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December 3, 2006

Nikolay Davydenko

Marat Safin

Shamil Tarpischev

Dmitry Tursunov

Mikhail Youzhny


THE MODERATOR: We will start the press conference with the Russian team.

Q. Marat Safin, you said one month ago this is the worst season in your career. After you won the Davis Cup, have you changed your mind?
MARAT SAFIN: Well, I was kind of sad because it's not the best season for me because I couldn't finish the year even in the top 20. The thing is, I was losing these tough matches 6-7 in the tiebreak. If I would have more luck, I would finish the year in the top 20.
I would say I had a rather good finish of the year. It motivates you well to stay in tennis and to continue your career. The victory in the Davis Cup is about one of the best events in one's career.

Q. Marat, how did you finally get over the bad surface?
MARAT SAFIN: I would still say that this surface suits Nalbandian the best, but it's not the best surface for Jose Acasuso. It's a bit too fast for him. He obviously lacked expertise in his match. He wasn't match-tough enough.
I was lucky that he made some easy errors. He made a very easy error in the tiebreak. That made the difference. He was also broken in the first set.

Q. The Russian saying is that: God loves the trinity. You lost two finals in Moscow, finally winning the third final. Could you give us the formula for success? What is the formula for success?
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: The formula of success is here before you. Of course, we need to also say that Shamil Tarpischev and the fans and the crowd was also a factor in our victory. We were lucky with our fans who supported us really well because the Argentinian fans were also really strong.
MIKHAIL YOUZHNY: We also have the four players present here, and we also have Alexander Volkov, Evgeny Korolev, which are also great for the team.
MARAT SAFIN: When you play for your own country, it feels really great. We treat each other really friendly. We play soccer, feel really relaxed the four days before the tie. When we play this soccer on the soccer field, we tease each other a lot. The butt of our jokes was the newcomer. He played the role of a thunder rod, heard a lot of jokes, and that helped to relax the atmosphere.
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Everybody was worried because I celebrated the wedding party. At the end of the day, me and Dimitry Tursunov won the Davis Cup for the first time in our careers. We deserve the title of 'Emeritus Master of Sport'.

Q. Marat, at the end of the game, you said your heel was aching. What helped you to win and overcome the pain?
MARAT SAFIN: Actually, my heel was aching from the very beginning of the week because of the work load I had - and because of the surface (smiling). I'm serious. I really had pain in my heel. I felt it at the end of four sets. It would have been tough for me to play a fifth set.

Q. Yesterday you joked about Maradona. You shook hands with him, you shook the hand which scored that goal. Maybe now in hindsight, it's clear that that hand brought luck to the Russian team.
MARAT SAFIN: I think it's Maradona who got lucky when he scored that famous goal with his hand. That was the hand of God. Maradona passed on that hand of God to me. He passed on luck to me in so doing, in shaking my hand.

Q. Captain, do you agree with the captain from Argentina when he said should they have won the doubles, the odds for them to win the title would be 80%? Do you agree with this comment?
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: There is part of the truth to what he says because the doubles was a key to the tie in many senses. You also have to look at the whole series of five rubbers. You have to look at the work load.
I'd say that David Nalbandian played a pretty nervous match against Marat Safin. That's why he didn't play quite well in the doubles. You have to take a look at the whole series of five rubbers to evaluate the result, not just at the doubles.

Q. Captain Tarpischev, after Nikolay Davydenko had a quick loss to Nalbandian, did you face a tough choice whom to play?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: It wasn't quite a quick loss because I was running for three hours.
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: I knew that it would be very tense for Nikolay. Yesterday I made the decision. Yesterday I knew it would be a tough match for Nikolay. I thought that should we put Dimitry Tursunov to play that match, should he lose that match, we would be bury him. It's hard to recover after a loss like that.
What spoke in favor of Marat was the expertise he had in such matches. He went through all the trials and tribulations in his career. He had more expertise. It was clear to me that he could be playing a bit worse or a bit better, but he can't just fail in such kind of match.

Q. Dimitry Tursunov, you just won the Davis Cup with your team. You also won the title of Emeritus Master of Sport. Don't you feel a bit sorry that it was not you who brought the decisive point to the team?
DIMITRY TURSUNOV: I just won the title, which is awarded in Russia, Emeritus Master of Sport on that occasion without even sweating on the court, so it feels really great for me (smiling).
I also know when I played the doubles, I was playing on the left side of the court. All the balls which were coming to the center of the court were mine. I was the Emeritus Master of Sport and a great player (smiling).

Q. A question about the recipe for success and how long this triumph will last for Russia.
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: In my 30-year long expertise, I think a team of great coaches the Russians had was a big factor in the victory.

Q. How long will it last?
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: We have a good foundation, so I'm optimistic about the next five to six years. To make sure we're invincible, we need to keep improving and keep creating a system of tennis academies.

Q. A few words about the Argentinian team?
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: I would evaluate before the tie the odds at 45/55 in favor of Argentina because they had a more balanced team and they spent a good training session in Geneva. I was fearing we would be lacking stamina.
But luckily we made it and for that I'm very thankful to the whole team.

Q. About the tough choice, maybe you were putting Davydenko or Dimitry Tursunov instead of Marat.
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: As a captain, I have to listen to all the players, make the optimum choice. I knew for sure Acasuso would be playing. I knew Marat had more expertise in his life. He's a fighter. He knows what to do at the right moment. As far as Nikolay goes, well, had I not made him play, he wouldn't be sitting among us today.
But, seriously, I say that Nikolay played very well. It just didn't work for him in the first two sets. He played well in the third, but it was not enough. He was maybe too nervous, felt the pressure in the first two sets.

Q. About the support of the Argentinian crowd. It was pretty noisy. They lost in terms of numbers to the Russian crowd, but not in terms of emotion. Can you say that today was a great rehearsal before your first round Davis Cup tie playing in Chile next year?
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: I think you made a great suggestion. We should be taking the crazy fans of the Spartak football club along to Chile (smiling).

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