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March 15, 2000

Byron Black


GREG SHARKO: Questions for Byron.

Q. How did you pull it back together in the tiebreaker?

BYRON BLACK: It was tough. I thought I got a really bad call to get broken, then he started playing a little better. He came up with a good forehand down the line passing shot. He was well in control. Got to 5-1. At 5-3, I got a call back that was clearly out, I got one back. It evened out. Yeah, he lost seven points in a row. It was kind of strange. I couldn't believe I won it at the end there. It was a really weird ending.

Q. Except for the double-fault on match point, he wasn't giving you the points, you were winning them.


Q. No, you were in those last seven points. The only one you got a gimme on was the double-fault on match point.

BYRON BLACK: Right. I got a bad call. I hit a few good serves. We didn't really have any long points. It just went very quickly there at the end. It's just the way it goes. I haven't had a match like that for a while where I was down 5-Love in a tiebreaker, especially against a guy like Lleyton who fights for every point, ended up winning seven in a row. I don't think you could ever predict anything like that. I mean, I was just happy mentally to pull it back together because I felt like I'd been robbed a little bit there at the end serving for the match. It was clearly out. I had to regain my focus and stay positive, which is tough to do when you're serving for the match. At the start of the breaker, he was just rolling and going with confidence. You know, he's tough to beat when he's getting himself pumped up. He was yelling out a few come on's. He was getting excited. I was happy to get it back together mentally.

Q. Does that bother you at all when somebody does that, plays to the crowd?

BYRON BLACK: It pumps me up. I think maybe in the future it might backfire on him a little bit because he's going to get his opponents really worked up. They're going to really just want to beat him. Yeah, I didn't want to lose to him today because of that a lot. But, yeah, I think he's young. I think he's going to calm down, obviously, in the future. He's going to play a lot of matches, be out here a long time. I think he'll calm down and know when to use that and know when to use the crowd.

Q. Are you getting tired after having to play qualifying and everything?

BYRON BLACK: No. I mean, this is a big tournament. I've been playing since Davis Cup, went to Dubai, Memphis, Mexico City, Delray, Scottsdale. I've been playing a lot. I qualified here, that's given me a bit of confidence. The conditions here are pretty quick. The courts are slow, but the ball goes through the air very quickly. I think just my first round and now beating Lleyton, it just helped getting those two extra matches in quallies, it really gave me a bit of an edge.

Q. Is it kind of fun to come to these tournaments, all three of you together?

BYRON BLACK: Yeah. I mean, I don't really think about that too much. We see each other quite a lot on the road. This is a big tournament to get excited for. This is one of the big tournaments we get pumped up to play. I was happy to qualify, getting into the third round.

Q. When you're all three here, do you go out to dinner, do stuff together?

BYRON BLACK: Yeah, sure we do.

Q. Does Southern California hold any kind of special feeling for you since you went to school here?

BYRON BLACK: Yeah, it does. I mean, I played at SC. This is where I first got my first points. I won the Adidas Invitational, got a wildcard into the main draw, beat Marian Vida (ph). That actually got me going, gave me like 20 points in '87. It was '91 actually. That sort of got me going. I love playing here. I like the conditions. I like it when it's hot. We used to train here before we went to the NCAAs, in the desert. I like it.

Q. Have you talked to Dick since the Davis Cup match?

BYRON BLACK: No, I haven't.

Q. How about Rick? Have you sat down and gone back and forth?

BYRON BLACK: In Memphis we talked about it a bit.

Q. Obviously you never get over it. It's difficult to get over something like that. Does the sting fade?

BYRON BLACK: Well, yeah. You've just got to take it the right way. It was a great experience. It was a great tie, no matter who won or lost. I think people will remember it. The thing is, it's over now. You've got to put it behind you. I'm just trying to play for myself now. I did the best I could for my country. I'm just trying to play these tournaments.

Q. Seems like you're able to do that, Memphis and here.

BYRON BLACK: Right. It's one of the things about being a competitor. You've got to try to forget about that. It was really painful losing when we were up 2-1 and we thought we were going to have an upset. What can you do? You've got to move on, otherwise it will affect you for however long you let it.

Q. Hewitt being strong off the ground, you try to move him around, mix it up?

BYRON BLACK: My plan was to really attack his serve and make the points short. He likes to run around and work the point. He's fit and he's fast. I wanted to try to make the point as short as possible. I tried to do that by attacking his serve and really trying to hold my serve. I needed to hold my serve, which I did pretty well today.

Q. Looking back now, do you really feel that McEnroe kind of didn't behave properly for a Davis Cup captain in that situation? Heat of the moment?

BYRON BLACK: That's all sort of passe right now. I mean, it was the heat of the moment. You know McEnroe, you know what he's about. He hasn't really changed since he was a player. What can I say?

Q. Can you talk about your next match?

BYRON BLACK: I'm just watching it there. I think it's going to be Wayne. 1-All in the third. I think Pete is struggling a bit with the conditions. He played a night match his first match. I don't know, if he wins, whether we'll play in the evening or the day. I think in the day, I've really got a chance. I think it's going to be pretty quick out there. Just got to get his serve back. I'm just going to try to play the same way, be aggressive and try to attack him. I've had a few battles with Wayne. Obviously I'd prefer to play Wayne. Pete has beaten me quite a few times. Whoever I play, it doesn't matter.

End of FastScripts….

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