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March 6, 2005

Patrick McEnroe


RANDY WALKER: Questions.

Q. Just talk about your feelings. Does this one hurt more than any of the other defeats as captain?

CAPTAIN McENROE: Well, it certainly hurts a lot. I mean, when you go out -- I mean, yeah, it does. After getting in the final last year, you know, starting off at home with our best team, it's disappointing. I certainly didn't expect it. But in saying that, I mean, you've got to tip your hat to them, especially to Ljubicic. To play that well, you know, to beat Agassi, the Bryans and Roddick back to back to back, it's an impressive performance.

Q. Was there anything Andy could have done differently today other than win a few big points, and obviously get off to a better start in the fifth?

CAPTAIN McENROE: Yeah, it's hard to say. It was just a very high-level match. You know, obviously the third set tiebreak was huge. To say that Andy did anything wrong, I mean, you know, would be overstating it. It was just some great tennis. You know, I think he had one pretty good look at a forehand after he hit a good serve. But, you know, they both came up with great stuff, they both showed a lot of heart. You know, Andy fought and stayed in there, came back and won the fourth set, you know, just played a loose game to start the fifth, which I think gave Ivan -- all of a sudden he got the momentum right back on his side, whereas Andy had just won the fourth set tiebreak. So, no, I don't think there's anything in particular. I just think it was just a tough match, a couple of crucial points. Certainly from a technical standpoint and a strategy, I thought he did everything we wanted to do.

Q. You've obviously seen quite a bit of Davis Cup matches from the booth. Could you put Ivan's accomplishment in perspective historically?

CAPTAIN McENROE: Well, it was something to win three matches against us when we were in Croatia. But to do it here on our home court against our best team, you know, I don't know too many people that have done that in the US. You know, maybe there's been a few guys that have done it when we played away from home. To beat our top two guys, a top doubles team, that are also some of the top players in the world, that's a helluva effort, a helluva performance. He obviously has taken his game up another level. You know, it will be interesting to see how well he does rest of the year. I mean, he's clearly playing at a very, very high level.

Q. What does Andy need to do to get to No. 1? That last step always seems like the hardest.

CAPTAIN McENROE: You know, Andy is improving. Andy is getting better. So are the other guys. Look at Ivan. Here is a guy who is 25 or 26, and he's just starting to come into his own. So Andy's getting stronger, I think he's moving better. As I said, from a strategy standpoint, I thought he played really smart. He came in, he used his forehand, he's mixing up his backhand better. He's doing lot of things really well. He's just going to have to continue to work on that and continue to get better, because so is everybody else, or so are those few guys that are at the top. I mean, it's hard to say that there's one thing he needs to do. He just needs to keep improving.

Q. Do you think we've seen the last of Andre in Davis Cup? Obviously, September and next year are quite a ways away.

CAPTAIN McENROE: Yeah, it's way too early to know. You know, we were excited to have him back. I think he was excited to be back. It's disappointing the way it turned out. But we got beat by one guy who got incredibly hot and just had a tremendous weekend. You know, there's a lot to be disappointed about, but there's nothing to be ashamed of. I mean, our guys fought hard. We lost a tough doubles match where if we win the tiebreak, maybe we win the match. Same thing today. You know, if Andy can win the third-set tiebreak, you know, you think up two sets to one, he's got a good shot.

Q. I know it's thinking a bit far ahead, but with the state of Andre's health, given that he might not want to play a playoff tie anyway after the US Open, are you sort of back to the drawing board trying to find that No. 2 singles players, or not even a No. 2, but someone who Andy can come into a tie and think, "Here is another guy next to me who can actually take a little pressure off me, win singles matches"?

CAPTAIN McENROE: Well, look, obviously that's a big question. And obviously, you know, there's quite a bit of time between now and the relegation match to see what sort of things shake out. You know, Andre, obviously we'll see what kind of year he has and what happens in the next six months. It is, it's the same old story. If you take Andre out of that part of the equation, you know, James coming back, he'll have a full year, see what he can do. Taylor has made some improvements. Maybe he can keep going. Mardy, he's struggled so far this year. Robby has had some decent results. But there's not one guy who has stepped up. I'm sure we would all love to see more than one, you know, step up to that next level. But, you know, the jury's out. Certainly I think that would make all of us feel better. You know, I'd like to see all those guys get better, forgetting about Davis Cup, just for American tennis and for them. I know them all well. I'd like to see them all improve.

Q. When you go home tonight or back to the hotel, are you going to think "It's kind of a one-off, Ljubicic came in here hot, he played hot, he won the big points from everybody on my team," or do you think, "Maybe we could have done something different"?

CAPTAIN McENROE: You always think maybe you could have done something when you lose, whether it's making the court a little bit faster. I'm going to think about that, yes. But at the same time, if I had to do it all over again, I think I'd go the same way, you know, because if you make a court considerably faster, all of a sudden Ancic becomes even more of a factor, and Ljubicic obviously is playing great. I mean, in the past, he's played his best tennis on, you know, relatively fast courts, indoors particularly. Obviously, he's feeling very comfortable. He's extremely fit. You know, as we saw from -- maybe he tweaked his knee a little bit in the fifth set, but he was obviously hitting the ball great on the third day. So, sure, you'll think about that. I mean, I'd be crazy -- I wouldn't be honest if I said I wouldn't think about it, could I have done something differently as the captain. In saying all of that, he played -- I mean, that's a helluva performance, to do what he did.

End of FastScripts….

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