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November 2, 2016

Amelie Mauresmo

Paris, France

THE MODERATOR: I'm going to give the floor to Amélie. So we will have questions and answers and then radios and TVs.

AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Good morning to all of you. For this final against the Czech Republic, I decided, as each time except the first time, to start with four players. So the group that was in Trelaze will be reselected counting Caroline, Kristina, Cornet, and Parmentier.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. Was there the temptation of Dodin?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: I thought about it. It seems logical, given the results she had in the past month. We reflected on her case, but selection is also a balance between the athlete and the results showing the level of each player but also the group itself that needs to be preserved.

So of course there is the performance of the various players but also the team that has been working very well until the final. So we need to have a balance between the two: The group and the individual athletes.

Q. Can you tell us how it can happen? Caroline is going to come in later, I believe?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Yes, three of the players and the staff are leaving tomorrow. We are going to start on Friday morning, the practice sessions. So for those three players, we are going to have sort of working blocks, not very long, so this is going to take place on Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Then we will have a break, and then the week after we will of course do a lot more and make sure then that they can have a lighter end of week to be fresh.

Caroline, as soon as she will be finished in Zhuhai, she's going to join us, so she's going to have a direct trip to Strasbourg as soon as she can.

Q. You were saying also the group had to be maintained with the right spirit. Pauline is not going to play singles? Can you explain her role in this group?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Compared with the other players, Pauline is not the favorite to play on the court. But also, she really evolved within the group. She is there to sort of make sure the connection takes place between the two generations.

She changed, and I wouldn't have said the same thing in the beginning about her, but she really evolved in the good direction.

So now we have those four players that have created a bond for this competition, and I believe it's important to keep that.

Of course Pauline didn't have good results during the past week or month, but still, over the season she was able to beat very good players and play at a very high level.

Q. Did you talk with Oceane? Did you see she was disappointed not to be selected?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Oh, I'm not going to talk about all this, but of course there was a communication with Oceane's team. What was actually said, I'm not going to talk about it. If she wants to talk about it, she will.

Q. A word about Kristina and Caroline. You have known them for a long time. They played very well in doubles. Maybe not as well in singles. Can you explain why they are not as good in singles as in doubles?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Potentially we believe they are able to become top 10. Certainly Kristina went to a second week in a Grand Slam once. Caroline not yet. I believe they are able to do that, and they can do that on a consistent basis.

But of course for the time being, they are not consistent enough. Kristina made a lot of progress physically, but she still can make more. For both of them, maybe they don't have a style of game that is enough determined for the time being. So every player has his own, his or her own rhythm, so things can change.

Of course, as a captain, I prefer them to have extraordinary results, but they are following their own path.

Q. In three years you went from third division to the final. How can you explain the change for such quick results?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: There were different steps in this process. First, the girls are really involved. They really want that trophy.

When I was talking to them about it, maybe not right at the beginning but halfway through, this was not something they could really feel was possible. They didn't believe it was within their capabilities.

But little by little, they realized it was becoming possible. Of course each one of them needed to improve individually. But maybe to compensate facing to the other teams where they have top 10 players, they needed to do something else. Marion stopped playing, so now I thought the group has to be our priority.

Of course there is no miracle, but we had to compensate a lower tennis level individually with the strength of the group, and this is how they were able to reach that stage of the competition in sort of an unexpected manner or even completely unexpected.

The semifinal was a good opportunity for us. I don't know if I'm answering your question.

Q. Of course even if we play home, the Czech will be the favorite. Can we believe a special achievement can take place?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Of course the Czech Republic is favorite. But it's a sport. We are talking about sport.

And this is what I said to the girls. The ranking reflects 52 weeks, a whole season. What we need is just two days. So many things can happen over five matches.

We were talking about their potential. Well, these girls are able to have very high level moments in the season. They can raise up to the situation, and they can beat extremely good players, so it's up to us to place them in the right context and in the right situation for them to be able to do this.

Of course, it's going to be difficult, but we have a team that is -- we are playing a team that is good on paper, but they also won four of the five last Fed Cups. So there will be opportunities. We will have to take them.

And the crowd, of course, I believe the crowd can have a very interesting impact on this tie. In Trelaze it was very difficult. There was a lot of tension, and this was important in key moments like in the doubles. So really I'm expecting from the Strasbourg crowd to be very present, but I have no doubts they will.

Q. What are you going to give to that team? Your role is important, too. How would you define your role in a Fed Cup final?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: I'm really looking forward to be with them during those ten days before the competition. It's going to be up to me to adapt, of course. I have some ideas of what I'm going to do according to what I will feel. You know, if I feel there is some tension, I will adapt.

But I am not the one who is going to decide things. I have to adapt according to the situation of each individual player. They might have questions. They might be scared. I just don't know yet.

But I'll need to analyze this and always bring the game at the center of our priorities, and I have to remind them that we have to play at a very high level for the whole weekend.

Q. Do you feel beyond the world of tennis there is a lot of enthusiasm about that final? Do you believe this final has the excitement it deserves?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: People don't talk about it all the time in the streets about it to me, but I think people are aware of that final. They see what we have done during the past four years. In 2013 we were going to go down a level, and now of course we made a lot of progress. The tickets were sold very quickly in Strasbourg. This is a positive thing. Of course, I mean, what we need to do is win.

The exposure of this final has been good. But if we win, there will be a major difference.

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