July 20, 2000
Q. How did you make the decision as to who was playing?
CAPTAIN JOHN McENROE: I think a lot of combinations can win that match and we got to win some singles matches, and, you know, I was playing like crap. My second serve's a little weak right now.
Q. Is the main reason the injury?
CAPTAIN JOHN McENROE: No, no. Just a combination.
Q. John, did you make the decision on your own?
CAPTAIN JOHN McENROE: I sort of was arm-wrestled into it by these guys. You know me - I wanted to play but these guys talked me out of it.
JAN-MICHAEL GAMBILL: We beat him up a little bit.
CAPTAIN JOHN McENROE: They told me if I played they might desert me. They wanted a chance at glory, so now they might have to step up and show them. I have to wait until the Finals I guess.
Q. Can you win both matches on Friday ?
JAN-MICHAEL GAMBILL: I think that obviously we would like that very much. That is our goal, isn't it, out there? We're both very excited to come out here and play, and we're going to play some good tennis tomorrow.
Q. How do you account for your positive results against the Spaniards?
TODD MARTIN: My record's against guys mostly like Hernando Vincente and some others. But I think my game, with my size, tends to match up fairly well against the Spanish style of tennis, and I just hope that the same is true tomorrow and Sunday. But the fact of the matter is that, you know, we still are fighting an uphill battle, but we're relishing that opportunity.
Q. How would you guys describe the feeling that you have amongst yourselves?
TODD MARTIN: Can you ask that question one more time?
Q. How would you guys describe your feeling amongst all of you on the team?
TODD MARTIN: Eager. I think we're all ready to get going.
JAN-MICHAEL GAMBILL: We've had a good week of practice. We're battling hard out there on the tennis court, we've been having hard, tough practices. And I think that off the court we're a great team. We're all good friends and we're having a great time being here. It's a nice place, the hotel's great. There's really nothing negative coming from here. It's very positive, and we're all looking forward to tomorrow.
Q. Do you feel more like underdogs without the two players who you'd like to have playing?
CAPTAIN JOHN McENROE: Listen, you go with what you have. Once you're here, it's no different. We're here to win, and that's all we're here to do. We didn't come here to lose. No matter what, the approach is the same. You just try to match up and hope that you play up to your ability.
Q. Were you planning on playing doubles before the decision, and if so, did that affect the decision?
CAPTAIN JOHN McENROE: The answer to that is that personally, I was more concerned about getting these guys out in singles, and I think there's any number of combinations that can win the doubles matches. Not that I'm not concerned about winning the doubles, obviously. But that's, you know, on paper, our best shot going in. So we haven't had much of a chance as we'd like to play doubles simply because the singles have been up for grabs, too.
Q. Vince, how are you coming off your rough spell? What are your feelings now, Vince?
VINCENT SPADEA: Well, I'm just happy. I'm a first-timer here on the Davis Cup team. It's a great honor to try to turn things around and help out the team in any way I can. I've had a good record on clay in the past 18 months, and my abilities are still there. I just need to, you know, have a chance to display them. But either way, I'm happy to be here.
Q. What was the first thing that went through your head when John called you and asked you to play?
VINCENT SPADEA: He was trying to find the best capable American tennis players for this tie, and even though I've dropped a fair bit, I'm still one of the top players still in America. And, you know, I was honored that he called me and still had some faith in the fact that I can still play some tennis.
Q. I'd like to ask you, Jan-Michael, how your Wimbledon success has affected you? Do you feel you're on a ride of confidence now?
JAN-MICHAEL GAMBILL: Yeah, I mean I've certainly figured out how to win, how to win for me as a player. You know, I hit a groove there at Wimbledon and I think I can take that into my game in the future. I'm definitely a more confident player, and I'm going to be from now on. Certainly, this is nothing like Wimbledon. You know, this is clay and this is a lot different surface, but I'm confident in the way I'm playing right now and I'm excited to go out there and play.
Q. Chris, what's your confidence level like right now and what went through your mind when John called you to play?
CHRIS WOODRUFF: Well, for me it was very similar circumstances when I went down to Zimbabwe. I kind of dismissed it, and the fact that I wasn't going to be on the team. Obviously, they had Andre and Pete, and given Jan-Michael's success at Wimbledon, and Todd Martin always being a Davis Cup star working for us, I was very surprised. But, you know, this is why we play sports. And a lot of people have written us off, but I always like to refer to the Miracle Mets, and there was 1969. So I think anything's possible.
Q. John, in that spirit, no one's been around tough Davis Cup situations more than you. Is this the toughest challenge that you faced either as a captain or as a player?
CAPTAIN JOHN McENROE: I don't know if it's the toughest. It's tough. But that's what Davis Cup - weird things happen. So...
Q. But more specifically, what were some of the real tough challenges you faced? The toughest ones?
CAPTAIN JOHN McENROE: You probably know better than I do. You tell me.
Q. I'd like to hear it from you.
CAPTAIN JOHN McENROE: I've lost matches. I went to Argentina a couple times, lost down there, you know, which was extremely tough. You know, we're faced with a similar type of challenge, some of the best clay court players in the world, tthey're in their home country. When I had to do it, I hope that we have better success. But no one said it was going to be easy, but we knew that going in. But at the same time, our job is to come here and figure out a way to win and the pressure, in a sense, the pressure's on them. They're the ones that have underachieved, not us. So, you know, they've got to step up and I'm sure they're going to try to do that. We're going to try to expose and take advantage of the fact that we've been there before and see what happens. It's not easy. It's tough out there.
Q. Last week Jeff Tarango was wondering why you didn't call him.
CAPTAIN JOHN McENROE: If he wonders why I didn't call him, take a look in the mirror.
Q. Do I sense there's a strong personal disappointment for you that you're not playing?
CAPTAIN JOHN McENROE: Not a strong personal disappointment. I've had a great run in Davis Cup. I won five competitions while I was playing. I feel like I should be, you know, playing better than I'm playing. And if I'm not playing well enough, I shouldn't be out there. If it's not decided as a group that the best bet is for me to play, I'm not going to go out there. So the disappointment would be, you know, if we won the match, let's say we won the match, we lost all the singles matches, that's hardly like a great thing. So it doesn't matter if you win one match. It matters if you win three. At the most, I was going to be possibly part of one match, so... If I decided in the future to play some doubles or whatever - which I'm sure I won't decide to do - then that may be a different issue. But in the meantime, I expect that the job that I'm doing is what I should be doing. I mean unless I start playing better.
Q. For any of the players, is it difficult to be honest and be candid with John --
CAPTAIN JOHN McENROE: Apparently not.
Q. -- When given his history and the success he's had over his career?
JAN-MICHAEL GAMBILL: We pretty much discussed it last night. It wasn't really that we said, "John, you can't play." I mean everybody in the world knows that he's the best doubles player of all time. That goes without saying. But, you know, he just pretty much decided at that time he's not playing good enough tennis to go out there and play. And we have some guys who can play some good doubles. It's not like because he's not on there we can't win. We have a good shot at the doubles tie.
CHRIS WOODRUFF: And I've been having a hey-day with his second serve in practice. I figure if I can return his second serve with relative ease - I'm just giving him a hard time.
CAPTAIN JOHN McENROE: Don't pay any attention to him.
TODD MARTIN: Also, I believe that it's -- the fact that John is not head and shoulders above any of us in his caliber of doubles player right now, his knowledge of the game is better. And to have him on the sidelines looking at us telling us what we're doing right, wrong or could be doing differently during the changeovers, I think will help the doubles team quite a bit.
CAPTAIN JOHN McENROE: Besides, I want to say for the record, I like our chances in the doubles. I mean, you know, we're not planning on losing the doubles; I can assure you that.
Q. Do you like your chances in the singles?
CAPTAIN JOHN McENROE: The singles is a tougher proposition, but we didn't come here to lose.
Q. Todd, how do you feel about Chang continually not answering the call?
TODD MARTIN: Well, I've taken the approach that it's not -- I don't need to agree with their decision-making. But as a fellow professional, I think I owe it to them to respect their decision-making, and I'll disagree with them until the day we're all done playing and probably then some. But for right now, I just have to respect what they choose to do with their careers.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.