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January 2, 2020
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
THE MODERATOR: Welcome, everyone. Thank you for Team Moldova for your time today at the press conference, led my Vladimir Albot, and shortly he will introduce the rest of his team.
We will be using the Catch Box microphone today for questions. If you have a question, raise your hand and I will throw or pass you the Catch Box.
Vladimir, if you can introduce the members of your team by name to start us off.
VLADIMIR ALBOT: This is Team Moldova. My name is Vladimir Albot, the captain. No. 1, Radu Albot. No. 2, Alexander Cozbinov. Dimitrii Baskov. And Egor Matvievici.
THE MODERATOR: First questions please.
Q. Since you guys have come here, you've gotten to spend a lot of time together. What's the most interesting thing you guys have gotten to do together? You have been bonding and spending a lot of time.
RADU ALBOT: This question is for Alexander Cozbinov.
ALEXANDER COZBINOV: Well, most of the time I practice every day twice a day, so we didn't do anything else (laughter). We leave in the morning and come back to hotel, go straight to dinner and sleep. Didn't do much.
RADU ALBOT: New Year's Eve we came back from practice, and the road was closed so we were walking up the street. We saw other teams walking down already dressed and ready for the dinner, and we just come to the hotel.
DIMITRII BASKOV: No, you guys, you're lying. We had a nice evening once playing some video games and billiards as well. Remember that? That was one of the --
RADU ALBOT: Don't say that, all the secrets from the team, please. (Laughter.)
Q. Tell me some more about that, playing your video games.
DIMITRII BASKOV: Oh. I was supposed to be a good player, but then, when I saw my team, I was, like, okay, I'm on a good team now. These guys are just too good in everything.
Q. Which video games did you play?
EGOR MATVIEVICI: We was in Internet club and we play Counter-Strike. (Laughter.)
DIMITRII BASKOV: Let's switch the topic.
Q. Growing up playing tennis as kids in Moldova, did you see many players to look up to from your own country back then, and are you excited to kind of be role models for kids nowadays in Moldova?
RADU ALBOT: I can say this: When I was kid there was a couple of players that were playing good. I was thinking so. So of course I was watching them hoping that I can be better than them or beat them when I grew up.
Still, the best guy that got on ATP is 200, so I managed to play one time against him in the final, so it was a big match for me.
Yeah, I have to say that everybody growing up has a role model. Maybe my role model was not from Moldova, but still I was happy when I beat the guys from my country.
Q. Do you think being part of the ATP Cup is good to grow the sport in your own country?
RADU ALBOT: Well, any event is good for the sport in our country. I would say ATP Cup, making it here, especially from the first edition, is something great. Big countries like our neighbors, like Romania or Ukraine, didn't make it here.
So I would say it's a big achievement for Moldova, and hopefully we can win some matches and put Moldova on map further in tournaments, not only in ATP Cup in Australia.
Q. In terms of the bush fires, had you guys heard about the situation before coming over? And was it something you were aware of before coming over or something you heard on the news before? Is it sort of a worry for you that this is getting played in the midst of such a crisis?
ALEXANDER COZBINOV: I heard about it a little bit in the news coming here but didn't know details of it. But once we got here, we found out it's pretty serious. Hopefully it goes away soon.
Q. There's been sort of calls for the ATP Cup to sort of do something about it, maybe do an exhibition game, something like that. Is that something you guys would sort of want to get involved in and just sort of help the bush fire effort?
RADU ALBOT: Yeah, I saw the other day on TV, on the news, if they collected 900,000 Australian dollars for the families who got stuck because of the fire, of course if you can help the people that are in trouble, especially not because of their fault but because of the fire and the heat and everything, and, yeah, why not? Of course you can do some exhibitions to collect money to help the other guys, for sure.
Q. Your participation in the tournament has kind of come under a bit of criticism from one person in particular. How do you like your chances this year being a bit of an underdog?
RADU ALBOT: The criticized messages from Opelka? Is that what you mean? This one?
I got asked about this question before, as well. I know Reilly for a little bit now because we played a couple of matches. We practiced also a lot. We were in the same tournaments.
To be honest, I don't know why he meant something, let's say, bad a little bit in a way about Moldova being in the ATP Cup. Well, he's part of a big country of U.S., and they have a lot of opportunities.
I don't know if it affect that he didn't make it here because he's No. 3, I think, or No. 4 and he said something in (indiscernible). I don't know why. But I sit in on media interviews as well. Maybe his words were misunderstood. Maybe he didn't mean something bad or whatever.
But for sure I will talk to him when I see him in Melbourne about why he has to mention names and all that in the media.
Q. How do you feel about coming into the Cup? Do you think you're capable of going the whole way and winning it?
RADU ALBOT: Yeah, you all the time think that you can go all the way. Otherwise if you come and you think you're going to lose, it's not really the thing.
When you come here, of course you think you're going to win, and you always give it the best chance not to come here just to compete and to go home, so of course we think about that. Yes.
That's a cool box. I never saw this before. It's cool. You can throw it.
Q. For Alex or anyone, how much of an opportunity is this for you? Obviously practicing out here every day, it's not every day you guys get to practice, of course with Radu but next to guys like Cilic and a lot of top players. How much has that inspired you and what does that opportunity mean to you?
ALEXANDER COZBINOV: Personally, for me, it's probably the best event in my career I will be playing. It's a very big experience for me to see how the other best players practice and prepare for the matches. So I'm very excited even to play against them and see what I can do.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports