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March 20, 2003

Vincent Spadea


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. How hot was it?

VINCENT SPADEA: It was very hot. I was pacing myself and trying to give him all the energy I had. But it was a hot day, and the wind didn't help much. I'm from Florida, so what I say counts.

Q. How much did you have left in the tank?

VINCENT SPADEA: You go in cycles during matches. Sometimes you feel like you have nothing left, and you really have a lot more than you think. Sometimes you feel like you have a lot and you're really phasing out. But not every point is long and grueling. You have time to rest in between points in matches, in games. So I feel like I had enough to play out there. It wasn't three-out-of-five. It wasn't red clay. It could have been worse circumstances.

Q. Did you need some fluids afterwards?

VINCENT SPADEA: Yeah, definitely. It's hard to stay totally hydrated during a match like that. You have to just make sure you prepare well and drink efficiently during it, and those measures should be enough to get you through. Afterwards, I've been feeling pretty well.

Q. You had some great wins here. Do you have good memories of playing here: Rafter, Kafelnikov? Good memories of playing this tournament?

VINCENT SPADEA: Absolutely. It's one of my greatest tournaments in my career. Every time I've played here, I've had a favorable showing more times than not. I've beaten a lot of Top 10 players, I've beaten a lot of Top 50 players. I've had a lot of success in this particular event. So I come with a lot of confidence every time I play out, no matter what court I'm on. It's a difficult tournament because there's so many top players in it, and you have to play them consecutively usually. So, yeah, I'm excited to be here again.

Q. You talked about what this tournament means to you. What has this journey meant to you, getting back in the Top 50, having some success over the last couple years?

VINCENT SPADEA: It's meant a lot. I've had to work really hard. It's times like this week and this year, actually, that I'm going to take full advantage of what I've done in the past two years. It wasn't easy to get up and back into playing smaller events and trying to gain my ranking spot slowly. Now that I've started to make some bigger headway, I feel like I need to take advantage of it. But I'm enjoying the challenges every day. I'm not putting too much pressure on myself. But it's been difficult.

Q. Inspiration during that time? Where did you go for inspiration? What did you think about? Who did you talk to?

VINCENT SPADEA: I was working with a -- I started working with a few new people that I hadn't really had contact with. One guy who worked on my tennis, one guy who is a tennis psychologist, one, I worked with a fitness program. I started getting all my details organized, where I was going to play and who I was going to work with. That kind of got me started and inspired. Because when you start having new situations involved, it makes you excited about what's happening. Also, I came down to a very low point, which is kind of what made me get to that decision-making, and being proactive and more of an adamant attitude about the whole thing. That was actually at the US Open in 2000 -- I think it was one, 2001. I had lost last round of qualifying and I felt like things weren't changing and things weren't going in the right direction. Because I had already started to play a few challengers throughout 2001 to try to get my comeback going, and it wasn't going. So I needed to make more of a radical commitment rather than just, "I'll do what I used to do in the past and maybe it will click."

Q. I think you said part of that is sports psychology. Who was the sports psychologist?

VINCENT SPADEA: A guy named Dr. John Murray. He's out of Boca Raton, Palm Beach. He's worked with football teams, he's worked with some Olympic athletes. He was in my hometown, and I don't know how exactly I got the name, I just kind of fell into it or something. But the idea was that the people I surround myself with were very enthusiastic, very passionate about tennis, about gaining, you know, just getting better. I was kind of like at the stale mode where I'd been in the Top 20, I'd made a little bit of money, I had done some things that were satisfactory in my opinion, but things were just at a very low point and I had to make a decision whether I wanted to just faze out and just kind of linger at that ranking, or if I wanted to make a commitment. So I got new energetic people involved. In the case of the sports psychologist, he's really -- he's kind of just starting out, so he was just really excited about it. Sometimes you need younger, motivated people to get you started.

Q. After last week you must feel like you're ready to contend at Masters Series events and some of the majors, Slams and stuff after a semi last week?

VINCENT SPADEA: It definitely was a good showing. It showed me and the people out in the tennis world, maybe as well as the players, that I can compete in these major events. I was in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. That was as deep as I ever got in the Grand Slam. I made the fourth round a couple times. So I had small indications that I could get at least into the second week of those type of tournaments. But at the same time, I don't want to disillusion myself and take it further that I'm going to be at that stage every week and every Slam. I have to realize what hard work I had to get through to get to that semifinal last week, and apply that same tactics and measures to the upcoming events starting here and throughout the year. And, of course, I think my game is improving, so I think things are going in the right direction to possibly have a similar result or maybe even better.

Q. You had some disappointing results in Delray. You go out, you qualify in Indian Wells, then you end up in the semifinals. What do you think you credit the most, you know, being able to turn that around in such a short period of time?

VINCENT SPADEA: That was a difficult situation. I'd given my best at Delray. I was trying to perform as best as I could. A lot of times I went into Delray somewhat injured, somewhat lackluster in my approach. And that particular event, which is my hometown event, never really had a commitment to that event until this year. So when I went out there and I played a great first round, and the second round I, in a lot of ways, got outplayed. My effort was there, so my resolve was just to be positive and say, "This guy played very well," and, "I'll have to accept it and move on and next week I have an opportunity that I have nothing to lose." Because my coaching is out in LA, so I felt like I was going to go to LA for a week no matter the result in Indian Wells. I could either get more coaching from this guy that I've been working with or see how the tournament with. But the idea was that I did perform well in Delray, even though it was a disappointing end result. It just came about that sometimes your best tennis is in the week that you don't expect it. That's why it's -- sports is the way it is.

Q. When you're out on the court, your frame of mind, how would you describe it now compared with when you were really struggling? I would assume it's night and day?

VINCENT SPADEA: It was night -- it is night and day. It's just, like I said before, I made this commitment to work with new people and have a new attitude. At the end of 2001, I started playing in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and that first match was a total different Vince Spadea from what had happened the year, year and a half before that. So I would say the right mentality and attitude's been going on since that match until now, and that's what's helped me, that's what's made tournaments like last week and this week easier to focus and easier to make good things happen, because it's been a consistent attitude for over a year now. It took all that time for me to make those decisions and those focuses right.

Q. Are we talking about confidence, just enjoying the process of being out there, the process of competing?

VINCENT SPADEA: Yeah. Confidence, knowing what kind of game plan you want to play, what kind of shots you're going to work on. Because when you're out there, it's winning or losing. That can be a lot of pressure. If you're confident in what you're working on and what your goals are, that can make a big difference in the way you're relaxed out there and confident with what you're trying to do on the performance court.

End of FastScripts….

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