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January 3, 2023

Daivd Witt

Jessica Pegula

Frances Tiafoe

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Team USA

Press Conference

USA - 5

Germany - 0

THE MODERATOR: David, tell us about the performances of the two players today.

CAPTAIN WITT: Thought it was good. Jess came out, it was good to get that first win under her belt this year. It was solid. You never know in these first couple matches if you're going to be rusty. But she's been hitting the ball great. Even the match she lost she played good. It's good to get a victory.

And Frances came out, played some good ball. It's tough with how he serves. You don't get a rhythm. Got to take your chances.

The mixed was fun, entertaining, got the W.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Frances and Jess, your respective opinions of playing Great Britain in the Sydney City Final.

FRANCES TIAFOE: Sure, yeah, great team obviously. Battle-tested. Tim Henman screaming 'concentrate' all the time so guys are locked in (smiling).

Yeah, it should be really fun. Good players. I mean, I'm sure you're going to see a lot of good, gritty battles. I'm excited to get out there tomorrow.

JESSICA PEGULA: No, same. I mean, they really have a tough team. I think even after the first round or whatever, group play, you could kind of see they were going to be really tough. I think they probably like the conditions. It's a little quick.

Yeah, every match is going to be super tough. Yeah, I'm hoping we will go out there and take care of business tomorrow, but it's going to be a battle, for sure.

Q. Frances, how important was the 5-0 result? Was that something you were conscious of?

JESSICA PEGULA: He didn't even know (laughter). I knew. It was very important. I kept trying to tell him. I'm not sure if he, like, grasped the concept, but...

FRANCES TIAFOE: Jess has been on me since 8 a.m. this morning.


FRANCES TIAFOE: Every match counts. Every match counts (laughter).

I was definitely wanting to win. Obviously I'm always going to have fun out there, do my thing. But I wanted to win. Especially playing with Jess, she's turned me down like 30 times to play. Regardless of what happened out there, the ups and downs, I wanted to get the win at the end.

It was fun. She's a good player. Fun to be out there with a player of her caliber.

Q. On the format, Rafa was here last night talking about how it's tough when it's a dead rubber before the last tie. What do you think of the format of the United Cup?

JESSICA PEGULA: I mean, it's the first year. I feel like maybe there could be some changes. Even with like the scheduling, it's a little rough. I think we're seeded, as well. I don't even know how they did the seeding. Is it based offer the two highest players?

Q. Yes.

JESSICA PEGULA: Which is kind of weird. The level can drop, one person winning, the rest of the team isn't, they're seeded higher. I think you can always fix some things maybe next year.

But we've done a good job of taking care of business where it hasn't really mattered as much to us as far as format-wise.

FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, I think you just got to win. I don't think it really matters.

Q. What do you think you obtain by sharing with the other tour, how important you feel are mixed tournaments for tennis and personally?

JESSICA PEGULA: I mean, I think it's great. I mean, I think from the women's side, we always enjoy it. I think it's fun for us. Especially playing a big women's sport, it definitely helps our sport grow and make it bigger. To be on the same level as the men is pretty cool for us.

I think as far as like getting the equal prize money, for TV and everything, I know we always love it. It's just a different format. I think it's refreshing. We play so many tournaments with the same thing, same draw, same people, like every single week. For me, it's great to kind of freshen it up a little bit and have something different.

FRANCES TIAFOE: Agreed. Agreed. I'm definitely along the same lines. I mean, I love coming out, playing with Jess, even, like, seeing them battle. It's cool. I get to practice with them and just be around. I generally love it.

I think it's good for the game, seeing, I mean, Jess, best American, highest ranked American, we're playing together. That's really cool for the game just across the board.

Yeah, hopefully again we can just keep going in this event. That's what really matters.

Q. I'm sure you have heard about the sad news from Martina Navratilova's health. I wanted to know if you want to send some message to her?

FRANCES TIAFOE: I actually didn't even know.

JESSICA PEGULA: Her cancer, two forms of cancer, are back, throat and breast cancer.

Q. Throat is Stage I.

JESSICA PEGULA: It's really sad to see. I see her a lot. She lives near mere. I've been on several flights with her this year when she's got her dog with her. She's always so nice and genuine and someone that is like a legend of the game. Just to see her go through that, especially when I feel like the last year I've seen her around so much at tournaments, commentating, doing stuff, yeah, it's just terrible.

But I'm hoping obviously the tennis community will come around her and support her as much as we can.

FRANCES TIAFOE: 100%. She's an absolute legend. Everyone knows her. I really had no idea. That's sad to see her. She's about as funny as anyone I ever met. One of the realist people out. Yeah, geeze, I'm definitely with her.

Q. Frances, a couple nights ago Dan Evans was coming across as being very aware now, a lot more aware now, of the women's game. This format, mixed event, seemed to bring out more of his appreciation of the women's game. As far as you're concerned, do you feel you've appreciated the women's side of tennis a bit more?

FRANCES TIAFOE: No, not at all. I mean, if Jess is playing, I'm watching. Like, if Maddie is playing, I'm watching. I have genuine relationships with them. Especially with Jess, I've been really close to Jess the last year and some change. I'm sitting there and watching damn near the whole match.

Just because of this event, I love tennis as well, so I'm very aware of these girls playing at a high level. I practice with (indiscernible) a lot. She forced me to practice with her. Jess is pissed about that.

Yeah, I'm very aware of the level. They have put their time in there in the gym. Obviously they're going to be playing at a high level. They deserve everything that comes their way. It's not because of this event they're playing at a high level.

So, yeah, I mean, I've been aware of that. She's doing well for a reason. Maddie has done what she's done for a reason. I am not like, Oh, not that I've seen a couple of good shots at United Cup, Wow, they're playing good. That's not it at all.

Q. The Bills game a little bit earlier, have you caught up with that?

JESSICA PEGULA: Yeah, actually during Frances' match I had the game on my phone. Sorry, but I did, on the sidelines. When that happened, obviously we didn't watch much of the game because it happened I think in the first quarter.

I mean, it's just terrible. Just terrible. Just terrible. There's really no words. I'm glad they stopped the game. I think it brings you back to there's a lot bigger things that are more important than sports and games and stuff like that.

I'm glad they stopped the game. I'm glad they're trying to go support him. But it was pretty scary. I don't really know much else. Obviously it's pretty frantic there right now.

Yeah, I felt sick. It was just terrible. I think everyone felt that way that was watching.

Q. Do you know him in person?

JESSICA PEGULA: No, I don't know him personally. I don't think I've ever actually met him. But obviously with the teams and everything, it's like family. It's not something that, yeah, we wanted to see.

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