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March 19, 1999

Jim Courier


MIKI SINGH: Jim advances to the second round. His next opponent is Pete Sampras.

Q. One windy tiebreak?

JIM COURIER: It's Miami; it's going to be windy out there for sure. Persevering is the main thing, as you know.

Q. When you missed the overhead, were you cursing the wind?

JIM COURIER: No. I was just looking to the next point. Those things happen.

Q. You got a break from the wind.

JIM COURIER: It was like a little tit-for-a-tat. I missed one easy one; he missed one easy one. A lot of times those things don't even out necessarily in the same sequence. This time they did.

Q. Have you hit with him before?


Q. He lives in Orlando.

JIM COURIER: He doesn't live in Orlando. I have practiced with him at LGE before.

Q. You knew his game a little bit?

JIM COURIER: A little bit, yeah.

Q. Big surprise to us. We've never seen him.

JIM COURIER: He's actually quite good. He's got an unorthodox style, but very effective for sure.

Q. It may not mean anything more than just a second round match to you because you're just preparing for your next match, but I think the fans, another Courier-Sampras match is big time for them. Do you connect with that?

JIM COURIER: I definitely understand that. We're two recognizable names. Oftentimes in tournaments of this size, you don't see matchups with name players like that this early. It's an early round kind of appetizer for the fans, I guess.

Q. Could you do sort of like a fairly brief resume of the 20 matches you have played over the years?

JIM COURIER: Well, Pete has gotten the best of me in most of those matches. Most of them haven't been blow-outs. Most of them have been close. He just has seemed to win when he needed to. I've gotten him here or there. It's been a while since we've played. I don't think we've played since maybe Rome a couple of years ago. We've certainly practiced a bunch since then. I don't expect any surprises from him. I'm sure he feels the same way.

Q. Do your juices flow any faster or bolder when you're playing Pete?

JIM COURIER: It's not a juice thing; it's a concentration thing. You know you have to focus and bear down when you play Pete, or any other top player, because if you give an inch, they'll take it and run with it. It's one of those matches where I tend to focus a little bit more intense maybe. I don't know if that would qualify as the juices or adrenalines flowing. But I think my brain is just a little bit that there's no leeway there that you can give.

Q. Given that Pete hasn't played in his top form lately, does that affect at all the way you go into the match or approach it?

JIM COURIER: I think Pete still knows how to play tennis. I don't think you can say just because he hasn't come out of the blocks like he normally does this year that he's down or anything like that. I think Pete is one of the players that is similar to myself, is more vulnerable in the early rounds. Once you get a groove in the tournament and kind of get some matches under your belt, then you start playing a little bit better. It might be advantageous for me to see him earlier in the tournament. But if I lose, it's not much of an advantage. We'll have to see how it works out.

Q. The shoulder, is it still on a watch from week-to-week or behind you?

JIM COURIER: It's my bicep actually. At the moment I feel like it's behind me. I guess you never say never. I don't want to jinx it certainly. It's been since late summer that I've had any problems with it. The real test for me this year I guess will be going over to Wimbledon. That's where I've always traditionally had problems with it. That's where it started. If my arm makes it through Wimbledon pain-free, then I'll be happy. If I fly over and the first day after practice my arm is sore, I'm getting right back on the plane and coming home. I'm not going to risk it.

Q. Is there a connection?

JIM COURIER: I think the balls are heavier. They're a little flatter. Maybe the wet, damp conditions as well. But I'm hoping. I've lifted more weights. I'm a little stronger this year. My racquets are a little heavier. I'm hoping that the combination of those factors is going to allow me to play. I think that about covers it, Miki.

MIKI SINGH: All right.

End of FastScripts....

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