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February 8, 2008
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Stefan led you 7-5, 5-2. From that moment on something happened. What was it in your mind?
JAMES BLAKE: Well, I think it helps to have the experience that I have and playing enough Davis Cup matches and maybe the confidence from winning last year.
But I know there's going to be ups and downs, just like in the first set. I was up I think 5-4, 30-Love and could have closed that out. I know there's going to be so many ups and downs. Just because I got some bad luck and he played some good points there, that's a time when it's a little down.
Just because I'm down a set and a break doesn't mean I can't come back and win. Just keep playing my game and going after my shots. Just knowing there are going to be so many ups and downs. That experience is huge.
It's easy to say; it's not as easy to do. When I was 21, 22, even probably 24, 25, there's no way I had that ability mentally to just hang in and play each point and get it all back with one big winner.
I'm really happy with the way I competed there and didn't try to get ahead of myself. Just play one point at a time. It takes its toll on the opponent.
Q. Are you surprised that your win was easier than Andy's?
JAMES BLAKE: No. My win was not easy by any way. I haven't played a Davis Cup match yet that's been easy. I know Stefan could have easily come back, just like I said. I was down a set and 5-2, and up two sets to one and 5-2. I knew that match wasn't over.
I was fighting hard to save those breakpoints when he had breakpoints. If he breaks there and then just gets on a little roll, I know he has the ability to just not miss a ball for a set and a half. So I'm still fighting for every point there, even if the score is 6-2, 6-2, those can change pretty quickly.
Q. Patrick, a perfect day?
CAPTAIN McENROE: It was a great day for us. One of my most satisfying days as a captain I think to have both guys win the way they did and show the physical strength and mental toughness, too, you know, to deal with, first of all, tough opponents, second a tough surface for us, third the court being a little bit difficult, the crowd obviously.
So all those things combined, obviously to win the Davis Cup last year was a huge moment for all of us. For me as a captain, this is one of my most satisfying days. Just the way both guys battled mentally and physically.
Q. Do you think the crows was a fair crowd?
CAPTAIN McENROE: I think it was pretty fair. Couple people yelling in the middle of your serve. For the most part I think it was pretty fair.
JAMES BLAKE: I like the guys at the side of the court. That got me a little more fired up. I needed more incentive to win a Davis Cup match. That's always fun.
Q. Patrick, James called this one of his best clay court matches. Do you agree with that?
CAPTAIN McENROE: Oh, definitely. I think it was one of his best Davis Cup matches. As I said, James is going to win some more matches in his life, but I don't think anybody can say he's losing matches because he's not mentally tough. He's showed that repeatedly in the last six months. And.
I just couldn't be happier with the way he just stayed in there and kept believing in his game and kept fighting and going for it. This was a huge -- obviously to win last year for all of us was tremendous, but to come here and to have the day we had today, obviously we've got one more point to win, but just this particular day was very satisfying.
Q. Speak of that point, the Bryan brothers up next. Really the perfect position?
CAPTAIN McENROE: They'll be excited and pumped up, that's for sure.
JAMES BLAKE: Really? I think he's going out on a limb on that one.
CAPTAIN McENROE: I think the chance to close it out will be extra incentive for them. Both matches today were very tough and we're expecting another tough match tomorrow.
Q. If you close it out tomorrow do you think (indiscernible.)
CAPTAIN McENROE: I don't believe I can say that, no, but I'm going to wait and see what happens tomorrow before I have to even think about that.
Q. James, does this one impressive win on clay give you confidence going into the clay season in a couple months?
JAMES BLAKE: You're thinking further ahead than I am. Yeah, maybe getting through the first couple rounds would be a good effort. I'm just worried about this one today.
For me, the clay court season is a long ways away after this weekend. I'm really happy about this performance, but I'm going to be playing on hard courts on Tuesday. Back to sure footing and not putting craters in it when I drag my foot on the serve. Back in the States where I tend to play my best tennis, although after today maybe I'll come over here for an extended clay court season. Don't hold me to that.
Q. What do you think about the surface? Because Andy complained very much about it.
JAMES BLAKE: You know, it was tough. To have the guys, the maintenance crew come out every single game on my serve, I had to mix of my positions on my serve because I was kind of dragging and putting a hole in the court.
There was some bad bounces on some big points today both ways. I got a breakpoint on a terrible bounce that I won, and he got a couple bad bounces. That's just the way it is. It's tough. It's always said that it's the same both ways, but it's unfortunate if it happens to you on a big point.
But they put it down; we're up 2-0, so I'm pretty happy about it. I'm sure if they had more time it could be been a little bit better and harder and maybe more sure footing for us. But I'm happy to get a win on it though.
Q. Patrick, have you spoken to anybody at the ITF about it? Andy said he spoke to the referee.
CAPTAIN McENROE: We talked to them about it during the week. But, look, they're doing the best they can do. We've played on some indoor clay courts that were a little better. We played in Moscow two years ago and it was a little dodgy there, too.
It's tricky. It's hard to put a really good clay court down indoors. There's really nothing we can do about it, other than just go out there and try and play as well as we can play.
JAMES BLAKE: I will commend the maintenance. They very good about coming out every time, because otherwise that's when it can get really dangerous on an uneven surface when we're running behind the baseline.
So they did come out and replace it after every one of my service games. They worked harder than most people today.
Q. You wouldn't go so far as to say it's dangerous?
JAMES BLAKE: If they hadn't come out and we were trying to run on those surfaces when it was that uneven it definitely could have been very dangerous.
But the way they did a good job, the maintenance crew, of fixing it, it was definitely always stop gap prevention, but it got the job done for today. I think if this court was there for a full tournament it would get to be dangerous.
But the way they did it and the care they took for these matches I think was good enough. Any more holes and it could have possibly been dangerous. To run the speed we're running on uneven surfaces, that's when it can get dangerous for your feet and ankles.
Q. 2-0 lad after the first day. No more you could ask for?
CAPTAIN McENROE: Pretty satisfying day. To win two here today was a great performance by our guys. Mentally it was a strong test for us, and both guys passed. Obviously physically they handled some tough long matches, especially Andy after he really should have closed the match out in four sets. He sort of battled back. It was a heck of an effort from both guys.
Q. Were you more surprised that James won his match than Andy?
JAMES BLAKE: Not really. I never really sort of predict what's going to happen. I just say take one point and match at a time and try to get our guys to play well.
James got down and was in real trouble there down two sets to Love, but he kept going for shots and kept a great attitude mentally. I think that was the key for him. And then once he got on a roll was able to dominate the lasts couple sets.
Q. Both players were not too happy about the surface. What do you think about the clay?
CAPTAIN McENROE: It's not that we're not happy about the clay, it's that there's holes in the clay. We understand that we're coming to play on clay, and that's normal for us to leave the good old USA.
There were bad bounces for both teams, and the crew did a good job in making it so it didn't get too bad. That at least made to playable. But as far as the bounces go, it's the same for both teams.
Q. It's two nil today. Hopefully you can wrap it up tomorrow.
CAPTAIN McENROE: We hope to. It's good position for us to be in, and, you know, we're expecting another tough match tomorrow. Hopefully we can close it out.
Q. Are you expecting Jurgen Melzer to be tired tomorrow because of the five sets today?
CAPTAIN McENROE: We're hoping so. We hope he's tired with the crowd. He played great today. I'm sure he'll play well, so the guys will have to play their best stuff.
Q. Patrick, do you think you're team is getting to the point where away teams will stop choosing clay maybe?
CAPTAIN McENROE: I don't know about that. I'm not sure they'll do that, but I think we've made big strides just in being able to handle the tough conditions and not just on the clay, but with the crowd and all the things that happen in an away match.
I think both our guys have really gained in maturity, and I think that's been a big key for us to win these matches today.
Q. I don't think we talked Andy there. Did you like the way he came back?
CAPTAIN McENROE: It was one of his biggest wins in Davis Cup.
Q. Three-match win streak on clay.
CAPTAIN McENROE: Well, there you go. I was very proud of his effort. Physically it was a very demanding match. What he did in the tiebreak, and then Melzer was playing lights out even early in the fifth. He weathered the storm and stayed in there, which helped him a lot. So it was a tremendous effort by Andy.
Q. You talk about Andy bouncing off the wall a night before a match. How about the Bryans?
CAPTAIN McENROE: Hopefully they're sleeping already. No, they'll be excited, and I think the chance to close it out, I think they're pretty excited about that. Yeah, they'll be ready to go.
End of FastScripts