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March 13, 2003

Vincent Spadea


MODERATOR: Vince advances to his fourth career Tennis Masters quarterfinal, one of three qualifiers in the quarterfinals as well. First time in tournament history we've had three qualifiers in the last eight. Questions for Vince.

Q. What kind of advantage has it been for you to go through qualifying and then playing in the main draw?

VINCE SPADEA: Well, it gave me confidence. I've won two matches in a row. I got used to the courts. You know, I just got used to the thin air and the circumstances, conditions in Indian Wells. Also I had a good win in my second round of qualifying against Norman. I'd lost to him in Tokyo last fall. I'd just beaten him in Memphis. I hadn't played him outdoor hard court in a while, since that loss. I think it was a good advantage to be in the qualifying. Also it's more straining, so there's possibly some negative aspects to it. I think momentum is a little bit more key. It's overriding the physical part of playing two extra matches.

Q. It's not often you're the oldest American left in a tournament and you have another four young American guys around you. Sort of a changing of the guard maybe?

VINCE SPADEA: It's been like that for a while. I didn't turn 28, you know, all of a sudden. It's just there are more players starting to take steps forward in bigger events. It's just showing that there's good tennis coming up in America. It also shows, you know, that the players that were older than me, that overshadowed me always in these premiere rounds, aren't either playing or aren't here. So it makes it like I'm the oldest one around. But I'm a bit in between at this point.

Q. What do you think of, outside of Andy and Blake, some of these other young guys, Vahaly, Ginepri?

VINCE SPADEA: Obviously they're playing good tennis this week. They've been showing some good, consistent results. They played well in challengers the last year and a half. I've seen them, because I was in those trenches myself at the same time. Obviously, they're groundstrokers. I think it's more of a demand as a groundstroker to make it big, so it's hard to tell what their potential ultimately is. Just like my career went, you know, I had real flashes where I had incredible tennis for weeks at a time, and then I had some inconsistency which brought me to the point where I wasn't a premiere American player like the elite that you always hear about. They're still going to have to stand the test of making those jumps into the Top 40, Top 30, Top 20, like Roddick has done, like Blake is pursuing, like I did actually. Self-boast.

Q. Talk specifically about your opponent Brian Vahaly. What are your thoughts on him?

VINCE SPADEA: He's a groundstroker, he's a good player, a good competitor, he moves well. He's obviously on, the same way I am this week. So it's going to be a good match-up. We've had basically similar roads to this match. We both started in the qualifying. I played him in Adelaide this year. I lost to him like a month ago or two. You know, obviously anything can happen. I'm not going to take him lightly or I'm not going to overrate him, as well. I'm just going to go into the match and figure a strategy to hopefully be victorious.

Q. What are your thoughts about his backhand (inaudible) almost as good or just as good?

VINCE SPADEA: I get the point. Yeah, for sure, I've practiced with him many times. I've played him once. Yeah, I think he has a very solid backhand. He's obviously hitting his forehand well enough to get to this point. He's had pretty good wins here. It's not exactly a total fluke. You know, these tournaments are long and arduous. Until Sunday it's really going to be a test for whoever gets to that point. Going to see if his backhand can take him to that point. I have a backhand, too, but we'll see what happens. Tennis is about a lot of different elements to be winning in these kinds of tournaments.

Q. Do you find it surprising that in a tournament of this quality you should be playing a qualifier in the quarterfinals? Of course, you're a qualifier, too.

VINCE SPADEA: It's a surprise. It happens. There have been times where the qualifier went all the way to the final in this size of a tournament. Max Mirnyi did it in Stuttgart just a year or two ago. I'm sure it's happened before. I can't recall off the top of my head. It's maybe a little bit unusual that two qualifiers are playing each other at that advanced stage, and then there's another one playing in another match. Like Greg said, it's an historic milestone there for that. But, yeah, I mean obviously I expect to play a seed or one of the players that lost, a Ferrero, someone who is actually favored to win here. So it creates a lot of excitement, I think, maybe as an American fan, to expect someone's going to be in the semis and possibly the finals, and who knows what after that. There's also a couple Americans left like Blake. But qualifiers are making this tournament exciting and unpredictable. I guess that's the way tennis is going right now.

Q. How good does it feel for you to be playing consistently well now month after month where you're pretty much in the mix?

VINCE SPADEA: Well, it's uplifting, it's satisfying. I've been working hard, I've been working towards these goals. I have a long way to go before I really want to sit back and reflect on all my achievements. I feel like I just need to continue working and getting the most out of what my abilities are. It's positive to already be in a quarterfinal in San Jose. I mean, I did have the chickenpox in January, so that month was a little bit, you know, I wasn't able to compete really. I did try to compete, which I didn't -- I wasn't successful. Besides that month, I think I've put matches together. I was in the semifinals of Tokyo last fall. I think that was the start of a sign where I'm playing better and better. But it's a very good feeling, of course.

Q. Any kind of superstitions this week?

VINCE SPADEA: No, I don't totally believe in superstitions. I believe in being confident in what you're trying to do, getting back to what you've trained for. I don't believe in doing extreme things. I think if you keep your regimen and your schedule every day moderate, focused on the goals, it's fine. But superstitions, I don't think I have too many. I'm sure I have a few I don't even realize. I don't get too caught up with it because it becomes an extreme mental side. As much as it can help you, it can block your ways of thinking. You never want to be blocked.

End of FastScripts….

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