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July 22, 2000

Albert Costa

Q. Taking into consideration the last 30 years we were not in the final of Davis Cup, what does it mean to you to be in the final now?

CAPTAIN JAVIER DUARTE: I suppose that's for everybody and for Spain and for all of those who had been here, and for you as well I suppose. For the whole country. I think it's real success of Spanish tennis, and that we were looking for it for years and years. And for one reason or not this was not possible. So with that group of professionals which we have now in Spain, these wonderful players are just great. All these players, which is the basis really. Because, as we normally say, we can have a good structure, good, well coaches, et cetera, but we haven't got a good basis, a good background so to say, of the level we've got right now in Spain. We wouldn't be able to do much. Davis Cup would certainly not be in the final. So this is the basic thing.


Q. Please, the last point, what did you think?

JUAN BALCELLS: I think we had achieved what we were looking for really. And to have the possibility of playing in the final, I think it's something great. When you see the possibilities just next to you, and we finally get it, you achieve it, it's just like a dream.

Q. Apart from being in a final, the doubles between Balcells and Corretja will be consolidated for the year 2001, 2002, et cetera?

CAPTAIN JAVIER DUARTE: Good, yes, yes, good. (Laughter.) What is obvious is that the doubles has functioned very well here in these preliminary rounds. As far as 2001, 2002 or 2010, God will tell us what we can do. I mean we had to go step by step just to think about the final right now. And once the moment comes, we will think what is best for the team.

Q. Thirty-three years ago, Spain was not able to be in the final. It's just history. You made history. You will change history if you win the final.

ALEX CORRETJA: I still maintain what I said at the beginning. We flow along the same lines. We want to have a compact group as we have right now. And the four of us here, of course, we are very proud with the captains and all the members of the team. Our dream is to win, of course, the Davis Cup. And to be the Finals is history of course. Because in our country for one reason or another we haven't been able to be in the Finals. But if you reach the final, what is important is to win it. And for us, I mean the next few months we will do our individual work; we will do the best output, so to say. And one will have to select - the captains will have to decide who are the best players for that match. Perhaps the four of us here, we will not be in the final - I don't know, or there will be four of us - I don't know. But we've started history and we want to go on with history.

Q. This success, do you think that is partly due to the good fortune, so to say? It was just for red clay? Or in case you have to play later outdoors or indoors?

CAPTAIN JAVIER DUARTE: Well, it is obvious we will have to face whatever surface we have to. But as I already mentioned yesterday, I mean what is something obvious is that all qualifying rounds are difficult. We have been -- I mean if we've won the first or second rounds, it would have been different. But it cannot be only right now, only this. I mean we've been playing at home. It certainly helps; it is quite obvious. But at the same time I repeat, if you look at history, in the last 30 or 40 years, if we won the first round or second round, the second round perhaps we would have played at home. So this has been the draw. It certainly helps but it's not everything.

Q. Alex and Albert, you've been playing the longest. How does it feel to be in a Davis Cup final?

ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I believe since we start to play Davis Cup qualifiers, always we thought to play a big final, maybe at home as well because it's always an advantage. But at this point, we were thinking hardly to go to the Finals, and today it was like a dream come true because we fought pretty hard to be on the team. You know that we have a lot of players to choose, and it's always difficult for the captain. So we were pretty proud to be on this team. And I can say that we were suffering a lot, we struggled a lot. But finally we get to this point that we wanted to be.

Q. Albert?

ALBERT COSTA: Well, for me, I start to work in Israel in the second division...(Inaudible.) I think Alex was the first one also. And we were playing in second division, no? And now we are here playing the semifinal. We won today and maybe we are going to be in the final. But it's not -- I'm not sure because maybe there's going to be other players because there's reserve also. But I'm very happy. I'm very proud to be here, and if the captains need me for the final, I'm going to be there.

Q. Does it make it extra, extra special --

ALEX CORRETJA: Sorry to interrupt. Is this in Spanish or English? I wanted to ask if we should answer Spanish. Or French? (Laughter.)

Q. Does it make it all the more special to beat a team from the United States whose captain is one of the greatest of all Davis Cup players?

ALEX CORRETJA: Not for me. No, because as I said, when we go on the court, we wanted to win the other guys. And of course you wanted to do your job. And if you win the other guys, it seems that you're doing a great job. But there is nothing special to beat a guy like -- he was maybe one of the greatest in Davis Cup. And I can say that we didn't think about it. And I have to say, they were pretty polite with us. Captain, Todd and Chris, when they finish the match, they came to us, they shake hands, and it was a great effort for them. It was difficult for them to lose and come back and shake hands in a really nice way.

Q. Can I just raise one thing with Javier. John McEnroe did make a point at his press conference afterwards of saying that the court was watered before the fifth set when the American team were having a toilet break. It was his impression that at the meeting of the captains before it was decided only to water the court after the second set, and that that was the rule that he believed. He wasn't making too much of a fuss, but he did think it was something that shouldn't have happened. Can you just clarify what impression you were under?

CAPTAIN JAVIER DUARTE: We thought that perhaps it was better to water it, and they thought, "No." And all by chance, every time, they've been asking for watering in all the matches. They have been asking for it. So we didn't say anything about second set or not. So we just didn't reach an agreement. The supervisor would decide when he thought we had to water it. And all the time that the supervisor has required it, we went and said why did they water, because the court was all right. I mean who's been asking for watering the court? It was them self. If they had watered them self, perhaps they made a mistake, they should be very happy them self because they always asked them self to water the court.

Q. Concerning the headquarters for the final, which are the criteria that will be taken into account? Are there different possibilities: Barcelona, Seville, even the Canary Islands, Madrid. What will be taken into account? Who will decide?

CAPTAIN JAVIER DUARTE: In principle we have been speaking a lot about that. I mean the technical group and the players, we've been answering all the questions, whether it will be in Barcelona, Madrid, Canary Islands, other places that we have said. We haven't spoken about that yet. We haven't answered these questions because we didn't know. But from now, after winning today, in principle the function will be as it has been in the other qualifying rounds. I suppose our federation will receive the requests from different towns, and with the players and the technical committee will look for the best formula for the final. This is the way it will be done. I mean I've heard so many things about that. I mean apparently, in principle, we still don't know where the final will be played.

Q. For Spanish tennis, what will it mean really to reach the final of Davis Cup for Spanish tennis?

JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: This is difficult.

Q. What does that mean? Now this has been history today. What will this mean for Spanish tennis?

JUAN BALCELLS: It's a difficult question.

ALBERT COSTA: What does that mean for Spanish tennis?

ALEX CORRETJA: Well, a bit of surprise.

JUAN BALCELLS: It means the dream which becomes reality and that's it. (Laughter.) What else can I tell you really?

ALBERT COSTA: Yes, we are here just to win and that's it.

ALEX CORRETJA: It means that the work means something and the technical committee and the colleagues and the players, I mean to work very hard just means the result. And if all the physical work, et cetera, and training and sacrifices, that without all this, we wouldn't be here. This is the only way. Juan Carlos has been working very hard; otherwise, at 20 years old he wouldn't be here. I've been working three years. Albert, all the others, all the technical team, everybody, our doctor, all the coaches, et cetera, everybody has been working very hard indeed to arrive here today.

JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: This is what I wanted to say. (Laughter.) (Applause.)

Q. In some cases you said that the media in Spain didn't value much tennis. Do you think that the situation has changed after the Santander success?

ALBERT COSTA: The media?

ALEX CORRETJA: I mean we go towards our own objective, well, in a good way, and we try to assess. We were very cautious. Everybody was saying that we will win before starting. But it was not a reality. We've been suffering a lot. So as far as the media are concerned, they are helping us more and more. And I've said it on the court, all these movements of people, et cetera, are very, very positive for us. It's difficult to stand the stress on the court not only because it's Davis Cup tie, I mean it's normal for all matches. But for Davis Cup even more stress, I would say. Because otherwise everybody would be disappointed: Captains, everybody here. So what we ask for, not to have an extra pressure from the media because pressure, we create it ourselves. And Albert was speaking about that yesterday night, why are we able to relax? I mean when we start in the court, because we want to win, to do it in front of everybody from Spain, et cetera. We don't want to fail. And if we are in a different place, nobody will remember you. It's different. So you, yourself, I mean ourselves, we create that pressure. Now if the media - apart from that - say that you have to wake up, what do you do, et cetera? In fact, you are increasing the pressure. So this is what we think, and we think that everybody is, I think, thinking the same way. And this is just great today.

Q. If the current form of certainly the singles players is maintained, a match against Australia in December, you could have five players, perhaps, singles picks in the Top 10, Top 15 in the world. Do you think it could well turn out to be one of the very great Davis Cup Finals?

ALEX CORRETJA: Well, of course. It can really be a great final. I believe they really have a strong team, as they show. They're in the final again. Last year they won. And their doubles is pretty deep as well. We showed that we can really play good doubles. I maybe still need to practice a little bit more in doubles. I just play four times per year; that's difficult. I can say that in the singles way, we really have a strong team and they have as well. So it can really be an exciting tie, and we will see. I don't know, it's difficult to think about it right now. But for sure it's going to be wonderful for everybody, especially if we win.

Q. You answered the question about how important it is for Spanish tennis. How important do you think it is for Spanish tennis in an international flavor? How Spanish tennis will be regarded now and Spanish players by the international media, public, whatever you'd like to call it?



ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I believe this is the first time that we're not going to step in the locker room and the guys are going to say, "Ahh, Spanish guys, you are good players on the Tour but you don't know how to win in Davis Cup." Because at least we are in the final now. It is clear that for the players, it seems a little strange that we can really be successful on the Tour but then go to the Davis Cup and not play well. So for the last two or three years, we start to play much better, and now everybody's pretty pumped with us and they show that we create a good atmosphere out there, we have the spirit of the game, and we really like to play by teams. So that's where we wanted to be in the final. We fight for it, and here we are. (Applause.)

End of FastScripts....

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