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December 5, 1999

Sebastien Grosjean


ITF: Questions, please.

Q. Can you give us a first summing up of this weekend?

CAPTAIN FORGET: Yes. Well, we lost. These moments are never pleasant to live. We were all believing in it a lot. It is difficult to fall back on the ground so fast after that. There are always reasons for failure as there are for success. We came here well prepared. I think all the guys gave as much as they had in their guts but the Australians were stronger. It's difficult to accept, especially when you play at home on your own surface. We didn't have any choice. We couldn't do otherwise.

Q. It's a bit early, but what lessons can you draw from this defeat?

CAPTAIN FORGET: Just after, it's a bit difficult to analyze the whole season. There were positive moments. I lived extraordinary moments. I have not much to criticize among my players. They were committed to the Davis Cup. They were very serious during practice, and during each match, they went to the end of their limits. In fact, the public knows that. The players are ready to die on the court to win. Sometimes thanks to that commitment we can be even stronger all over the year. Now I'm talking about the players, their preparation. They can be even stronger, more solid physically and mentally. It can have consequences on their week in Davis Cup. I believe in this respect we can improve. I think I can be better as a captain, and they can be better as players. But we have to go through these moments to achieve this.

Q. You said you can be better as a captain. On what particular point?

CAPTAIN FORGET: When players lose a doubles match, you will say, "Maybe I didn't insist on such and such a match." I like questioning myself sometimes. I try to give them everything. They are the ones playing on the court. I only see them once in a while during the match. Cedric is exactly the same. I give some indications. Sometimes you believe. You say little sentences. You think, "Maybe if I had insisted more, maybe if I had made him change his tactics earlier." I don't know if it would have an effect on the match or not, but I can always ask the question. I think the role of the captain is important in this field. Maybe sometimes I can be even more persuasive. I don't know, you should ask the players. I watch them all the time. I'm with them all the time. I improve at the same time they do. Maybe I can have better analysis with time. Of course, if they were No. 1, 2 and 3 on the ATP Tour ranking, it would be easier for me.

Q. You lived through the finals in Lyon. Don't you believe the important thing is the heavy atmosphere in these Davis Cup finals?

CAPTAIN FORGET: I didn't believe the atmosphere was heavy. I was there in Lyon. This is the reason why we went to Andaye, to be a bit away from the pressure. It's sometimes difficult to play with the support of the public. But the public has been extraordinary. I love this atmosphere, this craziness around the match. This is why victory is so beautiful, and sometimes defeat is so painful. But it's wonderful to play matches like that.

Q. The players, could you answer that same question, please? Were you surprised by the atmosphere and the fervor we felt on this court?

OLIVIER DELAITRE: No, I would say exactly the same thing. Even before I played outside of the courts, I realized the atmosphere. It was no surprise for me.

FABRICE SANTORO: The same thing. We are people who had lived that experience already once before and were ready for the atmosphere, to have a "hot" public. So it was not a big surprise. On the contrary, it was fabulous to be able to go into the court in front of 10,000 people ready to support you, whatever the circumstances.

SEBASTIEN GROSJEAN: I was not there in '91. Maybe I was a bit more surprised than the others. But in this group, everybody had been in '91, and they really prepared me. They made me be in the right condition to face it. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to see the enthusiasm around this final. In spite of the defeat, it was wonderful.

Q. Did you expect Philippoussis would play at that level?

CAPTAIN FORGET: Honestly, no. I knew he could play as good as that, but I didn't believe he would be as solid during the length of the match. Against Cedric, I never saw him lower his rhythm. Against Sebastien, he made two or three mistakes in a row. The match was very balanced in the first set. Against Cedric, he was surprising because of his consistency. Whatever the surface, nobody saw him playing that way a full match on whatever surface. Cedric was worried about the match. It was a good surprise for Newcombe anyway. But this victory is deserved by Philippoussis.

Q. Before the finals, if I'm not mistaken, you said the team would have to give all they had to have no regrets. Did you have regrets today? Don't you believe that what you said was a premonition because France was playing against a better team, simply speaking?

CAPTAIN FORGET: Well, yes. Even when I was a player and myself here, we are not world champions every day. We are used to losing to a better player. But the most frustrating thing when you lose is to say, "If I had done this differently, I would have won." What we can say about our preparation is that it was perfect, and we arrived here playing our best tennis. All the guys made the same effort and arrived here with no physical problems, no tennis problems, no mental problems. The only thing was to fight on the court. In this regard, I have no regrets. But when you lose, you can always find some reasons for it, for a failure. But, generally speaking, I do think we had a guideline and we followed it. There were one or two mistakes, but overall it was a very good preparation.

Q. You always said you wanted to have a wider group. We believe it will be the case next year because Arnaud Di Pasquale is not far, Jerome might come back. It's the situation you were dreaming about?

CAPTAIN FORGET: Yes, I wish this group would be larger, wider. I want to have new, strong players, not only because it is good to have good players on a team, but it's also good for those who are sitting on the table beside me, Fabrice, Olivier, Sebastien. They will have even more trouble to fight for their place, so I think the emulation would be healthy. I want many guys ready to play this event. They know when I'm choosing the players that I have no preconceived ideas about any one of them, that I valorize their seriousness during a practice. Maybe if Jerome Golmard wouldn't have been injured, he could have played the whole year. I hope for him he will have good results and come back next year, but I'm going to set very high criteria to have people on my team. There's Di Pasquale coming up, guys who are almost at the same level as my guys today. This is the reason why I'm going to Australia to watch them. Eric is always with them week after week, keeps me informed of their level of game, of their physical shape, of their results in the tournaments.

Q. You said maybe you could have pushed them a bit more from the chair. Yesterday the Woodies explained that they were playing so bad that Newcombe said something, and they didn't even want to repeat what he said. Maybe you should be more energetic from the chair, even if it's not your nature.

CAPTAIN FORGET: Well, we needed electroshock to help a player who is completely missing his match. What you say must be well-perceived. During the doubles, I had no reason for insulting them. Of course, if one of them has given up, I would have yelled. That i refuse. I refuse any type of giving up, and it was not the case. They were confronted with a very precise problem: they had a wall in front of them. They had to find a hole in this wall, and they weren't able to do it. I hope, anyway, that they gave the most they could give. Their attitude was good, although I would have liked them to play a bit faster and have new combinations. But they are the only ones who can answer those questions.

Q. In February 2000 you have a first round against Brazil. How is it going to be?

CAPTAIN FORGET: What point of view?

Q. How are you going to prepare? I suppose you're going to play on clay so you will have to define a certain number of things after the Australian Open. How is it going to happen?

CAPTAIN FORGET: First I'm going to Australia for the Australian Open, and I'll leave Australia directly to go to Brazil. According to the results of the players, some of them will do the same thing. If some of them lose early in the Australian Open, we won't force them to stay two weeks in Melbourne before going to Brazil. They will go and practice on clay, then come and join us. But it's going to be very difficult because playing the Brazilians at home, in their town, is very difficult. After a Grand Slam tournament, we are not used to right afterwards start up a new challenge.

End of FastScripts….

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