September 10, 2004
NEW YORK CITY
THE MODERATOR: Questions for doubles champions.
Q. Can you talk about that shot on matchpoint.
MARK KNOWLES: Yeah, I mean, obviously it was a great shot and good time to hit it. You know, probably the biggest shot I've hit in my career, really, considering that it was matchpoint to win a Grand Slam. And, you know, I was lucky. I executed it well. So it was nice.
Q. Yesterday, you had to play in that tough wind. You played pretty well. What was that like? We've already heard from the singles guys, but was it tougher in the doubles?
DANIEL NESTOR: It was pretty challenging. I think when it's that ridiculous, sometimes it relaxes you because, you know, you're not expected to make every return like you want to in a normal match, normal environment. And if anything, it helped us for today. I think it was a little bit windy today, too. It was blowing one way. We were prepared for it and we handled it really well yesterday. We had a lot of chances to close out the match in the second set, but we didn't. But we hung in there, we didn't get down, we just knew the opportunity was there still. I think that our experience showed in that.
Q. Can you talk about, you know, you've had a lot of struggles in previous finals. Even the one where you won it, you had a first-set tiebreak. Can you talk about how smoothly it went today.
MARK KNOWLES: Well, yeah, definitely. I mean, you know, I think we've been in seven Slam finals before this and only come away with one. We felt like we played good matches in all of them, had matchpoints here in '98 and a little bit unlucky. The finals of Grand Slam are the two best teams of that tournament. So going out there today, we just felt really good about the way we were playing. We had a really good summer. Like Dan said, we played through tough conditions. We had the experience, we kind of went through it all. Like he said today we just did a great job, just focusing on our games and executing. We were fortunate to get the early breaks and hold on to them. Both of us served really well and weren't able to allow those guys to make an impression on the return. I think that was key.
Q. Mark, how long do you think typically doubles players can be effective on court, up until their late 30s?
DANIEL NESTOR: Everyone's different. I mean, everyone's body type's different. You have guys like Rick Leach and Cyril Suk, who are still playing well into their 30s, and even 40s for Rick. You know, they're playing well. They're still having good results. And, you know, we're in our early 30s, so I don't think we're contemplating retirement any time soon, especially now. We've had a very consistent year and now it's turned into a great year now that we've won the US Open. I think next year we're looking forward to getting into the Slams again.
Q. Any sense of how John McEnroe would do out there with a partner who's experienced in his early 30s?
DANIEL NESTOR: We played him in Team Tennis last summer. I was impressed by the way he was serving still. Even in doubles he was covering the court well. His hands are great. I don't know how he'd last on clay in like a long match - even doubles it can be pretty tough out there. But, you know, it's hard to say. But, you know, he's one of the best doubles players of all time. I think doubles is easier on the body. He seems to have stayed in great shape. He loves playing, so that's a bonus.
Q. Mark, how do you keep your mind on your tennis? This has been a particularly lousy year for hurricanes coming through your area.
MARK KNOWLES: I try to look at the overall perspective, you know. Obviously, from the Bahamas, we've been very lucky over the years. Unfortunately, that's part and parcel. If you live in the Caribbean, you've got to deal with hurricanes. We don't have to deal with earthquakes or anything like that. But, you know, obviously, it's tough. Where I'm from, Nassau, we actually were pretty fortunate in the last hurricane. But definitely my thoughts go out to the other islands. Freeport was devastated. It's tough, but unfortunately weather is something we can't control. So just hope for the best and, you know, try to give as much support as possible.
Q. Have you had your property damaged?
MARK KNOWLES: Yeah, I've had it damaged, but nothing that hasn't been replaceable. So I've been very fortunate.
Q. What about Ivan?
MARK KNOWLES: Last I heard, it's going to stay clear of us. But I think Jamaica is in a world of hurt, so...
Q. You have a house nearby.
DANIEL NESTOR: I do. I'm sure there's some damage from Frances. I haven't been down there, so I'm not really sure. If his place got damaged, then mine did, too, because it's pretty near. It's pretty sad what goes on, but it's something you have to deal with.
Q. In the semis and finals, you guys played a few times before, seemed to be really hitting your returns of serve, especially off the forehand, you were hitting the ball so early, you set up a lot of points and put a lot of pressure on both the French team and the team today. Anything different that you've done?
MARK KNOWLES: Well, I think yesterday in the semifinal match, you know, Dan returned unbelievable. He gave me a lot of confidence. I struggled, you know, quite a bit in the first set yesterday with the wind. He was returning tremendous. You know, I kind of drew inspiration from that for today. I felt like I was moving my feet a little bit better and I obviously returned pretty well today. You know, I think that's part of our strength. Dan and I both can return really well. It's kind of the key to our partnership. We kind of feed off each other pretty well. That was the key today.
Q. Yesterday in that first-set tiebreaker, you were down 2-5, those guys were playing great, but won five straight points. Got to make a big difference in that particular match.
DANIEL NESTOR: Yeah, I think there was a pretty big point at 4-1 when Benneteau missed a fairly easy makable forehand volley. Then we switched sides. All of a sudden we had the wind in our back. They're pretty young. We knew if we'd stay in there with them, maybe things would turn around, especially in the wind. 2-5, we won our two points on serve. And then put a little pressure on them, they missed couple shots. We made some good approaches at the net. All of a sudden we got the set we didn't really deserve. Second set was the same as the first, except the opposite happened. We should have won a little bit earlier, but we had to go to a breaker to win it.
Q. Can you guys talk briefly about your plans for the rest of the year? Will you take a break now?
MARK KNOWLES: I'm going to take like a month off, thankfully. So not play again until Europe. Dan's schedule is a bit different.
DANIEL NESTOR: I've got to go to Davis Cup in two weekends against Romania, so... But I'll have a couple weeks after that.
Q. Doubles is being played at Houston this year?
DANIEL NESTOR: Yeah, last year in Houston.
Q. How do you like that format? Gives you more attention?
DANIEL NESTOR: It's a great format. Great event. Houston does an unbelievable job hosting singles and doubles. We're thankful we have an event. Couple years ago it was hard to get something started and even have the event. And, you know, tough format, top eight teams in the world, two groups of four.
MARK KNOWLES: They do a great job there. They love the doubles, the fans. The tournament director does a great job. It's really fun for us.
Q. Yesterday it was bizarre with the wind. Sometimes you guys are probably side by side at the net moving the ball, wiggling around a little bit. Anybody come close to smacking the other with the racquet?
MARK KNOWLES: No, actually, we didn't, which is kind of surprising for us. Usually like we have the weirdest things happen in our matches. We were pretty good, actually, I think, that I can remember.
Q. Why are you laughing?
DANIEL NESTOR: I'm laughing at the overhead I missed today. Pretty slow bounce. The wind took it a little bit. But, I mean, took the swing, just shanked it, just going about one mile an hour.
Q. How do you adjust your game to that?
DANIEL NESTOR: You just adjust your swing a little bit, shorten your backswing, and just try to power the ball. You don't want to play too many shots from the baseline when it's that windy. You just have to keep moving forward, especially in doubles. It's a lot easier to volley in the wind than it is to deal with the bounces from the back.
Q. Are you going to play only doubles in Romania?
DANIEL NESTOR: Yeah, as of now, I mean, unless there's a disaster over there.
Q. With Fred?
DANIEL NESTOR: Yeah, with Fred. We played pretty well at the Olympics.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.