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January 25, 2003

Mark Knowles

Daniel Nestor


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. The doubles are, what's the word here, unfair game, you guys lose serve in the first game, you cruise, have breakpoints both times after you break, everything's going your way, then boom, pretty tough way to lose, I guess?

DANIEL NESTOR: Yeah, I mean, definitely. Those guys stepped up a little bit when they were down. First breakpoint, I hit it great. I mean he half volleyed back deep. That kind of caught me off guard. I was expecting him to pop it up or something, but he hit it unbelievable. They got out of that game with that unbelievable -- I hit a big forehand on top of the net, Santoro read it, hit a half volley harder than my forehand back. They got out of that game. Next game, he hit a great serve every time, we had love-15, 15-40, ace, three unreturnable serves. Then didn't play a great game at 3-2. Played a little too safe. Those guys were just hitting great returns all the time. You'd think that just getting a lot of first serves -- first game of the match, I hit six first serves, got broken. They played unbelievable. That's the story for every Grand Slam. We're getting outplayed on that day.

Q. They were lucky, with that goofy shot?

DANIEL NESTOR: Yeah, he hit a great shot. We've played them twice now and they've never played close to that. This is probably the best we played in a final of a Grand Slam and we lost. Played much better than last year, and we won. So it's kind of funny.

Q. I think you've had seven Grand Slam finals. Last year you won the doubles here.


Q. Are the other teams lifting, or are you slightly disappointed with the way you perform in finals?

DANIEL NESTOR: There have been times where we've been disappointed but, you know, I don't think we've ever played a bad match. We got very unlucky in the '98 US Open. We were in a position to win. I hit the top of the net in a winning shot, which is the most ridiculous thing that's ever happened in my career. You know, this is the best match we played in a Grand Slam final I think today. And we lost, so... Of all the seven. We played against a team that we expected to beat. So what can you say about that?

Q. Mark?

MARK KNOWLES: What can you say? It's disappointing. You know, we've got into seven Grand Slam finals. I don't know what it is. Whoever we play seems to play the match of their lives. You know, like Dan said, I agree, we played a great match. Maybe one or two shots we'd like to change, but other than that, we were one shot away from winning that final set maybe 6-love. You know, we lose it 6-3. We're not the winners. So it's just, you know, it's tennis. At the end of the day I guess the only thing you got to do is take your hat off to those guys. I guess it's good timing on their part that they played -- I haven't seen the stats yet but, I mean, they played the best tennis I've seen in a long time. We didn't do anything really wrong. They just raised their level. So it's very disappointing because, you know, we deserve to win a lot more Slams the way we're playing. But at the end of the day, it's still on a given day. Our goal is to be the best team in the world - and we're continuing to prove that. I think it's unfortunate for both Dan and I to not get another Slam right there. But at the end of the day you can just work your hardest and, you know, keep plugging away. I think that's the attitude we have to take away.

Q. We've seen so many guys in the singles draw this year over 30 doing so well. You guys are both over 30. Do you have a sense of your own tennis mortality now? Can you keep going for a few years?

MARK KNOWLES: I think definitely. I know Dan over the years had a lot of injury problems, so have I. Now that we're both focusing just on doubles it's really helping us to stay healthy. I think that's the biggest key we've been able to do so well week in, week out. That's what we're playing for, we're playing to get to Grand Slam finals and to challenge for it. Obviously we didn't win, but it's a positive. We want to try to get to the next Grand Slam final and keep plugging away.

Q. A lot of changes have been made this year to doubles, cutting the draws and the prize money. Can you talk about those changes, whether you think they're positive, and how you feel doubles is, what shape it's in generally?

MARK KNOWLES: Well, I think unfortunately, doubles has always taken the brunt of the responsibility based on the entire game, which is a bit unfortunate. But I think the game on a whole needs to be looked at and reevaluated. We've got great tennis players on the singles end and doubles end and we've got a great game to market. As far as doubles, I think it's great. We want more singles guys in there. Those are the name guys. It brings us more recognition. Any time you can play in front of a bigger crowd, it's always better. We also want them to give a good effort. The lower ranked doubles guy gets left out of the picture so it becomes tough for them. Over all, what whatever changes we have to make just for the betterment of the game, I know that Dan and I are both for it - and I think most guys are. We want to continue to improve the game of tennis. There's definitely a market out there for doubles. People love to watch doubles and it's highly played at the club level. It's a positive sign when we have people watching, which is great.

Q. Dan, can you comment on that?

DANIEL NESTOR: Well, Mark basically said all the right things there. You know, I think today's doubles match was one of the better matches in this tournament, much better than the singles match before, the women's final. It's too bad that, you know, we don't get more exposure. There's always some good doubles matches out there that no one gets to see. I'm sure, once again, no one in Canada knows how that match went. They'll see that we lost, but they don't know it was a great match. It's unfortunate. Doubles is a great game. Most of the world's tennis population plays doubles. I think there's a market out there for it if it's promoted properly.

End of FastScripts….

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