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April 26, 2002

Lisa Raymond


Q. Billie Jean, you want to talk about the matchups tomorrow.

CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: Well, I'm not a very good coach to talk about that because I'm a big believer in just them playing the ball. Obviously, Schwartz is a big left-hander. We know that. Quite frankly, I don't know much about Fauth. We usually have a team meeting right before and talk about it. The players know more than I do because they play against these players all the time. When I played Fed Cup, the Captain always deferred to us to find out how the players play. I'm a big believer in believing in my players and their opinions on the other players. So would one of you want to comment on that?

Q. Monica, you've played Schwartz before, like three or four years ago, right?

MONICA SELES: Yes, I played her in the '98 French Open - or '97 - one of those French Opens. She was a very tough opponent. It was a close match, I think a two-setter. She's a big lefty, big serve. Very good forehand. She's -- I think probably she plays her best tennis on clay, so she's a very tough opponent.

Q. Are there any matchup problems there? Are you just going to go out there and try to hit through her?

MONICA SELES: Well, in any match, you know, I try to do the best that I can, be ready for it, and just play a ball at a time. That's all that's in my power to do.

Q. Jennifer, you haven't seen Evelyn play at all. She's been playing, I think, Challengers.


Q. Do you know anything about her whatsoever?

JENNIFER CAPRIATI: No. I know nothing about her (smiling). I don't think I've even seen her practice here. So maybe I'll just ask around, maybe somebody will know. But really, I mean, I just go out there and just play my game - like Billie said, play the ball - and do the best I can. That's really all I can do.

Q. Do you feel like you played well last week? Do you feel you're striking the ball well? Are you just adjusting to playing on clay again?

JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Well, I had a little bit of a struggle in the first couple matches. It was my first clay court tournament since last year at the French. But overall I think I played pretty well. And as the week wore on, even though I lost that match, I mean, Patty played really well. But I just got into a better groove. And now practicing here this week and practicing with the other players, I'm definitely feeling more comfortable on the clay and finding my game on the clay.

Q. Three of you were on the team with Billie Jean in 2000. How important is it to you, not having the opportunity to play last year, to get the Cup back?

LISA RAYMOND: Well, I think, you know, obviously it was unfortunate circumstances that we weren't able to play last year. But, you know, I think it was the right decision that Billie and the USTA made not to send a team there for obvious reasons. And, yeah, I mean, I think we're all hungry to get the Cup back. We've got a great team here, and hopefully we can get off to a good start with a win here this weekend.

Q. How does it feel to be on the team, Meghann?

MEGHANN SHAUGHNESSY: I'm very excited. This is, you know, my first time, and I've got such a great team. I'm really hoping to get out there this weekend and play well and hopefully have the opportunity to play more Fed Cups in the future.

Q. I've asked this to a couple of you before, but I'll take anyone on this one. How important is it for Fed Cup that all the women stars in the game participate? Not only just US players, but all players.

CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: I can answer that. It's extremely important. Because people, our country, you know, 270 million people, you know, we want to make sure that they get excited about our sport of tennis. One way is to always represent your country, whether it be in Fed Cup or the Olympics. People, when I'm out and about among the public, they always ask me, "Are the top players going to play?" When they saw this line-up for this week, they were very excited to see that we had our very top players playing. It means a lot to them that these top players commit. It's amazing how the public perceives things versus here in the tennis community, and it's so important to them that the top players play. I think it makes a huge difference, because people want to see the best. What they're seeing here with Jennifer, Monica, Lisa and Meghann, they are the best. I think it's important, but some players in other countries don't want to participate. We've been very fortunate in the United States that we've had either five or six of the top players in the world, and at some time or another they always make an effort to participate in Fed Cup and help win. So we're very indebted to them to do that, because they don't have to. One thing great about this country is its freedom of choice, and sometimes players decide not to play. But that's what makes our country strong. So it's very important, though. I know that some of the other countries are trying to get some of their top players. But to be quite frank, some of the top players in other countries have held up their Federations for tremendous amounts of money to play. That's a reality. It's just out-of-sight-type of money; it's ridiculous. So I hope that - if they get upset with their associations, they don't play, or whatever their reason - hopefully they can put it behind them and really have fun with their teammates. It's really important to spend time with other players. I know when they're young it doesn't mean much to them. But as they grow older, through time, they'll realize that relationships are the most important thing in the world - not just winning tennis matches.

Q. How do you guys feel? Is it ever talked about in the locker room a week or two before, "We're going to play this team"? I'm not talking about just US players, but do you hear a buzz around the locker room, any teams excited about playing another team? Or do people say, "It's just another weekend, I have to play the week after this, and it's going to mess up my Slam preparations"?

MONICA SELES: No, it's really a special week you get to spend with the players together. It's very different. I mean, you're not playing as an individual, you're playing for your country. I really have some great memories of the past Fed Cup ties that we've played. It's just a very different atmosphere. The crowd is a lot more into it. And, you know, I just hope that one or the other format they stick with because there are so many changes these past couple of years and it's very confusing. And that's about it.

Q. Monica, is it different for you, because you weren't born in this country, to be representing the country?

MONICA SELES: In some ways it is, some ways it isn't. I mean, I was eleven years old when I moved to the States. Most of the time - my life that I remember was from -- my memories are from here. When I became a neutralized citizen, it was a great honor. And, you know, I played pretty much every year since it was possible for me to be on the Fed Cup team. It's been a great honor for me.

Q. Jennifer, the last time you were on the team, the 2000 final, you weren't even playing singles. Can you talk about how far you've come since then.

JENNIFER CAPRIATI: I played because, I mean...

Q. Right.

JENNIFER CAPRIATI: I played the doubles, too, so... (Laughing). That was a different rule, too. Yeah, I mean, a lot has changed since then. It was almost after that where everything really began to happen for me and sort of my career took off. And maybe it was because of that, you know (smiling). Just I got a lot of confidence from being and playing with the other team members, and kind of feeling important and feeling like my presence was important, my game was important. So, you know, I got confident from that. And, you know, I went on and I have just been on a roll since then. I'm happy to be in this position now, playing again on the Fed Cup.

Q. Billie, can you comment on how you've seen Jennifer's game change since then.

CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: In Vegas, she came, she still had a slight injury, but she substituted in the singles, played Aranxta Sanchez-Vicario, and she was ahead 6-love, 2-love and Aranxta literally was throwing up because she couldn't believe it I think. She came to the party that night, so I didn't understand what happened. But Jennifer was striking the ball so well. In the doubles, I thought - she played a couple of matches in the doubles - and I feel like she got more and more aggressive. I kept telling her just on her returns, hit out, just keep smacking the ball, take no prisoners. But by the time she left, after being with the Fed Cup team, a week of being around Monica and Lisa and Lindsay Davenport, I thought when Jennifer left that her confidence had gone up during that week. She was just hitting the ball unbelievably well. I remember telling her, you know, "You're playing unbelievably well. Next year should be a great year for you." Then I saw her play the first round of the Australian on television - or second round, I can't remember - but she was totally inspired. You could tell how, over time, she just really got her game back. Not only got her game back, it was actually better than before.

BRUCE LEVY: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

End of FastScriptsâ?¦.

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