November 9, 2003
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. First off, what did you guys think was the turning point? You had those two matchpoints there.
DAN NESTOR: For us or for them?
Q. For you guys to come back.
DAN NESTOR: Save two matchpoints?
Q. Yeah, save them, I'm sorry.
DAN NESTOR: Obviously, it was the turning point when Arthurs double-faulted. Then we had life again. We just played solid after that. Got a little lucky on matchpoint for us. Had a ball off the frame for a winner. It was a roller coaster match from the beginning. They had some chances early in the second, and then they played a good tiebreaker and we got up in the third. Probably should have closed it out, but gave them a chance. Then they gave us another chance and we finally won.
Q. You faced them quite a bit this year, haven't you?
MARK KNOWLES: Yeah, we've played them, maybe that's the fourth time.
Q. I think it was fourth or fifth. In Paris the last one they won.
MARK KNOWLES: We played them in the semis. We lost the match that we kind of dominated statistically. But, obviously, they won it.
Q. This is a little bit of a revenge?
MARK KNOWLES: Yeah, definitely. Definitely nice to win a close one. We felt we lost a close one to them in Paris. Seems like all our matches against them are pretty close.
Q. Are they just difficult to play? With Arthurs' style and serve?
MARK KNOWLES: Arthurs, definitely, probably has one of the best serves in the game of doubles for sure. It adds such a tricky element. His serve can bail him out of tough situations a lot of times, so... I think that makes them, you know, very tricky any time you've got a guy that serves that well.
Q. There were a lot of drop volleys in the match today. Was that something that you expected, playing the angle volleys and drop volleys?
DAN NESTOR: He's notorious for that. He has long arms at the net. He's talented. He comes up with those shots a lot. Got good feel at the net. I think we did all the right things. If he's gonna hit shots that well, they deserve to win. There was one point I think it was 4-1 in the third-set breaker, we hit some good shots and he finished it off with a drop volley.
Q. Did you have a strategy going in?
DAN NESTOR: We felt like we were the better team in Paris when we lost, so we didn't really need to change that much, I think. We just try and capitalize on the opportunities that we do have, the few ones that we got early in the match. Maybe one or two later on in the match that we let slip away. But it's nice to get through it. Obviously, being up 1-all is a lot better than the other way around.
Q. What did you guys do yesterday? You were the only, you know, you four were the only ones that didn't play. Did you watch any of the tennis?
MARK KNOWLES: We practiced early on the Stadium Court. Then we walked around at the galleria really. We didn't see any of the tennis. Heard there were some great matches, so we missed some good tennis. I think it's important just for us to focus on our matches. It's great tennis here, and hopefully we can provide some of that.
Q. You guys aren't new to this tournament. How important is this first match, from your experience in this event?
DAN NESTOR: Uhm... Go ahead.
MARK KNOWLES: I think it's really important, obviously. Like Dan said, it's better to be 1-0 instead of 0-1. Especially a great match like that, nice to come out ahead. You know, but there's still plenty of work to be done. Just take one day at a time and focus on tomorrow's match now. And, you know, just play the best that we can and see where we end up after the Round Robin.
Q. You felt like in this match that a break was very, very important because the first set, it was one break. Second set, no breaks until the tiebreaker. Then a mini-break and that was about it. So in the third set, is that what you felt, that you have to hold?
DAN NESTOR: Well, I never thought one break was enough, but they did a good job of turning it around. We were up 4-2 then they hung in there, played a good game to get it right back. But that's something that I'm sure will tighten up in matches to come; if we get up a break, we won't let it slip away. But, you know, obviously, when you're playing a guy like Arthurs and you're able to get up a break, he serves huge, if he doesn't return, you can capitalize on that.
Q. Do you guys feel comfortable out there, considering everything, with the clay court championships and that victory, is it nice to be back here and have it here because of that comfortable factor?
MARK KNOWLES: Yeah, I think it's really important. Jim and Linda, they do such a great job here. Like you said, we had a great experience here in April for the Houston event. You know - I'm sure Dan feels the same way - we felt really comfortable out there. The fans were wonderful, a lot of fans. It was a great atmosphere to play in front of. It really makes it more special. We love playing here.
Q. Were you surprised with how much was done while you guys were gone to build the stadium and new court and everything?
DAN NESTOR: They erected it so fast. First-class accommodations for players and services.
Q. How were the court conditions today? It was a little cool today.
DAN NESTOR: Today's a perfect day, I think, to play tennis. It's less humid than it was the last couple days, so...
Q. Hard court is your favorite surface anyway?
DAN NESTOR: Yeah, definitely. The balls felt a little better coming off the racquet today. Can't complain. Nice sunny day. Heat isn't a factor. At least for me, I like playing like that.
Q. You guys had mixed results a little bit this year, although you have a great record. You're now seeded or ranked fourth. Is that a concern to you? Or your goal is to win the tournament so you can be ranked first?
MARK KNOWLES: Yeah, definitely. I mean, obviously coming off being No. 1 last year, obviously No. 1 for most of this year, then losing that position, yeah, we obviously want to finish the year No. 1. I mean that's our goal every year. I think also we want to focus on each event and just play the best we can. I think we've done that this year. Obviously, we've lost a couple close matches that could have maybe changed the momentum and allowed us to be ranked a little bit higher. But our main goal is just to compete hard every week and see where it ends up.
Q. You think you're in the better bracket with the Blue Group than the other group?
MARK KNOWLES: I think they're all the same. I don't think there's any advantage. You're talking the top eight teams in the world. Everyone deserves to be here, and every one is a great team. So it just really comes down to who executes on the day.
Q. Is it proving here, with the first two days of matches, how close all the doubles teams are that are here right now with the way these matches have been going on?
DAN NESTOR: I think the game of doubles, that's what makes it special. It usually comes down to one or two points regardless. You rarely see an easy win. That's been the story so far in the first few days. You know, for the fans' point of view, it's exciting. Obviously, exciting, it's fun to be a part of these matches. It gets you tougher mentally for the upcoming matches to be able to sweep one up like today.
Q. Other players have been talking about the court slanting and taking bad bounces. Have you noticed that when you've been out there playing?
DAN NESTOR: Not at all (smiling).
MARK KNOWLES: It's the same for both teams. We're really not focused on the court or the conditions. We're just trying to really play the best that we can. It's a great stadium and it's a wonderful setup.
Q. You had some key calls that were real close in the third set. You didn't let it get to you, I guess. That's one of the advantages of coming back and blocking that out. Is that what you tried to do?
MARK KNOWLES: Yeah, I think, hesitantly, I'd like to say we're veterans. We've had our fair share of calls obviously go for us and against us over the years. Not much you can do. Calls are calls and you hope that it doesn't happen on big points. If it does, you hope that somehow it levels out in the end. But that doesn't happen sometimes. Sometimes it doesn't happen for a few weeks or whatever. But you really can't control the calls. You just got to really hope that you got the right calls.
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