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April 4, 2002

Jordi Arrese


TIM CURRY: Questions for the Spanish Davis Cup Team, please.

Q. Alex, could you talk about the challenge this weekend of playing Andy Roddick.

ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I first play Sampras and then I might play Roddick if we keep on going. But of course for us it's kind of weird to play on grass, because we are not used to. But as I said during the whole week, I believe in one day anything can happen, no matter if it's grass or clay. I mean, I know nearly sure that I would never win Wimbledon because probably my kind of game it's difficult to win that. But I believe that I can win anybody in any surface in one day. So that's our thought, and that's why we're going to go outside tomorrow and try to do our best - because we strongly believe that we have chances to win. Otherwise, we wouldn't be here.

Q. One of their coaches, Jim Courier, said they wanted to make your team feel as uncomfortable as possible with their chosen surface of grass. Is "uncomfortable" the right word for how you and your teammates feel on this surface.

ALEX CORRETJA: Well, I understand his word. Absolutely for us to play on grass is completely different situation than playing on hardcourts or clay. As we played in Santander two years ago, we choose to play on clay because it's better for us. I would say of course it's a little bit uncomfortable for us, but we've been practicing pretty hard these days. And we can't just change our game in three days, but we've made some adjustments in our game, and I think we're ready to battle and to go out there and try to win.

Q. Tommy, what are your emotions, this being your first Davis Cup and being first up?

TOMMY ROBREDO: Well, for me, it's a dream, no, to be here on the Spanish team and also to kind of start the battle, no, against Andy. And well for tomorrow, I'm gonna try to play my game and to be relax, because all the pressure is for The States. And that's it, no, play my best and I'm gonna see what happen.

Q. Tommy, do you have to make any adjustments for your game because you are playing on grass?

TOMMY ROBREDO: Well, sure, no, to play on grass it's not the same to play on clay or on hard. But I know, and I start to practice on Miami. And I've been practicing like for eight or nine days. And I think that every day I am improving my game on grass. And, well, I hope that my level on grass, it's good, and tomorrow I can give the surprise to the US.

Q. Tommy, before you played Andy at the US Open, you had a very emotional victory against Juan Carlos. Was it tough getting emotionally prepared to play Andy right after that match?

TOMMY ROBREDO: Well, in US Open, it was half year ago. Well, Andy was playing great, me too. And on that match, I was not really good and Andy beat me, no. But, well, like Alex said before, on Davis Cup, on one match, everyone can beat the other. And that's what we are gonna try to do, no? We are gonna try to do our best and try to change the score.

Q. Tommy, you don't have the Davis Cup experience that Alex has. Does it matter to you that you're playing the first match, or did you want to play the second match to start out?

TOMMY ROBREDO: Well, I was thinking that. But for me, I think it doesn't matter to play first or second. Because I know for me it's a dream to good play. Playing first or second, I think that there is not difference, because you must try to do your best. And, well, if you start 1-0 up, it's great; 1-0 down, it's also the same, no? Because you must try to do the same. If I start, it's the first point and that's it.

Q. Alex, how do you avoid getting discouraged against Sampras if he gets on one of his serving rolls on grass?

ALEX CORRETJA: Serving the same way (smiling). No, I mean, you know he's kind of guy that when he's on fire, it's gonna be really, really difficult to beat on grass. But I don't want to challenge him, but of course for him has to be also difficult to play first match. And he knows that probably when he plays in Wimbledon first days, he also feels a little strange on the court. And that's what I hope so, not to let him play his best and try to do my own game. And, of course I know he has advantage because he's been playing like hundreds of matches on grass and I probably play like eight or ten in my whole life. But that's the way it is. Now we're here on grass. As I said the other day, yesterday or something, we just have to believe that we love grass in this moment, and we just need to go out there and do our best. And now we're going to practice a little bit more and get ready for tomorrow and be focused and accept everything happen on the court. Just be positive. And for sure it's going to be tough moments, but we got to go focused for two, three hours and see if they are better, which maybe right now probably the facilities are better for them, the chances are better for them, but they have to show it on the court. So that's what we're going to try.

Q. Jordi, two years ago the US goes to Spain. The US are the big underdogs. You were the big favorites. Do you look at the US as the favorites here in this tie on grass?

CAPTAIN JORDI ARRESE: In clay court, we have the -- we are the favorites. And now we don't have nothing to lose. The States is the favorites, and now is -- they have to demonstrate that they are better than us. We don't have nothing to lose.

Q. Alex, is the fact that Andy and Pete come in here having not played very well the last few weeks at all encouraging or really unimportant? Does it give you some encouragement?

ALEX CORRETJA: Well, everybody has his own business, you know, and everybody's playing on the tour. You win, you lose. Of course it gives you some confidence to see that they were kind of struggling a little bit also, not winning so many matches. They come here probably with lack of matches. And we hope it's gonna notice that on the court. And they haven't played so much. And of course it's good to see that -- they probably have also some doubts in their minds, and we're going to try to get advantage of that. But once you play, you forget about everything, and you just try to go there and see how your game adjusts to the grass, which I believe for them it's easier because of the kind of game they have. But it's still, if we're here, it's because we strongly believe that we have a chance to win.

Q. Jordi, Juan is a good serve-and-volley player. Would you consider playing Juan in singles?

CAPTAIN JORDI ARRESE: For the first singles, we choose Alex and Tommy. For the doubles is Alex and Juan. That's all, we wait the last days with our choice.

Q. So you're saying maybe --?

CAPTAIN JORDI ARRESE: Sorry for my English. I try (smiling).

Q. Maybe there's a possibility Juan will play singles on Sunday?

CAPTAIN JORDI ARRESE: Always possible. But we chose the better for us for the first day.

Q. Usually in a Davis Cup tie, there's, you know, one match that a team looks at and says, "We have to win that match," or, "That's our guy." Is there a particular match or player you look at and say, "This is the guy we have to beat if we want to win this tie"?

ALEX CORRETJA: Well, you know, we kind of waiting to see how it's going to go. Because as we've been saying, as you know exactly for us to play on grass is kind of a nearly new experience. And I believe it's like on the air. We don't feel like, "Okay, we got to go and try to beat Roddick because he's the weakest guy on their team on grass," because we believe that he also plays pretty well on grass. We felt like before we start to play that of course doubles, we feel pretty comfortable, Juan and myself, playing pretty good matches in Davis Cup, and we've been winning a lot of them. But obviously it's good to get to Saturday probably with 1-all because it gives you much better, like, opportunity to go on Sunday in the score favor. But we didn't think like, "Okay, we got to go to this guy," because once you go on the court, everybody has to do their own business. And that's always difficult to manage on the court. So we've been practicing well enough to be ready to play, but we didn't consider like thinking winning one guy or other.

Q. Alex, do you think there's a good possibility you'll see Sampras in doubles if it's 1-1?

ALEX CORRETJA: We don't think about that. I mean, that's Patrick's choice. I mean, you should ask him. And, of course, we just go tomorrow and point by point. I mean, then we will see what's going on on Saturday. And if they want to pick Pete, so he will be welcome. I mean, we have no problem about that. And the only thing we just focus, it's on our team, and then they can change and they can do whatever they feel. But is not something that we're scared of, if Pete's playing doubles, which it is a possibility for them. If he doesn't play, Blake is good enough to do it well. So it's no reason to think about one guy or other.

Q. Alex, are there any grass courts in Spain? The second part of the question, do you remember your first experience on grass? Did you find it really foreign?

ALEX CORRETJA: Right now we don't have any grass courts in Spain. You barely have, because you've been finding grass all over the country so (laughter). No, we really have proud -- we feel proudness like the US team choose to play on grass. Because they show some respect and they kind of feel like they need to play on our worst surface to beat us. Even though we gonna see if they can do it. We don't have any grass courts on Spain. Probably like Island House (ph) has grass, but not to play tennis. And my first experience on grass, well, actually, was like I don't know how many years ago in Wimbledon. I remember I beat LeConte. So it was a pretty big surprise for me. So I hope one more surprise is coming tomorrow.

Q. How do you feel about these courts? You have played on the best grass courts in the world. How do they compare to Wimbledon, for example, Queen's Club?

ALEX CORRETJA: Wimbledon, they are perfect conditions and they are great courts. But I got to say here the courts are perfect. I mean, we have no complaints about it. And the ground is perfect. And of course we've been having some good time here, having one court the whole day for the Spanish team, and then we can share sometimes the Center Court. So we have no complaints with the court.

Q. This is for Juan. Juan, tell us about your sideburns. Two years ago in Spain, they weren't as long as they are now. It seems like they're getting longer.

JUAN BALCELLS: Actually, I'm shorter. Actually, I'm very short. No, no, I don't know, a few years ago I used to have -- to wear -- to have the long hair. And once I cut it, I said, "I have to do something with my look, you know." Then I just let them grow and grow and grow. Now I'm just trying to reach this long, you know (indicating midway down his upper arm.) I don't know, not that I have an idol or something.

Q. What do you guys think about his sideburns now?

JUAN BALCELLS: They are going to say I'm very good-looking, you know (laughter).

TOMMY ROBREDO: I would like to do the same, but it's not possible (laughter). I don't have nothing here.

End of FastScripts….

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