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April 24, 2010

Mary Joe Fernandez

Bethanie Mattek-Sands


E. DEMENTIEVA/B. Mattek-Sands
6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. You played a solid match out there, matching her groundstrokes and power. Seemed like it came down to a few points here and there. Is that how you felt?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Yeah, it was definitely a couple points she was able to win.

Q. Good performance today. Everybody was certainly impressed. Taking today and tomorrow, how much of a boost is this going to be helping in tomorrow's matchup?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I think both me and Melanie are playing well. So I'm excited for tomorrow's matchup. Not sure if they're going to keep their No. 2 player in or put the other one in. I'll be ready for both. I'm sure Mel is ready for Elena again, too.

Q. You've been playing in quite a few quallies for big tournaments. Was it a tough step up to play a top 10 player in a situation like this?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: No, I was ready to play against her. I played her before. I knew what her game was about. Have to raise my level, can't make as many mistakes. I wasn't close enough to doing that.
But I'm happy with today's match.

Q. Mary Joe, when Melanie was in before, she said you unlocked the secret of what to say to her. I wondered if you could talk about that and also how you might handle Bethanie different from Melanie.
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: Everybody's different. Every player likes different ways of talking and sharing some coaching or information.
Mel likes to be talked a lot to. I've seen her enough now where I know when she's getting a little nervous, I no when she gets a little bit defensive. I'm able to pick up on it and remind her of things she already knows. I'm just there to help her see it herself.
With Bethanie, she doesn't need as much talking. She knows her game. She knows what she's looking to do out there. It's just a few reminders here, if I see any pattern that really stands out, to be able to share it.
The more we're on the court together, the more experience we have, it becomes a little bit more natural. You pick up things easier.

Q. Mary Joe, Melanie said she got off to a rocky start both sets today. Is that something you really can't afford to do against a player like Elena?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: Well, ideally you want to have quick starts. Doesn't matter who you're playing. Obviously, when you're playing a top 10 player, it's that much more important.
But, you know, Mel was close in the first few games. Should have been 2-All instead of being down 3-1. She was there. As long as you're seeing you're doing the right things, making the right plays, it's just a matter of waiting for the right moments to take advantage of. She got her opportunities again and was able to convert.

Q. Mary Joe, how do you feel about 1-1 after day one? Is that a good spot? Not as good as you hoped?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: It's always better being up 2-Love. It's better than being down 2-Love.
We're happy. Both Bethanie and Melanie played their hearts out. They competed extremely well. That's all that I can expect from them. They tried the right things, tried to make the right plays. We came up 1-1. Now we go ahead for tomorrow and start again.
Each match is a new match. We just start from scratch again.

Q. Some players get the Fed Cup call early in their career. You got it a little later in your career. How much more important is that for you right now?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Yeah, I mean, it's great that I got selected. Last year was my first year, like you said. I've been having fun. I've had pretty much the same team throughout the last couple times. Mary Joe has been the captain for all my Fed Cup experiences. I've known her for a while. We get along really well. Melanie, same thing. Known her for a while. It's been a good group.
I'm really enjoying my Fed Cup experiences. It's tough to lose, but tomorrow's another day.

Q. Mary Joe, back to Melanie's match. She's a player who feeds off emotion. She finally got going midway through the first set when she held to go to 3-All. Was that something you pay attention to, she's going to work her way into a match, trying to get her to that point?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: She definitely loves to play with emotion and shows her emotions. She loves the fans. She loves the fans getting behind her. She loves really that moment out there. So it's something for her that's very natural.
It's not something you plan. It just comes out when it comes out. She knows when it's a big point, she knows when she's back in a match, she knows when she's close to putting away a match. You saw that a few times today.

Q. You and Liezel played World TeamTennis on the same team about 10 years ago. You were just a kid. She was kind of already an old married lady at that point.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: We won't tell her that.

Q. Anyway, I wondered if you had much of a relationship back then or whether you had anything to do with each other given the age difference?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: You know what, I do remember. It's funny because Monica Seles was on our team that year. James Blake. We had a pretty stacked World TeamTennis team. She beat me out playing singles (laughter). So, you know, but I've known her for a while obviously.
Haven't been too close. I think playing Fed Cup has actually gotten us closer. We found we play pretty good doubles together. We've won all our matches so far. I'm looking forward to playing the doubles here. She's No. 1 in the world. It's cool to play with her, see how she thinks, what her tactics are, just learn a little bit.

Q. Mary Joe, you can laugh at this if you like, but you're working with a lot of young players on the team. How much is being a mother of two helping you in some of these situations and you can fall back on handling the kids in a certain way?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: No, it's obviously a little bit different. My little ones are eight and five. It's definitely a role where, you know, the more you do it, the more experience you get, and you learn from it.
But when I get home, my husband is always like, Your other kids. That makes me sound old. I don't like to think of them as my kids.
But, yeah, I mean, Melanie said it a few days ago, we've become a family. You know, it's nice to have the bond and the chemistry with everyone, try to help them in any which way I can.

Q. One word that's often applied to you is 'creative ,' in a number of different ways. In the charade game that's become a tradition, do you have one you're very proud of, something that was difficult for everyone else to guess?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I have to say it.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: We normally do movie charades, so we think of movie titles. I'm not too bad acting out. I've been on Mary Joe's team a couple times. I'm glad I can do that. I picked the movie title 'Bangkok Dangerous'. Liezel had to act it out. That was where?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: France. It's still memorable. Liezel, anytime she's acting, is very animated, very serious.
I actually don't think I've been on her team yet. She's rough on her team.
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: She's very competitive.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Super competitive, which is good for a tennis player. We have a blast. We're laughing so hard we're crying there.

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