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August 14, 2016

Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Jack Sock

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

MATTEK‑SANDS ‑ SOCK/Williams – Ram
6‑7, 6‑1, 10‑7

 THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Jack, when you were flying here, not feeling well, what were your expectations about the best‑case scenario of what you could do?
JACK SOCK: They were pretty low. Singles‑wise obviously, where was I last, I came back from Toronto. I was having some pretty major coughing attacks through DC and Toronto at night. Then I got home, went to see my doctor. Got a chest x‑ray. Showed I had walking pneumonia before I came down.
No matter what, I was coming down to play. I wanted to enjoy the experience, soak it all up. Obviously you never know what the future holds, so I definitely wanted to be a part of it.
We had an incredible team coming down. I just wanted to be in the atmosphere, enjoy it with everybody. You know, singles didn't go, obviously, as I wanted, but I was able to close out the week pretty well. Had an incredible time, playing with a good friend in men's doubles with Stevie. We were able to play some great tennis at the end and get a medal.
And to play with B. Mattek here and have an incredible time on the court, to have this gold medal around our necks, it's pretty special and pretty surreal. Definitely a moment we'll never forget and something we'll always share together.

Q. Bethanie, where do you rank this as far as your career?
BETHANIE MATTEK‑SANDS: You know what, this is probably going to be on the top. I mean, this is my first Olympics, first time being selected. I don't think it's even comparable. You know, I'm super proud of myself for my Grand Slam titles, but I think the Olympics is just a different category altogether.
It's a team event. We've kind of been saying this all week. You're really part of Team USA. I mean, tennis is an individual sport, but this kind of really brings everybody together.
I was just saying earlier in an interview, you know, that when I was in the opening ceremonies, walking through, right before you're in the tunnel, right before you get in the stadium, everybody started chanting USA, USA. It was just a surreal moment. I still get goosebumps thinking about it.
You're with the greatest athletes in the world representing your country. It didn't matter if it was long jump, long‑distance running, swimming, track and field, tennis, everybody was there chanting USA.
You know, I think you can't compare any Grand Slam to that.

Q. Jack, you've been a member of the Davis Cup team for the U.S. and also a Wimbledon champion. Where would you place this, an Olympic gold medal?
JACK SOCK: Honestly, probably have to mock a lot of that. Yeah, I mean, a big goal for me was my first singles title, and that happened last year in Houston. It was an incredible feeling for me.
You know, obviously the Wimbledon title, that came out of nowhere for Vasek and I. It was our first time playing together. Maybe that's a sign, I should play with someone new every week.
BETHANIE MATTEK‑SANDS: Mental note. Lucie and I, too, first time playing together in Australia.
JACK SOCK: That feeling on Centre Court.
Today it honestly doesn't even feel like it maybe happened. I've seen the video over and over of match point. It's one of the most incredible feelings.
But like Bethanie said, there's something about being part of a team. Tennis is such an individual sport. Now that we are here, part of Team USA. I've stayed in the village with the guys throughout the week. To go down to the team room and watch the other sports with the other athletes and meet a bunch of people and eat in the cafeteria with them, the feeling that you get here is like no other.
So, you know, if it's not on top for me, you know, winning the gold medal, it's definitely tied at the top. But to get two in my first Olympics, it's going to be tough to beat.

Q. Taking all that into account, is it hard to understand people who could have come and chose not to? Also, Beth, where did you get those socks? Were they specially made?
BETHANIE MATTEK‑SANDS: Those have been in the suitcase for a long time. I actually wore them at US Open a couple years ago. It was kind of a last‑minute pack. I was like, You know what, I think this is the moment, if. I'm going to go hardcore USA, it's going to be at the Olympics.
So I pulled them out before the match today.
JACK SOCK: Obviously, that's a personal decision, for whatever event, whatever sport you're in, it all comes down to how you're feeling, if the opportunity is right for you or not.
Obviously, we had a very new team. Only a couple of us had been here before. I think it was a pretty easy decision for a lot of us. Even Serena and Venus, it sounded like they knew from the very beginning.
But, yeah, I think, you know, that's completely personal, schedule‑wise and everything, health‑wise. For all of us here, it was pretty easy. For me, it was a split‑second decision. Obviously very glad I came down. I think everyone on the team had an incredible time. I think we'll all be closer, I think, from now on.

Q. You guys were able to beat an Olympic legend today, handing Venus her first loss in an Olympic final. What do you make of everything she's done just in the Olympic realm? Have you talked to her or learned anything from seeing her around in these last couple weeks?
BETHANIE MATTEK‑SANDS: You know what, I think both Williamses, when you look at all the titles they've won, everything they've accomplished, I mean, it's intimidating actually.
But, you know, I grew up with them. I knew Jack grew up watching them. You know, we couldn't be more proud of them as Americans. And as female athletes, really carrying themselves well, being professional, I think they've just done so much for the sport, so much for women in general. And they continue to do so.
I mean, I don't really see too many signs of them slowing down. I mean, really in their 30s playing some of the best tennis that they've ever played, feeling as good as they are, moving as well as they are. I feel like if they want to, they can stick around for a while still.

Q. For both of you, earlier in this week there were some tough losses. Venus and Serena both going out pretty early. What was the key team‑wise that you kept your chins up? Jack, you're walking away with two medals. Team USA had a good showing in a lot of ways in the tennis events.
JACK SOCK: I think the team camaraderie, obviously. Some of us are in the village, some of us are in the hotel. We don't spend every day, every night together. But I know when we were at the courts, there was a lot of positivity.
My singles didn't go great. I went out and watched as many matches as I could, supported us as best I could when the schedule fit. I love doing that. I love being part of a team. I chose a sport that doesn't let me do that (laughter). That's why I love Davis Cup. I grew up playing team sports.
Any chance I get, I feel like I kind of thrive in that honestly a little bit. You know, when you get a bounce of energy off each other, the positivity, keep each other up, I mean, we definitely had some tough losses, you know, Venus going out early, Serena, Madison making it to the semis, not medaling. We were all there for each other, whatever time. Stevie, quarters, tough match. I think we all kind of rebounded, put it behind us quick and thought about the bigger picture: representing the U.S. and our team.
I think we honestly just went out and tried to have as much fun as we could, the experience, as best possible. Not put too much pressure on ourselves you have to medal or it's a waste of time or whatever coming down. I think we went out and just had a really good time and I think we had a really good time because of it.

Q. How will you display these medals or will you keep them hidden? Bethanie, with the stars and stripes socks, will they be retired and framed or...
BETHANIE MATTEK‑SANDS: I feel like the socks will be framed, 100%, with this medal.
JACK SOCK: Medal sock, sock around it.
BETHANIE MATTEK‑SANDS: It's too perfect, yeah. It's too perfect to actually not do that (laughter).
My husband is actually the one who kind of does all the memorabilia stuff, so I'm sure he's going to want to use the jacket, maybe a shirt, get some signatures. He has it all planned out.
Definitely the socks will get retired and put in a frame.

Q. Raj was saying he found out while he was in Toronto that he was called in. Did you see him at all in Toronto or had you left by then?
JACK SOCK: Yeah, I'd seen him there. Yeah, I mean, I won a couple matches in singles, played a couple doubles matches.
But, yeah, I had not seen him there, you know, when he knew he was going to play. So first time I saw him when I knew he was on the team was in Houston when we did processing.
Like we said out there in the interviews, obviously the Bryans had a decision to make for their own reasons, decided not to come. I don't think anybody was not happy with the decision to have Raj come. He's an incredible doubles player. Obviously it shows this year. He's made great strides in the rankings. I think he's at his top ranking in doubles, had some great results in tournaments, titles, playing great tennis even on the singles court as well.
We were all happy to have him here. Bethanie and I from the Midwest. My traveling coach, Troy, played high school tennis against him. She played junior tennis with him. So it was definitely an awesome team feel this week and we were happy to have him here.

Q. Jack, have you played against Venus ever?
JACK SOCK: I have not. That was the first time.

Q. How was that? People talk about Serena's serve, but obviously she has a good serve as well. Someone at 36, your impressions?
JACK SOCK: Like Bethanie said earlier, I was the youngest one on the court today. I grew up watching Venus and Serena. They're legends of the game. They've done so much for tennis, represented the U.S. incredibly well, not only for the slams, but for the Olympics. They've won everything under the sun.
To be across the net from her, I think I can speak for both of us, it was definitely an incredible experience. But, yeah, I mean, I thought my forehand was good before today. I was getting into cross‑court rallies with her. Some guys usually get intimidated by my forehand. She was stepping up and smashing it with a backhand. I might need to go back to the practice court and work on some things.
She strikes the ball incredibly well, serves well, volleys well, instincts on the court are great. We knew going in it was going to be a very tough match. Obviously, Raj, a very experienced doubles player.
Yeah, to fortunately come away with the win feels great, as well.

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