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November 28, 1997

Tom Gullikson


Q. Tom, can you give us a rundown of what the situation is, how bad it is, generally what happened?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: He said in the middle of the second set, he felt like a little, almost a grab. He thought it was a cramp. He thought it would go away, but it wasn't a cramp, obviously. Must have been a pull. He kept getting worse and worse as that set continued. It was really clear that, you know, he couldn't push. It was his left calf muscle and he couldn't really push up into the serve and he couldn't really run. It hurt really just to put weight on it. After he lost the tiebreaker, was down a break in the third, really didn't make sense for him to continue and potentially, you know, injure himself a lot worse. So that's when we decided to stop. And he's going to get an MRI. After his drug test tonight, he's going to get an MRI to make sure there's not a lot of damage done, hopefully.


Q. Tom, any sign of a problem before the match and during the preparation, during the days before?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: No, no. He was fine. He had a few tweaks here and there, like all the guys do at the end of the year, because it is such a long year. In tennis, they make our pro tennis players play eleven months out of the year. I don't think you find that in any other sport. A lot of guys are nicked up and battered by the end of the year.


Q. Tom, have you had a chance to talk to George Fareed, and if so, what has he said about the situation?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: I was in there talking to George and Todd Snyder, the trainer. You know, it's hard to diagnose it really without doing an MRI. So, you know, their immediate plan was to get an MRI tonight on it. But Pete tried to put some weight on it after he iced it for 20 minutes. He had a hard time putting weight on it even. So, you know, definitely it was pretty painful to him.


Q. It's the calf muscle?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Yeah, the left calf muscle.


Q. Is there any chance he could play Sunday?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: I don't know. I guess we'll have to, you know, wait for the tests. You know, hopefully we can do well in doubles tomorrow. We'll see what happens. But I would say it's doubtful right now.


Q. And definitely not Pete in doubles tomorrow?



Q. Definitely Pete not in double tomorrow?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: It's not looking real good right now for him in the doubles probably. That's a good assessment.


Q. If he can't play on Sunday, who do you plan on replacing him with?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Well, you know, Todd Martin has a very good singles record in Davis Cup. He's been playing pretty well in practice. He had a good result in Stuttgart, I believe, beat a couple Top-10 players. So, you know, Todd would be a good replacement, I think.


Q. Is it hard to be down 2-O? How frustrating is it?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: I think the first thing is you worry about the health of the player before you worry about the score. The health of the player is more important than the score at the precise moment, I think. You know, we hope that Pete's not injured badly. Hope he's going to be fine. But, you know, after that, certainly it's not -- you know, we're in a position we're not used to. We're usually up 2-Love at the end of the Friday. We're down 2-Love. Our back is really against the wall. They don't have three yet, so they can't celebrate yet. They've got to win one more match.


Q. Do you feel cursed by Goteborg at all? You haven't won here.

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Well, it's probably not the happiest place to be right now. You know, it gets dark a little early. It's a little cold. We did have a nice Thanksgiving dinner with all the American contingent last night. Yeah, it hasn't been good to us so far. But you never know. Tomorrow's a new day.


Q. I think Pete was injured in '94, as well. Do you know if it was the same kind of injury?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: It was a leg injury. I think it was more -- I think it was more like a hamstring or something in '94. But I think, really, if look at certainly our American team, I'm sure a lot of the other Davis Cup teams as well, you know, Courier's out, Jim's out with a muscle tear in his leg. Todd Martin has been out for a long time. Now, Sampras gets hurt. You know, a lot of guys are nicked up. I think it's just too long a year. The bottom line is, you've got to make better sense of the schedule and not make our best pro tennis players play eleven months of the year. It's just too much tennis.


Q. Tom, can we put a baseball spin on this at all? You're down Love-2, but it's best-of-five series. It's just that the cast of characters is now going to change considerably. You're facing a strong, strong doubles team. Honestly, how does it look from Love-2?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Well, you know, anytime you're making a comeback, you can't think of all the way back. You just try to take one small step at a time. In this situation, it's just one match at a time. We're really going to go into the doubles probably with Stark and Martin. You know, Stark just won the World Championship last week, and Todd is certainly very capable of playing good doubles. So we're just going to put everything we can into the doubles, play aggressive, go all out. If we can squeak out that match, then we'll worry about the next match. But you can't get three points in one match, so you've just kind of got to take it one match at a time.


Q. Were you downcast by Michael's performance? He certainly seemed deeply downcast facing us here?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Well, he really had it going well in the second set, beginning of the third set. He was up a break. Then he was all over Bjorkman there for about a set and a half. Then the key point in the whole match was 3-2. He had a couple, three or four chances to put the ball away, and Bjorkman made an incredible series of gets and ended up winning the point. Then Michael lost his serve there. Bjorkman really kind of got the momentum, caught fire, really started playing aggressive again, kind of took Michael's aggressiveness away from him. That was really the key to the match, that point right there. It's amazing how one match -- one point can kind of turn a match around. You know, Michael probably needed to serve better, get more first serves in, because Bjorkman was really taking advantage of the second serve with both his backhand and his forehand return. Just didn't have a great serving day, just needed more first serves, really.


Q. Do you think the ATP and ITF should work together more intensively to make the program smaller for tennis players?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Yeah. I think, you know, the schedule definitely needs to be made more sense of by all the alphabetical organizations, for the best interest of the players - no question about it. Especially if you want to see them around, if you want them to have longer careers. If you want to play the players 11, 12 months a year, you might see them around for a short period of time, then they'll be gone. The bodies won't physically be able to hold up to it year after year.


Q. Do you think it will happen, that they will do that, because commercializing has gone so far?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: You'll have to ask them.


Q. Don't you think that the voice of coaches would help, should listen more to coaches?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: I think they should listen more to everybody. I think they really need to listen to the players. The players are listening to their bodies, and their bodies are saying, "I'm breaking down." So I think everybody needs to look at that.


Q. Tom, you have a lot of trouble during the year to get American players to agree to even early rounds of Davis Cup. As you suggested, they're tired at the end of the year, a little beat up. Doesn't this suggest in the future that you'll have more and more trouble getting American players to commit, should the United States advance?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: I would hope not. You know, I hope, you know, they'll want to be part of it. Obviously, it's the most exciting event in tennis. And hopefully they'll want to continue to support it, and get us back, you know, to the finals next year.


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