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January 11, 2011

Jim Courier

TIM CURRY: Thank you, everyone, for joining us today. There is not any official team announcement for the first-round tie in March. We'll make that closer to the match dates. We just wanted to make Jim available before the first major. He'll be heading Down Under soon to his normal duties with Channel 7 Australia, just to be able to give some insight about the Americans before the first major and talk a little bit about the upcoming tie.
Andy Roddick reached the finals of Brisbane in his first event of the year where Mardy Fish was also playing. John Isner helped lead the U.S. team to the Hopman Cup title. And Sam Querrey, another American in the top 20, is making his 2011 debut in Sydney as the No. 1 seed.
With that, I will pass it on to Jim for some opening comments and we'll open the call for questions.
CAPTAIN COURIER: Thanks, Tim. Happy New Year to all.
Just kind of taking a step back and giving you guys a little bit of insight into what I've been doing since I've been named captain, getting closer with the guys on our team. I took the opportunity in December to travel around the United States and get a chance to visit with our players when they were training in the off-season.
I got to go to Los Angeles, spend some time with Sam Querrey and Mardy Fish and Donald Young Jr. out in Carson. Went down to Tampa, where John Isner and Mike Bryan were. Bob fortunately for him was away on his honeymoon, having just been married. I got to Austin, Texas, to see Andy Roddick and John Harrison, who was practicing with Andy the day I was there. I got to see those guys in a lower-pressure environment and spend some time with them and just try and establish those working relationships with the players I know a little bit less.
Obviously, I've developed relationships with guys that have been on the tour a little bit longer just being around the circuit, but with the younger players, in particular Ryan and Donald, trying to establish those relationships in hopes that those guys will be a part of the team here before too long.
But in the meantime, as Tim mentioned, we're not announcing the team today. But, of course, I'll be looking very closely and watching and supporting the guys in their efforts down in Australia. I'm leaving Friday. I'll get down to Australia Sunday, the day prior to the start of the Open, and will be obviously watching closely on how those guys are feeling and playing.
With that, we can throw it open to questions and go from there.
TIM CURRY: We'll go ahead and take questions, please.

Q. Jim, what sense do you have of where Roddick is these days? He had some disappointing, for him, results last summer, including at the last two Grand Slam tournaments. Where do you think he is right now mentally and physically heading to Melbourne?
CAPTAIN COURIER: I think he's in the best shape physically and mentally tennis-wise he's been in since last March when he had a terrific U.S. hard court season, got to the finals in Palm Springs and won in Key Biscayne. He didn't play for a while after that due to a scheduling choice, then got ill over in Europe. We would later find out he had a form of mono. I don't think physically he was where he needed to be, and of course that impacts your game in all kinds of different ways.
He's finally had that off-season to get his body right. Andy is a total pro. He doesn't leave anything to chance as far as preparation goes. He had a really good off-season working hard. He's rested, relaxed and ready. He had a terrific start to the season getting to the finals in Brisbane. If you got to see any of that match, Soderling was blasting away. But Soderling is playing some great tennis. That's not a bad loss by any means. It's a good start to the season for Andy.

Q. There was a time when Patrick really got into a groove there where he knew long beforehand what his lineup was going to be. He could go to Andy, the Bryans and James. You come in at a time of transition where the old guard is stepping aside a little bit. You have Sam, John, some young guys coming up. How do you handle that when suddenly you have to do a little bit of juggling of the players without stepping on anybody's ego?
CAPTAIN COURIER: The way I positioned it with the players so far is that as we come into 2011, we're really looking at a six-man team right now. I know that only four can play at any given tie. But when you have the world's No. 1 doubles team in the Bryans and four top-20 singles players, you have a lot of weapons at your disposal.
There's a lot of variables and variety that can be used to reach the ultimate goal, which everyone fortunately is on the same page on, which we want to lift that trophy, and we want to lift it sooner than later.
Everyone understands that the four players get to play, but they also get that there's that big goal at the end of the season. That's the camaraderie these guys have shown in the last decade. There's been a real selflessness by the team by and large, certainly since my era when we had difficulty getting players wanting to play. Now it's at the other end of the spectrum, which everyone wants to play.
You have to make some tough choices. That's my job to do. It's my job to keep everyone involved in the team even if they're not playing.
Having said that, regarding the six players on the team, if something were to happen in a Donald or Ryan or any other American player were to break through, we'd make room for them, too. The goal is to lift the trophy, period. That's what we're focused on.

Q. How early in the process of you taking the position did you get in touch with Andy and get a commitment from him that he was going to come back?
CAPTAIN COURIER: I was in touch with all of the players prior to being asked to be the captain. But when I was asked to be considered for that, I reached out to all of the players to make sure they would be comfortable if I were the captain and playing.
Obviously, this is player-driven. I can't hit a ball on the court. I can only facilitate who plays. I didn't want to be an obstacle to Andy or any of the other players in playing.
The good news was that they were all very supportive, positive, excited about me captaining the squad. Andy was very quick and very direct to say, once I was offered the position and accepted, I'm in, count me in. If you need me, I'm there. That's been a great thing for the team.

Q. Jim, how do you anticipate this tie in Santiago with Chile? Will it be a handicap to Chile without Fernando González?
CAPTAIN COURIER: Let me address Fernando first and foremost. He's a terrific player and a terrific human being. He did so much for Chile last year in the wake of the disaster down there. It's a real shame and a real disappointment for us as a team that we won't be able to face him because you want to face the best players possible and take on the biggest challenge. So it will be disappointing not to see him down there as a member of the team.
But we know we're going to have a difficult match, whoever is playing, whether it's Nicolas Massu, Paul Capdeville, Aguilar, whoever is chosen to play for the squad will play with passion no doubt. All of us who have ever played in Davis Cup matches away understand that nothing can be taken for granted and you have to bring your best team and tennis to win.
There will be nothing but respect and our best tennis when we come down to Santiago in March.

Q. Will the surface be an argument of the match?
CAPTAIN COURIER: A factor? Yes, I think surface is always a factor. It's one of the great things about the format of Davis Cup as it currently stands, is that the home squad gets to tailor that surface to their team. It presents a challenge for the opposing squad.
Our players, while not as comfortable on clay perhaps as the Chileans by nature, are still quite good on clay and still accomplished on the surface. I feel confident that we'll have a team that will be very competitive down there.

Q. You already said you talked to Andy Roddick before you were named as captain. Have you talked to the Bryan brothers about this decision, if they're going to come?
CAPTAIN COURIER: I talked to not just Andy before I was named captain, I called all of the players who had played recently for the U.S. in Davis Cup to make sure that everyone would be comfortable if I were offered the position, which they were.
As I mentioned at the top of this call, I got an opportunity in December to travel around and see the guys in the off-season, including a nice visit with Mike Bryan in Tampa. Both Mike and Bob are excited about Davis Cup. They're passionate. They're Davis Cup warriors. I expect them to be a big part of what we do together as a team here in the years to come.
But we're not naming the team today. I unfortunately can't give you any information on who will be in Santiago with the team. But in due time we will name the squad and look forward to being there.

Q. How about Nicolas Massu, his abilities to lead this tie in March?
CAPTAIN COURIER: Well, Nicolas is a very dangerous player. We're not concerned with his ranking. We're not concerned with anything other than taking him on and expecting the best from him. We've certainly seen great tennis from him over the years.
In a situation like Davis Cup, particularly a home tie, players can really perform at their absolute best. His absolute best has been extremely, extremely good. So we'll be ready to see him come with all guns blazing.

Q. Jim, since you visited with all the guys, got a pretty good read on them, maybe you could talk a little bit about Andy, Mardy, Isner and Querrey's chances at the Australian. Do they have a chance to go deep?
CAPTAIN COURIER: I certainly think that Rafa and Roger continue to be the heavy favorites in the majors. Then you look behind those guys and I think that it seems like Soderling has maybe put his hand up there as a threat to go deep as well. Obviously Novak and Murray are big threats, too.
Let's just start in order of ranking.
Roddick is as prepared as he's been in a year, and that's really important. He'll be ready to go. He's gotten the matches he needed in, in Brisbane, to be ready and match tough. That's important for him. He's going to be well-rested coming in there.
Andy, he has the big serve as the weapon. He's fit, which means he's going to be able to play defense and hopefully get back to neutral, then play offensively, which is when he plays his best once he gets into a rally. He's a tough out. Everybody knows that Andy, he is a great competitor.
I think we have to wait and see what the draw looks like. Obviously that matters for sure. Matchups do matter. But I think Andy is ready to perform at his highest level. That means getting out to the quarters, semifinals.
I still hope that he can break through, bust through, and lift another trophy. He has that capability if he's able to play at his maximum potential and be a little bit more aggressive from the baseline like we saw him do last year in March, particularly in March when he beat Rafa. That's the type of tennis that can scare and beat anybody. I think if he commits to that, he can go very deep.
Mardy ranking-wise would be next. Mardy needs matches. He only got a couple matches in in Brisbane. I'm not sure if he's going to get any match play this week. He'll be well-rested and very fit because he had a longer off-season than most. Obviously we saw what his fitness level did for him last season. He's there again. As far as his weight, it's right where he wants it to be. He's added a little bit of leg muscle. That's what he was in the process of doing when I was with him in Carson in early December.
Now it's just a question of getting that match confidence back. Once he gets that back, I think he can continue on in the same rhythm and vein that he was playing in the summer. That means if he has some good results, he'll be top 10 pretty quickly. He he's not far away and he doesn't have any points to defend for a while.
Sam would be next in the rankings. Sam is getting started later today in Sydney. I think he's playing the winner of Tomic and (indiscernible). Sam had a good off-season, was working very hard in Carson on his fitness. I think he's gotten his body fat down to a low level. He's probably as fit as he's ever been. And he has weaponry.
Sam is a guy who to this point has underachieved in the majors and Masters Series. He doesn't need me, you or anybody else to tell him that. It's time for him to step up into those moments and play the type of tennis he plays in the 250s in the bigger tournaments. That's the next step for him and I think he's ready to take it. His off-season has put him in position to feel like he's done the work and has earned it. I'm looking forward to see how he comes out of the blocks.
One of the great things about these guys we're talking about, you don't want to play any of them. They all have big serves, weapons that can hurt you, and they can beat you. Sam has a couple huge weapons with the serve and the forehand. Now he's got his fitness where it needs to be. It's going to be fun to watch him early in the season.
Isner had a little bit of an interesting off-season. He had a few little injuries. He also practices a little differently than most of the players. He likes to do more off-court training and doesn't hit quite as much. Let's be clear, his style of play is never going to be a grinding style. He seems to know what he needs to do to get prepared and play well. He had a nice start to the season in Perth getting the matches that he needs there. He's over in New Zealand now. Who does he play over there?

Q. I haven't seen the draw.
CAPTAIN COURIER: C'mon. If you and I don't know it, I don't know what the world is coming to, but we'll figure it out before too long (laughter).
But John, he's probably the least popular player to play on tour, I would believe. No one wants to see that serve, then he's got the forehand coming.
These guys can all go deep in the majors if they get on a roll. Andy certainly would be the favorite with his experience and his dogged competitiveness, but these other guys are all capable going deep.

Q. You spent some time with Donald Young. He's in qualifying, which starts in a few hours. Maybe some comments on him, where you think he's heading, whether he can become a top-50 player, and then a few thoughts on Harrison.
Donald, I was very heartened to see that Donald made the commitment to go out to Carson and spend some time training out there with Mardy and with Sam and with Rodney, who is the strength and conditioning coach for the Player Development Program. That's one of the areas where Donald really needs to lift, is in the fitness area. He has so much upside potential. He really is a terrific striker of the ball. He's leaving a lot on the table because he hasn't been in great shape. He also just hasn't made that jump from a ball-striker to a tennis player.
I'm hopeful that he'll keep the level of commitment that he showed by being out there on his own for a couple of weeks. If he can keep that up and keep the training and keep pushing forward and take his knocks, he's without a doubt a top-50 player. It would be a real waste if he didn't reach that at a minimum. He has a lot higher potential than that. But you can't get there without the work.
I don't care how gifted you are, you talk to the guys in the top 10 and ask them what they do. None of them sit around. They're all grinding and getting the most out of their games. Donald has to continue on in the vein that he was going in early December. So I'm hopeful that he can still reach his potential, because it would be a real shame.
Ryan Harrison, on the other side of that coin, has a huge work ethic already and is firmly committed to exploring all the angles to try to find his best tennis. He's still young. He's still raw. But he's going to get there. What 'there' is we don't know. We don't know what the top in potential is there because there are a lot of factors, not just the physical ones, but the mental ones, how do you deal with pressure once you get to a certain level. You can only find out once a player gets there.
He's a great raw talent. He's a great worker. He wants it very, very badly. So that's really positive.

Q. Jim, since you've taken over this job, you have to kind of look at players a little differently, more closely, really getting to watch them train, their work ethic. Is there anything that has surprised you from the way you looked at them before as a commentator and expert on the game to someone actually more involved? Is there anything that surprises you in a pleasant way or somebody that you think has more potential than you thought? What's been your first impressions?
CAPTAIN COURIER: Well, I really only spent about a day, day and a half with the guys each. I'll spend a lot more time obviously during the weeks of Davis Cup, but also in Australia when I get some free time between commentary.
It's been important also, I've been developing relationships with their coaches because that's an important relationship as well to get that information on how they're feeling, how they also receive information. Not everyone gets it the same way or receives it in the same way correctly.
What have I seen that surprised me? I think the only thing I've seen that really surprised me so far was how John Isner trains, which is just very foreign to me to not feel like you hit balls to be ready. He's a guy who I do relate to in the fact that he loves the matches, he gets up for those, and practice doesn't matter to him as far as results go. He has a different philosophy. I'll spend more time with John. He traveling with Craig Boynton, who used to travel with me. I have a great source of information through Craig to understand him a little bit better.
It will be interesting to get to know these guys. I'm sure we'll all be talking after I get going here sitting on the bench with these guys, which will also be a different thing for them to learn and for me to learn how to coexist in that situation because everyone, like I said, is a little bit different in the heat of battle. I've seen that as a player and as a teammate watching how my captains worked with my teammates and me when I was playing.
I'll be cognizant of trying to help these guys but also not get in their way, try to figure out how to make them play their best without having any negative flow-back.

Q. Outside of the Americans that you already discussed here, anybody at the Australian Open that you think might go deeper than the average fan might assume, somebody we should watch for at the beginning of the season?
CAPTAIN COURIER: Well, Soderling is not really a dark horse for those of us on this call. I think for the average fan, they may not know a lot about him. I think he's a pretty hot hand right now. He's been playing awfully well, not only this year but last year. He had a big year. He looks very solid. I think he's one to watch for sure.
Be interested in Nishikori, too. He's had some injury issues, but it will be interesting to see how he comes about this season.

Q. Nadal trying to win a fourth consecutive Grand Slam title. You do consider him probably one of the top two guys, along with Federer, to take the title, is that right?
CAPTAIN COURIER: Yeah, I think that's a fair statement, definitely.

Q. Where would you place that accomplishment of the four in a row? Sometimes there's a debate in tennis or golf about what really constitutes a Grand Slam. If it's done over two years, does that count? Given that, nobody has won four in a row in 40 plus years.
CAPTAIN COURIER: Right. Let's start with sort of the negative, if you will, of not winning them in the same calendar year. I think there is something to winning all four in the same calendar year. That is the technical definition of the Grand Slam in tennis. I think there's also some added pressure that goes along with doing it in a calendar year where you get the buildup post-Wimbledon and all summer, everyone thinking about it and talking about it. It doesn't quite exist when you carry it over from the end of a season into the next year.
We're just now starting to talk about it. Rafa probably has been thinking about it more than us. I'm sure he has. It's going to come to the forefront as the Australian Open gets going and people start thinking about tennis again.
I do think it matters if you're talking straight history whether you do it in the same year or whether you blend it over in a 'Serena slam,' 'Rafa slam,' however you want to name it. That's sort of the nod for Laver.
But looking at the challenge, the awesomeness of the achievement, if he is able to do this, he's doing it in an era that's deeper than any era that has ever existed in men's tennis, pro or amateur. The level of competition is just so much thicker than anyone has ever had to do it, and he's still been pretty dominant. He's doing it now on three different surfaces as opposed to Laver doing it on two surfaces. That's a difference, as well. And the physicality of the game is so much greater. To stay healthy for seven matches, four tournaments, is no given, particularly the bruising style of tennis that Rafa plays to win.
So the achievement, just to win three in a row, is immense. To do the French-Wimbledon double, like he's done a few times, is amazing. Now you factor in he might do four in a row, which hasn't been done since the Rocket, it's worth all the hype it should get here in the next couple of weeks.

Q. Jim, there's a lot of talk these days that success on clay would be the obvious springboard for more success for the American players. Is performance on clay one of the areas where you see yourself having the most profound effect on the team?
CAPTAIN COURIER: I certainly have clay court experience growing up in Florida, playing a lot of my tennis on the green clay, the Har-Tru. I think that helped my development as a player. I think Patrick and the U.S. Player Development Program is also pushing to have our players spend more time practicing on the surface.
I think it's important for the younger players to get past any fear factor or discomfort of switching surfaces, which we used to do when I was at Bollettieri's. Sometimes we would play on three surfaces in one afternoon, start on a hard court, move to a clay court, and then finish indoors on carpet, never changing any shoes, never making any adjustments other than sliding versus stopping. I think it's critical for players not have a fear of the surface and also understand the patience required.
I look forward to spending time with our Davis Cup players at Santiago and other ties where we'll be playing on clay, no doubt, and hopefully helping them better understand the surface and maybe better understand how to construct the points.
One of the things that I think is an easy mistake for players to make when switching surfaces is to overemphasize the switch and to go away from what they do best and maybe allow the surface to dictate to them as opposed to forcing the surface to bend to their will.
I think that will be a great opportunity for me to hopefully help our players just become better. The goal, as I said when I took this position back in November, December, whenever I accepted it, is to not only help these guys maximize their performance during Davis Cup weeks, but hopefully give them a few little things they can take with them every week of the year and just become better players in general. If I can do that, then the results in Davis Cup will take care of themselves.

Q. You talked about work ethic a lot, the clay. What are a couple other areas you would see yourself having an impact on with the young guys?
CAPTAIN COURIER: I mean, I'm basically a big brother for all the young pros, all the pros, period, for anything they need, whether it's advice on how to play, how to schedule, where they want to train. Anything that they're considering, I probably have been forced to consider somewhere along the lines in my life as well. I'd like to think I'm a resource for all of the U.S. tennis players to call and call upon whenever they need it. I've offered that over the years to the guys and some of them have taken me up on it and some of them haven't. Certainly not anything I'll force on anybody.
But I hope they know and I think I've been pretty clear that I'm available at all times for a phone call or jump on a plane and spend some time with them.

Q. Do you consider a strategy for the Chilean team the fact that the match will not be played on sea level?
CAPTAIN COURIER: I do think it's advantageous for our team, considering all of the American players have huge serves, singles and doubles. I think it is a positive for us that we're playing at a little bit of altitude. But we don't expect it to be easy because it's at altitude. We expect a tough match.

Q. What information do you have about our tennis players, we only have Nicolas Massu, Paul Capdeville and Jorge Aguilar? Do you have any information about them?
CAPTAIN COURIER: I know Massu and Capdeville. I've seen them play quite a bit. I don't know Aguilar that much. But I'm sure I'll be asking around and trying to get information on him as well.

Q. Marcelo Rios said with only Nicolas Massu as the Chilean top player, it's impossible for Chile to beat the United States. What do you think about that?
CAPTAIN COURIER: I think that the match will be decided on the court, not in the interview room, and we'll be ready to play.

Q. I'd imagine the way you'll look at players as an analyst for TV in Australia is a little different than how you'll evaluate some of the guys in terms of the lead-up to Davis Cup. What are some specific things you're going to be looking for, not only in the first slam but also during the early part of the season?
CAPTAIN COURIER: Well, I think first and foremost health is the biggest thing that everyone has to bring to the table. Then the other evaluations will just be fairly obvious: form, comfort with surface, and the fit for who we're going up to play against.
As I mentioned at the top of this call, I'm really looking at a six-man squad for the year, unless someone were to break through and add to that squad. But we have six great players available and six great weapons to use. We'll see who gets the call for the initial tie.
We're hoping we're going to have a nice, long season of Davis Cup, and have lots of opportunities to put those weapons on display.

Q. Have you gotten a chance to meet some of the USTA staff that travels around the world with your team, sort of the early impressions of your experience so far as an employee I guess of the organization?
CAPTAIN COURIER: I know the Davis Cup staff. I'm lucky enough that they were mostly involved when I was playing and when I was helping Patrick out. It's been a real easy transition and almost a homecoming in a way to realign myself with Jim Curley, Jeff Ryan and the group. I've been out to the USTA HQ, because it's not very far to where I live in New York City, a couple times to get some preparation going.
It's been very smooth so far. As a matter of fact, I had dinner with our doctors last night in the city, Dr. Dines and Dr. Dines. We're already a close-knit family, which is wonderful.

Q. Any interesting anecdotes from some of your trips? You mentioned the fitness work going on in Tampa, Austin, L.A. Anything humorous you can share with us?
CAPTAIN COURIER: I was a little bit miffed when I went down to see Andy. This isn't interesting; this is insulting. Andy told me to bring some racquets down. When I got down there, he had Ryan Harrison and another young player was training with him. So, you know, I unfortunately didn't get a chance to get out there and get humiliated by those guys. They still think I'm a good player, which is good, I didn't betray that, but I got to stand around and watch those guys in about 38-degree weather when they were practicing.
It would have been a lot nicer if Andy would have allowed me to run around and break a sweat while they were doing their work. That's about it.
When I went to Carson, we asked them to clean the court in the morning. Instead of cleaning the court, they washed the court. We wanted them to sweep it of leaves. We almost got a rain-out from the staff at the Home Depot Center. I had to commandeer one of those leaf blowers and dry the court. We were off to a pretty auspicious start there.

Q. What was the big motivation to become Davis Cup captain? What advice have you gotten from Patrick and other former captains with regard to being successful in that role?
CAPTAIN COURIER: Well, Davis Cup was always something that was near the forefront of my mind as to a goal to be involved in it at some other time. As some of you know, I've been fairly busy with Inside Out, building the Champions Series on the operations and promotion side of the sport for the past five or six years. We've gotten that business in position where I have time and energy now to commit to do the job justice as Davis Cup captain. So the timing was important as far as when Patrick decided to step down and the job was available. If it had been last year at this time, I would not have been able to be involved. Timing was important. That worked out nicely.
And Davis Cup is certainly something that I enjoyed as a player, I wanted to be involved in again, and I'm glad I can now. It's a nice bonus that we also have a team that is not only exciting but also in transition. So there's an opportunity to have some impact. It's not a set lineup of four players that you know are going to play every time, so it makes it a little bit more interesting and intriguing. I'm excited about that aspect.
Early in the process, again, when I was reaching out to the players to get their thoughts on me being captain, if they thought that would be a good idea, I also reached out to not just Patrick, who is a close friend and we live down the street from each other, but my captains, Tom Gorman and Tom Gullikson, to see what their experiences as captain were, not only their relationships with the players but with the USTA, so I could get a better understanding of the parameters of the job and make sure it was something I was capable of handling and managing. They were extremely generous of their thoughts and time and will continue to be, which is a huge advantage.
Patrick and I, I took him out for drinks after I accepted the job, to basically just download from his brain his last 10 years as captain, get his insights into the players and their motivations, all the different angles. They've all been extremely generous with their time and thoughts.
Obviously I have a huge learning curve ahead of me in the chair, but it always helps to have that experience at your fingertips if you need it.

Q. You had such a fine career as a Davis Cup player and now as captain. How do you think history will reflect on your Davis Cup career?
CAPTAIN COURIER: That's for historians for Davis Cup to figure out, which I don't know if there are anymore, except for Bud. I'm just looking forward to helping these guys achieve their goals. Andy and Bob and Mike and James and Mardy were able to experience and taste that success in 2007. I'd love for them to get another chance to taste it before their times a players passes. Then you have the younger group who haven't had that moment. I was lucky enough to be on two great teams and win it twice. Those are indelible moments. I'm hoping to be part of those again.

Q. Do you have any plans to visit Fort Worth/Dallas, Austin this year?
CAPTAIN COURIER: No plans as of now. Hopefully if we can get through the first round in Chile, looks like we will be hosting a second-round match. Have to play somewhere. Sounds like pretty decent cities to me.

Q. You won a Cup over here.
CAPTAIN COURIER: Yeah, that wasn't bad.

Q. Can you discuss the physical challenge and emotional benefits of the Serbian guys who won the Cup, starting less than a month later in Australia. Do you know anything about the kid Collarini? What is his potential and upside?
CAPTAIN COURIER: Let's start with Serbia. The memories those guys will take from that moment and winning particularly at home will never fade. That's something they will carry with them forever. It was an incredible effort from them. They deserve all the accolades that they received and will continue to receive. So there's the positive. They'll also take confidence, I would imagine. When they go into big matches away from Davis Cup, a guy lie Troicki has to know he's a great pressure player or has the ability to be. Obviously Novak already knew that but underscored it with the play there.
The negatives are clear. It's nothing that all of us haven't discussed on more than one occasion, the scheduling of the Davis Cup, the format of the Davis Cup. It's an incredible competition in that moment, but the schedule is not optimal. It's arguably penal for the teams that are in the finals, the teams that have to come back with no off-season to speak of.
Maybe someday the scheduling will make a little bit more sense. For the moment, it looks like this is where we are. It looks like at a minimum for the next four or five years the schedule will remain the same. Hopefully they'll back it up into the London Masters, which is moving up, as we all know. Maybe they can buy a couple more weeks there.
But I think I've made myself pretty clear on my thoughts on how it can be improved. Those haven't changed. In the meantime, I'm looking to playing within the rules that are out there right now.
Collarini, I haven't seen much about him, but I've heard about him from Patrick and Jay Berger with the Player Development Program. He's very natural on clay. They're working on getting him to be a better hard court player. Time will tell.
He certainly has good upside potential and is another young player that we're looking at.

Q. I saw Murray said he'll likely play because of the requirement for the Olympics. Do you expect more guys to play this year with the 2012 Olympics looming?
CAPTAIN COURIER: I think guys play for various reasons. It's always more of a story when guys don't play. At some point Fed is going to have to play because he's going to want to play in London. Rafa plays, but he plays quite frequently. I don't think there's going to be much of a story there as far as guys really playing in a strange way, the way it seemed like when Sharapova played. Some of it is naked, some of it is obvious. It is what it is, but we shouldn't kid ourselves when it comes to motivations.

Q. Jim, Australia has a storied tradition of great players, but not as many over the last 30 years. Anything you can attribute the drop-off to?
CAPTAIN COURIER: I really don't know. They're certainly spending time and resources and effort on trying to do what we're doing in the United States as far as the player development. I know they have a lot of people working on trying to increase their international players.
I don't know if it comes down to at this stage international population of tennis players, the growth there. It could be. Australia is a big country, but it's not a largely populated country. If it's a pure numbers game, they're certainly at a deficit compared to some other areas of the world that can produce a lot of players.
What's interesting is tennis seems to be voted either the most or second most popular sport in Australia in the public opinion polls, but I don't know as far as their young athletes whether they're going into tennis or not. You have to have the big number of athletes and cull from there.

Q. Jim, can you talk about James Blake and his road to recovery, maybe about his availability for Davis Cup.
CAPTAIN COURIER: James is definitely available. We've been in touch. We were supposed to see each other in Tampa when I was down there with John Isner and Mike Bryan, but he ended up playing in an exhibition in Argentina that week so we missed.
James is certainly on my radar. He's certainly working his way back and hoping to break back into the conversation. It's going to come down to health for James. We've all seen how capable he is of playing big tennis when he's healthy. But that health has really escaped him in the past year or so.
It's certainly my hope he can get back on that path and make himself part of the conversation.
TIM CURRY: I want to thank everyone for joining us. Thank you, Jim, for the time. Safe travels Down Under.

End of FastScripts

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