March 19, 1999
KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA
GREG SHARKO: Vince records his ninth career Top 10 win, third here at the Lipton. He moves into the third round where he'll play Fabrice Santoro for the first time.
Q. You seem to like this stage, Vincent.
VINCENT SPADEA: Yes. I play well at this tournament. From when I was 18 years old, when I got a wildcard, I've won a lot of matches. I feel a lot of support, a lot of confidence when I play, no matter what the situation may be. It's nice to continue that cycle this year.
Q. How does this one rate among the others?
VINCENT SPADEA: The other what? Results at this tournament or in general?
Q. The other wins over Top 10s.
VINCENT SPADEA: This was somewhat unique in that I came back from almost being out of the match, I mean almost losing the match. I always felt like I was in the match and I just needed to get my rhythm on my serve, just kind of play offense and against at the right times. When you play a player who is as successful as a Top 10 guy, in his case he's been that way for a while, they don't do a lot of things wrong, so you have to be on top of your game on every shot. I had past battles with this guy. I had a really weird match with him at the Canadian Open a couple years ago. Last year I beat Agassi. He served for the set in Cincinnati. I had similar experiences I could kind of go to to just help me play a couple more points and see what happened.
Q. You're down 3-Love in that tiebreak and turned it around. Did something click? He said he became really flat for like ten minutes.
VINCENT SPADEA: Well, I was trying to play a pretty aggressive game virtually the whole match. Towards the end of the second set, I decided that I didn't need to press so much all the time and play perfect offensive tennis, whether it was on my serve or on his serve; I just needed to keep the ball deep and look for my opportunities, but also let him feel some pressure in those tight moments. That's where big matches and big tournaments are won, in those key moments. He's done that well in the past. Tonight I just happened to edge him out.
Q. Last year you beat Patrick Rafter here who was No. 4 when you beat him. Now Kafelnikov No. 3. I hope you don't take this question offensively, but you are capable of beating world class players, just in between the players which are more in your rankings. In my opinion you should be higher ranked than your best ranking you had now, which is 41, that you get the push to go up into the 20s. I mean, we all see that you're capable of beating so many good players.
VINCENT SPADEA: Like every player who is not in the Top 10 or 20, they're always searching or striving for better. They feel with my results I should be able to be in that group. But it just takes a lot of a long process, a lot of hard work, the right people in your support system. Sometimes you're fortunate for it to happen. I think I'm still young and still motivated to try to make those goals happen.
Q. Yevgeny basically obviously was upset, gave you no credit at all for this match. He said, "It was all me giving it to him." What's your comment on that?
VINCENT SPADEA: Well, when he's ranked No. 3, I'm 41, you're not going to feel like you're going to be outplayed by many people. Whether it's happened or not, it's not going to be a lot of excitement to reveal that. I mean, I'm improving as a player. I'm getting my stuff organized. Hey, it's better late than never, if it can happen. Some people don't get it at all. They realize it when they're off the Tour. I'm just learning. I'm fortunate that I have my health back to. He's going to have good days and bad days. I'm sure he's played a lot of matches where he's been where I'm sitting right now, coming back. I've played matches against him that way where he's come back from the dead, and I didn't feel like he played exceptional, as well. I mean, it's just anything can happen on any day.
Q. What do you know about Santoro?
VINCENT SPADEA: I mean, he has kind of a different style game. He's a groundstroker. He kind of likes to slice, serve and volley, do different things. He's a good all-around player and has had good results on different surfaces. It's just a match I'm going to have to prepare for.
Q. Do you find it tougher to play finesse-like players than power players?
VINCENT SPADEA: What's that?
Q. Do you find it a more difficult match to play somebody who is more finesse oriented?
VINCENT SPADEA: I don't know. I don't know about that. I haven't really analyzed it. I don't know. That's an answer, too.
Q. You're pretty low-key. How happy are you right now?
VINCENT SPADEA: Well, after the match, I raised my hands. That's the most I've done in my whole life. There's a long tournament ahead. It's like a big draw. There's a lot of matches to be played. I'm trying to work on making runs in the tournaments last, you know, just get to the later rounds, not get overconfident, excited about everything. I mean, I've been there, kind of done that.
Q. Are you convinced now that the nighttime is the right time?
VINCENT SPADEA: Well, yeah. There's nice people around. They're going to go to dinner afterwards, so you feel like you need to entertain. I like to go to events at night. So when I'm performing for people like that, it's an extra special feeling. It's like an event. Do you know what I mean? Like night.
Q. You're blithering.
VINCENT SPADEA: I'm delirious.
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