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September 24, 1998

Tom Gullikson


Q. Jim, I want to know why you don't play here and how is it for you to not play here?

JIM COURIER: Well, I think the reason I am not playing is because I haven't gotten any matches under my belt since Cincinnati, so, I think that, speaking for Gully, obviously we have had a talk about it, Jan-Michael has been playing. He played pretty well in the US Open and he has got a little bit more match-toughness than I do right now so he is the guy that we are going with. We have a lot of confidence in him and I will be on the bench hopefully pulling him through.

Q. Was it your decision? Did you tell the captain you were not ready or what happened?

JIM COURIER: No, I think it is Tom's decision. That is why he gets paid the big bucks to be the captain and make those decisions.

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Obviously Jim is a great Davis Cup player and great supporter of the Davis Cup and I am just pleased that he is on the team and clearly he hasn't had much match competition in quite a while. So, it was just basically that issue of match-toughness for sure. Certainly Jan-Michael has had a great year this year moving up into the Top-50 in the board with some very big wins over Agassi and other top players. And, he played very well at the US Open, and current form is always a consideration and certainly hard courts is Jan-Michael's best surface, so, we certainly all feel good about Jan-Michael playing.

Q. Jan-Michael, talk about getting the honor to play and maybe your history against Gaudenzi?

JAN-MICHAEL GAMBILL: Obviously I am very excited to play. Any time you get a chance to play for your country, I will always take that opportunity. I played Gaudenzi earlier on clay in year and I lost in a close match under strange circumstances. (laughter).

There was a lot of rain. We were playing in the rain. It was kind of weird. But....

Q. If could you just talk about the draw and going first and how you are going to approach that tomorrow get the US off to a good start in that match?

JAN-MICHAEL GAMBILL: I am just going to go out tomorrow and play my best tennis; go out with a lot of fire and I am going to be really excited. It is my first Davis Cup match and my third tie this year, so, just a lot of excitement and whether it's the first or second match, I don't think really matters to me that much, just go out and play each point the best I can and do the best out there. Get the house rocking, though.

Q. Gully, can you talk about what Jim brings to your group even though he won't be on the courts?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Well, Jim is a great leader. He sets a good tone with his work ethic and his commitment and he is a great team guy. He loves being part of the team and the team -- the young guys can learn a lot from him both on and off the court; particularly off the court. But, Jim is talented in many different areas and he adds a lot to the team.

Q. Todd, this will be a new role for you. You are obviously the kingpin and senior member. Are you looking forward to that because I think they are probably counting on you for three points or close?

TODD MARTIN: I was hoping for Richey to come visit us so I wouldn't have to be the old man, but it is a great opportunity for all of us. I think we are all in situations that we haven't been in necessarily before and it is a great chance for Jan-Michael and Justin to get their feet wet in Davis Cup and hopefully start their Davis Cup careers off on the right foot. And, it is a great opportunity for me to challenge myself and hopefully be able to pull us through a few matches.

Q. Todd and Jan-Michael, how long has it been since you guys have played indoors? Is that at all a concern?

TODD MARTIN: I practiced a lot in indoors in London getting ready for the grass because it is always raining over there. I did a Pro Am last week with Gully indoors.


TODD MARTIN: Before that, it has been since, I think, Memphis or -- Philadelphia was probably our last indoor event which was in February. But I think that is more recent than any of the Italian players who played indoors.

JAN-MICHAEL GAMBILL: I have grown up playing indoors; practiced all last week indoors, and obviously all this week, so, I feel pretty at home playing indoors.

Q. I don't know if you are the strongest team ever for the United States, but you are probably the tallest. Could you please tell us the height of each of you? Also, what do you think about the surface? I mean, did you find it very slow and the balls very slow too?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: I am 5'11" (laughter), 136 pounds.

JAN-MICHAEL GAMBILL: I am 6'3", 195. Justin is 6'5" and about 195 as well. Jimbo at around six feet, 6'1". And big Todd Martina at 6'6".

Q. And the surface?

TODD MARTIN: The court so slow, but it is also indoors and I think when we get a lot of people inside, it will -- everything will speed up due to the warmth. And, I think the fact that it is indoors helps us and I think the fact that the court is not real fast doesn't hurt us. It gives Jan-Michael and me both the opportunity to set up for the ball a little bit more and the ability to dictate play a little bit more maybe.

Q. Jim, can you tell us how the arm is even though you are not playing?

JIM COURIER: Well, the arm feels pretty good right now at this point. It is an ongoing battle and hopefully with the proper rest and treatment and ice and plenty of good narcotics it will keep me playing for a while longer. (laughter) But we have a team doctor who dispenses quite freely with the narcotics, so, it kind of saves me a little money and I am feeling pretty good. Better this week than last week, so..... (laughter).

Q. Coach Gullikson, and team members, we are so proud to see you here today. I just have a general question for you. We saw you last night at the Gullikson Foundation event. You are great representatives of the United States. My question is this: What has your experience been in Milwaukee? What is your reaction to this community? Do you feel the team will be we well supported by the crowd through the three days?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Well, we are very excited to be here and we are certainly excited to be playing in the semifinals of the Davis Cup here and I think it is a great opportunity for the Wisconsin tennis fans to get out and support our team. And, I know we are all looking forward to the great support we are going to receive this weekend and hopefully it will help us get over the top and into the Finals. Because the Finals will be in Delray Beach, Florida where it is nice and warm and we can go do a little surfing and maybe play a little golf in the winter.

Q. Also, Tom, could you just talk about the doubles decision, and what went into that and having Justin make his debut as well?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: I think, you know, these guys are very tall and they could both stand next to each other and reach the sidelines, so I figure they could cover the court pretty well without moving. When you add a couple of steps here and there, they are covering it beautifully and they both serve well. They both return well. Justin brings an unprecedented amount of enthusiasm to the doubles court and Todd brings a very calm, levelheaded veteran, so, I think it is a very good combination in several aspects. You know I am personally really looking forward to watching Justin play because I feel he is going to play very well.

Q. Talk about obviously this first time you are named to the team; how it is going to be different from being a practice partner and how excited you are?

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: It is much different than being a practice partner. I didn't have to pick up nearly as many balls this week. The guys showed me a little bit more respect, not much, I am still the brunt of most of the jokes, but it has been great. It has been fun being a practice partner; was great also just to get, you know, a feel for the situation and I think Jan-Michael and I are both ready to help the team out. It is just really exciting since starting tennis when we were eight, nine years old and this being one of our goals, it is great to have it realized this soon.

Q. This is for Justin and Jan-Michael. You guys are kind of the east and the west here meeting in the midwest. What do you think about Milwaukee and so far your week here?

JAN-MICHAEL GAMBILL: Actually, Milwaukee is a lot like home, Spokane, Washington. Our climate is a lot alike. We have a little hotter summers, but the foliage and that kind of stuff, it looks a lot alike and maybe just on a bigger scale here in Milwaukee. We have few more people. It is a beautiful city and the people are great. It has been great to be here.

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: I don't know about the foliage or whatever that is, but we got to see McGuire's home run Sunday; that was sweet. We played it -- what is the name of that golf course you played at? Whistling Straits, in Kohler, that was really nice, and we had a couple of hot-dog things.



CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: That is a Wisconsin thing, you know.

JUSTIN GIMELSTOB: This is what I was told. That was good, and I guess we are planning on dabbling in the social life after the tie. Maybe we will report the aspects to you after that. But so far, so good.

PAGE CROSLAND: That conclude our US Team press conference.


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