July 19, 2003
ITALY vs. USA,WASHINGTON, D.C.
MODERATOR: Meghann Shaughnessy and Zina Garrison for questions.
Q. Meghann, when you were up 5-1, it kind of dawned on me that you seemed very relaxed. It didn't necessarily end that way. How did you assess what happened the last half set?
MEGHANN SHAUGHNESSY: Well, you know, I started the match off pretty solid and felt like I was playing good tennis until 5-1. And then I just, you know, got a little bit nervous and stopped moving my feet and going for my shots like I was earlier in the match. At the same time, she started going for her shots. So, you know, both of us, you know, doing the opposite of what we were doing kind of changed the momentum of the match.
Q. This is one of the events where you actually have a coach sitting there with you during changeovers. I imagine when you are looking at blowing a 5-1 lead, that's one case where having the coach there right next to you is a bit of an advantage to calm you down. Was that the case today?
MEGHANN SHAUGHNESSY: Yeah, I really enjoy having Billie Jean out there with me. It's very different. Never in tennis are we able to do that. So, yeah, I mean, she helped me through the entire match, kept me calm, kept me motivated. It was really fun having her out there.
Q. What did she say during that second set, anything special?
MEGHANN SHAUGHNESSY: Well, she was telling me to start hitting the ball (laughing).
Q. Can you talk about the approach to go to the backhand. And when you seem to have power, you seem to dominate, like in the opening of the second set.
MEGHANN SHAUGHNESSY: Yeah, definitely one of my main tactics was to play high to the backhand and then look for my forehand, because my forehand is my better shot and her forehand is her better shot. So that was basically what I was trying to do the entire match.
Q. Zina, can you talk a little bit about the importance of taking the first match and how that sets the team up for the rest of the competition?
COACH ZINA GARRISON: I think it's very important. Naturally, you want to get off to a great start. I know Meghann was very pumped up to play the first match today - you know, basically get the crowd behind her. I think it was a good match even though, you know, she was up and then started not to play so well in the second set. But she played really well, stuck to her game and gutsed it out. That's what it takes. The team is very excited that Meghann did win the first match and with the way that she came through at the end.
Q. The first set was real close for a while. You didn't get a break until 4-3. Did you think you would be in for a long day?
MEGHANN SHAUGHNESSY: Well, you know, I think it was very close in the beginning of the match because she was serving so well. Her first three service games I really didn't have a chance. I mean, she was hitting a couple aces each game. Really, there wasn't much I could do. So I just changed the position of where I was standing and tried to play with her mind a little bit, and that worked well because she didn't keep serving that well at all.
Q. Was there anything beyond the fact that this was Fed Cup that made this match very different from the two previous times that you've played her?
MEGHANN SHAUGHNESSY: Can you say that again?
Q. I'll rephrase it. The two matches against her previously seemed to be pretty easy. This wasn't. Was it just Fed Cup, or was there more to it?
MEGHANN SHAUGHNESSY: Well, basically, the only difference was in the previous two at 5-1 I didn't start doing what I did today (laughing).
COACH ZINA GARRISON: It would have been easy (smiling).
MEGHANN SHAUGHNESSY: That was really the only difference. Yeah, I mean, being Fed Cup, I definitely had a few more nerves out there with me today. So I'm just really happy that I pulled it through. I'll be looking forward to play an even better match tomorrow.
Q. At 5-1 was it you that played less, or she played better?
MEGHANN SHAUGHNESSY: Like I said earlier, it was both. I mean, she was down a set and 5-1, you know, figured, "May as well go for it." She started hitting through her shots a lot more. At the same time, I started holding back. So the combination of the two is what changed the match.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.