January 8, 2023
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Team USA - 4
Team Italy - 0
THE MODERATOR: Team USA, congratulations, winning the inaugural United Cup. We will start with David, the captain, and maybe most of the team can make a quick comment about their week here in Sydney.
CAPTAIN WITT: Yeah, I just want to thank the team. I had a blast these two weeks. It was a lot of fun. A lot of tennis watching, but I had a blast. You guys are so immature, and I love you for it. I feel like I'm at home with my eight kids. This is like the Brady Bunch on something. It's crazy. It was fun. What a family. That's all I've got to say.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Taylor, when you won that last point and the team invaded the court, can you just remember back to what that felt like and your emotions?
TAYLOR FRITZ: Yeah, it was awesome until Frances head-butted me.
FRANCES TIAFOE: I have a bump on my head.
TAYLOR FRITZ: Yeah, it was super exciting, just like team events are always so much more fun when you win, because it's so much more -- it's just so much more exciting, there's so much more emotions, everyone. You can celebrate with your whole team as opposed to just celebrating by yourself.
It was great. As soon as I won, I turned to the team and I knew everyone was going to run at me. Like I said, it was great until Frances full speed head-butted me in the face.
FRANCES TIAFOE: I'm still a bit concussed, to be fair. The champs are here.
Q. Madison, have you ever had an impromptu shower before on the tennis court?
MADISON KEYS: No, I haven't. I wasn't expecting it. I did kind of get some revenge to David. I'm still working on everyone else, though. Everyone, watch your back.
Q. You have all been, most of you, on Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup teams. What's the difference in dynamic, different vibe? More fun, less fun, different kind of fun?
JESSICA PEGULA: I'm sorry, what was the question? What was the difference? I don't know what's happening.
Q. What's the different kind of vibe on this team than...
JESSICA PEGULA: The vibe? I don't know. Des and I were on I think the second-to-last Fed Cup team and that was a lot of fun too. I don't really know what the difference is. It's just really fun.
We've had a really great like eternity in Sydney. It's been really fun though. We have been bonding a lot, I feel like getting to know each other a lot.
I don't know. I don't know. This was just a good team. It was a good team from the start. I did not think I'd be doing escape rooms with these people.
FRANCES TIAFOE: "These people."
JESSICA PEGULA: That was not my first thought coming into this. I was like I didn't know what to do, and then like next thing I know we're doing escape rooms like three in like one week. Literally everyone last night was, We need to do an escape room again to keep the team chemistry going. I did not think that was going to happen coming into this. Hey, here we are. It was fun.
TAYLOR FRITZ: From the guys' side, I said this last year, before we even came into this, I said, having the women playing with us just makes the team a lot stronger from the guys' side. We've struggled a bit, I'd say... Having the women with us makes the team a lot stronger. I think what I said back when they asked us a couple months ago was I'm excited to get carried in this event.
JESSICA PEGULA: You did say that.
TAYLOR FRITZ: From our side it's been great to get the extra help. And like Jess said, like this team, we did a lot of stuff off the court, bonded. It was great. I appreciate just Frances for being on time for everything.
JESSICA PEGULA: He wasn't on time once. Maybe yesterday for the escape room.
FRANCES TIAFOE: I was on time today. I was locked in today.
Q. How would you say your confidence ahead of this Australian Open coming? Can you speak about how...
JESSICA PEGULA: I don't even want to think about AO.
FRANCES TIAFOE: I think my confidence is pretty low, honestly.
JESSICA PEGULA: We might be doing an escape room in Melbourne. We have to stay locked. I don't know how else to do that besides like doing another escape room in Melbourne and warming up with Frances every day.
TAYLOR FRITZ: You don't want to change a winning strategy.
FRANCES TIAFOE: You will see a lot of Pegula-Tiafoe practices from this point until whenever she wants to hang it up and I want to hang it up. She's definitely risen my level to a whole other level. She's unbelievable. Happy I got to hit with her, happy I got to see Clinch Fritz and Madison Keys do their thing.
It's been a special week. Everybody behind me too. Yeah, it takes a village to do something special. Yeah, it's been a hell of a week.
Q. Are you going to play mixed doubles?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Hell, no.
JESSICA PEGULA: Not a chance. I only play with Austin Krajicek. I actually am playing doubles with Austin Krajicek.
TAYLOR FRITZ: No, it was a lot of fun. With the three-out-of-five sets, there's just no way.
JESSICA PEGULA: Not for the men at the slams because these guys are so good at singles. 4-0?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Sorry, if you ask another question we'll be serious.
Q. The way the year starts now for you, Frances, and after what you achieved last year, how important is an event like this to get you going for 2023?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Oh, this is very, very big. Yeah, I mean, I'm playing some of the best tennis of my life right now, having a great time on court. I'm just really enjoying myself.
To see like these guys next to me on this road doing their thing, it really inspires me, seeing how they go about their business each and every day. They're all true professionals, great players. Doing something at the highest level. Yeah, I'm learning from all these guys. I'm taking things from them.
Obviously I'm a different personality, trying to change as I get older, but I'm still trying to be me at the same time. Seeing these guys do their thing, it's special. Like seeing Fritz the last couple days play -- can't lose a tiebreaker is insane. Seeing Jessica give an absolute lesson to the World No. 1 is crazy. Madison winning a huge match to get us over the line the other day against Great Britain, it was, like, it's just crazy.
I'm just happy to get through it and to be a champ. It always feels good to drink Champagne on Sunday.
Q. Jess, a similar one to yourself in that last year also was such a major year for you with your career-high ranking and all that. Is it a matter of you expect yourself to do it again this year? Is there an element of pressure to reproduce what you did last year? How do you feel starting the season now?
JESSICA PEGULA: I mean, I had an incredible year last year. I don't think I really am putting pressure on myself to duplicate that year because I think it was very special and something that probably won't be duplicated.
I feel like I have different goals this year. I feel like I kind of like am resetting the year, like going in because it's a new year, because it is a new year and you never know what's going to happen and you never know how you're going to feel. It's just a totally different type of challenges and goals than I had last year. I'm just going in as it's a new year.
It's been amazing to spend time with these guys and start the year like this. It's been super fun and already super memorable. Something I won't be able to duplicate the following year. I don't really think you compare year to year. Everything is different and there's always new challenges and I think that's what tennis and sports in general is always going to bring. It's always different challenges every single year.
I don't really look, I mean, rankings, points, money, whatever it is, you just gotta take it day by day because it's a long year.
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, I wouldn't look at rankings either if I was that close to No. 1 in the world (laughter).
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