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February 8, 2009

Julie Ditty

Mary Joe Fernandez

Liezel Huber


6-2, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Mary Joe, how do you feel the way the day unfolded with Melanie, then with the doubles?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: I thought it unfolded very nicely. We knew each match was going to be tough. We were wanting to win one of those first couple matches to get into the doubles. Dulko I have to say played terrific both days. She was really on her game, aggressive, tough to play against her. It was up to Melanie in the second match to really fight and find a way to win, which is what she did. She really dug deep.
For someone so young, playing in their first Fed Cup when it's all on the line there, she had to win to stay in it, she really came through. I'm really proud of her.
The doubles, what can I say? That's what we wanted. We wanted it to come down to the doubles. When Liezel is on the court, I feel confident every single time. Ditty came through. Julie Ditty came through. We weren't sure who was going to play doubles. At the end we had a lot of options. But Julie practiced really well during the week, was so aggressive. She made the right moves. She listened to Liezel out there, really made it happen.
So the doubles was beautiful.

Q. Liezel, obviously we know how proud you are to be representing the U.S. To clinch the tie with Julie, in the U.S., how do you feel right now, especially when you took the flag?
LIEZEL HUBER: You know, I watched a Fed Cup tie, I think the U.S. had lost to Russia in the clincher. I wasn't an American then, but I thought it would be awesome playing in that situation. The match was a close match with Russia and the U.S. I saw balls going in the middle and people didn't want to take it. I was kind of replaying in my mind while sitting in the lounge, when Mel was playing, was thinking of that. When I have this opportunity, I'm not going to let this happen.
I got a very nice message from Lindsay Davenport to say, Go for it, play the big points. Of course, Mary Joe gave me the same advice. I didn't know who I was playing with either. We had three awesome players to choose from, which we're very lucky.
I'll say it again, I can't believe we won. I'm so proud of this team. It was a team effort. Everybody got to play and everybody gave their all. It's a proud day in my history books.

Q. When did you get the message from Lindsay?
LIEZEL HUBER: We've been messaging the whole week. Yeah, she messaged me. I said, I have to go, I really have to get my skirt on now and go. I said, Thanks, I need that advice.
I was very nervous because I take it personal and I know that I need to step up and be the leader. When it comes in crunch times, you sometimes want to give the reins to somebody else. Julie and I played equally. We were there for each other. That match point was unbelievable, Julie.

Q. Julie, you were obviously the last one on the team, the last to arrive. Bethanie was in the stands cheering you on. How did it feel to go out on the court and clinch the tie?
JULIE DITTY: I mean, I'm still surprised that I'm sitting here right now. But once I got the call from Mary Joe, I was ready. I came here and trained really hard for three or four days, really felt confident in my game going into today. I just did what Liezel told me to do on the court (laughter).
No, I think we worked well together.
LIEZEL HUBER: We sure did.

Q. Liezel, how difficult is it when you're used to playing with one person one way to kind of adapt on the fly a bit this week?
LIEZEL HUBER: Well, I think I realized that a lot on the serve. Julie's serve spins the other way. There's many balls in an everyday situation I would take, and I didn't. So I really left my line open today. Luckily they didn't go up my line.
The first time I think I realized I was playing with a lefty was the ball went over my head, and I saw Julie's racquet up here, just going to stroke it back in. Normally my partner would go up there with the right hand.
But the combination worked well. I think it was a great decision to play us because it was tricky for the other team. And sometimes when you're playing a team that plays together all the time, you also know what they do. But I think it was a good combo today.

Q. Julie, could you take us through the match point. When you hit it, did you see it drop?
JULIE DITTY: I can't even remember what happened, honestly. I yelled, I think I hit a volley winner. All I heard was Liezel yelling at me during the match.
LIEZEL HUBER: I said, Get in. You were fast as lightning.

Q. What does this do for women's tennis in the United States now?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: I think any time you have Fed Cup or Davis Cup in the United States, it's a positive experience. You draw more attention to the event. We had a great kids' clinic before the matches started, got a lot of young kids coming out to play, and the parents. That's what it's all about, growing the game of tennis.
But team competition is unusual for our game. So I think to see it played like this, everybody working together, you know, just having that chemistry, that support, is really nice. It's really unique. I mean, I can't think of think of anything better.
I'm just really proud of everybody. Hopefully we can win and get back to a home time. That's the best when you play at home. The crowd was fantastic.

Q. You won this with - excuse me, ladies - but not a lot of household names on the team. How do you feel about accomplishing that? What do you think the next round holds?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: Well, I had the best team I could have had. Wouldn't have traded them for anything. For my first experience, I'm so happy. Again, it's about working together. It's about really wanting to play for your country and have that pride, doing whatever it takes to be the best out there.
I haven't really thought ahead yet. So I have a couple months. We'll probably play on clay, so there's a lot of considerations. I'm hoping Venus and Serena will be available and they can play. You always want the very, very best. And Venus and Serena are the very, very best. But you go with who is ready to play and who can go. And my team was ready to go.

Q. Mary Joe, how did you feel that Bethanie was able to make it and in the stands?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: It was great. You know, Bethanie was really disappointed that she couldn't play. She was looking forward to this. She's from here and trains here. She was really looking forward to participating. It would have been her first Fed Cup, as well.
So to have her there was really nice to have her come and support the team and cheer us on. We're hoping for a speedy recovery for her, that she can get back to playing and playing well again.

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