April 4, 1999
BIRMINGHAM, GREAT BRITAIN
TOM GULLIKSON: There's nobody you'd rather have play the fifth match than Jim Courier, what can I say? Jim's won the fifth match for us many times. Last year against Russia, he won the third point against Brazil, he won the third point to win 3-2 against Holland in Holland. This is the guy you want there when it's crunch time.
Q. Do you have a nerve in your body?
JIM COURIER: Some days. Today I didn't. Some days I have too many, but today, as I said to sue barker, I really felt calm out there, really felt serene. And that's a good place for me to be in a situation like today, when you have a lot of people trying to get in your head. So today was mentally a very strong effort for me.
TOM GULLIKSON: And physically.
Q. Why do you think you had that serenity this weekend?
JIM COURIER: I didn't have it as much on Friday as I did today. I think Todd made mention of the fact that sitting in the locker room makes him antsy, and he plays better after a long match, and maybe there was something to that for me as well today. I was nervous watching him from time to time, and tried not to watch too much. But as the match drew closer and closer, I kind of went more and more into myself and came out feeling really good when I walked onto the court, I knew what I had to do and I was going to try to do it, and if Greg could do better, that was going to be fine, but I was going to do what I knew what I had to do.
Q. When was the last time you played as well?
JIM COURIER: I think I played like this in Memphis before I got hurt, about six weeks ago.
Q. This is not exactly Memphis, though?
JIM COURIER: No, it's a better mental effort certainly here.
Q. Are you okay with the ranking of 54, and happen to play as No. 1 in an event like this?
JIM COURIER: I'm happy with the way I play today, I don't think the way I played today is reflective of my ranking. I think the way I've played since Memphis, and since Australia, in the open, I was playing well, before I got tweaked there as well, if I can keep healthy and keep my schedule right, I don't see any reason I will stay at 54. But one never knows what's going to happen. All I have to do is play a level like that, if I play that level day in and day out, good things are going to happen, no question about that.
Q. Are you confident you can still maintain that in matches where there isn't the atmosphere like this?
JIM COURIER: I think so, the last couple of years it's been a physical question more than anything. I hope that this is going to give me the confidence that I think it should to keep going for it.
Q. Jim, you've played a lot of great Davis Cup ties, how does this one rate for drama, intensity, occasion?
JIM COURIER: Well, I think that we in the locker room on our side all agree that this has been the highest level of tennis that we've been a part at a Davis Cup tie from start to finish, I think, all participants involved played at or near their very best tennis all the way through the weekend. It was incredibly competitive, and really, just thrilling. This is as good as it gets, and it's really -- England is very lucky to have that in their first tie back in the World Group. This is the kind of match that gets a lot of kids out wanting to play tennis tomorrow morning.
Q. 4-3, and you've got a breakpoint, and you missed the backhand there, how do you recover from things like that? In the previous game before -- yeah, you get to deuce from 40-15, discouraging moment.
JIM COURIER: I found it encouraging, actually, because I was finally getting on a serve consistently. He hit a good second serve on that point, breakpoint, I was expecting more of a body or forehand serve, and he swung out wide, and I tried to get on it early and pulled it a little bit. But the fact was for most of the match I wasn't sniffing his serve, and I was finally starting to sniff it, eventually I broke through. I had a lot of chances and he came up with some great stuff, particularly is that 5-6 game. I had a lot of chances there, and he just made some great shots.
Q. Did you ever see him play better?
JIM COURIER: I haven't really watched him play very much, so I couldn't really compare it.
Q. Talk a bit about Mr. Jim, here, about the way you saw the match going, the whole process today, and sort of his competence out there.
TOM GULLIKSON: First of all, I think nobody when he puts his game face on has the mental focus that Jim has, when he has the mindset that he had today. Of all the players I've had the honor of sitting next to in Davis Cup, I think Jim mentally is really the best. And he is always prepared physically. He's a leader on the team. We came in here last Sunday and we practiced, had a good session on Sunday, and he's the leader in practice. He's one of the leaders in the team room, and entertainment value is very good with Jim, and Justin, of course, we have to mention Justin, when we talk about entertainment value. But Jim's commitment to the Davis Cup means so much to me personally, and to the team. And win, lose or draw, you just -- you can't say enough about the quality of his person and the quality of his tennis.
JIM COURIER: Okay, Gully, you're reveling in the moment too much, don't get carried away.
Q. Ask him tomorrow.
JIM COURIER: I'm not sure you'll want to ask him tomorrow.
Q. Is there a feeling of justification that you are going to the quarters?
TOM GULLIKSON: These guys are the A team, they're America's team, they care, and they're here.
JIM COURIER: Period, end of story, no more questions about it.
Q. If Pete and Andre were available --
JIM COURIER: No more questions. They're not available, we're the team, and I just made that decision.
TOM GULLIKSON: These guys have the first option, absolutely.
JIM COURIER: This is a team event, make yourself available at the beginning of the year, or you're not available at all, in my opinion, unless you get injured somewhere along the line. I'm a little blustery right now at the moment.
Q. Tom, how about looking ahead now to Australia and Boston, that's another big match against another old adversary, are you looking forward to that?
TOM GULLIKSON: We're going to celebrate this one tonight, for sure, and we'll probably think about Australia through a fog tomorrow on the way home. But, yeah, we had a great match with them in Washington, and I'm sure they'll be loaded for bear, because really we should be playing down in Australia, and I guess the ITF in their infinite wisdom gave us another home tie against them in Boston to celebrate, which I know Bud is happy about, and we're quite happy about, but I doubt the Australians are not too happy about.
Q. They're not.
TOM GULLIKSON: Which is okay. We, the Americans, did not make that decision, so they can be angry at the ITF.
Q. Jim, how hard is it going to be go out and play regular ATP events, the next week --
JIM COURIER: I'm defending in Orlando, I'm defending at home. I'll be jacked up to play there. Like I was suggesting that this is the kind of tie that gets kids to want to practice tomorrow morning to play tennis, these are the kind of matches that make me want to get up tomorrow morning and play, as well, it's a confidence booster, and gets me actually more excited about playing.
Q. I get the impression it doesn't cut the ice in America, is there going to be a difference in Orlando? People will actually say, yeah, Jim Courier, the guy that won the fifth point?
JIM COURIER: I think among the tennis fans that come out and watch, they're extremely passionate about Davis Cup, but it's not a general public thing. When Davis Cup rolls around you don't have people saying let's wave the flag, America is playing, I think there's too much competition in America, sports-wise for that realistically to change in the near future.
Q. There won't be too many children going out with a racket tomorrow?
JIM COURIER: I don't know, but I hope they do.
TOM GULLIKSON: On the ATP Tour they could advertise that they play Davis Cup for their country. They sometimes spout off tour records. This should be a part of introduction at tournaments. You want to promote the fact that they play for their country.
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