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July 12, 1999

Alex O'Brien


Q. How does it feel to be the Marquis name in all these American stars?

ALEX O'BRIEN: The Marquis name, yeah. Yeah, I'm -- I actually think I personally sold all the tickets. (Laughter.) Yeah, the first 20 minutes, when they found out I was coming to Boston, I don't think they were too worried about Courier, Sampras or Martin. It was like O'Brien's playing there, I'm going to be there. (Laughing). I'm happy to be a part of this team. And we've all grown up together. We're all about the same age. And we all played Juniors together. It's a great feeling and a great honor to be a part of this, a part of this whole thing. This is history.

Q. You've had some success in New England playing in the various tournaments.

ALEX O'BRIEN: Yeah, that's right. Well, they canceled my tournament that I won. I think possibly because I won it, they might have canceled it. I've played well in this area. I've only played -- I played the Boston Tournament one time and didn't do so well. But, yeah, I've played well. Hopefully, I'll have some fans out there. I know the U.S. is going to have some support in this match, and I'm really excited just to go out there and do some damage.

Q. What's your take on the Pete Sampras playing singles issue?

ALEX O'BRIEN: It definitely has to come from him, what he feels like doing. But he's the best player in the world. And I think you always want to put your best player out there. But we'll sit down and talk about it and try to figure it out. But anywhere we can get him, it's great that he's on the team. And anywhere we can get him on the court is a bonus.

Q. Much has been made about the United States momentum in tennis with Andre winning in France and Pete winning in Wimbledon. Could you talk about how this might extend that?

ALEX O'BRIEN: Yeah. This would be a great way to kind of keep it rolling. It's really good for tennis in the U.S. U.S. tennis has been struggling quite a bit lately. I think Andre winning the French and playing Wimbledon, it made people realize we're still a power in tennis and, hopefully, we can top that off and continue the role, I guess, the American role. And get fans excited about tennis again. Because it is an amazing sport. When you go and watch it live, you can stand right next to the court and watch the players. It's a great sport, a lot of fun to play. I would love it if more people got excited about it like we did.

Q. Is winning critical to keeping that going, or is it just the spectacle itself?

ALEX O'BRIEN: I think this is going to be a huge show. This is a huge event. It's history. It's U.S. versus Australia. We played them in D.C. last time. That was a really tough match. I think that just the spectacle of that will really keep fans interested. But, obviously, it will help if we win. Nobody really -- you know the saying, "Nobody remembers a loser." But obviously it's a tie that's going to, I think, generate a lot of interest in tennis. Hopefully, it will be like the women's soccer, to get tennis going again.

Q. Could you talk about the Australian team a little bit.

ALEX O'BRIEN: I don't even know who's on the team. Who's on the team? Is it Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt and then Sandon? And Woodforde. Yeah, they've got a great team. They've got a lot of talent. As far as I'm concerned with the doubles, they have three guys there who could play doubles. So we don't know what they're going to be doing as far as doubles goes. But they're all good guys, and I'm really good friends with Sandon Stolle. I think it's great that he's a part of the team. I think there's going to be a lot of stubborn people out there trying to beat the other guys, but it's going to be fun.

Q. What's your role going to be? You have strong personality on the team, just to get the excitement going. Or the quiet guy, unknown?

ALEX O'BRIEN: My role? You know what, I think I'm kind of just -- I'm pretty mellow off the court. We actually have a pretty good team dynamic, I think, with this team, and I don't know what my role exactly will be. My role will be to go out there and win my match on Saturday, and all of a sudden I'm looking a lot better. But I think it's just kind of keep everybody relaxed. We all are just trying to stay relaxed and concentrate on the job at hand. Thanks.

End of FastScripts....

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