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April 16, 2014

Mary Joe Fernandez

Madison Keys

Varvara Lepchenko

Christina McHale

Sloane Stephens


THE MODERATOR:  Thank you to Team USA for being with us today.  We'll take questions.  Please speak into the microphone as this is being transcribed.  Okay?
First question.

Q.  This is for everybody:  All of you are of that generation where they're saying you're the next generation for United States women.  What do you think you have to do individually to fulfill this promise?  Is it winning Majors?  Going deep?  Cracking the top 10?  What do you think you have to do to actually fulfil that promise of being the next generation for United States tennis?
CHRISTINA McHALE:  I mean, yeah, I think obviously if you're making it into the second week of slams and making it far, I mean, obviously ranking takes care of itself.
I think all we can focus on is doing what we're doing, keep on working hard every day in practice, and then hopefully the results will take care of themselves.
MADISON KEYS:  Yeah, a lot like Christina said.  Having your goals, work on them.  Obviously we all want to be in the finals of Grand Slams and winning and being top 10.
I think we're all just really focused on the things that we each individually need to do, and just try to keep doing them every day so hopefully one day we get there.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  What they said.  Hard work, dedication.  That's all.  (Laughter.)
VARVARA LEPCHENKO:  You know, just focusing like what they said.  The same.  I join the girls.
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ:  I don't have to work hard anymore.  (Laughter.)
No, it's been fun for me to watch all of these women develop through the years and get experience and mature.  It's exciting.  We have been really fortunate in this country because we've always had top players.
We continue to work hard and do the best that we can.  When I started FedCup I want to say six years ago we only had three players in the top 100 from the United States and now we're up to about 11.  And probably more coming soon.
So we're moving in the right direction and everybody is having great results.

Q.  This is also for any of you:  I just wonder what it's like to come and prepare and get ready and play in an event like this as opposed to the regular grind of playing in tournaments?  Any extra excitement?  A different feel to it playing for your country?
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ:  Who wants it?  Go ahead, Sloane.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  You're playing for your country so obviously a little bit more behind it.  I think being with the team and being with the girls it gives you that extra boost.  I think it's a bit tough because there is a lot of pressure; you want to do well; you're representing your country.
Got to just go out there and do your thing, and hopefully everything goes well.

Q.  Anyone else?  Thoughts?
CHRISTINA McHALE:  Yeah, no, I would just add it's always exciting.  I think FedExCup weeks are always a lot of fun of we have good practices and hang out after.
So it's just a really fun week.  It's just exciting.

Q.  Talk about the difference between playing in another tournament versus coming here.  Is there anything extra special you do preparation‑wise getting ready for Saturday?
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ:  Well, it's just different because tennis is an individual sport where you're week in and week out with your coach and hitting partner and working individually.
These weeks are unique and it's different because the team practices together; they do pretty much everything together.  So it's special, because you come together for a common cause and everybody cheers each other on.
You do get a little bit of extra motivation.  It means more win; means a lot when you lose, too.  It hurts more when you lose, too.
It's different.  When I look back on my career, some of my fondest memories are always when I was part of a team.

Q.  Talk a little bit about the French team and what we can expect from them?
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ:  They're very good, very solid.  Their top two are coming off big wins last week, one in Poland and win in Colombia.  Cornet, the top player, is a great competitor and runs a lot of balls down; great backhand.
Garcia is very aggressive.  I think she's 20 right now of.
Razzano has a lot of experience.  I don't know a lot about the fourth one.
But they're very well rounded.  They have a great captain in Mauresmo who knows a lot about the game.
It's going to be a tough weekend, but I'm looking forward to it.  I enjoy the challenge.

Q.  What do you expect from the crowd when you're out there?  FedCup crowds are so rowdy, energetic.  How does the crowd help you?
MADISON KEYS:  I mean, it's different.  It's fun.  It's just there is a lot of noise and music and it's much more exciting to be in.
So, I mean, I know all of us love when we have a really loud crowd making lots of noise.  It definitely pumps us all up.
THE MODERATOR:  Any other questions?  Okay.  Thank you guys.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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