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November 6, 2009

Mary Joe Fernandez

Alexa Glatch

Vania King

Melanie Oudin


THE MODERATOR: We can start.

Q. Mary Joe and Alexa and Melanie, can you all address how the draw played out with who's starting first and second?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: Usually we have a preference of who goes first, but in this case they both have played, so we really don't mind who goes first. We're excited. Alexa performed so well in the Czech Republic and dealt with the conditions of playing away and the pressure extremely well. So she's ready for that.
Melanie has been on two teams and has contributed tremendously both times. You know, the matches are interesting. You have Pennetta with a very solid game. Played great this summer. Schiavone is coming off win and uses the crowd really well. So does Melanie.
Day one is looking really good. We're bringing our best, and we're gonna do our best to win.

Q. Glatch, what do you remember about the previous match against Pennetta, and Melanie against Schiavone? What happened? Why you won and why you lost?
ALEXA GLATCH: Well, I played Pennetta once at the French Open this year. I came away with a win there. I played very well that match, but Flavia's has had a great summer. She's had a lot of good results coming into this. It's gonna be a lot different than last time, I think.
But it's gonna be fun to play, so I'm really looking forward to it.
MELANIE OUDIN: Last time I played Schiavone was like three years ago at Indian Wells. That means I was only 15. She was very experienced and she handled me pretty easily.
But I think I've improved a lot since then. She's been playing amazing as well. We've both had good years, so I think it's gonna be a really good match tomorrow.

Q. Alexa, can you tell us how you feel about the red clay? Melanie says she likes playing on it, but that's usually not the American way?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: That's changing.
ALEXA GLATCH: Yeah, I actually enjoy playing on the red clay. When I was younger, it was actually my favorite surface. I think it's a lot fun to play on. I like the sliding. I think my game, my variety, plays well to the surface. So, you know, I don't think it's a problem.

Q. Melanie, can you talk about being the No. 1 singles player for these ties, your third one this year and first one as the No. 1 player? And how do you feel about playing second?
MELANIE OUDIN: I'm really honored to be the No. 1 player for the U.S. Just being on the Fed Cup team is an honor to me.
I mean, Alexa is playing great as well. It could have gone either way. We're both honored to be playing both matches. Yes, I'm very excited.
What was your second thing you said?

Q. How do you feel about playing second after Alexa?
MELANIE OUDIN: It doesn't really matter to me. I didn't really care if I got first or second tomorrow. I know Alexa is gonna be ready to play first, and I'm gonna be ready for the second match. It'll be good.

Q. Mary Joe, from your experience, which we know is great, do you think the pressure will be very, very heavy on the Italian shoulders?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: Yes, I always think the home country feels the pressure a lot more. In a final, there's and added dimension. I think when you play for your country, it's a different sort of tension, sort of nerves. It's hard to describe, but you definitely feel it a lot more.
So for the Italians trying to win for the first time at home, their second Fed Cup title, the pressure is on them definitely more. When it's a final, it doesn't matter who is in the final, everybody feels the pressure of trying to win.
Even though we're the underdogs, we'll feel it, too. It's an opportunity. Every match is an opportunity to play well, play our games, and come out with a win. So there's definitely pressure on both sides.
From experience, when you're at home and you're the favorites, it definitely adds to it.

Q. Can you talk about the pressure of trying to bring home the first title since 2000, and you haven't been in the final since 2003 and that scenario?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: One more on the added pressure. I think more than pressure for winning again is the excitement that we're back in a final. It has been six years. We've been very a successful country through the years having won 17 times and been in 27 finals.
So to be back is a huge honor. We're taking it very seriously to try to bring it back home. That's our goal. Every year that's our goal. We hope it'll be this year. It would be a thrill, because it has been a very long time.
This team has worked so well together. They have meshed and some great chemistry, so that it would mean even more. We'll try our best and see what happens.

Q. I saw you out to dinner last night. What other things have you been doing this week to take away the tension to have fun? Watch movies? Play cards? What's been going on?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: Well, what we can tell you is that what we've been doing -- we did have a great time last night. We went out and had great pizza and great gelato.
Through our ties this year, one of the traditions is to play charades, so we played charades. We pick out of a hat to see who's on what team, and we have a lot fun with that. That's sort of a ritual we have.
We've had long days. We've been practicing morning and afternoon and eating in between, so basically just getting ready on the court, off the court, and trying to get enough sleep.

Q. Who's the queen of charades?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: I don't know. They're all pretty good. Our trainer, Joanne, is the best. Where she?

Q. Liezel and Vania, you guys were also the doubles team last year in Moscow. Talk about how comfortable you are playing together and how your games match up.
VANIA KING: Yeah, last time Liezel and I played together in Moscow we played a very tough team. We played solidly and came out with the win. I think Liezel and I have played a couple times after that on Team Tennis, so we know each other's game.
I think we compliment each other really well. We've had a lot of good practicing this week. We played the other day and I thought we played really well together. I'm really looking forward to the match.

Q. With the forecast not so good for the weekend, do you think the weather could be a big factor in this tie?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: Hopefully the weather will get better. We had a beautiful couple of days, especially yesterday. Today it's been raining on and off.
Could it be a factor? Usually when it rains it get heavier conditions, a little slower. But also, the court I think gets a little bit firmer. So we'll see how it goes.
But, you know, when we think of coming over here, we're sort of prepared for a little bit of everything with the weather. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully there won't be a lot of interruptions, because that's hard for everybody.

Q. You talk about pride and honor to play for your country. The question is: What do you think about the Williams sisters, especially Serena, she was on the team?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: My last Fed Cup actually was the Williams' sisters first Fed Cup, and it was in Italy ten years ago. Monica Seles was on that team, and Billie Jean King was my captain.
They haven't played in much in the last ten years. They both wanted to be here. I think they both, until the last minute, said they were gonna be here. I'm hoping that means they're getting that pride and that sense of honor and privilege.
But I guess for everyone that you've seen here, you see how much it means to them. That's what team competition is about. Not so much about the winning and losing, but about having that privilege and honor to be representing not only your teammates, but your country.

Q. Does Pennetta or Schiavone, maybe one of them, worry you a little more in how they mesh with Melanie or Alexa?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: I don't think one worries more than the other. They're both great players with a lot of experience. I mean, I think I mentioned earlier Schiavone definitely takes more energy from the crowd and uses it really well. So she perhaps could be more dangerous because of that.
But they're different game styles. But not one, I would say, stands out more than the other.

End of FastScripts

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