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April 23, 2005

Els Callens


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Els, when you initially broke Venus' serve, she had those two double-faults, did you think this might go a little differently for you?

ELS CALLENS: Well, in Fed Cup you always try and fight. I tried to play the chip and charge in the beginning. It wasn't really working. I thought it would work. I think maybe the court was a little bit too slow to do that, and she was there. She made a little bit of mistakes I think in the first set from the baseline, and then in the second set she didn't miss that much. It was really hard to stay with her from the baseline. It was pretty windy out there. It was not very easy to serve and to move well.

Q. The US team as good as advertised?

CAPTAIN MAES: Yeah, absolutely. I think we were out there with the big guns today. And I think at that level, especially Venus and Lindsay have proved that they're able to play the best tennis in the world, especially when it comes down to serving and returning, because that was clear that we couldn't match that today. That's something that a couple of other players in the top game can match, better all-around players, players like Kim and Justine and Mauresmo. But today I think it was mainly dominated by serve and return, and they proved to be too strong.

Q. What could you say to Vanhyfte today to help her against Davenport?

CAPTAIN MAES: Well, not a lot if you don't have the weapons to really compete against a player. I think Eveline brought to the table whatever she had to offer. She played exactly the way she played all week. I'm really proud of her because I think she didn't collapse under the pressure, under the circumstances. This is what she can bring to the table, and she did that today. I think it's unfortunate when there's such a big discrepancy between two players that you don't get that first game on the board a little bit earlier. In that respect I think, in the third game, when it was 30-15 on Eveline's serve, it was a very close call that wouldn't have changed the outcome of the match, but at least it would have settled down Eveline a little bit quicker in the match. Once she was in the rally, I think she played a couple of really nice rallies against Lindsay. It took now a set and a half before she did actually calm down and found herself a little bit. But she did exactly as I expected, so I'm proud of her.

Q. Carl, given the results today, how disappointed are you that Kim and Justine didn't play? Do you think it would be a lot different if they were playing?

CAPTAIN MAES: Well, we've known already for two or three months that Kim and Justine are not playing, so basically there's no point in keep coming back on that. But clearly looking at the circumstances today, the way the USTA have prepared, both on the player side and here from the organization, it's a missed opportunity for world tennis to not have had that possible battle. I mean, it's a shame. But, hey, we have to live with those facts. We've known it for months, so...

Q. I know that you've talked about the fact that they're coming back from obviously injury or illness. In the past, actually both Justine and Kim have talked about having some differences with the Federation. How much do you believe that played a part in their decision not to consider playing here as well?

CAPTAIN MAES: None whatsoever. I know that for a fact. That had nothing to do with any issues other than their health concerns.


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