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2003 FEDCUP FIRST ROUND
CZECH REPUBLIC vs. USA
LOWELL, MASSACHUSETTS

April 25, 2002

UNITED STATES

THE MODERATOR: Questions from the press, please.

Q. Venus, can you tell us about your opponent. What do you know about her, your opening round opponent?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I've played her at least once. I don't know if I played her again, but she's a very good player, has a very solid game. It's a very funny thing that happens when you get in a team competition - you feel more motivated because it's not just for you, it's for your team and the whole country. That's the kind of competition I'll have to be ready for tomorrow.

Q. Venus, Serena, you've done this before but not since 1999. You say there's more motivation, but is there more nerves playing for your country? Is it a little different? The Davis Cup players say that's all different, but they're guys so they fall apart (laughter). But how about you kids?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't know. I suppose in a way it does feel different because it counts toward going to the next round and goes down in history to be a winning team on the Fed Cup. But more than anything, it's just the whole experience of being on the team with the other players and with coaches, and the whole experience is what you take to memory for the rest of your life.

Q. Can you talk about why you decided to play this year. Was it because the last couple years you saw the U.S. go down and you thought, "Well, maybe they need us to come in and help them out a little bit"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Serena...

Q. You have to talk, Serena, a little.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I've always wanted to play the Fed Cup, but with the way the schedule is on the tennis tour, sometimes it's tough to make a commitment so early. And sometimes I do take a week to rest, but it definitely is a high priority for me and probably for Serena also. We love being here and love being with the other players also.

Q. Serena and Venus, can you talk about working with Billie Jean this week and how that's gone for you guys?

CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: I'm leaving (laughter). No, I won't leave. Wait a minute (covering her ears).

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's been really great to have an opportunity to work with Billie. She's such a great coach. And Zina as well, she's also the assistant coach on the team. They really are able to see some things in my game that maybe my dad or my mom aren't able to pick up on at the moment. It's always good to get a different view and to get different people to look at your game. I think Billie is just fabulous to work with. She has the best sayings. She's extremely motivating. It just makes me want to work harder. Just to be able to be out there with her, I think, is a great opportunity.

Q. Alexandra, it's your first time on the team. Talk about that. Billie was saying yesterday you've been bugging her for years to put you on the team, and that you're excited as anyone out there now.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I'm very excited to be on the team. My first year, I'm going to be a very good bench-warmer, good cheerleader this week (laughing). It's a great learning experience for me of just being with everyone - Meghann, Venus, Serena, Allie and Jimmy and Zina. Lynn Rawley is here. I think it's a great opportunity to learn a lot this week. I've already learned a lot with my volleys. You have the two best serve-and-volley players in the world coaching us this week. It's just an awesome experience for me, and I'm really excited to be here.

Q. Billie Jean, how do you keep this team from being overconfident?

CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: Well, I think actually the better you get, the more you understand, the more history you have, the more you understand that you can never take anything for granted. To keep your position at such a high level, as all of these players do, they know that they actually have to work harder to maintain or to improve. So I think being overconfident, that's the least of our worries on this team actually. The most difficult thing on this team is not to laugh... I'm serious. We have laughed so hard this whole week. It's been a wonderful experience. So, I mean, we talk about that, take one ball at a time, and really have high intensity is very important. But these players did not get where they are without those qualities, so they really do understand. If you talk to every single player or coach, they can all tell you how many losses I've had. You lose a lot, too. You learn that you don't like it, and that you improve from that. But everyone here is not overconfident, I can tell you that. Zina and I and the rest of our hitting partners and everything, we're very clear to keep everyone grounded. These players are very grounded also because of their caregivers. Their parents are people who have taken care of them all their lives. You can tell they all come from very good families and are very grounded and they know they're very blessed. I think that makes for a great team.

Q. Had any of you ever heard of Lowell before (laughter)?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, we hadn't. I hadn't.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't.

MEGHANN SHAUGHNESSY: No, I can't say that I had either (laughing).

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I haven't either, but I have to say Venus says "Lowell" very musically. She calls it "Lo-well" (laughter).

CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: I've heard of Lowell because my grandmother was born here (applause).

Q. Do you know anything about your opponent, Serena?

CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: Why don't you repeat the question so everyone knows what the question was.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Have I played my opponent, do I know my opponent. Which one, both of them? My first opponent I've never played, Iveta Benesova. I never played her. I don't really know her name. But in tennis, you just have to go out and play your game.

Q. Meghann, you're the only player on this squad who played last year and suffered the defeat. How motivating is it for you to be back on the team?

MEGHANN SHAUGHNESSY: The question was the difference between last year and this year. Yeah, last year was my rookie year on the Fed Cup team. Although it was different to say the least, it was a great experience for me. I was really looking forward to this year and to hopefully have the opportunity to come and play again. It's so exciting for me to be on a team with such great players and great people. I hope that I will be back many years to come.

Q. Have you been able to do any sight-seeing?

CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: Alexandra said Bally's Fitness Center. That's been what we do, and the spa. The spa and the Bally's Fitness Center, where we do weights and work out. It's a very full schedule.

VENUS WILLIAMS: We saw City Hall.

CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: That's right. You talk, go, go.

VENUS WILLIAMS: We've seen the whole city, City Hall, that takes time. Museum.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: We had a police escort. How many people have a police escort in their lives? We got there in like 20 minutes. It was really cool.

CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: The Lowell Police and the Boston Police coordinated, thanks to Pete and Tom Pistoni, who are security people. They got that totally organized. It was absolutely flawless going into the city and back. Thanks to the police of both cities.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: We had a fabulous dinner at The Palm thanks to Carol and Ann Marie, and Cobblestones in Lowell. No one can forget the Doubletree, on the 9th floor.

CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: Don't tell them (laughter).

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Sorry. Okay. I never said that (laughter).

CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: The rookie. Now the security alert - red alert, red alert.

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Orange.

CAPTAIN BILLIE JEAN KING: Geez Louise. It's red, not orange.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you all very much.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
2003 FEDCUP FIRST ROUND
CZECH REPUBLIC vs. USA
LOWELL, MASSACHUSETTS

April 25, 2002

CZECH REPUBLIC

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. So, Iveta, you're leading off, right?

IVETA BENESOVA: Yeah.

Q. How does it feel?

IVETA BENESOVA: Well, it's a great experience for me. I'm just looking forward. It's a great honor for me to be on this great team. They all are amazing. I'm just happy that I was nominated, and I'll try to do my best.

Q. Have you played her before?

IVETA BENESOVA: No.

Q. Have you played either one of them?

IVETA BENESOVA: No.

Q. Then you're even.

IVETA BENESOVA: Yeah (smiling). That's okay.

Q. Daja, you've been around a little more. You beat Seles at the US Open a couple of years ago. What are your chances? This team hasn't been beaten before.

DAJA BEDANOVA: Yeah, I mean, I played some good matches before, and I beat some good players before. I played Venus and Serena before, so I know how it's gonna feel to be on the court against them. But I'll just try to do my best. As you said, the team hasn't been beaten before. It's very tough to do, it's not so easy. We'll just try to surprise them, just do our best. We'll see how it goes.

Q. Is that an advantage for you, having played both of them? You know something about them on the court.

DAJA BEDANOVA: I mean, of course it's nice that I'm gonna know what to expect - at least a little bit. If you play against them, those great players, you know how they are. It just feels different. You know what to expect like more.

Q. Petra, what do you tell your team?

CAPTAIN PETRA LANGROVA: Well, first of all, I would like to say the U.S. team is very strong. They are the biggest favorite. But I just want to tell the girls that we have nothing to lose, we just can surprise. Nobody expect anything from us. So it's good for us, I think. And the girls, they just can feel free and try to play their best tennis they can and enjoy it.

Q. Are they going to be nervous, playing for the nation?

CAPTAIN PETRA LANGROVA: Well, it's different, as you said, from the tour. It's different to play for Fed Cup because you're just not playing for yourself but representing whole country. But Daja has lots of experience from the tour. Anyway, even if you have very, very young team, Daja is very experienced. And Iveta, for Iveta, it's also not the first time in Fed Cup. So I think they will take it.

Q. Daja, have you found your good level of tennis this week? You've sort of struggled this year.

DAJA BEDANOVA: I hope so (laughing). It wasn't the best year for me, though, at the beginning. But I'm going to try to do my best here. Maybe it's gonna be a start for a better season, so we'll see.

Q. Has it been injuries or confidence?

DAJA BEDANOVA: More the second one I think, yeah, I've struggled with some small problems but nothing was really big so I hope it's gonna turn around. I hope this week maybe.

Q. Do you think there's a lot of attention being paid to this at home? I don't think there are any Czech reporters here, are there?

DAJA BEDANOVA: They use (holding up a mobile phone)...

CAPTAIN PETRA LANGROVA: They call us every day.

Q. They call you?

CAPTAIN PETRA LANGROVA: Yes, sure. They write about the Fed Cup, of course they did. I think there is one or two guys from newspapers coming tomorrow.

Q. Are you taking some stuff for them? Oh, that's your phone.

DAJA BEDANOVA: No, they are sending messages and they're phoning a lot of times. So they have some good information from us, I guess.

Q. Iveta, you haven't played Serena, but have you seen her play? Are there things in her game you think you can exploit against her?

IVETA BENESOVA: Well, she's World No. 1. I mean, she's the best player. I just want to enjoy every single point (inaudible).

Q. How is the court? You've been practicing on it. Fast, slow, medium?

IVETA BENESOVA: It's really fast.

DAJA BEDANOVA: It's getting faster every single day.

Q. Is it?

DAJA BEDANOVA: Yeah.

Q. You like that?

IVETA BENESOVA: Not too much.

DAJA BEDANOVA: The first two days was good, now... little bit want to change it to the first days again.

End of FastScripts….
 

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LOL she may suck but i still :hearts: Alex and shes still my second favourite player :)
 

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:cool: Thanks TennisILove for posting the "post match" interviews. There seems to be as much fun during the press conferences as there is during the practices, as well as other off court events!!! Good luck to both teams, however...

Go Fed Cup Team USA...!!!
 
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