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February 6, 2000

Byron Black


Q. Byron, first two sets it was a pretty tough game for you out there.

BYRON BLACK: Yeah, I mean Andre was playing great, I thought. He was really taking it to me, and, you know, first couple sets I had no answers for him. First couple games, I was holding -- just hanging in there. Then he broke me once and then the floodgates opened and he had a momentum for the first two sets, pretty much most of the third. Then I tried to turn it around. I thought I was getting back in there, and just in the tiebreak I saw him puking there. I thought, "Geez, I've got a chance." But, you know, he was serving for the match then, so... Yeah, I just wish I could have won a couple more points and maybe things could have turned around.

Q. I think you had a breakpoint opportunity at 4-5.

BYRON BLACK: Right, right. On his serve, yeah. No, he kept up with some good serves. He was serving my forehand a lot and getting a lot of free points there. But, yeah, that's the difference with Andre, I think, in the last year or so; his serve has improved a lot, especially his second serve.

Q. How different are the conditions here than what one would have in any other place? How much does the altitude take out of you here?

BYRON BLACK: Physically?

Q. Well, yes.

BYRON BLACK: Yeah, I mean, you're just a bit short of breath if you're not used to it. And, yeah, I think Andre and Chris have been feeling that a little bit. Plus with the pressure, and the crowd sort of saps your energy a little bit. All those combinations, yeah, make you tired.

Q. If you're the home player, you can thrive on it, I suppose? You're used to it?

BYRON BLACK: You're used to it. It won't grab you. It's different. The ball flies a little bit more and you're always a little bit short of breath after a long run.

Q. Did you sense Andre tiring in the third set?

BYRON BLACK: A little bit. Like I said, in the tiebreak I thought I would get it going out there. I was down a couple mini breaks. I saw him puking, and I thought, "I just have to try and hang in there." But he came up with a good point to finish it up.

Q. Do you think if you won that third set you would have had an edge and maybe gone on to win a fourth?

BYRON BLACK: Who knows? It's over now; it doesn't really matter. But, yeah, I think I would have had the chance. I've been brought up here, I feel pretty strong. I was feeling pretty fresh even after the third set. So, you know, who knows? Who knows?

Q. What was the feeling in the camp after yesterday?

BYRON BLACK: We were elated. It was a great match. Doubles these days is just so close. It's just a point either way. I think what changed the match, at the end when we told Kevin at the changeover, "Hit a few returns up O'Brien's line." I think Leach was the guy to break. Kevin hit two unbelievable - one backhand, one forehand - up the line. He was aggressive, I think. Eventually in the end we just took a few more chances and it paid off. But, yeah, it was just an emotional roller coaster out there. We were way up and then suddenly we were way down. Then we came back. The guys fought back strong. It was a great shot, especially for Kevin; it's his first match. That was his first match in Davis Cup. That was huge for him.

Q. I know it's sort of difficult to throw anything forward because the guys are out there now, but assuming Wayne won, what would that mean for tennis in Zimbabwe?

BYRON BLACK: I don't know what more it would mean. I mean, I think we've done pretty well already. I just -- I haven't tried to think too much about that. I don't want to get ahead of the game. But, yeah, I think it will just grow even further than it has grown, and I think more people will play the game, obviously. More people will be interested. More people will be sucked in. And, you know, maybe even more than soccer, who knows? I think the Federation is run pretty well, and it's an example to all the other sports.

End of FastScripts…

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