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August 25, 1997

Jim Courier

Flushing Meadows, NY

Q. Jim, was that tough playing your good friend knowing he had elbow surgery? Can you totally block that out of your mind once you take the court?

JIM COURIER: Yeah, definitely. It's not the draw that I think either of us wanted to have. I don't think either of us wanted to particularly play each other early in the tournament. But, you know, we've been doing this for a while, and those things happen. You know, I came out here prepared to play the best I could. Went out there and did the best I could. And Todd just played a little bit better today.

Q. Thank you.

JIM COURIER: Not all the once (laughter).

Q. Jim, there was a very key point in the fourth set, I think it was. In the forehand court, he was serving, there was a ball that looked like it was possibly out, possibly good. Did you get a good look at that one? I know you didn't complain or anything.

JIM COURIER: Was it a second serve?

Q. I don't know. It was the point that gave him a game.

JIM COURIER: I didn't feel that there were really any questionable calls out there today. I didn't see any.

Q. When you talk about obviously not wanting to play Todd, what was the least likable part of having to play him first round?

JIM COURIER: Well, just the fact that one of us is going to be going home after the first round, when certainly I want to see the people that I like the most out here do the best, except when they play me. You know, I like for both of us to have the opportunity to go deep into the tournament. When we draw each other, only one of us is going to have that chance. That's the nature of the game, though. There's nothing we can do about it.

Q. Would you describe him as one of your closer friends on The Tour?

JIM COURIER: Oh, definitely. Todd is one of the solidest citizens we have on The Tour.

Q. Why did you decide to change coaches?

JIM COURIER: Well, Harold and I had been working together for a little over nine months. I think it was most of all just -- you guys may not know that Harold and I stopped working a few weeks ago in Cincinnati. I think basically both of us, we were kind of feeling the same thing, that the chemistry really just wasn't working. I think chemistry play as large part of a coaching relationship when you travel a lot together on the road. You know, I think that -- I mean, I have a great deal of respect for Harold and like him very much. We're very different people, having said all that. Traveling together wasn't quite as comfortable for either of us maybe as we'd hoped. You know, I think we parted very amicably. It's part of life, isn't it?

Q. Jim, was Todd's ability to come back from the long layoff and play at this high a level in his first round match surprising in any way to you?

JIM COURIER: Not really. Todd has an extremely simple game, the way he strikes the ball. That's not a slam at all. It's a compliment. His game, I think Todd could take off a long, long time. Because of the simplicity of the nature of his strokes, he's not going to come back and have problems timing the ball because he was taught very well when he was a youngster how to strike the tennis ball. He's got one of the cleanest games on The Tour. I fully expected him to be playing extremely well on everything but the serve. He served a lot better than I hoped that he would. He probably didn't serve as fast as he normally does, but he placed the ball very well.

Q. Over the last few months, have you spoken to Todd and tried to encourage him to keep coming back? Did you notice he was frustrated over the last few months?

JIM COURIER: I've seen Todd periodically. We've run into each other at a few things, here and there. I haven't sensed any real frustration from him other than the fact that he wasn't able to play as much golf as he would have liked to because of his elbow injury. Other than that, I think Todd is a very intelligent person. He's smart enough to know that his time is going to come. Here it is. Now he's back playing.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about your new coach and why you selected him?

JIM COURIER: Jeff's a good buddy of mine. I grew up playing juniors with Jeff. Last year in the fall, I needed someone to go with me to Europe. I asked him. He lives in north Miami and I live in Miami. It was very natural. We see each other a lot in Miami, get along very well, so I asked him to come along then. He was out in Los Angeles and Montreal with me this summer, too. We have a long, long history.

Q. Jim, what do you think of the new facility, in playing, the differences from there to the old one?

JIM COURIER: I like this one a lot better than the old one. I think it's a lot warmer inside. I think one thing that's good about it, too, for some reason, with the construction of this one, the winds don't swirl. They're much more consistent. The other one, it was kind of like a toilet bowl, went all the way around. You can quote me on that (laughter).

Q. Can you kind of sum up your game now for us, where you are now, where you're going next?

JIM COURIER: Well, I am going home tomorrow after not a good performance today. Looking forward to the Davis Cup in a couple weeks. I'm just going to go home. Been on the road for a long time this summer. It will be nice to have a couple days off, though I'd rather be here playing. Make the most of it. Do the glass is half full thing rather than half empty. Gear up for the fall.

Q. What is your assessment of your game at this stage?

JIM COURIER: Well, I played extremely well in Los Angeles earlier this summer. I've had some problems since then. I've got quite a few of those physical problems worked out now. Now I just have to get back the confidence. I think what's lacking in my game right now is just a matter of confidence, just going out and hitting the shots on the big moments, which I didn't do today.

Q. You still have the same passion for the game, playing week to week?

JIM COURIER: Yeah. I think, you know, this summer I might have overplayed a little bit, playing four tournaments in a row might have been a little bit too much for me, because I like to have a week off here or there to kind of rest. But, you know, live and learn.

Q. Do you think you have to make a substantive change in the style of play that you have in order to compete at the highest level on a more consistent basis?

JIM COURIER: No, I don't think so. I think what I have to do is be more consistent on what I do out there.

Q. Jim, a couple weeks ago you didn't fare as well either. Do you think that had any effect on coming in today?

JIM COURIER: No. I think I had a good week of practicing coming into this tournament. I think what happened today, you know, I played not as well as I would have liked to have played. The guy I played against played a pretty good match. Had a lot to do with the fact that I didn't play as well as I wanted to. You know, this is one tennis match. I'm going home. I'll regroup and come back and play again in a couple weeks.

Q. For those of us who don't cover every week, can you summarize your physical problems?

JIM COURIER: I had basically a dead arm pretty much since Wimbledon. My arm had been dead. I had to switch racquets a couple weeks ago. I was having a bit of a problem with the racquet. I'm not the only one out here with injuries, so I hesitate to use that as an excuse.

Q. Do you feel that's mended? Isn't it true that in baseball, that's a fairly debilitating problem?

JIM COURIER: Well, all I can tell you, Linda, I went out and hit -- I picked up another racquet. It went away completely. So I think what was happening was my racquet was not absorbing any of the shock; it was going directly into my arm. Once I picked up another racquet that absorbed the shock, I was back. I had an MRI and an x-ray. There was no physical, structural damage to the arm. I'm a hundred percent healthy. I just had to get some equipment that agreed with my body.

Q. A more flexible racquet?

JIM COURIER: Seems like it's more shock absorbent. I don't think it's much more flexible.

Q. String tension change?


Q. Based on what you saw today, is Todd ready to go far in this tournament?

JIM COURIER: If Todd can improve every match, he definitely can. The advantage that Todd has is he's mentally done it before. He's extremely eager, I would gather, at this point, having not played since February. A lot of us probably have played a lot this year. It's not quite the same as when you've been sitting home watching guys play, getting kind of envious because you can't play. You're watching them play, you want to be there, it makes you hungrier. I would say that Todd has that in his corner. If can he hopefully get on a roll, he can go pretty far.

Q. Do you think it's humanly possible to miss six weeks and then play at the top level of your game?

JIM COURIER: Yeah. Six months he's missed.

Q. I mean six months.

JIM COURIER: I don't see why not. I mean, I have always played well in January, it seems like, when I've taken off six to seven or eight weeks, kind of geared back up. Some guys need matches; some guys don't. Just depends on who you are.

Q. Is it tough for you having done the hard work in the early rounds of Davis Cup this year, maybe sit back now and watch Pete and Michael do the work now?

JIM COURIER: Well, I mean, I have to be honest with you. It was a little bit difficult for me to swallow at first. You know, taking into account that I did go to the Davis Cup in Brazil, which was not very convenient for my schedule, and then I did also go to the Davis Cup in Newport Beach; I feel like I deserved to be part of the team. I want to do anything I can to help the team win. If that's sit on the bench and root, or if it's play doubles, whatever it is, I think I deserve to be there and I want to be there.

Q. Jim, how come you think the Davis Cup hasn't had the same kind of fervor as like golf's Ryder Cup? A lot of publicity about the Ryder Cup.

JIM COURIER: Ryder Cup is once every two years. Davis Cup is every year. Nobody understands it. How many weeks have I been coming in here and saying to make Davis Cup two. How are you going to understand when a team goes to Moscow and wins in December, and they're back playing in Australia. (shrugs) No one understands it. It starts in January, ends in December, there's all this stuff in between. It's money makers for the Federations. They're not going to give that up.

Q. You spent some time hitting with Chris Woodruff. What's your assessment of his potential?

JIM COURIER: Chris is obviously -- I've been thinking that he's a very good player for a while now, and he proved it in Montreal. He's one of the fastest white guys I've ever seen.

Q. In your estimation, how far can he go?

JIM COURIER: Who is to say? I don't think there's any limits. I think he surprised a lot of people in Montreal, but not me. I think he's capable of beating good players on a consistent basis. That entails a lot of hard work, a lot of belief in yourself, a little luck along the way as well. I think he's one of the more engaging young guys out there right now. He's certainly very quotable.

Q. Do you think he's got the confidence level to break Top 15, Top 10?

JIM COURIER: I mean, he beat a lot of good players there in Montreal. I think that should give him the confidence.

End of FastScripts….

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