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February 4, 2000

Byron Black


Q. Byron, well playing. At one stage you were two points from losing in the first set.

BYRON BLACK: From, what? Sorry.

Q. You were two points from losing in the first set. Suddenly, it turned around. Did you feel him tiring and yourself firming, just what went on?

BYRON BLACK: I think it came down to a bit of experience, Bud. I think I played about 70 matches now, so I think that Chris, over the last couple months, has been playing better tennis, that's for sure. But I think it's the home difference. That's what made the difference today. You know, I've been preparing for this match mentally for three, four months now, since the draw came out. It's one of the biggest sporting events in the country, maybe that we'll ever have. So I just wanted to give everything today. And once I had got the first hit, it was touch-and-go, you're right, the break points I had my chances. Once I got that first set, I thought I had the momentum the rest of the way.

Q. Can you explain what it's like being on the receiving end of that crowd?

BYRON BLACK: Yeah, I feel sorry for him. It's tough; his first match and he has to play in Zimbabwe, you know, with all those fans against him. It's tough. You know, I've been on the receiving end before myself, in Morocco, and I didn't handle the situation very well so I know exactly what he's going through.

Q. How do you feel having won?

BYRON BLACK: Ecstatic. Obviously. You know, this is one of my best matches I think I've ever played at home, and, you know, I play for the crowd and for my team. It's just great to be out there.

Q. Are you going to play doubles tomorrow?

BYRON BLACK: It's a good question. The way I feel right now, I'd like to. But I think we got to stick to the game plan and go with what we've nominated.

Q. Why?

BYRON BLACK: I think in the past I've been a little tired the next day. And so, you know, most big countries - like you guys - I mean there's no one playing all three matches on your team, so. I've tried to do it in the past and I've come up a little short, especially against the better teams. I can do it against some of the other zones maybe, Zone 1, Zone 2 countries. But I think against a country like US, I don't know if I can pick myself up for all three days. I thought we saw that last time against Australia, and who else did we lose to? Chile. I was a little fatigued on the second day. I think I'll just get ready and prepare for Sunday. At least we know it's going to Sunday right now. That's for sure.

Q. Gavin, it's 1-1 at the end of the first day. If you had woken up this morning and had known that this would be the outcome, you'd be reasonably satisfied?

CAPTAIN GAVIN SINEY: Yeah. Throughout the week we've been asked what our plans are, and we were hoping to be maybe 1-All at the end of the first day. I think tomorrow's another day. There's a lot of tennis left. We're very happy. I think Byron played a brilliant match today. He didn't really give Chris any chances, maybe just one or two. Then he fought and held on. Tomorrow's another day. We'll see if we can win the doubles. If we can go to Sunday 2-1 up, it will be brilliant.

Q. Byron, just on that first set, that was pretty tight all the way. How crucial was it for you? It obviously gave you a big lift to win that tiebreak.

BYRON BLACK: Yeah, I just knew I had to try and get on top of Chris. I knew the crowd would take over, and I would get the momentum, which is exactly what happened. Yeah, I'm just so excited to be out there. I'm really pumped up, and I just enjoyed it, the whole match. It's probably the most perfect match mentally and physically I've played here in Zimbabwe - probably anywhere - considering the pressure.

Q. The crowd's reaction at the end obviously showed how they felt as well.

BYRON BLACK: Yeah, I give Mac a lot of respect as a competitor. Any time you can beat Mac, whether he's the coach or anyone, it gives me a lot of confidence, you know. You know, I feel like there's a lot of big guys behind the US Team. You've got Brad Gilbert on the side, Andre and John, so, you know, I really respect all those players. So, you know, it's nice to get a victory out there.

Q. What would it mean to the country of Zimbabwe to beat the United States?

BYRON BLACK: I haven't really even thought about that yet. I'm just happy to win my match today. I think the crowd was pretty happy, and it's a long way to go. You know, I haven't even thought about that. You know, we are just trying to win the doubles tomorrow. Obviously, that would be ecstatic. I mean they would be going crazy.

Q. In the second set, you're ahead 3-0 and it looks like you can go 4-0, then you hit about three or four bad shots.


Q. Was the pressure you suddenly realizing --

BYRON BLACK: On his serve, right?

Q. Yes.

BYRON BLACK: On his serve I was trying to play loose and obviously get a second break. But I'm just glad -- I don't think I lost my serve the whole match. I think I played tight, when I was down a few breakpoints, came up with big serves. I thought I played my service games well and I knew on his service games I just had to play loose and aggressive, and I thought I'd have the edge.

Q. Did it surprise you a little to see all the fans and the clown running out on the court at you?

BYRON BLACK: No. I guess you haven't been here before. (Laughter.) Usually I'm at the bottom of the pile and they're all jumping on top and it's tough to breathe. No, they handled it pretty well today, to tell you the truth. Gets a lot worse than that.

End of FastScripts….

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