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June 26, 2000

Vincent Spadea


MODERATOR: Questions, please.

VINCENT SPADEA: Here I am, six months. It was worth the wait, huh, people?

Q. Tell us about the feeling.

VINCENT SPADEA: Well, it doesn't ever come until the time when you're not ready for it. Then all of a sudden you're just like, "Oh, my gosh, what's happened to me?" But it was outrageous. I thought I won 16 times, man. I felt like freaking -- the guy got every first serve in. You know, it's great. It's a great time. I was doing everything I could out there. Hey, I'm still here. I'm in London. You can call me if you want.

Q. What was it like to go through that whole period without winning and now today to finally do it? What is that feeling?

VINCENT SPADEA: Not winning for a while, then winning today?

Q. Yes.

VINCENT SPADEA: Well, I just wait for like the big occasions. I'm just that big hype. I don't know. It's been a rough year. It's been a rough patch in my life in tennis - let's say that. Hey, you know, it didn't really faze me so much. I was trying to enjoy my life a little more, trying to improve my tennis game. Not going in the right direction, everything wasn't clicking. I put things together. I competed well today. It's a big win, no? What do you guys think? This is Wimbledon, you know.

Q. When you're going through a run like that, you look at Wimbledon first round, you see Greg Rusedski, do you think, "What's going to go good for me this year?"

VINCENT SPADEA: That's a very difficult situation. I usually address -- I mean, I can do anything usually, I think, if I put my mind to it. I was going to be on the court. I knew there would be TV there, people there. They're all going to talk about what I've been doing. It was going to put a microscope on me, too. With a guy who is a great grass court player, and my record on grass, it just made it so much more adverse. There was a lot of uncertainty. Hey, man, you've just got to go out and do it. I'm not scared of anyone, you know. I can lose to anyone, but I can go out and battle. Because I got game, and if I know how to put it, my man Pat Cash helped me a bit the last month serving and volleying, just creating a lot of confidence, at least to compete and stay close in these matches. That's what it's all about, you know. Here I am.

Q. What was the lowest point in this stretch?

VINCENT SPADEA: If I had lost this match, that would have been the lowest point. I was thinking, "Holy goodness, where do I go from here?" I'm going to be in Europe until I win a match, I told my family. My parents left. My parents went home two days ago. I think they saw the draw and said, "Vince, man, good luck to you, boy. Just use that racquet speed, but I don't know if that will help you." They're in Miami, you know, on the Internet breaking that keyboard.

Q. If you're still here next week when Gary gets here, are you planning on meeting him?

VINCENT SPADEA: I'm planning on having coffee with him, getting a wildcard with doubles.

Q. Were you playing badly through this streak or was it the combination of things that got out of control?

VINCENT SPADEA: I wasn't playing poorly. I just felt like I had a great year last year, but I needed to continue to add some things to get to even a further level. I just wasn't sure on how to do it. I just wasn't that organized. I just tried -- it's difficult to improve, you know. Look at how close these matches are, to know if you're really playing better. But, I mean, I was losing three sets every week for a while, then I'd kind of get down and lose a really bad match, try to keep practising. I swear, I've been practising, I've been in the gym since day one, man. Since December I've been ready for a big year. Hey, if it doesn't come, it's meaningless. You've got to work with what you've got, appreciate what you got, forget about the other crap, just go out. Every week's an opportunity. Just have be like a street fighter out there. This is how we all started, with nothing.

Q. Are you fatalistic at all when he starts getting key points on net cords, stretch block return that wound up being a break? Were you beginning to think, "Am I going to lose this?"

VINCENT SPADEA: It was so difficult. I'm starting to think there's no such thing as fate, man. You create it. Gee, when he was 8-7, 7-6, I was just like, "Hey, man, I can't believe life works this unfair." I would have taken the loss. I would have battled. I would have gone out and trained tomorrow, you know. What's it all worth anyway, you know?

Q. At the end of the match, you're standing there looking around at the crowd, couple different directions, what was that all about?

VINCENT SPADEA: After the match?

Q. Yes.

VINCENT SPADEA: I was just trying to enjoy the moment and give myself a good reward for the accomplishment I made today. I think the crowd kind of appreciated it, too. We're entertaining and we're out there fighting like gladiators out there. I just feel like the crowd deserves some kind of communication, as well. It's what it's all about, just kind of being a real person, you know, showing your emotions, doing what you feel. It was enjoyable. I don't know if I did anything good or bad.

Q. What did you make of Greg's game?

VINCENT SPADEA: I mean, I have no opinion. I thought -- I mean, he plays a straightforward game all the time, it's serve-and-volley. He's been a top player for a long time. On grass, I wasn't sure. You know, I just had a game plan. I wanted to try to come in. But I thought he played all right. The second game of the match I think it was a little bit dodgey when he gave me all those double-faults. But it was slow conditions at first. He might have tried to go for more since I return well. Hey, I can't really discuss about how I played, how he played. It was just a battle. I don't know if he had a good or bad day.

Q. The quality of the match really picked up after the rain delay. Both of you were hitting very well, very entertaining points in the last two sets. Why did it pick up so much?

VINCENT SPADEA: I just figured we were a little nervous. I was nervous. I hadn't been in that situation. This is like Wimbledon. That court is, you know, a big stadium. I didn't hit the ball great until -- I just felt like he was going to raise his level. He was definitely going to be kicking himself because I basically should have been up two sets. It was somewhat routine. But he broke me, so he was going to be motivated to get his level like much higher. I knew I had to do that. When he's playing at a high level, you know, I'm going to have to just scrape.

Q. Did any other players or McEnroe make any funny comments to you?

VINCENT SPADEA: McEnroe hugged me. I felt like my kid was born or something, gee. You know what I mean? Thhat was a great feeling, man. My friends helped me throughout this week. I have some friends here. John Skelly (ph), a guy who has been a friend for a number of years. I mean, I haven't seen many people. Not a lot of people stuck around. We have some Florida reporters here. They've been watching me here, Charles. I guess that's about it, security guard was like clapping, carried my bag.

Q. Are you still working with Cashy here?

VINCENT SPADEA: Cashy has some commitments here, but I have been contacting him frequently, having a lot of tennis sessions with him. He's not in the seat where I'm playing or at every one of my practises, but he's been very generous. It's been an amazing experience to work with someone of that playing stature. He's been willing to help. You know, it's not like an every-second thing, but he's definitely changed my outlook in grass court tennis.

Q. Do you feel like a major weight has been removed? You've been carrying around this tag, Vince Spadea, the guy who hasn't won?

VINCENT SPADEA: Yeah, I guess it's a major weight taken off me. I wasn't sweating it. Everyone was making a big deal of it. Three of the losses out of the 21 I wasn't exactly too into it. I didn't even expect them to count it. I wasn't even counting anyway, gee. Brought a calculator.

Q. Does this feel almost like you've won a tournament?

VINCENT SPADEA: This would be a big win if I've had a great year so far. It's difficult. I'm not even analyzing the monkey that I had on my back. I mean, you know, I'm just focused on the fact that this will be a great memory, no matter what happened to me this year. The more I think about it, the more difficult it is to overcome it. That's why I was just trying to rip.

Q. Did you ever hit a lob winner on the seat of your pants? Is that a first-timer?

VINCENT SPADEA: Well, what do you mean? In the tiebreaker? Those tiebreakers, just think about that, you're up 4-2 in both tiebreakers to close out the match. You know, it just escapes from you. Then I'm up a break. There's a lot of adversity there. I got a lot of like character. Now if I can get my game up there, we got a big thing going there, South Florida.

Q. How many match points did you have during the streak?

VINCENT SPADEA: Match points? Like to win a match? I didn't really have any, I don't think. I served a couple times for the match. I won the first set. Last week I lost 7-5 in the third. I served for the match in Monte-Carlo. I mean, I've been injured, too, you know. I haven't even brought that into play because it sounds like an excuse. Basically if you go on the court, you know, you're saying that you're ready to play. I pulled out of a number of tournaments in the spring. It was just difficult to get my game back and my confidence.

Q. Have you thought about going to challengers like Agassi to get the win and the confidence?

VINCENT SPADEA: Yeah. I mean, I'll probably -- I mean, who knows? I'll play a Challenger if I'm Top 10. A Challenger is good, I've got to get my doubles back. I was thinking about it. I'm still thinking about it. I don't know. You got to take one tournament at a time. I mean, look at the matches I lost, and I'm still ranked like 60. Agassi, I think he was ranked like even lower than that. It's pretty crazy that I'm still getting into tournaments. It's like I'm a non-player until today. I'm like everyone else in the tennis parks and so on. No points on the board. That's kind of a degrading feeling. Hey, I know what I'm all about inside.

End of FastScripts….

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