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April 4, 2018

Jim Courier

Nashville, Tennessee

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Your initial impressions of the university?
CAPTAIN COURIER: We're loving it here. This building is a wonderful building, wonderful venue for both squads. Facility is just fantastic. It's a really great sized floor. The footprint on the court is very large. Today's game is very physical, players cover a lot of ground. It's important. It's a nice sized court.

There's not going to be a bad seat in the house either. All the fans are going to be close, so I think the energy levels are going to be good.

We're staying nearby, so the commute is easy. Everything is tip-top.

Q. Can you talk about yesterday's event, playing with local kids.
CAPTAIN COURIER: It was a wonderfully organized event. The kids were very enthusiastic. A lot of good young players out there. This little girl, a left-hander, almost knocked me down with a forehand. I was at the net minding my own business, and she roped one. There are some really good young talented players that love the game.

The Belmont teams, male and female, were out running the program, assisting with the USTA. There was a lot of really nice energy there.

We had a nice Q&A with the kids afterwards, as well. They were very engaged, very interested in what our players had to say about how they got involved with the sport, when they got involved in the sport, really pertinent questions for kids in that young age demographic.

It was a nice little diversion for the team to get away from the practice courts and the intensity there, have some fun with the local kids.

Q. Give folks a sense of what the atmosphere may be like.
CAPTAIN COURIER: When we go on the road, the foreign fans will oftentimes have bands in the stands that lead sing-alongs. If you're familiar with watching international soccer matches, they are singing songs, chanting, that's a common occurrence in Davis Cup abroad. A lot of fans will get into a USA chant. Sometimes we'll have a group in our section that has some songs they'll sing as well, get people going.

It's very much an interactive atmosphere in between the points, very high energy. Our players tend to be a bit more emotional in Davis Cup because they're playing for their nation and for their teammates than they might typically be in a standard ATP or Grand Slam event. It does bring out a lot of intensity both on and off the court.

Q. What is your outlook for this team? What is the benefit of having the full five players?
CAPTAIN COURIER: If Jack Sock had been healthy and ready for Serbia, he would have been there, as well. We most likely would have had five players on the squad. It's a new thing for this season. Davis Cup has traditionally been four players on the squad as long as I've been around the competition. This is the first year they offered that.

As a nation with great depth in men's tennis, we can benefit from that. We're doing so. We have the five players here that can all play a high level of singles and doubles, any combination. That gives us a lot of flexibility. Hopefully we'll all remain healthy and we won't have to make decisions based on health. But that's also a possibility in Davis Cup weeks.

So we're prepared for whatever comes. We're lucky, I'm lucky as the captain, American tennis fans are lucky, that we have so many great options. All the players are passionate and want to be here. Even if not everyone is likely to hit the court, they still want to be here, to be a part of it, because we're trying to win this whole competition this year. We always are trying to win the competition, but we're still alive this year. Can't go back and win last year.

Q. As a competitor, how important is it for you guys to get back on top in Davis Cup?
CAPTAIN COURIER: It's important for this group of players because they haven't tasted that sweet fruit. They've been playing Davis Cup now, all these players are experienced, but they're not part of that last generation with the Bryan brothers and Andy Roddick and James Blake and Mardy Fish and Robby Ginepri, who is our coach this year, that were part of the last winning U.S. team. It would be special if this squad gets a chance to test themselves in the fire of a final of Davis Cup because it's very special, it's very different.

I was watching video just scouting last night, watching the Belgians play the final last year in France. It's remarkable, the energy that a final brings, that the fans and players bring. I'd love a chance for our team to feel that. It would be a real privilege as the captain to be there. But for these guys who have been grinding it out, traveling around the world on behalf of U.S. tennis, it would be really special.

Q. For those of us who may not be familiar, just the scouting report on the Belgian team.
CAPTAIN COURIER: Ruben Bemelmans is their number one singles player on this squad. As some of you may know, there are a couple players that played singles for the them in the final last, David Goffin, who has been a top-10 player, I'm not sure where he's ranked today, he's injured, he's not here. Steve Darcis, he's also been an excellent player, who is also injured, is here helping them as a coach this week. They're not playing.

So Bemelmans is their number one player, a quality player. He's beaten Jack Sock at the US Open. Left-hander. Very good all-around player. Stylish player. Good hands at the net. Good singles, good doubles player.

Most likely their second singles player De Loore is a little bit more of a powerhouse player, a little bit more straightforward. He's a big guy. Looks like he could be like a small linebacker. He's good sized, solid, sturdy, hits the ball big.

He and Bemelmans played doubles for the Belgians last year in the final. Good quality team. They lost a tight match that could have tipped the scales in their favor, could have won the whole thing.

Their next two players, we don't know as much of. They tend to play more doubles on the tour. I'm not sure what we'll find out as the weekend goes on, if they'll see airtime or not. It's hard to say at this point.

Obviously their captain Johan Van Herck is very experienced. He'll play his cards close to his vest. We won't know who is going to play doubles, or singles for that matter, until Thursday. On Saturday about a hour before match time is when you have to give your doubles team nomination officially. You can change it up until then with any of your players.

We would expect that we would see De Loore and Bemelmans in the doubles and the singles, but there's no guarantees. We'll be ready for whatever they throw at us. We have the options to do the same. We can throw a lot of combinations at them, too.

Q. I was reading it's been 40 years since the Davis Cup has come to Nashville. Probably not a lot of reasons tennis-wise to come to Nashville. Have you been here? What do you know about the city?
CAPTAIN COURIER: I think it has been 40 years from what I've heard, as well, since we played here.

I played here as a 13-year-old in the 14-and-under clay courts at Belle Meade Country Club in the summer of 1984. That's the last time and the only time I recall playing tennis in Nashville. I've played a lot of exhibitions, a lot of different matches around the country. I don't think I played here since then.

So I'm excited to be back in town. It's the first time really seeing it through an adult lens. It's impressive.

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