October 13, 2001
INDIA at USA, WINSTON-SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA
THE MODERATOR: This was the 8th Davis Cup win in a row for Leander and Mahesh as the team improves 9 and 2 overall, first playing together in 1994. We'll go ahead and start with questions from the floor for either the captain or the players.
Q. How much do you have left energy-wise?
LEANDER PAES: For Davis Cup? Brand new legs.
Q. Was today kind of an indication of what Davis Cup means to you with all the emotions?
LEANDER PAES: Most definitely. Davis Cup is a real special event as far as I am concerned and especially sharing that with the whole team, it's a complete team event and that's one reason I have always felt a lot of pride playing for the country and we come together and put our best foot forward. After yesterday which was a bit disappointing - today was a little bit of a buildup again in terms of confidence and even though we come into tomorrow's tie 2-1 down, good thing is that my third match is still live, so.....
Q. You made some unbelievable returns. This is one of the best matches I have seen you play.
MAHESH BHUPATHI: Yeah, I mean, I have had -- we had a disappointing US Open and I really just didn't take too much time off. I took a few days off but I have been practicing because the whole team has been pretty excited about the fact that we were playing the United States and I was training pretty hard and then got postponed, I still went and played two events in Europe just to get match sharp. Luckily for me sure today I was able to make a lot of returns. It's not easy to return against a team that's always playing Aussies and it worked out well.
Q. How optimistic are you about tomorrow? What are the odds that you could spring two upsets tomorrow?
CAPTAIN KRISHNAN: I am not here to give out odds. I am not an odd-maker myself, but the important thing is the players are prepared to go out and compete and give it their all. Beyond that, I think -- no, I don't think we need to worry about more than that.
Q. When you said a minute ago that it's important to, you know, that you can go into that third match with everything still alive, in that way, even though you might be losing a couple of extra hours of recovery time, are you glad you are going back out first tomorrow?
LEANDER PAES: Oh, yes. I really look forward to fourth matches and I have done it a few times now when I have played the fourth match being 2-1 down and given the team the opportunity into the fifth match. On saying that I have really got my hands full tomorrow because I am playing one of the best talents in the world right now and he's playing with a lot of confidence and with his home crowd support, and he has got everything going for him. As well as having today off he's well rested after yesterday's match. So as far as I am concerned I have got the chips against me tomorrow but I am going to go out there and lunge, dive, do whatever it takes to try and give my country a chance to play that fifth match live.
Q. How much rust were you able to shake off your singles game yesterday?
LEANDER PAES: There was a lot of rust yesterday in the game but today I thought I was very sharp. I thought I returned pretty well. I was volleying fairly well. I thought I was a few notches up today from yesterday. Let's see what happens tomorrow.
Q. Today there were a lot more Indians among the crowd. Did that help a little, the shouting and encouraging you guys?
LEANDER PAES: Yes, that's what Davis Cup is about. Especially in the end of the fourth set you saw the US support. They came out really cheering for us, and cheered their boys on which kind of helped them get that break back 5-4 in the fourth. It is always special playing Davis Cup, either home or away. I am lucky that I am able to thrive on both the situations, a lot of players find it easy playing at home and thrive on that. But I thrive on an atmosphere like this as well coming down to serve 5-6 in the fourth and the crowds not really letting you start up with your serve, yet I use that situation to motivate myself, so I am lucky I enjoy both situations.
Q. How tough was it after they had broken, to get the momentum to swing back your way?
LEANDER PAES: Very tough. Especially in a match like that where things are so close you are playing the two teams out there who are playing with a lot of confidence who have had a really good season right through; it's very, very important to keep the momentum in your favor and at 5-4 we let the momentum go away and that's something that my Captain Ramesh brought up saying that you have always got to compete regardless of the score and that's one thing that makes Mahesh and myself special is we compete.
Q. Talk about how they bounced back when they did.
CAPTAIN KRISHNAN: Towards the end of the match?
Q. Yeah, fourth set .
CAPTAIN KRISHNAN: It was a bit disappointing to lose that game, especially with, I think, some volleying errors, but at that point in time 5-All in the fourth, no, there's no time to look back. You play one or two bad points and it goes into the fifth set so it is important that they got their head up and kept fighting in there.
Q. They said you guys are now two up on them. Is there anything in particular about your doubles team's game and theirs that just seems to play in your favor?
MAHESH BHUPATHI: We really don't enjoy playing them. They play such a different kind of doubles. They don't give us any rhythm. Normally Leander and me love scrapping and winning close tough points, but with them it's just boom, boom because they always, you know, we are guessing where they are going. We beat them 7-5 in the third in Monte Carlo and another tough match today, so, I think as Leander said, it is always very close, it just depends on who returns better on the particular day.
Q. You must be guessing right .
MAHESH BHUPATHI: Yes.
Q. When you said they don't give you any rhythm is that because they play Australians all the time?
MAHESH BHUPATHI: Yeah, they are pretty much the only team on Tour who plays 100% of the time, so --
Q. Your sister goes to Wake Forest?
MAHESH BHUPATHI: Yes.
Q. Talk about the whole week and coming here where she was .
MAHESH BHUPATHI: Yeah, it's awesome, I think because we -- she got into Wake Forest and like a week later we found out that they announced the tie to be held here. She has been very excited because I obviously don't get to see her much. I still didn't get to see her much because we have been practicing and she has been studying. She was out there cheering with a bunch of friends. It was nice to see her up in the stands when I looked up.
Q. The media in this country build this as the match that would decide the world champions in doubles; what do you think?
MAHESH BHUPATHI: Well, you can't discount the other teams. Bjorkman I thought and Woodbridge had a fabulous year. I think if they decided, I think we'll take it.
Q. Do you recall a Davis Cup match in which all 4 sets you returned consistently as well as you did today, Davis Cup match, I am not talking Tour match?
MAHESH BHUPATHI: It's funny, you guys are saying this because I really didn't think I returned that well, but, you know, to be honest for the amount of chances Leander gave me Leander was returning more consistently than I was. I just made a couple of winners that probably made it look so good, but, you know, as I said, I just kept working and I played a few matches so I was a little more match sharp than maybe the others over here.
Q. A guy like you and Leander included guys who play the top level for so many years, does -- (Inaudible.) Is it common play at all or is it one of those errors?
MAHESH BHUPATHI: I don't think that was an error. I was serving well. We were volleying well, and then obviously, the pressure got to me a little bit at 30-All, I missed a backhand volley and break point I missed a forehand volley; again I missed a pretty much a sitter at 5-All in the breaker. In that situation all you can do -- Leander is trying to keep my head up and I really don't want this match to go into the fifth set, so lucky for me I knew where Jared was serving. He has been serving into my body for the whole match. I was waiting for that, so...
Q. Mahesh, if Leander wins the first match tomorrow, would you anticipate coming back in singles?
MAHESH BHUPATHI: I am going to let the captain answer that.
CAPTAIN KRISHNAN: It's only been ten minutes, and we would like ---
Q. I asked him because I knew you would not answer (laughs.)
CAPTAIN KRISHNAN: So, no, we really haven't thought about that yet. I would rather sleep on that decision.
Q. Do you have that option under the rules?
CAPTAIN KRISHNAN: Yeah, the rules you can change any players at any point in time.
Q. Have you played Roddick before?
LEANDER PAES: Doubles in Atlanta, never in singles.
Q. Who was the partner?
MAHESH BHUPATHI: Paul Goldstein.
Q. Talk a little bit about the need for you to play three matches time after time after time in Davis Cup. I mean, what does it take -- mentally and physically how much does it take out of you or you still have so much left that you look forward to it?
LEANDER PAES: Mentally I am sure I could go on for about 30 years. Physically, that's the challenge. As every year wears on, it gets that much more difficult. Especially in preparing, in getting myself physically up to the challenge it takes a lot of hard work. So I enjoy Davis Cup. I always seem to raise my level of play and it's just a matter of physically being able to cope with all three days.
Q. After watching Andy play yesterday, can you just talk about his serve and what you saw and what you are expecting tomorrow?
LEANDER PAES: We all know he has a very big serve. That's a certain. But at the same time I think that after the way I returned today I was fairly happy with that, and I have got a very different style of playing than Harsh had two days ago or a lot of players that he's played who -- they are pretty much on the baseline all the time. So I think I have got my work cut out for me tomorrow and I have got to go in there and give it everything I have got. I am going to work some strategy out tonight and work on two or three different game plans and go out and take it to him. He's going to have to come up with the goods to beat me.
Q. Andy seemed a little bit nervous the first match. Do you expect one under his belt he might be calm? What do you expect?
LEANDER PAES: I think we will have to see tomorrow as to how he comes out ready to play or not. There's no doubt that he's got the talent and he's a very good player. But then again, like I said, he's going have to come out with the goods to beat me tomorrow.
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