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November 22, 2003

Billie Jean King



Q. It was a close match. What do you think made a difference in the end?

MEGHANN SHAUGHNESSY: Yeah, I mean, it was really close in the end. It just came down to a couple points. I think the difference was she was a little more aggressive. She went for it more than I did, and that's what it takes.

Q. It was a tough one. Have you ever been in a match that excruciating? It was tough to watch, as well as play, I'm sure. Considering it was playing for your country, is that your toughest match?

MEGHANN SHAUGHNESSY: Well, I wouldn't say "excruciating" is the word.

Q. Give me a word then.

MEGHANN SHAUGHNESSY: Well, it's playing for your country. I mean, it's a different feeling from anything else. It's really special. It's definitely more pressure because I feel like I've got more responsibility than just playing for myself. But it's a feeling I wouldn't trade for anything. Yeah, like I said, it was a tough match. But I've had many tough matches before.

Q. Can you talk about being 2-0 down going into tomorrow, how you rally the team, how you kind of see things, if you have any idea at this point?

BILLIE JEAN KING: First of all, it was great today because when I woke up the skies were blue. Late November in Moscow, I think that's pretty good. I think I really got a great birthday present today because both players' attitudes were really good. Meghann's attitude today compared to the other day is a hundred percent better. She really played for the team today. Meghann did, and Lisa. So, as far as I'm concerned, their attitudes were right, they left their guts on the court, they gave everything they had for their country and for their team. I can never ask for anything more as a captain. As far as tomorrow, first of all, we'll have fun tonight. We'll have our lounge dinner together, all of us, the support team and the team. We were all together last night. In fact, a couple of our hitting partners, I hope you notice that their hair looked much better today than yesterday. Lisa Raymond and Alexandra Stevenson did some mighty fine haircuts. So we all had the privilege of watching that last night. It was hysterical. We even braided Raj's, our third hitting partner, we braided his hair. We decided it didn't look so good, but we took the braids out. We were laughing and having a great time as a team. That's one of the fantastic experiences about being on a team that really gets along. Lisa Raymond has gone through many changes the last few months. She has a new coach, Andy. Actually, he's an old coach, but a renewed partnership there. She's now living by herself in Philadelphia, which she hasn't done for many years, and having a great time. So she's going through a lot of changes. Also she's been working very, very hard on changing her belief system of truly believing in herself. I think that is starting to happen. I think probably on three points today, if it could have gone her way, the score could have been the same in her favor. That's how close that match was. It was very, very close, that first match. I don't know if everybody realizes how close. I obviously watch every single point and keep track in my head just about what makes the difference. As far as Meghann, she's also going through a lot of changes, too. She's looking for a new coach, has her own place, too. Things are happening in her life, as well. There's a lot of changing going on. But I thought Meghann's attitude today was impeccable. I think you saw a different Meghann today than you did the other day in the other match. She did the very best she could. She stayed positive. You don't do this overnight. You don't just become truly positive and believe in yourself overnight. It's a long haul. It's people who believe in themselves day in and day out, let other people in to help them. That's what Meghann is doing. I think what I saw today was fantastic from my point of view as a coach and someone who's watching two players change and grow as human beings, doing much better in their lives. I had a great birthday today.

Q. How do you feel, who were the Russian fans supporting more, which players, according to your feeling?

MEGHANN SHAUGHNESSY: That's a tough question. I didn't really notice them favoring either of us. I think they were really into the tennis. I definitely heard my American team, though, supporting me. That's what I was listening to.

BILLIE JEAN KING: Could you tell? The French contingent is very loud, too. What to they call those people, the people in the stands, all dressed? They have a name, the French fans that are here? I don't know, but they're very loud, as well. Les Bleus, The Blues, right.

Q. Going back to the previous question, how much chance do you give your team tomorrow, considering Mauresmo is playing so well?

BILLIE JEAN KING: I think we have a great chance. I think we were so close today, all we had to do is win the three points in the first match, and the other three points in the second match, it could have been 2-Love for us. I think we still have a very good chance.

Q. You've been together close to a week now. Can you talk about Martina's role maybe as an elder statesman, showing the ropes to some of the other players?

BILLIE JEAN KING: I can tell you what my observations have been. She's very young in her personality, very young, very light, very joyful and very passionate about playing tennis. She passes that on. It spills over onto the other players. She's very relaxed, which I think is helpful. She's very good about being very encouraging I think to the players - extremely encouraging. She's been through a lot, had a lot of experience. I think the other players are taking it in. At least that's what I'm observing. Meghann, probably being a heck of a lot younger than I am - or Martina - would be able to express it better. She's actually playing. So I'll let her add. She's been a blast for me because I've known her for 30 years. I've had a blast with her.

MEGHANN SHAUGHNESSY: Yeah, she's been incredible to have around. This is the first week I've ever had the chance to spend more time with her. There's a reason why she was so amazing and what she did. She's so passionate about tennis. She loves to practice. I mean, just watching her practice, you can feel it. She's been great. She's been coming out and watching all of us play, supporting us, giving us her advice. She's just been -- you know, I can't even say how nice it's been to have her around.

End of FastScripts….

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