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February 3, 2016

Mary Joe Fernandez

Sloane Stephens

Coco Vandeweghe

Venus Williams

Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Kailua Kona, Hawaii, USA


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Team USA, please.

Q. How are doing enjoying Hawaii? Is it your first time here playing? And how is the preparation going for this week?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: We love being in Hawaii. Like being in paradise. Absolutely beautiful. The weather has been perfect.

It is my third time in Hawaii, but it's been -- I think it's been about 12 years since I've been here. It's nice to be back. So far so good. We're enjoying ourselves and the practices have been great. Really no complaints.

Q. To each of the players, beyond winning on Sunday, what are your goals for this week heading into this year basically? And is it any different at a place or an event that has a little different atmosphere than a normal tournament?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: I think ultimately the goal to win. These what we're here for. I think we try to stay in the present. We have a job at hand: trying to get the three wins as quickly as possible. After that, then we move on.

It's nice to come together as a team. It doesn't happen very often, so it's nice to work together and have that common goal as a team. So after this one, the next one will be in April, and then that'll be our next goal.

SLOANE STEPHENS: We're excited to try and get back in World Group I and win this tie this week, and excited to be in Hawaii. I would say this is our best tie yet. We have a lot of the motivation to do well here, so we can come back here obviously. (Laughter.)

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Yeah, I think we'll try and make Hawaii our lucky spot.

Q. This is not so much a question. I am going to break press protocol and probably get kicked out of here right away. I would like to say to Venus Williams, what a great thing to have you here, and just a big, big thank you for everything that you've done for tennis through the years. Great tennis ambassador, and I think it's a great treat, especially for the local kids this afternoon who get to come out. Thank you, thank you for being here. Can't tell you how exciting it is. CoCo Vandeweghe, what a great Australian Open. Mixed doubles final. I think very cool. To the rest of you, what I would liked to, since I am breaking press protocol, what is the question you most hate the media to ask you?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I think there is just a lot of repetitive questions asked. I'm still surprised people don't know that I wear knee high socks for compression. I feel like I've answered that in every single interview I've given for the last four years, and still people are still surprised that I don't just wear them for fashionable reason. They're actually for compression purposes.

SLOANE STEPHENS: I think the most annoying question has to be what is the state of U.S. women's tennis. That's all. That's like in every press conference, every interview.

CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: I get that one a lot, too. Same topic. You get the same answer because everybody is working hard, everybody is trying, and everybody is trying to make that next move.

You're right. We get that all the time.

VENUS WILLIAMS: What's it like playing your sister? It's like 20 years later. Haven't you seen us play? What do you think? Kind of draw your own conclusion at this point.

COCO VANDEWEGHE: I would agree, definitely what's the state of American tennis, but also, especially after a loss, why did you lose?

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Yeah, or how do you feel after you lose?

COCO VANDEWEGHE: Oh, I feel wonderful. Peachy. Great. Can't wait to get to the hotel room.

Q. Speaking of having lost, did you see the Australian Open trophy presentation? Curious, what was your reaction to that? It was touching, I thought. I've never seen anything quite like it, Serena's reaction and obviously Angelique's reaction to winning finally. Wondered if a couple of you can comment on that?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: I was there courtside, so it was great to see. That's what sports is about, sportsmanship. Serena handled it beautifully. She was a class act and gave the congratulations that were due. Angelique played a tremendous match, and I thought she was very humble in her victory. I thought she handled it really well, too.

I think it was a great example of what sports is at the end of the day. Win or lose, you still treat each other well.

Q. Anybody else have any reaction?
COCO VANDEWEGHE: I was asleep. It was past my bedtime and I had to play the next day. I didn't see it until afterwards. It was like a delayed effect. It wasn't in the moment when I saw it. It was very gracious.

I've never been in that situation, so I don't know how the mixed emotions are, but you try and handle it the best you can.

Q. What do you guys think the importance of having an event like the Fed Cup in a small community like Kona is for the sport in general?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: I think it's wonderful. Tennis is a global sport and we get to go to many wonderful cities, but it's nice when you get to participate and play in front of communities that don't see tennis.

This is one of them. We've been wanting to come here for a while, so it's nice to finally be here. From what I hear we're going to have a great turnout. It's nice for tennis fans to get to see professional tennis and these great champions on the same team.

Q. Assuming you're going to be treated to a luau. If that's the case and there is a hula competition, which one of you would win?
COCO VANDEWEGHE: I would say Sloane. (Laughter.)

CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: Who's got better hip action?

SLOANE STEPHENS: I have no rhythm, so it's probably not going to be me.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I feel like CoCo would make us laugh the hardest. (Laughter.)

COCO VANDEWEGHE: That's definitely a fact.

Q. When you come in and you're facing a team that I think you're the high odds to win, is that easier or harder? Do you let your guard down? Just get business down?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: No. You try never to let your guard down. We have been on both ends. We've been the underdogs and have won and been the favorites and lost. You know you have to take that seriously, especially team competition.

You don't really know sometimes what to expect. Sometimes the lower-ranked player, that's where they excel and play their best; sometimes a higher-ranked player doesn't play as well under the competition of being on a team.

So you really have to approach it very seriously and treat it like business as usual.

Q. So you guys are going to be doing a community clinic after this. What does it mean to give back to the local community and teach the kids the game of tennis?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: I think, like we said before, just being in a lace where tennis doesn't come very often and they don't get to see us, it's pretty special to have the youth come out and try to encourage them to get involved and start playing tennis of.

Participation is so important, and it starts with the young ones. We always have fun whenever we're able to do this I heard we are having a good turn out as well, so it'll be a good time out there with all the children.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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