February 8, 2001
THE MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. Do you need a certain amount of experience to play a second match in that you have to sit through the first, maybe not watching, maybe watching a little, knowing what's happening? Is that a very difficult situation for somebody with relatively little Davis Cup experience?
CAPTAIN JAKOB HLASEK: This question is to me?
CAPTAIN JAKOB HLASEK: Or to Michel?
Q. Either. But I was thinking of you.
CAPTAIN JAKOB HLASEK: I think the rules are as they are. Somebody has to start; somebody has to play second match, no? I think we shouldn't give too much, you know -- these great guys, they all want to win, they all want to play well. They're here. They're used to, you know, to be under pressure. They love it in a way. Okay, it's the second match, so that's how it is. You know, it's not -- they're here for that. They live for that in a way, and I think it's -- experience, when you're young, okay, maybe you have a little bit less experience. But then you're young as well so you have a little bit other strengths that you can come up with. You have to go through that if you're gonna be a good player. So it's a normal challenge if you are in a good Davis Cup team and you want to beat the USA, you have to go through that.
Q. In the Davis Cup final, Rafter said he lost his second signals on the first day, he had cramps because he watched too much of the first match. Do you think there's a technique that's needed to sit through the first match?
CAPTAIN JAKOB HLASEK: I don't think there's a book that you can learn from that. I think it's definitely that the second player doesn't know when the match will start. It's an uncertainty that both teams, both players have to come up with. But, you know, they used to wait. Probably they not gonna -- they rooting for the Swiss guy who's playing the first match. But everybody has his own way of coping with that, and Michel will have his own way of coping with that.
ROGER FEDERER: When I was playing second match, I used to stay at the hotel till like two sets and watch it on TV. Of course I would love to see it live but, I mean, you have to focus on your own game because that's what's more important in the end - your performance. So I don't know if Patrick Rafter was watching the whole match from Hewitt.
Q. He said he was.
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, is maybe a mistake. (Laughter.) Would also get tired, is normal. Sitting there for hours, having the atmosphere going, it's a little stress. I prefer to stay at the hotel and wait.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about how you see this match, a little bit also of the reasons which made you choose Michel as the second singles player instead of George?
CAPTAIN JAKOB HLASEK: Well, the question was in German and I will repeat it in English. I choose, since Davis Cup draw has the possibility to change day by day, my difficult decision, because I think that both have to -- or had reasons to play. And I decided for Michel Kratochvil because I felt that his game is better suited to beat against Jan-Michael Gambill and to win this point. That was my reasoning. I think it's a medium-fast surface here, and I think his game suits very well Jan-Michael Gambill. I'm not going to go too much in details, tactical details, but that's what came up to my analyze and my decision.
Q. And overall, what chances would you give Switzerland to win this tie?
CAPTAIN JAKOB HLASEK: Well, as I said, I think on paper maybe the Americans are strong but I think we are a very young team which is improving every day. With the home crowd, I think it's a very close and even match. I think the details, little details, will make the difference. Hopefully we make this details better than them.
Q. Roger, do you find added pressure being at home, really at home, and then also coming off your win?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's something very special for me to play Davis Cup in my hometown. It's like I already feel a lot of pressure just playing the Davidoff Swiss Indoors, then I feel a lot of pressure playing Davis Cup. So this is like a mixture. It's going to be definitely a lot of pressure, but I still think I'm going to play well. There's no reason why not. I'm very confident after the win last week and I'm really looking forward for tomorrow's match.
Q. How much do you think that this win last week, Roger, is doing for your confidence and can affect or influence the way you play?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, what is nice about this win is that it comes early in the year. It gives me a lot of boost, you know, energy to go further this year. I don't know, it's very important tournaments coming up for me. It's Davis Cup. Rotterdam I really like also. Then all the Masters Series coming up in a row. I really hope to play well also at the Masters Series this year. I think it can only help my game. I think I got some experience again out of Milano and hope to use it maybe this week. I don't know, it's just gonna help in the future.
Q. Do you feel it like some sort of deliverance, like the first tournament? Was that one of your goals for the year?
ROGER FEDERER: Of course. I didn't want to put too much pressure on me saying this year I have to win a tournament. I knew I had a chance, so I'm very relieved after this happened. Now I can move on. I think it's better mentally now if I go into tournaments, the press will stop asking me the question, "When are you going to win your first tournament." So it feels good.
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