March 24, 2000
ATP: Questions, please.
Q. Is this the golden twilight period of American tennis, and what happens next?
JIM COURIER: This is the golden twilight for a certain period of American tennis.
Hopefully it's the dawning of a new era. What are you going to do? I've been on the tour,
this is my 13th year. Pete and Chang the same. Andre has been on for even longer. I think
this is his 15th year. People can't expect us to be around forever. Hopefully we'll be
around competitively for a few more years. It's kind of an enjoy-it-while-you-can time in
our careers because certainly you start to get limited physically when you get into your
Q. Do you have a sense that fans feel that way, too? Do people say stuff to you?
JIM COURIER: I really think that since last year's Davis Cup in Birmingham, that people
have been a lot more behind me, I guess would be the word. They've been real supportive of
me since then. Not that they weren't before, but I think they've been more vocal about it.
I think maybe that touched them in a way that they hadn't been touched by any of my other
performances. That was nice. It's been a nice ride since then.
Q. Has that surprised you, that it was that performance?
JIM COURIER: Not at all.
JIM COURIER: That was one of the most visible performances I've had in recent years.
It's kind of one of those things where people go, "Oh, yeah, he's still
playing." It just reminds them.
Q. Ironic, people are saying Davis Cup is not important here in the United States.
Certainly Chris Woodruff has come to the forefront because of Davis Cup.
JIM COURIER: Absolutely.
Q. People say Davis Cup is dead here.
JIM COURIER: It may be dead in the general public. Hopefully it's going to start
breathing again very soon. But it still touches a special place in the core tennis fans'
hearts. I hear a lot from them, just a lot of appreciativeness of the fact that I've been
playing Davis Cup for so many years.
Q. In the waning years of the McEnroe-Conner era, there was a lot of 'gloom and doom'
about what was going to happen.
JIM COURIER: I was in the beginning, yeah.
Q. What are the chances of that happening again in the next couple years?
JIM COURIER: The chances of a class like ours coming out are probably pretty slim for
the immediate future. We've had probably six to seven guys roughly within two or three
years of the same age of each other who have been in Grand Slam finals or won Grand Slams.
If you throw in David Wheaton, Mal Washington, Todd Martin, you're talking about guys who
all grew up playing Juniors together. The chances of that happening I think are pretty
slim, just in light of how deep the competition is worldwide. But we're hoping that
someone like Andy Roddick or Mardy Fish, who got wildcards here, pushed through. They're
certainly on the up-and-coming swing. Guys like James Blake, hopefully they're going to
make a push. We need them to. Americans, we're very spoiled as sports fans. We expect to
always have people at the top. When we don't, we don't pay attention. We don't care about
Formula 1 racing because we don't have any Formula 1 racers. We don't really care about
soccer because we're not a great soccer nation. We're just very focused on what we're good
at. So if we're not good at men's tennis, could be a struggle.
Q. Does your class of players have a lot of interaction with the younger guys coming
JIM COURIER: I do. I certainly do. I let them come stay at my house and beat me up in
practice as much as they want (laughter). I like having the young guys around. I think I
have a lot of information that they might need. I'm happy to impart it to them.
Q. You had Paul come down there?
JIM COURIER: A lot of guys come through my house. I'm like a frat house for wayward ATP
Q. Did you get that when you were coming up or are you that way because you didn't get
that kind of support from the older players?
JIM COURIER: I don't think it's either one way or the other. I think I am that way just
because that's the way I am. I remember that certainly I had some hits with Mac when I
would come through New York City when I was 20, 21, when I was on his last days playing
competitively on the ATP Tour. He was very generous with his comments on what I should and
shouldn't do, work on, let me stay at his apartment in New York. I really appreciated
that. Being at Bollettieri's, I got to hit with Krickstein, Arias, guys like that all the
time. I had my fair share of contact with the pros when I was younger.
Q. Has the reverberations of David Lloyd's sacking at British Davis Cup captain come
through in the States here?
JIM COURIER: We've heard about it.
Q. Considering the Birmingham atmosphere and all that went with that, were you
surprised to hear that?
JIM COURIER: I don't know the whole story. I don't really know what's been going on
behind the scenes as to what led to that. I don't think it's fair for me to comment, other
than to say David was certainly doing a fine job this time last year - almost really fine,
but not quite fine enough (laughter).
Q. What do you think of the game of Nalbandian?
JIM COURIER: Just another good player coming up. They're coming out of the woodwork -
it's like termites. They're just everywhere right now. I think he's got a lot of
potential. He's quite young, apparently.
Q. What about his weaknesses?
JIM COURIER: I mean, I think that right now, experience is probably his biggest
weakness. Just needs to play and play and play.
End of FastScriptsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.