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August 14, 1996

Murphy Jensen


JOE LYNCH: Murphy Jensen. Luke is up doing some ESPN work. Murphy's ear is beginning to swell a bit. First question?

Q. How did you feel about that emotional up and down match?

MURPHY JENSEN: Well, I feel I let it get away. Lost the second set tiebreaker. Served for the match. That's usually where I come in and finish matches. I went for it and I came up short in the tiebreaker. Played a good game at 4-All to get a break in the third. Have a three-day match like this, it's really tough. You know, you have guys complaining and moaning about the crowd, enjoying themselves, tennis being accepted by the public, tennis players and non-tennis players. It's hard to play sometimes. It's scary. You wonder why the state of the game is sometimes a question mark, whether it's in the state of the good or the bad. When you got guys that you're playing against that would rather be on Court 35 with the atmosphere of a church, you wonder why you don't sell to TV.

Q. What was the little exchange you had at the end there when you were walking off the court?

MURPHY JENSEN: If someone's got a problem with me personally, we can settle it the old-fashioned way.

Q. Did you offer him, did you ask him if he wanted to go?

MURPHY JENSEN: Absolutely.

Q. His response?

MURPHY JENSEN: He doesn't got the guts. That's my response. His response is, "It's just a tennis match." Well then why all the crying and moaning and groaning? I took a shot to the head. I have the utmost respect for Jim Courier. He's a fighter and people don't give him the respect that he deserves. He goes out and does his deal. He doesn't moan and complain. He goes out and fights. Some people thought that was boring. When you get another guy on the court, if you don't like something, do something about it, get a rule changed.

Q. If you were ready to throw a punch at him --

MURPHY JENSEN: I would never throw a punch at anyone on the court.

Q. You asked him if he wanted to go?

MURPHY JENSEN: Absolutely.

Q. So you would have taken this back into the locker room and have a fight?

MURPHY JENSEN: We'd never fight in the locker room.

Q. Where would you fight (laughter)?

MURPHY JENSEN: He knows where I'm staying. That's all I need to say.

Q. Will you invite the media (laughter)?

MURPHY JENSEN: I'd have to contact K Enterprises. I love that, man. You know, I'm a pretty big dude. Unless it's like Marc Rosset or Richard Krajicek, I'm not going to back down to too many people. I've gotten pounded enough by my brother. I would never -- I don't know. It's just a shame that a game of tennis can't be what -- what I consider pure tennis is what you used to see with Jimmy Connors and Borg. Here's two guys, Connors went nuts on the court, fought like a dog to win, let everyone know it. Bjorn Borg on the other side of the spectrum didn't say a word, but he fought in the same fashion. The game flourished financially and as well for the fans. Today, you know, have you so many guys going against the industry. There's so many federations and stuff that it just seems like no one's ever -- it's really just a confusing deal. It hurts to lose a match like that. You feel emotional.

Q. You mentioned the whining and complaining. What in particular was the whining and complaining about?

MURPHY JENSEN: I think Alex mentioned it was a circus atmosphere. God forbid if someone enjoys themselves at a tennis tournament. I hope we all he come out and throw sand and make kids cry. That's what we're aiming for? I don't think so. I don't know. We go out and do our thing. We don't do it towards -- we don't, like -- our enthusiasm and energy isn't done with vulgarity and it's not done against your opponent, calling your opponents names, you know, stuff like that. We're a couple of doubles guys from a small town just trying to, you know, try to enjoy this life that we've been given, you know.

Q. Doing a pretty shrewd job of it, though?

MURPHY JENSEN: What do you mean? I'm not very smart (laughter).

Q. Other players, do you sense hostilities in the locker room or around the Tour that perhaps you, Luke, are more appealing to sponsors and more people willing to give money to you, contracts to you?

MURPHY JENSEN: You know, Luke told me once that -- it seems like the Woodies -- I think it's terrible that the Woodies could probably be the best team in the history of the game as far as we know, but nobody knows who the Woodies are. I think that's a crime. Someone's not doing their job. I don't blame the Woodies. They're going out and putting out paper. I guess in the '90s, you need to do a little bit more than win Super Bowls or win Grand Slams. You have to touch the public, especially in tennis you have to touch the fans. Tennis is one of the unique sports where you can be really intimate with the player. If you are a player and you decide to have an entourage of bodyguards and high-maintenance life-style, you're never going to get embraced by the fans, which you need to be a star in today's world, I think.

Q. What's your most fond recollection of being in touch with fans anywhere?

MURPHY JENSEN: I mean, I think it happens every week. My most fun probably though is the US Open. I mean, I thank the USTA every day of my life. They roll the dice with the Jensen brothers on national television in '94. I think that was more important to our careers than winning the French Open. We sold the TV. We proved that, you know, we sold to the fans. Those are the types of things you end up thinking of. You never think about it, but you end up thinking about it because that's what gets you from A to B. Luke and I never thought about making ten cents in this game. If we did, we probably would have stolen the prize money, we know where it is, the cash. Easier way to get it. Two weeks ago in LA, someone is saying, you know, 30 minutes and you can get out of here. There were seven thousand kids or something like that. We had to sign like, you know, 11 thousand autographs in a three-hour period, 11 thousand, high-five every one of these guys, seven thousand, six thousand kids. That's amazing. I know when I'm done playing, I've done some pretty cool stuff, that the Woodies would never have done, and there are things they've done that I won't do. I won't look down at that. I think should be known as the greatest doubles team in the world. I'd be making more money if what the Woodies did was more glorified. If they showed more doubles on TV, I'd have Andre's contract, no question. But because we're the only doubles team, it's really hard. We don't even consider ourselves carrying the banner, but it kind of seems so. Who doesn't complain is a guy like Jim Courier and a guy like Andre Agassi, or even Pete. Pete says, "They got their thing." Someone teased us about the (inaudible) we wear. He said, "Check's in the bank." They get paid for it and they deserve it. My brother stood in a nose before. We work hard, you know. I met Jack Cramer, spoke with Rod Laver many times. I have autographs in my bag over there that says you've been great for the game. Not one of those guys said anything negative. Every one of them said how great we were for the game of tennis and how you keep it alive. That means more to me than some guy who has a chip on his shoulder. If he has a problem with me as a doubles player, he has a problem probably with everything in his life. Probably has girl problems and everything (laughter). It's pretty cool to have this spotlight (laughter).

Q. You say you do a lot of hard work to keep those young fans interested. That sounds (inaudible). When you talk TV, sounds like you're talking money only. When you talk spectators, you say (inaudible)?

MURPHY JENSEN: You'll see us sign autographs for two hours after every match. We signed everything out there tonight. I don't get paid for doing that. I'm just saying there are doubles guys that are better, have that higher ranking. Instead of really taking some of the weight off our shoulders, my brother said once, if the Woodies -- let's see it was Leach and Melville won the French in '93, became this big rock'n roll sensation with long hair, just going for it. They're able to lose and still get bigger attendance three years later. Luke said that he would do everything that team did and twice as good. That's the attitude we've taken. We were influenced a long time ago by the former No. 1 Stan Smith and Dennis Ralston when we were eight at the Pilot Penn in Atlanta, Georgia, before we even played. We have the T-shirts still. Went to a kids clinic like kids day. We saw it in the paper. Wasn't even in a tournament. I was six, Luke was eight. We show up an hour early for the free clinic. Stan Smith and Dennis Ralston saw us over there hanging out with our parents and said they wanted to hit some with us. We got pictures with the Pilot Penn shirt on of those guys feeding balls for a full hour before the clinic started. That's the only thing I can really put a little pointer to, the reason we do the things we do. Our parents were elementary school teachers, so I think the way they handled us as kids. We have those pictures. When I went to college, Dennis Ralston ended up being the guy recruiting me, Stan Smith is a guy we've done business with. Pretty neat, pretty special. The papers every week don't really get to see or hear what's really special to each guy. I think that would be pretty interesting.

Q. (Inaudible).

MURPHY JENSEN: Yeah. I heard them talk about the tournaments, say it's sponsored in the past, the Challenger, the president last night, but he mentioned something in 1974 or something like that.

Q. (Inaudible) exhibition series that feel the way you do, hoot and holler and do the rock'n roll thing?

MURPHY JENSEN: There's room on the Tour for it. I think it would enhance the Tour. Think there's room for an exhibition Tour. The Billy Jean thing, awesome, pioneer, something different. She was a big advocate of women's rights and things like that. Arthur Ashe was different. Today he's an African American legend, hero, not just for tennis, talking about something really special. Who knows where this thing is going to take us. Like you said, I don't know, if someone wants to put together a Tour, that would be great. Who knows if there are guys willing to do it. It takes a big commitment. Jimmy Connors' Tour, everyone digs it. If you don't go to the press conference, cocktail parties, do the things with the sponsors, the media, you're out of there, off the Tour. No player is bigger than the Tour. Tennis, the ATP could do a little bit better job. Sometimes the problem is the players are running this company, this union. Are we the best ones for the job? $300,000,000 company. Would you hire your buddy who played tennis at Duke or would you hire the best marketing guy at Harvard? That's the way I look at it. I think tennis is on the rebound anyway and I think it's going great. My big hope is that one day, and I think Luke said this to me, it would be really cool if some kid playing the Tour says, "You really meant a lot to me, you wanted to hit balls with me." I remember how Stan Smith did with us, a few others along the line. That would be really neat someday. If that happens, then I know I've done right in this job. I'd hate to be in the game -- away from the game in 10 or 15 years, and this tournament be only a $100,000 event because no one wants to sponsor tennis anymore because it's a dead game. I think what you saw with Luke and Krajicek today was awesome. This is one of the few sports that's a family. Jim Courier's mother used to feed him balls, Agassi's father was important to him. You see Chang's brother is coaching him. Football you don't get that as much, basketball you don't get that as much. You play with your grandfather who is 75 in tournaments probably, doubles. It's cool to play today. I appreciate you having the Jensen brothers.

Q. Do you find it surprising when a player walks off the court in 50 of 100 kids looking for an autograph and bee lines to the locker room and ignores the kids?

MURPHY JENSEN: I don't know. We lost the match, but they made me feel so good. Probably never taken the time and realized what it can do for you, winning and losing. I don't know. I don't know if anyone realizes how important that is to those kids. One and ten blow it off, but one it's going to affect. Affect someone coming back to watch the tournament, buy a ticket probably. I see that. It's not my job to say something to them. I lost today, but I had 50 kids tell me I was a star, tough as nails, can take them out. They wanted to see my bloody ear. Is that real sweat, they're asking me. That's pretty cool. My dad got to see me play today. He got to see me play last week. Even though I lost, I got thumbs up. That's pretty cool, too.

Q. Is it something that should be mandatory after the match, that players spend more time with people that that are out there?

MURPHY JENSEN: How you going -- it's up to that person. Greg Norman I heard isn't the most personal person on the golf tour. That catches up to everybody, I think. Andre does the best he can. Look what Andre does off the court. He raises fund-raisers, donates over a million or two million dollars a year for youth centers. Andre, if he signed every autograph, he'd be here an extra week every tournament. I think I should take definitely -- it's hard to make a rule. He signed 50, let's get out of here. Like I said, they obviously don't know what they're missing.

Q. You seemed really in control and Luke had to get some of his energy up, smacking his racquet around. Do you trade roles like that depending on the match and how things are going? Do you think about it or does somebody always take the calming one?

MURPHY JENSEN: I feel Luke and I worked real hard this year. Our ranking slipped a bit, but probably the most productive year we've had. We made a commitment to each other, made a commitment to myself the last couple of years have been a whirlwind for me. It's been kind of tough to accept some of these roles and responsibilities, just understand them. Why are these people interested in me? I'm a doubles guy. Now I look and all I can say is it's cool. I'm standing next to Rod Laver, 60 kids asking for my autographs. Rod Laver has 20 some Grand Slam titles. So I think I've accepted this role a little better and we hope to come here and win one day. We're not going to break any records and rewrite record books, but I think we'll light our own piece of tennis history if we're lucky.

Q. Do you tend to have a calming effect?

MURPHY JENSEN: On the court with Luke? I really didn't answer your question. We're out there just fighting, we're going for it. People are saying, you know, losing and stuff, but they keep having us back. Can't be too bad. We're putting out a lot of work right now and we're expecting good things to happen soon. Luke had a big day today. He could be irritable because of this long day. People dig that, too. We believe how Bo Jackson breaks his racquet, you should be able to smash your racquet, as long as it's not over your opponent's head. It would be great. I don't know. We do assume roles. I know what you're saying about Gigi, she's more feisty out there. I let him take care of that. I let him be the big brother, get it done. He fought a lot of fights for me when I was younger. I have enough to worry about, get me serve in.

JOE LYNCH: Anything else for Murphy? Thank you.

MURPHY JENSEN: Thanks for having me, y'all.

End of FastScripts….

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