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September 26, 1998

Tom Gullikson


Q. Can you talk about the comeback saving two matchpoints and really coming back to make a great match?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: I think the two matchpoints on Justin's serve in the third set, Justin played a couple great points along with Todd and we fought back hard and really got a lot of momentum going in that, after we won the third set, we won the further set easy and we are hoping to carry that momentum into the fifth set because Nargiso in particular looked pretty down, so we tried to pick on him a little bit more. But he picked his game up and I thought Gaudenzi really lifted his game up in the fifth set as well and they were pretty down in the fourth. But I think they got some energy in the fifth. We weren't able to stay on top of them.

Q. What do you think Nargiso did in the fifth set to kind of get his game back, started making some passing shots?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Yeah, he started returning better and more first serves in and his whole game just picked up a notch or two - compared -- certainly compared to the fourth set.

Q. Why such a slow start, do you feel fellows?

TODD MARTIN: I think Justin started off fine. I think for one reason or another, I just didn't play very good game on my first service and, one, you expect to start fairly well. I do at least. I have always been a fairly quick starter and today I just -- I missed a couple of volleys and I think mixing in a doublefault and that is no position to put yourself in when you are already down two matches to zero and I think that definitely set the tone for the rest of the match.

Q. Did you feel you had to keep the momentum going?

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Yeah, that was what we wanted to do. We got on a great role and didn't get the early break and, yeah, definitely keeping the momentum was the goal. In order to do that you have to win the games and they started playing better tennis in the fifth set and, you know, in doubles it is going to come down to a couple of points and they just played them better.

Q. Were you pressing on your serve, Justin, with those doubles faults?

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Yeah, I just lost my rhythm there. I served a really poor fifth set. I lost my rhythm and didn't make -- didn't hit many good serves and carried over to my volleys. I just didn't play good service games at all. I played two really bad service games which is -- to play one really bad service game is -- when, you know, we countered it by playing a great return game, but you can't play two egregious return games in a row -- service games like that.

Q. Todd, you are kind of in a different position coming into this tie as a veteran. Did you feel any different than from the other Davis Cup matches?

TODD MARTIN: No. I don't really think so. I have played singles before. I have played doubles before. I approached it very confidently. I think all of us felt great during the week. We were all practicing very well and unfortunately our practice didn't translate into play as well as we had hoped. And also I think we ran into a very good Italian team. They played, I thought, especially yesterday the two singles matches. Their players played great and today. They almost beat us in straight seats and I think to that point they played very well. I think once we got in the lead and I think that would have been the same case yesterday had we really stepped it up yesterday, once we got in the lead, I think they weren't nearly the tandem that they were in the first couple of sets. But unfortunately we couldn't sustain our level of play and they lifted theirs.

Q. How much did the slower surface really help them, do you think?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: I would say it helped them a lot. I mean, we didn't want a lightning fast court but we want a court more of a medium pace court, I would say. I think I would be generous saying this is medium/slow, so it was probably a little slower than what we would have liked it to be.

Q. You have had a lot of great ups and down in your career. How deep is this disappointment?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: It is a disappointment. Certainly to lose at home is very disappointing. I think this team had a great chemistry. All the guys got along very well, worked very hard during the week to prepare and as Todd mentioned everybody was practicing very well and we all felt very confident really coming into this weekend. To lose 3-0 is something that I am sure certainly I didn't ever dream of and I know the players would never dream that they would be in this position as well. Obviously not a good result for us and we are very disappointed.

Q. It is always -- guess look at records. If you look back, is there anything, aside from the court surface, that you could do differently?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: No. Not at all. I think I thought our preparation was good for the match. I think the guys worked hard; prepared well and I thought we were ready to play. Five tiebreakers later we lose, basically.

Q. Everybody has knocked the USTA for having a slow court which the Italians like. When you got here, you found it was a slow court, was there any thought that: Let's go find something that we like?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: At that point I don't think we could really do anything about it. Once the court has to be ready for practice on Monday, that is the rules. So really couldn't change the court at that time. Just needed to adapt to the court. One thing is speed of the court. The other thing is what it does to the balls. The slower court really fluffed up the balls, so both Todd and Jan-Michael are dictating, tough players who like the hit the ball through the court and unfortunately with the balls getting like basketballs, it was very, very hard to hit the ball through the court as you saw yesterday in singles and even today in doubles. The Italian are very good at defending. They are all clay court players so they are all used to grubbing the ball back. We hit a lot of big shots that came back one or two more times than we really thought they should. That was probably the difference, really. They got a lot of balls back. Singles and doubles.

Q. Do you take out of this a learning experience for the young kids? You had two young kids on the team.


Q. So it is an experience?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Absolutely, Justin could probably speak to that better than me. I thought that the young guys Justin and Jan-Michael both put in a great effort; showed some flashes of brilliance, actually both of them, and some inconsistency like most young players. You would expect that and I think the main thing for all of us is just try to draw something positive from this experience - whatever it is I couldn't tell you right now - but to draw something positive from this experience and try to move forward.

Q. For tomorrow will you think of possibly playing Justin in the singles match?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Sure, I would certainly think of it. If Todd let's him.

Q. Todd.


CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Sure, I would certainly welcome Justin playing tomorrow. Justin?

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: (indicates thumbs up).

Q. Could you talk about just your feelings playing your first match what maybe mistakes you made; what good things did you?

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Yeah, it was a great experience. I mean, didn't start off how we'd like to. We got some momentum; then I was really -- I am really disappointed I played those bad service games in the fifth set. That is not acceptable. I just got out of rhythm on my serve; then I panicked a little bit and that is where the inexperience and youth comes in and I guess there is no way to get through that without taking your lumps like I did. Just ashamed it had to come in that situation, but Davis Cup would tend to bring out your insecurities or your situations where, you know, things will arise that might not in other competition, because you won't have the same internal pressure and external pressure and just desire to win and succeed like we did here. It is just disappointing. I love playing with the guys. I love -- I love the guys. It is just great. I mean, to be around them all week, to practice hard; to have a chance to be in a team situation is -- I can't express how enjoyable it is for me and that is why it is even more disappointing to have the tie over, to not be able to play in the finals; to not be able to have the team for the rest of the year. That is where all the disappointment comes in.

Q. You said yesterday Richey Reneberg was the only team members who would be a well-wisher. Did that change at all in the last 24 hours; anyone else call?

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: Pat Galbraith, Jon Stark, Alex O'Brien called. We had tremendous support from the players. Tremendous support out there. The crowd was great. They were very supportive, very active and loud and well wishing and it was great.

End of FastScripts....

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