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January 7, 2023

David Witt

Jessica Pegula

Madison Keys

Taylor Fritz

Frances Tiafoe

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Team USA

Press Conference

Team USA - 5

Team Poland - 0

THE MODERATOR: Congrats to Team USA. You won 18 of 20 matches to reach the final of the inaugural United Cup. First up for Captain, how do you see tomorrow's final? If it's Italy or Greece, what do you think will be the keys tomorrow?

CAPTAIN WITT: I don't really think it matters. I think our players are pretty confident and excited to be in the final. We will just have to wait to see who we play, and then go out there and do it up.


Q. This is for any of the players who might want to answer. 5-0, you make it look very easy out there but it hasn't been an easy tournament. Can you maybe talk about some of the sacrifices that you made to get here? I understand you flew on Christmas Day, probably didn't go on the harbor, watching the fireworks, you know, so it's a really early preparation for this. So what sort of things have you had to do?

JESSICA PEGULA: Okay. Yeah, Maddie and I flew over Christmas. I think maybe some of the guys came the next day after. Yeah, that's always a tough turnaround for us, but I think once we got here, we like the conditions.

I also think we have had a lot of fun. We have done a lot of team bonding. I think the camaraderie has been pretty good, more or less. Some of us did the see the fireworks, because we had the day off the next day. We have been doing stuff, but at the same time, you know, resting and getting all the energy we need for our matches. I wouldn't say there has been a ton of sacrifices. It feels like another event, as well.

Q. Talking of team bonding, what are the things you have learnt about each other in the past week and a bit that you didn't know before?

FRANCES TIAFOE: I didn't know how locked everybody was. We were just so locked in. Fritz, you know, going to the restroom middle of the night, he's locked. It's just crazy. Wakes up and he's still locked in. It's wild (smiling).

JESSICA PEGULA: That's actually true.

TAYLOR FRITZ: Frances is unbelievable at escape rooms. (Laughter.)

JESSICA PEGULA: It's a hidden talent we didn't know that he had (laughter).


Q. Again, for any player, maybe Taylor, how is it different preparing for the Australian Open to the others? I mean, the start of the season, I mean, do you like the turnaround, the quick turnaround, or are you kind of wishing you had a bit more time off to play golf and go skiing?

TAYLOR FRITZ: Like with the offseason?

Q. Yeah. Is there an offseason?

TAYLOR FRITZ: Not really. Not really when you play XOs.

FRANCES TIAFOE: Not really when you hate being home too (smiling).

TAYLOR FRITZ: Yeah. The way I'm kind of looking at it is there is a little bit of time after Australia, so, you know, I can be home then. It's kind of easy for me to get myself motivated to come here and play this event and then Australian Open. I will get a whole week in Melbourne next week to kind of just get ready and kind of ramp up the longer days, get ready for five sets.

I think it's fine, just because I know after Australian Open I will get some time at home.

Q. Frances, Carlos has pulled out of the Australian Open, obviously a hot player from winning last year.

FRANCES TIAFOE: Who is Carlos? Who?

Q. Alcaraz.

FRANCES TIAFOE: Who's that? (Laughter.)

Q. No. 1 player in the world.

FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, yeah. Okay (smiling).

Q. Anyway, he's pulled out. I mean, he's a young guy, only 19 years old. Is that a sign of like how difficult it is for modern-day players to be able to back up with such short turnarounds between Grand Slams?

FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, I mean, tennis is brutal. It doesn't end. It seems like there is a big event around the corner every other day, honestly.

I mean, he's gonna be fine. He's extremely talented and a great player. Sucks that he's hurt. I'm gonna miss him. I'm not gonna miss him at all (smiling). But, yeah, again, I mean, I hope he recovers quick and we see him soon. He's great for the game. I'm a fan of watching him. Yeah.

Q. A question for the boys, especially Taylor, that you're the defending champion of Indian Wells. What was your reaction when you heard that Novak Djokovic, probably the biggest obstacle on that achievement of getting again the title, was not going to play in California?

TAYLOR FRITZ: He's not playing?

FRANCES TIAFOE: No, he can't play.

TAYLOR FRITZ: I didn't know that.

JESSICA PEGULA: The vaccination status. He still can't get into the U.S.

TAYLOR FRITZ: There is my live reaction to that.

Yeah, I don't know. I think obviously from like a player standpoint wanting to defend my title, it makes the draw easier that Novak is not in the draw, but I don't know, I feel like we are at a certain point where he should probably just be allowed into the country. But I don't make the rules, you know.

FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, I just think you want the biggest players in the world playing the biggest events in the world. It is what it is. The rules are what it is.

Again, I will really miss him out at Indian Wells. Not really (smiling).

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