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April 10, 2004

Thomas Johansson

Mats Wilander


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How hard was it returning serve out there today with those big serves?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Not very hard. Not harder than any other day. It's sort of the same from day to day, you know. There's nothing different, really.

Q. Jonas, you've been in this position before where you're the last gasp out there, and you'll go out tomorrow to play Andy Roddick to keep Sweden's hopes alive. What is your mentality before a match like that where it's either win or go home?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Well, I haven't had too many thoughts about it. Just finished this one, and sort of trying to regroup. But, you know, it's a matchup where you just have to sort of go out and give everything you have, and, you know, we're good enough to win two matches but it's obviously very tough. But no strategy. You just have to go out and be very focused from the beginning, and then, you know, try to find a good game plan and just fight and fight and fight.

Q. Can you play Andy on this court the same way you played him at Key Biscayne?

JONAS BJORKMAN: I think so, yes.

Q. How much energy do you have left, you think, for Sunday after playing two matches in two days?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Well, this match wasn't too long, so it's gonna help me going into tomorrow if I (inaudible) right away.

Q. Jonas, Bob and Mike returned serve extremely well today. Do you think that was the difference or...?

JONAS BJORKMAN: They returned well, but I wouldn't say they returned that good.

Q. High percentage.

JONAS BJORKMAN: It was a lot of second serves they made sort of, but any top player in doubles these days return a second serve very good. When we got the first serve in, we sort of were in a lot better position. But, you know, Thomas, I think, served well, and I was not serving well, and that sort of gave them the possibility to make a lot more returns.

Q. What was going on with your serve? Was there something in particular going on with your serve?

JONAS BJORKMAN: No, just a bad day in the office. Bad sort of, you know, had a bad toss from the beginning. The sun was in a tough spot in the beginning. But then after sort of having a bad start, it's tough to sort of find a way back, and I didn't do that.

Q. Did the Bryans touch that ball?

JONAS BJORKMAN: I'm not the one to ask. You have to ask him. But it definitely didn't sound like a racquet hit it.

Q. Thomas, did you feel much confidence not having played much in the last couple years? Did that make it difficult out there for you?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: Well, it's always tough to play a top team like the Bryans. They played for so long together, they know exactly where to be on the court. It's very tough for me to go in with three other Top 10 guys in doubles. But I think I played okay. They were just a little bit better today. I think if we would have put little more first serves in, I think it would have been maybe a tougher match. As Jonas said, I think they returned well, but they got the opportunity to return our second serves. That was, I think, that was a big key today.

Q. Thomas, did you feel they were picking on you, though, trying to go to you?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: I knew that before. I mean, I would do the same if I were the Bryans. So I knew that as soon as, you know, the ball is in play, they're gonna try to fire at me. So I was -- I knew it before. But it's tough because it's a different game from a singles match, you know. It's a lot of -- the points are a lot quicker, and it's a lot of reflex and stuff. But I think they played well.

Q. In the last game where you were broken, Thomas, you were up 40-15, were you fooled by the volley you missed at the net? Did the ball dive on you?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: Yeah, I was coming in the wrong direction. That was the problem. I mean, I was 40-love up and serving with new balls. Can't get any better than that. But then they hit a couple of good returns, so it's nothing you can do.

Q. Hard luck with the net cord?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: Yeah, yeah, little bit.

Q. Beginning of the second and third set, you had a couple of break chances against the Bryans, which you did not convert. Twice 15-40 from their point of view.

THOMAS JOHANSSON: They were serving well, you know. When they were down love-30, when they were down 15-40 or breakpoints, they hit their first serve in. As soon as they get the first serve in, they're tough to break. So I think they were serving really, really well at crucial points today.

Q. Mats, do you think if your guys played their best tennis, you would have won?

CAPTAIN MATS WILANDER: That's a pretty hard question to answer. I think the Bryans played really well. I think if they play their best tennis, they're a tough team to beat. The way they play, they play very fast, they're very aggressive, and they're very physical. If everything goes their way, then it was kind of like Mardy in his singles in the first set yesterday - you have one game plan. If it works, you can't break it. Then obviously keep doing the same thing. I couldn't tell you from what happened today, but they play well. As these guys are saying, they serve well on big points, and that usually makes the difference in doubles.

Q. There was no question of fatigue in a sense of, Jonas, you didn't feel when you came to the court today, you didn't feel a little tired from the long day WHICH dragged on yesterday?

JONAS BJORKMAN: No. Did you think I was that bad or...? (laughter).

Q. No.

JONAS BJORKMAN: Sounded like it.

Q. Mats, in retrospect, how much are you missing Joachim from this tie?

CAPTAIN MATS WILANDER: Not at all. Not at all. I was very disappointed before the Australian match that I couldn't have Thomas on the team. I'm very happy to have him this time. I've said all the time to myself and I've spoken to Nystrom, Joakim Nystrom, about it, that I would like to play Thomas in any case because I was hoping that the Bryan brothers weren't as good of volleyers as they were deep down. I think Thomas has much better hands than Joachim Johansson. Yes, he serves huge and he hits huge shots, but that's the way the Bryans play. That would suit them better. I think we just ran into the Bryans on a really good day for them. So, no, I don't... I think we miss having a fifth guy on the team for practice sessions and whatever, but not at all in doubles.

Q. Still leaning toward the same singles lineup for tomorrow at this point?

CAPTAIN MATS WILANDER: We're leaning towards having four guys ready to play.

Q. How do you feel about facing Roddick tomorrow, Jonas? You still feel pretty confident?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Well, like I said all the other times, I played the No. 2 guy in the world. It's a very, very tough match. But at the same time, it's Davis Cup. You just got to go out there, dig deep. When I play my best tennis, I always have a shot at least. You can't go out and sort of look in a way that you have no chance; then you shouldn't be out on the tennis court. I'm here to play, I'm ready to play, and everyone that's out there should always try to believe that they can win. I proved it before, so that's sort of the mentality I have today.

Q. Mats, you said you'll have four guys ready to play tomorrow.


Q. How do you feel about the concept of having a doubles team, two doubles specialists? Was that a big gamble in case one gets injured?

CAPTAIN MATS WILANDER: Well, I guess not this time, but we won't know that until the matches finish tomorrow. Yeah, show some respect in here, please (responding to loud noise outside the interview room.) Afterwards, if it works out, then I guess it's a good decision. To have doubles specialists, we don't have that many players in Sweden. These guys are more interested in singles, I suppose. I don't know. It's their choice, it's not our choice. It's just the way things happen. We could have a doubles team in Sweden, in 10 years maybe we have the same thing, but at the moment I have to believe that this is the way that it works the best, and we can't think the grass is greener on the other side.

Q. Mats, your comment just a minute ago, "Show respect," were you joking or were you serious about the noise over there?

CAPTAIN MATS WILANDER: I'm not joking. Can you hear what you're saying?

Q. Yeah. It's hard to tell whether you're...

CAPTAIN MATS WILANDER: No, I am joking. It's not pissing me off that much (laughter). But there's other people in here - you guys are trying to do your job, right?

Q. Thomas, can you talk about your road back from the knee surgery? Did you have any doubts you would get back to this point again or...?

THOMAS JOHANSSON: Well, I was away for 14 months. It's very nice to be back on a team like we have now. It's always an honor to play in the Davis Cup team for Sweden, you know. So, hopefully, I'm on the right track. I've been playing since January this year, and my body feels very good. I've been working really hard. So, hopefully, in a couple weeks' time, it's going to pay off. Everything feels very good on the court, so I'm very positive.

Q. Mats, do you feel pretty confident going into tomorrow with Jonas having played Roddick, having put up a good fight against Roddick?

CAPTAIN MATS WILANDER: Yeah, I think -- I saw Jonas play Roddick in Key Biscayne, and he beat him in Doha before the Australian Open. What I saw yesterday, Andy is a tough guy to beat, but you get a chance to play with him. He's not No. 2 in the world for nothing, but he doesn't go through the whole year without losing either. So, yeah, I feel good about it. I think against a team like the US has, you got to win three matches. And sometimes it's winning the doubles, sometimes it's beating the No. 1 guy. It just all depends. This time it's going to have to be beating the No. 1 guy and beating the No. 2 guy again.

Q. How do you feel about the Fish match? You feel pretty confident about that one?

CAPTAIN MATS WILANDER: Geez, we'll get to that when we get to that, I think (smiling).

End of FastScriptsâ?¦.

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