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April 4, 2006
CHILE vs. USA , RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIFORNIA
TIM CURRY: Thanks, everyone, for joining us for the pre-draw press conference with the US team. We'll open the floor for questions.
Q. Dean, can you talk about running the team this week and what Patrick's status is going to be for the week.
DEAN GOLDFINE: Right now, obviously, it doesn't look like Patrick is going to make it. Still waiting to kind of find out what happens, obviously, with the baby.
But in terms of running the team, I mean, it's pretty much the same as it always is. I've been, obviously, to quite a few ties with these guys and see how Patrick runs the show. So it's pretty much, you know, status quo.
Q. Can you guys talk about being with Dean so far up to this point? I know there's not been much time, but...
ANDY RODDICK: Why is everybody looking at me?
JAMES BLAKE: You know you're going to get all the questions anyway, we're just going to get you started. What do you think?
ANDY RODDICK: You go.
JAMES BLAKE: I mean, he's doing a great job. Obviously, like he said, he's seen Patrick a ton of times. He also gets along with all of us very well, except I don't know about Andy. It's tough to get along with Andy. None of us really get along with him (laughing).
ANDY RODDICK: You know they're going to write that.
JAMES BLAKE: Of course they are. It will be in like People magazine next week.
ANDY RODDICK: Awesome.
JAMES BLAKE: Or, yeah, US Weekly, "No one likes Andy."
But Dean is doing a great job. He's extremely laid-back and an extremely knowledgeable coach, which I think fits great with our team. He's there to help if we need it. He also knows not to probably go overboard; we all have our own coaches, we all know kind of what we're working on in our games, and he just is there to help keep our focus there this week and keep our spirits high, I guess.
JAMES BLAKE: They were asking you.
ANDY RODDICK: I wanted you to start, though.
I guess, in all fairness, Patrick came to us and said, you know, "My wife's due right around the second-round tie." I think this was after the first-round tie. He said, "I really don't know if I'm going to make it."
He asked all of us individually who we thought would be a good stand-in to kind of run the week and be on the court with us. We all said Dean. So, you know, it was kind of what we wanted.
It is something that we're all comfortable with.
Q. The same question for the brothers.
BOB BRYAN: I mean, for us, Dean's perfect because he's been at three or four ties, he's helped us on the doubles court, and he knows doubles. He's coached Connell and Galbraith, a good American team, and I think a Canadian player. He's worked with MacPhie and Knowles and a lot of great doubles players.
MIKE BRYAN: Todd Martin.
BOB BRYAN: Todd Martin, too. So he can help us a lot on the doubles court. He knows what he's doing.
MIKE BRYAN: He also put in a lot of work last week. He watched all of our matches, watched all the Chilean matches. He's put his work in. He's helped us a lot on the court so far. He's really positive and, you know, he's good.
Q. James, how pumped up you are after your performances since Indian Wells for this match?
JAMES BLAKE: I'm feeling good. Definitely excited to be back in the same area where I did well a couple weeks ago. Obviously, it's a different surface. I still feel extremely confident given the success I've had in the last few weeks, playing well in Vegas, Palm Springs and Miami. I'm riding a wave of confidence, and hopefully it will continue here.
These guys are here to help me, and I'm here to help them, so I think we've got a pretty confident team overall. Looking forward to the week.
Q. You guys have been together for three ties. How much does the continuity help now that you have a different captain for this tie?
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, we say "different captain," but Dean was the assistant the whole year in 2004 when we went to the final. You know, we're still able to talk to Patrick on the phone a lot.
So, to me, I mean, it feels like business as usual. You know, I think we're still running the same practice schedules and all that. I've had a little bit of interaction with Patrick as well in the last couple of days.
But I think it's good that it's just, including Dean, we're all familiar with each other and the Davis Cup situation and how the leadup week is supposed to go. So I think that helps a little bit.
Q. I know your thoughts are on Chile, but I am from Croatia. I would like to ask Andy, the Croatian team, what do you think about their chances? Do they look more steady or stable this year?
ANDY RODDICK: They're certainly one of the favorites, you know, that's for sure. They showed they're capable of pulling it off last year. You know, they've only gotten better since last year.
That being said, I think, you know, as evidenced by us last year, I mean, we had a great team on paper, you know. So anything's possible in Davis Cup, and a lot of it depends on home ties and away ties.
But they're certainly on the short list of favorites, that's for sure.
Q. Andy, sorry for this question, it's about your career, not Davis Cup. Horacio de la Pena, did you consider him at some time a possibility for you?
ANDY RODDICK: For me?
Q. Yes, as a coach.
ANDY RODDICK: No.
ANDY RODDICK: No. I like Horacio as a person, but it was never really of any consideration. First and foremost, he was with a player, you know. So, no, I never really thought about that.
Q. James and Andy, is the court as fast as you wanted it? I ask because the Chilean players are feeling not so uncomfortable on this surface.
JAMES BLAKE: Yeah, I mean, it feels great to me. I think any time getting on a grass court is going to be pretty fast, especially a lot faster than the hard courts we've been hitting on. Feels good. It's just going to be a matter of time getting used to it. I feel comfortable on it. I think that's good. It's not a huge adjustment from the hard courts. It's still quicker. You have to change your game a little more, the movement's different.
I'm happy for them that they're comfortable, and I think we're pretty comfortable as well on the grass. Especially, Andy, he's always very comfortable when he's playing on grass.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I feel fine.
Q. Andy, in your opinion, what is the key to this tie?
ANDY RODDICK: Getting the three matches. Getting three wins, any which way. Doesn't matter who wins, you know. Doesn't matter if it's 3-2, doesn't matter if it's 3-0. Doesn't matter. You know, any tie, it's the same goal: You have to win three matches.
I feel, you know, obviously, we want to put ourselves in a good position early because Bob and Mike have been great for us in Davis Cup, so I think it's a huge, huge thing for us to have them on board.
But we just want to win three matches. This is the one time of the year where a lot of us can be completely selfless. The team goal is get the three. Doesn't matter who wins, we just want to get there.
Q. It looks like Chile will just go with Massu and Gonzalez. Do you have a certain strategy preparing for a two-man team in terms of taking advantage of your depth?
JAMES BLAKE: Is that a captain question, or...?
Q. Captain question, yes.
JAMES BLAKE: There you go.
DEAN GOLDFINE: Captain (laughing).
No, I don't think you look at it any differently. I mean, obviously, it's going to be a lot tougher on them from the standpoint that those guys have to go out there and play singles on Friday, then come back and play the doubles Saturday, and then go back out there and play another match on Sunday. So, obviously, you know, it's a bit of a challenge from them.
But as we saw from the Olympics a couple years ago, these guys, especially Massu, is capable of superhuman feats, I mean, in terms of being able to be out on the court a ridiculous amount of time and coming back the next day and playing great tennis. I don't think that's going to affect our preparation whatsoever.
Q. James, you have all the tools to do well, but you're not as accomplished on grass as on hard courts. What do you think you need to do on grass to have a little more success?
JAMES BLAKE: Well, I think I actually have -- I just haven't played on it a lot to have the results.
But also I think when I was starting out in my career, there were a lot of things -- I mean, I didn't have success on any surface to begin with. With grass, I was kind of figuring out my game on grass. I was trying to change it too much.
I think a lot of guys - at least for me, watching it growing up - you see guys coming in all the time, serving and volleying, chipping and charging, we were watching Pete too much because he was good at that, obviously. I just felt like I always needed to be attacking, always getting in to net, really changing my game. I used to change string on grass, just completely changed tactics. I think that actually was detrimental to me, instead of playing my game with minor adjustments.
Last year I felt like I did that. Playing one bad match at Wimbledon; otherwise, I felt like I played well at Queen's. Newport, the grass is completely different, so that was just kind of a bit of a Craps shoot there.
But I feel like I've gotten a lot more confidence from having a little bit of success at Queen's last year, and just the way I'm hitting the ball now is totally different. The confidence I have on the court, for grass courts, it makes a big difference. I don't think I need to adjust as much as I used to, and I think that's going to be the biggest goal here.
Q. Andy, you and James are top 10 players. You have another top 10 in Andre Agassi. Do you think the chance to win the title is as big as the previous year?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, we were in the same position last year, to be honest, with Andre, myself and the boys. There was no difference. We were all top 10. Like I said earlier, I mean, anything's possible in Davis Cup, and especially with the history of Fernando and Nicolas playing for their country, whether it be the World Team Cup in Germany, which they've had a lot of success at. Obviously, I was sitting in the first row at the Olympics watching, and that was amazing.
I think you take to a certain extent what happens on the ATP Tour and kind of put it to the side a little bit when it comes to Davis Cup, because it's a totally different animal.
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