April 2, 1998
Q. Talk about the possible difficulties about the tie and what kind of chemistry does your team have?
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: You said it very well, Robin. Kafelnikov is obviously a very talented player in singles and doubles. He is a triple threat and Safin is a talented unknown. We don't know his game that well. He probably -- certainly doesn't know our games very well either. But, that is why you play the matches, though.
Q. After the Lipton, have you had any trouble getting you game back up?
ANDRE AGASSI: It would have been a little problem if we were playing Chile. (laughter). But we are not, so I just jumped into the saddle and getting ready for the weekend.
Q. Problem with players you have never played.
ANDRE AGASSI: I think Rios is certainly a very versatile player, so, the ability to be able to read his shots is the key to the development of the matchup. But, I mean, it is always nicer when you kind of know what to expect. But, you don't always have that luxury. Davis Cup, in and of itself, is such a different event; such a different platform; such a different intensity that, really, it doesn't matter if you are coming in with confidence; you are coming in, you know, not playing well; Doesn't matter if you know who you are playing; if you don't know who you are playing; what your win/loss record is. None of it seems to have any relevance except what happens on that day. It is kind of special in that way - more than just tennis, really.
Q. Does this come at a good time because you were lacking some tough matches this year?
JIM COURIER: I hope so. Basically what I have been lacking so far this year is a lot of matches and to be able to come in here and be guaranteed I am going to get two tough matches. And, the good thing about Davis Cup is you know you have no room for mental error. You have to be on top of it from the very beginning because of the other factors that are going on besides just the tennis. So, it will definitely get my attention and I am looking forward to just going out and battling this weekend.
Q. Jim, do you see this as an opportunity to set the tone for the weekend?
JIM COURIER: I think that every match for us is an opportunity, really, to go out there and kind of dictate the terms of the weekend. So, I am certainly happy to be playing the first match and hopefully get us off on the right foot.
Q. Tom, talk about the doubles. I know it has been a problem in the past.
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Hopefully, Jim will really tire him out tomorrow in the singles and he won't have that much energy for the doubles on Saturday. But, we are very happy to have Todd and Richey representing us, and they both won a lot of matches in Davis Cup. Certainly Todd has had a great singles record and he has played some good doubles as well. And, Richey has got a very good record in Davis Cup. They played well in Indian Wells. And, they are two quality players and quality guys. So, we are looking for good things on Saturday.
Q. Reflect on the match against Russia three years ago.
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Well, I would remember we won. It was a very difficult match on the indoor red clay and obviously has no real bearing on what is happening this weekend, you know, different surface, outdoors. But, it was a great memory winning that Final there with all the fellows here. They were all there, and we all remember that and treasure it, and we would like to get off to a good start this week basically by beating Russia.
Q. How are you enjoying your stay in Atlanta?
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Well, I like sitting in traffic. (laughter). That is one good thing about Atlanta. We really just pretty much stayed out here in Stone Mountain and gone back and forth to the court, so, probably most exciting thing we have done is watch a little basketball and go to a movie. So nothing unbelievably exciting so far.
Q. Is it a home-advantage playing on hard court?
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: I think hard court is probably the most prevalent surface on the Tour, so, the Russians have played a lot on hard courts, but our guys play their best tennis on hard, so we feel it is a home-court advantage. And, we are looking forward to these fans here in Atlanta to really give us a lot of support and hopefully they will be a little bit of an X-factor for us when we really need some help.
Q. How do you guard against being overconfident in these matches?
ANDRE AGASSI: Doesn't take you too long on the Tour to figure out to win a match means getting out there and getting the job done point by point. Nothing short of -- I have never been accused of taking a Davis Cup match too lightly.
Q. How do you feel about breaking Bill Tilden's record?
ANDRE AGASSI: Definitely the second priority of winning each match this weekend, but the team can move on to the next round, that is what we are for. In hindsight I will look back and either feel good that I got the record or be a little pissed that I didn't. But, either way, the focus is to win this weekend and to win for the sake of what we are here for.
PAGE CROSLAND: Would you like to say a few concluding remarks?
CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: I have got a very supportive team here. In fact, so supportive, I think Richey and Todd haven't really answered too many questions, so I think you guys should wrap this up. Richey, please, you are a local boy from Atlanta. It is your hometown, a chance for you to shine here, Rich.
RICHEY RENEBERG: I think we are all happy to be here in Atlanta. Hopefully the weather will be like it is today, tomorrow. And, looking forward to playing some good tennis.
PAGE CROSLAND: Thank you.
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