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April 2, 2004

Vincent Spadea


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Had a good tournament. I know this was hard to take tonight. But what do you take out of all this? You beat Calleri, you beat the guy who beat Agassi. You had a couple of points that might have turned this a little more equally. Your reflections?

VINCENT SPADEA: It's been a long, hard tournament. These are the kind of times where you get to this stage you've got to play better and better. I didn't come up with a great match. If you don't come up with a great match, you're gonna play a guy who probably is. I had some good wins, some tough matches. I just had a disappointing effort tonight. But he was playing really well and blasting on all his cylinders. You know, sometimes that can happen.

Q. Do you think there's a basic unfairness in this tournament that if you're unseeded you have to win seven matches to win the title. If you're not unseeded, you only have to win six.

VINCENT SPADEA: I mean, yeah, that's just the way it goes, you know. That's their format. I wouldn't probably be complaining if I was the seed and I missed being seeded by one or two positions. So, you know, I didn't make it any easier by playing four three-set matches in the first four matches. I didn't exactly get the easiest draw. Leaving all the barrel of excuses out the window, you know, in a Grand Slam, you've got to win seven matches three-out-of-five sets whether you're ranked No. 1 in the world or 105.

Q. Why did it take so long for you to find your (inaudible) tonight?

VINCENT SPADEA: I was just apprehensive. I'm from Florida, I shouldn't talk about the wind so much. But the wind gives me sometimes a little bit of fear to hit through the ball. He was playing like it was an indoor court, just blasting like nothing was going to stop his shots. I was playing like I was like sort of in a hurricane just kind of guiding the ball and waiting for him to do something. When you don't step up and take the initiative, at least on your service games, you're going to run into a buzz saw.

Q. You came into the match, your game plan seemed to be stand back, get his serve back deep without too much pace on it, then wait for your opportunity to take charge of the point. But you never really...

VINCENT SPADEA: He served big. I mean, I'd be hard-pressed to say if -- I mean, that was probably one of the best matches he can play. I mean, you know, that's what makes him Andy Roddick, I think. It's not like I went out there and totally, you know, gave it up and just, you know, didn't compete or, you know, just missed every ball. I mean, I didn't make a lot of shots, but if you look at my stats, I had 13 winners, 11 unforced errors. It wasn't a spectacular showing, but it was good enough to stay in the match with a lot of players. It was just he was at such a high level, I had to stay at that level. I did when I played him in Arizona. He obviously learned from that match. He had a few different patterns on his service points. So if I'm leaning towards one way, he was going the next and, you know, my shots had nothing on him really.

Q. It was just surprising to see you beat in the backhand rallies.

VINCENT SPADEA: Exactly. That was the poorest point for the night for me, was that he was stepping up and hitting his backhand cross-court deeper and with more force and his down-the-line backhand. But any time I really hit the ball hard, he retrieved the ball fairly deep. He took the sting out of my shots, and, you know, my first step probably wasn't there. It definitely wasn't there. His shots were a lot more telling. But, you know, I feel like when I got to the net, I was a little more successful. But that's not my game style, to serve and volley. It was just a bad matchup for me tonight.

Q. Was Davis Cup in the back of your mind?

VINCENT SPADEA: No, I mean, no, Davis Cup, to me, you know, is a decision made by the captain. I try my best efforts and whether I win tonight or not, I didn't see it as proving a point to, you know, get me on the team. I mean, I've been through this many years now where I've been just missing the team over and over again for one reason or another. I don't think it has to do with one particular match, like tonight. So I didn't really expect any kind of favorable aftermath regardless of what happened tonight. I was just going out, trying to win my matches. I gave my best effort this tournament, what can I say?

Q. There was a long service game, eight deuces. Can that fire you up or does it wear you out?

VINCENT SPADEA: No, that's the kind of thing that can get my momentum going and maybe make him a little more nervous because he's starting to, you know, he knows that I'm starting to get my rhythm, hitting more balls on the court. But he kept the pressure on. I didn't have a breakpoint the whole match, I don't think. I hardly got to deuce. I hardly got to 30-all. For me, it was not a good returning match. For him, I thought it was a -- a great serving match for him. I wasn't at my best, and even if I was, I might have lost because he was really at his best.

Q. Looking forward now to that trip to foreign soil, are you going to try to stay in the United States on clay as much as possible before leaving for Europe?

VINCENT SPADEA: There's only one tournament, the US clay courts. I'm scheduled to play there. Then everything's in Europe after that. I'm supposed to be on the World Team Cup squad for the United States.

Q. You're going to do that?

VINCENT SPADEA: That's based on ranking, so... Yeah, I'm scheduled to play there with Fish, and I don't know who else is on the team. Then I'm playing Monte-Carlo, Italian Open, get my positioning up so that I can, you know, hopefully be seeded in one of these tournaments like the French Open.

Q. Do you want to play the week before the French Open?

VINCENT SPADEA: Do I want to? I wouldn't say it's -- it's not a level of tournament like this. It's a good event, a fun event. It's not worth like ranking points but it's pretty intense. But at the same time there's gonna be four or five guys on the team. We'll probably spread it thinner and get match play out of it. I don't think it's a curse or any kind of negative approach.

Q. Is this the kind of thing where you'll feel a whole lot better about this tournament in a couple of days when you look back on what you did?

VINCENT SPADEA: Yeah, it's been a long, draining event. That's what these events are about. That's why they get all the publicity and great players. They're just real challenging. I think I'll look back at some of the matches I can't even remember I played, to be honest with you. This is a tournament that actually goes longer than the average Tennis Masters Series so they kind of lay it out almost like a Grand Slam. So, you know, I think, you know, even in a Grand Slam, I don't know if you play that many players that I played in the compact, you know, like elite rankings that I did play. I played probably four or five guys in the Top 30, and I don't think, you know -- it's almost impossible to do that. If anything, I'd probably look at that as the most positive sign that if I can go through those type of guys on a consistent level, that that gives me a lot of confidence for the future.

Q. So you've got River Oaks, Houston.

VINCENT SPADEA: Yeah, Monte-Carlo, I'm scheduled to play every week until the French right now. That's not really what I want to be doing so...

Q. Not Hamburg or...?

VINCENT SPADEA: Possibly. Possibly not Hamburg. I'm playing Munich. Possibly not Munich. Possibly...

Q. Rome for sure?

VINCENT SPADEA: Rome I'd like to try to play well. The clay is a little faster. Hamburg is a real brutal event. But, you know, I think -- I'd like to see what the American record at Hamburg is in the history of the tournament (laughter). So I don't know if I want to change up the average there. But I'll probably stick with Italy.

Q. Going into the clay court season, you've got to be feeling pretty good. Your game adapts well to that surface. You've had a great few weeks here.

VINCENT SPADEA: Yeah, that's how I look at it. I'm going to go back, train hard, try to get fitter and give it my best for the clay court season. I had some real good highlights last year. I was in the semis in Monte-Carlo. I won a few matches at the French. I was close to doing better in a lot of the other tournaments. I feel like if I just take one step at a time, I could break through maybe one more time in the season, the next season.

Q. Your back's feeling good?

VINCENT SPADEA: Yeah, I feel physically pretty -- yeah, feeling solid.

Q. Is the clay season where your back really gets a test?

VINCENT SPADEA: Maybe with the sliding and, you know, the whole grind. But, you know, I mean clay is just an unbelievable physical like just -- it's just exhausting. French Open is probably the most physically challenging event in tennis. The other events, you know, being in Europe with the rain and all the heavy conditions, you know, I just think generally, you know, it's gonna hurt your body. For me, my back, it's not a killer but I'm holding up pretty well thanks to that yoga.

Q. Does it warm your heart a lot of people think you should be playing Davis Cup next week?

VINCENT SPADEA: Yeah. I had some people calling me and telling me that there are articles in the LA Times and over here and this place, that place, and this guy said this. Yeah, it's definitely encouraging. I mean, I've had a long personal journey, you know, a struggle in the last two years. Only I know what I've been going through. To see myself get to this position to date and to have people, you know, kind of applaud it and give me some support in terms of Davis Cup and generally, it's obviously something that keeps me going even stronger. You know, it's great that we're in the World Cup, we're in the World Group, and we're doing well. So the fact that it's US, such a great level of tennis, and I'm mentioned is even a better situation.

End of FastScripts….

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