October 12, 2001
INDIA at USA, WINSTON-SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA
MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. James said he thought you came out with an awful lot of energy which forced him to raise his game.
LEANDER PAES: That's what Davis Cup is all about. I have never struggled my whole year to ever get motivated for Davis Cup. It is a stage that I love to perform on and I went out there and put my best foot forward today, but came up short. I felt that I lost to a better player on the day, and the sharpness that James was playing with being in form at the moment; having played well at the US Open and the summer really showed today.
Q. He talked about trying to take advantage of his experience in Davis Cup play. Were you surprised that he was as composed as he was?
LEANDER PAES: He handled the situation very well being his first Davis Cup match, especially the few chances that I had beginning of the match when I had 15-40 in the second game. Then again in the second set I was up 2-Love, 40-Love, he hit a few good passes there. Kind of let him off the hook a bit in the second set, and then again in the last game, so I felt that I had enough chances, but I just didn't capitalize on them.
Q. What do you think let you down today?
LEANDER PAES: Match sharpness, the lack of singles play.
Q. Did you feel any pain around the elbow, sometime during the latter stages of the first set?
LEANDER PAES: Where will we start? (Laughs) Just I hit one smash and my elbow was a bit sore, nothing major, but just a bit sore.
Q. There weren't too many Tri-colors in the stands and you thrive on that kind of support. Did that matter?
LEANDER PAES: Well there was one Tri-color in the stands. That made a big difference to me, it was big enough.
Q. Did you feel emotions were running particularly high on the US side for this match, because of the things that have happened in the United States?
CAPTAIN KRISHNAN: Well, the support was outstanding today. Understandably so. I think last one month there's been plenty that has been happening here. When you say US you mean the spectators or you mean, the US team?
CAPTAIN KRISHNAN: I think the spectators were keyed up. I think part of it may be playing in a smaller venue here. Maybe in a bigger city it might not have had the same reception.
Q. Harsh was pretty candid acknowledging that he was in over his head the first match. How realistically -- how good a chance does your team have -- did your team have winning this if you didn't win all three of your points?
LEANDER PAES: Well, I am very proud of Harsh the way he came out and played today. I thought he did -- all of us were proud with the way he fought and worked hard. He was playing a player who has the potential of being No. 1 in the world, and who is in fantastic form as we all know. So on saying that, realistically speaking about our team chances, we were coming into the States as the underdogs but then again when it comes to Davis Cup we try put our best foot forward. I have had some of my best results. This is the first match that I have lost this year in Davis Cup, and on saying that, I mean, we were coming in the underdogs.
Q. Did you presume that you had to win your three points to for India to win?
LEANDER PAES: Yes.
Q. For paying spectators' real value for money, I guess the doubles tomorrow, everyone is looking forward to that. How do you feel about it? How often have you guys played this year?
LEANDER PAES: I am really looking forward to the doubles tomorrow. We are playing the current Wimbledon Champions and the finalists of the US Open, plus having won -- we -- us having won the French Open this year, you have got a lot of talent on the court tomorrow. So we have played against Don and Jared a few times and I am not sure exactly what our head-to-head is. We have won and lost some against them. Tomorrow's match is going to be a real fun match. It's going to be a lot of exciting points and I am really looking forward to it. My match today has made me a bit sharper for the match tomorrow.
Q. Do you feel fit to play tomorrow after the match you had today?
LEANDER PAES: Oh, yes.
Q. Blake was saying at 2-Love in the second set when he broke you back he said that point was the turning point of the match. What do you feel -- at what point do you feel the game was slipping away from you?
LEANDER PAES: I think James is partly right. At that point of the match I felt that the whole first set I had quite a few chances. Didn't quite capitalize on them. Then when I got up a break in the second I felt I am coming back into this match. I felt like I was taking charge there, but one sloppy volley at 40-Love and then a few good passes by James, kind of got him the break which really turned the tide. I think that that's where he got a lot of his confidence being his first tie and got the first set under his belt, he was down a break in the second. If I had capitalized on that, things would have maybe looked up a bit for me. But once he got that break back early in the second, he got a lot more confidence under his belt.
Q. The way -- in the last game do you still think you had a chance?
LEANDER PAES: Oh, yes. For me the match is never over until the last ball bounces twice, so again I had a chance to break in the last game, had a forehand volley fairly routine simple forehand volley, it just showed the lack of match play really showed today and that's something that even in that last game when I had the chances I didn't -- wasn't able to capitalize on it.
Q. Are you and Bhupathi planning to stay together now as a doubles team?
LEANDER PAES: We are playing together.
Q. Is this going to be a long-term relationship?
LEANDER PAES: Yes, we are committed to each other. We are playing together at the moment.
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