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November 12, 2003

Mark Knowles

Daniel Nestor


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I know you felt like you should have not been in that third set .


Q. But what did you do to block that out? You made a few mistakes. What did you do to block it out and play tennis? What did you do?

DANIEL NESTOR: Well, I mean, we're experienced. I mean, that's your only choice. You can either let it bother you and let it affect your play, or block it out and try and move on. That's what we did a good job of. We knew that we had to win the match to qualify; there's no guarantees. So we realized that, and we just had to step it up in the third set.

Q. What was the problem in that second set? Bhupathi picked up his game.

DANIEL NESTOR: No problem. We were up 6-4 in the breaker. I missed a volley. It's pretty similar to the one I missed against Arthurs-Hanley. I hit it well, it just hit the top of the net. Same thing on the return. I thought I hit it well, and it hit the top of the net. Didn't miss badly. Just a little bit unfortunate and could have done a little better on the shots.

Q. Do you think your forehand may have lapsed at times there just a little bit?

DANIEL NESTOR: In the third set?

Q. No, in the second.

DANIEL NESTOR: I didn't miss too many forehands in the second set. I missed a few forehand returns in the third set. Those were in the third set. They didn't really cost us. But in the second set, it was just... I don't know. As I said, couple shots that I could hit a little bit better, but I didn't hit badly by any means. The third set, I missed a few forehand returns a little bit wild. But I don't think it really cost us the match. Obviously, we won, so...

Q. That break in the first set came with Max serving. The sun seemed to bother him.

DANIEL NESTOR: Yeah, he double-faulted on breakpoint.

Q. Were you bothered by the sun?

DANIEL NESTOR: No, I mean, it was setting a little bit. It was lower in the sky than earlier in the day. Obviously, if we're playing a little bit earlier in the day, it's gonna be higher in the sky. For a righty, it's tough on that side. It's on the righty side, looking up on the right. For me, it doesn't affect me.

Q. You had one good forehand passing shot that you needed in the third set. I forget when that was...


Q. You ran to get it, and it went down the line. That picked up the crowd a little bit. You had some crowd support tonight.

DANIEL NESTOR: Yeah, it was good. They were into it. I think they wanted to see more tennis. They were happy that it went to three. The first match today was pretty short, the singles match. They were very supportive. It was a good match, I thought. It was some good shots and, obviously, really close. We provided them with pretty good entertainment considering they didn't get much in the singles.

Q. Knowles and Nestor chant.

DANIEL NESTOR: Yeah, I don't know who those guys are. Obviously, took a liking to us; I don't know why.

Q. You won the clay courts here?

DANIEL NESTOR: That's true, that's true. Doesn't happen often. We don't get a cheering squad like that too often.

Q. Do you enjoy playing down here?

DANIEL NESTOR: Yeah, it's great. This tournament especially. This whole setup and the fans, we don't get this kind of fan support and these kind of crowds usually on tour. I mean, there are a few stops maybe. But on average, we're playing in front of smaller crowds. It makes it more exciting. We're playing every match on center court, which is nice, too.

Q. When you guys go back and talk when you're on serve, are you talking about "he's going to go to his backhand"?

DANIEL NESTOR: Yeah, we give each other an idea of where the serve's going to go. Obviously, it's good to know because the guy at the net needs to know how to move to the shot. So I think we give each other a little bit of advice on where the serve's going. We discuss where the serves are going.

Q. How long have you played together?

DANIEL NESTOR: We played together since '95. We took two years off. 2000 and 2001 we missed. Then we got back together last year, beginning of last year.

Q. You know each other's games?

DANIEL NESTOR: Yeah, we know each other well. We complement each other well. We've been successful over the years, consistently pretty successful.

Q. How do you like the Round Robin format?

DANIEL NESTOR: It's interesting. It's good in the way that it gives everyone a chance. When there are teams tied at 1 -2, there could be three teams tied at 1-2 in the group, and someone's going to go through. You give everyone a chance, and you get to play every team once. That makes it fair, you know. You can go an 8-team draw and you get an unfavorable draw first round, you lose throughout. I think this is fair. We worked hard to get here. There's eight teams. Everyone should get more than one match, so...

Q. The competition is getting tougher anyway.

DANIEL NESTOR: Now we're in the knockout stage in the semifinals. We play Llodra-Santoro. They're a talented team. They beat us in the final of the Aussie Open. It's going to be a really tough match.

Q. Do you play three-out-of-five in doubles?

DANIEL NESTOR: We do at Wimbledon, that's it. Here I believe the final is three-out-of-five, if I'm right. I'm not sure.

Q. Mark, congratulations.

MARK KNOWLES: Thanks. Appreciate it.

Q. The first set you played really well, especially your overhead. You didn't miss an overhead. Then what happened in the second set?

MARK KNOWLES: We played a great set. Obviously, we put ourselves in position, we were up 6-4 in the tiebreaker with Dan serving. That's a great position. That's where we want to be. I have to credit the other team. They came up with some good shots. Dan was a little unfortunate. I think he missed a volley on top, that hit the tape. Then hit a return that hit the tape. That's the way doubles goes.

Q. In a match like that, a break is all that you need most of the time.

MARK KNOWLES: Yeah, I mean, obviously, they're one of the best teams in the world. They're great players. You know it's gonna be a tough match, and pretty much every time we play them it's a tough match. We knew that going in. That was our mindset and, you know, you just play as hard as you can and try to execute and see where you end up.

Q. Was the key your returns? You were on in the first set.

MARK KNOWLES: Yeah, I was pretty happy with every part of my game. I thought I played well. Obviously, I returned really well. Kind of set the tone early because they both serve fairly well. You know, I think it's very important to get a lot of returns back in play against those guys.

Q. You know when you play next?

MARK KNOWLES: Tomorrow night.

Q. Against Santoro?


Q. They beat you where?

MARK KNOWLES: They beat us at the Australian Open in the final this year. We beat them in Cincinnati so...

Q. So any strategy for them?

MARK KNOWLES: They're a tough team - very talented team. You know, we played them a few times, I think. I think we might be ahead 3-1. We beat them last year in the Australian Open final. They beat us this year in the Australian Open final. So they're a very good team. They really play well, both guys. So it's gonna be a tough match. Obviously, any time you start -- it's a great field here as it is, and once you start getting to the semifinals, to make the semifinals, the team must be playing really well. So everybody's in with a great shot.

Q. Who were the kids that were your chanting crew?

MARK KNOWLES: I'm not sure, actually. Looks like I gained some new fans, which was nice.

Q. You congratulated them at the end, which was nice.

MARK KNOWLES: Yeah, it was nice. They were great. Obviously, they gave us a lot of support. That's very important.

Q. Max missed some key volleys. If you look at the stats, he probably missed more than he usually does. Were you trying to get it low to him? He's a big guy. He has to get down.

MARK KNOWLES: Yeah, I mean, he covers the net extremely well. He's a great mover. He has the occasional loose volley here or there where he can miss. We tried to maybe make him volley a little extra. We were fortunate early, he missed maybe a few that he wouldn't normally miss. But, you know, that's really the way it is. It really comes down to execution. He's such a tough target up there. He's very limber and such a big guy. So if you can, it's good to try to make him bend a little bit.

Q. And you said you were happy with all aspects of your game. Anything different?

MARK KNOWLES: No, I mean, I feel great. Obviously, you know, I'm feeling great with the way we're playing as a team. And, you know, it was a tough match. Obviously, having two matchpoints in the second set, it's easy to, you know, maybe get a little bit down. But we stayed up, knowing that we played well. I had to credit those guys for coming back in the second set. We fought till the very end and it worked out for us.

Q. You know Michael Llodra is a lefty. Do you change your strategy when you play a lefty?

MARK KNOWLES: Yeah, definitely. I mean, that presents -- but we played them enough to where we pretty much know how to adapt. Especially since my partner is a left-hander, I get to hit against a lefty a lot. So that helps. You know, we'll be ready.

Q. There was one overhead in the tiebreaker that was a tough one for you. He hit it deep. You were making most of those all day. What happened on that shot?

MARK KNOWLES: He did a great job, awesome defensive lob by Max. I assume probably I could have moved my feet a little bit better. I tried to hit it firm and be aggressive with it. But it caught the net. So I was just more -- I give more credit to Max for putting up a great defensive lob. It's not an easy shot. Maybe try to do too much sometimes.

Q. It was an entertaining match.


End of FastScriptsâ?¦.

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