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March 29, 2004

Vincent Spadea


THE MODERATOR: Vince has now won nine of his last ten matches, moves into the Round of 16 where he'll take on the winner of Srichaphan-Monaco. Questions for Vince?

Q. Was it difficult to play the match after finding out, getting the word from Patrick, that you weren't on the Davis Cup? Or did that matter at all?

VINCENT SPADEA: I don't think it mattered that much. I wasn't expecting him to put me on the team, so it wasn't a huge drop-off of what I was perceiving. But, you know, he made some encouraging comments, obviously. We had a good conversation. It wasn't like it was just a downer. It was just, you know, we just confronted the subject because he was going to announce the team. Then I was on my way to play, you know, after that.

Q. Did he at all leave open the possibility of including you on the team if, let's say, you won this tournament?

VINCENT SPADEA: I think, yeah, obviously I don't think anything's etched in stone, even though today was an announcement. If I was to make a good run here and things were to change, and, you know, there's always a possibility -- there's other teams they put five guys -- they name five players in case if somebody's hurt or something like that.

Q. They could just substitute somebody.

VINCENT SPADEA: Yeah, I don't even know the exact technicalities of it. But I think there was some, you know, he alluded to the fact a little bit.

Q. The fact that he told you, do you take that as a measure of respect?

VINCENT SPADEA: Actually, I didn't know that he phoned me or not. I talked to him in person this morning. I haven't been in touch with my cell phone.

Q. He talked to you.

VINCENT SPADEA: Yeah. That was a very professional and I thought it was a positive move on his part and my part. It was, you know, it showed me that he's taking notice that I'm, you know, making a good comeback and that I have a good streak going here.

Q. On to today's match, it's a very unusual player, Stepanek. Kind of an unorthodox game.

VINCENT SPADEA: Yeah. I lost to him the last time I played him, about two years ago. I knew he was going to be, you know, very versatile and kind of unpredictable and depending on what the conditions were like, which in Florida, it's versatile and unpredictable, so the combination of those two, I knew would be a tough match. I just felt like I started the match off well. I was trying just to keep him back and not let him attack. But he served fairly well. He was competing well. I didn't hit the ball the best I've ever hit, you know, but against a guy like that, you might not be able to. It's almost back in the days when, you know, you play those guys that give you no rhythm, a la Brad Gilbert type of tennis. But these are the kind of challenges you get through to get to a deep end of a tournament like this. You play guys who hit the ball one-dimensionally and then play guys who make you feel kind of like lackluster, like, "Where am I going from here?" But I had my game plan. I just tried to stick to it. I got lucky and I also played -- earned it, too.

Q. Patrick repeatedly used the word "young." He kept bringing up that Mardy is 22, that I'm looking for a "young team" that can grow together. Your age is the one thing you can't do anything about. How do you feel?

VINCENT SPADEA: That's true. I mean, I feel like if I was 22 right now, you know, maybe the decision would have been even more difficult, not necessarily would have changed. But at the same time, Mardy is technically ranked higher. He's been playing well. So it doesn't seem unrealistic. But at the same time, I feel like, you know, if given the fact that I've been on the tour and that my age is probably working against me in cases in general, I feel like I'd have to be playing at a decent level above the players that he's trying to group into the young guns. I guess that makes sense. I mean, if Andre wanted to play, I don't think he would have been emphasizing the word "young" so much as, "What am I going to do to get a team to win?"

Q. Well, there are certain professions or situations where age confers status; that the experience gains good. The fact that you've been around and come back from what would have been considered a positive thing. Do you think age should have been a factor in the decision, I'm just wondering?

VINCENT SPADEA: Not necessarily. I don't know if, you know, that's -- I don't want to tap into a subject that's not -- maybe not relevant. It's more of who's playing good tennis and who he feels is gonna get the job done to win. That's his job, is to get a job done and to get to the next round. And if I haven't shown enough from the results point of view to be on that team, then I don't think the ages would be that big a deal. But at the same time, you know, he's looking for something for the future. That might be a little bit much, to be emphasizing it.

Q. In all candor, could you see yourself at the Delray Beach tennis center April 9th, 10th, and 11th, rooting for the US team?

VINCENT SPADEA: You know, he just proposed something possibly like that today and I didn't feel like -- I have a commitment that week, and obviously I can get out of it if I'm going to be named to the team. It's just going to be based on what the circumstances are. But, yeah, I mean, you know, it just depends on how he's going to approach -- if he does want to pick more than just the four players. But I don't know if I can answer that. I've been a practice partner seven years ago, I'm not in that group anymore. But at the same time, you know, I always want to be supportive of my country, you know, representing it in tennis. So I feel like if I can do something, even if it's out of my way to help out, then that would be a considerable possibility. But at the same time, I do have a prior commitment that -- you know, like a contractual type thing , but at the same time, it can be -- it's sought after, this tournament. I don't know how to say it.

Q. Will Sam scout your next opponent?

VINCENT SPADEA: Will he? Yeah. Have they played yet? I've played Paradorn several times and this other player, he definitely should scout because he's a newcomer and a new name. Is he from Argentina?

Q. Yes.

VINCENT SPADEA: Yeah, so, you know, he's gonna be someone to scout. That's if he wins. So we just got to see what happens there and then just work on a game plan. I don't know if it's gonna be tomorrow or the day after.



Q. Not that you need any more motivation, but can you kind of look at it like, "I'm just going to see how far I can go this second week just to make that fifth spot on the Davis Cup team a certainty"?

VINCENT SPADEA: Well, I mean, I don't necessarily feel like, you know, every match that I play here is geared towards, you know, proving something. I feel like I'm trying to prove something to myself. I mean, I made two semifinals in Tennis Masters Series, you know, last year within a month or two of each other. And, you know, I didn't participate in any Davis Cup tie there. So, you know, that's a pretty significant result. So, you know, anything that I do here, I think, is just going to be a great achievement for me. And then that could be an additional bonus, if that's just the way it's going to work out. But it's not like I'm focused on winning this tournament so that I could be on the Davis Cup team. I mean, being on the Davis Cup team is more of a permanent, you know, goal that you always want to be seeking after. But it's not -- I don't know if you can base it just on one event. But, you know, stranger things have happened. Like you said, overnight wins can turn things around, you know so... But I don't think it's in the front part of my mind.

End of FastScripts….

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