April 22, 2005
BELGIUM vs. USA, DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. (A question regarding the decision not to play Serena).
CAPTAIN GARRISON: It was totally my decision. She was ready to go and she was willing to go out and play. I just felt that she needed a couple more days. Luckily enough, we have Venus here able to back her up. It takes a lot of pressure off for everybody. It was basically my decision. I just felt she needed a couple more days. It's very hard when you have a champion, you don't want them to necessarily go out and play like 60, 70%. I wanted her to be ready when she got back on the court to be able to play a hundred percent.
Q. Serena, talk about the disappointment of not being able to play, and Venus, the decision for you, what this means for you, Venus?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, obviously it's disappointing that I'm not playing here in Delray, which is kind of our backyard. But I think Zina wanted to make the best decision, not only for me but for the team as well. She's done well in the past, so I trust her decision.
Q. Serena, just to be clear about the injury, it's the most recent injury; it's nothing new?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Excuse me?
Q. Can you describe the injury.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, no, it's just I'm still recovering from my tumble at Amelia Island where I sprained my ankle.
Q. Venus, I think we wanted to hear your opinion about playing.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I was ready from 'jump' to play when I was named to the team. That's why I came. I felt that if something happened, I'd be a decent player to take the reins and move on it. I came because Zina wanted me here. That's the reason why I'm sitting here today.
Q. Obviously, you know a little bit about Els because you've seen her around the tour. She played two years ago in the Fed Cup finals. What do you know at all about Eveline?
CAPTAIN GARRISON: Basically, I mean, they don't really know that much about her. They definitely know a lot about Els. They're true champions. They're ready to go out. They're ready to play whoever it is. They've worked very hard. I really don't think that it matters who they were going to play. I think they've been just preparing themselves to go out there and play the way that they can play.
Q. Lindsay, you also have something of an injury issue with your hip flexor. Can you, number one, describe whether or not you're still getting therapy for that this week, and whether it's okay; two, if Serena is unable to play, that means you might have to play three matches in two days, doubles match, but are you prepared to do that?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I mean, my name's on the board for all three. That's what I expect to do. My hip has been great this week. I always feel a little bit more sure-footed on a hard court. I've been practicing hard. I've been working out. Everything feels really good. I don't anticipate that being a problem at all. I'm very much looking forward to the doubles. We're really excited to have the opportunity to play together in a big situation like this. Hopefully the rest of the team stays a hundred percent through the weekend.
Q. Corina, if I'm correct, this will be the first time you're scheduled to play Fed Cup. Can you talk about how excited you are about that, and also a little bit -- I don't know if you ever campaigned to Zina or if Zina called you, if you could answer both of those questions.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Pretty safe to say she doesn't campaign (laughter). Corina?
CORINA MORARIU: I didn't like stalk Zina for a nomination to the team (laughter). Yeah, I was on the team in '98. Unfortunately didn't get a chance to play. It's been a tough few years for me. So to be able to be on the team in '98 and play again in 2005 after my illness, a couple shoulder surgeries, it's pretty special, especially here where I grew up. I'm really fired up. To get to play with Lindsay, who is obviously a great player, but an even better friend to me, just really, really looking forward to it. It's been a great week. We've all had a really good time. As far as being picked for the team, I believe that was Zina's decision. I didn't lobby for it (laughter). I was thrilled to get the call and to be a part of it.
CAPTAIN GARRISON: I would say when I did call Corina, she was actually pretty surprised to hear from me. She's like, "Zina?" I'm like, "Yeah." I definitely thought it would be a great fit. It's been great for me because all four of these guys get along. It's a nice, calm atmosphere. It's been really, really fun.
Q. You all have been dubbed the Dream Team of women's tennis right now. We've seen some Dream Teams falter recently. Can you talk a little about the pressure of being such heavy, heavy favorites in this tie.
CAPTAIN GARRISON: Well, first of all, I think we're the Dreamettes (laughter). You know, like I said before, they're all true champions. I think first and foremost, they all put theirselves out there. A lot of people are not playing. But they made some clear decisions that they wanted to come and play. Like I said before, Lindsay stuck out in the beginning early on, and Serena and Venus and Corina and everybody pretty much came on board. I think it takes a group like this to be leaders, to let people know how important it is to play for your country. I think they put theirself on the line. I mean, got to give them their credit for doing that.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think it's a silly name. I think, you know, the goal of every country is to put together their best team, and some years it doesn't work out. This year so far it's been great. We've all been really excited this week in not talking only about this tie, but we're looking forward to hopefully some more ties later in the year and potential match-ups. We all are pretty into it, want to do well. It's great that we could all play and hopefully that's the same for the rest of the year.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Personally, I definitely don't see it as, "Oh, wow, we're overwhelmingly powerful." The match isn't over until you shake hands, and we haven't shook hands yet on any of the matches. So we're extremely motivated to all of us play our personal best, motivate each other, do whatever we can to support our team, obviously have a great tie and move to the next round.
Q. Lindsay, it's not often that a No. 1 player plays someone ranked 373. It would happen if it was a wildcard in a tournament. You might wind up with a bye in the second round. Is your preparation, mental preparation, before a match against someone who is ranked way out there something different or do you have to force yourself to have the same mental preparation as if you had a first-round match against a good player in the tournament?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: After playing so long, one thing I have learned is you never take anyone for granted, you never look at rankings or past performances as any indicator in how a match will go when you're competing in it. This year I feel like I've played a lot of girls that I did not know previously going into the match and have been in some tough battles. In this kind of situation where you have teammates and you have a lot of supporters there, I mean, there's no reason to not feel like it's the most important match. You know, I don't worry too much about who my opponents are. I worry about myself and how I'm playing. That's not going to change no matter who is on the other side of the court. I'm sure she looks at it as a great opportunity and is excited and has nothing to lose. Sometimes in those cases, the player can play excellent. Prepared for a tough match no matter what day it is or who it is.
Q. Lindsay, could you talk about the emotion of the post match ceremony when you and Corina reached the finals of the Australian. I understand that was a very emotional moment.
CORINA MORARIU: You're going to try to make us both cry.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, that was tough. I had thought about it the night before and was going over in my head what I was going to say. I had done all my other thank yous first, was saving the part about Corina for the end. About 10 seconds into it, I started crying before I could get any of possibly the correct words out that I wanted to say. You know, people -- a lot of people know her story, a lot of people don't know her story. To be around it from the beginning through hospital stays and life scares, I mean, it was pretty emotional and intense. Even to see her come back. When she's come back, been cancer free, her body has broken down in other ways. It's been a huge battle for her to come back. For us to be standing there, I felt was an amazing accomplishment for her. It's hard. I love her like a sister. It's been a fun, fun ride to see her come back so excited when Zina told me she was considering asking Corina to play here because I knew, you know, these things mean the world to her.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.