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August 13, 1998

Vincent Spadea


ATP TOUR REP: First question for Vincent?

Q. Coming off a big victory after last night, is the next match tougher or easier; are you still euphoric over last night or do you just let that got and concentrate?

VINCE SPADEA: It's a little bit tougher sometimes because last night was a night match, so I'm trying to get back, get some sleep get organized. So I was in a bit of a rush. It's also tougher just because you've got to just go out and forget about it and actually work with the confidence that you just got from that one. But lately I kind of had a little bit of an obstacle doing that. Like at the Lipton when I beat Rafter, I lost to Agassi the next match. Obviously, I could have lost to him in the first round. But the times I've beaten the Top 10 players, I've had more of a difficult time to get back and play. Usually, you've got to play another Top 10 player or another Top 20 player. So it's just not really -- it might not be the circumstance.

Q. Have you ever beat two Top 10s tennis in a row like this?

VINCE SPADEA: I don't think so. Is that right? No. At the Lipton that one year I beat Enqvist but then I played another match and then I played Krajicek actually. But he was not Top 10; he was right outside. But it's difficult because last night was a little bit more dramatic than -- you know what I mean, the night session and so on, and getting back to play early.

Q. How does it feel to beat the Top 10 in the world?

VINCE SPADEA: It's a big step for me. I've worked really hard this year. It's been one of my goals to go out and beat top players, because that's what it takes to be a top player. You're going to have to go out and do it, big matches against the top players. So I was capable of upsetting maybe a seed in a tournament but then maybe you need to get back and just go -- it's a big difference to go through and get to the late rounds of a tournament. I made my first final this year in Austria, which I didn't beat any Top 10 players there, but I went through some tough clay court players and that was a big step for me. And this is another encouragement that I've been -- desperately, you know, working for.

Q. What you said before about having had a hard time doing this, did you try to do anything differently today to get it rolling?

VINCE SPADEA: Well, I just tried to maybe relax a little bit and stay intense, but maybe just, you know, just worry about, you know, hitting my shots and doing what I can do. Instead of overanalyzing the occasion in a way, because sometimes you can -- you can get other -- you can get distracted and maybe put -- like -- actually last week, I beat Korda and then I played -- by next round and I felt like I was a little bit overanxious in that match and I didn't play up to my potential, even though the player I played outplayed me. But that was a match that I was hoping that I could, you know, get through. Once you beat the No. 3 player, you know, to kind of go in and beat the next guy. So this was a big step for me. And it reinforces my goals and everything else.

Q. When you went home last night, did you replay that match in your mind, the Agassi match, or did you try to --

VINCE SPADEA: A little bit. But I guess these kind of players, they sort of expose to you what you can do and what you should do to win. Because if you can win points against them, then that's what your game style should continue to be. I won a few points at the net last night that I haven't been doing as much, and part of this year and I served smaller and I -- you know, I really got in -- a good game plan. My backhand was clicking. So my weapons are starting to come through day in and day out because I've been working on these things, my movement, everything.

Q. Have you thought in the last four or five years that maybe this moment had not come for and you maybe you had leveled out?

VINCE SPADEA: You know, the thing is I don't think so. I just think that, you know, that's why you have coaches and people, you know, involved in your -- in your life. That's why if something's not going as great as you want, maybe you bring somebody else in for some new ideas, some different advice. So that's the nice thing about sports is you can take help from people and maybe that gets you through -- if you feel like there's a level where you're kind of stopped with certain situation or whatever. So I thought that, you know, I had a -- I had a lot of I am improving to do. It's just a matter of how I'm going to go do it. Everything is structure. And when you think of it, you know, all at once, it almost becomes too much, so that's why you need to bring somebody that can structure that, organize.

Q. So you're sort of labeling Agassi, he wondered why you weren't higher on the rankings and you wondered why you weren't higher on the rankings.

VINCE SPADEA: Yeah, kind of. You know what, I want to tell you a secret because I'm starting to -- I know -- I kind of got a hint of what's going on now, whereas before I didn't.

Q. Shouldn't you save it for a diary?

VINCE SPADEA: Yeah, save it for the readers.

Q. You distinctly changed something?

VINCE SPADEA: Yeah. It's all about, you know, change. I mean if it's broken, you've got to fix it. We're talking about an elite level of sports, I mean, tennis in particular. I mean, if I'd -- if that was the best I could do, whatever I did up to last year and then, you know, that's -- that's nothing exactly to be shameful about. But to break into that -- that small percentage of things that I think that I can continue to do, that's where it starts getting, like, extremely like serious, you know what I mean.

Q. So were you frustrated and impatient to have not broken into the Top 50?

VINCE SPADEA: Well, I'm sure any time -- unless you're No. 1, I know what it feels like. But any time you're not just going forward, you always have some kind of second thoughts about what you're doing.

Q. Might it be that you're a late bloomer? Obviously, that's a rarity.

VINCE SPADEA: I don't think that's the case. I got some advice kind of late, you know what I mean. And maybe it's good that way. Everything I think happens for the best but I think you just need to go out and make it happen yourself. It's not like one person, you know what I mean. Like to keep my answers vague. (Laughter) I'm kidding. I'll be straight-up at some point but now I've just got to keep the vibes --

Q. There is the athletic part of it and the mental part of it. A lot of people haven't figured out the mental. Are you talking about something mentally, knowing how to play, knowing what shots to do or are you talking about the athletic?

VINCE SPADEA: I'm just talking about the overall combination. That's what it takes. You see all the great athletes who make it to the top. They are physically balanced and they are capable of -- you know, the physical has to be there and then the mental has to direct it so that you can -- that you know it can flourish.

Q. So now you've figured this out?

VINCE SPADEA: Well, it's not like it's all that one thing. I don't think anything in life is like that.

Q. So in your mind now, how high can you go?

VINCE SPADEA: You know this game keeps you honest all the time so it's hard to make any high expectations or predictions. But it's -- it's a tough challenge, I'll tell you right now. These guys at the top, they have done something incredible. People don't even realize it as much. But if you're -- if you're to enter into that -- into, you know, to do it, I'm telling you it takes a lot of courage and force.

Q. (Inaudible).

VINCE SPADEA: I played him about three times, I think. I lost to him last time I was at Lipton probably, wasn't it?

Q. He's going down.

VINCE SPADEA: Well, actually at the Lipton I was in a situation where I played Krajicek in 16 and then him in the quarters. So it's kind of like a nice -- a nice recurrence, yeah. But it's a good challenge for me because I think my game has improved a lot since that time and there's been a lot of good things happening in my tennis since then. And you know, I've had a pretty solid year but I think I need a lot to keep moving forward. But I think: "It's there, man, it's there." I still can be much, much better. It's just going to be up to me if I'm going to commit to being better. Against Pete, obviously I have to return well on the serves that, you know, that are returnable and you know, I've got to serve well, keep him off balance so he doesn't dictate points with his forehand. You know, I played today -- it was a match where a guy had a similar game, I think. So I'm definitely looking forward to --

Q. (Inaudible).

VINCE SPADEA: It's not easy, man. You know, nothing in live's easy, much less getting to the level of high performance and top. So it's just something that -- it's not something that you contemplate, but it's something that you need -- you need self-discipline but you also need people behind you. You need people -- you need the right group.

Q. (Inaudible).

VINCE SPADEA: I don't know. I mean, let's see, I beat No. 3. He's No. 2, so you know, that mental and physically, I was able to concur that. So I don't think it's that -- it's either one. I just think it's -- you know, if I win that's -- I deserve it. And if I don't, then it maybe it's just that match. I mean, Sampras feels good in this kind of tournament and so do I. So it's about -- it's about a battle, you know. It's about two guys going out there and seeing, you know, who can take who out.

Q. As specific as you can be, who are some influences?


Q. Was it McEnroe, was it Connors?

VINCE SPADEA: You mean, like my idol or something? I don't know. No one really in particular. I mean, you saw those Americans like Agassi and Sampras and stuff winning like I was about 15 when they were winning. So that was still -- I was in juniors so that kind of got you going. But I'm telling you, man, these guys, it's about the training. It's about the training, I'm telling you right now. No matter when you do it, whether you're 15 or 16, or whether you're 28, man, you've got to do it and that's what gets you there. That's the end of the story. And those guys happen to do it early so all of the sudden, they are American, so why aren't you doing that? Well, I'm just, you know, somebody who hasn't done something that's .00001 percent. But I'm telling you, the guys even like Todd Martin, you know, this guy works, training. Woodeford, the guy came from college and here he is, and I think he's starting to enter the beginning of that. Just because I've increased my level of commitment and belief.

Q. Did you watch Connors and McEnroe, do you remember seeing them?

VINCE SPADEA: Not a whole lot. I mean, Connors, you saw a little bit later because he just kept playing so much. But it's tough, man. Look what these guys do. There's only one Connors and one McEnroe. These guys are, you know, at another level. But I guess you can try to learn from them. Worry about yourself.

Q. This training you're talking about, are you talking about going from an hour or two hours a day to four hours or five hours a day? I mean, is there a huge increase in your training?

VINCE SPADEA: Not so much the hours and so on. I mean you can always practice a lot or a little and still get a benefit -- how do I explain this? I think I'm starting to accomplish that, but I mean, like the guys -- I'm just talking about getting to a level where you're doing it like -- like crazy. Like the guys I'm playing, you know what I mean? And it's not easy to do. I don't know, you just --

Q. Are you going to go back to the hotel and sleep or are you going to lift weights or run?

VINCE SPADEA: No, I'll probably practice, get a good hour of practice. Just work, man. You've got to devote your life to the sport and the sport will give back in a way -- not to where you're breathing and you've got no life off the court. But doesn't it make sense, whatever you put into -- I've learned a lot in the last six months, I'm telling you that.

Q. Do you want to do that?

VINCE SPADEA: Well, I'm trying. I've still got a ways to go but I'm trying. I start at the beginning. And you know what, last year I was hurt pretty -- you know, I had -- I had an injury and you know how you have those times where you start having like, you know, this is -- you've got to make the most of -- you know, you only go through this 10 months, that kind of deal.

Q. (Inaudible).

VINCE SPADEA: No. Because now you have fines and now you have -- but you also have psychology is a big part of sports now and keep composure. And then you have new people paving the way, like Sampras, and people who aren't as expressive. So I think that generation, the younger guys just keep, you know, you're not just going to go way back, not to Connors and McEnroe. But sometimes you get -- like yesterday I chucked my racket. It's part of the emotion -- the emotions to get angry. But those guys, that was part of their personality. I don't know who you're referring to exactly. I mean, in terms of the young Americans and stuff?

Q. You don't see things likes that, Connors concourse and McEnroe as much.

VINCE SPADEA: Maybe they do but you don't know about it because they are not as high profile.

Q. If anything like this comes up, heat of the moment --

VINCE SPADEA: The people say that -- the idea is that you want to give yourself the best chance to perform. And when you come down to percentages, being belligerent is not going to be totally in your favor. At times it is all right when you throw the racket, Agassi served the match and I broke him. That's the thing that everyone's trying to figure out. There's no right or wrong. I've got to call up for new rackets now.

Q. So when people talk about Justin and Jan-Michael, young, do you want them to be talking about you instead? Do you ever read that and think hey, what about me?

VINCE SPADEA: Well, I mean I think that when you get attention, it's because of what you do. And at the point that I was last year, I kind of didn't -- I mean, I was injured for six months so I didn't win my matches. There wasn't that much talk about -- even though I was still fairly young, I was so young. But now I'm starting to make a move and I think I should be -- because I'm telling you that you know, it's starting to become black and white instead of just, either hype or future expectations. And that's really in the end what counts and everyone looks at that. The other two guys have shown the most improvement of the guys that are younger than I am and younger than they are. People look at wins and that's the bottom line. That's why I'm sitting here and people will start getting some ink -- putting in ink in for me.

Q. Are you at all interested in Davis Cup?

VINCE SPADEA: I mean, like you saw last year at the French Open, anything can change in a couple weeks. You know, not this year -- well, even year, the French open, but last year especially where people can turn things around, you know. And you know it's just a matter of what -- ends up happening. So I mean Davis Cup is something I've never been really asked to be involved in, except for I was a practice partner once. And if that was to come up, then I'd be happy to go and play for the U.S. But the Davis Cup, you have to be the best player in the world to be in the Davis Cup. If I was in another country, I would probably be playing. So Davis Cup in our eyes is like that's the pinnacle of what we're trying to do. So that's why that -- it doesn't have you know, incredible, you know, like you said, you know, you still have -- I don't know what I'm ranked by Americans. But there's a lot of guys who have accomplished a lot more. But I'm on my way, you know. I'm doing better.

Q. In a run like this, you beat Andre; you can beat Pete. Do you think that can go a long way to go toward what you want, Davis Cup, recognized as the top young guy, all that stuff?

VINCE SPADEA: I don't think it's ever too late. And if you're healthy and you've got the right situation and you know, whether you're 18, 19 or 26 or whatever. Rafter last year won the Open. What was he, like 25 or 24 or something? He came up at 19 like Sampras, but now he's becoming haled as a major -- he won a major and now he's one of the elite players of his country and his -- whatever. So, you know, that's what -- obviously those are the goals, to be like that. But I tell you, it's not going to come easy. It doesn't come for anyone easy. I don't know what else to say, you know.

End of FastScripts....

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