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July 18, 1998

Xavier Malisse

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, BELGIUM vs. USA MARTIN-COURIER/Van Herck-Malisse 5-7, 6-2, 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-1

Q. When did you decide on your doubles team? Were you surprised also to see Courier out there or did you have an inkling that something was going to happen there?

CAPTAIN GONNISEN: We practiced from the beginning of the week. We were practicing with these two guys. In doubles, the coach, we agreed to put them together. We never -- it never came into our mind to change it. We heard some rumors about Richey having problems with the knee, but we didn't think he was that serious. We heard this morning, in fact, for sure that Jim was going to play.

Q. Did that change anything?

CAPTAIN GONNISEN: No, it didn't change our team that we had chosen. But we were a little bit happy. I mean, it's better to play Jim than Richey in doubles, I think. But finally, Jim played I think a better match than Todd did.

Q. For the players, if they could comment if they noticed a little bit in that first set they looked like they had a little indecision of who was going to play what ball in the middle. You seemed to take advantage of that. As the match went on, did you see them clicking a little better and making it more difficult?

JOHAN VAN HERCK: I don't know. Sure you get a little more confidence if you go further on in the match. It was the same for us. We practiced some together, but a match is always different. For sure, I think they had more doubles experience than we have still because Courier is sometimes playing. But it's always a guess, if you go on the court, the middle ball is always like you have to be a really experienced team. I don't think that the match was decided on the points in the middle. I mean, they did their best. For sure it was not a top doubles team that we were playing. We were not a top doubles team. But we did our best.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about that fourth set tiebreaker?

JOHAN VAN HERCK: That's close. We were 2-Love up. He makes the lob. It's just long. If it's in, I think it's over. We have two serves. If he makes one, I think it's 4-1. I don't think they will be coming back. At 3-2, I miss a forehand volley. I think for us the fifth set was a little bit too much. We gave so much in the first four, we got broken immediately. Also me, I was a little bit disappointed after the fourth set that we couldn't finish it because we came back from 6-4 on his serve, set points on him. I could serve, but we couldn't close it. That's tennis. I mean, I think that the fourth set tiebreaker was a perfect example of how the match was just very close.

Q. Xavier, you looked like you were having fun out there. Did you have fun out there?

XAVIER MALISSE: Yes, because I play with Johan, he's a funny guy. But I had fun. It was my first time I played. There's a lot of people. Even if they're against us, I had fun. You know, it was perfect weather, perfect team, everybody was behind us. There's no reason to be sad. We played good. The team was there. They always cheered for us, they yelled. The other people from Belgium, they were there. The whole match I had fun, even there was some tough moments, but most of the parts we had fun.

Q. Had you guys ever played doubles together? A match?


Q. In a match?


Q. Did you practice the chest bumping also?

JOHAN VAN HERCK: That we practiced during soccer. That's how we play soccer. But I came up with the idea in the match. We didn't put it in our minds before. We were not sure we were going to make nice points, so.

Q. Do you have an option of maybe adjusting your singles players in the dead rubber? I'm assuming you are playing the best out of three sets now.

CAPTAIN GONNISEN: Everybody is certainly injured. Taking a shower, taking the towel (indicating). Seriously, there's a lot of people coming out, they bought the tickets. You have to take this serious. I want to put two guys on the court that want to go for it. Christophe is for sure going to play, Van Garsse. I'll see for the last. But the thing is, they played a long, long match today. They have the problem, their feet getting burned at the end. You maybe saw in the fifth set, they were not walking.

Q. Do you think the crowd would like to see Mr. Malisse tomorrow? Would you think about that?

XAVIER MALISSE: (Shaking head negatively.)

CAPTAIN GONNISEN: I don't have to consider that. We're going to try to make a point, two take points back. It's just a question of getting everybody motivated. Normally, Filip and Christophe are going to stay on. We going to go for those last two points. Even if it goes into the books, I prefer it to be 3-2 than 5-0.

Q. Xavier, would you like to play tomorrow?

XAVIER MALISSE: No, thank you. Well, it's up to cone. It's not my decision.

Q. If it was your decision, would you like to play?

XAVIER MALISSE: But it's not my decision. Yeah, like I want to play definitely. It's okay if I play. I'll be there. Like he said, my feet are burned. I have to play tournaments, all the summer tournaments coming up. We'll see, it's not my decision. If they choose me, I'll be there.

End of FastScripts....

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