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BNP PARIBAS FED CUP: USA VS GERMANY


February 8, 2017


Captain Rinaldi

Coco Vandeweghe

Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Alison Riske

Shelby Rogers


Maui, Hawaii, USA

THE MODERATOR: Welcome, Team USA. We'll go ahead with questions.

Q. Talk a little bit about how the week has gone, the practice, obviously the environment not being so bad.
CAPTAIN RINALDI: Yeah, we've had a great week. Obviously the venue is beautiful. We're happy to be back in Hawaii. We've had a great, solid week of practice. Had a lot of fun on and off the court, working hard. Having a great balance. So far, so good.

Q. How is it different for you, Kathy? Obviously you've done Junior Fed Cup, but this is a big step up.
CAPTAIN RINALDI: Yes, I mean, obviously I have great memories with Junior Fed Cup. I worked with a lot of great players that are now coming up the ranks.

To work with these girls is just amazing. I have been working with them the past year, with the relationships through Team USA. Now to be here with them is extremely special for me.

It's a great honor, a great privilege to be here with these ladies. Someone's got to keep them in line (laughter).

Q. Coco, such a successful Australian Open. Sometimes people have a little bit of a dip afterwards in their psyche. Has it been good? Have you had any of that? Or does this motivate you?
COCO VANDEWEGHE: All I have to say is I haven't gotten in the water enough.

Q. I saw you going to the beach yesterday.
COCO VANDEWEGHE: That was the first time. I was really disappointed that was the first time.

No, I mean, I've been working hard. I had, like, two days off after Australia to kind of get my bearings back, try and catch up on sleep and TV shows, then got straight back to work.

I don't think there's too much of a lull. I think everyone on the team can attest I'm my same old self.

Q. Nobody seems to be saying that's a good thing.
COCO VANDEWEGHE: Depending who you ask, might not be (laughter).

Q. Shelby, what does it feel like, first time?
SHELBY ROGERS: There are a lot of firsts happening for me this week. My first time in Hawaii. My first time playing Fed Cup. I couldn't have asked for a better team to be a part of.

Kathy, thank you so much for making it easy for me. These girls have been great, too, showing me the ropes, showing me where I need to be, when I need to be there. Thank you for putting up with all my questions.

It's been absolutely amazing so far. The scenery helps with that. But it's such an honor to be here and represent my country with these amazing women.

Q. Talk a little bit about the competition.
SHELBY ROGERS: Yeah, I'm excited to compete. I really haven't had too much team experience. I played World TeamTennis and things like that. But it's a really cool environment to have everyone behind you, supporting you, kind of fighting together for the same cause.

I'm really excited to begin play, yeah.

Q. Can you girls talk about what it's like to be here on Maui. Are there some distractions?
CAPTAIN RINALDI: I think it's been amazing. I mean, it's very relaxing here. We're all working hard. We're enjoying ourselves. We're looking out at the ocean, looking at whales. A full breach, it's just amazing. It's incredible.

Obviously we have tough opponents in Germany. They have a strong team. We're training hard. We're staying focused. We're also enjoying being here and enjoying the activities and the people. Everyone has been very hospitable.

SHELBY ROGERS: I think it's a little motivation, too. We wake up, you look outside, Okay, we're still here, let's get the day started. It's really exciting, beautiful.

I think we're all, you know, really happy when we wake up to have another day here.

Q. Coco, is this the right place to have this kind of event?
COCO VANDEWEGHE: I think it was so much fun when I went to Kona. I think Bethanie can attest to that as well. The crowd was so amazing. That's not always the case when we go and play everywhere.

I think to have another opportunity to play in Hawaii, a new island, on Maui, to have tennis kind of be shown at full force, full American force at least, is definitely a great opportunity for the community of Hawaii.

Q. Bethanie, can you answer that same question. Do you think Maui is the right place for this kind of event?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Definitely. We really enjoyed being in Hawaii last year. It was a great atmosphere. Like Coco said, there was great attendance. Fed Cup is kind of like no other tournament. The crowd gets really into it. Obviously you want to take advantage of being at home in the U.S., get the crowd behind you, because it's intimidating when you're the away team sometimes.

But, yeah, I think after we played in Hawaii last year, we were all like, Let's make this a thing and go back (laughter). Here we are.

Q. I talked to some of the men at the recent challenger event at this facility. Can you talk about the convenience of being in the hotel, you walk a hundred feet to the facility. How is that?
ALISON RISKE: Yeah, honestly, I mean, just the convenience aspect is unbelievable for us. I feel like everything is close by. Like everyone said, it's beautiful.

It's a win-win in all situations here. Definitely looking forward to the weekend, getting the show on the road.

Q. For anybody. Can you talk about Hawaii stuff, Maui stuff that you've been able to do so far. Maybe you have plans for later.
UNIDENTIFIEDSPEAKER: We'll let Coco talk about that.

COCO VANDEWEGHE: Since I'm the only golfer on the squad. They picked up the slack, no joke. Except Bethanie, she was still flying in the air, trying to land in that storm.

We went out and got absolutely poured on by the second or third hole. The girls won by default against the support staff and the boys because they quit. It was close. It was close. We were getting there.

But I think we have an event planned tonight to do as a team. I've actually been to Hawaii, different islands. I've been to pretty much all the islands just on my own. I really enjoy it here. I mean, from California, Hawaii is not so shabby to fly over here.

Q. Family or friends that didn't want to come here?
UNIDENTIFIEDSPEAKER: We have quite an entourage.

Q. Anyone here alone?
CAPTAIN RINALDI: Me (laughter).

Q. Beth, you've come off of a big high in Australia. How does that motivate you this week?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: You know what, I started this year pretty well. I feel like I needed a couple days off just to get kind of adjusted. I think there's no better place to feel relaxed and start training than here in Hawaii.

I mean, like Shelby said, you wake up in the morning, you see this. You kind of asked if this was un-motivating, if we're too relaxed. But I think it's the perfect place to kind of gather your thoughts, be inspired, and go out there and play some good tennis.

I think this is a great reset after everything that went down in Australia. Glad to be here. Excited for the weekend.

Q. When you look at that German roster, how tough is that team?
ALISON RISKE: A lot like the USA.

UNIDENTIFIEDSPEAKER: Throw down the hammer, Allie. Throw it down.

ALISON RISKE: Yeah, I believe any team they have, any team we play, is going to be tough. I think we're going to have to take it one match at a time and give it our best effort, fight as hard as we can. I feel like all of us do every day.

Nothing out of the ordinarily. But, yeah, we're looking forward to it.

CAPTAIN RINALDI: Way to be politically correct.

Q. Speaking of politics, I asked Andrea this. President Trump's travel ban, the state that it's in, has it affected any of you guys? They had to come 28 hours, Germany, Vancouver, here. Has it adversely affected anybody? Anything you want to say? Anybody said anything to you as an American?
CAPTAIN RINALDI: No.

COCO VANDEWEGHE: No.

ALISON RISKE: No.

SHELBY ROGERS: No.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: No.

Q. What are you expecting from their team in terms of who might play singles and doubles? You must have some idea in your head.
CAPTAIN RINALDI: Obviously they have a strong lineup. I'm very confident in all these players here. They've started off the year extremely strong. They're all more than ready and capable of playing Fed Cup.

Yeah, I mean, it's hard to say. Petkovic obviously looks good. I mean, they all look good. It's a strong team. I think we're just going to go out and we're going to compete. We're going to have each other's backs. We're going to go one match at a time, as Allie said. We're going to be there supporting each other and be all in.

I think that's crucial and that's important in a team format. Really looking forward to it. I'm super excited.

Q. For those of you who also played with MJ, how is Kathy's style a little different, the same? Nothing bad, but what might be different.
COCO VANDEWEGHE: I'll take this one.

It's just a different person completely. I mean, everything's going to be different, just from when you walk into breakfast, to when you walk into dinner, to when you walk on the practice court. It's just a different personality, for better or worse, you know, with Kathy.

I mean, it's like everyone says, a team environment that we don't normally get to play in. I think it's just the team camaraderie is a constant. I think that's very important for any Fed Cup tie, no matter who's on the team.

Q. Speaking of the team, is there a little bit different kind of feeling, pressure when you're out there in a team format like this?
UNIDENTIFIEDSPEAKER: Yes. These guys are very on me for being late.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: She's usually the late one. I'm, like, just before her on the late scale. Now I'm like the five minute later.

UNIDENTIFIEDSPEAKER: We love you, Coco.

UNIDENTIFIEDSPEAKER: There's always one.

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