July 12, 1999
Q. How do you feel coming off Wimbledon?
JIM COURIER: I feel well. Wimbledon was a good tournament for me. A lot of close matches, competitive matches. I played a long time on the courts there, which was nice. Nice to be in the second week. I haven't been there in a couple years, so that was refreshing. And I think that it's kind of a good -- I think what's nice about this tie is that everyone here is coming off a good Wimbledon, so everyone is playing well, which should make it pretty competitive, pretty exciting.
Q. It seems like your game has been refreshed over the last year and 18 months.
JIM COURIER: It's lifted off since last fall, I think. I think I started playing again about late September, early October, injury-free. And I've had ups and downs since then, but it's been a lot more enjoyable for me just to be healthy and be able to play and go out and compete on a daily basis.
Q. Jim, what are your thoughts on whether Pete should play singles or not?
JIM COURIER: I think we're going to have a team discussion in the next few days and sort that out. I mean our job is to play a competitive team on the playing field. I think whichever way we go with it, we have a competitive team.
Q. It's obvious Pete is very sensitive to this. I don't want to use the term "embarrassment." You can tell he struggled. He doesn't want to be a bandwagon guy. How have you guys helped him out with that?
JIM COURIER: I think we've made it very clear to Pete that once you're on the team, you're on the team. He made it clear to us that he wanted to be on the team. We made it very clear to him that we wanted him on the team. And here we are. There's no reason for any awkward feelings. It's time to go out and try to win three matches before the Australians do. It's a simple concept. There doesn't need to be any complications there.
Q. Describe those two matches against England, the first round that you had.
JIM COURIER: Long. In a word, very long. (Laughter.) To five setters, two nail-biters, I broke serve for both matches. So basically, couldn't have been any tougher or tighter, and it was a thrilling result, really.
Q. Are you surprised since that, you have recognition and all that? Are you surprised by that?
JIM COURIER: I think that the thing that's kind of gratifying is that you guys are here, and it's Monday. And that hasn't happened in a Davis Cup tie in America that I've ever been a part of. So that, for me, is a gratifying part. The Davis Cup is getting back to being a front-page story. So it's such a compelling competition to be a part of as a player and as a fan, because it's different from most events in that the fans can participate, much like any other sporting event where they can make as much noise as they want and cheer fervently. I think that's what makes it, I think, gratifying to me, an event of this stature is trying to get a little more recognition in America. I played a small the part in that and that make me sleep better.
Q. Have you discussed amongst your peers, especially Andre and Pete, it seems like the game has been being knocked over the last couple years, especially the men's American game. Is that something you thought about considerably and put emphasis on you're playing Davis Cup and the majors?
JIM COURIER: I think the game has been knocked around a little bit in the media's eyes. Your eyes, you jump on the bandwagon on something and say something is going great, the people believe you. When you guys start saying something is negative or it's boring or there's no compelling personalities and other stuff we've heard about tennis, the average fan that doesn't watch a lot of tennis believes that. Look at the Women's World Cup, I've never seen such a bandwagon for anything in my life. It's like the '60s revisited. All of a sudden it's gender equity for the women, which I thought we had a long time ago. Not just an example of the power that you guys have with your pens. I think that right now the men's tennis has turned the corner in the last -- certainly the last month with Andre winning in Paris and Pete and Andre playing the Finals in a very compelling men's Wimbledon for the first time in a while. It's been a while since we've had so many different stories happening at Wimbledon, and that's the crown jewel of tennis. So it's kind of in you guys' hands a little bit. Maybe you don't realize the power that you have, but you do color a lot of the public's thoughts on the way they perceive us.
Q. When you say men's tennis, you mean U.S. Men's Tennis?
JIM COURIER: I think certainly U.S. Men's Tennis has turned the corner. I think men's tennis worldwide has been very, very strong and has been and will remain very strong. I think in America there's been a little bit of, in the last few years, certainly a kind of stagnation. You know, people are kind of tired of seeing us do our thing. And maybe you get tired of watching Pete win every year. I don't think you should. It's not easy. But it's difficult. But sometimes you don't have a flashy type of an Andre-type Vegas guy come up for a few years, then you see us, you know us, you know what we're like, it's not like there's a new story there. Maybe we just have to reinvent ourselves for you. Color my hair, paint my fingers, do something, I don't know. I'm a wild and crazy guy. Nothing can stop me. (Laughter.)
Q. For some guys, Davis Cup means nothing. For you, obviously, not just this year, it's always meant something for you.
JIM COURIER: Davis Cup is unique because of the team format as well. It's our one chance all year, four times a year, it's our one chance to be involved in a team. And I appreciate that. I've always enjoyed that; the team environment, ever since I was a child. And the sport that I've excelled in is an individual sport, so it's nice to be able to come together as a unit four times a year and get a little fellowship to kind of use.
Q. Do you have a strong opinion one way or another which team is better off... (Inaudible)
JIM COURIER: I think the team's going to be strong one way or another. So we'll let you know.
Q. Jim, do you want another shot at Rafter?
JIM COURIER: Do I want another shot at him?
JIM COURIER: Have I ever lost to Rafter, Leo? I don't think I have. I don't know if I can answer that line of questioning.
Q. Throughout the past eight years, you've gone through everything, it seems. Number one, struggling with injuries, and then this year, Davis Cup and Wimbledon. What kind of emotions were you going through?
JIM COURIER: Oh, it's been a great ride. Phew, I've been through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. It's been a tremendous ride. I've felt every emotion that I think a person could feel, and that's the way that I hope the rest of my life will be.
Q. Do you enjoy roller coasters?
JIM COURIER: A lot. (Laughing) Yeah. Very much.
Q. You said the turnaround began last fall. Was it one tournament that you felt turned it around, or was it just one --
JIM COURIER: No. I just think it was a -- you know, my body gelled together, and I basically decided that I was going to overcome whatever obstacles got in my way, regardless of who's winning or losing matches. It was put up or shut up time. Basically I decided to shut up and play. Since then, I've enjoyed it so much more than I enjoyed it before. Sometimes you get a little bit older and wiser and settle into your skin a little bit better. I think at the moment I'm settled in a little bit better in my skin.
Q. How do you compare Davis Cup to other tournaments you play? Especially the Grand Slams.
JIM COURIER: Well, I think for me that the Grand Slams and Davis Cup are like playoffs. Other tournaments we play are like the regular season where you're playing those tournaments, you need to win those tournaments like you need to win regular season games in order to get into the playoffs. So, for myself, Davis Cup and the Slams are the playoffs. That's the way I approach them.
Q. Why Davis Cup? Was there something growing up that fired your ambitions as far as Davis Cup? Can you remember watching a match earlier on?
JIM COURIER: Growing up, I was on the Junior Davis Cup Team in America when I was 15 and 16. We would travel all summer as a team and get together when our team was playing. I remember watching McEnroe play Becker, Hartford, that match.
Q. The long match?
JIM COURIER: The relegation match for U.S. versus Germany. That was like a really emotional, incredible match, and that is certainly a memory that's with me from Davis Cup. You know, they used to push that on us when we were Junior Davis Cuppers, the importance of it. I guess it stuck with me. You miss it when it's gone, you know. I didn't come to Australia when we lost to you guys on the grass with Brad Gilbert and David Wheaton. It was on grass. I wasn't considered a grass court player at the time, and didn't go. And then we lost. And we were out of the world group, almost, we had to do a relegation match later that year. Since then, I haven't missed a tie when I've been healthy. I just missed it; I didn't play it that whole year. And I missed it.
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