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February 9, 2014

Lauren Davis

Mary Joe Fernandez

Madison Keys


6‑2, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Mary Joe, can you tell us a little bit of your decision to put in Alison instead of Madison.
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ:  Yeah.  We all got together last night and we were trying to come up with our best formula to attack that first match.  We thought maybe someone with a clean slate that could rush Knapp would do well against her.
Alie likes indoors, likes to come forward, come to the net.  I thought they did a good job.  I thought Knapp played really, really well, especially the pressure moments.  Really outplayed us both days.  I thought all three outplayed us.  They were very, very strong.  Unfortunately we always had to play from behind a lot, which is always difficult.
I think all three matches there were either breakpoints or game points that we weren't able to convert.  It was an uphill battle all of the time.

Q.  You must be pleased that Alison pushed her in both sets.
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ:  The thing I'm most proud of with all of them is how they competed, how they represented their country and how they handled the pressure of playing Fed Cup for the first time.
They really had the best attitudes.  Everybody tried as hard as they could.  That's all I can ask.  To me, even though we didn't win, I told the team it feels like the beginning of something, something special.  The team had tremendous chemistry, probably one of my best weeks ever as Fed Cup captain.  I loved every minute of it.
We keep improving and building.  It's just a process, we've got to get better.  Everybody's got the potential to improve and keep going from here.

Q.  Lauren, what was it like stepping out there when the tie was already decided?  How did you focus on your match?
LAUREN DAVIS:  It was really great.  The atmosphere was amazing.  The crowd was very supportive.  They were very loud.  I was just going to go out there, have fun, enjoy the moment, really enjoy playing my first Fed Cup match for my country.

Q.  How often do you play doubles?  Have you played with Madison before?
LAUREN DAVIS:  Yeah, we've played.  We played a couple times.

Q.  Lauren, how many people do you estimate were in attendance that know you personally?  25?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ:  Half the crowd (laughter).
LAUREN DAVIS:  Maybe like 50.  Like basically my whole hometown, which is small, so...

Q.  Any celebrations for you tonight or have they already taken place with your family and friends?
LAUREN DAVIS:  Maybe, yeah, a little celebration with my team and with my family.

Q.  Madison, tennis is an individual sport, but obviously Fed Cup is a team sport.  How did you feel when you found out that Alison is going to play last night?
MADISON KEYS:  We were all part of the decision.  We all sat down and we talked about it.
Putting Alison in doesn't mean Mary Joe doesn't think I'm a good player, that I can't win.  But it was just maybe it will be a surprise element, maybe it will be a different ball, they won't expect it.
There were a lot of different things that went into that decision.  I was part of the decision to put Alison in.

Q.  Ladies, what is next for you guys?
LAUREN DAVIS:  I head to Midland tomorrow.
MADISON KEYS:  I'm going to Acapulco and then Indian Wells, Miami.

Q.  Mary Joe, another playoff likelihood.  You can never tell with the seeds.  Likelihood it will be either Canada or Poland, which would be a draw, France would be home, Argentina would be away.  Any thoughts on any of those nations?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ:  I've got to think about it.

Q.  Argentina would be away.  France would be home.  Canada and Poland would be a draw.
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ:  We always prefer to play at home, that's for sure.  Really no preference.  Whatever happens happens.  Those are all great teams.  It's going to be tough.  We played Sweden last year in the playoffs.  That was a tough matchup.
My first choice is whoever we play, we play at home.  So hopefully not Argentina, I guess.

Q.  Mary Joe, how did you see this team improve throughout the week?  What were some of the surprises you saw out of any of the girls?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ:  Like I said before, my team had great chemistry.  They all worked really well together, encouraged each other, I feel motivated each other to bring out the best from each other.
That's what you want as a captain.  It's unique, it's different.  We don't have this week after week.  I'm hoping they continue to support each other on the tour, push each other.
But I thought everybody's game improved.  Like I said before, tough matchups.  The Italians I thought played as well as they could play.  We tried to disrupt them as much as we could, but it wasn't enough.

Q.  Mary Joe, you say this was one of your best weeks as a captain and you felt the team bonded.  Would you be to the point where you would say this is the team you think you would choose going into a playoff or you put the other girls who aren't here into the mix?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ:  I think everybody knows that if Serena Williams is healthy and wants to play, she always has a spot on the team.  She's been very supportive throughout the years.  She was writing us during the matches, watching it live stream.
If she's healthy and can play, she has a spot for sure.

Q.  What was she writing?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ:  The first one, when Christina was playing, she was like, Okay, she can come back.  Tell her to hit more forehands.  She was like play‑by‑play on each match.  When Maddie was playing, Oh, my gosh, this girl is playing well.  Tell her to hang in there.
I was actually looking at my phone while they were playing.
She was very supportive, wishing the girls luck, that they can do it.  She was happy that the attitudes were so good on everyone and how they had that team spirit.

Q.  Lauren, how can this experience help your game going forward?
LAUREN DAVIS:  Well, I mean, I've never really been part of a team thing.  This is all pretty new for me.
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ:  We'll find out (laughter).

Q.  Mary Joe, what needs to happen with your team to have a team like Italy has?  Is it experience?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ:  The Italians have a lot of depth.  I think that's the direction we're heading in.  We're starting to have a lot of depth and a lot of choices.  The hardest part as captain this week was all four could have played all the matches.  I was looking at head‑to‑heads, looking at the surface.  It's exciting because there's a lot of possibilities.
A lot of our players were injured and were not here, so we do have a good group of young players.  We have the veteran in Serena.  But it's exciting because there is more depth.  As time goes by, it would be great to formulate that kind of team like the Italians have.

Q.  I know there's really no control, but did the schedule work a little bit against Fed Cup this weekend?  Obviously, Errani and Vinci had to be in Doha.  Sloane is in Doha.
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ:  Are you sure Sloane is in Doha?  She had a wrist injury.

Q.  Karin Knapp, they told her she has to be there to play Tuesday, so she's arriving Tuesday.
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ:  It's a big challenge.  Listen, I respect and admire my team's decision to play Fed Cup over Doha.  Maddie was in it.  There was qualifying.  Alie, too.  Christina maybe, too.
It's tough.  There's tournaments every week.  There's points to be won every week.  Fed Cup comes not very often.  So if you can make this a priority, I think it's incredible.
I think you get a lot out of it.  As a player, some of my fondest memories.  I hope that this team, you know, also going forward realizes what a great honor and opportunity it is to have these weeks.
But I do understand the challenges.  That was one of Venus' challenges.  She had to play Tuesday, had to get there to play.  You have to make those decisions, what's your priority, what's important to you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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