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December 3, 2004

Jordi Arrese


CAPTAIN ARRESE: Both of us are really tired. Rafael has had a very hard day, especially after the third set, he was having problems. I would really like to ask you to keep the questions short.

Q. Why did you win?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) Well, I think I won because in a way, the audience was there supporting me. It is very important, the support from the crowd, from the spectators. After 4-1 in my favor during the tiebreak, it was a very hard situation, especially the first set, it was very difficult. It was very hard, it was long, both for me and for the opponent, and it was clear for us.

Q. (Translated from Spanish) Do you think this was the match of your life?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) Well, I don't know. In each period of my life, there can be key matches. Maybe this is one of them. Especially after the injury, when I came back after the injury, this has certainly been the match of my life. At the end of the match, I was tremendously moved because I felt that I was at a very good level. My game was at a very good level. I have had a very tough year, especially after the injury. I have been training very hard, and I think I do really deserve this victory.

Q. Do you think it's better to try to finish tomorrow with the doubles or to rest one day and try to win everything on Sunday?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) It is not my decision. We shall talk with the captains later and they will tell me what their decision is.

Q. (Translated from Spanish) What was in your head, especially in the tiebreak after the third set, especially when you were returning serve at 240 kilometers an hour?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) Well, he was very, very good. I was looking at the score, and I could see the serve was at 230 kilometers an hour. I'm very happy with my game. The third set, well, I was lucky because I won it, but I was also not so lucky because it was Love-30, then there was a breakpoint, then it was 3-2. It was hard for me, the end of that set.

Q. (Translated from Spanish) I saw you in 1997 in your first tournament when you won in Segovia. Since then you have improved a lot. Have you dreamt about today many times?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) Well, of course Davis Cup final was always in my dream. It has been very important to be here today for me and also for the team, and also to play this singles match. It was a great match. But the most important thing is that the team is now did 2-0, and it's important for me and for the three other members of the team because if I win, the whole team wins, and if I lose, the other three members of the team lose as well. Not only me, but the captains, as well. It is truly a thing for the whole team.

Q. Are you going to throw the kid into the doubles? He looks like he can play?

CAPTAIN ARRESE: (Translated from Spanish) Rafa is a player in a very good physical situation. He can play in a doubles match tomorrow and two singles matches as well. We'll see what happens. We do have a lot of time until 4:00 tomorrow. We will sleep, we will eat, we will talk and take our time to make a decision. We have many options to choose from and we can choose. It is now all the pressure on the US side because, of course, they do have to score points.

Q. When you play one of your great shots and you go back to that far end, there's all that crowd looking at you and chanting your name, what does that make you feel like?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) Well, I'm actually quite used to celebrating scoring points, especially in the Davis Cup ties. With this incredible audience of 25,000 people, it is a lot of support coming from there. I do have to learn how to calm down my emotions because I do tend to celebrate a lot, my points. Of course, if I do get so excited, there are consequences. For example, I got lots of cramps in my legs because of jumping so much after scoring a point. Especially at the end of the first set, I was jumping a lot, I was really excited, and I did have to calm down a little bit and sort of recapitulate, get my act together and celebrate a little bit less. I did manage to calm down and set the pace of the match as I wanted it. 50% of the victory was thanks to the audience.

Q. (Translated from Spanish) Are you still in a position to sign two-two today?

CAPTAIN ARRESE: I will only sign a victory. Things have changed, of course, after the last two matches. I'm not surprised. If we decided to risk it and have Rafa on the first day and also on the doubles match tomorrow, it was because the three captains have a lot of faith in him and we know we are playing at home. I do not understand why people were so surprised yesterday when we decided to have Rafa today. He is an excellent player. He has what would needs to have to play, and he's truly a Davis Cup player. In the Davis Cup, we have seen how this has worked before. It worked with Santana, with Ferrero, with Moya, with Feliciano and Robredo, so it has worked. Today we learned a very good lesson from an 18-year-old boy, which means we have a lot of time in the future, as well.

Q. Were you surprised that Roddick followed his serve to the net so often, and even on second balls? That's the most he's ever volleyed in his life.

RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) No, I was not surprised at all because, well, I was not used to having such a long point. Secondly, his serve was coming from the baseline at the beginning, and I had time to go down to the baseline, as well, so that we could play that ball. I knew that he was not used to playing those long points, as well, and he managed to score many points thanks to that. I managed to use that volley that way.

Q. You say thanks to the crowd. Do you think that sometimes there was a little bit of exaggeration, especially when Roddick was serving the first serve in the net? Do you think it was too much? What would have been your reaction if it was happening to you?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) Well, I think the crowd behaved quite correctly. All they did was to make that noise "whoo" in between serves, so they were behaving quite correctly. When my opponent missed a serve, the crowd just made that noise, this "Oh," and the referee was keeping the crowd quiet and they would obey what he was saying. If you go to a tie in Argentina, in Brazil, or in Chile, then you can see what cheering is all about. So I believe that the crowd behaved nicely. There was just cheering. It was a good example of fair play. Actually, when Roddick failed a point, a volley, it was because of the US crowd. We had actually to repeat that point.

Q. (Translated from Spanish) What did the other team tell you after you finished the match? What did Roddick and McEnroe tell you after finishing the match? Arrese said you taught them a lesson, that you're teaching them a lesson. Everybody says that one has to learn a lesson from defeats. The question is, what did you learn from that victory?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) The answer to the first question is, well, I do not remember anything. I don't remember Roddick, I don't remember McEnroe. I don't remember anything. All I wanted to do was go and greet my people, the other members of the team. What I have learned is to play and calm down a little bit when I am playing and get a little bit less excited. I have also learned that the Davis Cup is completely different from other tournaments, and this year I have been playing very well, so this victory has also helped me to believe that I am a good player. I had forgotten all about it because of the injury, and now I have recovered that confidence in myself. So today in a way is the result or the consequence of two weeks of very good training sessions, and that's just about it. Thank you.

Q. (Translated from Spanish) After Nadal's victory, in a way this victory confirms the reputation or the prestige of the decision made by the captains, is that correct? Does this confirm you were right?

CAPTAIN ARRESE: (Translated from Spanish) Yes, of course it does because people were really surprised over the last year when we would play Nadal. Maybe it was because we saw things differently, but it was the way we saw things over the last year. Nadal is truly a Davis Cup player at the age of 18, and he has proven it on the court today. We do have a very good team and we do have very good players. It was very clear for us because when we asked the other day, "Rafa, how are you feeling?" He answeredd, "I feel better than ever." With that answer, we have the key to the decision.

Q. (Translated from Spanish) You mentioned before that Nadal was having some physical problems. What were they? What happened?

CAPTAIN ARRESE: (Translated from Spanish) Yes, he was having cramps in his legs due to the tension, which is just basically that the muscles would go up and down. It is a case of just cramping due to the tension, which is a different thing to what Roddick had. Roddick had them because he had been very tired, played for four hours, running a lot, hitting a lot of balls. That's the consequence that he had physically. I have seen this type of problem happening to Rafa before. He usually recovers quite well from those cramps. We must bear in mind that we are talking about that the first set was very hard for him, that he had to play the tiebreak, that he was also feeling the tension of playing against Roddick and actually winning the match. It was also the factor of having 26,000 people watching the match. Although he's getting more and more used to it, it is quite new for him. We also have to bear in mind that he's 18 years old and we have also to realize that this is probably just a cramp in his leg due to the tension. Another player wouldn't have even finished the match. Nadal would have probably been able to play three more sets if necessary. So we believe that he is a player that recovers quite quickly. He trains a lot normally. On the other hand, we are in no hurry to make the decision. We have plenty of time. It will be the J3, the three captains, that we will take the time if we are interested in having him tomorrow or not, and we will decide.

Q. (Translated from Spanish) Roddick said before when he was asked whether Nadal could be the next No. 1, he said that, of course, it is impossible today because the current No. 1 is almost untouchable, but in the future maybe. Do you agree with that? Do you think it would also be necessary that he would focus on other types of courts?

CAPTAIN ARRESE: (Translated from Spanish) Well, I would not be surprised actually if he actually ends up being so. I have said that since he was 14 years old. Nowadays, it is impossible to beat Federer because he's by far the best player in the world. But Rafa has a lot to learn, he has a lot to improve, and he will get there. He does have the time to get there. There are no players like he or Hewitt any more. We have to remember that he can get there. Regarding the question about other types of courts, yes, of course. I mean, he has been playing a lot on fast courts, grass courts, as well. This year he has not actually been playing so much on clay. He was actually the only one who managed to beat Federer. At the end of the day, he was so ashamed that he had to miss three months of playing on clay. I would not rule out that he ends up winning Roland Garros. Let's just remember that he has lost three months of practice on clay, which is quite a hard thing for a player. Finally, I would like to congratulate Moya because he has helped Rafa a lot by winning the first match. Rafa could calm down and enjoy his match. They are very good friends, of course. I would also like to congratulation Feliciano and Verdasco and Guillermo Garcia.

End of FastScripts….

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