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DAVIS CUP - SWEDEN vs USA


November 27, 1997


Tom Gullikson


GOTEBORG, SWEDEN

Q. Pete, three different experience in Davis Cup. Disaster in Lyon against France. Revenge against Switzerland in '92. Triumph in Russia. What do you expect this one to be? Will it be necessarily to win three points from your side? How much can help, Michael?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, my Davis Cup experience, starting off my first Davis Cup tie, I was a bit overwhelmed playing against the French. But it took a little time to get used to the Davis Cup atmosphere. I played pretty well in the doubles against the Swiss and a couple years ago against the Russians. It's just different out there as far as the pressure, you're playing for your country, you're playing for your teammates. I played enough Davis Cup over the past three or four years that I feel pretty comfortable out there. This week is not going to be easy. They're going to have a lot of support from the fans. We're playing some good players. Just need at this point to go out and play.

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Q. Michael, it's been a while since you were in a final of Davis Cup. How do you feel about the event and being back at this level again? Your thoughts.

MICHAEL CHANG: I think it's great to be in the final. I think it's even more exciting to be able to play with the teammates I have this week. It's been a good week of practice, a week of camaraderie. I think we'll be able to put things together and have a great weekend.

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Q. How is the court playing?

PETE SAMPRAS: Are you talking to me?

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Q. Slow? Medium? Fast?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think it's playing pretty quick, it really is. I think it's quick. It's one of the quicker courts I've played on all year.

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Q. Is that good?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah. I don't mind playing on quick courts. It's not easy to break serve out there. Playing Larsson tomorrow, I'm sure he'll be serving a lot of heat. I feel like I've been serving well all week. It's really quick.

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Q. Michael, what's the difference between Michael Chang today and the Michael Chang who lost to Jonas in Hannover both mentally and in terms of the practice week?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think I was able to learn a little bit from that match. I think Jonas has had an exceptional year. For him to be able to start at the beginning of the year in the 60s and finish the year No. 4, I think is a great achievement. I think it's a whole new situation, a whole new ball game. You know, I think hopefully it will be something similar to when I lost to Pat in the U.S. Open. I'm hoping to be able to turn things around here in Sweden. I think at the same time I've been able to work hard and hopefully be able to be that much more prepared.

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Q. Do you find the court very quick, too, Michael?

MICHAEL CHANG: I didn't think it was that fast (laughter). I thought it was medium-fast. I didn't think it was fast-fast. So, maybe good for Pete; good for me.

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Q. Tom, when you first new what the matchups were going to be in the final, was your first thought that they were going to put this court down or you possibly had an issue --

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Their best surface is probably this carpet surface. Certainly Bjorkman is their key player, playing singles and doubles. He's more comfortable on a faster court as he displayed in Stockholm and Paris this year. I never really once thought about clay really.

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Q. Pete, Magnus is the only guy who has beaten you twice on the Tour this year. Is it a coincidence or does he have something that doesn't suit your game?

PETE SAMPRAS: He's played me tough, not only this year, but over the whole year. Awkward player, lanky out there, not an easy guy to play. He serves quite big and backs it up with big groundies. The match I lost to him in Indianapolis was a tough match, 7-6 in the third. Beat him pretty easily at the Lipton tournament. He's very talented. Like I said, he moves well, got some good feel, some good hands. He's confident. He's beat me before. But I feel like I'm playing well. I just need to go out and do it.

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Q. How much are you guys thinking back about the semifinal in '94? Crossed your mind a lot this week?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Only when someone asks.

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Q. I'm asking.

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Every match is a unique experience. I think, (A) we have a very healthy team, well, mostly healthy team this time around. You know, everybody's playing quite well. Certainly it's been a great week in practice. We certainly plan to put that match and the ghost of '84 behind us as well. So we're looking forward to a good weekend.

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Q. Tom, on that same note, how much national pressure do you feel, if any? I mean, with the United States' loss in the Ryder Cup, still fresh in mind, different game, but still an international competition as well? What's going through your mind in that regard?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: First of all, we have a bunch of world class golfers up at this table (laughter). A challenge to the Swedish tennis team anytime, our best ball against their best ball, no problem. A little cold here, so we may have to go back to Florida to play that event (laughter). No national pressure. I think, you know, our guys are the best players in the world, I feel. And I think if we play well, I think it's going to be a good result for us. But, you know, pressure is really something that we put on ourself from day one. We feel we should do well if we play well. You know, that's why you play the competition, is to win. So to come in and say you just want to play well or to come in and say, "If I lose, that's okay, as long as I played well," that's not what it's about; we're here to win the match. In that sense, there's a little bit of pressure, but it's good pressure.

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Q. How would you regard the state of your arm now? Is it back to a hundred percent, 80 percent?

TODD MARTIN: Personally I'd like to defer my questions to Pete or Michael (laughter). My elbow feels pretty good. It's getting better every day. The more I use it, the better it feels. This week has been pretty good for me.

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Q. Tom, two years ago you made Pete Sampras play in doubles, even if he had cramps the day before against Chesnokov. After the match, you say that Pete with anyone is probably the best doubles in the world. You still believe in that sentence?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Well, I think it was John McEnroe. I'm not sure if it was Pete (laughter). Pete can play great doubles, obviously. He doesn't choose to play doubles on the Tour, but anytime Pete's on the court, I think we have a good chance of winning that match, whether it's singles or doubles. So it's a definite possibility.

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Q. So what should be the result with Pete in doubles? What should be the result at the end of the first day if you decide to put Pete to play doubles?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: We'll have to think about that after the first day. I really couldn't tell you right now.

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Q. Jonathan, how has your practice week been going so far?

JONATHAN STARK: Well, it's been good. I've had a good week at the card table (laughter).

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End of FastScripts....

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