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December 3, 2006

Jose Acasuso

Alberto Mancini


THE MODERATOR: We will start our press conference with the Argentinian team. We have Captain Mancini and Jose Acasuso.

Q. Captain Mancini, last year in the semifinals you lost to Slovakia. This year you lost to Russia in the finals. Anything common in the two defeats?
CAPTAIN MANCINI: You really can't compare the semifinals to the finals here. The Russian team was stronger than Slovakia. You can't compare the two.

Q. Why did you choose Jose Acasuso and not Chela?
CAPTAIN MANCINI: Well, Jose was really fresh. He was not tired at all. He didn't play during the weekend. I thought his game was better for Safin, to face Safin. Those are the two things.

Q. You had a very difficult task coming into the final day, 2-1 down. After Nalbandian won and Jose was so close, you must have been proud of your players.
CAPTAIN MANCINI: Of course I'm proud of every member of the team. They did everything they could. They left everything inside the court. They really played very good during the weekend.
It was tough, yes. Yesterday was a big surprise for us, the way we lost the doubles. But we had the feeling that we could revert that, and we almost did it.
I'm really proud of everyone - of David, Jose played unbelievable today, he was really great, then David, Juan, Willie Cañas, everybody, yeah.

Q. Captain, obviously it was a very close final. The two teams were probably evenly matched. If you could pick one thing, what in the end decided it for Russia? Maybe the doubles match?
CAPTAIN MANCINI: Well, of course, the doubles match was key to the tie. Winning that doubles would have given us almost 80% of the winning chance, I think. I think that was a big point.

Q. Jose, you put up a great fight. You played a great match against Marat. Of course, defeat is disappointing. How disappointed are you? Would it be the biggest disappointment, the match you lost today, in your career, or were there tougher defeats? How would you evaluate your own performance? What did you feel coming into the decisive time?
JOSE ACASUSO: I'm sad for having lost. I'm sad because I gave it a hundred percent. I showed a great level of game. It didn't work for us. On the one hand I feel sad because we did everything, we were so close to it. On the other hand, I'm happy with the way I played today.

Q. Captain, in hindsight, if you look back at the beginning, do you think it would be a better idea to make Jose play on the first day and not Chela?
CAPTAIN MANCINI: I think that's a question that you cannot go back to that. I think it's a bad question today. I don't know. I think Jose played today very good. He was fresh. That's why he played good. He would have been tired otherwise.
I don't look back. Today is today. That happened two days ago. That's over.

Q. Captain, I want to know what your main supporter Diego Maradona said after that loss. What did Diego say?
CAPTAIN MANCINI: We didn't see him after we lost. We saw him before. For sure we're going to see him again. We still haven't seen him.

Q. Captain, you said that doubles was a big surprise for you. In what way were you surprised? By the high standard of the play of the Russians or by the under-play of your own players? How did you see the match?
CAPTAIN MANCINI: One thing leads to another. I think the Russians started very, very good, serving unbelievable. David and Agustin, they started a little slow. In this kind of court, this surface, it's tough to get that feeling back, especially in a doubles match when you don't play long points and you don't hit so many balls. When you start without that feeling, it's tough to come back.
I think it was a little bit of both.

Q. Russia has lost two finals before winning in Bercy. They lost to Sweden in Moscow, they lost to the Americans here in Moscow, then won their third final. We would like to thank the team for a great game we hope very much Argentina is going to win its third final in Davis Cup.
CAPTAIN MANCINI: Thank you very much.

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