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April 6, 2008

James Blake

Bob Bryan

Mike Bryan

Patrick McEnroe

Q. Patrick had said that when he saw the draw, he was hoping that there would be a chance for you guys to play a tie in the U.S. this year as defending champions. How nice is it to be playing a home tie?
MIKE BRYAN: We can look and draw energy from the crowd, which is usually Bob, and I like to play with a lot of energy.

Q. He was talking about bringing the Cup back and having a celebration of sorts in front of the home folks.
MIKE BRYAN: Well, it's been -- it's been a great couple of months, you know. We've gotten more congratulations for winning this than we ever have for any Grand Slam, so it's been awesome.
Everyone's been really appreciative. We're always going to be on the team, so people don't have to thank us. We're going to play as long as we're good enough to play and as long as Pat selects us.
But it's great to be back here and help celebrate this great win that we had last year.
JAMES BLAKE: Yeah, very exciting to be playing a home tie after defending. We'll get that chance for a celebration. We're excited to do it in a place, like I said, that was so much fun for us last year. For me, I have a ton of memories of 2001 playing my first match here.
So to bring the Cup back, it's kind of full circle for us to go from -- for me and Andy to go from one of our first matches together to defending and hopefully having the Cup here to show off in the States where hopefully we can keep it and where it belongs, in our opinion.

Q. Could you speak to avenging the 2002 loss on the red clay at Roland Garros?
JAMES BLAKE: Sure. Me and Patrick remember that one, and Andy, I'm sure does as well. It was a very difficult match. They played exceptionally well. They had a different team then with Grosjean and Clement, but it was really a hard-fought match, and I think this one will be very similar.
They played better on a couple of the really big points. We were kind of young at that time and maybe not the same experience level we have now.
I think the tables might be turned a little here. We're at home. We're going to have the advantage on those big points of having the crowd to support us and having the surface we want to play on and a little bit more experience.
Now Andy and I feel like we've been in the situation many times, and I think coming through last year is just going to make our confidence soar even more in Davis Cup that we can accomplish this again.
Our confidence always helps by having the Bryans there where we feel like they're such a lock to win for us that we feel like we can go for our shots and be aggressive and we're always counting on them.

Q. Maybe Patrick and James on this. Is our country as a tennis country judged on how well we do in Davis Cup, maybe more than how our guys do in Slams? And also put into words why this is important to you.
CAPTAIN McENROE: I think we're judged more on how we do in Slams, to be honest, which I don't necessarily agree with. I think the fact we've won the Davis Cup and been in contention a number of other years is a great accomplishment. It says a lot about our guys' commitment and passion to playing for their country, about how good they are as players.
So I personally would like to see Davis Cup count more in this country towards that. You know, you see a lot of articles written where people talk about, you know, we haven't had a Grand Slam winner, but we just won the Davis Cup.
In other countries, obviously Davis Cup is extremely important, particularly in a country like France. You know, it's very big for them. So I think you're going to see a French team that plays with a lot of passion and a lot of energy.
So that's exciting for us, because this is the kind of team that we have. But, I mean, you heard from Bob. I mean, they've gotten more -- they've won every Grand Slam, the Bryan brothers. It's nice to see. Maybe that's going to turn around a little bit.

Q. What's your reaction to France's nominations? And what do you think they're going to wind up doing?
CAPTAIN McENROE: I don't really pay that much attention to their nominations. I pay more attention to who I'll see on the practice courts. You know, they have more options on their team, you know. We know who's going to play our matches this weekend.
For them it's a little bit different. Sometimes that can be a positive, sometimes it can be a negative; it just depends.
But we really don't think about that. The great thing about the home matches for us is we can tailor the surface to the way the guys like it.
You know, we feel if we go out and play our game and play well, that that's going to be hard to beat, no matter who they put out there. You know, the guys, as far as the Bryans, are always great about preparing for different combinations, so we'll do that this week.
We have a lefty practice player, David Martin, who's here with us. We have another young kid in Michael McClune. Again, we have Mardy Fish, who is just amazing, his commitment to be here, as someone reserved, a guy who just beat Roger Federer 3 and 2 and had an unbelievable tournament in Palm Springs.
That kind of tells you all you need to know about this team. That someone like Mardy would be here, sort of be here as a backup to step in if one of the guys got injured.

Q. What did winning last week do for you?
BOB BRYAN: It was huge for us. I thought we played our best tennis in a long time. We always play good in Davis Cup, but we're trying to find it at ATP tournaments during the year. We lost four finals, which was tough.
To get it going for the last three matches I think we played unbelievable tennis. We beat three top teams pretty handily, so, you know, right now told Pat we're peaking at the right time, and we feel really good, really healthy and playing well.

Q. I'd like to know how you all, particularly James, since you started here in Winston-Salem against India in 2001, if you can speak to Patrick's philosophy. And Patrick, if you can speak to your new role as general manager of the Elite Player Development?
JAMES BLAKE: Well, Patrick in 2001 showed he had confidence in the young guys, in Andy and myself. I think sort of like a parent. Right at the beginning you might not want to listen to them, but then you realize down the road that they have a method to their madness and a reason for it.
Him showing confidence in us in 2001 paid off with the fact that we stuck together, we felt like we were a team from that moment on, and we've been committed ever since.
CAPTAIN McENROE: Just right at the beginning? You mean you listen to me now? (laughter.)
JAMES BLAKE: It's been great, and he showed confidence in us then and he still does. It means a lot to us, and I think it's shown in the experience we have now, and how much that helped us last year in a lot of big matches.
He did it for a reason, and it's paying off. That's why he's captain for so many years, and now the -- I don't know what the title is.
CAPTAIN McENROE: General manager.
JAMES BLAKE: Some big shot, I don't know. (laughter.)
CAPTAIN McENROE: No, it's an exciting new role for me. I see it as an extension of what I've tried to do with Davis Cup, which is be inclusive, talk to a lot of people and get a lot of great opinions and hopefully make some decent decisions. So it will be a lot of fun.
When you see something like this with all these coaches out there and pros teaching tennis, and try to, you know, be part of what can make that successful, a small part, and support what people like us are doing around communities around the country is great.
Hopefully we can find some more players out there that can take the place of these guys one day. That's going to be hard, but that's the goal.

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