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August 11, 2006

Daniel Nestor


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Daniel.

Q. That probably wasn't the start that you guys were maybe looking for.
DANIEL NESTOR: No, for sure not. But those guys have been playing very well. As you know, we had a tight match with them at Wimbledon. You know, I think it was more them than us. Hit some great shots to break me first game, then they put the pressure on Knowles' serve the next time we served. I mean, I think they hit the shots rather than us making the mistakes.
We had to turn it around by playing well. They didn't give us anything. We played some good points early in the second to get ahead, to get a break up. We carried it throughout the set, played well on serve, started well in the super breaker. Just started rolling.
I think we had to play very well to beat them.

Q. Is there anything specific to your game that's allowed you to be a very good doubles player?
DANIEL NESTOR: Yeah: lack of movement. That's why I don't play singles (smiling). You know, obviously doubles is more about net play, you know, good serving, good returning, quick reflexes, good hands at the net. Singles nowadays is more about long rallies, you know, being athletic and physical out there, being fast. Doubles is, you know, more precision, as I said, angles. It's a totally different game.

Q. Did you know your game was better suited to doubles?

Q. You mentioned earlier in the week about the injury factor, but just your game itself.
DANIEL NESTOR: Yeah, for sure my game was better suited for doubles. I played some pretty good singles. But my body would break down a little bit when I did well in both. Also if you look at my game style, I'm pretty much a serve and volleyer, played most of my singles at the net, tried to play short points even if it is singles. That's good qualities for doubles. From a young age, I probably did better in doubles than singles.

Q. It seems like there's a little more room in singles for net play than there was for an awful long time. For an awful long time it was just baseliners. Do you think if you were coming in now, the body obviously is the biggest factor, but would your game have been better suited?
DANIEL NESTOR: No, I think you got it backwards. Now it's more about baseline. Is that what you meant? Singles nowadays, everyone plays from the baseline. I think in the '80s, early '90s, the best players were serve and volleyers, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg. Slowly I think tennis shifted a little bit. I think the points were a little bit short, you know, for the fans. They seemed to want longer rallies. Women's tennis was starting to get more popular probably because of the longer rallies and they slowed down men's tennis dramatically. Guys started obviously returning better, too, became physically stronger and able to run from the baseline much better.
Every sport I think people seem to be getting bigger, stronger, faster. In men's tennis, I think that's no exception. I think the game is definitely won from the baseline now. I think the players that are able to finish the points at the net and have more of an all-court game have the advantage now.

Q. Why do you think you and Knowles combine so well together? What works as a team for you?
DANIEL NESTOR: I think we're both pretty solid in all areas. I don't think we do anything spectacular, but I think we're one of those teams where we don't really have weaknesses. I think we're consistent so we both play well at the net, we both return pretty solid, serve well. We both have the characteristics to play good doubles. Obviously the righty/lefty combination works. I'm better suited for the ad court, he's better suited for the deuce court.

Q. Does it bother you at all that doubles tends to get overlooked at tournaments, come across as something of an add-on?
DANIEL NESTOR: Yeah, I think in the past they've made changes. They're making an effort to promote it better, put it on the center stage, such as this week. It's been great.
But, you know, we understand. The top guys don't play doubles all the time if ever. I think you can make a case for a lot of singles guys who feel like they're not as well-known as they should be. I think Ivan Ljubicic was joking around. He came to this tournament, ranked 3rd in the world, they're asking him if he's in qualifying or the main draw.
I think tennis needs to start promoting its players better, whether it's doubles or singles, other than really the real famous ones, Roddick, Nadal, Federer.
75, 80% of the world's population plays doubles. It's a little bit strange that it doesn't get more attention as far as television exposure, on bigger courts. We're a little bit confused. I think we're headed in the right direction right now.

Q. In terms of promoting the players, this tournament didn't have Roddick, didn't have Agassi. When Nadal went out yesterday, a lot of people probably decided this tournament was in some ways over, that Roger was going to win it. Is that kind of the danger that the sport runs when you invest so heavily in these guys who are also at the top of the game?
DANIEL NESTOR: Yeah, for sure. I think men's tennis is so deep. Sometimes it works against itself because it is so deep that you have different semifinalist, different finalists often in each tournament. It's hard for people to follow that. People want to see the same faces over and over. In the '80s, '70s, you had maybe 10 guys that would rotate in the semis, the rivalries were much better. Obviously, Federer/Nadal is an exception. Outside of that, there are a lot of great players. I think it's unfortunate that people don't really know who they are. I think tennis needs to do a much better job promoting all of its stars.

Q. Where do you think your doubles game is right now? Is it as good as it's ever been and maybe even better?
DANIEL NESTOR: It's hard to say. I think there are some things today that I wasn't that happy with. I wasn't that happy with my returns. I competed very well. I played well at the net. I think things come and go. It seems like it rotates. Sometimes my serve doesn't feel great. But I don't think it's ever to the point where it's -- anything's disappeared. Mark and I, as I said, we don't have huge weaknesses. I think on a day in, day out basis, we're pretty solid. I feel like I'm playing just as well as I ever have in doubles. I don't see any reason why that's going to change unless I get hurt.

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