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April 3, 1997

Jim Courier


Q What are your thoughts about the draw; how it has come out?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: I think the draw really came out well for us, I thought. Our guys are ready to play. And, Schalken playing Andre, I like that matchup for us. Andre, his record speaks for itself in Davis Cup, and Schalken really, to my knowledge, hasn't played a singles match in Davis Cup, or, maybe only once. Got a little bit of inexperience in Davis Cup which, I think, hopefully will lead to our advantage.


Q Andre, how many times have you played Schalken and can you address some of the times you have played him?

ANDRE AGASSI: Played him once in Palm Springs; had a three-set victory over him, year before -- last year, 1996.


Q What is the strategy involved when there is a draw, Tom?



Q Any strategy at all? I hope Andre plays this person first?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: I mean, the draw, however it comes out, you know, we just have to accept how it comes out, and, go with it. And, I have confidence in all four of these guys. And, however the draw comes out, it is fine with me. You win and lose matches on the court; not in the draw ceremonies. We have got to get out on the court and work hard and earn our victories this week.


Q Andre, you have been going through a bit of a rough patch recently. Could you assess your game, tell us where your head is at?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I mean, I have been practicing a lot more than I have been playing, which isn't necessarily ideal, but my game is right there waiting to come alive and certainly the intensity of Davis Cup, I think, will add a certain element that brings out the best. And, I am more than ready to be here and I am excited about playing.


Q You have been working with Brad?

ANDRE AGASSI: This whole week, the whole team has been working together. Brad has been down here since Tuesday.


Q Specifically, if there is one thing that you think can turnaround some of your results, what would that one thing be?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you know, there is nothing -- there is nothing really left to talk about when it comes to my tennis. I just got to get out there and make it happen. I mean, you know, I can play a good match and lose and all that gets reported is that I lost and play a bad match and win and somehow come along. I am playing well. I have got to now turn it over into the actual match; get out there and work hard and break these guys down. There is no better time than right here in Davis Cup.


Q If you are playing well, Andre, why haven't you been winning?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know.


Q You like playing first Andre or would you rather sit and wait and--

ANDRE AGASSI: Hold on. He is still pondering that answer. (laughter) I don't usually play early in the day. I mean, my experiences with Davis Cup has always been me having to sit in the locker room and grind out the first match with my partner, so it is like -- it is going to be nice to get out there and let the energy out by playing, so I am looking forward to 11 o'clock tee time and I will be ready to go.


Q Getting back to the question that he asked earlier - you went through a troublesome period in your career earlier. Yet you responded at the U.S. Open. Can you just go back to where you were before and kind of plug in the answers that you came up with earlier and use that in this instance?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't think there is a miracle cure to any of it. It is just about hard work and getting out there and paying the price when you are out on the court. That is where it starts and, really, where it ends. Tomorrow is going to be one of those days that you go out there and make it happen. You have just got to go out there and do it. That is why we are here.


Q Jim, you had a great performance in Brazil. Can you bring us forward from that point to now about you a rough time then did well at Lipton.

JIM COURIER: I had a good experience in Brazil. Had a good week the following week in Dubai. I played pretty well in Dubai. The week following I started getting a little bit tired from the travel. Traveled a little bit. Didn't do too well the next couple of weeks; had a good turnaround week in Lipton the following week; beat some good players. I feel pretty good coming into here and, you know, I have had a good week practicing with everybody here and tomorrow is the day. So, we will go out there and try to make it happen.


Q Andre, Jim, Tom, what is it about Davis Cup that really brings you back? Andre, you have played a lot. Jim, you have played a lot on the team. Why do you keep doing it? It is a great thing.

JIM COURIER: I do it because of the money. (laughter)


Q Jim, to what do you attribute -- you went up, down, up, but you are coming back strong - which pleases everybody - why? Anything new, different or is it just timing?

JIM COURIER: I think that I don't really know for sure why things go up and down; just seems that life works in those kind of cycles. I am just dealing with it as it comes and continuing to work hard because that is the basis of how my game evolves, on hard work. So, I try and do the work and put it to use on the court. And, we don't -- I don't really understand why sometimes you win matches playing badly and sometimes you lose playing well. But, that is the nature of sports, the uncertainty of it. That is probably the reason that I love to play this sport. It is because it is something to look forward to when you wake up, you never know what is going to happen; you never know what you are going to get.


Q You had one of the great comebacks, reversals, the open era when you went from 31 to No. 1. And, now your ranking is pretty near where it was before. Can you feel yourself coming back and become No. 1 again?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I think it is all about momentum and just progress, really. I mean, once you start the train moving forward; once you start getting the wins and you are putting in the hard work, there is no telling when or what anyone is capable of. I mean, I certainly know what -- I know what is required to get to that level. And I certainly feel like I have it inside of me. It is just a question of getting started. I haven't quite found my groove yet in my comeback trail. It has been a little bit more difficult on me than I would have preferred. But I certainly have no intention of giving up ground or somehow not forcing this to happen. It is just a question of when. So putting in the hard work and it can turnaround as soon as yesterday.


Q Do you feel like a different player when you are playing for your country, Davis Cup or Olympics; do you feel like a different player out there?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think there is other elements that really heighten the intensity of the situation. But, there is no question that it is about being a warrior than it is being a tennis player out there. It is about wanting to get that last point versus wondering where you are; why you are missing certain shots. There is no room for all those voices about why you are missing that shot. You should be making that shot. You know better to go for that. You are just thinking about getting the victory. So that kind of intensity, I think, creates for an added environment that really you only find in this sport with the Davis Cup or the Olympics. I think in answer to a previous question it is why we all play. It is a feeling you can't create anywhere else.


Q By the same token, Jim, Andre was saying it would be nice to get out and let that energy out early. In the context of what he was just saying about that, does that make the wait harder or more grueling or --

JIM COURIER: I know that tomorrow I have got to play a match. And, I play matches every week where I sit in the locker room waiting for guys to finish. So, that is really no different from that standpoint. I will prepare just like I would for a normal match.


Q Rick, the players are getting younger and faster and you are getting a little older. I never thought I would say that to you because you have always been like a teenager. What does that effect have upon you because you are making another great comeback of your own?

RICK LEACH: I think I have been working a lot harder since I have gotten older; put a lot more time on and off the court. I have hired a personal trainer to work with me off the court. I think my game has improved the last few years.


Q But in this of competition in front of your home crowd, obviously, you have been there a million times. But this is a little bit different because I have watched -- I watched the 1967 Davis Cup when Marty Riessen and those guys couldn't get the ball out of their hands, but throw up the serve. So, there is a little different feeling when the Davis Cup comes in. So that doesn't happen to you?

JIM COURIER: How many matches have you played in Davis Cup?

RICK LEACH: Any time you play Davis Cup, it is an added pressure. I haven't played in five years. I have played in eight matches. Each time it is a new situation. You have new feelings out there. Definitely, I want to win more than anything, this is probably the biggest match of my career. But, you know, I have done all I can to prepare and I am happy to be here and I am just going to have fun and we have got a great team here and it is just great to be in this atmosphere and it is even better to be in my home town.


Q But it is fast. The game is awfully fast right now. You have been there before at Wimbledon and done such an outstanding job. But the players are a little bit different now. Guys are hitting from different positions; hitting harder. Do you like that more or do you like that style less?

RICK LEACH: Well, you know, I was watching a McEnroe Borg Final a couple of days ago on Sports Classic and you can really tell the difference in the game today than ten years ago, 15 years ago. But, the game has gotten faster. I am a little bit from the old school. I like to hit a lot of angles and finesse. And, I have at great partner in Jonathan where he has got a huge serve and he is always setting me up. It is just the way -- the game has really gotten fast and it has improved. It is a new level now.


Q Jim, you had a couple of great wins in Brazil where the conditions were, shall we say, kind of tough. Could you take a moment and tell us what is the toughest site; worse site you have ever played pro tennis at? Aside from the All England Club, Court 1, what is the best place that you have ever played?

JIM COURIER: Well, Brazil certainly that was the toughest conditions I have ever faced for a variety of reasons; not only the crowd, but also the heat and humidity and altitude. There were a lot of variables there that we don't see a lot for three out of five set tennis. And you throw the crowd in on top of them, and I can only speculate that this is what football players face when they go to play in Oakland. (laughter) That is the only thing I can really compare it to. Because we are used to people treating us with respect and the fans there had absolutely no respect for us. And, one of the most satisfying victories of my career and I hope I never have to go back to Brazil again, really. I mean, that is the God honest truth, I will not go back unless I have to. That is as much hate I have for what they did to us there. But, on the other hand, I think that our fans here will treat -- always have treated our opponents with respect and dignity while cheering for us at the same time and I think that is really more what sports is about. And second part of the question, my favorite place to play besides court one at Wimbledon?


Q Yes.

JIM COURIER: I don't know why that would be my favorite.


Q Because it is the obvious answer for most people.

JIM COURIER: Not for me.


Q Tell me then. I meant center court.

JIM COURIER: I think my favorite place -- honestly, my favorite court would probably be Court 1 at the French Open, the circular court. I think has is got a nice ambience to it that I like.


Q Jim, also Brazil, I understand that after the Tie the fans were -- they changed a little bit and then they wanted your autograph and wanted to talk to you, smooze, whatever. Can you talk about what a difference that was from --

JIM COURIER: I don't know --


Q -- from the actual tennis?

JIM COURIER: I don't know, I wasn't paying attention. They weren't going to get near me. No. I was pissed.


Q There is a code of conduct, Jim, for the players. Some people felt that there should be some kind of monitors in the stands at Davis Cup matches. Do you think that is just part of sports?

JIM COURIER: I don't think that what went on there was A part of sports. When you go back in the back of the court and they are insulting you and telling you that you are not getting out of their country alive and all this stuff, trying to throw you off, and if you say one word to them that is just going to make it ten times worse. I mean, it is -- it is something I will always hold with me and I have probably more pride than anything about that match. And, you know, I don't know. Like I said, a lot of other sports people go through it. I have been to basketball games recently and I see these people, they get drunk and they say stupid things to the players and I guess they have to go through it everyday. And, so that doesn't make, you know, maybe I shouldn't have taken it so personally. But, I had never experienced it so I did take it personally. But I don't think we are going to have that problem here. I think we will be okay.


Q We would like to hear from Jonathan. A tough match, could be a pivotal match. Do you see it that way? Does it bother you at all or do you love that kind of challenge?

JONATHAN STARK: Obviously, yeah, happy to be here and I love the challenge. Any point in Davis Cup, is a big point. And, I am sure Andre and Jim will get us off to a good start tomorrow and then it will be Richey's and my turn to finish the job on Saturday. So, I can't wait.


End of FastScripts....

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