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September 2, 1999

Vincent Spadea

1999 U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Flushing Meadows, New York

USTA: Questions, please?

Q. Are you physically drained at this point? That was a heck of a match.

VINCENT SPADEA: Yeah -- wait one second. (Laughter.)

Q. Were you choking?

VINCENT SPADEA: Yeah, any time you are out for a long time playing and running, it's physically draining.

Q. You didn't think it would be --

VINCENT SPADEA: No, I don't feel I need this right now. But, no. I'm cool.

Q. After he got a visit from the trainer, did you get too careful with him for a while?

VINCENT SPADEA: The first time?

Q. Yes.

VINCENT SPADEA: With the ankle?

Q. Yes.

VINCENT SPADEA: No. That's when I was in control. I won the first set and I won the second set. I was up at break in the second; won a tiebreaker. So I wasn't being too careful, I don't think, because he was playing, it seemed like, 1,000 percent. Didn't have any liability or anything, so I felt like I just played my game.

Q. What were you thinking at Love-40 in the final game?

VINCENT SPADEA: I said maybe I have a chance to break him for the match.

Q. No. I mean you're serving for the match.

VINCENT SPADEA: That's what I was thinking.

Q. Oh, I see.

VINCENT SPADEA: I was thinking I might as well just hit hard serves, as my serve is bigger than it used to be.

Q. You had ten Aces. Is that about average now? Or above?

VINCENT SPADEA: I had ten Aces for the match?

Q. That's what the stats said.

VINCENT SPADEA: That's a little bit low, I think, for that kind of match. I think he returned pretty exceptional for a guy who was known maybe to play on clay. I wasn't too sure about that. But my serve, I mean, it definitely helped me in a lot of ways, and, you know, I lost my serve, too. He returned well. He broke the guy the first day a lot, he's one of the best servers.

Q. Did you adjust anything in your game? What were you thinking after the fourth set? You seemed to have come alive more right away in the fifth; and also maybe in contrast to that, what did you think about in the fourth? Do you think your game was flatter or did he have a better game?

VINCENT SPADEA: He played pretty solid the whole match. I kind of was playing a lot of defense, and I was trying to play offense but it wasn't as effective. So I felt like in the fifth I needed to just hit the ball hard and come in and -- because, I mean, you start losing a little bit of energy, too, as the match goes on. But the fourth set, he played well. And he wasn't -- he was mixing up a lot of defensive shots, and then it would be attacking, but not a lot of forced errors. So it made it difficult.

Q. Although the results were different, compare or contrast physically how you feel after this match with Chang '96.

VINCENT SPADEA: It's similar, I think. That match reminded me of that match in a way. But physically, I mean, Chang was a ground-stroker. And the other guy, the guy I played, was a ground-stroker. So it takes a lot out of you. I don't play that many short points, but that's my game, and I have a day to recover.

Q. Do you feel fitter now than you did three years ago with Chang?

VINCENT SPADEA: Yeah, I think I'm fitter, definitely. I'm better and fitter and I'm not a quitter. (Laughter.)

Q. Was the Lapentti match at all on your mind?

VINCENT SPADEA: Lapentti match?

Q. Yes. Has this began to slip away?

VINCENT SPADEA: A little bit. Yeah. It was slipping away, but I mean Lapentti played good tennis, better tennis than I did, at the last minute, and this guy was playing tough, too. So, I mean, you have to analyze what the situation is. I mean, but against Lapentti, honestly I was in like a lot of pain, my foot; whereas, today, I was just tired. That was like more the opposite goal and the opponent. So I felt like it was a little bit easier -- with Lapentti, I was tired and he was difficult and I had a lot of pain. It's difficult when you're playing with pain to add on to a dramatic situation.

Q. There was a buzz to the crowd at that match as it was going on and afterwards, a genuine appreciation for what you guys put on, how long you played. Can you sense that? How much do you appreciate the way they applauded you coming off the court?

VINCENT SPADEA: Yes. They were -- it was an unbelievable feeling during the end and when it finished. But I think maybe it's the style game that we both had that made everyone really interested, and it wasn't like -- it was a very even match, and we were playing long points, and they could see the effort that it took for us to just win a point. So I think that enhanced their motivation.

Q. Nottingham, what happened there?

VINCENT SPADEA: Is that who I played? Well, we were on the grass, grass infield. And he's playing well. He's in the third round. I lost in three sets to him there. That's what happened.

Q. Normally, that's the kind of player you like, isn't it? Give you a target at the net?

VINCENT SPADEA: Yeah. My passing shots are my strengths, but every match is a different match with contrasted styles.

Q. Are you happy with the way you played today overall, or do you feel like you should have played better?

VINCENT SPADEA: I'm not sure. I haven't analyzed it. I thought I was playing as best as I could. I don't know if I executed as well as I have against other players, but, you know, some circumstances creep in and you don't really know.

Q. Vinny, after the cramping episode, comes back on court and he hit a couple of frame returns, second serves --


Q. He did.

VINCENT SPADEA: He did or I did?

Q. You did.


Q. Just tiredness?

VINCENT SPADEA: Sometimes you're not as sharp on your shots at the time. Plus, I didn't want to spend a lot of energy to try to break him again in the third. If it came with some easier points, fine, but I needed to save the energy for my service games.

Q. Vincent, knowing that Canas defeated Henman the way he did, you knew that he was going to give you a tough match, that he was going to play on this high level that both of you play on.

VINCENT SPADEA: Yeah. He beat the No. 5 seed, I think. Obviously, he was playing at a high level. I didn't see any of the match. I was unsure. I've practiced with Canas before, but I have never played him; so I didn't know what to expect. But he played well, I think, for what he's ranked. I don't know what he's ranked.

Q. 68.


Q. Key point in the match: The lob on the next-to-last point. Can you go through that point with us?

VINCENT SPADEA: Well, I was looking for a short ball, and he just started playing aggressive, and I started playing defense; and he had the point one, kind of, and I just reached out, hit an extra lob, and that's -- those are turning points in matches a lot of times. You know, you can only make an effort and see what happens. It doesn't have to always be pretty. But it was deep enough where he missed the overhead.

Q. Are you saying that was more or less block-lobbing? You didn't really have a -- you reached out to get it in hopes that you would get a good lob on it?

VINCENT SPADEA: Right, and make him hit another shot. Because that's the -- that's what a battle is about.

Q. How much opportunity maybe do you sense for yourself here, or is it hard to be in your half of the bracket and sense opportunity?

VINCENT SPADEA: I haven't studied the draw thus far. And I mean, the seed -- Henman's out, he was a seed. So it's an unseeded matchup for the next one. But, I mean, on paper I'm ranked higher than most of the players in that bracket, I assume. So it's a great opportunity. I hope to take advantage.

End of FastScripts….

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