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September 6, 2010
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
TIM CURRY: Thank you, everyone, for joining us today's press conference for USTA player development. We have Patrick McEnroe, who took over as the first general manager of the player development program in May of 1998, hired in April of 1998; four months later, he hired JosÃ© Higueras as director of coaching.
We'll start off with general comments from Patrick about the player development program, and he will then make a Davis Cup announcement, as well.
PATRICK McENROE: Good morning, everybody. First off, JosÃ© and I thought it would be good during the Open to kind of get together and talk a little bit about the program and obviously answer any questions that anybody has.
But we've been kind of working together now for two years, took over just about two-and-a-half years ago, hired JosÃ© right about this time this year. We feel very good about the strides we've made with our player development program.
We obviously feel there is plenty more to be done. We're going to talk a little bit more about the structure of what we've put together both with our program and also how we've reached out to coaches and academies and people out there that are not officially part of the USTA, and the strides we've made in that area, as well.
I'd also like to announce that I have decided on a four-man team for the next match against Colombia in our Davis Cup match. The team will be consisting of Mardy Fish, Sam Querrey, John Isner, and Ryan Harrison will be the four-man team for this relegation match.
I'm also here to announce that this will be my last tie as the Davis Cup captain; officially resigning after we finish this relegation match to focus more on what JosÃ© and I have been working on for the last couple of years in player development, and obviously to focus, as well, at home on the family.
But the player development certainly is a huge reason for why I'm deciding that now is the right time to step aside. We have a great core group of young players coming up. In fact, pretty much all the four players on the team for this tie against Bogota are directly getting support from us in the USTA and player development in some way, shape, or form. We feel very optimistic about that.
We also feel that down the road there's a lot of young players coming up that we feel pretty optimistic about. It's a lot to digest. For me obviously it's mixed emotions for me because of what Davis Cup has meant to me for ten years, to the players that have supported it. But I feel now is a good time for a transition, and I can focus on my professional energies, player development, and obviously will still be very involved with the team and who plays on the team and supporting the guys that are part of the team.
So we strongly feel that Davis Cup/Fed Cup, is a total team effort, and player development is obviously a big part of that. We'll take any questions on any of those topics, and do the best we can to answer them.
Q. Obviously over the years seems the Spanish have taken over a good portion of winnings in the top 20. And you see a lot of these results, and I've heard you on television point to the fact that American players need to get a little better on clay to compete and stay in the top 20. Obviously with having Mr. Higueras join your team seems as though that's going to be a big part of your future development of players. Is that true, or would it be better in the USTA's interests to maybe -- I don't know what your flexibility is on speeding up the courts so that the American players can stay on top the game.
PATRICK McENROE: The Spanish are doing pretty well here. I think it's a good question. I think I'll let JosÃ© answer it, as well. But, you know, we're trying to -- we're not trying -- we're developing our players, particularly at our three main training centers here in New York, which just started this year right here at the National Tennis Center, out in Los Angeles at the Home Depot Center, and our main center in Florida where kids can come and stay there and live there.
We have clay courts at all those facilities. If there weren't parking out there right now on Parking Lot A, you would see the clay courts. They will be back two weeks after the Open ends.
Your question is a good one. We're looking to develop the all-around players, okay, not specifically to make them better on clay. Obviously we would like that to happen, as well. But as you're seeing around the world, the more you develop on clay and other surfaces - and indoor fast court, as well - but if you can get the base of your game built with a lot of clay court work, we feel that will translate into just being a better player, period. Not just being a better clay court period.
I'll let JosÃ© add to that, too.
JOSÃ‰ HIGUERAS: Good morning, everybody. Along the same lines, if we look at tennis, how it has changed last 10, 15 years with the technology, the field again has been equalized quite a bit. The US Open is definitely the fastest Grand Slam. Maybe Wimbledon is pretty faster, but the balls are a lot heavier.
So this has done is that the back-court game has become more important. Also big serves have become more important. So that's why you see so many Spanish guys do well and South American players do well. The game is more for the back court and big servers. It's a little less net play.
We see even young Ryan the other day is a good serve and volleyer, and I think the game has developed into a situation where there is going to be more and more complete players.
Q. The follow-up question, I suppose, is what is the flexibility of the USTA in making the courts - because I know that they changed the courts in 2003, I think...
PATRICK McENROE: You're talking about the courts here for the Open?
Q. Yeah. Just in general, what is the flexibility of each tournament to be able to slow the speed down of a court?
PATRICK McENROE: They're all a little bit different. Obviously Wimbledon has changed the surface over the years. We're going to make the courts -- I don't want to speak for Jim Curley who is director of the US Open -- but no major is going to make the courts specifically for their players. I mean, that just is unfair. You don't do that.
But the courts vary over the years, and I think that the US Open is, you know, a great test of being an all-around player.
We need better players, you know. We can do what with the court what we want in Davis Cup, and we do that. Then we go to Spain, they slow the courts down for us, and when they come here we try to speed 'em up. So that's part of Davis Cup; that shouldn't be part of what the Grand Slams are.
TIM CURRY: One point of note also, you will find in here, US Open Daily today, that Spain with six players in the round of 16 is the most by any foreign country at the US Open since 1969 when it tied Australia.
So the presence of Spain with six, with the best showing of foreign country on hard courts, is a point of note, as well.
Q. Since you took this role, you've had a real emphasis on inclusivity on player development rather than an exclusive elite program, and, you know, the local, regional, national centers feeding from local areas. What does that mean when the USTA is now trying to work with private academies and coaches? Because it's a matter of money, it's a matter of intellectual property, different styles. Can you talk about, you know, how that road has been trying to make it inclusive from that end?
PATRICK McENROE: It's a work in progress, but we've made a lot of progress. I give JosÃ© a huge amount of credit for that. I mean, our program has touched -- in this year alone, will touch over 1000 coaches outside of our USTA staff and our program.
We're making a concerted effort to do that. The bottom line is this: We want to do what's best for the player, period. We're well aware there are a lot of great coaches and a lot of great people out there that have done a lot of work for many years with many young players, and we believe in what they do.
But we want them to believe in what we do, as well, you know. So my point is that, you know, it takes a village to make a player these days. I think there's a lot of different steps, and we want to support those players and we want to support the people that are working with them as much as we can and work together.
Q. Does that mean that if you want to work with a player, you're providing support like resources of people or...
PATRICK McENROE: People, yeah. We're not handing out any checks.
Q. Okay. Because in the old days wasn't it sending...
PATRICK McENROE: I don't know about the old days, but I know about these days. I know these days we're not handing out any checks. We want to know what the players are doing. We want to help them with the resources. USTA has given us in player development resources, and we want to use the resources that we have.
I mean, Ryan is a great example. He's coached by his father. His father has done a great job. He moved down to the Bollettieri Academy. They're working with him. When he goes on the road, he's on the road with a USTA coach. That's a great example of us all working together and trying to do what's best for that player.
TIM CURRY: JosÃ©, you want to speak of the coaching education program or anything along that question?
JOSÃ‰ HIGUERAS: Well, just following Patrick, it has been one of our main things when we go around of the country and have been talking to so many people. They are pretty amazed on how inclusive we are, because I always tell them I can probably go and coach somebody, one player, but I cannot coach a whole country.
To coach the whole country we have to get together and really make a big effort to get tennis in the U.S. where it belongs, which is at the top in my eyes. That's the message that we are delivering, and I think so far it has been accepted pretty well.
Q. How does player development work either in conjunction or complement the high-performance coaching?
PATRICK McENROE: It's really the same thing essentially. High performance coaching, we do workshops, we do coaching education, where we bring in coaches from around the country. You know, we did it here at the tennis center this spring where we brought in 35 coaches. We basically explained to them what our philosophy is, what JosÃ©'s coaching philosophy is, because, you know, he is the guy that's on the court. I want him to be on the court day in, day out, because, you know, we really -- again, we have these workshops, and we explain to them what we're doing. We want to hear what they're doing. We want to exchange as much information.
So the regional training centers that we've set up are where we're partnering with existing academies, call them clubs, whatever you want to call them, coaching centers, in areas where there's quite a few players. We hope to basically be in every section within the next couple of years. We're already spreading pretty quickly. Exchange information with them.
When they have camps, when they bring in all the kids from that area, we will send one or two of our coaches. We want to work with the coaches that are there, you know, that have been doing it for years and years.
Look, a lot of them, you know, have tremendous information and work with these kids day after day after day. So the idea is to kind of try to get everybody a little more on the same page with sharing information and what we're doing.
Obviously we don't want people to think that, Hey, well, the USTA is going to steal my player. That's obviously an issue, and the coaches that work with these players obviously have a huge influence on them. But again, hopefully we can get their trust and they'll trust us, we'll trust them. We'll all try to do it because we want to help American tennis.
You know, we had a workshop where we had coaches from all over the country, and there was a great line from one of the coaches that said, For years I felt I was a coach representing my academy or my club, and then for a while I thought, well maybe I was representing my state, which was Texas - he was a coach from Texas. He said, Now I'm starting to feel like I'm a coach for the U.S.
That's the kind of attitude that we want people to have.
Q. There has been a lot of debate this week about players who play college versus ones who go pro at age 18. How do you balance training for someone who is ready at 17 or 18 versus someone who might need to wait till 21 or 22?
PATRICK McENROE: That's a great question. Look, I think we lost a group of players that went to college, that went to pro too early that weren't ready physically and emotionally.
We're certainly trying to support the players that are in college. I think we're even going to see more female players now because of the later development in the women's game.
So again, we've reached out to the college coaches. We've reached out to them. We've brought quite a few of them in for a training week or two when I was at Wimbledon; we brought them down to Florida. We want to work with them, but we want them to work with us, too.
So we want it to be a complete team effort. But obviously I think it's an individual choice for the player. I mean, Ryan Harrison, for example, is good enough that he's going straight pro. We've got quite a few kids that have been in our program even in Boca that they went off to go to college.
So I think, you know, college tennis can be a huge part of becoming a successful pro.
Q. When you say a USTA coach goes on the road with Harrison, what does that mean? How does that work? What is he doing in that situation?
JOSÃ‰ HIGUERAS: Well, what we do with a player that comes from another academy or another program, we talk with the coach, get some of the information from our coach, or information that the coaches have.
Normally four eyes see more than two. There is good contact with the personal coach where this player comes from, and it starts developing a relationship to benefit the player. That's basically what we do.
It's not getting the player and just keeping him ourselves. Hopefully these coaches can spend also some training week with the player, which is when you can really do some more adjustments to the game. But normally these players' work is not a one-on-one situation.
Normally they go with another player or two, so it's normally two or three players in trying to form these little more team spirit to help our kids. So far it's been working well.
Q. I mean, is part of the point to that is when the guy is traveling he just won't be alone? He'll have some sort of extra support situation because he's not with his normal coach?
JOSÃ‰ HIGUERAS: Well, we try to get rid of the baby-sitting business. So it's not really for them not to be alone, it's for them to keep learning what it takes to become a professional player, meaning that sometimes you play matches and you practice after matches.
It's learning just how to be a professional. That's main reason in my eyes why we have the coaches with the players.
Q. One of the refrains that I've heard for many years is that the USTA tries to pick winners when they're in the 12s and 14s and just sort of, you know, focuses a lot of resources, financial and coaching, on those particular players. Is what you're saying an admission that that really is, A, not true or didn't work?
PATRICK McENROE: Well, I think that, you know, it's hard to pick who's going to be a great player. Obviously results matter, and they matter more the older you get, I believe. But I think with the work we're doing with the regional training centers and the coaching education, I think we realize that some players will develop later.
I think, you know, you're never going to be 100% right. You might have the best 12 and under kid, and they may get sick of tennis. You just don't really know, I think. But your question is a really good one, and it's one we certainly think about a lot when we're looking at kids that, say, we want to invite full time to come to Boca.
So are the rankings part it have? Yeah, they're part of it, but they're not the whole equation. You know, one of the things I think that can happen with what we're trying to do is that we raised the bar for everybody. You know, I think if we do our job well, if the players we work with get better, the other players are going to get better. That's how you get better in tennis. You have to compete with other players that are as good.
And I love it when our players, the ones we work with full time, go and they get beat up by another kid from another program and that gets them excited. I mean, that's all good. We're in this together. We don't care if they came through our program. We want Americans. We want to do what's best for Americans.
So I don't really have an answer for what happened in the past. All I can tell you is that that's something we take seriously. I mean, we look at the kids and who we think has the right attitude and the right game and all those things. I tell parents all the time, We're not always going to be right. We're not always going to be right. Neither are you, by the way.
I try to save that for the last comment (Laughter.) We're in this because we care. We want to see American tennis do well. We want to see, you know, the tide rise for everybody.
Q. You mentioned players at national training centers, for example, going to college, and you take that on a case-by-case basis. Is the USTA - or maybe this doesn't come under your responsibility - active in trying to get more Americans at these top schools?
PATRICK McENROE: No, that's not something that we have control over. That's an NCAA situation. By the way, the kids decide and their parents decide what they want to do. Well, we'll give them advice if they want it, what we think they should do.
But as far as -- we want to make better players. If we make better players, better players will go to the bigger schools, whatever it may be, and we feel like the rest will take care of itself. We want the coaches at those schools that have the best American players to support us, too.
Q. You were talking about the women developing a little later. You see Venus and Schiavone, 30 years old, and the days when 15 year olds coming out and winning a slam, or 16. Can you talk about why that is, you think?
PATRICK McENROE: I think it's just because the women have gotten better, and they've gotten physically more imposing they're just stronger and faster. It's just an evolution of the game. So you mature a little bit later. We're seeing some real talent at the college level.
Obviously I still think that the women can mature a little bit earlier. But you see now, I mean, I think Wozniacki is the only one who is even 20, right? They're mostly mid- to late-20s.
There's no doubt that you can mature later on the women's side. It's mostly the nature of the technology and physicality of the women, the athleticism.
Q. What's a bigger problem to you, the culture of coaching, which you've been talking about a lot, or the numbers game, just how many young kids are playing in the U.S.?
PATRICK McENROE: It's a combination. I mean, it's obviously a huge initiative within the USTA and tennis overall as QuickStart, and getting more kids getting racquets in their hands, get them playing at a younger age. That's No. 1.
So we can all join in and do that. Coaching I think we can do a better job, as well. We don't take the excuse that, oh, well, tennis isn't as popular and better athletes in other countries. We don't use that. That's a losing game.
We're in for a winning game, and we believe that there's a lot of great kids out there that love tennis that are athletic. We would love to see more.
I'll let JosÃ© answer a little bit about the coaching aspect of it, as well.
JOSÃ‰ HIGUERAS: Well, I have a couple comments about the coaches that we have been in contact with. Two things, in college tennis, we had 25 of the best coaches in the country come to Boca when we were having a camp for the players, also. It has been a traveling team for the summer with all our coaches and couple of college coaches.
So the whole idea was to try to see, to bridge the gap of the kids that go to college, and hopefully get some players, some pro players out of those kids. As Patrick was saying, sometimes they're not ready mentally or physically, or maybe their games are not mature enough.
So it was a great experience. We spend with them like four days. I think it's a matter of working together. We put a program together for these kids that are really interested in playing, and we're going to visit the schools to see how the program goes and get some continuity to these kids that want to have a chance to play pro. That was one thing.
The other thing is, as Patrick said before, we had a group of coaches, some of the best coaches in the country, here in New York, including probably our most famous coach, Nick Bollettieri came.
It's not a matter of lecturing anybody. It's a matter of getting together and talking about tennis. Everybody brings their ideas, and like that hopefully benefit our kids.
So those are a couple of ways that we are really trying to touch everybody. I been on the court probably three or four days since I started this job and just putting our philosophy together in our regional training centers and our coach's education. So I think so far it's working pretty well.
PATRICK McENROE: It's time for you to get back on the court.
JOSÃ‰ HIGUERAS: No, I can wait. (Laughter.) I can wait.
Q. Return to Davis Cup for a minute, obviously you said it's been ten years. What have you enjoyed mostly being Davis Cup captain? What do you think you will miss most about it?
PATRICK McENROE: The guys, the camaraderie of the team; you know, representing the country has been an unbelievable source of pride.
You know, from when the USTA first hired me with the team that was in place, then till now, it's been just an amazing journey. There has been incredible support for me and for the team, and, you know, I have been very appreciative of it. I'll miss the team, the guys, but obviously I'll still be around them with this job.
But, you know, there's nothing like working out there with a group of guys that you love and respect. And having the National Anthem played, there's nothing like that. There never will be anything like that for me again, you know, professionally.
But they take a lot of pride in what we're doing with our program, and this job is really more day to day, you know, and on it all the time. It's something I think about all the time. Even when I'm on TV, I'm on my BlackBerry and I'm thinking about it constantly.
I just felt that it was a right time for me to step aside. We've got a great new group of guys, and I hope that, you know, the next person can have the same experiences that I had.
Q. Do you have an idea who the next person will be or will you make any suggestions?
PATRICK McENROE: I don't. Do you? No. (Laughter.)
I don't think now is the time for that. But I'm going to, No. 1, is to try to get through this match in Colombia, because it's not going to be easy. That's my big priority right now, is to get the guys down there and get ready for that match and keep us in the World Group.
Because I think with this group of players that we have, I mean, we've got a great chance to win it, you know. I said when I first took the job that I wanted players that were committed to the team, that really wanted to be there, and we were able to do that, and then to basically have a chance to win it.
Obviously we won it once, and we got to the finals and had a couple good years. We had great years all the time, but it's not easy to win it, obviously, consistently. Nobody really can.
But to put together the best guys that we have that are really committed to playing and representing the country.
TIM CURRY: Just a couple points of note: Patrick has been the captain since 2001. This is his 10th year, which makes him the longest tenured Davis Cup captain in U.S. history. He has a 16-9 record currently. His 16 wins is second all-time in the U.S. to Tom Gorman's 18, to just kind of qualify the success he's had, and of course led the team to the title in 2007, its first since 1995.
Q. Seems to me Davis Cup aside, it seems to me that tennis is such a global support. It's a support without borders, really, coaches, players, so forth.
PATRICK McENROE: Right.
Q. But given that, is there something to be learned or that has been learned from the way the Spaniards do it?
PATRICK McENROE: Sure. That's why we're, you know...
Q. And specifically if so, what is it?
PATRICK McENROE: I'll let JosÃ© talk about that a little bit.
JOSÃ‰ HIGUERAS: I thought you wanted to.
PATRICK McENROE: I'll be happy to when you're done.
JOSÃ‰ HIGUERAS: Well, we look at the Spanish players, there are a couple of things that they do great which are very important when you play tennis. One, they move great. They're moving every direction, laterally, diagonally, forward, back.
Another very important thing, they play great percentages. The unforced errors normally are going to be less generally than the rest of the players.
The third one is that their shot tolerance is pretty high with a good quality shot. Those are the three things that I believe makes them so successful.
Q. Is this something that their system has kind of drummed into them?
JOSÃ‰ HIGUERAS: Well, they pay attention to that. I mean, tennis the winners are very important, they look better, but the unforced errors count the same.
So the point, you hit one point out, if you hit a winner, the other guy misses it, or girl. So they teach once again to be consistent without pushing. I wouldn't say that that Nadal is a pusher. I mean, he has an extremely heavy ball. They're great movers, great percentage players, and very aggressive with very good shot tolerance.
That's something that they practice obviously every day.
Q. So you think it's not the athletes that they have versus ours, it's what they're focusing on?
PATRICK McENROE: Absolutely not. I believe that is what they learn.
Q. You had great success coaching Jim Courier, I believe, right, to win his French Open title? So what specifically are you doing on court, both strategically and tactically, to combat this Spanish Armada?
PATRICK McENROE: If you go out and watch the juniors and watch -- the Spanish, they don't have that many juniors really, but they don't play as many events, junior events. But you see a difference when you see our kids play about the things that I just mentioned, about the shot tolerance, their percentage plays, and their movement.
So the other thing is that to really have an impact on that, you have to start with younger kids. It's very difficult to get somebody that is 15, 16, 17 years old to change those habits. It becomes tougher and tougher.
So that's how our philosophy said, you know, with parameters, with parameters on technique, parameters on movement, and parameters on the shot tolerance. The younger you get the kids, then the easier it is for them to grow up and understand the concept.
Q. Could you define shot tolerance for me?
JOSÃ‰ HIGUERAS: It means when you can play more than one shot or two, as many as you need to stay in the point, and not lose advantage on the point.
Basically one second you can hit the ball, you can hit the ball that lands close to the baseline a couple inches from the net; you can you hit it when it goes three feet over the net. Effectiveness is the same, but you can probably hit a lot more when you go three feet above the net. That is shot tolerance.
Q. Not putting yourself on the defensive?
JOSÃ‰ HIGUERAS: No, that's a huge misconception, and that's something that when you're working with kids that haven't grown up with that concept. If you say, You gotta be a little more aggressive, and then everything is a thousand miles an hour.
Then you say, You gotta play a little more consistent, then everything is a push. So the reason a middle ground, which is normally the shots that are used more in tennis. So it's not about playing defensive, it's about playing good percentages.
Q. Why do Spanish players know that?
JOSÃ‰ HIGUERAS: Because they're taught it.
PATRICK McENROE: They're taught it.
JOSÃ‰ HIGUERAS: They're taught it at the beginning. I mean, for them, accountability about missing is very, very important. And it also comes with the surface that you grow up with. If you grow up on hard courts, on a fast surface, missing becomes a lot more normal because the courts are faster and you don't have much chance to get set up. Which on clay, the misses is normally not as acceptable.
Q. You look at our greatest champions in our history, and many of them were all-court players. When kids are young, trying to teach them an all-court game, like Sampras, who took a lot of lumps in the juniors, how challenging is that trying to encourage the kids, that, Hey, look at the big picture; you might have to take some losses to develop down the road kind of thing?
JOSÃ‰ HIGUERAS: Well, my belief is that you reward the kids when they're young about making the right decisions, and the right decisions are about doing the right things that give you the tools to be able to keep getting better as you go older.
That's obviously the job of the coach or the teacher to convey that message to the player. If the message is, You win, you're great; you lose you suck, more than likely the kid is going to do whatever it takes to win.
So it's extremely important, and that's one of core things about what we're doing, is to give the kids the tools to give them a chance to keep getting better as they get older.
Q. One of the past criticisms of our kids is maybe they've been coddled and a little bit softer. Is that accurate or has that changed or how do you view that?
PATRICK McENROE: I think it's somewhat accurate. We have to constantly fight against it, because there's a lot of entities out there that want to know how come such-and-such didn't get a wildcard.
We're trying to set the example that if you earn it, you're going to have a better chance to succeed, period. Whether that's getting a wildcard into the qualifying of the juniors here or whether that's getting one in the main draw, you know.
But it's a great question. It's a question that we can talk about for hours, you know, about putting pressure on young kids, you know, whether it's in baseball or any sport, you know, the parents yelling on the sideline and all that stuff. You know, even to Collette's question about just success of young kids. So they're No. 1 in the 12s; what does that mean?
So, you know, we've made a conscious effort to hire some coaches that have a little more experience, working with young kids specifically, now that we're in charge of some of these young kids on a more full-time basis. Obviously we've got coaches that have a lot of experience with pros and with the transition of getting to the pros, which is obviously important.
But we've also hired some coaches that are really more trained in younger kids. You know, those kids that are 10, 11, 12, 13, to work with them so that we don't become so obsessed with how they do in the nationals.
Q. You mentioned, JosÃ©, that the Spaniards don't really play as many junior tournaments. In addition to the tactical stuff you talked about, can you talk about just about the philosophy in this country there's so much emphasis on the juniors, you know, from the parents and everything? It's like, you know, like you said, who is the No. 1, 12, No. 1 whatever. In Spain they don't seem to do that. They don't care, right?
JOSÃ‰ HIGUERAS: It's not as important. I think they still play junior tournaments, but they use it more as a tool. They use it as a tool of development for the kid. It's not so the kid becomes top 10 in the world in juniors, because at the end of the day it doesn't really matter. It matters what he does after he becomes -- to play with the big people.
I was going to just make one comment about the previous question. You know, we hire a coach, Diego Moyano; he's a very good coach. I know him for a long time.
He says to me the other day, JosÃ©, I'm pretty amazed with the way how people react to the wildcards here. In Argentina or wherever, he says, if you get a wildcard, it makes you feel that you are bad. I mean, that you're not a good player, so that's why you get a wildcard. (Laughter.)
Here, if you don't get a wildcard you get really upset because you feel that you should be in the draw. So I thought that was a pretty interesting way of seeing things. So I think we have to try to reverse that.
If you're not in the draw, there's a good reason you're not in the draw. Hopefully we can do that.
TIM CURRY: We'll have one more question. Just a reminder, we do have an informational packet on the player development program which describes the coaching philosophy, the inclusive nature of the program, and some of the structures that would apply there that has been reorganized since Patrick and JosÃ© took over.
So please reference that and if you have any questions.
Q. JosÃ©, I don't mean to be personal with this question, but I'm wondering if you're an American citizen, because so much of your professional life has been spent here with American players. Do you have any tinges of being a traitor because you're Spanish, you know the system, you're coming here, you're helping the Americans? Can you tell me if you're a citizen and how long have you been here professionally and how you feel about that?
JOSÃ‰ HIGUERAS: Well, I will answer you briefly: I love tennis, and if somebody likes tennis, then more than likely I like him or her also. It doesn't matter what language they speak, how they look, or anything.
Second part of the question, I'm not a citizen. I love this country, obviously. I've been living here for 30 years. I have two children that were born here, one of them, my daughter, Jenna, is right here.
So if it means more to me to get a passport, I would. I don't think I could love this country any more because of a piece of paper. That's how I will answer.
TIM CURRY: We will have a press release about the Davis Cup team named for Colombia and about Patrick's other announcement. Thank you for joining us. We will have a transcript of this press conference, as well.
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