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December 31, 2021

Michael Russell

Taylor Fritz

John Isner

Brandon Nakashima

Rajeev Ram

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Team USA

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Welcome to Team USA. Would like to ask the captain how the preparation is going so far. Your first tie on Sunday and your first experience as a captain of a major event.

MICHAEL RUSSELL: Yeah, I think it's going well. We got here pretty early, we've been practicing, trying to get as much time on the stadium courts as possible, two different stadium courts.

We're excited. You know, we finished last year pretty strong, and we're looking to come up against Canada Sunday and we feel good about our team. Everybody's fired up.

THE MODERATOR: And you as a captain for the first time, how do you find that experience?

MICHAEL RUSSELL: It's great. I enjoy organizing and getting guys ready to play, and it's been a great experience so far.

Q. Taylor, you're looking at some tough matches to start the season with against Sascha, Felix, and Cam Norrie. Are you happy to have such a challenging start to the season?

TAYLOR FRITZ: Yeah, it's really cool that the whole groups and everything kind of came out like early December or so. I've spent this whole offseason knowing my first three matches of the year, which is pretty cool.

Yeah, obviously three really tough matches but I've been playing really well. I'm looking forward to it.

Q. After a couple of seasons where we haven't always been able to play in front of fans, can you talk about getting back and playing in front of some passionate Australian tennis fans.

TAYLOR FRITZ: Yeah, I'm really excited. I hope that there's going to be a lot of people out there. It's going to be a lot of fun to kind of play in front of a big crowd again.

You know, we got a taste of it kind of towards the end of last year, but it should be good energy.

Q. John, welcome out of isolation. Good to see you here. You're probably facing the strongest group of No. 2 players out there. Can you talk about that challenge. Also about the importance of giving your team that winning start to a tie.

JOHN ISNER: Yeah, it's certainly a challenge. Our group as a whole is very tough. Good players all the way down the board, singles, doubles, you name it. Yeah, it's going to be tough. Pretty certain I'm going to play Shapovalov in a few days and he's actually someone who I've never played before, which is kind of unusual, been on the tour with him for three, four years now probably, and never played him.

That will be a good challenge, but we'll see how it goes first match of the year. Never really know how you're going to play out there. You can practice well and do all the right things or you may not play well on the court.

But we're a confident group here, a lot of good players, a mix of old, ancient over here on this side of the table, and young over there (smiling). We'll see what we can do.

Q. Is there a possibility that you might double up and play singles and doubles? If so, could you speak to what the physical challenge of doing that might be?

JOHN ISNER: Yeah, it's a possibility. I think any of us four players -- I mean, obviously Raj is the staple, but any of myself, Brandon, or Taylor, can play doubles. Physically, I don't think it's an issue.

Q. Raj, let me ask you just about the spotlight that ATP Cup shines on doubles and the potential to clinch the tie. Can you speak to that.

RAJEEV RAM: Yeah, I think it's great. Any time you can be in a team environment I think it's really cool because we don't have that very much in tennis. That's the first thing.

And then, yeah, the fact that the doubles is the third match and if it does come down to 1-All, it is the decider. I think you get to see a lot of great singles players. Like John said, these guys can play. We'll play the doubles for their respective teams and I think it adds a really nice element and it puts a great spotlight on how fun doubles can be to watch.

Q. Brandon, can you talk generally about being part of the team, what that means to you and what you're hoping to get out of this week.

BRANDON NAKASHIMA: Yeah, I think it's going to be a really good week. I feel very confident about our team here. I think it will be a great experience for me being able just to watch all these matches close up, being able to practice with all these guys.

You know, I think just being here in Australia for the first time for me is going to be really cool this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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