April 2, 1999
BIRMINGHAM, GREAT BRITAIN
Q. Jim, well played. When did a match give you that much satisfaction to win?
JIM COURIER: Wow, probably last year, in the first round of Davis Cup, when I beat Safin in five sets, I think that was probably the last time I've had that kind of satisfaction. It's a special moment when you're playing on foreign ground, and you're playing the country's No. 1 player, and the tennis is being played at a pretty high level. It's not like -- there weren't a whole lot of loose shots, but good shots were winning more than bad shots were losing. That's the kind of tennis -- I had a conscious thought during the match that I'm really enjoying what's going on, whether I'm winning or losing, I'm really enjoying this competition. And it is special to walk away with a victory. It's much better to walk away with a victory but playing in those atmospheres like that, is really special.
Q. Let's say you lose, you retain that feeling?
JIM COURIER: I wouldn't be as happy, clearly, but these kinds of matches are the matches that keep an old guy like me playing. It's not the first round match in Atlanta with 13 people watching. Those are the matches that get you to this point, but these are the ones that -- these are the ones that are memorable, I'll remember this 50 years from now -- if I'm living (laughter.)
Q. Was the atmosphere kind of everything you thought it would be?
JIM COURIER: Yes, it was. The crowd was very fair and very pro-England, which they should be. But it's definitely a much better crowd to play for than playing in say Brazil, where they're not quite as fair to the opposing player.
Q. You think the line judges were pretty pro-England?
JIM COURIER: A lot of close calls did go -- but that's home cooking.
Q. Did that help you to get wound up?
JIM COURIER: I think that did. That third set breaker, I got a little fired up, and I don't think it hurt me, certainly.
Q. Only four match points got away from you in the next one, how did you feel it was going?
JIM COURIER: I had my chances, and I did the best I could with the points, and Tim came up with some good shots, and I missed a couple of shots here and there. But the good news was that I was still in the match, and that's what Gully pointed out to me, and I played some strong service games in the 5th, that kind of reassured me, and I got my teeth into some of his service points, but I felt like I was getting closer to breaking, and eventually I came through there at the end.
Q. You must have been pleased with your own service games, as well. You served very, very solidly today.
JIM COURIER: The last two service games particularly I ran away at love the last two service games, which gives me a little more freedom to play aggressively on his serve.
Q. Did you think that in fact you held that game to love after he held to love, rather kind of broke his morale a little bit?
JIM COURIER: I don't think it broke his morale, but it brought the momentum become to my side.
Q. In a match like that, how important is stickability when you've got to keep going to the very end?
JIM COURIER: That's a lot of it. You've got to have the shots, just having sticks is not going to be good enough, but you have to have both.
Q. You seemed, particularly in the first set, you better come in behind your serve, you were hitting them deep, did you do that going into the match or did that unfold?
JIM COURIER: It's one of those things where you have to feel how you're serving and see how he's returning, but I was willing to use a shovel if I had to, whatever I had to do I was going to try to do.
Q. Feeling all right for tomorrow?
JIM COURIER: I think so.
Q. How do you sustain such a high quality of play over such a long period?
JIM COURIER: Actually in Memphis about a month ago, I played about five, six good matches right in a row, but they weren't four hour matches, so I haven't played a four hour match in a while, this actually feels pretty good to stay on the court that long.
Q. Was there anything about the match, your play or his play that surprised you?
JIM COURIER: I guess I was a little bit surprised that he didn't attack more off of my slice backhand. But I guess the guys, my teammates on the sideline, said my slice was going very deep into the court and keeping him off of the net, but I thought anytime he saw me go to the slice on the backhand he would have been leaning to come in. Other than that, you know, it's a pretty straightforward match, matching up our best, against the others.
Q. Jim, there's a lot of talk that the ITF are going to cut the matches down to three sets?
JIM COURIER: I'd like to be on the board to have a discussion with them, or at least be in the meeting if they're going to do something like that. If they're looking to do something in that scenario, my vote isn't to cut down the match to two out of three sets, and keep the format the same way, my vote would be let's take Davis Cup and make it a two week event, and let's bring the whole world's focus to it, and make it more like Dusseldorf, and have the teams competing on one site, and when we get to the finals maybe we'll play three out of five. We don't have enough time for me to say everything I'd like to about that right now, but if they're going to change the format, I think you need to make the Davis Cup a little rarer, than four times a year, but that's messing with the tradition of the event, I know. Look out there at the crowd, and look how much fun the people are having watching, how much hype there is here, you'd definitely be losing a lot in these countries. You wouldn't be losing much in my country, because we have a pretty apathetic public, but everybody else you would be losing a lot. It's easy for me to sit up here and say that would make Davis Cup a bigger event. That's a change I thought long ago would be the answer. Let's make it two weeks, like a Grand Slam, have all the teams together.
Q. If Pete and Andre had said yes, do you think you and Todd would be here today?
JIM COURIER: We'd probably be here playing doubles.
Q. Jim, how much do you get from having the team around you? There's a lot of animation with your team, that I didn't see with Tim and our team?
JIM COURIER: It helps a tremendous amount on the sidelines feeling the energy from the guys. We have some of the most animated people on the planet, let alone the tennis world on our team. So their excitement is definitely that -- that energy was flowing through me a little bit towards the end of the match, I could feel it for sure, it helps. It couldn't hurt, could it?
Q. You were having a debate with one or two in the crowd, I think somebody said, "Do you think that was in?" And you turned to him --
JIM COURIER: "That next shot was for you, buddy". (Laughter.) Whatever it takes, right?
End of FastScripts....