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February 6, 2020

Captain Kathy Rinaldi

Sofia Kenin

Serena Williams

Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Alison Riske

Cori Gauff

Everett, Washington, USA

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Everybody up there, I know since you were young you've been playing for yourselves. Here you put on the red, white and blue and represent the United States of America. What is that like to play for your country?
SOFIA KENIN: I'll start.

It's an honor. I love coming to Fed Cup and representing my country. It's such an honor and a privilege to be a part of this team with my teammates. I'm super excited.

I love coming to Fed Cup. It's a lot of emotions here. But we're going to do the best we can to do some damage.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: In all honesty, I play for the stars and stripes every week. It's very special because Fed Cup is a team event. It makes it a little bit different than obviously our WTA events or the Grand Slams.

For me, whether I'm playing US Open or Australian Open, I have an American flag after my name. I'm always proud to be representing the States.

Q. Serena, in your long career, have you ever had an opportunity to play in the Pacific Northwest? What are your impressions in the brief time you've been here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually not off the top of my head. Yeah, I don't think so. This is good. I have a few friends here that have already contacted me and want to come see the games. So it's exciting.

I never thought about that. I think one thing that's exciting about just playing so long, is there are still places that I haven't gotten a chance to go. When I do have that opportunity, I like it.

Q. What have your impressions been of the fans being excited about this, selling out 6300 seats? How does that compare to typical Fed Cup events?
ALISON RISKE: I thought it was very impressive. We did a community event a couple of days ago. I feel like the turnout was unbelievable. There were a couple hundred kids there with their parents. I felt like we could already feel this town is ready for Fed Cup to be here.

We're honored to play in front of such an awesome atmosphere. We look forward to this weekend. Hopefully everyone is cheering for us.

Q. Serena, I know you've never lost in a singles match at a Fed Cup. Looking back at those matches, what about the Fed Cup matches gets you excited?
SERENA WILLIAMS: As a tennis player, you always play for yourself. When you come to this team atmosphere, you have a team captain, you just have a whole team of doctors and physical therapists, even stringers. It's just a really cool that we don't experience often as tennis players.

I don't know. I guess it makes me excited to go out there and do the best that I can for the team and playing for my country, having the opportunity to show and shine in the best way I can on that day.

Q. Serena, what is this opportunity like for you to have two young Americans on the same team as you, and two veterans who really have carried the flag of American tennis?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's great. I'm always so excited to see young American players do well. I'm a little bit biased for obvious reasons. It's always super exciting to play among the future of tennis, to know that it's going to be a really strong flag they're carrying. It's pretty cool.

Obviously with the 'veterans' it's kind of hard because it's, like, wait, I'm the ultimate veteran. I feel like they're the young ones as well (laughter).

It's always great. The whole team is really, really fantastic. It's fun.

Q. Sofia, what has this week been like? You just became the youngest American to win a major since Serena. What has that whirlwind been like for you?
SOFIA KENIN: It's still sinking in slowly. But I'm processing. Yeah, I was super excited to win a Grand Slam. It was the best experience, best two weeks of my life. Kathy told me I'm going to join Fed Cup. It was such an honor. I was super excited. I told her, Let's go, we're going to do some stuff.

But, yeah, I love it. I'm super excited. I was happy to take time off and come here. Even though it was a long journey, I would have done anything to represent my country and be with the guys on my team.

Q. Serena, you have played all over the world. First time the Fed Cup has ever been in the state of Washington, giving a whole new community a taste of tennis. How important is it to the growth of the game to be able to do things like this in different communities?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's definitely important, especially in the United States. There's only a few tournaments in selective states. In particular women's tennis does not get to play in a lot of areas. That's one thing that is exciting about Fed Cup, is we can go to states, parts of the country that it's not represented.

People that are fans of tennis in all the 50 states have an opportunity to see it. It's really cool to expand that.

Q. Coach Rinaldi, they talked about how you can substitute. What kind of things go into that decision if you decide to do that? What are you thinking as far as that decision?
CAPTAIN RINALDI: Well, first of all, this team is incredibly solid and deep. You don't really go into it thinking about the substitutions right off the bat. We have really strong players all the way through.

Obviously health, make sure everybody is fit, ready to go. That's first and foremost the most important thing. Like I said, we have such a strong team, anybody can play.

Q. Alison and Bethanie, knowing all this could come down to the deciding doubles match, what is it like going through the next two days knowing you could play, not play?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I think it's exciting. I like pressure situations. I think it's a lot of fun. You know you have your team kind of backing you up. You go into this event knowing that that teamwork makes the dream work. I'm always ready to go.

I like those moments, especially with the crowd atmosphere. I think that's going to be big. I hope they know they can be a little rowdy during Fed Cup. I'm a pretty energized person, so I like that. I'm looking forward to it.

Q. Serena and Sofia, got a chance to see you practicing a little bit today. What was your first impression of the venue?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Of the venue? The venue is nice. Thanks for asking.

SOFIA KENIN: Yeah, I like it. Of course, it's kind of slow. It was a great practice with Serena. Thank you for pushing me on the first day. It was super exciting. We're excited.

Q. Sonia, talk about your Friday night matchups, what you expect?
SOFIA KENIN: I played Anastasija two times. I know her game pretty well. Recently I played her in Brisbane. Obviously she's a tough player, a good player. She's going to come out battling out there.

I'm also going to represent my country, leave my heart, everything all out on the court. Just going to use what I did to win for tomorrow.

Q. Coco and Sonia, both of you won the Junior Fed Cup recently. What are your thoughts now being able to have the opportunity to compete on the Fed Cup team in such a short time?
CORI GAUFF: Yeah, it's pretty cool to make the Fed Cup team. Definitely an honor to represent my country. The biggest thing I guess that's different between juniors and now is that we have more players on the team, so you're not tiring your bodies as much as I'm used to.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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