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August 26, 2008

Vincent Spadea


M. SAFIN/V. Spadea
3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Marat says that players, before getting a foot fault, they should get a warning from the chair umpire.
VINCE SPADEA: And what do I think about that?

Q. Correct.
VINCE SPADEA: Um, I just wasn't really paying attention to the whole scenario. I was just happy that it went in my direction, in my favor.
But I'm sure he's had problems with that in the past. I don't think it was the first time in the history of his tennis. And if it was, then maybe he did have a reason to be, you know, protesting it.
But I don't know about the warning thing. I mean, we know what the rules are. That's the warning: rules.

Q. So you've been at the good end of some five setters.
VINCE SPADEA: I've lost three five setters in the French, Wimbledon, and the Open, so can't be liking that right now. I'm just disappointed, you know. Just got to step up my work ethic and maybe my commitment and see if that works.
If not, then, you know, look at my game or got to look at my name, you know, change it. (laughter.)

Q. I remember in Australia when you won a fifth setter...
VINCE SPADEA: I won two in a row, actually.

Q. You were hitting pretty good in the end.
VINCE SPADEA: Yeah, I felt good though today. I mean, I wasn't tired. I'm not tired at all right now. It's a matter of execution, really. I just didn't come up with the right shots. Momentum switched.
He took a bathroom break or whatever he did, and I just lost that game. That was pivotal, but I wasn't able to break him. I just didn't return that great today the whole match.
My backhand return just -- he's got a pretty big second serve, but my backhand return should have been a little more sharp, I thought.
But, you know, just another brick in the wall, another nightmare to sleep through with some other help.

Q. So 15 US Opens, no quarterfinal. Couple round of 16s.
VINCE SPADEA: Yeah, that's right. That's disappointing. I mean, I just don't play well here. I just don't play aggressive enough, I don't think. I think these courts play very fast in general. The center court is not playing extremely fast. But just in general, I either just don't rise to the occasion or maybe the pressure gets to me.
I think it's more the surface. I mean, when I was younger I had some chances, and as I got older I started becoming more defensive. I should have done the opposite. Today I was more offensive than I usually am, so I think that's why I displayed some positive play, you know. But I don't know. I'm not in the final 8 club. I have to try mixed doubles or something.

Q. Going back to what you said before, if you decided to go ahead and change your name, what do you think you might change your name to?
VINCE SPADEA: Whew. Um, I don't know. Rodney Dangerfield. Vinny Spade. That's like my alter ego, actually, my rap name.

Q. Marat spoke about someone in your cheering section shouting, Come on, come on.
VINCE SPADEA: Oh, really?

Q. How that kind of got in his head.

Q. Who was that?
VINCE SPADEA: I don't know. I mean, I recognized my mom, and that was about it, and my coach, Sanguinetti. But I didn't have any -- I think we had some family friends, but I wasn't really paying attention to who that was. I didn't know it was really particularly one person.
You know, Marat just -- you know, he just lost the first set so it was easy access there, you know.

Q. Are you as committed to your tennis as ever? Do you find the motivation is still there?
VINCE SPADEA: Um, not -- no, I think not, no. But I think it is hard to stay motivated to the utmost degree. The labor is just so, you know, extreme. It's like -- it's pain, you know, to get yourself in that physical shape and that mental shape to even compete and deal with the adversity of opponents and travel and the rest of the whole tour.
So, you know, the precursor to what actually goes into everything you see here is just, you know -- it's just kind of daunting over time, you know. I think that's what hurts people, as well as the travel.
But I think it's that more, because no one likes to lose. And if you don't do that first step, you're not going to be able to succeed to what you're used to, and that's kind of what I'm dealing with right now.

Q. Do you look at the rankings and the prospects? It's a little problematic for America. Where do you think the American game is going to be in five years?
VINCE SPADEA: Oh, I think there's always one or two players that, you know, learn to pay that price, that bigger price, and, you know, just look and have that hunger for the bigger stakes.
So I think there's probably going to be one or two of those guys. I don't know. It could be maybe Querrey. He's got to do it soon. Maybe Young if he gets organized and focused. There's a couple of younger players, Harrison. I haven't really studied the young, young guys. I don't really know them.
I'm sure McClune. You know, there's some players that can play tennis. It's just a different level to be committed to that.

Q. Where do you see Young's career looking like?
VINCE SPADEA: He's still 18. I don't know when he's turning 19, but he's definitely not going in the right direction. That doesn't mean everything. It just means that he needs to just make some adjustments, I think. Because I think he's -- he's obviously talented.
He's accomplished a lot already, but it's like a whole different animal to get to the top, you know, 15 or top 25 even. It's within -- I think it's within his talent level.

Q. When you were talking earlier about all the extra work that goes into getting ready for a match now, when it's a tight match, a tough five setter, does it make that match, that loss harder to deal with, considering the extra work you had to put in on the front end?
VINCE SPADEA: Well, I thought I had the momentum and when Marat starts flying off the handle, that's when you -- that's part of your strategy because his game is so elite. When he's hitting his shots you're in trouble. When he's not and he's worried about other things, that's when you can capitalize, and I didn't totally.
I did at the end of the set, and then I wasn't able to hold that first service game. So that's what makes it a little extra disappointing than getting slaughtered or getting -- I mean, I didn't really choke a lead or anything.
I did have a break in the third. That was a disappointing, probably pivotal part of the match, as well. Because if I could have just sort of continued to consolidate that service games in the set, win like 6-4, then I was looking pretty good, you know. I was feeling physically well.
So, yeah, I'm just disappointed the way the whole match turned out, really.

Q. Shouldn't this tournament be a perfect location for your game and your personality?
VINCE SPADEA: It is personality-wise. The game hasn't caught up, though. I just -- I've been waiting for something to celebrate, and the serves aren't accurate enough, you know. The groundstrokes just aren't powerful enough, dominating enough.
Whatever it is, you know, just comes up short. So, you know, that's why they call me the Jimmy Connors of the back courts. Today I got a chance to get up there, but that's because of who I was playing. You know, I just -- I just haven't come up with the goods to be that person who everyone looks at, not just a cultish, small sector, you know.

Q. What do you and Sanguinetti work on?
VINCE SPADEA: Well, I mean, we've just been working about two months, and I was injured for about four of those weeks. So about almost a month about he couldn't really do anything with me.
But he's just working on my serve, and he had a good serve. You know, just being aggressive from the back, you know. When I was in the top 20 I did a lot of grinding and a lot of persevering out there, you know, just three setters, finding ways to win. That's my label.
But he wants me to try to step up and do a little more. I saw flashes of that today, which is encouraging in one respect. But, you know, he was a great player as far as, you know, having his moments where he had, you know, won titles. You know, he had a long career, which kind of gives me confidence.
So he just kind of continues to encourage me that way mentally to know I'm still playing good tennis. And even though I am a certain number age-wise, it doesn't really reflect how I'm hitting the ball or necessarily what my ability can be for the next two, three years.

Q. Does he want to restring your racquet to 30 pounds or whatever?
VINCE SPADEA: No. No, I mean, he hasn't influenced me. He's not one of those coaches who tries to make you him, because that's just not the way to do it.

Q. Two, three years would put you at 37. Can you actual envision playing...
VINCE SPADEA: Well, I still want to be here doing this if I haven't gone somewhere else in my head. Yeah, I can envision being able to accomplish it. I feel like there's some players that were 37 in the top 100 that you don't know that well, you know. Doesn't have to be Agassi or Connors.
But, yeah, I mean, I think physically and mentally it is possible. Scientifically, it's, you know, everything is within that grasp. But it's -- I don't know where my head is going to be. And I think that's the bottom line.
And if I suffer like a very serious injury or something that's unexpected, then that would obviously, you know, terminate it.

Q. You spoke about the labor being so extreme in terms of becoming an elite athlete, and the pain. Here in America there's so much affluence, so much wealth, so many options. Do you think that's a factor in difficulties in getting a lot of elite players like before?
VINCE SPADEA: I mean, environment has a lot to do with it, I think. But there's always some mind that overcomes any obstacle or circumstance, whether it's growing up in an upper middle class or in the ghetto or somewhere in the middle.
I think there's always someone who's going to do the work and just have the personality to want to be that great star, that person who hits the extra hours, works on the weapons, creating the weapons, creating the fitness levels of unparalleled competition.
So it's definitely, I mean, within reach. I mean, Roddick was an example of that. Blake came on out of sort of mid-career to sort of latter part of his career. So, I mean, he's a great example of someone who, you know, went from a really good player to a great player sort of like, you know, after halfway of his mid-career.
So that shows you what the mind really, how it works. I don't think physically he changed that drastically. You know, he adjusted and did different things.

Q. Isn't that pretty rare?
VINCE SPADEA: It is rare. That's why I said maybe one or two. You said maybe the next five, maybe five to ten years I would say. That's just -- you know, it seems like that's the evolution of the game, of the countries, you know, at some point.
We have resources, we have the idols, and we have the everything to stimulate it. So I think it's going to be there. Just not me.

Q. Where do you see yourself in the scheme of things in American tennis? Seems like there's always groups where it's Roddick and Blake and Ginepri and Fish. They seem close, and it was Agassi and Sampras and Chang were in their group, yet you always seem to float in your own space.
VINCE SPADEA: Yeah. I mean, I didn't really come up with a certain age group American-wise. A lot of my peers just sort of fell off the mark. So I just -- I'm sort of like the guy who kind of attended the cocktail parties with the best of them throughout generations, which is kind of cool. That's one good aspect, you know.
I played, you know, Samprases and Agassis and I played the Federers and Nadals and the Roddicks. But at the same time, there's always that player who is just, you know, almost famous. You ever heard of that? There's a movie about it.
But I got my tales, and I've lived -- there's a version of fairy tale that goes along with my life. I did accomplish some things that I could be proud of, even if I stopped right here at this podium.

Q. If nothing else, tennis is a sport of cocktail parties and reception galas...
VINCE SPADEA: Right, caviar dreams.

Q. Shrimp and Chardonnay. What's the best one, two, three or...

Q. What are the best one, two, or three? Miami?
VINCE SPADEA: Yeah, I mean, there's a lot of great big cities.

Q. I'm not talking about cities.
VINCE SPADEA: Cocktail parties?

Q. Yeah.
VINCE SPADEA: Ah, I don't even know, man. They're all pretty good. Wherever I am, I make it a good one.

Q. How did you hook up with Prince, and where does that leave the Spadea line?
VINCE SPADEA: I signed a one-year deal with Prince, and we'll see if they want to resign me at the end of the year. We hooked up in January, and they offered me -- it was kind of cool at my age to have a contract with compensation and so on.
So I've been with Prince since age eight and they've been great to me. It rhymes with Vince, so it's all good. And the Spadea line has kind of like been downgraded to like hats and T-shirts on my website, but it's still -- you know, we're still manufacturing things and we still are a business in business, not losing money.
That's all I can say for right now. Inventory is low. (laughter.) Moving things around.

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