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August 5, 1997

Jim Courier


Q. You were double matchpoint on his serve, 4-5, what happened in that sequence? You probably remember it real well.

JIM COURIER: I didn't put the returns in play. You know, Cardinal Sin No. 1 you get the ball back in the court. And, you know, I had a second serve and didn't get it in, but, whatever. I did what -- I did what I could there, it just didn't work out.

Q. The second serve was on the 30-40 point --


Q. Oh, the first.


JIM COURIER: I had chances in the tiebreaker too, but, you know, when you have somebody on the ropes like that, you have got to knock them out. You can't give them any room, for sure.

Q. You didn't seem to be playing your best tennis in the first set. Did you feel maybe it wasn't going to be a good day?

JIM COURIER: You are not going to play your best everyday. That is just the way it works. But, the other way it works is you have got to win on those days. Today I put myself in position to win and didn't quite get the job done. But, you know, for whatever reason, some days we just, as human beings, don't have great days all the time. And, today, I really didn't feel great on the court. But, you know, I fought well and fought all the way through the match. It just didn't quite work out.

Q. Guys like you, even when you are not playing well because you are as good as you are --

JIM COURIER: That is normally the case because he is as good as he is because he does that as well.

Q. Was this a particularly bad first round? When you saw the draw, did you--

JIM COURIER: Not really. Everybody else seemed to think it was a really tough draw. I didn't mind it too much. But, you know, obviously now it is not the best if I lost; is it?

Q. But you wouldn't want to have a guy that is ranked 80 ?

JIM COURIER: Well, theoretically, yes, but that doesn't mean that the guy who is ranked 80 is not going to play better than the guy. You just don't know. There is not that much of a difference, really when it gets down to it between guys ranked 15 and 80.

Q. Did you sense after the double matchpoint sequence that he was heartened by that?

JIM COURIER: Well, he was definitely heartened. For sure he was definitely pumped that he held serve. But, I held serve comfortably the next game and tried to close him out at 6-5, didn't quite do it. Then in the breaker had a mini-break a few different times and just couldn't quite hold on to it. And, you know, that is -- when you get those leads, you have got to close the door.

Q. Are you happy with your game?


Q. No. Your tennis overall.

JIM COURIER: I played well in Los Angeles. That was good. So, coming in, I felt pretty good. But, you know, there is still a couple of more tournaments this summer that I hope to do well in.

Q. It has been kind of a weird year for you? You have won twice.

JIM COURIER: It has been kind of erratic.

Q. Sure. You have lost seven first rounds now. You are almost too good to do that.

JIM COURIER: Thank you. Unfortunately, I guess I am not at this point. The other guys are getting better. It has been a very erratic year. I am a bit perplexed, for sure, by seven first rounds. But, you know, it is in the books, so can't worry about that now. Just got to try and go on next week and play better.

Q. Do you feel your time is running uphill a bit, a lot of people are getting better and you are running uphill trying to keep up?

JIM COURIER: I think everybody is running uphill trying to get better, that is the way it works every year since I have played on the game I feel like I am running uphill trying to improve my game. I think probably everybody else feels the same way.

Q. Is it harder the second time around to work your way up to the No. 1 now? You are trying to work your way up again, is it harder or easier?

JIM COURIER: Geez, I don't know. I really -- that is a good question. Hopefully I will let you know. Life is good. I am not complaining about life. It is definitely fun.

Q. You don't get disheartened by the seven first round losses?

JIM COURIER: No, shit, I have got two titles in the belt. That is a good year for most people. There is still plenty of tennis to play the rest of the way. So, the good news for me is I have no points to defend the rest of the year. I can lose first round every match from here on out and my ranking is going to drop maybe 1 or 2 spots. So I have got nothing to worry about. All I have is opportunity in front of me, so....

Q. Do you want it as much as you did before?

JIM COURIER: Do I want what?

Q. Do you want to be at the top as much as you did the first time?


Q. Joe told me a statistic before, you have been in the air 90,000 miles this year. When I fly to Pittsburgh I get pissed off, which is like an hour away. What is the wear and tear like of 90,000?

JIM COURIER: I wasn't intending to fly that many miles, but I got called into service to play Davis Cup a few times when I wasn't expecting to. That kind of through my schedule off. I was like the 6th ranked American player, I wasn't expected to be needed. But, I was. So that, you know, there is no doubt that that hurt me early in the season. That was a setback to have to do that. I mean, I was successful, you know, in my matches, getting the team through, but it definitely hurt me in the tournaments following that. So, you know, that is what I had to do at the time.

Q. Ever thought about turning it down?

JIM COURIER: They needed me.

Q. Country calls?

JIM COURIER: They needed me. But, you know, my schedule was already set in stone to play in the other events. By the time I got asked to play it was too late to pull out of the other events. So.... I wouldn't do a schedule next year like this one, that is for sure.

Q. When you see other players a little bit older than you announce retirement from playing tennis, do players of your age look around and say, whoa, I am close to that, am I going to feel that way?

JIM COURIER: It kind of surprises me because I am almost 27, but, you know, I am still very young, my mind and, fortunately, my body, I have been very fortunate not to have many major injuries. So I have taken very good care of my body to this point. So I think that everybody is an individual, I guess. How many years did you guys ask Connors when he was going to retire? Probably ten years.

Q. Like Becker, he said I can't win Wimbledon anymore so I am going to quit?

JIM COURIER: Well, that is bullshit. There is one guy standing in his way of winning Wimbledon this year and if he didn't get hurt last year, he probably would have won it last year so for him to say that, in my opinion, that is absolute bullshit. He is seeing something that the rest of us aren't seeing there. That guy is the second best grass court player in the world behind Pete right now. If Pete falls down or if someone knocks him out, Boris can walk right through the door. But, you know, that is my opinion of it. But that is the way I see it. Geez, get to the quarterfinals this year and losing to Pete, seems like it was more disheartening to him than it was encouraging. Some guys look at it half full or half empty.

Q. You never could see yourself saying, oh, I could never win the French Open again or I could never win the U.S. Open, I am just going to quit even though you could a top 10 player?

JIM COURIER: See, the way I look at it is that I am beating the guys that are winning the Majors right now in tournaments so I know I am capable of doing it. I just have to strange it together. When I am not capable of beating the top players then I am going to be on the beach or on the slopes. Surf or ski, you pick.

JOE LYNCH: Anything else for Jim?

Q. Going to the Reds' game tonight?

JIM COURIER: Doubtful.

End of FastScripts….

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