July 18, 1998
Q. Jim, you said on TV you were kind of suspicious that you might have to play, on Thursday. When did you find out for absolutely certain?
JIM COURIER: We had a team meeting last night back at the hotel, kind of hashed it out amongst ourselves as to what we thought was going to be the best call because Richey -- apparently Richey could have played today, but he would have been in some serious risk of hurting himself. Actually watching him walk today, wasn't too fun. You're not walking too well.
TODD MARTIN: He was just traumatized.
JIM COURIER: You know, I was ready to go Thursday. I had a sneaky suspicion I would be called to go. I was ready.
Q. Not to belabor the point, but when Jim was on the TV, he said he hopes you keep the squad together, you're committed. I saw you shaking your head. Does that mean you're committed to this?
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: They've got an invitation right now. They get first right of choosing.
JIM COURIER: I don't want to play. I've had it.
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Hopefully they accept it. First right of acceptance.
JIM COURIER: I've had it. You guys have taken me for granted too long.
Q. You said something on TV that Richey is headed for surgery.
RICHEY RENEBERG: Yeah. I had an MRI done Thursday night. It showed I had a torn meniscus, something that requires a arthroscopic surgery. I'm hoping to do it as soon as possible this next week.
Q. Any idea how long you'll be out?
RICHEY RENEBERG: Not very long. That's the good thing. That was the risk of playing, is if I tore it worse, it would take a lot longer to get back. But three to six weeks, so hopefully it will be the short end of that.
Q. Jim or Todd, first set, first couple sets, looked like you maybe were not used to each other, haven't played with each other for three years, I guess, in a tournament. Looked like you were just kind of feeling each other out, who was going to do what early. You seemed to obviously click as the match went on.
TODD MARTIN: I think that's how Jim felt. I think I felt like I hadn't been on a tennis court in four years.
JIM COURIER: I was hitting the ball so cleanly.
TODD MARTIN: It was bad. As soon as we started to right the ship, it got worse. It was a strange set. Fortunately, neither one of us took it too seriously, came back and played a good second. Roller coaster from there. Finally, I think the last three sets we only got broken once.
JIM COURIER: I broke you (laughter).
TODD MARTIN: Jim did a great job.
JIM COURIER: Three on one is difficult.
TODD MARTIN: It was just a matter of, you know, both of our returns clicking at the same time. I returned Malisse's serve well one game, Jim wouldn't. Then Jim would return Van Herck's serve well and I wouldn't. It's a strange game that way.
Q. Mr. Gullikson, was Belgium tougher than you expected?
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: They played well. I think you can really commend the Belgian players. They fought very hard, they played well. They certainly played well in the doubles today. I thought Van Herck played very well. I thought he was really solid action you know, on the returns, hitting some nice second shots. He volleyed well, actually volleyed better than I expected him to. So they're commended. They played well, fought hard. Congratulations to them.
Q. How would you have felt if you would have had to go into a fourth match, a third day? I suppose you wouldn't have liked that.
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Well, we have to do it anyway. I think Andre was certainly ready to play. He was ready to go. Obviously we wanted to win today, and the boys fought hard and came back twice from being a set down. They earned their victory today. But we were ready to play tomorrow.
Q. Todd, talk a little about what really made the difference today. There was so much back and forth, so much struggle between the two sides today.
TODD MARTIN: Well, what made the difference was a couple of clutch shots in the tiebreaker by us, you know. 2-All, Jim hit a great return, I missed an easy shot. This is the fourth set breaker. Then at 2-3, came up with a great serve and volley.
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Half volley.
TODD MARTIN: Half volley.
JIM COURIER: My forte.
TODD MARTIN: It's little things like that that send a message to the other team, that you give us your best stuff, and occasionally we're up to it. We were just fortunate enough --
JIM COURIER: Todd is speaking for himself here.
TODD MARTIN: -- we were fortunate enough to come up with the good stuff in the tiebreaker. I think that broke their spirit a little bit. They were up twice and let us back into it. We were really starting to play much better.
Q. Jim, there was a lot of talk going out there from time to time.
TODD MARTIN: Jim was talking.
JIM COURIER: I talk a lot of spack on the court. I'm known for that. I think the difference in the match, the turning point was when Todd chest-butted me.
ANDRE AGASSI: Blindsided at that.
JIM COURIER: I wasn't expecting it. I was still beating my own chest. I think when Todd Martin starts getting that enthusiastic, I get a good feeling about what's going to happen.
TODD MARTIN: We lost the third set, though.
JIM COURIER: But we looked good doing it.
Q. You seemed to get a kick that one time when you hit the overhead right at Van Herck.
JIM COURIER: That's what I was talking about, that point there. He tried to nail me. I hit the volley back harder than he hit his shot. Tried to take him out with an overhead. Unfortunately, I missed. I won't again. Next time I'll get him.
Q. Jim, you seem to be the good luck charm for this Davis Cup.
JIM COURIER: Sandy, you've got to stop saying that. You don't talk about a no-hitter when you're in the dugout.
Q. We can try.
JIM COURIER: You can try, but I'll shut you down.
Q. It was about 93 degrees out there. How much of a factor?
JIM COURIER: It's not very humid. If it was humid, I think that would be trouble. But it's actually fine out there.
TODD MARTIN: It was hot.
JIM COURIER: For those mortals.
Q. Jim, how difficult is it to walk out on the court and play with guy you haven't played with in doubles for three years?
JIM COURIER: Well, it's not the easiest thing to do certainly. But I figured that the other team probably didn't have a whole lot of experience together either. So we were both kind of in the same boat. Todd and I know how to play tennis. It's not that we haven't played doubles; it's just that we haven't played together very much. I was hoping that we would get a little cohesion earlier in the match. But it took us a while and we finally got it going there. Right at that last point we were together.
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: I thought we had a chance to bury them at 4-5, 15-30, second serve, then 40-30.
TODD MARTIN: Thanks, coach. Put it all on me.
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Not that that was a turning point. We win that set, win the second set 6-2, we're off to the races. I thought that was a really key part of the match right in there. Then they broke us the next game. You know, they are commended for their play. I thought they played well.
Q. How important is it, Tom, for you to have obviously an extra singles player on the team as opposed to possibly like using a team link Johnson Montana who are obviously high in the rankings?
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Obviously, when you're playing best-of-five sets in a Davis Cup match, the schedule these guys play, they're all coming into the ties with little nicks here and there. Nobody is probably a hundred percent. So it's great to have some insurance, somebody who can play high quality singles like Todd. I really can't substitute for that. I know we had a Davis Cup captain's meeting in London this year, and one of the things that we discussed was trying to possibly name a five-man team so you could end up having a third singles player, then just a doubles-only type team. It might present a better product, you know, to the public. It's under discussion anyway. Not a bad idea.
Q. For tomorrow's reverse single, going with the same?
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: We need to have a team discussion about that.
JIM COURIER: I'm voting for Richey to play.
RICHEY RENEBERG: I'll play both.
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: You want to play both?
RICHEY RENEBERG: Yes.
Q. I'd like to ask both Jim and Todd their feelings about the 17 year old Belgian player Xavier Malisse?
JIM COURIER: I like his hair.
Q. And about the way he plays?
JIM COURIER: There's a few young guys out there that look like they have some potential, and he's one of them. We'll see how it plays out. But he's got a nice looking game, and good hair too.
TODD MARTIN: He's comfortable and confident, which are two things that are essential if he wants to succeed.
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: The last two ties, we've seen probably the two best young players in the world, Safin and Malisse probably. I would say those two are the best I've seen.
Q. Jim, you're headed to Washington next week. I was wondering if you could give your general thoughts on that tournament, how you think the results of this weekend might carry over?
JIM COURIER: I'm still concerned with tomorrow's match. I'll deal with Washington when I get to Washington. Getting through here certainly would be a nice boost, I think, for Andre and I. We're both going. That should help our confidence.
Q. Do you adjust or change the way you play doubles whether you're playing with Richey or when you're playing with Jim?
TODD MARTIN: It is a little different. Jim serves a little harder and a little differently than Richey. Richey returns a little bit better and differently than Jim. You know, I'd gotten into a pretty good flow of taking the middle of the court with Richey. I think with Jim I said, He serves a little bit bigger, I'll mind my own side a little bit more. It really got us into a hole. Also, vice versa on his return. I had to, you know, hold my move a little bit longer. Richey returns so well that you can move off a first and second serves very aggressively. Those are the major differences right there.
Q. Andre, we know now we're moving on, going to play Italy next. Your thoughts about that particular situation as it comes up?
ANDRE AGASSI: Well, we'll get to play them here in America, which is certainly a great asset. I like our chances. I think this team certainly has proven that they can get the job done in more than a few ways. I certainly know everybody on this team is confident with their game right now, feeling -- I think that match-up will work out well for us. Davis Cup is always a grind. It's always somewhat unpredictable. We need to stay focused, keep our intensity, and I think we'll be all right.
Q. Jim, in the end today it seemed like the crowd finally got into it and appeared to be uplifting. Not only today but next time around you get the home crowd, too. Talk about the effect of a crowd in play like this.
JIM COURIER: Well, even if the crowd in America is not so boisterous or emphatic as the crowds in Europe, but at least they're not screaming at us when we're playing. If we were playing in Italy or Belgium, the crowd would be quite a bit different. It's nice to be able to put some pressure on the other player on the side of the net with your crowd when it gets to breakpoint, if they can make a lot of noise, kind of get up a little bit. I think it can just increase the anxiety on their part, and it works for us the other way, so. It's always, like Andre says, a big asset to be able to play at home.
Q. Andre, you're the veteran on Davis Cup, on this team. Have you ever seen cohesiveness among the four players that you have on this team?
ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think every team is really different and has their strengths and weaknesses. I would rate this certainly one of the best. I think in '92 we had an awesome team, too, with me, Jim, Pete and Mac. We all seemed to really groove nicely together. But there's no question that this team has a great chemistry. We all get along, look out for each other, and really support each other in the week leading up to the matches, and believe in each other when it comes to getting out there and laying it on the line and getting the job done. I would rate this top two certainly.
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