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July 15, 1999

Patrick Rafter


Q. How startled is everybody?

CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Two days ago I we all thought that Pete would definitely play and sort of got the feeling last night that he wasn't going to, so we weren't surprised today.

Q. How did you know?

CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Just the way you can sort of tell, you have a feeling.

Q. Thoughts on Courier and it has been awhile since you played Todd.

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, it has been awhile and we have all seen how well he has played the Davis Cup and he played quite well at Wimbledon as well. So his form is getting back there and I am pretty happy with my form as well. So I am looking at a pretty close contested match. I have got to serve and volley very well and he has got to return very well. I am going to put him under a lot of pressure on his service games, we all know that, try and get as many easy service games as I can on. It will be whoever can execute their game plan better.

Q. I have heard the surface is a little tad slower than Flushing. How much do you think that is going to affect your game?

PATRICK RAFTER: I found the court really nice this week. It is a very evenly paced court. I think that is what the ITF agreed on; I think they pretty well accomplished that.

Q. John, if you were in Tom Gullikson's shoes what would you have done? Would you have ever considered benching Pat Rafter from singles if you had the same --

CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: No, probably wouldn't like to be in Gully shoes if we win either. (laughter).

Q. This is your first Davis Cup. Can you comment on how nervous, how excited you are?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't think I am too nervous at the moment. I am really excited, just sort of feel the buzz as you walk around the place, I have always been the fifth player in past Ties. I think I have learned a lot from Pat and the Woodies and Sandon, all those guys. So I think I am handling it pretty well at the moment. For sure, tomorrow morning I am going to be pretty nervous.

Q. Easier that Sampras is not playing - not to disrespect Courier and Martin, but Sampras is the No. 1 player and you are probably not going to have to play him in singles; make it a little easier for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I have lost to both Martin and Sampras, so they are both going to be tough matches. But I had a good match with Pete in Queens a few weeks ago and I think they play sort of similar games. I am going to have to be returning very well against Todd and I think that is probably the key in my game.

Q. What do you think about all this Sampras stuff? Are you scratching your head; a little surprised here?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, well, as Newc said, sort of got the feeling that he wasn't going to play yesterday and so we weren't overly surprised at today's decision. But we are still waiting to see what happens on Sunday and if he does play, but right now we got to do our job on Friday and we will just take it from there at this stage.

Q. How is your kick serve on this surface?

PATRICK RAFTER: It is working pretty well. I haven't been able to use it so much on the grass. I had been trying on the grass and sometimes it worked; sometimes it doesn't. But I know every time I do it on the hard court, you get a good reaction, this court really takes it nicely.

Q. Pat, do you think you might be seeing Pete on Sunday?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, we don't know who we are going to see on Sunday; that is what we are saying.

Q. Could you talk about you are playing Jim Courier, is it different playing him? He is a more formidable opponent in a situation like this as opposed to second round somewhere on the Tour?

PATRICK RAFTER: One thing about Jim is he puts in 100% every single match he plays. Some guys deal with the pressure of Davis Cup consistently very well and Jim is one of those sort of guys. He loves the whole thing of Davis Cup, what it is, and he is someone who has been able to handle that better than anyone else.

Q. Newc, can you talk about what you think the keys are for Patrick and Lleyton winning tomorrow?

CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Not particularly, no. We will keep that to ourselves. I think that the first matches, the draw came out very well for us, I believe. It is a must-win situation for them in that first match which puts a tremendous amount of pressure on Todd. Also knowing that he is playing, and Pete is not playing, he is playing Lleyton, he is -- on paper he is supposed to beat Lleyton. He has beaten him before, but he knows Lleyton is a very, very good player and a tough person to beat. So there will be some anxious moments for them in that first match and if we lose the first match, we are not going to be as worried as they will be if they lose the first match, put it like that. That is sort of a fact, you can sort that out yourself.

Q. Can you give us the run-down on the doubles, how is that going to play out?

CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Probably should let them answer for themselves. But we had -- when Todd withdrew we had three choices we can play Mark with Sandon; Mark with Pat, or Pat with Sandon. And those three combinations were all very solid and we feel good about a lot of them. We will actually -- tomorrow night we will all have a talk about it and see where we sit. But for now, Mark you probably should answer that. He and Sandon have been playing here all week and been pretty good. They are good mates. They send dirty e-mails to one another all the time.

MARK WOODFORDE: I don't find them, no, I just pass them on. It is going to be a tough match anyway whoever we are playing, but I think one of the advantages, obviously Sandon has partnered Alex O'Brien in for a couple of seasons now and so he should know his game pretty well. Obviously I have faced Alex more than enough with Todd. And I have had the experience of playing against Sampras a couple of times, in particular, the one a couple of years ago in Washington, DC, so the fact that Pete is not a regular doubles player could go against him. But that remains to be seen on the day. Sandon and I are very comfortable playing together. We have played a couple of times before and I think it is easier for our team to gel together in a situation like this where we have lost a couple of players and so hopefully Sandon is just as comfortable as I am with him. You are going to have to ask him that.

Q. Could you give us a little bit of run down, biggest differences between Todd and Sandon when you are playing together?

MARK WOODFORDE: The big difference that I have noticed in practice is usually I am up looking down at Todd, but now I am looking up. So I feel like I should be listening to Sandon.

Q. Sandon, did you get a call from your father at all, any little advice about Davis Cup?

SANDON STOLLE: No, I got a call from Newc and dad stays out of it. Obviously he is proud, running around the place taking photos which I have never seen. Mum has got him doing all the dirty work, but listen to Newc and Rochey and they know my game pretty well. So I feel comfortable playing with Mark as well. I think the most important thing with the doubles, as I was saying earlier, the same thing that Woody touched upon was that I don't think Pete is as comfortable with playing doubles. Obviously he is a great player, but going in, I mean, I much prefer see him across the net in doubles than in singles. Just because I have that confidence in my game in doubles and I think he is a little uncomfortable with it. We will see on the day how he plays.

Q. Mark, do you consider Pete to be a good doubles player?

MARK WOODFORDE: Well, I have only played against him a couple of times and fortunately have come out on the winning side, but obviously he is one of the best singles player around at the moment, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he is going to be a great doubles player. I think, given the opportunity to play more matches, sure, he definitely could be with that serve. It is obviously a big, big plus. It is just -- I just can't see how he can just walk out there and believe he can play good doubles. I am comfortable with Sandon and we have been playing together. We have played doubles week-in and week-out as well as singles; that is going to work with us. If it comes down to a tie situation, and whether we can exploit that.

Q. Lleyton, you are pretty hyper when you play. Do you think Davis Cup is the perfect scenario for your game?

SANDON STOLLE: Yeah, I think so with the Fanatics back up there, they are surely going to help me. I think I will just try and put on a bit of a show tomorrow and get pumped up an hopefully I get in that situation and get the chance to get pumped up as well.

End of FastScripts….

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