March 23, 1996
KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA
MR. UDDER: This is Vince's second career top ten win. US Open defeated Yevgeny Kafelnikov en route to the Round of 16. Questions for Vince?
Q. Today's shot of the day, the forehand cross court ground stroke. Can you talk about that a bit?
VINCE SPADEA: At which point?
Q. All of them, there were several.
VINCE SPADEA: Oh, yeah. Actually that one on breakpoint wasn't too shabby; was it? That was down the line. Actually the cross court, I felt -- you know, I thought that his forehand on the run was going to be a little bit vulnerable because he is so sound off the ground. I thought that one shot, if I could hit that well, get some kind of angle so I could open up the court. I was really hitting it well. I was getting down and staying through the ball, a lot of racquet speed. That was a very comfortable shot and very effective.
Q. Vince, can you compare this win and the Open win?
VINCE SPADEA: Two different tournaments; two different surfaces. It's kind of hard. My effort was equal in terms of how I felt on the court and how I felt after the match. You know, it's a confidence-building experience to go out and to beat a player of that caliber who has accomplished what they've done. It just inspires and motivates me to keep going, you know, to hopefully continue this.
Q. What does it mean for you to have done this twice now? I mean, were there any thoughts in your mind after Kafelnikov that maybe I caught him on a down day or whatever, now this is for real?
VINCE SPADEA: I knew it was kind of for real. The guys I played in the top ten were usually, you know, like 1 or 2 or 3. I had some tough matches, so I knew even though I wasn't beating a lot of the top ten players, I was close to it. There were just a few things in that particular match that I could have done or proved. I think I've gone out and improved a few things in my game. That helped me today especially. I think, to tell you the truth, that I'm a better player now than I was when I beat -- at the US Open when I won the other match. I feel more confident in what I'm doing. I went into the match that way, knowing that I could execute that. I'm happy that I was able to do it through the whole match.
Q. In what way are you a better player than you were?
VINCE SPADEA: Well, I just think, you know, when you go through ups and downs, I think you tend to learn a lot about yourself and about everybody else. Then you go out and try to improve on those things, either physically or mentally. You know, I was out there, like I felt like I was in control of what I was doing. I never really hit the panic button, like it's easy to do, especially when you have an intimidating opponent. So I think that's one of the most important factors. Also a few technical things in my game. That kind of stuff gets you to believe in yourself more and making the shots on the big points, just being aware of when you're not doing things right, you know, knowing how to solve the problem rather than being in a negative state, and so on.
Q. Tell me about your serve a little bit. You're known for your serve return. You had a wide ace late in the match, a couple service winners in the final game. Are you doing anything different there?
VINCE SPADEA: With my serve, I'm trying to set up the point more, trying to serve a little smarter, trying to focus on my first serve as being, you know, so that I'm trying to get it in and setting up the point, just serving to specific spots rather than going in and trying to blast the ball, where my arm at this point wouldn't be able to withstand that anyway. You know, I think especially playing the player I was playing, there were a few things I needed to do with the serve. I was able to serve pretty effectively. There were some times where he capitalized on my second serve a lot. I needed to limit that, minimize it.
Q. Kicker to the backhand side, is that one of the strategies, kick him the high ball to his backhand side?
VINCE SPADEA: Well, yeah. It looked that way. But it wasn't something I talked about to anybody before the match. It was something I kind of construed on my own.
Q. During the match?
VINCE SPADEA: Yeah, exactly. See him play on TV and everything, you don't see exactly the specific things, what he does well, what he doesn't do well.
Q. You mean that in this match he seemed to be having trouble with the kick serves to his backhand side, taking it this high (indicating)?
VINCE SPADEA: Not necessarily. I just think there were some times when I was with the wind, I felt I was up 15-Love, and rather than going for a huge serve and maybe missing it, having him attack my second serve and possibly getting even in the score, I sort of tried to set up the point and use my ground strokes, which I was feeling on. If I'm not feeling so good on my ground strokes, I'm a little tired, I'm maybe go for a first serve or do something differently, hit it into his body, stuff like that. I'm thinking more that way rather than where before it was just get up and serve, see what happens, just use your ground strokes to try to win the point. It's more of a planned out thing for me, which has helped.
Q. How is this victory sweeter if it's in your backyard, like it is? Is it any?
VINCE SPADEA: Yeah. It's great to be in Florida and have all the support there, playing on that court is pretty intimate and everything. It's really fun to have your friends and family there, especially nice. You still have to get the job done and you still have to focus like you do on any other tournament. You know, it could be tougher that way as well.
Q. How big of a contingent did you have today?
VINCE SPADEA: I don't know. It seemed all right. It helped me out a lot.
Q. Numbers, though, do you know? 10?
VINCE SPADEA: I wouldn't know. I mean, when I walked off the court, it got bigger as I knew it before. It got bigger quick.
Q. Is that your dad you were waving to at the end of the match or somebody else?
VINCE SPADEA: It was just a bunch of guys, I guess.
Q. Vince, go back to the US Open. Two days after the Kafelnikov victory, you went down probably very disappointingly to Petr Korda.
VINCE SPADEA: Uh-huh.
Q. Did you handle the emotional part of the victory over Kafelnikov in the right way, do you think?
VINCE SPADEA: Well, it's hard to say if I handled it in the right way because it only happened to me once. I got a negative response, but I'm not going to go and say, well, that's the exact wrong way to do it.
Q. What I meant was, did you get too high afterwards?
VINCE SPADEA: Well, naturally you get high and everything. You know, I played a tough player, I didn't play my best tennis, so it was tough to go in and say, "Okay, now, this is -- you have to take everything out of your mind and start focusing on every point here." I think it was a combination of things. But hopefully I'll be able to make that transition a little -- hopefully I'll be able to improve on it and learn from that. I think it happens to a lot of people who are, you know, sort of younger and sort of are coming up, have that kind of win. I've seen it happen a lot of times in the past. It's sort of a learning experience. I'm not going to like be superstitious about it and start doing things the opposite way; just try to be more professional about it and hopefully be able to sustain that high level of play for the next match, no matter who I'm playing.
MR. UDDER: Anything else?
Q. Did you sense any tip-off in Enqvist's ground strokes that allowed you to get a half step edge to hit that cross court forehand?
VINCE SPADEA: Is this for your own game?
Q. I don't think I can quite get to the ball as quick as you.
VINCE SPADEA: Well, no. The whole idea is just to try to keep him on the move. If you let him dictate, he hits a big ball. Not a lot of times where you're going to be hitting running forehands and backhands and winning a lot of points on a consistent basis. I set up the point sort of on a cross court way, on both sides. I felt also my down the line backhand was very effective. A lot of times we would go into the backhand rallying, I would say, "I'm going to go down the line on this backhand." I won a lot of points that way, especially on his second serve, where he was caught cheating to the left of the -- when you're 8 in the world, there aren't going to be a lot of tips in terms of what their weaknesses are and their strengths. That's about it.
Q. So we get this straight, the V is not for Vince, not for victory?
VINCE SPADEA: Actually a friend of mine, this kid Michael Joyce, you've heard of him, he was at Bayside and picked it up. He thought it was kind of cool. He gave it to me this morning before my match and I was inspired. My Monday Night Football hat; did you see it? It's in my bag.
Q. Have you ever thought about asking Adidas to get you a Dolphin green outfit to wear?
VINCE SPADEA: I have not, no. I think Jensen tried that. I'm focusing on my career and trying to post wins so that everything else will be a lot easier to handle. I'm not going to get too involved on that.
Q. Just kidding.
VINCE SPADEA: I knew that.
GREG SHARKO: Officially he was the No. 9 ranked.
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