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May 15, 2005


Stillwater, Okla. –

South Carolina senior Ben Atkinson
On the USC-OSU match:
“Things kinda looked bleak at 3-0 but I can only see my side of the court and we were all winning on that side and that gave me a lot of confidence going into my third set. It’s nice to be put in that situation, it’s a lot less nervous playing than having to watch it.”

On his match at No. 6 singles:
“I should’ve won in two sets, I had a break point to go up 5-4 in the second set but I kinda regained my concentration in the third after going a break down. After six straight breaks, you’re more worried that you’re not gonna be able to break again. I was happy to hold serve again when I did.”

On the chair umpire’s overrule at 5-6 in the third set:
“It just made holding my serve a little easier. It could’ve been the difference in the match at love-15 instead of love-30. I’m glad we didn’t have to go through with it and that we’ll never know what might have been.”

On the third-set tiebreaker and match-winning point:
“In the tiebreak it was key to hold serve when I did. At 3-2 before the end change I came up and just guessed the right way and put the volley in. After that I got three quick points and the match point was a little longer. I was just trying to keep the ball in, not thinking about placing it anywhere. He had just given me the last two points without me doing anything so the last one I was kinda hoping he’d do the same thing.”

On the match-up with Florida in the Sweet 16:
As far as Florida, all the pressure is on them. According to the polls and such we weren’t supposed to be here, they were. We can enjoy going to Texas and play without any pressure. I don’t mind going against [UF’s No. 6 Ryan Sherry] again, it was a completely different day then and he played better than I did. I know that on my day I can beat him, but you’ve got to give him credit being the [2005 SEC Tournament] MVP. We just need to keep everybody focused and go about practicing like we did last week. It’s nice to go this far but we can still go further.”

South Carolina Head Coach Kent DeMars:

On the Match:
“What’s neat is this whole side basically lost yesterday and that side won. They just flip-flopped today. That is what I keep telling them, “You guys can’t win every match.” These teams are too good. We knew it would be tough and we just wanted to be tough on every point. I knew that Oklahoma State was going to be right there at the end.”

“I would have been disappointed if it wasn”t a 4-3 match. I think both teams are really good. In fact, I was real disappointed when we didn”t get to host. We had [six] wins in the top 20 and I thought we had a good chance to host. We had two host teams playing each other and that is a coin flip. That is when it is sad that there is a loser because both teams played equal. We just got a point at the end and that was the difference.”

On Oklahoma State:
“I congratulate [OSU Head Coach] James [Wadley], I have known him a long time. He does one heck of a job and his guys were really classy. The match was fair and everything was really above board.”

Oklahoma State Head Coach James Wadley:

On the Match:
“It is good to bring that level and that caliber of tennis to Stillwater. It has never been done before, so that was good. Our kids battled as hard as they could. Some of them played well and some of them didn’t play as well as they are capable of playing. That is the way it goes. We have different guys come through at different times. Felipe [Diaz] has been in that same exact situation two other times and he won both of them. He battled and the other guy battled and played really hard. If you are in this game very long, you are going to have matches like that. I give a lot of credit to them.”