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December 5, 2004

Patrick McEnroe

Mardy Fish

SEVILLE, SPAIN, M. FISH/T. Robredo 7-6, 6-2 Spain – 3 USA - 2

RANDY WALKER: The final score of the baseball game was the US Davis Cup team 5, Team Staff 3. The Team Staff led 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning. Andy Roddick started the inning with a solo home run, rightfield, to tie the game at 3-All, and Alex Kuznetsova hit a two-run game-winning scoring Mardy Fish to give the team a 5-3 victory. With that, we will start with questions.

Q. You must be thrilled with the result, Patrick?

CAPTAIN McENROE: I lost both today. I was on the staff and coaches, so I've had a rough day (smiling).

Q. Patrick, what do you walk away from the weekend with in terms of a learning experience for the guys, yourself, whatever?

CAPTAIN McENROE: Well, I think it's just another step for us as a team, you know, in the process of trying to win this thing. We played in France a couple years ago on clay there and lost in the semifinals against a real good team. Here we played a great team. But I thought we played better. I thought we played well. I saw a lot of positive signs as far as, you know, us being able to play with the best clay court team in the world, you know, on their home court. So to me, that gives me hope that we can win one of these one day against a really tough team, on clay, away. In saying that, obviously if we get home matches and the right schedule, I think we've set ourselves up to have a great chance to win it next year and the next few years. I've happy that we made progress. Obviously disappointed with the result, but, you know, we laid it out there and we got beat. Just got beat by a better team on their home court. There's nothing to be ashamed of in that if you go out and do everything you can. And I felt like we did that.

Q. Captain, you may not have to play on clay next year, but Andy played eight matches this year, Mardy one - for whatever reason. Are you going to urge more competition in Europe on this stuff?

CAPTAIN McENROE: Well, I think it would help them, yes. I think it would help, you know, make them better all-around players. And I think we saw signs of that this week, you know, a lot of progress. I think it will help these guys even on slow hard courts, to learn how to just mix things up a little bit - still play to your strengths, but play a little bit, you know, smarter, tactically better. And I think both guys made progress there. Obviously it's unrealistic to say that we're going to just start playing constantly on clay, you know, with the schedule. But certainly I think we can put the work in at the appropriate time and play a couple more events and play against these guys who are the best on this stuff.

Q. Andy lost three tiebreakers this weekend, all of which could have turned the matches around. Today in both breakers, he had a bunch of unforced errors, both in the second and third set. Why is that happening? What's preventing him from taking the next step?

CAPTAIN McENROE: He had an extraordinary record in tiebreaks this year, I mean, a phenomenal record. So, obviously, most of those were played on faster courts where he can rely on his serve a lot and win some cheap points. You know, I've noticed in watching him this year, he seems to serve really well in be tiebreaks. And on clay, obviously that's more difficult, you know, to win those cheap points solely on your serve. You've got to be able to use some different combinations. I thought he did a much better job today of mixing his serve and using better combinations with the serve as opposed to just trying to hit aces. But, you know, I think it's just the pressure of it not being your best surface and not being able to go to your strength at the crunch time, and that's the tiebreak. But I think he learned quite a bit, you know, about how he can play on this stuff. Because to me he's got a pretty good game to play real well on it.

Q. (Translated from Spanish) This is not a question, it's only that I would like to congratulate you for the sports period that you have shown during this tie. You have just been wonderful in the sports period, and you have taken very well this defeat that we understand is very painful. We would like to congratulate you for that.


MARDY FISH: Thank you.

Q. Obviously, Mardy, the match today, you had a win. It didn't count as far as --

MARDY FISH: It counted. We got two. No, I was ready to go. I was obviously hoping that Andy could come through. We started the day knowing that we had to get two really tough matches -- you know, we had to win two tough matches. You know, Andy was the first one, and unluckily for all of us, you know, he couldn't get through in those tiebreakers. I mean, tiebreakers are basically crap shoots. Anybody can beat anybody in tiebreakers. He was just unlucky in some of those. And Moya played well in both the tiebreakers, very solid. You know, sometimes there's nothing you can do about it. You know, but I was ready and willing, ready to go and wanting to play that fifth rubber. You know, I played well today. I mean, I was ready. I was fired up to play even if it was a dead rubber or not.

Q. Patrick, there's obviously a really hard turnaround in terms of Davis Cup play. Any indication at all from Andy about Croatia and schedule for next year? How would you compare the Andy Roddick of today, his game, with a year ago?

CAPTAIN McENROE: Well, Andy's already talking about us playing in Carson, in California. He's firmly committed to Davis Cup, which we're all very lucky to have him and happy that he is. Second part, how has his game changed? Well, I think he's becoming a more well-rounded player. I mean, I think, obviously, Federer's taken the game to another level in the last year. And I think Andy's doing everything he can to try to keep up with him and to try to stay there. And that's a real credit to him. This is a guy who won the US Open, finished last year No. 1, and is continuing to try to find ways to get better. I mean, I tell every guy that's on our team, "The only thing you can do as a player is to try to reach your peak, whatever that is. If that's 10 in the world, 1 in the world, 150 in the world. If you can look yourself in the mirror and say, I did everything I could to be the best player I can be, then you have everything to be proud of." And I think that's where Andy impresses me a lot, because he's already got a lot of skills and a lot of weapons in his game. But he's trying to get fitter, he's trying to get quicker, he's trying to come to net more, he's trying to add some variety to his game. And sometimes you take a step maybe sideways or a step back in that process, but in the long run I think you become a better player.

Q. Did Andre coming back to the squad for this final ever get anywhere near close?

CAPTAIN McENROE: You know, I always keep in touch with Andre, and I've spoken to him many times before matches, you know, because he's Andre Agassi - because of who he is and what he's done for the game and for American tennis. So I continue to keep the door open for him, and we cross that bridge when we come to it. Yeah, I did speak to him. I speak to him a few times during the year about Davis Cup just by the off chance that he might change his mind at some point. That in no way means I'm expecting that he will or waiting for him to or hoping. I mean, we've got a great group of guys and we've done pretty darn well getting to the final. But obviously for Andre, I'd be silly not to talk to him.

Q. The baseball game you were fooling around with outside seems emblematic of a really genuine team spirit, these guys really like each other. What kind of dividends can you reap from that down the road?

CAPTAIN McENROE: Hopefully we can keep all these guys together and keep them wanting to come back and play Davis Cup, because obviously the schedule is grueling and it's a tough year, you know. It's physically demanding and mentally demanding. But, you know, our guys have fun. We try to have a good time. We leave it on the court. I'm extremely proud of the way these guys handled themselves. We talked a little bit about it during the week, that we're here to represent our country. You know, maybe our country is taking a bit of a beating over here publicly. And we realize we're just playing the game of tennis, but we're here wearing "USA" and we should act appropriately. And I'm really proud of the way the guys acted and fought, you know, competed really hard, but competed in the right spirit. And I think that's what Davis Cup is all about and that's what sports is about. So these guys enjoy it, they play hard, and we do it as a team. You know, I think the more we can have fun and enjoy the experience, it's going to help get our best guys to keep coming back, and that's what we want to do.

Q. Mardy, we'll give this horse one last beating, the crowd. You said today that you were ready to play. Considering the match was 3-1, pretty much decided, were you at all surprised by what you got from the crowd?

MARDY FISH: I was a little surprised at how many people stayed. But I didn't know -- I didn't know that they got the trophy after that match. Obviously, maybe they told the fans that they would do the trophy presentation and all that stuff after the match, so everybody stayed for that reason. So, yeah, I was a little surprised that they stayed. They weren't as vocal as they were in the other four matches, but they obviously wanted their player to win.

Q. Who instigated the baseball?

CAPTAIN McENROE: We'd been talking about that all week. We were trying to get a game in, because the guys like to take hitting practice after their practices. We had those couple days of rain. I had to put the kabash on that with the wet field out there.

MARDY FISH: We were supposed to play Tuesday.

CAPTAIN McENROE: Yeah, we were supposed to play Tuesday. Well, we had fun out there. I would like to say one more thing as far as the crowd and the whole week we had here. The Spanish were unbelievably great to us. We had everything we could have asked for, the team, the whole week. Tremendous support from the Federation as far as the security we had, the people that took care of us, our transportation, the food. We got every single thing we could have possibly asked for. I thought the crowd was great. I thought they were miraculous today. I thought they were very fair. I thought there was a great spirit in the stadium, but fair. I'd like to think that the attitude of our guys and of their team, as well, their players had something to do with that, because that always helps. I'd like to congratulate their team and their captain, particularly Carlos who I think has waited for this for a long time, and he's a class act, and he deserves to win this. So I was happy for him. I just want to thank everybody associated with putting this event together for us. We couldn't have been treated any better. Thank you.

End of FastScripts….

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