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March 25, 2004

Vincent Spadea


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How hard was that wait?

VINCENT SPADEA: How hard was what?

Q. That 4 hour, 51 minute wait?

VINCENT SPADEA: Oh, was that how hard it was? It didn't seem that long. I just stayed in the locker room. Was like no windows, no -- just total, you know, time passed fairly fast for five hours. But it wasn't -- it was long and unpredictable. Every time they got you to get ready once it stopped, then it restarted raining. That was the difficult part. I was trying to eat something. When they tell you you're going to be on in 30 minutes, then you don't eat, it rains again.

Q. You were down 5-2 after losing a set. What went through your head there?

VINCENT SPADEA: Yeah, I gave everything I had in the 4-2 game. That game lasted 10, 15 minutes. I knew he had to work for it, and I was just trying to make him hit a couple extra balls. The wind was really difficult tonight. I mean, it was hard to hit through it. It was hard to hit around it. It was just kind of something you needed to fight through. At 5-3, I hit a couple more shots aggressively, trying to hit it lower so the wind doesn't play as much of a factor. I hit a couple good passing shots. I hadn't passed him well the whole match. He was kind of hitting and slicing and dicing and just throwing balls at me and coming in. I really didn't have a great rhythm and he was playing the wind better than I was. He was going for his shots. But as far as the comeback was concerned, I think the 4-2 game I think it presented him with more of a challenge, at least for the last two games. It was my last resort, so just hung in there. It's happened to me before. I played in this court probably five years ago against Kafelnikov, lost the first-set tiebreaker. I was down I think 5-4, he was serving for it, or 6-5, came back on the tiebreaker. Same type of situation: Late-night match. Just sort of kind of reinstated myself in that situation.

Q. Was this win maybe Davis Cup implications here or was that decided?

VINCENT SPADEA: Any time you play Americans, we're all ranked 30, 35, 40.

Q. Close.

VINCENT SPADEA: Yeah, I mean, a match here and there is always going to be a lot of competition for something like that. But, I mean, obviously it's how I fare the rest of the tournament and how the captain feels about each and every player.

Q. Have you heard from Patrick McEnroe?

VINCENT SPADEA: I saw him last week just to say hi and things like that. I'm always friendly with him regardless of what's going on. But, you know, I'm just going about my business. I had a lot of hard work ahead of me and behind me, so...

Q. Did you say, "Hey, I'd like to play?" Did he say, "I'm giving you some thought?"

VINCENT SPADEA: We haven't addressed that situation at all. I haven't talked to him.

Q. Does that disappoint you, you won the title, you're playing well?

VINCENT SPADEA: No, it doesn't disappoint me greatly. I just felt like he's got to make the decision that wins him the matches. And whatever he feels is right. Obviously, I'm going to be in contention. I don't think he's just totally overlooking me. Same time, he has a young team that he's devised for the last year or so. He likes to stick to his guns in that respect, the younger guns. Obviously, if Andre stepped up and said he would want to play, I think things would change. You know, if someone could play at a higher level than what the younger guys are playing, except for Andy, he's always playing, then I think he would make a decision in that respect. But as long as I'm, you know, kind of here and there with these guys, it's gonna be tough. He has to go with his gut feeling, you know what I mean? Basically what I'm saying is I have to be playing almost head and shoulders against some of these peers of mine. We're all kind of in the same -- they have the experience. There's no doubt I have the momentum right now over some of the guys, so... That's definitely making the decision more difficult.

Q. When he was getting frustrated with some of those calls, does that distract you at all?

VINCENT SPADEA: Well, he had a little bit of a dispute that carried away, I think, that carried on a bit. But I think he was frustrated. The wind can make you feel like the ball is landing in; at the last second, it kind of sneaks out. You don't know which way the wind's gonna take the ball. When it's a close point, you're always gonna hope it's in and coerce it to being in, in your brain, whether it was in or not.

Q. Can you talk about winning your first tournament. Did you think it would never come? Is it a relief?

VINCENT SPADEA: I wasn't sure if it was gonna come. I always had this like everyone talking to me about it, "Oh, it's not big a deal." It's not like I -- I was a Top 10 player. I think I remember Pioline or something was Top 10 or 5 player, was in the finals of even a Grand Slam or something, to the point where he wasn't winning a lot of titles. I don't remember if he won any. Obviously, he ended up winning a bunch. It's not on my mind that much. I felt like when I made the semis in Indian Wells and Monte-Carlo, I felt like points, ATP ranking points-wise and even monetary purposes, it was a little more lucrative than winning a title. So I was always kind of using that as a scapegoat. Deep down inside, I took it upon myself to make it a priority, and especially -- last year and this year it happened to come. So that's one great accomplishment for me, to stick to what I'm trying to pursue even if it doesn't happen over a year's time.

Q. Where is that trophy?

VINCENT SPADEA: It's in my sister's apartment in LA. Haven't even hung it up yet.

Q. Why not in Boca?

VINCENT SPADEA: I use her place as a home base, too. I can't be biased. She's my sister.

Q. Which sister?

VINCENT SPADEA: My younger sister.

Q. Leanne?

VINCENT SPADEA: Yeah, plus carrying it and traveling with it is kind of difficult. I've been traveling a lot with a lot of bags. As long as it's in good hands, I think I'm comfortable with it.

Q. That is Leanne, right?

VINCENT SPADEA: Diana. A lot of the latest work that I've been doing, I think that I accomplished to win the title, was done on the west coast.

Q. What did you do during the five-hour rain delay? What were you doing to pass the time?

VINCENT SPADEA: I really didn't do anything. I really was going stir crazy. I kind of like was in the back just eating, you know, energy bars and kind of stretching and sitting by myself. Just, I mean, when it's 5-all in the tiebreaker, you're a little bit like overthinking what you could have done or what you can do and what's gonna happen and you want to make sure you're, you know, ready to go. And at first, it was just a very light rain. It was almost like arguable that we stopped in the first place. It wasn't like I was really prepared for a long delay. Once it got that long, I didn't feel like going out in the open where 8 million people would have been like, "Hey, do this, do that, what happened on this point?" I just wanted to be to myself until the match was over. That way, I would know that at least I gave my -- my best shot, and I wouldn't regret something, you know, I wouldn't feel like -- I would feel like I'd done a good job, focused, and just kept to myself. I got a massage, like five minutes, loosened up my back or something like that. Just productive things, not whatever.

Q. Is it good or bad to play such a hard match for the first-round match, to be such a tough match with such long tiebreakers and all this stuff?

VINCENT SPADEA: It can be good, you know. I mean, tiebreakers are really close and can go either way. It kind of makes you tough maybe for the rest of the tournament. You know, it's -- I think it just gets me confidence. He's a tough player. I think people were talking about he's one of the toughest first rounds. Because we both were very close to being seeded, so it was, you know, it was kind of an unfortunate draw for both of us. But it was something that maybe we can take, you know, learn from it and use it to our advantage. I mean, me more so because I have to play on. But it's still, you know, a big challenge. I don't mind it. I mean, sometimes it makes you tougher for the future.

Q. And you have Safin next, is that right?


THE MODERATOR: Never played him, right?

VINCENT SPADEA: I don't think so. Not that I can remember. I'm getting to the point where I forget stuff (smiling).

THE MODERATOR: We'll look it up to double-check. Thanks, Vince.

End of FastScripts….

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