January 6, 2023
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Team USA - 2
Team Poland - 0
THE MODERATOR: Well done to Team USA. First of all, Captain, did you expect such an easy first day, losing only 10 games and not even one set?
CAPTAIN WITT: No, that was unbelievable. I mean, what can I say? Jess came out and played unbelievable. Iga is such a tough opponent to play. She's always in the match and you can't let up at all. We have been working on a lot of things, and a lot of the things paid off today. I'm happy for Jess.
Then, you know, Frances came out and was pumped up after Jess, kind of motivated to keep going. He did his thing.
FRANCES TIAFOE: Coach of the Year.
CAPTAIN WITT: Who said I shouldn't have got that? (Laughter.)
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Jess, for three-and-a-half years you haven't beaten her. What do you think made the difference today that allowed you to win pretty comfortably by that scoreline?
JESSICA PEGULA: When you say three-and-a-half years, I think I have played her five times.
Q. Yeah, but four times last year.
JESSICA PEGULA: Yeah, in one year. 1-0 this year. Yeah.
I mean, one, I played her today, conditions are totally different than anywhere else I play her. Obviously maybe I had a little bit of an advantage, they just flew in yesterday. Definitely the fastest conditions I have played her. Every other place I've played her has been pretty slow. I think that favored me a lot, and I was able to use that to my advantage and play a really super clean match.
I think I just was able to execute my game plan probably better than I have previous times.
Q. Frances, I don't know if you heard what Jess said on court about the Escape Room yesterday. Sounds like the guys got dusted up a little bit. I'm curious how that went but how much fun it is to spend the time off the court with the team.
JESSICA PEGULA: Guys are so salty they lost. It's like, It's real.
FRANCES TIAFOE: Fritz is still pissed. I hope he loosens up for tomorrow.
Yeah, it's just been great team energy. Jess hurt our team building yesterday after that. Both the guys and girls getting pretty heated there at the end.
No, I mean, it was great to do stuff like that, and obviously Jess is our captain, making us do team outings like that.
JESSICA PEGULA: I didn't make anyone do anything. I just throw out feelers and see what everyone is feeling.
FRANCES TIAFOE: No, but it was great, honestly. Just, again, like seeing Jess play today inspired me a lot. Super happy for her. The reason why she won, I sent a great text to her last night before she went to sleep, and I think that really motivated her. And obviously our warmups. I think I'm going to be on the team, on her team after this week.
CAPTAIN WITT: You're hired.
JESSICA PEGULA: Hired as a hitting partner.
FRANCES TIAFOE: I think the Australian Open is probably my last event. I'm just going to be following Jess Pegula around.
For sure hitting at every combined event. Warmups for sure.
Q. Wondering what the text message was last night.
JESSICA PEGULA: What did you say?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I don't even know. She was super amped.
JESSICA PEGULA: I sent to everyone: Great job today. Or it was the previous day.
FRANCES TIAFOE: I sent it out first.
JESSICA PEGULA: I think it was previous day. Hey, Jess, go believe it tomorrow. I'd back you against anyone in the world. Let's do the damn thing. All love.
FRANCES TIAFOE: When she says it like that it sounds terrible.
JESSICA PEGULA: I was, like, are we warming up tomorrow, blah, blah, blah. All right. 12:50 walk on. We gonna hit.
FRANCES TIAFOE: My text language is terrible.
JESSICA PEGULA: I said, Let's gooo. And then he put these prayer emojis.
Q. What about your performance today?
JESSICA PEGULA: Very inspiring stuff, guys.
FRANCES TIAFOE: My performance was good. Just a normal classic Tiafoe match.
JESSICA PEGULA: Big Foe special.
CAPTAIN WITT: Pretty normal.
FRANCES TIAFOE: There's going to be ups and downs. Hit some crazy shots today. Just had a lot of fun. I thought it was a great level. The other guy actually played a pretty high level. It was fun.
But, yeah, I really wanted to get that win, for us to get up 2-0 and loosen up the guys for tomorrow.
Q. I was wondering how you can assess the match tomorrow, Taylor against Hubi and then Madison against Magda. Head-to-head one-all in both cases. I guess David for that or anyone who has thoughts.
CAPTAIN WITT: Frances probably knows the guys better than anybody.
FRANCES TIAFOE: I think Taylor and Hubi is going to be tough. I think whoever serves better is probably going to get over the line. I'm going to back Taylor's serve tomorrow obviously. They haven't played like a proper match in a while. They're both in two different stages of their career. They're both playing the best tennis of their life. So we'll see.
But I'm obviously going to back Taylor, always. We'll see what happens. You know, same with Maddie, I back her against anybody in the world. Jess will talk about it.
JESSICA PEGULA: I think Maddie and Magda is going to be tough. Obviously hopefully, again, they haven't been here very long, hopefully we can use the courts to our advantage a little bit. Yeah, I gotta back Maddie with her big game, as long as she serves pretty well.
She's been playing some really solid tennis. I think it helps she kind of got that tough three-setter out of the way, so hopefully she'll feel pretty loose tomorrow.
2-0, it's nice, but sometimes it's tough to close it out as well. It's going to be a battle for sure.
Q. Frances, did you know much about Zuk and did it really matter that he came in relatively late, I guess, as a substitute? Did you know much about either player? And the other thing is what about the noise factor in the stadium with the rain on the roof? Was that making it difficult to hear the ball?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah. I mean, I didn't even know my first opponent I was supposed to play. So when they switched it, I was, like, All right, great, I'm in the same position I was. It was kind of, Whatever.
I was just going to kind of wing it and see what happens. Feel the guy out a little bit and kind of see what happens. Try to just worry about my side of the court and we'll figure it out.
Yeah, it was a circus out there, for sure. I've never heard that kind of noise when I'm trying to play a tennis match. I have a tough time focusing regardless, so it was very tough.
CAPTAIN WITT: Really?
JESSICA PEGULA: No way.
FRANCES TIAFOE: It was very tough. I'm trying to play, and I'm hearing that loud noise. Hey, he has to deal with the same thing, right? I can't complain about it even though I was complaining about it (smiling).
Yeah, it's just a part of the game, I guess.
Q. Jess, I know we brought it up the other day, but some good news overnight with Damar. Thoughts about that?
JESSICA PEGULA: Yeah, it's amazing. Obviously the medical staff and everyone on field did an amazing job. They are expecting almost, what's looking hopeful for 100% neurological recovery, which is incredible considering what we were all thinking of before.
So definitely good news when I woke up this morning. It was nice to see that. He's doing better. He's still got a little ways to go, obviously, but to hear that was just incredible.
Yeah, it's also very weird, I didn't realize I'm ranked No. 3 and he's also No. 3. It's weird. Yeah, crazy. I don't know if you guys saw the day it happened, the Sabres had a game that night, and it was like someone scored a hat trick, third hat trick of the season, third in something. It was like all these crazy stats. Sometimes the world is just weird that way.
FRANCES TIAFOE: That's actually wild.
JESSICA PEGULA: Crazy.
FRANCES TIAFOE: Too bad you're going to be No. 1 in the world soon.
JESSICA PEGULA: Anyways, okay. I'm done.
FRANCES TIAFOE: Dead serious.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports