July 20, 2003
ITALY vs. USA, WASHINGTON, D.C.
MODERATOR: Alexandra Stevenson, Lisa Raymond and Billie Jean King for questions.
Q. Billie, I'll start. How much would you like to host the semis and the final, and do you think that will be important since you're going to be playing Belgium in the semis?
CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: I really didn't understand the first part. I don't know if I heard you correctly.
LISA RAYMOND: Do you want to host?
CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: Do we want to host?
CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: Of course, it would be great to host. It's great to be always -- be the home team, sure.
Q. Do you feel like that's kind of essential since you're playing Belgium?
CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: Well, maybe playing Belgium, but we're playing the semis and finals in one venue, so... I mean, whoever wins. I shouldn't say "we," but whoever wins. First we play Belgium, but they'll have four teams at whatever venue they choose. And, you know, I've heard different cities. I've heard Ireland, I've heard Moscow, I've heard Belgium, I've heard USA. I don't know which ones even got the -- you'd have to ask the ITF who they think is gonna get that one. Of course it's always better if we're home.
Q. You only had about a week to put this team together. Is four months too early for us to ask you who you'd like to see playing Belgium?
CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: No, but I'm gonna wait until it's closer to the time, and then I'll go by the rankings to start asking.
Q. What do you think...
CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: Can you ask them something? I don't want to go back to me. I'm not gonna talk anymore. They just won that match, hello!
Q. Alexandra, how does it feel to get a match in, your first Fed Cup experience?
CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: Yeah, that's a nice question.
ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: It feels wonderful. I felt honored to be playing with Lisa. She's , in my eyes, she's the No. 1 doubles player in the world. It was just great to go out there and have that experience on my side, and it made me just play great. And it was a lot of fun. And maybe, when Lindsay's not available, she'll ask me to play (laughing).
LISA RAYMOND: Any time.
CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: Now ask Lisa a question. Seriously, come on!
Q. I'll ask Lisa a question, both Lisa and Alexandra. Can you talk about sort of the mood during Chanda's second set and the first set as well. What was going through your minds on the sidelines and the whole team? It looked like the Italian bench was getting a little more worked up there, they were starting to get the momentum?
LISA RAYMOND: Yeah, I mean, definitely. I think Chanda did a great job to hold it together. She was down at one point, you know, 15-40 on her serve to go down 3-1 a set and a break. You know, she just kept fighting. And I think, you know, we just stayed behind her. You know, I really didn't lose faith in her the entire time; I think the whole team - I think I could speak for them as well . I really thought she was gonna pull it out, even when she was down in the second, so...
ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: We were all believers.
Q. Could this team have done anymore? I mean, were they perfection for you? They're 5-0 in this tie.
CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: I think the score speaks for itself.
ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I think so.
Q. What do you think of this whole bid process, because obviously that hinges a lot on what happens in the final four. Belgium would like to play on clay, you guys would probably prefer hard court. In the Davis Cup, it's different than here. It's almost like an Olympic city bidding process. What do you think of that? How important is it?
CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: Of course I'd like it in the United States because we choose the surface, no question. You know what, I think wherever we play, our job is to adjust to whatever the conditions are.
ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: "Adjust." Good word.
CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: Champions adjust.
LISA RAYMOND: I think we've heard that a couple times.
CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: Sorry. I tried to use it less this week.
ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I didn't hear it this week.
CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: See, I tried to keep it a little different.
LISA RAYMOND: Stick around, Alex. You'll hear it plenty.
ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Last time it was all about "champions adjust." She pulled it out again, just in time.
CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: I tried not to use it as much this week. Otherwise, it just gets boring. They don't really hear it.
Q. The circumstances surrounding getting the folks in this week, does this kind of tell you something, like you have the depth, whoever you put back there, they're gonna play like champions?
CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: Well, that's what I keep telling everybody. You know, whoever we do have play, the United States, the women, are so deep and we're so fortunate to have this many great women players - just like I said out there, you know. Lisa can play singles or doubles. Alexandra is starting to make the team. I've got other people. Laura Granville just missed it by one. I mean, we've got people pushing through now that are coming along. Plus, the players we have. And I think it was great that Chanda and Meghann had to take the two singles. And, you know, even if Meghann hadn't been up to it, I would have put Lisa in. We have the flexibility. I think it's a great -- it's a fantastic accomplishment by all of them, really, that they are able to come through big when we need it. I keep telling you, it's the players that make the coach, not the coach that make the players, so... They're unbelievable.
ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: But the coach helps a lot.
CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: Well, Zina also helps, Zina Garrison, the coach. Our whole staff helps. I mean, every single support person, from security all the way up, you know, administrative to PR to everybody. I mean, it's a real team effort. We even have a team dinner, support team and team dinner at once, every week, to say thank you to them, the team does. We really are a team. I mean, everybody covers each other's back and really tries to help each other out.
Q. Kind of an odd question, perhaps, but Lisa, how much would you like to play in a match that really counts? I mean, it's kind of a blessing in a sense that usually when you get in for doubles, it's already decided. But how much would you like that moment?
LISA RAYMOND: I've actually played one live deciding match in Madrid in '99. You know, I think that that's -- anyone who plays Fed Cup, I think that's their dream, is to have it come down to have it on their racquet. It's a double-edged sword. I mean, obviously, I want the team to win 3-0, but at the same time, I'd love, you know, to have that atmosphere and to have us go out and play a match like tonight and have it count and have the pressure on you and to come away with the win. So it's, you know, again, being in Madrid, I mean, that was a heart-breaker to lose that one, 11-9 in the third. But at the same time, it's probably one of my most memorable experiences - not only in Fed Cup, just in my career, so...
CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: People have asked me about one of -- the best Fed Cup I was ever at, and that's probably the one, even though we lost. It was the most bonding experience with players, probably. They were just fantastic, the way they pulled together even though we lost. In Spain, when you play in Spain, they scream. I couldn't even talk to them. My voice was this far away from their ears (indicating about an inch), and they couldn't hear me. I've got a pretty deep voice when I want to yell, and they still couldn't hear me. They scream and rant and rave so hard in Spain, and different countries. The U.S. is a very polite country to actually play in, extremely polite; very much for us, I thought this week was good. But if the Americans ever would go to Spain, for instance, and see what Lisa and Mary Joe had to contend with that last match, and all the singles matches as well, Americans would not believe it, that that's the way it is in tennis in those countries when there's Fed Cup or Davis Cup.
End of FastScriptsÃƒÂ¢?Ã‚Â¦.