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November 6, 2010

Mary Joe Fernandez

Bethanie Mattek-Sands


F. PENNETTA/B. Mattek-Sands
7-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Mary Joe, do you know who is going to play tomorrow? How is Bethanie physically?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: Well, she can answer that one.
And, we're going to play it by ear. See how she's doing in the morning.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: We'll see. Obviously I started cramping at the beginning of the second set. It's a little tough to move around, especially the points me and Flavia were playing. I feel like I was playing well. Definitely had my chances, but it happens.

Q. Just cramping in the right calf?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: It was both calves and shins actually.

Q. Bethanie, was that nerves or lack of play over the last six weeks?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: No, I'm actually not a very cramp-prone player. I've been sick the last couple days. The only other two times in my career I've cramped, I've been sick.

Q. You have a flu or sinus?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Sinus, sore throat, stuff like that.

Q. Mary Joe, do you want to assess the day overall?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: I thought Coco handled the match very well. Handled the occasion, the nerves. She was very nervous before she went out there. She went out and did everything I asked her to do.
I think it was a little unlucky not to win that first service game. I think that would have calmed her down even more. I think every service game she lost in the first set she had game point. That was tough. She couldn't get into any of Schiavone's service games.
But great effort for her in the second set to compete. Again, she was trying to make the right plays, trying to do the right thing out there. Schiavone was just too good.
She didn't give anything away. She made really good decisions every single time. Besides a couple faults there towards the end, I thought Schiavone just outplayed Coco.

Q. Can you talk about the role experience played and if you think that was a factor in what happened in the matches? And you're not going to make any lineup changes until tomorrow?
You know, experience obviously is a great thing. Having been there during the pressure moments, team competition, is huge. But the only way to get the experience is by going out there and doing it.
For Coco, it was huge for her today. I have a lot of faith she's going to be in a lot more Fed Cup teams, a lot more matches, so this will help her for the next one, so on, so forth. Sort of like when Mel started, she was really nervous, got her way through. Every time she's played since, she's been better. It's a matter of getting better, improving.
For me, this younger generation is starting to do the right things. They're starting to develop as players, not just hitters. That's why I'm encouraged.
Bethanie, you know, was one point away from winning that first set against Pennetta. Sort of the same thing, she had a lot of games early on where she could have won them and didn't. She got down 5-1, where I thought she should be up 4-2. She was down 5-1 and still battled back. That was a great effort.
Bethanie has learned you have to be able to play the long rallies, construct points. That's why she's done so well this season. So if we can get that mentally instilled in the young generation, I think we're going to be in good shape.

Q. A captain would have a bigger role than usual with a young player going into such a huge situation. You said she did everything you asked her to do. What did you tell her as a young player?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: I was trying to have her focus on certain plays, certain patterns, you know, on the serve, mixing up her spots. She gets a little predictable sometimes. I thought she did a good job with her variation.
With someone like Schiavone, you have to push her back but not go for the big one right away. You have to consistently be hitting the heavy ball to the backhand. Whenever she had a chance to come in on the backhand, she did that. A couple times she misfired a little bit, but she was at the right place at the right time.

Q. What did you tell her after the match?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: I told her I was proud of her. She did everything that was expected, that was in her control. A lot of stuff is not in your control on the court. Obviously, Schiavone had a lot to do with that.
In my book, she did a great job.

Q. Bethanie, can you talk about that 5-1 lead that she had, you fought back, you did have that set point. Talk about your emotions a little bit, how disappointed you were after that.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: You know what, I just went on to the second set. It was not a big deal. I came back. I probably should have not let myself get into such a big hole. But, you know, it was another set. That's why you have three sets to win it.

Q. There was one point where she double-faulted, it was challenged, overruled. You turned and smiled at Mary Joe. Do you feel like a little bit after that there was a lapse of focus on that next point?

Q. Bethanie, it's hard to breathe when you have a sinus infection or sore throat. How difficult is it to go out and play or do you try to forget about it?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I was feeling pretty good in yesterday's practice and today. I mean, it's something that you just got to deal with. Obviously, I've been sick before and played before. But you just try and forget about it and do what you can.

Q. How you came back in the first set, do you think you picked up your level or did her's fall a little or was it a combination?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I think I started making some of the shots that I was missing to go down 5-1. I don't think I was playing badly. I missed a couple key points. They were close shots. I think most of them were the right shots. I just brought them in a little bit and that's why I came back.

Q. Mary Joe, nobody has come back from 0-2 down in the finals. What kind of pep talk can you give?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: Do you guys have any advice (laughter)?
You know, we'll see. I mean, hopefully I'll come up with a real good one. Again, it's about not so much the outcome but the process, how you play the game, how you're playing your points, controlling what's in your power.
If they do that, that's all I can ask for.

Q. Mary Joe, you said earlier this week you wanted the crowd to be as vocal as possible. Stadium was probably not half full. But the fans were there.
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: They were. They were really, really good. We could hear them. I actually thought the Italians had quite a few people. Was impressed with how many people came out to support them. That's nice.
Again, you feel like every point during Fed Cup is a big point because right away you get the crowd involved. That's something that's very special and unique about when you play for your country.

Q. Bethanie, what are your feelings about the doubles match as the final match and often is rendered meaningless?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: That's one of the options they're thinking of change.
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: It's something on the table. We're hoping to get it to the third.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Yeah, I think it would make it more interesting. I obviously like to play doubles. I have a pretty good record with Liezel in Fed Cup for doubles. I wouldn't mind it going for a third and having it count, for sure.

Q. Would it bother you if someone with the ITF said we don't want people to play doubles, would it bother you playing doubles and playing a meaningful singles match?

Q. The same day. If you had to play a singles match afterwards.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Oh, I don't know. Wouldn't it be three on Saturday and two on Sunday?

Q. Then somebody could win on Saturday.
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: They do that in Davis Cup. You could win before Sunday.

Q. But that is over three days.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I don't know. I guess that's kind of interesting. I hadn't thought about it. I've never played a doubles match before a singles. Obviously it's the rule on the WTA, ITF, that you don't ever do that.
But, I mean, it's a doubles match.

Q. Bethanie, can you talk about a big deficit going into tomorrow. But this team is sort of used to the role of being the underdog. And, Mary Joe, can you characterize the mood of the team right now.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Yeah, I mean, down Love-2 is not the best situation. But tomorrow is a new day. I'll be up first I think tomorrow, barring how I feel tonight. We have a chance still. We're not completely out of it. We have to play great.
It's like any other tournament during the season: you lose and you got to play again. Everybody loses every week unless you win the tournament, and there's not that many of those. It's something you've got to get used to.
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: The mood. I mean, again, they fought hard. We haven't really all been together. We'll have dinner now. It will pick up once we start playing our charades.

Q. You said you liked possibly how Melanie could play against Flavia. Could you talk about that? But also with Coco, she seemed to find her level in the second set. Maybe tomorrow she goes out and doesn't necessarily play nervous. Talk about weighing the possibilities.
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ: Yeah, I mean, we'll first have to see how Bethanie is doing. But we have the option. We can have the option for Mel to play first or Mel to play against Pennetta. I think Mel's game matches well against Pennetta's. Her consistency, her speed. Pennetta doesn't have the ball that can totally outplay Mel.
So it's a very big possibility that if we get to that stage that Melanie would probably play.

Q. Bethanie, it's tough enough to play a big-pressure situation under the best of circumstances. You're playing for your country. You have a sinus infection, not feeling well. Talk about the tiebreak. You had a couple volleys that didn't quite go your way. Your level dropped.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: You know, I don't know that my level dropped. If I had to do it all over again, I'd do the same thing. So, you know, I missed it by a couple inches. It's nothing bad.

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