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July 21, 2000

Albert Costa

Q. You were down those three break points a couple of times. You seemed to start off perhaps nervous; I don't know?

ALBERT COSTA: Well, at the beginning I was nervous because he was playing so good, some unbelievable returns. But I try to play my game and during whole match. I knew I could win the second game, and this game give me a lot of confidence to keep playing like the way I played. I think he made three unbelievable shots, but it's difficult to play like this the whole match.

Q. It seemed to be very easy, but in fact it was very difficult. What could you tell us about that game? Were you nervous?

ALBERT COSTA: Well, nervous of course. The one who is not feeling nervous is not true. I mean we are all getting nervous in that type of game. But it's something which is positive, to know that you are playing an important Cup like this one. You have to fight as much as you can. And it is a different sensation; you're not just playing for yourself. I mean when I'm at a tournament, second round, and I fail, well, if I fail, well, I'll be angry with myself and that's it. But it's different. I have a responsibility here and I have to face it as much as I can. And this is a bit different. So today I think I had a good match. At the beginning, it's true that I was a bit excited. There were a lot of people. But anyway, it has been a very complete game, and I feel all right from the beginning I would say.

Q. What were you really concerned about?

ALBERT COSTA: Mostly about his -- I mean the service. He had better services than usual perhaps. It changed, he had different services. I've been able to do it perhaps better than I normally do. And I got some points with my service, which certainly helped me a lot - though not directly. But it helped in the second set perhaps, was a bit more complex. He had broken several times, I was a bit surprised, a few short balls, et cetera. Been lucky in one case. But anyway... I've been quiet. There was a break in the following game and the following set, so I tried to be a bit more quieter. Anyway... It's not easy to be there and to always maintain a good service, but I've been very happy generally speaking.

Q. Do you think it has been the most difficult match?

ALBERT COSTA: Oh, yes, it is an important match just as the others. Alex has a very difficult match right now. Perhaps you don't think it is so. To be there, you have to be there, you have to suffer, and you have to win. It's very difficult -- it's very easy to say, "No, we're going to win." No, we have to do things in order to be able to win. I mean the other ones are very good players; we shouldn't forget that.

Q. To what extent do you think the public and the heat has been a factor? Is it something in your favor or is it against you?

ALBERT COSTA: The public, of course - I don't know how many people, 11,000 or 10,000 people - I mean to have these people against you is very difficult. They've been a very good public. It does have an impact that's been decisive. They've been able to help, and it has been decisive. So we're under pressure. During a period of time, I was really winning. And with the pressure of the public, it's difficult. He has to think again that he has to have good services. Mentally, it's difficult because when it happens to me, we know that the pressure is quite obvious. And the heat, I said that one of -- I mean a longer match, a long tie would have been something possible for me, and perhaps I'd be more prepared.

Q. Albert, the type of court, it was a bit slow. Do you think it's ideal so that Martin's tennis has been smoother, perhaps? Because he has won generally against Spaniards.

ALBERT COSTA: I don't think the court was so slow. It was quite rapid, I would say. It is what we like really. But if you don't have the possibility to give a spin to the ball, I mean it's not a good thing for us. I mean really, Martin is a very good player and that's it. And he has been winning a lot of matches, about to win the US Open. It seems that Martin would be a second level, but he's a very, very good player.

Q. What about the height difference?

ALBERT COSTA: Normally, when I play with that type of court -- and normally, I mean the fact of playing in clay, well, it doesn't matter for me. It doesn't cost me much to adapt myself. It is more difficult to adapt yourself when you are going to play somewhere else.

Q. Albert, this is your first step forward towards the victory. How do you consider the last final play?

ALBERT COSTA: Well, we're at 1-0 right now and we still have two more points. It will be difficult, very hard. We have to fight a lot and we all know that it will be so. Let's hope that Alex will be able to win. If on Friday we have two points, two positive points, it will be a good step forward so we'll have to win another point.

Q. Albert, obviously a lot of work went into your victory. Were you surprised at how straightforward the win was for you? And, secondly, how well do you think Todd was playing? Could you assess his level of play?

ALBERT COSTA: Well, I think it's not easy, no, when you have to play Davis Cup in the semifinals. He likes to play on clay. It's hot out there, a lot of people supporting us. For Todd, it's not easy to play here. That's one of the reasons. But I think he always plays good on clay because he won in Barcelona against two or three Hispanic guys. I think Todd is a good player, and today I play good and I make a good match. It was 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, but I had my bad moments. He had a lot of break points in the third set. So maybe if some little things change, it could be more difficult for me.

Q. Albert, McEnroe has made a point of saying Spain has never won anything in the Davis Cup; that Spain has underachieved in the Davis Cup. And he said because of that, he feels like all the pressure is on you guys. What's your response to his comments, and do you agree with his assessment?

ALBERT COSTA: Well, it's true that Spain has never won in Davis Cup. But we play two Finals, and unfortunately we couldn't win. But we are working hard. We are trying to play our best tennis here in Davis Cup, and maybe dreaming maybe this year can be possible. But I don't know, it's difficult. And the pressure, we have pressure all the time playing all the ties, but we are used to playing with pressure. And last year we lost in first round. But if Kuerten plays like this, what can you do? It's so difficult. But it's difficult. I think the most important thing is that we have a good team, we are very close to everyone, and we are working hard, and we are trying to win the Davis Cup. For the moment, we are trying.

End of FastScripts....

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