July 15, 1999
Q. What happened with the selection of the team? How have we decided?
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Okay, after Birmingham Pete called me said he would like to make
himself available for the team. But he'd only like to play doubles. He strongly felt that
Jim and Todd deserve the singles spots not only for what they did against Great Britain
but the commitment they have shown over the past several years to Davis Cup. He felt
strongly that they should play singles and would like to come on the team and contribute
to the doubles. If you look at transcripts of various tournaments, that has been a very
consistent theme over the last couple of months. I am sure Pete would tell you he feels
the same way now. That is basically it.
Q. As the captain didn't you try and convince Pete to play singles?
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: We talked about it. Pete and I privately talked about it. We had a
team meeting to discuss some options about three nights ago and this was the decision that
was arrived upon.
Q. Very difficult thing, though, to leave out the absolute best player of all time?
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: He will be playing, so we are not leaving him out.
Q. Singles I mean.
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: He needed to work on his doubles a little bit anyway. He has been a
little weak in doubles this year, so....
Q. Was the decision your decision or a democratic vote?
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: It was a consensus. We all had input and, you know, that was the
decision that was arrived upon. We got feedback from everyone. Everybody told me how they
feel. These gentlemen are all very mature adults. They are not young adults. They are not
young, but they are all adults now and this was what came out.
Q. Jim, what do you think about the draw? How do you feel?
JIM COURIER: The draw is fine. Tomorrow, Todd and I are both going to be playing. Today
is just really formality to find out who plays first. We will both be ready to go
tomorrow. But we have been doing these for quite a while and it is always fun for you guys
to speculate on what ifs, what ifs, but for us, we both know we are playing, so I know I
will be ready to go and I am sure Todd feels the same way.
Q. Happy to be playing fifth rubber again?
JIM COURIER: No. 2 player always place the fifth rubber; unless I get my ranking up, I
will be stuck in the fifth rubber for a while. (laughs).
Q. There was a point when your said you would be willing to volunteer your spot so Pete
could play singles. Did you rethink that or?
TODD MARTIN: I don't really -- if I did, I didn't intend to say "volunteer my
spot." I said that I thought we should have the best team out on the floor. I think
it is everybody's assumption that Pete would be a part of that team. And I figured it
would just be my situation, I felt like if Gully chose for me not to be a part of that
team, then I was comfortable with that. But obviously we have come to a decision that I
think most of the guys are very comfortable with and we will make the most of it.
Q. Pete, was it tough for you to avoid the temptation of playing singles because I know
you have been --
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, just first say that I am very sensitive as far as being here this
week. After what Jim and Todd did in England, the last thing I wanted to do was kind of
come along the team and jump on the bandwagon and that is why I have said for the past
couple of months that I was just going to play doubles. Jim and Todd deserve to play
singles. They have shown not only this year but the past couple of years their commitment
to Davis Cup and I haven't been in the same boat. I didn't think it was right for me to
kind of come on the team and play singles. I just never felt comfortable; two months ago
didn't feel comfortable; a month ago; I don't feel comfortable now. It is nice enough for
Jim and Todd to let me be a part of the team. We had some good talks after what happened
in Birmingham and I am glad I am here.
Q. Pete, how much doubles have you played lately? For the layperson, how do you have to
adjust to your game?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I don't play much doubles through the year, but I have played in
Davis Cup before. It is still the same sport out there, keep it in the lines and serve big
and return well and I have practiced quite a bit with Alex this week and I think we feel
pretty good. But I can play good doubles, I know I can. So I think we are going to be
Q. Did Tom or some of the other players try to convince you over the last couple of
days, it is okay, you know, play singles? Was there --
PETE SAMPRAS: Like I said, like a couple of minutes ago, after what happened in England
I just didn't feel comfortable jumping on the bandwagon and carrying the flag here. It is
Todd's show and Jim's show. They won an unbelievable tie in England. I don't think it was
right for me to come here and play singles. I didn't feel comfortable doing it. I told
that to all the guys. But that is it. I think we need to play now. I am not playing
singles and Todd has had a great year. Jim has had a great year and we are going to be
tough to beat.
Q. Would you feel comfortable playing singles in the next round if the team advances?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah. If we advance, sure, I would think I have showed Todd and Jim and
the rest of the guys that I am committed to Davis Cup. We will see what happens this
Q. How difficult will it be for you to sit and watch the singles, especially against
Rafter a guy you have had a little bit of a rivalry with?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I was prepared coming here just to play doubles. I felt this way
for the past couple of months. I have done it before in '92 when we won there and I was
just playing doubles. I am here for the team. I am here to support the guys and cheer them
on and that is what Davis Cup is all about.
Q. Specifically with Pat Rafter in there, it wasn't an added incentive for you?
PETE SAMPRAS: I mean, I have played Pat over the last couple of years and sure, our
matches have been pretty good. But no, I mean, that really has no factor in it.
Q. Tom, over the weeks before the tournament, did you give serious consideration to
Pete playing in the singles? Was it a serious option for you?
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Well, I don't think so really. I think everybody understands that
this is the decision. I think we need to get on to some other questions more pertinent
about the match.
Q. Jim, Todd, could you comment on playing the final singles, if that comes down to
being the decider how much you relish the fact -- if it is deciding who is playing the
deciding match for -- (inaudible)?
JIM COURIER: Sure, I can talk about that, Craig. Some people like to have the ball at
end of the game and so people don't. I like to have the ball at the end of the game. At
least I am in control one way or the other. This is one of those formats where right now
the number -- we used to flip -- No. 1 and No. 2 used to flip in the Draw Ceremony to find
out who would play the fifth match. I think it is too bad now that it is only the always
the No. 2 playing against the No. 2 rather than the No. 1 versus the No. 1. But the way it
stands right now and the way the computer has the rankings, I am going to be in that fifth
slot when I am playing singles most likely and I like that. I enjoy being out there when
the stakes are high. I have been playing the game a lot a long time and it is a lot more
exciting to play a match like that than a first round match at a normal event.
Q. Todd, can you talk about the (inaudible) how familiar you are --
JIM COURIER: I will take that first. Pat and I haven't played for a while. But I have
had good success against him in the matches that I have played with him. I have never
played Lleyton, so I don't really know that much about him.
TODD MARTIN: I have played Lleyton once this year and it was a close match that I won
and then with Patrick I have had probably I think close to eight very close matches with
him and he has got a couple of legs up on me.
Q. I am sorry for being late. This has all probably been asked before I wanted to ask
Pete, I have just spoke to Pat Rafter, the general feeling with the Australians is that
they are still surprised you are not playing singles.
JIM COURIER: That hadn't been asked. I am glad you asked that. (laughter).
PETE SAMPRAS: I will say it again. That for the past couple of months after what
happened in England I was planning on playing doubles and I wasn't lying to everyone in
this room, I wasn't trying to pull your leg and say I was going to play doubles and come
here and play singles, so I don't understand the surprise.
Q. It is not my surprise; it is the surprise of the Australians.
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I don't understand why they are surprised.
Q. Tom, doubles could be an important point?
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: It always is.
Q. In this case do you feel we are at a bit of a disadvantage in the sense that they
have got experienced doubles pairing together and we -- Alex has played a lot of doubles
but Pete hasn't. Does he make up for a lot of that because he is No. 1 singles player?
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Absolutely. Any time you get Pete on the court --
PETE SAMPRAS: You didn't see me in Dallas with McEnroe? Minnesota?
Q. First two sets.
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Pete can play great doubles and the Australian team happens to be
Woodforde and Stolle. They have never played much doubles together either, so I mean, in
terms of them playing doubles together, I think it is not like playing the Woodies. This
would be Sandon's first experience playing Davis Cup, so I am sure he will be a little
nervous playing and then playing against the best singles player in the world, plus Alex
is playing great doubles. I like our chances.
Q. Next year, Tom, they are going to change the rules in 2000 that the captain is going
to be able to change the lineup on the Sunday of -- (inaudible) no injury whatever, how
much of advantage in terms of gamesmanship is that going to have?
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: I think the question was next year a free substitution you can play
any of the four team members you want. And how much of an advantage is that for the
captain. I think it is good. I mean, in every other sport, the coach can put in who they
want. In tennis we are restricted by who can play which match. Now next year the captain
will have free reign of who is playing, which is the way it should be. If you have a team
of four players you should be able to play anybody you want.
Q. Todd you played a tough match with Rafter at Wimbledon. (inaudible) talk about --
TODD MARTIN: I think hopefully it plays out differently for me. I think on a hard court
to be able to rely on a consistent bounce is off of his serve, especially, is important
for me. And also to be afforded the opportunity to stay back occasionally. I feel like
Patrick returns very well; especially he returns my serve very well. When you are serving
and volleying to constantly -- that puts you occasionally in a pretty defensive positions.
So having the opportunity to stay back on the hard courts occasionally, I hope will
Q. This being an historic year, can each of you reminisce about one of your -- a Davis
Cup moment, either one you participated in or one you have watched?
TODD MARTIN: Birmingham.
Q. Give me a little more. (laughter)
JIM COURIER: Birmingham, England. (laughter).
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Jim, finish for me, please.
JIM COURIER: Closer.
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Brazil was nice.
PETE SAMPRAS: I will speak up, we can't forget Russia. There we go. For me it was
probably Moscow. That was a tough weekend.
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: I think in general you probably remember the away matches a little
more because you are fighting a little more adversarial position; you are away from home,
you are on the favorite surface of the opponent and you kind of bond together as a team
more in the away matches because there is not all the distractions of 55,000 people asking
you for tickets and every other thing. So I think at least for me in my six years as
captain, the away matches tend to be almost more memorable than the home matches - like
our first match in India for example; especially the draw ceremony was very memorable
because Todd ripped a whole in his pants so big that he had to patch himself up with a
towel in his first Davis Cup tie so that was pretty memorable for too.
TODD MARTIN: I am typically very good at draw ceremonies. (laughter).
Q. Jim, you talked earlier about how you feel like you thrive on playing fifth match,
pressured situations. Can you talk about why do you think that is, is that a quality you
feel like you have always had even in the juniors or something that you developed over
JIM COURIER: It is hard to say why. I think -- yeah ever since I was a kid I have
always wanted the ball at the end of the game, if it's kick ball or baseball or whatever,
I always wanted to be involved at the end. I guess tennis is no different except that most
tournaments you are always involved and Davis Cup is one time where it can fall in your
teammates' shoulder and I have had great teammates when I have faultered to get the team
through. There has been times when I have picked the team up as well. This is a unique
competition. This is basically the one event where we get to help each other out and I
like getting the call at the end for whatever reason.
Q. Can you talk about how much of experience with fifth matches can come into play if
it comes down to that?
JIM COURIER: It into nice to have experience in the back of your head, but with these
matches, every match has its own, really, life and some players tend to play above
themselves in those situations and some players tend to play below themselves. Very rarely
do you see a player play his normal standard just because of the conditions and being that
this is Lleyton's first tie, I don't think any of us in here or Lleyton himself knows how
he is going to react until he gets out there. We will obviously all be interested to see.
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Remember the first 11 games against Safin in Atlanta. He was a
rookie then too.
JIM COURIER: Having a bad hair day.
Q. Alex, any Davis Cup memories?
ALEX O'BRIEN: Thanks for throwing me a bone, Bud. I'd have to say Birmingham, England
too. Even though I lost the doubles match, it was amazing watching these two guys battle
out there and especially watching Jim in the final match. Everyone talks about Jim, and
Todd played AN unbelievable match as well, and it was an amazing experience for me to see
the heart that these two guys showed out there and it was just nice to be a part of that
Q. Tom, do you consider this a bold decision by yourself being that if it doesn't work
out you (inaudible) --
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: It is our decision. This is it. This is what we are going for. We
all feel good about it. I feel good about it. The players feel good about it. If other
people don't feel good about it, that is their problem.
Q. Can you give us the timeframe for when you'd actually finally made the decision of
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Noon today, actually. When I gave Stefan the slip of paper with our
lineup on it.
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