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April 1, 1999

Alex O'Brien


Q. How is your fitness?

TODD MARTIN: So far I've felt very good this week. I'm usually optimistic for the weekend, but very confident for tomorrow. My only concern right now is how well I recover from Friday.

Q. Is it an abdominal pull?

TODD MARTIN: Hopefully that's what it was. I've had it a couple of months, gone through some fairly bad days, but it only affected my serve, so it's not a huge liability.

Q. When did it start?

TODD MARTIN: Probably when I played Korder in Melbourne.

Q. When were you able to start practicing?

TODD MARTIN: The last two days, last week, we all practiced at the Lipton. I didn't hit many serves, but the serves were full motioned and probably 80 to 90 percent power, and when I got here, I started going pretty full by Monday.

Q. Tom, what went into picking the team that you ended up going with, obviously Jan-Michael had good doubles showing last week, and had some good singles in Scottsdale.

TOM GULLIKSON: Well, I think probably Jim has had a lot of experience, certainly in away from home games, and that was a factor. Jan-Michael was also a little banged up, and that was a little factor, as well. And that's basically it.

Q. You weren't influenced by Jan-Michael getting to the final of Lipton?

TOM GULLIKSON: We couldn't find another semi-retired guy for him to play with, because these guys are all actively pursuing tennis careers. He had a good run in doubles there, but he needs a little more experience in the doubles, absolutely.

Q. Jim, how does the build up to this tie compare with the many other times that you've played over the years, and obviously for us, it's a different field, completely. As a relative veteran of these situations. How does it apply to you?

JIM COURIER: Well, I don't think that I felt a different build up. I think the build up for us as a team was generally speaking the same. We go about our business of preparing and really probably are sheltered from what you're witnessing, what's going on in the public domain. I'm assuming this is a bigger deal, perhaps than your other ties leading into this. But for us it's pretty much business as usual. We have a job to do, we come here, we prepare, and try to do our job and that's it.

Q. Do you like the thought of playing first, Jim, are you happy with that?

JIM LEYRITZ: I think in light of the fact with my going to play doubles, I think it fits appropriately, it let's me rest some.

Q. I think you played Tim once on the Tour and beat him.

JIM COURIER: We played two years ago, yes.

Q. How would you assess how he's changed since then.

JIM COURIER: I think he's definitely improved quite a lot since then, if the results are any indication. Certainly Tim and I have practiced quite frequently since then, so I wouldn't say that anything he's going to do is going to surprise me or shock me, but I am aware that his results have come marketedly better since then, so he must be doing something right.

Q. Were you surprised to be chosen for the team or had you suspected you would be anyway?

JIM COURIER: I think in light of everything that surrounds our team I'm not that surprised to be here.

Q. Jim, has the withdrawal of Sampras affected morale?

JIM COURIER: There actually hasn't been a withdrawal. They have their own things that they're pursuing, and we have ours. It's really a moot point. We're here to play, because we want to be here and that's really kind of the end of the story, bad karma notwithstanding.

Q. Tom, are you happy with the preparations and everything that's happened so far?

TOM GULLIKSON: Everything is great. We've had a great week of practice, the guys are working extremely hard. We've put in a lot of time on the court, and we've had a lot of fun off the court together as a team, and I've won a little money off the guys in cards, so it's business as usual.

JIM COURIER: We will be playing taxes on those.

TOM GULLIKSON: 25 percent entertainment tax here in the UK?

Q. What, Jim, do you think of the pace of the court, as an indoor court do you think it's pretty fair?

JIM COURIER: I'd say surprisingly fair. On first blush I thought that this tie would be on grass, so to be on an indoor court, I thought they'd probably try to get as close to grass as possible, which it's actually reasonably fair. So I'm quite pleased with it.

Q. Todd, what do you think about the surface?

TODD MARTIN: I think it's going to play faster than it has in practice, with all the people in the stands the temperature will be hotter, and I find the ball flies a little more when that's the case, and also the court is worn down a fair bit from Sunday when we started practicing, but I do feel it's fair, it's just on the quick side of fair.

Q. Are you kind of deliberately trying to not get into the hype, there's going to be a lot of hype about the British team, and I think John was saying it's probably the biggest event we've had in tennis outside of Wimbledon.

TODD MARTIN: It's your hype. Really, I think we all have pretty much the same opinion on this, it's a first for Great Britain in a while. It's not a first for us. Apart from it being the hundredth anniversary, this is just a first round for us, we're playing a very good team. I think we're all prepared and used to it. So like Jim said it's business as usual, we've got to do our job as we do it any other week.

Q. There hasn't been all that much publicity in America about this tie, one has surprisingly tended to written you off. Does that make you even more determined to possibly win it? And all the reports I saw was saying Britain is the favorite, the United States don't have a chance without Sampras and Agassi, it seemed to be a curious way to put it.

JIM COURIER: Bud, have you been writing things like that about us?

BUD COLLINS: No, I came with a lot of money to bet on you.

Q. Has it made you more determined to try to win?

TOM GULLIKSON: I've never seen one story in that regard at all, so that's news to me.

JIM COURIER: It's neither here nor there, once we get on court it doesn't really concern us what has or hasn't been written. We're going out there to play tennis and do our best and play the matches and when it's all said and done, you can put it down on paper, but until then it's all hyperbole.

Q. Do you think that perhaps the pressure of expectations on the British players could make it more difficult for them and perhaps a little easier for you?


Q. You were reslishing in the fact that you could stand back and let all the hype, as it were, affect the British team.

TOM GULLIKSON: Was that a question or a statement?

Q. I was asking what your response would be to that, the mind games?

TOM GULLIKSON: Not really, no.

JAN-MICHAEL GAMBILL: I think as one, as tennis players we're pretty much used to a lot of that stuff going on, and I don't think it affects these guys, it doesn't affect me, and I think the British team has the same view on that, probably. It goes on all year. It's just maybe a little more centered on Davis Cup.

Q. Jan-Michael, are you disappointed you're not playing this tie?

JAN-MICHAEL GAMBILL: I'd obviously love to be out there playing, but I'm a hundred percent behind these guys and the team. This is a team atmosphere, that's why we're here. And I'll be ready to back them up, in case anything could happen.

Q. Alex, how do you feel, there you are with a doubles, obviously weren't sure who you were going to be playing at first, and there's not a lot of experience of the two of you playing together, so how is your feeling about that?

ALEX O'BRIEN: We've been practicing together for the week, and I feel like we're starting to get a rhythm together, and I think we'll have a good showing out there. We're just going to go out there and try to make a lot of returns and try to make them hit a lot of volleys and feel like we'll have a good shot out there.

Q. Jim, you were talking about the surprising pace of the court. If this was your home tie, what court do you think you guys would like to play?

JIM COURIER: If we were playing at home, more than likely we'd be playing on a grass court.

Q. Because of the opposition or because that's what you want?


Q. In terms of hard court, this would be --

JIM COURIER: I think as Todd said it's playing on the quick side of medium, but in light of how it could have been if we're playing on grass, speaking for me specifically, I'm more comfortable on a surface like this than I would be on grass.

Q. So you're happy it's a week or two earlier?

JIM COURIER: Is the grass dormant or is it too cold?

Q. It rains.

TOM GULLIKSON: We've noticed that in the last 25 years.

Q. Are you disappointed, obviously Bud and I are your American contingent, that not too many have come over to follow it at all?

TOM GULLIKSON: No, we're happy that you're here, and we're also happy that Bud is here, so you can spread the good word around all of America, syndicate yourself.

Q. You have to be somewhat disappointed.

TOM GULLIKSON: No, we're just here to play tennis.

JIM COURIER: Don't pat yourself on the back too much.

Q. I'm not.

TODD MARTIN: We're here for ourselves, our team and our country, we're not here for the media, it's preposterous to think that the number of people writing about us is going to affect our mindset, our demeanor, or our competition this weekend.

Q. I didn't mean that, but obviously just for the public to kind of know that they should be more aware of what's happening.

JIM COURIER: We have to have another discussion on the Davis Cup scenario in the United States in order to clear that one up. It is what it is, and here we are, and here you are, and we are happy that you're here. It's not going to affect what goes on this weekend.

Q. What do you expect to do?

TOM GULLIKSON: Well, we expect to play well, and I really think we can win this tie, absolutely. I think we've got the guys who have had very good success against Henman and Rusedski in the past, and there's no reason for us to think any differently that it won't continue this weekend.

Q. What's the combined record, Tom, of Todd and Jim against Rusedski and Henman?

TOM GULLIKSON: 11 and 2. When you throw in Jan-Michael it's 13 and 2.

End of FastScripts....

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