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August 10, 1999

Jim Courier


Q. Playing Goran, is it tough not knowing what kind of person is coming out?

JIM COURIER: He is very unpredictable, that's true. I like playing players that are unpredictable, because you never know. The worse-case scenario -- in the best-case scenario, they play not so great and you've got some free points. So, I don't mind playing Goran. He's beaten me many times, and I've beaten him many times. It's always a challenge, that's for sure.

Q. Is it tough seeing that you have to play someone like Goran in that first round?

JIM COURIER: That's not the name you want to see first round. Because he can do what he did in the first set against me: Just hit Ace after Ace, and walk side to side if he's on a hot day. Unfortunate that we had to play in the first round, but I'm glad I got through.

Q. How did he seem to you?

JIM COURIER: I wouldn't say that he's playing with the most confidence he's ever played in his career. So perhaps it's an opportunity to get a win against him when he is not feeling quite as sure of himself. But, you know, like we're saying, with Goran, he's very unpredictable. He can get hot just as quick as he can get hold.

Q. How have you been playing?

JIM COURIER: I think I've been playing better. I've been playing better for most of this year, actually. It's good to get on that court and it seems to be a little bit quicker than the outside courts that I've hit it on. It's nice for me to get a match under my belt there.

Q. How high can you go? Can you get back into the Top 10?

JIM COURIER: There's 10 other guys there, and I don't think they are that much better than, me. But they are doing it on a consistent basis. That's the trick is to play well consistently. I've beaten most every one of those guys in the Top 10, and I've lost to most every one of them as well. It's just a question of winning more matches than I've been doing on a consistent basis.

Q. You were in the Top 10 for so long and at No. 1, when you dropped out of the Top 10, was that a big adjustment for you?

JIM COURIER: I shouldn't have gone on the crack. (Laughs). That was the real problem. Once I got on crack, things went downhill really rapidly.

Q. Sometimes, though, for a period of time you were the best, and then you weren't playing that way. There's a lot of guys in your sport that would just say: If I can't compete at this level, I'll quit.

JIM COURIER: That's where the LSD comes in where you start hallucinating. I've heard these questions all before. They are old. It's old news. Everyone knows I'm playing because I love to play regardless of ranking. And I'm obviously very, very much tongue-in-cheek about the drug jokes because that's my way of letting you know I'm tired of those questions.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JIM COURIER: I don't beat myself down as much because my body won't take it as much as it used to. Because but I still give it everything I've got when I get on the match court. I don't think you have to hit much or work as much when you get a little bolder. It's like a pitcher who learns to spot his pitches a little better than just trying to throw the fastball by everybody all the time.

Q. Could you compare the feeling you had winning Grand Slam matches versus, say, the Davis Cup?

JIM COURIER: They are similar in many ways. But they are also a little bit different, because the team outlook of Davis Cup, I think, is very gratifying. To win a Grand Slam and then to come through a 128-draw over a two-week period; it's an incredible feeling. It's also an incredible feeling to be able to win the last point in a Davis Cup weekend, and then have, you know, teammates to celebrate with. They are two different feelings. But exhilarating in both cases.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about Cedric?

JIM COURIER: No. Well, it's been a while since I've played Cedric, isn't it? A long time. I've played him in Davis Cup. I've played him in Slams. Played him in Tour events. Last time I played him might have been in Antwerp when I was on my last gasp from traveling around the world. 90,000 miles in seven weeks, and it was my seventh week. He beat me 0-2, and I was lucky to win in two games. I would hope that I would have a little bit better physical presence out there.

Q. Did you watch him last night?

JIM COURIER: No, I didn't. But I'm sure he's playing well. He played very, very well on the grass. I didn't see him play over there.

Q. Having said that, is it more fun because you don't put much pressure on yourself because maybe the expectations aren't as high?

JIM COURIER: Who is suggesting that I wasn't putting as much pressure on myself?

Q. I'm just asking --

JIM COURIER: I still have high expectations for myself. That's part of my nature, I think. Is it more fun? It just is what it is. There's nothing that replaces winning. You know, winning is about as much fun as you can have with pants on. (Laughter.) I'm on a roll. (Laughter.) It's different now. I think I handle the ups and the downs better, and I have to. Because it's not quite as much of a rocket ship when I was in my early 20s.

Q. Still into the rock and roll?

JIM COURIER: The rock and roll is always there.

Q. Will you play as long at Jimmy Connors?

JIM COURIER: No chance. I don't think my body will hold up that long. I don't want to play that long anyway. He's just a unique individual. We were talking about that the other day. I'm 29 next week. To imagine that in ten years I would be getting into the semifinals of the U.S. Open; in ten years, I'll be happy to be walking straight.

Q. How many years do you think that you could play?

JIM COURIER: I think I'm planning on playing as long as I'm healthy and competitive and I think that the fire is still there. I think that the fire will go away once I realize that I'm not competitive with the top guys. And we'll see when that happens. You know, that's the way I feel today. That could change tomorrow.

Q. Does it amaze you when guys your age and younger quit?

JIM COURIER: No. It's a cool sport. And it doesn't amaze me. I've been thinking about quitting every year since I was about 20. At some point during the year you always think: I've had enough of this. Let's stop traveling and get back to a normal life. But I've always been pulled back into it because there's my love for the game. But not everyone feels that way. Not everyone wants to be away travelling. Not everyone want to be away from their family and their loves one. It doesn't surprise me when guys stop.

Q. You're not surprised at Andre's resurrection?

JIM COURIER: Am I surprised by that? I'm amazed. I'm not surprised. I'm just amazed that he's able to flip it on like the flip of a switch. He can just decide that, okay, I'm going to play great now, and he has the ability to do it. You know, he's like Connors; another unique case. I don't know if we'll see someone quite like that again.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JIM COURIER: I think that this year, I've been doing a great job of keeping my interests, and that's the biggest guarantee for consistency. Consistency of effort is what has lacked for me, as well as health the last couple of years, and I think they kind of go hand-in-hand. This year I've been, for the most part, healthy, and I think my interest level has been high. I think I've given myself enough time off the Tour to stay fresh and to come back eager to play, and just not give away matches based on lack of -- being fatigued or lack of interest or whatever the mitigating circumstances may be.

Q. Do you still give yourself goals?

JIM COURIER: Absolutely.

Q. In terms of, you know, ranking?


Q. What are they?

JIM COURIER: I couldn't tell you that. No, top secret. It's in the vault.

Q. What is it about playing here, aside from who is playing in it? Is it because of the rural area, there's not a lot of traffic?

JIM COURIER: Where have you been? Not a lot of traffic? You must be staying on site. (Laughter.)

Q. Not as much traffic as in New York or Los Angeles.

JIM COURIER: No, but it's a little frustrating. It's only one exit down, and you can be stuck on there for like a half hour sometimes. I like this tournament. I've been coming here every year since I was 16. I came here when I was a Junior just to watch practice. I like playing here because the -- it's a great tune-up for the U.S. Open because everybody is here. You know, you really do get to gauge where your game is going. The courts are similar. Unfortunately, the balls are not, but hopefully, that will be changed the next year. We get great fan support here. You've got on the practice courts thousands of people out watching guys practice, and packed houses in the evenings most of the time. It's really -- I think we all enjoy playing when it feels like it's a special event, and I think this one feels special.

Q. Young guys 15 or 17, coming up who wants to do what you've done. What do you tell him: Here's what you really need to focus on, whether it's in the game of tennis or outside the game of tennis that they have got to keep under control?

JIM COURIER: That's really, really general. You can't really pinpoint. I think everyone is personal. Everyone has got individual styles they have to follow. You know, there's not enough time to answer that question, I don't think.

Q. What have you done to take your mind off tennis? When you have down time, what do you like to do?

JIM COURIER: Go to movies. This is a great movie week. That's about it.

Q. Seen Blair Witch?

JIM COURIER: Not yet. But I've been busy. But in years past, movies, Kings Island, Reds games. Stay busy.

End of FastScripts….

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