July 19, 2002
CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: We talked about it a little bit actually in the locker room before we came out. Basically it's usually the same always when we talk to the team as far as we don't really care. We know that both players are going to have to play their players, and let's get on with it. I think it's better if you ask the players. Like Lindsay has to play first. Obviously, she hasn't played a lot of matches up to this point in time, so I'm sure she's looking forward to it. I don't want to speak for her.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I didn't care if I was first or second tomorrow. We knew who we were going to play. And the order I think is meaningless in the scheme of things.
Q. You don't think it's vital to get off to a good start?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think it is, but I don't think it's going to affect the turnout of the match. I mean, you know, if I'm going to lose or win, it's not going to matter if it's 1:00 or 3:00, I don't think. But, you know, I've got all the confidence in the world in Monica. Whether she plays in front of me or after me, I don't think it's going to change the outcome of her match, as well.
Q. Can you talk about Smashnova, have you played her before, and the outcomes?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I have played her before. It was probably about two, two and a half years ago or so. I won that match. But really I kind of feel like this is new territory. Like Billie said, I haven't played a match for me the longest time, eight or nine months. So I'm just worried about my own game and to see how I react and to see how I play. I know she runs down a lot of balls, I know she's very fit. I'm going to try and overpower her and serve well. You know, I think she's improved in the rankings a lot in the last year or so. I didn't know she was all the way up to 16, so she must be playing great tennis this year. I'll just feel have to kind of get the feel of the match as it goes on. I think the more I play, hopefully the better I'll get as the match goes on.
Q. Monica, are you familiar with your first opponent?
MONICA SELES: Not really, no. I'm going to rely on Kevin and Billie Jean to give me some feedback on her style of play.
Q. How is your fitness level?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I feel great. I feel like I'm in good shape and I feel like I could go the distance if it so requires. Playing matches is always a different type of , you know, in shape and muscle memory that you have to get used to. But I feel like I've put myself in a position that fitness won't be a factor. However, I just have to get used to playing points and recovering and almost get used to being in tennis shape. And that will happen. I hope that I'm there now, but I'll probably be very sore tomorrow night, regardless of the outcome. But I'll do my best. I hope that it won't be a factor.
Q. How do you feel about playing the late game?
MONICA SELES: Well, I feel the same way as Lindsay. Really doesn't matter. We're used to playing at 1:00, 3:00, 6:00, if it's raining. I mean, that's part of it. I'm just looking forward to playing some great tennis and go from there on.
Q. Does it affect your game if you're up 1-Love or down Love-1?
MONICA SELES: Not at all truly. I go in and try to just focus what's ahead of me and worry about what I can control, and that's just how I play my match. You know, I feel confident in Lindsay, she'll go out there and do her best, the same as I will. That's all we can worry about.
Q. How do you feel your teamwork has developed?
MEGHANN SHAUGHNESSY: I'm really looking forward to it. Obviously, it's an honor for me to play with Lisa, the No. 1 doubles player in the world. I think we'll play great together. We've had some good practices so far this week and it should be an exciting match.
Q. Can each of you speak what it's like to play in Fed Cup?
LISA RAYMOND: You know, I feel like it's an honor. Every time Billie has asked me, I've always made myself available to play for my country. You know, it's something -- it's a change for us. Tennis is such an individualized sport that, you know, any chance we get to play on a team and in a team environment, I think it's great. I think this week is a good testament to that. The four of us get along great. It's been a lot of fun so far.
MONICA SELES: It's a great honor. I mean, so far in my career, I've been always available for every tie. It's really one of the highlights of my career. It's a great honor playing under Billie. This week has just been terrific with my teammates. We have so much fun on and off the court. We've been working hard at the same time, really spending some time together, enjoying it. It's a great atmosphere. It's a great honor to represent my country. As I said, I'm very happy.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think one of the things that can be most fun is where you actually get to practice with the other girls on tour. I think a lot of times at tournaments you'll pretty much hit with your coach or hitting partner. Here it's been fun to do some things together and talk about tennis even with almost like your rivals. I think like Lisa and Monica said, we get along very well. We've had quite a few laughs this week. Playing for your country is always great. There's always more some added pressure when you're playing for a team; you obviously don't want to let your teammates down. Hopefully, if you can try any harder out there, you will. We look forward to playing well together as a team this weekend. So far it's been great.
MEGHANN SHAUGHNESSY: Going to sound pretty repetitive, but for me it's the same. It's a real honor for me to play for the US. This is my second time playing. I really enjoyed my first time. I think the main thing is, like Lisa said, tennis is such an individual sport. To be able to come here this week and have teammates and have so much support behind you when you're playing, it's an incredible feeling.
Q. What is the attitude of the team this week? Is there more of a purpose this year?
CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: I think every tie that I've been involved in and been the captain, I think every time the players are very serious about winning for their country. You can sense it. They have a lot of pride. The only tough spot we really had was this last time in Charlotte. But I must tell you that Monica, Lisa and Meghann were there in Charlotte and did a great job. They really stuck together through very difficult situations. Losing was very hard on all of us, but we felt it was the right thing to do with Capriati. I think it's a short-term loss for a long-term gain. Lisa was calling Lindsay about every three minutes keeping her up to date on what was going on. Lindsay e-mailed and said she really wanted to play, she was ready to go for this tie. We know this is a very important match for us. We know if we don't win here, for the very first time in the history of Fed Cup we won't be in the World Group No. 1. That is not where we want to be. We want to win. I can't say enough about these four players who are right up here. They've always made themselves available for Fed Cup. A lot of players do not. I really thank them for their loyalty and their dedication to this because it's meant a lot to me personally and I think also people in this country should know that the four that are up here are the ones who are always available to play Fed Cup.
Q. Do you find it frustrating it's hard to get players to commit to Fed Cup?
CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: No, I don't find it that frustrating. First of all, the United States of America is totally spoiled in that we have the greatest players in the world playing for America. I'm a very big believer in I only want players that want to play. So it's pretty easy really. I just go right down the list. If someone says no, I go down one more on the list and keep going. Nothing is worse than having a player that doesn't really want to be there. I'd rather have people who really are highly motivated that want to be there, no matter the outcome of what happens. That's the most important thing. That's what makes America great, that we are able to have choices. A lot of countries, you don't have that.
Q. There's not a safety net after this one. Do you feel an extra sense of pressure on yourself than you did a couple months ago?
MONICA SELES: Every time I play, I feel pressure because I'm not playing for myself, I'm playing for my country. You want to do well for your teammates and everything. It's a different type of atmosphere. Definitely here we all have a lot of pressure on ourselves. But we're used to it. You know, hopefully we'll thrive on it and just go from there on. Really all we can worry about is playing one at a time. We really can't do much else.
CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: Can I add to that? Because they're the greatest players in the world, they like pressure. That's what makes them so great. Emotionally and mentally, they are also the toughest. It's just not about being physically the best. They welcome it. They thrive on it. It's always interesting to watch the players starting on Tuesday and by the time we get to Saturday how they just start to focus a little bit more each day and you can just feel them getting their match face on and ready to go. It's a wonderful process for me personally as a captain to watch, to see how you see them get more and more ready for Saturday as the week goes by. It's a great study in what makes champions.
MIKE RALTSON: Thank you.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.