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March 5, 2005

Patrick McEnroe


RANDY WALKER: Questions for Bob and Mike Bryan and Patrick McEnroe, please.

Q. Mike and Bob, you haven't been in this position before, losing a Davis Cup match. How does it feel? What turned the match around in their favor?

MIKE BRYAN: You know, it hurts. It doesn't feel good to, you know, let your team down when, you know, we're staring down the barrel of a two-sets-to-love lead. I think that set point we had, we were serving it, on in it was 8-7 in the breaker, that in our mind was kind of a match point because we're pretty good front-runners: when we get a lead, we never look back. That was kind of disappointing to lose that one. I think we didn't stick a couple volleys, and they got better as the match went on. They didn't really even give us too many looks on their serves. They never got tight. You know, I don't think they ever missed two or three first serves in a row, I mean, which is pretty tough. Their kicks were bouncing up. You know, it was a long, hard day. But at least we kept them out there for 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Q. Most disappointing loss in your career?

MIKE BRYAN: We've had a lot of disappointing losses. Yeah, this is -- right now it is. I mean, this ranks, you know, pretty high. Yeah, probably it is, you know. It hurts.

Q. Patrick, would you pretty much agree with Mike's assessment of the match? How did you see things?

CAPTAIN McENROE: It was a high-quality match. You know, the guys played well. I mean, we had obviously a tremendous tiebreak, some great points from both teams. You know, we win the set point, we're up two sets, they're in a huge hole. We even had some chances early in the third. We had some opportunities. And, you know, these guys are sort of swinging away, sort of playing with no pressure. But now the pressure's on them. You know, obviously we've got pressure, too, but there's pressure on them now to close this out. You know, I told the guys, I mean, look, we can't expect them to win every match. They've gotten us out of a lot of holes and gotten us out of some jams. They're going to have a lot more matches and a lot more wins.

Q. Bob, go back to that first set point in the tiebreaker. In the point before, you hit those great forehands to them at the net. You guys were all pumped up. Ancic hits the unbelievable forehand volley to win that point. Do you agree with what Mike said, that you needed to stick a couple volleys before that?

BOB BRYAN: Yeah, I mean, if I can remember, we were serving on one of the set points. We had two I think before. They hit great serves. We had one on our serve. Mike served a body forehand, Ljubicic I think took it up the line. I was caught with a body volley. I didn't get it deep enough. They kind of had control. I can't really remember how many volleys we hit, but we hit like three or four. Just could never kind of get control of that point. But, you know, like Mike said, that could have been the match, I think, right there. That was a huge breaker. Those guys don't want to be out there two sets to love against us, I don't think. But, you know, they did, they got better and better. Their serves started getting bigger and bigger. Ancic came out a little slow on his serve, and then, you know, we didn't get two in a row, two second serves in a row the whole match. It's going to be disappointing, but we're going to get our pom-poms out tomorrow and root these guys through I think. You know, if Andy can win that fourth match, Andre's really eager to get back out there and play - play again.

Q. In sweeping the 15 sets that you guys had swept before today, you only had to play one tiebreaker, and that was in your first match for the United States. Is that the secret for making a big run like this, to stay out of those tiebreakers, which seem pretty chancy?

MIKE BRYAN: Yeah, I mean, tiebreakers can go either way, especially in doubles. You know, this is probably the toughest team we've played as of yet, and most dangerous team, because they got the heat on the serves. They brought them out today, they brought out the big serves. You know, it comes down to a few points. You know, they broke us twice, we broke them once today. I mean, that's about it. But definitely want to stay out of those breakers.

Q. Patrick, do you go back to the hotel and like discuss the situation tomorrow or do you figure they know about it and try to take their mind off of it tonight?

CAPTAIN McENROE: Oh, I think we know about it pretty good. You know, if there are two guys you want to roll out down 2-1, we've got the two guys we want. So I'm extremely confident that they're both going to play well. You know, Andre's been in this position before, and Andy's been in a position where he's had to win a match. And these are the two guys we want to bring out. This is our best team, it's our best one-two punch. We're playing at home. You know, they're going to have to play with a little more pressure on them now. You know, up until now, I think they've been able to sort of swing away and been the underdogs and go for their shots. You know, if they can do that, if Ljubicic can do that against Agassi, the Bryans and Roddick, you know, that's too good. But we'll see if he can.

Q. Patrick, what is it going to take to crack Ljubicic's confidence? He had some spotty play today, but he played a lot of the big points very well. Seems he's at a confidence level that he's not even been close to at any other time.

CAPTAIN McENROE: He's definitely hitting the ball big when it counts, there's no question. But Andy's ready to pay the price tomorrow. I mean, he's ready to go to work. His fitness level is as high as it's ever been. His intensity is as good as I've seen it, particularly yesterday, you know, point in and point out. And I think he's got that intensity in him right now. So he's going to have to come out and make Ljubicic work extremely hard. Obviously, they're both serving great and both do a lot of things well off the ground. Andy used his forehand really well yesterday. If he can keep Ljubicic on the move and on the run, I think he can wear him down. But, I mean, clearly they're both going to serve well, both going to serve aces. You know, Andy's used to that. I mean, he's played a lot of matches like that. So it's just going to come down to it's going to be two heavyweights going at it.

Q. Why do you think the pressure would be on them to close it out?

CAPTAIN McENROE: Well, because they sort of came in, you know, they're playing away from home, they're the underdog. They're just sort of going for their shots. Now they can smell it. You know, sometimes that changes your mood a little bit. We're expecting them to play well, but at the same time, as we've been talking about, Ljubicic is just sort of going for his shots on big points. Like I said, if he can keep doing that against Andy Roddick, who is going to play well, then we'll tip our hat to them.

Q. Do you think experience will be a factor?

CAPTAIN McENROE: Well, I think all the guys have experience. I mean, I think Andy's been there and obviously Ljubicic, you know, has come into his own and played well. Everybody out there has played plenty of Davis Cup. But certainly, you know, I think Andre would just relish the opportunity to get out there one more time in a live match. You know, I think we'll see -- I think we'll see a different Andre Agassi from what we saw yesterday. I think he knows that this is one match, and if we can somehow get through the first one, I think Andre knows he's got to play one guy to win the tie. He doesn't have to play the best tennis he's ever played. You know, he can be a little tough on himself, sometimes I think unnecessarily. So I think he's got to go out there and just do what he does, which is bring his hard hat and go to work.

Q. Speaking of Andre, what has his mood been like today?

CAPTAIN McENROE: It was good. He came out and had a good long practice and worked on some things. I think his mood is considerably better. You know, obviously he wasn't real happy last night, and I'm sure he wasn't when he woke up this morning. But he came out and worked hard. You know, Andre's been through this so many times. You know, he felt -- I think he feels, you know, a big responsibility to the team. I think we talked about that yesterday, you know, maybe playing with a little too much pressure on himself because of, you know, how it feels for him to be back playing Davis Cup. You know, they're going to throw that aside tomorrow when it comes down to the fifth match. I think he knows that.

Q. Mike and Bob, you played this team twice before in doubles. Was there anything particularly they did differently or more efficiently this time?

BOB BRYAN: You know, we've played three tough matches with these guys. You know, this court's bouncing high. We wanted it like that because of Andy's kick serve. You know, they have good kick serves, too. So it was a little tougher to return. I just think they served better today. You know, they didn't give us as many looks. Like Pat said, they were swinging away on the big points. Ljubicic poked a lot of balls up the line. We had a couple breakpoints, and they just hit big ones to the corner. You know, it was a couple points here and there in the last couple matches. Today it was a couple points here and there.

Q. Ivan in the first round against Andre didn't just blast away. He had a lot of change of pace, a lot of variety in his game to keep Andre out of rhythm. Do you think he'll have a similar approach against Andy? Will you talk to Andy about that?

CAPTAIN McENROE: I mean, I think Andy showed quite a bit of variety, too. I think they both change pace well. They're both playing with confidence. You know, when you're playing with confidence, I think you can do different things out there. So clearly Ljubicic was moving the ball around well. But, you know, Andy hits a heavy ball, particularly off his forehand. I think we all saw how well he hit his backhand yesterday, as well, coming over it and slicing it. So it's a different match-up. I mean it's a different match-up for Andre against Ancic. You tinker with a little bit with your strategies and the way you're going to play the match. But certainly I expect to see some of the same things we saw from Ljubicic, yes. I expect to see him, you know, pop his serve and hit the heavy kick on the second and move the ball around. I mean, he's certainly showing some variety. But I think we'll see some of that from Andy, too.

Q. Patrick, were you out with Andre today practicing?

CAPTAIN McENROE: I was out there for part of the practice, because these guys were getting out on the stadium. He's just trying to find his range and find his swing. You know, I think he made a lot of progress there today. But, you know, look, the bottom line is he's got to go out there and play his game. He's Andre Agassi.

Q. Does he need to loosen up a little bit? Seemed like yesterday, although he was tight, he was playing a little too conservative.

CAPTAIN McENROE: You know, there's a fine line between sort of playing aggressively and playing with margin. And Andre's always, you know, working with that. I think for me I'd like to see him come, as he likes to say, with his hard hat on. I'd like to see him go to work, particularly early in the match, really try to make a lot of balls and get into a rhythm. Then, you know, I think when he does that, things start to open up for him as the match goes on, you know, rather than coming out and just trying to fire the ball right away. Obviously, that doesn't mean you push the ball. You hit through the ball and you give yourself a little more margin on the court instead of trying to hit clean winners.

Q. Do you think Andy's level from the first day will be enough to beat Ivan? Do you think his big head would be advantage tomorrow?

CAPTAIN McENROE: You know, it's a different match-up. They both played extremely well. It's just a different match. They're both playing well. I think each one of them will have to raise their game to win the match. Head to head, yeah, it means something, but not everything. You got to go out there and play. We have a lot of respect for what Ivan has done already here and how well he's playing. But, as I said, coming out down 2-1, I can't think of two other guys I'd want to throw out there. We've got those two guys.

Q. Is it a bit of a flashback what happened in Zagreb when he played extremely well in that tie?

CAPTAIN McENROE: Let me repeat what I just said. We've got the two guys rolling out there that I want to see out there.

End of FastScripts….

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