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UNITED STATES TENNIS ASSOCIATION MEDIA CONFERENCE
October 16, 2007
TIM CURRY: Thank you, everyone, for joining us today for our media conference call with U.S. Davis Cup Captain Patrick McEnroe. The United States will be hosting Russia in the 2007 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Final November 30th through December 2nd at Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon. The 12,000 seat venue is sold out for the three-day event. Vs. will air live coverage daily and the Tennis Channel will continue its tradition of its Davis Cup prime time coverage at 8 p.m. eastern each night.
It's the first time in 15 years that the U.S. will be hosting the Davis Cup final, and the United States will be attempting to win its first title since defeating Russia in Moscow on clay in 1995.
We'll now open the call to questions.
Q. Just considering how you can tailor the home court to your advantage by choosing players, surfaces, venues, cities, is there any sport besides soccer where home field is such a huge advantage?
PATRICK McENROE: Well, I think some sports, obviously you have a home-field advantage, but you can't necessarily tailor it match by match. Obviously certain teams in football or baseball maybe have certain players they can tailor their field to based on their team. But obviously in Davis Cup, because the matches change so often, the teams change, and your opponents change, you can change it pretty regularly.
Yeah, I mean, there's no doubt that the home court is a big advantage, but there's also no doubt that most of the players we're playing against play on all the surfaces. In that sense, it's not like you're giving them something that they haven't seen before.
But I do think it's obviously a big advantage. I try to do everything I can as the captain to give my guys the best chance to play well in the match and to make it as tough as possible for the opponents.
Q. What are your thoughts on surface at this point?
PATRICK McENROE: My thoughts are that it's going to obviously be a pretty quick indoor hard court. That has worked well for us in the past. Both our guys are obviously comfortable on that court. We're well aware that part of the strength of the Russian team is they've got variety in their players and their adaptability. They certainly can play on hard court quite well, but at the same time I think this is a case more where we're sort of going with our strength rather than necessarily trying to tailor it to our opponents. We're trying to get a court that really suits our guys.
Q. You've been captain since 2001. How would you trace your evolution during these years? What have you learned?
PATRICK McENROE: Well, I think it's really been a team effort as far as being with this same group of guys. I think the biggest thing for me is just knowing the guys better and better, learning their own personalities, what works for them. Certainly the last couple years we've basically had the same team. So I think just getting to know them, know what works for them in different situations, is probably the biggest thing for me.
And also understanding, as the captain, these matches, they don't come around that often. I think they've gotten even more and more important to me and to the guys as the years have gone on and this team has been together because you realize if you go out early, you have to wait sometimes almost a whole year to get back into it.
I guess the importance of the matches has really grown for me because you realize how fleeting the opportunities are. I think that's why we're all so excited to get a home final, because a lot of the things obviously you can't control as far as where you're going to play, what the draw is going to be, a home and away scenario.
We've been able to win two matches on the road this year, which is a first for us. I think the guys -- maybe I've learned to deal with the away matches a little better, but I definitely think the players have. Andy especially is much more sort of composed in his emotions throughout the course of the matches. I think that's really helped him this year win some huge matches on the road for us.
Q. How have you learned to handle the away matches better?
PATRICK McENROE: I just think understanding you got to really try to keep your guys as calm as possible. My job is to be more vocal with them before the match and remind them things are going to happen. There's going to be bad calls. Someone's going to whistle in the middle of your serve. You've got to expect that and you've got to just deal with it and not let it get you rattled.
So I try from early in the week to make sure the guys know that so that when they go on the court, they're sort of prepared for that. I think I've gotten better at that, and certainly the guys have.
Q. Speaking of bad calls, I just spoke to Bill Babcock from the ITF, inquiring about Hawk-Eye at the final. He told me it was a done deal, would be used under the ITF's rules, which require unlimited challenges. I'm wondering, there's been a little bit of resistance from some of the players I've talked to. I wonder how you feel about it.
PATRICK McENROE: I'm against it. I'm totally against it. I think it should be similar to what it is, the way the players deal with it at the slams. I understand that sometimes it's slightly different where you get three challenges instead of two, whatever it may be. But I think it's a mistake. I had discussions with the USTA about that. I believe they agree with me on that. But at the end of the day, it's an ITF event and they make the rules.
The players will adjust and we'll adapt. But I think you should make it similar to the way the players play throughout the year, whether it's at the Masters events or the Grand Slams.
Q. What is your chief objection? What do you see as sort of the worst-case scenario with it?
PATRICK McENROE: The worst-case scenario is gamesmanship, questioning calls for the sake of questioning them. I sort of like it from a fan perspective and from a TV perspective. I think it adds a little intrigue and interest when you have two or three per set. I think that's interesting. I think that's fun for the fans and the players to say, Hey, can I use a challenge here?
I just don't like the fact that you can challenge every single call. I know they did it last year in the final. I think it's a possibility that someone can use it as a way to stall or just get inside their opponent's head.
I just think it's unnecessary.
Q. I saw it sold out in less than 30 minutes. You don't normally think of Portland, Oregon as a tennis mecca. Is it just because of the national popularity of the event that people are flying in from all over? Did it surprise you how quickly tickets sold out? Number two, could you give a little scouting report on Russia, how you think you look against them, Davydenko, so on.
PATRICK McENROE: I remember being asked questions about the popularity of Davis Cup, et cetera, when I first started as the captain. I used one of those old clichés from the Bull Durham movie: If you build it, they will come. What I meant by that is, if we have a group of players that are committed, passionate, eager, and show that to the public, that over time that will pay off, whether it be in wins or in interest.
I think what we're seeing this year is sort of a culmination of this team's effort and enthusiasm and commitment and dedication. I give them all the credit in the world because I can guarantee you no one is coming to watch me be on the sideline.
I'm super excited for the guys and tennis in general. Yes, I knew it was going to sell out quickly because I can't tell you the amount of requests I've had with people that want to come from all over the place, to come to the final.
Portland's had some great events out there. I love the city. I think it's a great place to go for the final. It's a West Coast big city. But I think we could have gone to any number of places and sold it out. I think that's a testament to our players' commitment. People see how passionate they are about it. I think that's been the biggest difference in the last couple years. You know what happened at Winston-Salem. We sold that out. Probably could have sold double the number of tickets. . We probably could have done that in Portland. It will be great to have not too large of a stadium, but pretty good sized, and it will be packed all day.
I can't emphasize enough that I feel like not just the fact we're in the final, we have a great team, but I think just the fact that these guys care so much about it, it encourages and sort of forces people to care as well.
Q. The second question was about the Russians, to go through their players.
PATRICK McENROE: Their guys are tough. Davydenko is a great hard court player. He just won in Moscow, which is an indoor pretty fast court. He obviously played great at the US Open. Though this guy can play. He can play on fast courts. But so can our guys. We match up pretty well with them head-to-head, but it certainly doesn't mean it's a given we're going to beat him twice.
It's not even a given he's going to play twice because they have Youzhny, they have Safin trying to get her game together, Tursunov can play well on fast courts, and Andreev, who is a better slow court player but certainly can play on hard courts as well. They're all extremely tough. They have more options than we do. At the same time, as the captain of our team, I feel pretty confident knowing who my team is and what they do. We've been gunning for this opportunity for a long time. We're certainly going to come out and have a lot of emotion and a lot of crowd support we hope on our side.
Q. With all the commentary these past years about the state of American tennis, the lack of a future, what does the achievement of reaching the finals say to that? Is it a rebuttal or this is an exceptional group of guys you have kept together and done great things with?
PATRICK McENROE: I think it's both. I think it's a rebuttal of that. Look, we all know that the days of Americans just completely dominating tennis are over. Talk to the Australians, talk to the Swedes, talk to a lot of other countries that had players that had multiple players in the top 20 in the world.
We've got two players in the top 10 on the men's side. We've got the number one doubles team. Would I like to see us have more depth and more players? Of course, I think we'd all like to see that. I think we've got some real up-and-comers down the line in Donald Young, Sam Querrey, John Isner. I think we've got some guys that can make some serious noise in the next 12, 18 months.
But, you know, I've been saying this forever, and I'll keep saying it when asked, the tennis landscape has changed. I think that's part of the beauty of the game, that it's one of the most popular worldwide games around, and players come from all over the world now. You just go down the list of the top 20 and you see Cyprus, you see Serbia, you see Croatia, you see Slovakia, all these countries. Players are coming from everywhere.
One of the things I always was hoping to do as a captain was to give ourselves a chance to be in the mix each and every year. We haven't quite been able to do that. We've lost a few first rounds. But overall our results the last couple years have been pretty good. We've been right around the semifinals. And, yes, that is a tribute to these guys on the team, but we've also got some other guys that have performed well. Ginepri a couple years ago, Mardy Fish has been in and out of the team.
I think it's a little bit of both, to long-windedly answer your question.
Q. I've had the feeling that the captain of the Russian Davis Cup team must be a very canny fellow. He comes and puts a surprise of Andreev against Haas. Do you take a position kind of like a football coach, you have to read the other coach?
PATRICK McENROE: No, I don't worry about that. No. I mean, first of all, Andreev is probably one of the top five or six clay court players in the world. I wouldn't call that a big surprise that he played him in the last match.
But he's made some great moves. He certainly surprised us last year when he put Tursunov in on the final day against Roddick. That ended up being sort of an epic match, five-setter, whatever it was, 16-14 in the fifth, whatever it was, an incredible match.
But he's got the luxury of having four or five players that are all very, very good, that can play, as I said, on different surfaces. We've got a different situation. We've got two sort of clear-cut top guys. That makes my job more predictable, but at the same time predictability is not necessarily a bad thing.
He's made some excellent moves. We'll be ready for whatever happens. At the same time, as I said earlier in talking about the court surface, we really just want to get a court that suits us. If we go out and play our game and do it successfully, we feel pretty good that we can somehow manage to win three points by the end of the weekend.
Q. Is it a concern to you that the inquiry into possible gambling could leave the sport in a less favorable light than it currently has?
PATRICK McENROE: It's always a concern, something like that, when you're talking about gambling, fixing matches. That's the number one concern I think for any sport. Certainly we're all troubled by it. But I think at the same time, we've been at the forefront of dealing with drug issues. We've had drug testing for years and years, much more stringent than any of the team sports in the U.S. I might add. That's been going on for years.
I have no doubt, and I know all the powers that be got together this past week in London, meaning the women's tour, the men's tour, the ITF that run the Grand Slams, so I think it will be a group effort. I think it will be nipped in the bud pretty quickly because I think the tennis players themselves have a lot of pride. Hearing some of the comments from the players, myself as a former player, if you think or have an inkling that's going on, you're going to police it yourself. I think that's the best way to make sure that doesn't happen.
Q. Tarpischev in July, Fed Cup, ran into some visa problems. Are you worried about your counterpart getting into the country?
PATRICK McENROE: I want him to get there. We had a great week in Moscow last year when we lost to them in the semis. They took very good care of us. I'm making a special request to the State Department to let him in early, get him out there to Portland, let them get settled, and may the best team win.
No, hopefully he's cleared that up and will get it. He actually took me out to dinner early in the week one night there with Alex Metrevili back when they were the Soviet Union. I like those guys a lot. I like them so much I really want to beat them.
Q. Did they force you to drink Russian vodka?
PATRICK McENROE: They tried. They thought maybe that would hurt my coaching skills on the sidelines. I needed to have all my wherewithal there. Didn't work, but at least I had it.
Q. You look at players like Safin, Tursunov, some degree Youzhny. These aren't necessarily guys you would define as being steely mentally. They're unpredictable in their nature. Yet they seem to play Davis Cup and get it together. Can you speak about why that is, why they're able to produce their absolute best tennis when they're playing Davis Cup?
PATRICK McENROE: I think they're extremely talented. I think Davis Cup forces you to focus in a different way. I think for those guys, maybe when they're playing in regular tournament tennis, maybe their focus comes in and out. Particularly playing at home they've proved they can keep their focus well. I think that's something that really helps our guys, to keep the emotions in a positive direction.
I think playing at home, you feed off the energy of the crowd. They sort of don't allow you to have real lapses, real lulls. I think that's something that can certainly help our team, particularly James who plays well when he's positive and his body language is good, the crowd sort of forces him to stay positive throughout.
I think that will help us a lot. It will be a test for them. It will certainly be a test for them to see if they can do it on the road. I think a lot of the ones you're talking about are probably home matches for them. Safin has won plenty of huge matches in his career, at majors as well. Those guys, they play very well and it helps when you have all that talent and all that ability. When you can focus it in one place, their true game can come out. We're certainly hoping our games will be too much for them.
Q. I know you obviously are concerned about the surface. Will you be making an additional trip to Portland prior to the tie to experiment with the surface or test it for yourself?
PATRICK McENROE: I will definitely be testing it myself. I will not have to go to Portland. They actually make the court close to Baltimore. A little easier for me to get to. I did that before the previous match against Spain. I will be able to test the court as many times as necessary to hopefully get it right. Obviously I'm taking all the input from our guys, how they like it. I take what they say and try to make sure that we have as close to that as possible.
Q. Who do you hit with on an occasion like that?
PATRICK McENROE: I try to get someone that can play. I might be calling you (laughter). The last time I went down there, I actually had a couple of juniors, a couple of the top juniors in that area, which was great because it sort of gives them a chance to see the process and feel like they're part of the team. Obviously they've got to be big enough they can hit the ball pretty well. Actually their coach was a guy that had a huge serve. He was able to hit some big serves at me so I could get sort of a read on the speed of that.
Yeah, I make sure there's someone that can hit the ball that I can really test that court out.
TIM CURRY: The paperwork for Shamil's visa has been processed and handled. There will be no problems with his visa for the Davis Cup final as there was for the Fed Cup semi.
Q. Obviously it's a totally different set of circumstances from Spain when you were in the final, but what did you and the players learn from the experience of playing that final and how can you apply it to this final?
PATRICK McENROE: I think it's sort of what I was saying earlier in that you realize you might not get that many chances. I think playing in the final in Spain, when the Davis Cup is sitting right there, right on the court, is pretty awesome. It's a pretty awe-inspiring experience. It's been a huge goal of ours as a team to try to win it and to hopefully do it. To have it at home, we all realize that's an advantage for us.
So I think the enormity of it is obvious to us, but at the same time we've been through enough of these matches. As I said, winning two matches on the road this year was key for us as a team. I think it just makes us want it that much more. We've been close a couple of times. We just haven't quite been able to get there.
Q. Have you thought about practice partners?
PATRICK McENROE: I know Donald Young and John Isner will be there for sure. I'm working on maybe just getting a couple more guys there because I think the fact that it's the final, I'd like to have a few more guys experience it that have been part of the team. Maybe Sam Querrey, Mardy Fish, guys like that that have been around the team in the last couple years. Obviously we'll see what happens over the next couple weeks. I'm watching Robby Ginepri have breakpoint against Federer now, but someone like that, for instance, if he had an incredible tournament, I would consider him as well if he was amenable to being a practice partner.
Q. You signed a two-year extension at the end of last year. If you were to win the Davis Cup, would you feel that your job is complete, finish out your contract, or do you want to come back regardless?
PATRICK McENROE: I'm coming back next year for sure. You're talking about after that?
PATRICK McENROE: I haven't given that too much consideration. I can only say winning it has certainly been the ultimate goal. But I have thoroughly enjoyed the process, being with the players every week that we've been together. The USTA has really been great to deal with. They've let me do my thing as the captain and they've been supportive of what we're trying to do. I think they've helped create that interest in Davis Cup in that they've taken more the reins of running the actual home ties. I think the proof is in the pudding with the job they've done promoting it, putting on fabulous events.
For me it's been the greatest job I've ever had. It's been the greatest professional job for me. To walk out there every time and hear the anthem, to stand next to those players, is truly an incredible experience every time you do it.
Q. James Blake had a decent year up till the Open, then the loss to Haas, you saw him lose to Johansson in Davis Cup, then the loss in Stockholm. Do you think he's going to perform better at home?
PATRICK McENROE: I have no doubt he's going to perform better at home. I didn't do a good enough job on the road, which I said before that match, my job was to get James to play better. Obviously Johansson played great an there were circumstances that made it difficult for James. But I fully believe that at home he'll play great. The court will be very much to his liking. He's got a good record against a lot of the Russian guys.
James really feeds off the crowd, so I'm not concerned at all about him. I think his performance at home in a huge match will be key for us obviously. And he's got a couple tournaments to go this year. I still think he could have a big week in one of these next couple Masters events. I'd still certainly love to see him get to Shanghai again this year and play as well as he did there last year, getting to the final. I hope he plays well enough in the next few weeks to get another shot to go back.
Q. It appears that Andy, his pullout of Madrid this week, that Davis Cup is pretty much going to define his year. He stood up for you very well. Would you agree with that, this is the big thing for him now, get the win and lead the team?
PATRICK McENROE: He's been our leader for so many years. I think he can taste it. I mean, he knows that we've got one match at home. His record at home particularly speaks for itself. As I said earlier, he's won some huge matches on the road for us this year, which has been a testament to him improving, his improvement in the mental state in those road matches.
Certainly as the captain, it's a pleasure to hear him say that Davis Cup is his number one priority. I believe it is for the rest of the year. I still think it's good for him to play a few of these events, and obviously I'm hoping that his knee is okay. I think it will be fine that he can play a few more weeks and hopefully play Shanghai as well. But certainly from a captain's perspective, you certainly couldn't ask for anything more than a player who puts that much emphasis, that much emotion and effort into every Davis Cup match he plays.
Q. The Russians played their cards on the table playing Tursunov and Safin. I know the Bryans lost one match for you. That's potentially a dicey matchup, or do you see the Bryans winning it?
PATRICK McENROE: I definitely see them winning it if they play to their ability. You're talking about Safin and Tursunov who just won Moscow. The guys can play big. The great thing about the Bryans is that they don't take anything for granted. They practice so hard. Their focus is so intense. That's why come Saturday I always feel like we're going to get a great performance from them. That doesn't guarantee a win, but it guarantees that they're going to be as prepared as humanly possible for that match. That's all you can ask for. That's all you want as a captain. These guys obviously love the pressure. They love what it's all about. They've been our lockdown team for how many years now?
At the same time, making the court fast makes it a little bit tougher for them, to be perfectly honest, because a real fast court in doubles is a little bit of an equalizer. But they're aware of that. They're aware of sort of the overall goal, to win three points. We still feel like they're obviously a considerable favorite in that match.
Q. I want to talk a little bit more about Andy. Reading stories about Andy, he talked about being there for the championship as a young kid, what that meant to him. Seems like it kind of shaped his love of Davis Cup. How much does it mean for guys like Isner and Young who are just now breaking out to be there for maybe a piece of history?
PATRICK McENROE: Well, I think it's huge. That's why I'm trying to get a few extra guys there than we normally would have because I'd like those players to experience what it is to be at a Davis Cup final and also to know that this is a long road and the guys have put in a tremendous amount of hard work.
I mean, Andy Roddick has missed one Davis Cup match since I've been the captain, and I've been the captain for seven years. If you can name another player in the world that's got that kind of record and commitment to Davis Cup, please let me know who that is because I can't think of any off the top of my head.
He's been unbelievable. He's played in the toughest of circumstances, Andy has, and performed with everything he has every time. Again, that doesn't always guarantee a win or a loss, but you know that both mentally and physically he's always going to be there.
He was actually at that match when he was 10 years old. That was in '92 in Texas, when the U.S. beat Switzerland to win the Davis Cup. So it even had an impact on him at a much younger age than the practice players we bring along. I think it certainly helped our young guys to see the kind of dedication it takes and commitment to be a top-level pro week in and week out. That's why I'm hoping we can get a few extra guys there.
I think Andy also, he's so great with the young guys. He takes them under his wing. He's had Donald Young come to his home in Texas and practice with him. He and Isner, the same thing. Sam Querrey and he have spent a lot of time together practicing. Andy remembers what Andre Agassi did for him when Andy was coming up, and Andy was a practice player in Los Angeles for a match against the Czech Republic. Andre liked what he saw in Andy. Andre took him under his wing, had some practice weeks with him. I think that meant a lot to him, and that's why he does the same thing now.
Q. The tickets selling out so quickly, there's some speculation in town, I know you're a football fan, it's the Civil War weekend in Eugene, again, what does that mean? 30 minutes, all gone. Got to be pretty exciting.
PATRICK McENROE: It is. I think the guys are aware of that and they're excited about it. They sort of feed off the energy of the crowd. I was playing in an exhibition last week for Billie Jean King and Elton John for the AIDS Foundation. Andy was there. Isner was there. When they announced Davis Cup, the final, the fans just go crazy. So there's a real buzz around the country to the tennis fans especially that this is a big deal.
Again, I think it just goes back to the commitment of this team and the players and the passion they have for it. They really get pumped up for it. Andy, in fact, texted me yesterday when he heard that the tickets sold out so quickly. So he's excited. The players really sort of thrive on that excitement from the crowd. I think it's a vice versa kind of deal.
Q. I heard speculation there's talk of putting up screens in Pioneer Square.
PATRICK McENROE: I don't know anything about that. The USTA has done a tremendous job really promoting these events over the last few years. I'm sure combined with the locals in Portland, it's going to be more than just a tennis match. It's going to be a whole weekend and a great week. Judging by the fact the tickets sold out in less than a half hour, that tells you we probably could have sold upwards of 20,000 tickets if we had the seating capacity. Hopefully we can get some more eyeballs to watch. If it's on a big screen, so much the better.
TIM CURRY: The USTA is looking into venues in Portland to do viewing parties. We are working with the Pacific Northwest section to pick out those locations and do things similar to what we do in New York for the US Open.
Q. Did you have a chance to come to Fort Worth in '92 with your brother?
PATRICK McENROE: I did. I was there.
Q. Can you tell me your impressions of getting to play and win in front of a home crowd like that.
PATRICK McENROE: I mean, for these guys, I think it will be - hopefully it happens - one of the highlights of their careers. For me as the captain it would be the highlight. We're excited about it. That atmosphere, I remember the Swiss had a bunch of cow bells, I sort of remember that. But obviously you had a pretty incredible American team with Agassi, Courier, Sampras and my brother John who played in the doubles with Pete Sampras. That was pretty awesome just to see that. It's understandable that that had the kind of impact on Andy Roddick that it did as a 10-year-old kid sitting in the upper deck because, as I said, the interest level in this whole year for our team has been built over the last seven years. That's just a reality. It's been built over the many matches that these guys have played, wins and losses, because of their commitment and their passion. People see how much they care. When people see that athletes care, they pay attention a lot more. I think this is sort of the culmination of a lot of years and a lot of matches, some great wins and some tough losses. I think there's no guarantee that we're going to win this, but we certainly like the way it's set up for us to play the final at home.
Q. You talk about the excitement of the crowd, how it benefits your players. Any added pressure knowing it hasn't been here in 15 years, the U.S. hasn't won in 12? Is there pressure to get it done now?
PATRICK McENROE: I don't think there's any doubt that there's pressure. This has been such a big goal for us as a team. So, yes, there is pressure. At the same time I think, as the great Billie Jean King said, pressure is a privilege. This is truly a privilege for us and for our guys, to have this kind of pressure, this much passion for this match.
I expect our guys to play exceptionally well. Again, that doesn't guarantee a win because we're playing against a very, very tough team with a lot of great players and a lot of versatility. But we feel good about our chances and we feel like playing at home in front of our crowd, we'll take that kind of pressure. We'll take that kind of pressure. We had a lot of pressure in Spain, too, in the final in 2004. We were playing on some awfully slow clay courts. That tends to make the pressure even tougher.
Q. I have never really understood the sort of imperative need for utter silence and lack of emotion in major tennis tournaments between the points. Could you explain as a coach or former player how much of that is convention and how much of that truly is essential to an ideal performance by a player, and then talk about how much of a disruption a Davis Cup-like environment is?
PATRICK McENROE: Let me try to explain it to you because I actually think that the absolute silence is one of the things that makes tennis so special and so unique, played in its most pressure-packed moments, whether it's a Wimbledon final, a US Open final, a Davis Cup match. I think that absolute quiet is part of the intrigue of the game and the great matchup. It lends itself towards, man, this must be important, this must be big. I think that then having obviously the crowd go crazy in between points obviously just amplifies that quiet. So I actually think the quiet right before the players are getting ready to play, when they actual play the point, is really cool and part of what's unique about tennis and we should keep that.
At the same time, I hope you make it out to Portland for the Davis Cup final, I hope your editor lets you make that trip, because you will see that it is not quiet when the point is not going on. It is anything but quiet. It's anything but quiet on the changeovers, with the band playing, the music playing. That makes that atmosphere really electric.
But I think part of the electricity of that comes from the fact that you know it's going to be quiet when they actually hold up that ball and get ready to serve it. I think that's what makes to me a great tennis match so different from any other sporting event, that you get that absolute silence and you can just sort of feel the pressure and hear a pin drop.
Q. Is it difficult for players at that level to cope with the mayhem?
PATRICK McENROE: I think the only difficulty is when someone actually sort of screams while you're throwing up the ball, the toss. That happens. That happens in away matches. We certainly don't like our crowd to do that, to be part of that. We like to keep it as fair as possible. But we also like our crowd to be very involved in between points. But that's the only thing. I think the players get used to the noise. The Bryan brothers, I'll never forget, when we played in Spain, the crowd was so large, some of the people were so far away, they would actually scream, it would be like a slightly delayed effect till it got to the court, and the Bryans just played through it. They like had blinders on and just played. They didn't let it affect them. That's tougher in a controlled setting, a smaller environment where those things become louder and louder.
But for the most part, as I said earlier, you've got to be able to be ready to deal with those kind of things when you're playing a big Davis Cup match.
Q. What do you think the United States winning the Davis Cup can do to elevate the sport and build awareness of a competition that's so great to watch?
PATRICK McENROE: I think this call makes it pretty obvious that it's building interest in the fact that a month and change more than before the final we've got this much interest in the Davis Cup final. So that speaks for itself. I certainly hope that the national media comes out more and more for it. I think it will happen. I think it could be a big boost, a big boost to tennis. I have the feeling that tennis is on the upswing and that the interest level is coming back. At the same time we're all fighting, meaning all sports are fighting with everything else that's out there when you're talking about competing for sponsorship dollars and television ratings and that stuff.
I think this Davis Cup shows there's a huge contingent of avid tennis fans that are into it. Hopefully the rest of the country and the rest of the sort of sports media catches on to that. At the same time we know how important it is to us and to the fans of tennis, not to mention the fact that it's been a long time since we won the Davis Cup in the U.S. 12 years. I think people think that's maybe been a little too long. Hopefully we can get it done this year.
TIM CURRY: Thanks, everyone, for joining us for the call with Patrick McEnroe.
End of FastScripts