An interview with
USA FED CUP TEAM
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the
U.S. Fed Cup team.
Q. Talk a little bit about being here. It’s
a playoff tie as opposed to a tie to advance.
How does that maybe change things, or
doesn’t change things.
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: Sandy, people
have been asking me that. It actuality doesn’t
change thinking. I mean, every time we have a
Fed Cup tie we’re here to win, whether it’s in the
main group or last year we had to win two to get
back in the World Group, and this one we have to
win to stay in it.
So we’re approaching it the same way.
You know, we’re here to get those three matches
under our belt first and go from there.
Doesn’t matter what division or what the
purpose is. Objective is to win.
Q. Mary Joe, can you talk a little bit
about how you chose this team, which is a little
bit different than the last team that you had?
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: Yeah, I mean,
you always try to go by who is playing well. You
look at the rankings, the surface, the matchups.
All the players on this team have been on
my teams before and they’ve all played a match,
so I think that always helps. You look a little bit for
And playing at home is huge and having
that proximity. So having Serena around the
corner, I’m from down here, there is a training
center for the USTA in Boca, so it was great.
Sloane and sometimes Varvara spend time here
as well as the training centers in New York and
But it’s great. We have four players in the
top 30. There is a lot of depth on this team.
Q. Serena and Venus, talk about having
this match, as Mary Joe alluded to, at home
essentially? Not so much nationally, but
literally you can sleep in your own bed at night.
Speak about the advantage of that.
VENUS WILLIAMS: We love playing at
home, of course. So this is our third tie in Delray,
and I’m sure there will be more that will come here.
It’s like awesome for us. So, yeah, that’s
Q. Serena, anything to add? Any Heat
playoff games or anything to go to over the
SERENA WILLIAMS: No.
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: I didn’t even
think about that. Are there any?
Q. Theoretically. Schedule comes out
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: Might have to
look at that.
Q. Overall you guys are the heavy
favorites against the Swedish team – I guess
we’re the ones deciding that – but they have
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: Definitely.
Q. What is the scouting report for this
team to be victorious this weekend?
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: Well, you can
never overlook anyone. We’ve been the
underdogs many times and have come through
with the big upset. Fed Cup, any time you play for
a team it’s different. The pressures are different.
Someone that you expect to win might deal with
the pressure differently.
And sometimes someone who plays for
the country sometimes plays better than when on
It can vary. I think we’re really aware of
that and that you really have to focus and come in
treating it as huge match, whether you’re the
favorite or not.
We know the girls, their top two, pretty
well. They’ve had good wins. They can play big
tennis and worry you. We just have to be solid and
stick to what we do well.
Hopefully that’s going to carry us to the
Q. Sloane, what does it mean to you to
be part of this squad?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Awesome. I
mean, thanks again to Mary Joe for picking me.
But, I’m a big team player, and I love being
on a team. I’ve never lost a Fed Cup tie before, so
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: (Knocking on
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, knock on
wood. No, I’m just excited to be here. And
obviously with a great team I think it’ll be a good
week. We’ll hopefully get the W.
Q. Question for Sloane. There has
been a lot written over the past few months
about yourself in the spotlight, do you enjoy it
or not. I know you worked hard for many years
to get where you are. How do you feel about
the attention you’re getting now? Is it
something you’re starting to get used to?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I mean, it’s okay.
Yeah, it’s not that great. But, um, I think this week
I’m just here to play Fed Cup and play for my
country and help the girls win.
I think all that aside, I’m just going to go
out and play my best and do my best this
Q. Sloane, what do you get out of this,
working with your teammates here and the
team scenario? How do you get better this
SLOANE STEPHENS: I think we all push
each other. Obviously playing with Venus and
Serena and Varvara, we all want to make each
other better. Just being around each other it’s just
a really good vibe.
We’re obviously all looking to improve, and
I think it’s a great thing just to be around these girls
and have a good week of practice.
Q. Is it a significantly different feeling
than during the rest of the season when
everyone is out for themselves?
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: You know
what, I think the last few years, this new generation
of players are used to practicing with each other
and watching each other play. At the Olympics
Venus was out there watching Varvara’s match. It
motivates and encourages everyone.
But you’re right. On a weekly basis you’re
out for yourself and that’s a different feeling.
These weeks are unique, and that’s why
everybody enjoy them so much.
Q. Serena, Mary Joe talked about the
different pressures of playing on a team. Do
you feel a different pressure playing for Team
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, you really
want to be able to win. I think in general I feel a
little bit of pressure when I’m playing for the team
because I want to be able to do really well. You’re
not just playing for yourself. You don’t want to let
your friends and your team down.
Q. Serena, do you have a cold?
Sounding a little hoarse there.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don’t have a
Q. Varvara, you’re the person that’s
chosen to be an American. The others were
kind of born that way. Talk about what playing
Fed Cup for the U.S. means to you?
VARVARA LEPCHENKO: You know, it’s
definitely a huge honor for me to be picked on the
team like that and to be able to practice with all
these girls and to be around and learning. It’s a
great learning experience is a well.
I’m just happy to be here. I’ll try to help as
much as I can to win this tie.
Q. Mary Joe, do you have any feeling of
how you’re going to do the lineup yet?
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: You know me
by now, Sandy.
Q. I have to ask, though.
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: We’ll know
Friday morning what the lineup will be.
Thank you, everyone.
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