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July 16, 1998

Tom Gullikson


RANDY WALKER: We'll start the question and answer session with the American team. Questions from the press?

Q. Question for Andre and Jim. Could you talk about, following your Wimbledon experience, are you looking at the Davis Cup as a possible way to sort of jump-start the summer? And how important is this Davis Cup experience to you both, where you are in your careers right now?

ANDRE AGASSI: First of all, it's definitely something that I need right now. I need the practice with these players, with these guys, I need the matchplay. I had a pretty good setback in the French Open this year, and it didn't allow me to play much before Wimbledon. On the grass, if you're not sharp with your game, it's very difficult. So, needless to say, my confidence wasn't too high. I've been working out a lot on the hard courts now; my shots are coming around. I'll start getting out there and playing the matches. This is very instrumental in the start of the summer. But even beyond that, it's instrumental in my career. Davis Cup has always been important. To be here really is always an honor. So I'm looking forward to it.

JIM COURIER: I'll second that. For me, no matter where I am, whether I'm coming off a great event or poor event, I'm always excited to be at Davis Cup. I always relish the opportunity to have four days of great practice with great players; it gets me ready to go and play for my country. You know, I'm frankly very happy to be back on hard courts and not on grass (laughter). It's nice to be able to know where the ball is going to bounce. I look forward to it. This is the start of the summer for pretty much all of us. Being in America playing the next couple of months, I know we're all happy about that, I certainly am. I'm looking forward to a good weekend here and hopefully get us off on a good foot for the rest the summer.

RANDY WALKER: Other questions?

Q. Jim, there were some questions after Atlanta, whether you would be on this team - obviously if Pete wanted to play. Yet you were really the hero of that tie. How did the Atlanta experience motivate you for this?

JIM COURIER: It's probably been one of the top three matches in my career as far as memorable experiences go. You know, it's not too often that you get these big guys to pile on you after a match in some kind of a dog pile. That certainly upped the ante a little bit. It was a really powerful experience for me to come from behind in a match like that and pull it out. It's just another reason, another great reason, to play Davis Cup. Those kinds of matches, whether you win them or lose them, you never forget them. That's kind of what it's all about for me, is having these kind of memories, creating the memories.

Q. Mr. Agassi, I just want to know after you lost first round in Roland Garros, Wimbledon, you didn't win a lot of matches. Does that affect your preparation or how do you see it?

ANDRE AGASSI: It definitely affects your preparation as far as getting in more matches. You know, when you're talking about clay, you're talking about grass, you're talking about two extremes. Hard court has been the best part of my game. It's nice to get out there on the court and feel comfortable again. It's been a great preparation for me to hopefully do real well this summer. I'm not really worried about my recent results, but I am looking forward to playing these matches and watching it all unfold.

Q. Do you know the Belgian players you're going to meet?

JIM COURIER: Do we know them?

Q. Yes. Christophe Van Garsse, for instance, do you know him very well?

ANDRE AGASSI: I know a little bit about his game. But you're never too sure until you play somebody. You know, we've never played, so it's going to be a new experience for both of us. But Davis Cup in a lot of cases isn't even about tennis out there; it's just about your will and desire to win. It's always exciting. So I'm just going to be prepared for anything.

Q. I was wondering what you guys think of making a hero out any of the players, especially in singles, but maybe in doubles? Marat Safin almost stole the show in Atlanta. What are you doing to make sure nothing like that happens?

TODD MARTIN: Can't understand a word you said.

Q. Marat Safin almost came through, stole the show, became a hero in Atlanta. What do you have to do to avoid that here?

JIM COURIER: I think we just have to go out and do our jobs, play the best tennis we can play, try to win our matches. It's a real simple equation: go out there and do what we know how to do. They're going to do the same thing. Whoever is doing it better that day is going to win. I'm certainly not worried about making heroes out of anybody. I'm just worried about winning the first point when I play.

RANDY WALKER: Other questions?

Q. Todd, can you talk a little bit about coming back this year after struggling with the elbow? And also you've had good results of late, talk about how you and Richey seemed to click right away, winning the point in the last match?

TODD MARTIN: Well, I feel pretty much a hundred percent right now with my elbow, especially when the weather is like this, hot and humid, it helps all my joints out. In regards to Richey and me playing together, it's been sort of a nice surprise. We just were asked for Indian Wells to play together, ended up having some good success, giving Tom another option for the doubles point. We played a pretty solid match in Atlanta against the Russians. Hopefully we'll have more of the same this week.

RANDY WALKER: Any further questions?

Q. Tom, could you talk again about your decision to go with this very veteran team and to repeat again with the exact same personnel?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: The question was, your decision to go with the same very good-looking veteran team (laughter). First of all, these four guys are really committed to Davis Cup. They not only played well in Atlanta, they worked well together, great camaraderie, which is an underrated part of playing tennis, certainly in a team atmosphere like Davis Cup. Certainly, we played well in Atlanta. I wanted to give them a first option of playing here as well in the second round. It's as simple as that.

Q. If they put through a winning effort here in Indianapolis, are you going to stick with this team through the year?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: You want to go with what's working and who's committed.

RANDY WALKER: Any more questions?

Q. Tom, can you just talk about Van Garsse and Dewulf? Any surprises when you saw the lineup? How would you assess how it shapes up?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: No surprises. Obviously, Van Garsse has won the fifth match in the last two ties against France and then against Holland. He's left-handed; he plays good tennis. It's certainly no surprise. Dewulf is their No. 1 guy, has been for a long time. No surprises.

RANDY WALKER: Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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