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July 5, 2006

Mark Knowles

Daniel Nestor


THE MODERATOR: First question for Mark or Daniel, please.

Q. What's it like to have made Wimbledon history?
MARK KNOWLES: It's very exciting. We didn't think we'd make it in this fashion, but we don't even really know what history we made. We assume, I guess, we made the longest match and longest score.

Q. Longest doubles match in Wimbledon history.
MARK KNOWLES: It's exciting. I'm excited about it, especially since we won. It would have been different if we'd lost.

Q. Would you have shot yourself if you lost?
DANIEL NESTOR: Yeah, it would have been tough. We served for it. We played a good game to break pretty early. Today we got up a break, that was our plan, get out of there as quick as possible.
They actually played a good game. They probably played one of their best games of the six and a half hours, made every return, poached, put pressure on us. Could have done a couple things differently, but they played a great match. We hung in there really tough and we're pretty proud of ourselves for hanging in there tough.

Q. How many matchpoints did you save?
DANIEL NESTOR: Six, I think.

Q. Last night, you leave here, it's 11-11. You figure it should be over, or you figure here we come back? Obviously, you didn't foresee going almost three hours in the fifth set.
MARK KNOWLES: I think going into the match we had a good record against those guys. We felt we could maybe get it done a little bit sooner.
But they played a great match. They played really well - probably their best match. Todd Perry plays especially well on grass.
In the fifth set last night they probably had just as many chances as we did. We had one or two chances, they maybe had two or three chances to close it out. It was going on for a long time last night obviously. Little did we know it would continue today.
We obviously fought as hard as we could last night. Just didn't get it done. Just had to come back today and just refocus. It was difficult, but, you know, we did a great job.

Q. Do you find it a little ironic that with the ATP making doubles shorter and shorter, you're now creating a lot of attention by making it longer and longer?
MARK KNOWLES: I just saw Etienne. He said, What do you think about the match tiebreak? Do you like it now? I said, No, I still like playing it out.
DANIEL NESTOR: Yeah, I think certain tournament directors would have a heart attack if they saw something like that. I think we praying for a tiebreaker at one point in the fifth set. I wasn't sure if we were going to break again after that one time we did. They were holding serve pretty easily. Seemed like they were having a few more chances on our serve than we were on theirs.
Yeah, it's exciting for the fans to play it out. It's fair.
MARK KNOWLES: I think last night was a good testament. The crowd, it was absolutely packed. They gave us a huge standing ovation at the end. It was high-caliber tennis. Like Dan said, obviously tournament directors would probably croak if they saw six hours, but the fans loved it.
We played here a long time. People love doubles here, they love singles, they love mixed doubles. They love their tennis. It was a thrill for us to play on Court 1 yesterday in front of a packed house. Obviously, it was just as packed out there today on Court 2. That makes it exciting.

Q. The debate of equal prize money between women and men.
DANIEL NESTOR: Not sure we really want to go there right now. Do I have to answer that?

Q. Not if you don't want.
DANIEL NESTOR: Obviously, there seems a big difference between how hard the women work in the early rounds. I mean, obviously the top 10 women draw a lot of attention. They have some great rivalries and their sport is very exciting.
But I think, you know, something to be said for outside of the top 10 how much revenue they're bringing it and how exciting it is watching some of these fairly quick matches for some of the top girls, up until like the quarterfinals. You see some of these men's matches, three-out-of-five, they're all going the distance, doesn't matter who's playing the top guys. They're all being pushed to the limit.
But, you know, I'll leave it at that.

Q. What do you think of the argument that in terms of dubs, Wimbledon really is a case apart? No question that people absolutely love doubles here. But a lot of the other venues, even Roland Garros and certainly the US Open where the final last year was played before a couple hundred people, that it doesn't have that following and doesn't have that following in the lesser tournaments. Second part is that they abbreviated scoring has made it more popular.
MARK KNOWLES: I think there's a couple factors on your first issue. I mean, doubles in the States is extremely popular. It's not popular at 11 a.m. on a Friday morning in New York when everybody's working. You know, I think it comes down to factors. It's obviously very popular here. You have the tradition. People are a lot more in tune to the tradition of tennis here.
I think doubles is big in the States, but it's the side show. Let's face it, it gets kinda swept away. We've gotten some attention lately but unfortunately the wrong lines, by way of the lawsuit, crazy scoring - I should say 'different scoring' not 'crazy scoring' to be politically correct.
Obviously, the French, I think they've had a blatant disregard for doubles. Sometimes they played the final on Court 1. There's many factors that go in. You can't just schedule a match on center, you know, after not talking about it for two weeks, and, you know, expect all of a sudden everyone to come there, you know. We're lucky here because it's such a traditional game and people love it whether it's doubles, mixed, they just love tennis. Obviously, the people line up. That makes this place very unique. They just want to see tennis.
Other venues, they're not that crazy -- they love tennis, but they're not gonna kind of camp outside for a couple of days. I think there's, throughout Grand Slams, you don't hear much about doubles. You take even the Bryan brothers, for example. I think they're closing in, if they do well here, seven straight Grand Slam finals. They made six already. You hear about it but not to the degree I think you probably should, you know. It's quite an accomplishment.
I think it's 'cause the majority, you know, Slams, they don't really talk much about doubles. We made history today so we're in here. I made the finals here but I've never been in this room except for ATP meetings, and we've done well.
But, you know, it's just -- I think doubles can complement singles but it just hasn't so far, you know, because I think tournament directors aren't willing to go the extra mile. And players need to do it as well. Everybody needs to come together.
I'll let you answer the scoring. So I don't take over. He wants to know what you think about the --
DANIEL NESTOR: The scoring? I was praying for that scoring while we were going today. No, I don't mind the scoring. Mark and I are pretty big fans of the no-ad scoring. I would think that it would help out singles a little bit. The popularity of tennis seems to be lower than it has been in the past.
You know, I think I would watch more tennis if it was no-ad scoring. I think there obviously would be a lot more big points, more interesting for the fans. I'd definitely like to see a survey what the fans think about no-ad scoring in singles.
In doubles, it adds a little more pressure, a little more excitement. The most unfair way to end a soccer match is penalty shootout, but let's face it, that's probably the most exciting thing. Everyone is watching when it's a penalty shootout, just as everyone's going to watch when it's a no-ad point or super tiebreaker, you know.

Q. What's the longest match either of you guys had played? And, of course, I guess this is one of the few places you can play a long match if you're in the fifth set. Was there anything humorous where you're thinking, Oh, my God, are we still going?
DANIEL NESTOR: Definitely wasn't humorous for me. At times I was wondering if it was ever going to end. I was talking to myself the whole time. Some of those service games were just going so easily.
But, you know, I think -- I can't remember your question. I just totally blanked out. What was it?
MARK KNOWLES: What was your longest match?
DANIEL NESTOR: I played some long matches in Davis Cup. I played a 15-13, I think, against Rios, close to five hours. But that was indoors. So I think, you know, obviously wasn't that physically taxing. I've played a lot of long five-setters in Davis Cup probably that have been close to four, five hours.

Q. Was it the longest time you ever spent on a tennis court?
DANIEL NESTOR: It was over two days, so I think it was pretty similar yesterday to a long -- as I just said, a long Davis Cup match. But in total, it was the longest that I've ever spent, by far.

Q. Would it be like three-day training session for you?
DANIEL NESTOR: Six days (laughing). Six days now.
No, I'm just kidding. Yeah, you're right. It's probably about two or three days of on-court for the two of us.

Q. You were both facing different times in the second set match point serving. Can you give me an idea of what you were thinking at that point? Were the nerves kicking in a bit? Were you just so exhausted it was whatever happens, happens?
MARK KNOWLES: I was just praying that I was going to turn into Roger Federer really at that point, just be able to hit an ace. If I didn't do that, just hit a volley winner.
But, no, I mean, when you're matchpoint down, you know, and Dan and I, we talk to each other, you just try to play the best point you can. Let's face it, you're against the wall. You got to try to clear your mind and not think about other thoughts, just think about playing the best point you can.
I know I felt like that when I faced a matchpoint today. I'm sure, you know, Dan felt the same way.

Q. Daniel, you hit a very dodgy first volley and then a very good crosscourt winning volley on a matchpoint.
DANIEL NESTOR: Yeah, I didn't hit a great first volley but it ended up helping, I think. He was poaching. If I probably would have hit it firmer, it would have been easier for his volley. Got a little bit lucky.
In answering your question, it's a matter of just talking to yourself. I was just talking to myself a lot out there.

Q. Saying what to yourself?
DANIEL NESTOR: Hang in there, basically. These guys are probably just as nervous as we are. Got to hang in there. Must be getting upset because they've had more opportunities. Just anything can happen. See what happens, you know. The last thing you want to do is give it away. And, you know, I think I did a pretty good job.
You know, at times I was talking to myself, you know, probably the wrong way saying, you know -- 'cause Todd Perry probably doesn't have the biggest serve out there. He's holding serve so easily, it got a little frustrating.
It's just a mind battle out there in those long matches. But we did a good job of riding it out.

Q. Do you guys think that Bob and Mike are out on the street now celebrating with the length of your match?
DANIEL NESTOR: Probably a little bit. But at the same time, you know, if, you know, you look at our track record and their record against the other team, I'm probably sure they'd rather have the other team win. And, you know, I think after a match like this, you know, we're gonna be pretty loose, you know.
I think in all four matches we played so far, we've dealt with some adversity. All our opponents have had some opportunities and we've handled it well.
Usually, when that happens, you feel like you have a second life and, you know, you appreciate it and you just go for it and you feel like, you know, maybe we shouldn't be here but we're just gonna enjoy it now.

Q. Can you confirm how many matchpoints you saved.
DANIEL NESTOR: I think it was six.

Q. You saved six.

Q. How many you didn't convert?
MARK KNOWLES: We actually didn't have any. We were always --
DANIEL NESTOR: -- returning when it was even.

Q. When you are facing a matchpoint in a singles match, you have to think just for yourself. When you have a matchpoint in a doubles match, you share this matchpoint in between you two. So how do you approach it? I mean, psychologically, what's going through your head? What's your solution? Are you thinking for your partner or you're just trying --
MARK KNOWLES: I mean, basically, you just tell your partner, Don't mess up here (laughter). Basically, that's it, you know. He pretty much tells me, Don't mess up here either.
No, I mean, we try to come up with a plan, obviously. Doubles is so much about teamwork and formations and certain things. So, you know, we try to think out the best possible strategy on that point, where to serve and where to cover both guys. And, you know, that way it kind of limits the amount of ways they can win the point.
And, you know, then it just comes down to execution.

Q. You spent five hours. I mean, that's a very long time. I mean yesterday, it was five hours, a streak of five hours. By the end of five hours, are you kind of reading each other's mind, and the mind of the players on the other side? I mean, is it kind of...
DANIEL NESTOR: I think a lot of things were going through our mind after five hours. I don't know if it's reading each other's mind.

Q. It's a long time, five hours spent together.
DANIEL NESTOR: I think for me at least, I was just trying to focus and, you know, just trying to hang in there. I think when you get to that point, sometimes you get tired but at the same time you get a little more relaxed because you're like, Man, we've been out here so long, you know. Anything can happen. You fought hard, you know, just see what happens.
It was a great match. It would have been tough to lose, but at the same time, you gave it everything you had. You're thinking that way and that kind of relaxes you a little bit. At least that's the way I felt. I think that's why we played well on the matchpoints against us.

Q. How surprised are you that they played so well?
DANIEL NESTOR: Well, it's a Grand Slam. I mean, everyone seems to play their best in Grand Slams. I mean, sometimes in our -- for our sake, we haven't played our best because probably we feel like we should win against these teams. Sometimes in the past we've played not to lose. I guess that happens a lot to the favorite teams, you know. They feel the pressure because, you know, the other team has really nothing to lose.
And they played -- I thought from the start of the fifth set, they played absolutely outstanding. You know, they didn't give us anything. We had to earn everything. And, I mean, I don't think they double-faulted once and we played them four times this year, we beat them straight sets every time. So, you know, was just a battle.

Q. So, Dan, if you could be open with us, have you ever in your mind kind of hoped that Canada might stage an invasion of The Bahamas so you guys could become a great doubles team in Davis Cup?
DANIEL NESTOR: For our country? Yeah, that's a tough question to answer. I mean, I've had so many great memories playing for Canada. I think I'd rather have Mark come to Canada and play.

Q. He doesn't know about the long tradition of excellent doubles players in Canada.

Q. Davis Cup, Daniel, Olympics, does this rank anywhere or is it just -- I mean, it's not a final or anything like that.
DANIEL NESTOR: No, I mean, it's a great memory. Obviously, you know, we're all about winning tournaments and winning Slams and, you know, those kind of performances.
I mean, obviously, personally, both of us are pretty proud of ourselves for hanging in there, I think. We came through. We went through a lot in this one match, but at the same time we're only in the semifinals and we achieved our seeding. We're seeded third, so this is where we should be. I think we're only going to be satisfied if we move on.

Q. If someone tells you before you're going on the court you are going to spend six hours there, six and a half hours, would you just walk away saying, No, thank you, mate?
MARK KNOWLES: I don't know. I mean, it's part of the fun, I guess. I mean, I think at the end we definitely felt how long it was out there. But I know yesterday, you know, we didn't really -- going in the fifth, you know, didn't seem like we were out there that long. We were competing pretty hard. It was a high level of tennis.
I think today obviously it got to the point where can we arm wrestle or can we do something else just to end this, play two-on-two hoops or something.
But you just, like Dan said, got to keep talking to yourself. It's a psychological battle out there. Everybody's gifted athletically but it's tough mentally. Those are the spots, and we're kind of veterans on the tour. We thought we'd been in every position possible, but I guess we didn't -- we'd never been in this situation before.
But like Dan said, we handled it very well. Whether we were up or down, we tried to stay pretty level and play the best we could. And, you know, when you're that deep, it comes down to execution, but it also comes down a little bit to luck. I mean, you're so deep in the match. Like he said, you know, obviously it feels much better to win. But even if you would have lost, you would have been devastated but know that you gave it your best. At the end of the day, that's all you can ask really in the game of tennis especially.

Q. Would you go get a massage or work out a little bit differently because of the length of the match, or sit in a Jacuzzi or anything more than you would in a three-hour match?
MARK KNOWLES: To be honest, I actually felt great today, which was a bit surprising.
So, you know, I probably won't do anything different. I didn't feel super tired at all, actually. You know, maybe that's 'cause Dan was doing more of the work, I don't know. But I felt pretty good. Probably just do the same routine. I will.

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