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September 18, 2008

David Ferrer

Feliciano Lopez

Rafael Nadal

Emilio Sanchez


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Talk about the altitude. Does that affect your play at all? Also, the wind, have you noticed anything in your practice the last few days?
CAPTAIN SANCHEZ: Yes, the wind hasn't been too important. We've been practicing in a perfect temperature. There has been some wind, but it's been pretty constant and it hasn't created whirlwinds, which can really bother us. We're used to that kind of wind, so it doesn't bother us.
As far as the altitude, that's why we came early here to adapt to it. We've been practicing at this altitude. Now it's just a matter of seeing what happens during the matches. Obviously we know they're going to be very tough matches, and we'll see tomorrow.

Q. Is this the best start for you?
CAPTAIN SANCHEZ: Well, we came to the draw knowing that really the only thing you are drawing for is who starts. Obviously if things go well for us, then we can say that the draw went well. If things get complicated, things don't go well for us, then we can say that the draw didn't go well. So really it's really not that much.
We need to go out and do the best we can. I think Rafa first and then David, they're going to do their very best. They're going to go out and play hard. We have to respect this U.S. team and make sure that things don't get complicated for us as we move along.

Q. Rafa, what about the fact of playing first, how does that affect you? Is the court compact enough?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, the court, I don't think it's going to be much different from what we've had now to a few hours later when we start to play. So that's not going to be a big issue.
As far as first or second, it doesn't really make a difference to me. Obviously they're going to be very complicated matches and I hope to go out there and play and do my best. There's always some nerves involved in playing the first one. But I hope to go out and play a good match so that I can win and that way David will have it more relaxed when he goes out if I've won the first one.

Q. Emilio, is there difficulty to play when you are the super favorite at home on this surface?
CAPTAIN SANCHEZ: We were favorites before we even got here to the semifinal because Spain has won all of their last ties at home. We're playing on a clay court. Also because of the results on the professional circuit. All of that together says that we are the favorites.
Now, everyone may be talking about this being easy, but we know that's not the case. That's the mentality we're trying to promote and that we're working on with the team. That's not the situation. We obviously have the conditions of altitude, and also the beginning, the start of play for the U.S., they're very strong at the beginning. We want to respect that. We want to make sure that we do things the right way so that we don't get caught off guard, which in Spanish is 'get caught by the bull,' which is never better said than in this situation.
We want to go out there with these values, with the humility of knowing that. Even though we are the favorites, we are facing a very strong team and we want to be respectful of that.

Q. Rafa, what is it that worries you about Sam?
RAFAEL NADAL: It's clear if we were playing at sea level, if I had been playing recently more or clay, I would be perhaps more ready. But the situation as it is, I haven't played on clay for quite some time, the altitude. All of this means it's difficult to play with control with the ball.
The advantage that he has is perhaps with his serve. Because of these conditions, and if we play -- when we played at sea level against Sam a couple weeks ago, it was very difficult on defense to respond.
I'm aware that is going to be a very tough game. Sam is a very young player, but he's improving very fast. He's had very good results on clay courts. So without a doubt I'm sure this is going to be a tough match and I'm just going to go out and do the very best I can.

Q. Feliciano, you are a fan of bullfighting. What does it mean you're going to be able to play here at Las Ventas, one of the most important bullrings? If you win, do you have any celebration prepared given that you're playing here in Madrid, anything special planned?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: For me, same as the others. Playing at Las Ventas is going to be very impressive. I like bullfighting, but for any of us, to be playing on such an awesome court, when it's full of people, it's going to be something tremendous.
As far as the celebration, we haven't thought about that just yet. We're thinking about winning first, that's the important thing. Whether it's 3-2, 5-0, it doesn't matter. The most important thing is for us to go out and win. If we win, then we'll improvise as far as the celebration is concerned.

Q. Rafa, looking back to the 2004 final in Seville, do you feel that was a turning point in your career, winning the Davis Cup, going on to win all the French Open title, et cetera?
RAFAEL NADAL: (In English.) Well, was for sure a very important final for me. At the same time it was very important for my confidence, too, no? I had a tough season. I start the season very well in 2004, and later I had an important injury. I was playing so-so during the rest of the season after the injury. I played the final against Andy Roddick in Seville, win the tie in Davis Cup, was very important for the confidence for me for the next year.

Q. David, tomorrow you play against Andy. Are altitude and serve going to be the keys? In your opinion, what are the keys? Perhaps controlling the serve?
DAVID FERRER: Andy is obviously a very tough player who has a great serve, whether it's at sea level or altitude. But I think that the key is going to be being able to return the ball. That's going to be key in order to win. We're going to need to win in the long run rather than in the short-term.

Q. How do you think the doubles game is going to play now that they've changed and it's not going to be a lefty and righty?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: As far as lefty and righty, I don't think really that's the most important thing. The most important thing is how used to each other the players were. I mean, obviously the brothers are brothers. That makes a big difference. They've been playing together forever. They're two great players.
But more than there being two righties, rather than a righty and lefty, that's not the big difference. The big difference is that Mardy and Mike haven't played together before. They're both great players. So obviously they can do a good job. But the most important thing in the match I think is going to be when things get tight, when the going gets tough, if they're going to be as well connected as the brothers were.

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