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December 4, 1999

Olivier Delaitre


ITF: Questions, please.

Q. How do you see tomorrow's matches?

CAPTAIN FORGET: I was really counting on that point from the doubles. Now my players did their best and I have nothing to criticize about them. At one stage we were really in a good position in that match, it was a one-way match. Everything was going well. Unfortunately it was not taking into account the mental ability of the Australians, who picked up their game and started playing very well. We are standing with our backs to the wall. In the end, they won the match. My players did not lose merit. There are still two more points to win. It's feasible, but it's more difficult. I think if we had won today, we had a serious option to win the title, but now it's different.

Q. Fabrice and Olivier, what happened on those three breakpoints in the second set? You would have been able to be up 5-2 if you had won one of them?

OLIVIER DELAITRE: I think they played well at that stage. For the first one, he placed a serve along the line. The other shots, they were more solid than we were and we were not able to find the opening. They really won the points. We didn't lose them; they won it. They went for it.

Q. (Question without a microphone.)

OLIVIER DELAITRE: Anyway, it was nothing because we were still ahead. They were able to come out of where they were. They were able to get the points. Their mental situation became better. We started getting a bit nervous. I think they were very complete, both of them, starting from there. It was difficult to make them doubt after that.

Q. From the chair, you have one set and nine-tenths of a set almost perfect. Did you feel it could slip away at one stage?

CAPTAIN FORGET: I think at 5-3, when Fabrice played an extraordinary volleying game, then they were in danger. Fabrice was doing a miracle, but the other players were playing better and better. I could see that in their way of looking around, in their way of moving. They were really picking up their game and putting it together. I even saw it better than they did. In a match, there are always moments when you play better than others. In the beginning, Fabrice played a perfect match. They didn't play badly, the other ones, but there was a bit of a misunderstanding between the two. But after, they didn't miss any more volleys. They were hitting at the feet of my players, so my players had to find a new way to try to give them trouble. It was difficult. That's the problem they had starting from there.

Q. Question to Fabrice or Olivier: Do you have regrets on any tactical choices you may have made? Do you think you could have changed things and played differently?

FABRICE SANTORO: After the match, you can always say if you had played more cross-court, it would have changed something. But I think we stayed within our game and did our best. We played simply because we know the simple way is the most efficient way to win. So, no, we don't have regrets. There were two different matches within one match. The second match started when they started playing better. If we had been able to serve for two sets to love, it would have been different. But at 4-3, I believe they started believing in themselves a bit more.

Q. Fabrice or Olivier, at the end of the match, they played very well. You tried many things, you tried lobs, but it didn't go right. Did you feel you had lost all your power?

FABRICE SANTORO: No. Very often the games were not in our favor, but we were present. We had breakpoints. We had Love-30. When we were broken, it's after having game points. We knew we had to play the perfect shot to win a point. We were within the match anyway. We were into the match.

Q. Guy, how do you see the two matches for tomorrow, if there will be two matches?

CAPTAIN FORGET: I try to be as optimistic as I can. I think Cedric really has the weapons he needs to beat Philippoussis tomorrow. In my mind, he's the favorite. It's not because I'm the French team captain, but he will have to play as well as he did against Hewitt. This is the reason why if he wins the match, it will not be enough; we will have to win another match after that. I think there's someplace for doing something. We'll see tomorrow. But, of course, it's more difficult tomorrow since we didn't win today. We were on the ropes; we have nothing to lose. We will have to be very creative, take many risks, and hope it succeeds. We will not be able to safely manage the situation anymore, even less than at another moment.

Q. Yesterday Sebastien was the least-experienced player. How will his match be tomorrow?

CAPTAIN FORGET: It's going to be completely different because he will have a player of his size, hitting not stronger than he does. Of course, Hewitt played a complete match against Cedric. But from a tennis point of view, it will be different. I think Sebastien was surprised by the level of game of Philippoussis on the first day, and he was overpowered. It won't be the case tomorrow. I think it will be easier for him tomorrow.

Q. Fabrice or Olivier, you didn't win many matches on the Tour during the last weeks. Do you think it had an influence on today's result?

FABRICE SANTORO: No, not really.

OLIVIER DELAITRE: No. It's our surface. The last tournament was about two weeks or three weeks before the Davis Cup. We had time to get prepared. The last victories are far away, it's true. There's no influence on from the former results.

Q. Guy, Sebastien was absent mentally yesterday mainly. How will he be able to overcome this problem mentally and go beyond his possibilities tomorrow and try to guarantee the point in the fifth match tomorrow?

CAPTAIN FORGET: I think sometimes you are confronted with a problem you cannot manage. That's why mentally he was not very high up. He was not able to express himself. If he had been able to do so mentally, he would have been a lot better. Of course, it will not be a simple match, just a match like any other one tomorrow. He will have to play his match strongly. Tonight I will tell him that we have our backs to the wall and we have to be very aggressive and we have to believe a lot in victory. If it doesn't go through, if it doesn't succeed, it's not too bad, we should have no regrets about the tactical choices and the commitment he made during that last match. I don't think the crowd would be angry either. The main thing is that the crowd was able to dream, able to laugh, maybe they will cry at the end with us. But they were there present at 100%. If we win, it's all the better. If we lose, never mind. We cannot give more than we have in our hands and in our minds.

Q. Guy, Fabrice can give problems to Hewitt. Maybe the idea of putting him on in that match against Hewitt comes across your mind.

CAPTAIN FORGET: No, not for the time being because I trust Sebastien. It is true Sebastien has Achilles pain, but I don't see why I shouldn't trust him again. Fabrice in singles plays at the same level as Sebastien. Now it can be Fabrice or Sebastien. It's the same problem. If Fabrice was almost certain to win against Hewitt tomorrow, I would choose him. Sebastien, myself are confident and we are using criterias which are fair to make him play on the court.

Q. A question for Fabrice. The fact of playing the fifth match, if you had to do it because Sebastien was injured, what does it make you feel?

CAPTAIN FORGET: You can answer, you can say whatever you want (laughter).

FABRICE SANTORO: There's Olivier also (laughter).

OLIVIER DELAITRE: No (laughter).

FABRICE SANTORO: I am on the team. Playing singles is part of the possibilities, in case of an injury. Since Guy announced the team, I'm available for the group. Tonight I'm going to do like I did during the past two weeks: i'm going to go to bed early and prepare myself to play the next day. If someone is injured or sick, I will be ready. But if Cedric wins against Philippoussis, the fifth match is more than a tennis match. A final of Davis Cup. I trust Sebastien completely. I know he's strong in his mind. I know he had difficulties with his first match. I think he's entirely able to beat Hewitt tomorrow.

Q. Fabrice, Olivier, what gave you problems with their game today, on their part?

OLIVIER DELAITRE: You speak well, you answer (laughter).

FABRICE SANTORO: We talked a lot about the second part of the match. We felt there were very few weaknesses in their games. They were returning well; they were making no mistakes at the net. Even in our minds if we knew that we had to place shots at their feet at the net, make them work for the points, we were not able to do that because we felt they were all over the place at the same time. The second part of the match showed that they had no weaknesses in their game. If we had been able to serve at 200 kilometers per hour, it would have helped us. We were not able to do that. We played with the weapons we had up till the end.

End of FastScripts….

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