, there's individual competition within the team, so the whole team can win a gold, a silver, et cetera, and then the players, based on how they do, in their own matches. Maybe it's US against Germany in Round 1, then there's some round-robin type format. Clearly to me, it should be more of a team-type event. I mean, I strongly feel that. At the same time I'm impressed at how excited our guys are. I mean, it's honestly all they talk about. They've just been talking about it non-stop. They had to sign a form this morning, the last couple days. We gave them a T-shirt that says US Olympic Team. The look on Andy Roddick's face this morning, Bob and Mike Bryan, they were genuinely like so excited about it. From that standpoint I think that's a great sign that having tennis back in the Olympics is really good for the sport worldwide overall. I know they're discussing some ideas about changing it to a more team-type format, which I hope they do.
Q. Without going into detail, how mechanically could that happen? Does it have to go to USOC, IOC?
PATRICK McENROE: I think it's IOC. Obviously, I think the ITF has a lot of involvement within that, as do, you know, the tennis countries. But I think it will come from -- I believe it will come from the ITF, and then obviously would have to be approved by the IOC.
Q. What is the timing of your leaving and from where?
ZINA GARRISON: That's definitely security. I mean, it's just something that we really don't want to put out right now.
Q. What about the date?
ZINA GARRISON: The date?
Q. When would you leave for Greece?
ZINA GARRISON: We'll leave in the beginning. I don't know exactly when.
PATRICK McENROE: I think we'll try to get there a couple days before Opening Ceremonies. You know it's going to be hot there. It's going to be a time adjustment. It's going to be difficult conditions. There's going to be a lot of extracurricular things that we have to deal with as far as, you know, just being at the Olympics, you know, that we're not used to. I mean, coming here is a piece of cake compared to going to the Olympics. So I think it's better we get there a little bit earlier, get ourselves organized, have enough time to practice.
ZINA GARRISON: Get in the mix.
Q. Individual schedules will allow you to fly together, all the male and female players?
PATRICK McENROE: I don't know if we'll all go together. I think we'll try to have the women go together and the men go together.
Q. And the schedule of the various male players?
PATRICK McENROE: I think it will work.
Q. Are they all going to march in the Opening Ceremonies? Do you know if everybody wants to or doesn't? Will they stay in the village, the players?
ZINA GARRISON: From my end, everybody is excited about Opening Ceremonies. It is a bit long. Patrick will find that out. But other than that, it is a total rush once you hit that stadium and walk in with all the rest of the athletes. It's something that you cannot even think about imagining actually when it happens. So everybody right now is looking forward to doing it. It will be good.
PATRICK McENROE: All the guys are excited about it. As far as where we're staying, I think we're still working on that.
Q. Venus and Serena haven't played doubles together in a long time. They're defending. Have you encouraged them to try to do it in Carson or San Diego just to get some feel for teamwork again, all of that?
ZINA GARRISON: They are always real cute with me. "Zina, Zina, don't worry." They grew up, it's kind of like they are a lot like the Bryan brothers in respect they know each other's moves, what's going to happen. So, you know, I think they'll be fine. Just play a couple matches. I think right now they have a little more to deal with, you know, because with their injuries and everything. But, you know, I think the motivation and excitement will get them going. I'm sure they've been working on it, so.
Q. Patrick, was there any discussion with Agassi?
PATRICK McENROE: No. He made it clear pretty much from the get-go that he wasn't interested in playing.
Q. Patrick, Taylor was saying he felt bad for Robby. Robby comes in here just after missing the team. A little too good too late?
PATRICK McENROE: I feel bad for Robby, I feel bad for James. James was close as well and then got injured. He didn't have the opportunity to play at the French, et cetera, to maybe get some points. You know, as I said, all these guys are so close that I felt like -- I let them know awhile ago that my plan was to go straight off the ranking. Especially those guys, because they're all good buddies, they've all been through Davis Cup matches together, et cetera. You know, we only got four spots. That's the bottom line.
Q. Zina, can you talk about, has Martina told you how much it means to do this, the commitment she made over the last couple years?
ZINA GARRISON: Well, from day one, when she found out I was going to be the coach, Martina was all over it. She called, she was excited, she wanted her and Lisa to start playing as much as they could so she could possibly have the opportunity. She's done a great job of setting herself up and being our top doubles player right now, making sure that, you know, she had the opportunity. And I think her playing singles and wanting to work on her serve a little bit more, get in better physical condition - I don't know how much better physical condition she can get in - she's done a good job. She's done everything possible to have that opportunity. She is totally, totally geeked about going.
Q. What about Lisa, considering her experience the last time?
ZINA GARRISON: Lisa is just, you know, a bundle. She is like the ultimate team person. Lisa's definitely the one person I can, you know, text and she'll text me back in a second. She's been on it. I actually told her the other day she made the team. She immediately called back and said, "This is just such an honor for me, you have no idea."
Q. There is an old argument that says tennis has so many platforms, the Slams, Fed Cup, Davis Cup, it shouldn't be in the Games. What would be your response to that?
PATRICK McENROE: When I see the response of our young players and how excited they are genuinely about playing, and more importantly I think from a global perspective, that it helps the game. I mean, when you're seeing players like Paradorn Srichaphan, players coming from all over the world, I think a lot of that has to do with the Olympics, the national organizations, the countries, putting money into that sport, and tennis needs that. You know, tennis being one of the most international games out there, I had my reservations at first, to be honest. I didn't grow up thinking about tennis as an Olympic sport. When I grew up, it wasn't in the Olympics. But I'm thoroughly convinced that it's been a great move for tennis.
Q. So the money that tennis got from the Olympics has really helped the sport and has been part of the internationalization?
PATRICK McENROE: I don't know about the money. I think obviously when tennis came back into the Olympics, countries around the world said, "Hey, we're going to put some of our resources into tennis." When you see players come from very small countries that have no tennis backgrounds, I think part of that has to do with the fact that tennis is an Olympic sport now.
Q. The reverse of that, in an Olympic year, some of you guys would lose a job for a while. Some said Davis Cup and Fed Cup should be held off, too much. Your comments on that?
PATRICK McENROE: I don't think it would be a bad idea, you know.
ZINA GARRISON: Losing a job. He's got a bunch of jobs (smiling). No, it's tough. As a player, I mean, just even going to them and asking them, it's tough because their schedule was so hectic. I mean, you know, I've thought a lot about it. It might be a situation where it might be, you know, one where if you have Davis or Fed Cup, you have to think about maybe not having it in that year or tweaking it in some kind of way. I don't know how you could tweak it. Basically it's a tough schedule. Going from the Olympics straight to the US Open, I mean...
PATRICK McENROE: Particularly if they change the format of the Olympics to where it becomes a real team event, then I think it makes sense.
ZINA GARRISON: That might help.
PATRICK McENROE: Then I think it makes sense not to have Davis and Fed Cup that year.
Q. Can you two assess the American players who are left in the draw, singles players' chances? Andy plays Taylor. Robby is still left. Spadea. Zina, you have Amy Frazier, Jennifer, Serena.
ZINA GARRISON: I woke up this morning, I just got in today. I'm like, "Amy Frazier?" It's funny, too, because I talked to Amy not too long ago. She's still loving tennis. So she just showed. You know, me having the opportunity to play Amy many a time, Myskina was probably looking at herself to some extent. So, I mean, that's great once again for the over 30s. You know, Serena, I think it's probably going to be a little more added pressure because Venus is off, but it's the pressure I think she needs to keep her focus in. She likes playing here and she believes that, you know, this court is her court. That's what I think it takes to win here at Wimbledon, especially on Centre Court. And Jennifer, I actually woke her up. I didn't wake her up, but she had just gotten up, and told her about the Olympics. You know, she was really just geared up. She's like, "Oh, Zina, that's really great. Thanks." I asked her about her matches. She said, "You know, I feel good. I'm looking forward to playing." With Jennifer, I always kind of like to hear that excitement in her voice because that just kind of means she's in a great place. She feels good.
PATRICK McENROE: As far as the men, I think Vince, you know, his story is a great one, to come back from where he was. I know that, you know, when I told him that he was definitely on the team, he said, "You know, this is something I've been working for for a long time. This is a really great call for me." Obviously, I'd spoken to him, you know, during the lead-up to the last Davis Cup match. At that point, we talked a little bit about the Olympics. When I called him and said he was on the team, he said, "This is something, one of the goals I set out for myself two years ago." It's nice to see someone like that, you know, reach that goal. It's a great testament to his fortitude. He's playing well here. For him it's probably too bad it rained today because it probably would have been better. Schuettler had two five-setters in a row. But even so, I think that's a very even match. This is the best he's done at Wimbledon. Who else? We've got Andy.
PATRICK McENROE: Versus Taylor. Andy looks great. He really looks like he's moving well. He's lost a little weight, which I think has made him a little bit quicker. He just looks great on the grass. Taylor looks good. I think he'll play better, obviously, than he did in Australia. But, you know, I still think it's a tough match for him to win. I think it will be a closer match. You know, it's a real test. To me it's a real test to see really where Taylor is. I think he has expected himself to do better this year. He's been spotty. But this could turn his career around. Certainly if he wins this match, you have to think that he's got a real good chance to go a lot further. I'm obviously interested in that.
PATRICK McENROE: Robby has got Grosjean. That's another big match for him. He goes in as a little bit of an underdog. Obviously Ferrero was not himself yesterday. But Robby, one of the best matches I've ever seen him play. He really kept his head together. He served very well. I know it's something that he and his coach have been working on, you know, playing that type of tennis, which is going for your shots but playing with a little bit of margin for error, not panicking. He did that really well. That was impressive. This could be his breakout tournament, you know, if he can get through Grosjean. There's an opportunity for him also to keep going if he wins that one.
Q. This is a little different than Davis Cup or Fed Cup. What exactly would your jobs be over there in Greece?
PATRICK McENROE: Carrying their bags (smiling).
ZINA GARRISON: Baby-sitting (smiling). No.
PATRICK McENROE: I think it's more of a morale thing. Obviously we're not on the court in the same way. The good news is that both Zina and I know these players well, so it's not like it's a one-off type thing. Maybe there are certain things we can help them with. A lot of it is logistical stuff, just trying to keep them organized. But certainly we've seen them play enough matches that, you know, there are certain things I think we can help them with. But not being on the court obviously makes a difference.
Q. Have you seen the facility?
PATRICK McENROE: No.
ZINA GARRISON: (Shaking head.)
Q. Was there anything about the Olympics that surprised you when you got there, looking back?
ZINA GARRISON: The year I won or the last year?
Q. The first time you went.
ZINA GARRISON: I think the biggest thing is, I'll never forget, I went over and Chrissy was on the team, Evert, and she was pretty much used walking into the tournament and kind of like being the darling. When you're in the Olympics, you're part of the Olympics. I mean, it's a lot of great athletes there. I really picked that up from the beginning. But I think first and foremost, the best thing about the Olympics, I mean, I still have friends that are my friends now that I met in 1988 and have stayed in contact with. I know Lindsay Davenport, Pam Shriver, other people, they'll all develop relationships over there. I think that's the great part about it.
Q. Who are some friends you made in other sports?
ZINA GARRISON: Still one of my good friends is Jackie Joiner-Kersee and Carl Lewis. We still talk. It's just been some great, you know, friendships that I would never have had probably if I never would have been in the '88 Olympics. Also one of my special memories, I remember walking -- when the Dream Team came, I remember walking into the hotel room. I met Michael Jordan one time. He was standing up on the balcony. He was like, "Yo, Z, good luck." I was like, "I think that's Michael, but I'm not going to look up." Ever since then, every time he sees me, he's always interested in tennis. He asks me more about my golf game. But it's just special moments like that. Athletes get to see other athletes.
Q. Spending some time with Capriati over there, could this be the way to make her more of a fixture with the Fed Cup team?
ZINA GARRISON: You know, it's interesting because Jennifer has been awesome with me. She's gotten back to me. We've talked. She's expressed possible interest in playing. So it's been great. She hasn't by no means said she would not play, so it's been good. I think I have an interesting relationship with Jennifer anyway because when she first came on in Fed Cup, in Atlanta, I played on that team. So we've always been really cool. I think my personality is more kind of suited for Jennifer. I'm kind of laid back but stern. But it's been good. She's called me back and texted me. Everybody is like, "Can't get ahold of Jennifer." But she's been good.
Q. Looking at 2012, would you vote for New York or London and why? Can you compare?
ZINA GARRISON: London or New York? This is a New Yorker.
PATRICK McENROE: You know my answer, yeah.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about it. Some people are afraid it's going to cause a nightmare in Manhattan.
PATRICK McENROE: No, no, we got plenty of time to get ready for it. There's already enough traffic. Get a new stadium built on the West Side. We'll get the new facilities built over in Queens. We got the US Open site. What could be better?
ZINA GARRISON: Well, I mean, of course I'd love it to be in New York. I was excited to have the possibility to be back in the States. I think the great thing about New York that we always see at the US Open is so much excitement, it's so diverse, so many different cultures. To bring the Olympics there, I mean, it would just be off the roof. It would be great.
PATRICK McENROE: So Paris is the favorite. That's what I hear. But what do I know?
Q. Have you ever been to an Olympics before, Patrick?
PATRICK McENROE: No, I haven't. I'm very excited.
ZINA GARRISON: I've got his back, though.
PATRICK McENROE: She'll take care of me.
Q. What do you want to see? Opening Ceremonies?
PATRICK McENROE: I'm really excited about Opening Ceremonies. I'm hoping to see some track and field. I love volleyball. Watched a lot of volleyball when I was in college, which is fun. At the Pan Am Games, I played at the PanAm Games in Indianapolis way back when. Went to watch volleyball, which is cool. I don't know how much time I'm going to have to do any of that. We'll make an effort. I know the guys will want to. The guys will definitely want to get out. Hopefully that will be a good excuse for us to do it.
ZINA GARRISON: Got to tag along with them.
Q. Beach or regular?
PATRICK McENROE: Regular.
ZINA GARRISON: For me, I would love -- I love boxing, so I'd love to see some of the boxing. I'm a huge basketball fan. Those are the two I would like to see.
Q. You have your Davis Cup team basically with you. A lot of tennis to play between now and September. How concerned are you about the physical well-being of the players the next two or three months? How can you address or help them with that?
PATRICK McENROE: The good news is they're taking care of themselves pretty well. Andy, as I said, is very focused on that. Having Doug Spreen around with him full-time has helped him a lot. The Bryan brothers even have a guy we used in Delray to help out just for the week as a massage guy. They've brought him on the road with them. He's been with them since then. The other guy, Robby is in excellent shape. Robby isn't even on the team. What am I saying? Mardy and Taylor and Vinny. You know, I think with the exception of Vinny, obviously he's workmanlike, he's strong. The other guys, you know, I would like to see them get in a little better shape. But they're young, so the upside is there. You know, we're aware of it. I think it depends on how we do in the summer and how many matches are played. Look, if I've got a tired Andy Roddick coming into the Davis Cup semifinal, that means that he's won a lot of matches. I'd rather have a tired Andy Roddick than fresh, a guy who is maybe not as confident. We work with that. When it comes to Davis Cup, obviously before the last match against Sweden, Andy didn't need to play that much tennis right before the match. He played the final of the Nasdaq on Sunday, took Monday off. He really just needed to stay sharp. I think we have a good feel, I have a good feel for the guys, what they need at different times. Obviously it's something we're going to keep an eye on.
Q. Is it too much to ask of these guys, playing that much tennis?
PATRICK McENROE: I don't think I could keep them away, to be honest. They talk about it all the time. When I'm talking about Andy and the Bryans, especially being the stalwart of our team, you know, Davis Cup and Olympics are a big part of what they want to achieve.
Q. Can you talk about Venus, that match the other day? Not even the point, the controversial point, but just the fact that she was beaten by that player. Where do you think she is in her game right now?
ZINA GARRISON: First and foremost, I think she's actually at a very interesting point in her life, which I always look at as a positive point in her life. Sometimes as a tennis player, it takes certain matches to kind of like snap you back. I think this is a match -- I mean, Venus is 23, 24 now. You know, it's the point in your life where you're now definitely an adult. I mean, all responsibilities and everything are truly on you. I just think that she handled the media extremely well. She was very poised. I think that she knows that she has to regroup, "regroup" meaning regrouping herself mentally and physically, as well. I guess the girl that she played, I agree with Mary Joe, I think that she's going to be the next true player. I mean, she was fearless. To be a player and to walk on Centre Court and play someone that's won the tournament and have no fear, I mean, that just sets the stage for you believing that you should be there.
Q. How hard is it to get confidence back after you've been off for a long time with an injury? Do you see both of them struggling with that a little bit?
ZINA GARRISON: I think the hardest part about it is that, first and foremost, you have to realize you're not where you left off, and neither are the people that you left before you were there because they're moving on, they're getting more experience. The game is moving on. You have to do things a little bit differently than you did to get to where you were. Eight or nine months off of any sport is going to take you out for a while.
Q. You've seen a few McEnroe/Fleming doubles matches in your life. None of the Bryans are going to be the singles players that John was. As a team, what is their potential to approach the quality of what Peter and John did at the height of their careers?
PATRICK McENROE: You mean, in Davis Cup or just overall?
Q. Just overall in doubles.
PATRICK McENROE: I think that's asking a lot. That's like asking Roddick, Is he going to be as good as Sampras. It's tough to go there. But to me they have the potential to win every tournament they play. Obviously they've won one major. They've won the Masters. They've been in the finals of a couple others. I think they've taken their game to that level. They're not going to be as dominant and John as Peter were in their prime, but they have a real good chance to be one of the great doubles teams. They've been awesome in Davis Cup, not just in the way they've played their matches but in their attitude and their professionalism, what they bring to the team environment. And I think, you know, they realize that they've got a great opportunity. Knowing them, they're going to do everything they can. I think the good news is that when you look back in 10 years, they will have done everything they could to win three majors or 10, whatever it may be.
Q. There has been a lot of discussion about whether Venus and Serena still want to play tennis as much as they may have. Do you sense their desire is any different or spread out into many more areas?
ZINA GARRISON: I think what I sense is that they're probably tired of that question, I mean, as well as I think I'm tired of hearing about it. You know, they are who they are. They've chosen to do many other different things. I think the fact that because they're so flamboyant, it brings about people saying that. But what people don't realize is they do practice, and they practice hard. When they're on the court, I mean, they're a hundred percent focused. Once they leave, you know, they should have some other interests. I mean, so...
Q. Can we talk about Greece for a minute. Ever been there? Greek restaurants in Houston?
PATRICK McENROE: I actually went there last year right after we won in Slovakia. My wife and I went to Athens for a day or two, then went to the Greek Islands. She always wanted to take me there. It was beautiful. It was awesome. She's just upset that she can't come back this year because she's going to be working. We went to the Parthenon. The history, the whole thing is going to be a phenomenal experience. To go to the Olympics, to go there. I don't think I'll have any time to go to any of the islands with the US Open coming up right after it. Yeah, I'm really excited about just going to the Olympics, but especially going there.
ZINA GARRISON: I've always wanted to go, never had the opportunity. I'm really looking forward to it.
PATRICK McENROE: The feta cheese you get at the New York Greek restaurants is not the same as you get there. It's not the same. I'll be having plenty of Greek salads.
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