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December 2, 2004

Jordi Arrese


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Juan Carlos, you said in the paper that we read here that if you didn't feel you were up to it, if you didn't feel you were ready, that you would say so to the captain. Is that what happened?

JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: Well, I was practicing, I think, that you could see with tape in the hand, you know. Today's going to be the first day that I'm going to practice normal, you know. But, anyways, I felt good in the whole week, you know. But, anyways, is captain's decision, you know. I give all my positive to Rafael. I think he's playing very good, and I give all my confidence to him.

Q. (In Spanish) Juan Carlos, are you surprised by the decision?

JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: (In Spanish) yes, of course, I felt a bit surprised by the decision, but one has to accept it as a Davis Cup player. One has to accept that decision. And we are four good players in our team, and therefore Rafael plays really well and he will be doing it as well as he would do it.

Q. (In Spanish) Do you feel up to playing?

JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: (In Spanish) yes, I would have felt.

Q. (In Spanish) What about the decision you have made, what did you have in mind when you made the decision and why did you make that decision?

CAPTAIN ARRESE: (In Spanish) The decision was a decision made by the three captains together after surveying the players during the week, during the training sessions. Of course, the three captains have a lot of faith in Juan Carlos. They trust him. They believe he is a very good Davis Cup player, that he is ready to play. However, due to the small problems that we have been seeing during the week, we're not a hundred percent sure that that would be a very good idea. He has had hand problems that seem to be quite serious at the beginning, but now are much better. Actually, he will be doing his first training session without tape today. We believe that Rafael will be a very good player to do this first match against Roddick. Therefore, we believe that Tommy and Rafael will be the better players on Friday.

Q. Is it, therefore, possible that had Juan Carlos had two or three more days' of practice, he would have played? Is it too soon for him, perhaps?

CAPTAIN ARRESE: (In Spanish) Of course, it is probably so, yes, that would have been the case. If Juan Carlos had given me the certainty he always gives the captain, he would play, yes.

Q. (In Spanish) Juan Carlos, when did you know about that decision?

JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: (In Spanish) This morning.

Q. (In Spanish) Rafael, how do you feel about being the second player tomorrow, carrying the weight of the three points?

RAFAEL NADAL: (In Spanish) It was absolutely no problem for me. I believe that Juan Carlos should have done it under normal circumstances, but due to the problems he has had, the captains decided to trust me for this position in the team. I believe I will just go and play tomorrow. I can do a good job. I have been losing and winning matches during the training in the preceding months, and he will just go for it and play tomorrow.

Q. (In Spanish) Rafael, how do you feel about playing with such a great audience?

RAFAEL NADAL: (In Spanish) It is no problem. I wish there would be 10,000 more spectators tomorrow. I'm happy about that.

Q. (In Spanish) How do you feel about playing against the No. 1 in the world? How do you approach the match? How do you feel about having your premiere against this player?

RAFAEL NADAL: (In Spanish) I believe it is going to be a very hard match. I am ready. I feel ready for the match. Roddick is a very good player. He's playing at a very good level, but I have been training during the week and I feel very good. I have been training and feel I have recovered quite well. Even though I haven't played that much since Alicante, I feel much better, I feel better during the training sessions. Of course, it is tough playing against such a No. 1, No. 2 in the world, he is the good player regardless of the surface of the court. If it's clay, it's a good player.

Q. How important do you this is it that you're getting a chance to start off the tie, Carlos?

CARLOS MOYA: We spoke before, me and Rafael. We felt it was better for us that I start the tie. So it happened. But anyway, doesn't change much. Hopefully I'm going to win that match and give him the confidence, going on court with 1-0, leading, which is very important I think for him to play more calm and with more confidence. So that's what I'm going to try to do. Hopefully that's going to happen.

Q. (In Spanish) Juan Bautista, there has been talk, the fact that Rafael scored the key point against the Czech Republic. Talk about the structure of the team.

CAPTAIN AVENDANO: (In Spanish) The Spanish team is an extremely comprehensive team. It is a heterogenous team, ready for anything. As Patrick McEnroe said before, the Spanish team is made up of four great singles and they have been using them very well during the season. They know how to locate each of them. We have three days ahead of matches and we have to score three out of five points, therefore I know that the point in the doubles is the most difficult one. But we have four good players and we will try and score these three points. As for Sunday, it is always likely that we find there are different players for the singles for Sunday.

Q. Juan Carlos, if you close your eyes, where do you see yourself on Sunday? Still on the bench or on court playing for the last match?

JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: I don't know (smiling). If I close my eyes, of course, I want to see myself on Sunday on the court. Also if I close my eyes, I want to see myself winning after Saturday and play the match very calm on Sunday (smiling).

Q. Rafael, are you surprised, excited, nervous?

RAFAEL NADAL: (In Spanish) Of course, I feel a little bit surprised because I have also been having problems. I feel a bit surprised, as well. As for whether I feel excited, of course I'm excited about playing my match, but also I feel excited about supposing that I wouldn't have to play my match and I will just make sure that the Spanish team will win anyway. As for whether I'm feeling nervous, well, yes, a little bit, as usual, as one would feel in this situation.

Q. (In Spanish) What is behind the decision? Is it tactics or is it for technical reasons?

CAPTAIN ARRESE: (In Spanish) The decision has been made due to a bit of everything, both due to tactical reasons and due to technical reasons. We believe that Rafael is in a very good situation and that he's left-handed. Patrick McEnroe, of course, sort of forecasted these eventualities. The proof is that he brought a left-handed sparring partner to practice during the week. They also mentioned that Rafael is in a good situation, playing at a very good level. I also believe it has been a little bit of a surprise for the US team. Under the circumstances, we believe that Rafael will be the most suitable player for this match.

Q. Carlos, you gave Federer his toughest match at The Masters. Do you feel where you want to be in your game right now?

CARLOS MOYA: Yes, I feel I'm playing very well right now, much better than I was playing a few months ago. Now at least I feel that I'm playing my best tennis. I practice really hard during this month and a half to get ready for the Masters Cup, and also for the Davis. So I feel well, I feel healthy, good fitness condition. The most important thing, I'm hungry to win again. I'm very motivated.

Q. Carlos, can you talk about what it means for Mallorca to be having you out there playing the singles on Friday? What would it mean for you to have this chance to play in the final in Spain in front of your public after what happened in Barcelona?

CARLOS MOYA: Well, I guess that for Mallorca, is very important moment. It was already very important to have two players in the team. Now that the two of us are going to play tomorrow, I think it makes it even more important. But the really important thing here is to win. To me, it will mean a lot. Is my main goal for a long time. Well, I had the chance last year, but we were playing in very difficult circumstances, playing on grass against Australia. But here I feel that it's a different story. I know it's maybe more pressure for us, but we're playing home, on clay, and the last 11 times that happened, we won. We respect a lot the American team, but to me it will be very important to win here. Also for all of us, I think my team also thinks this is a very important tournament and they are very motivated to win.

Q. (In Spanish) Tommy, regarding the doubles match, it has been said that it is a very difficult point to score. How do you feel about it?

TOMMY ROBREDO: (In Spanish) Yes, of course, it is a very difficult point to score. However, nobody should take for granted that the point is lost. We have already proven it against France in Alicante. Maybe there are many surprises ahead of us on Saturday.

Q. (In Spanish) About your health, how is your back and shoulder?

TOMMY ROBREDO: (In Spanish) I feel perfect. I'm a hundred percent ready, just about ready for everything.

Q. (In Spanish) Carlos, how do you feel about starting this tournament? You will be the first player to play tomorrow.

CARLOS MOYA: (In Spanish) Each is a different situation. Here, I've been talking with Rafael, and we feel I would be the most suitable candidate to start the tournament tomorrow. I'm also happy because the starting time is not too early, so it's good. Fish is quite an irregular player. He's a very good player on a faster court, but that tomorrow he has absolutely nothing to lose. He has a very good serve. Of course, he is quite aware that there is a lot at stake tomorrow, so it will be a tough match. I will try and make sure that he will work very hard for every single point he scores.

Q. Rafael, you are El Nino here, could you have imagined when we met you January in New Zealand you would be sitting here now and carrying the team here in three matches?

RAFAEL NADAL: (In Spanish) Well, of course, in January I was almost one year younger than I am now, so I was actually quite younger then. Of course, I did not expect to go this far even during the first round. I am quite happy just to be on the team. I'm absolutely happy to be here today and what I have ahead of me over the next three days.

Q. (In Spanish) Jordi, it seems they are organizing a big party out there. There is quite a euphoric atmosphere regarding the Spanish team winning this tournament. How do you feel about that?

CAPTAIN ARRESE: (In Spanish) Well, they should not approach this final with this euphoria of taking things for granted. This is a very hard final. Both teams are very closely matched. However, we have a lot of faith in the potential of the players. We have five matches for the weekend. We will use all the players. It has not been said anything about the public, the role that the public will be playing. I want to say that they play an important role in supporting and cheering the Spanish team, and that the US team will have to be aware of that, that the Spanish people will be there with them, cheering their names, nursing the players. We are talking about 26,000 or 27, 000 spectators, most of them Spanish. They have been following them everywhere. They managed to sell out all the stadiums we have played the last few years. It's important they join forces with the audience. However, as a message to the public, it is very important that they respect the regulations in between serves because when they played in the US, the US audience was tremendously nice to them in that way. In between serves, they respected the rules, and they expect the Spanish audience to do the same here tomorrow and the day after.

End of FastScripts….

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