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September 11, 1994

Tom Gullikson


PAGE CROSLAND: Bumpy Frazer is going to introduce our next guest.

BUMPY FRAZER: A mystery guest. Ladies and gentlemen, one, I want to thank you all for all you have done. I know you want to hear from somebody else, but while I am here, I just want to thank all of you for what you have done for the U.S. Open these past two weeks. You have really been great. We have had wonderful coverage and, truly, it is all of you that make the U.S. Open important. So we thank you very, very much, and, as you know, USTA presidents come and go very quickly. So this is my second and last U.S. Open as chairman. So I just want to say again how much I have enjoyed working with you and trying to do things that make your job easier to do; make it more pleasant for you while you are here. And I am sure that is going to continue with all of my successors, because we value the press so highly. Now, I said when I announced this gentleman as the captain of our U.S. Davis Cup team, I guess, back in November of last year, I said then that I was confident that Tom Gullikson was going to lead the United States team to win the Davis Cup in 1994. And I say that again today; I am very proud of Tom Gullikson. I have certainly done some dumb things as the President of the USTA, but I am not going to tell you which those were. But certainly one of the best things I did was appoint Tom Gullikson as our Davis Cup captain. Tom, please come up here, and you have some great announcements.

TOM GULLIKSON: Thank you, Bumpy. I like the extra pressure of the expectation to win the whole thing. That motivates me a lot. Yeah, we have -- the selection process for this Davis Cup Tie has been very difficult. I think in general, our philosophy has been this year to try to pick the team, you know, fairly early, so all the players know well in advance, and can plan their schedules accordingly if they are going to play or if they are not going to play; they can be free to do something else. This particular Tie that we are going to play in Sweden, September 23 through 25, we had a lot of the question marks this summer. Sampras really didn't play all summer. He got hurt, you know, after Wimbledon -- actually, a little bit during Wimbledon; then after Wimbledon at the Davis Cup Tie in Rotterdam. Todd Martin had pretty much of a lost summer due to a groin injury. Jim Courier, you know, played great in Davis Cup. After that, his motivation kind of wandered throughout the summer. And Chang and Agassi, you know, had some prior commitments they had made well in advance of this particular Davis Cup Tie. We had some question marks and originally -- so that is why we were going to wait as long as possible this time. We have to officially make the announcement on Tuesday, ten days before the Tie, but we thought we would announce it today. And I am happy to announce that Pete Sampras has reconsidered after originally saying no. He has reconsidered. He called me two nights ago, and he said he was would love to play. He is feeling a lot better. His outlook is better, and he would love to play. He feels like he is getting healthy, and he feels like he will be ready to play against Sweden. So that was good news, and also Todd Martin is going to be playing singles. So our singles players are going to be Pete Sampras and Todd Martin, and our doubles team we have changed around a little bit this year, and we will continue to change it around-- this time around. We are going with two former Stanford players, Jonathan Stark, who is currently No. 1 in the world and Jared Palmer. Now, Jonathan and Jared haven't played together for a while, but they did play together in college. They played together when they first turned pro with some good success early on, and then they split up as they went their separate ways to really try to work on their singles ranking, and that was their main priority at that time. I feel that, you know, Stark has certainly proven himself this year with Byron Black. And Palmer has played excellent doubles with five or six different partners. So keeping in mind that our American doubles teams have not performed that well this year, I decided that I'd give Jonathan Stark and Jared Palmer an opportunity to play. They are both excellent doubles players. They are both very young. So, you know, we are kind of keeping our eye in the future a little bit by giving these two guys an opportunity to play doubles against Sweden. In fact, I am going back to Palm Coast today, and they are going to be coming there next weekend, and we are going to do some training on the hardcourts outside, just to get them back together again so-- and Todd Martin is going to be down there as well. So we are going to have a little mini camp in Florida before we head to Sweden next weekend.

Q. When will Pete indicate to you when he would be ready to start training again?

TOM GULLIKSON: Pete is going to hit some balls this week. He has got a few people to see before then, but he will probably start hitting by mid-week, I would think.

Q. Was Andre asked to play? Singles?

TOM GULLIKSON: Andre, I talked to the Agassi camp a couple of times, and he-- you know, he basically-- he is committed to a series of exhibitions after the Open a long time ago, like as early as last December. They were organizing this exhibition Tour, and at the time, you know, he was ranked 26 in the world. He just came off wrist surgery, and he really didn't -- he felt on the Davis Cup depth chart he was down there pretty low. So, you know, Davis Cup wasn't really, you know, a priority for him this year. I think his priority was to get his ranking back and get his game back, two things that he has obviously done pretty well, certainly these two weeks during the Open. So, you know, we are hopeful that Andre will be supportive of the Davis Cup in the future.

Q. How about Chang?

TOM GULLIKSON: Chang also had some prior commitments that he had made quite a while ago, but he was willing to kind of juggle his schedule, and he was willing to play if needed. I had a very nice chat with Michael, and he was very supportive, and he said if you need me I will be able to organize it, but it turned out that Pete had reconsidered and Pete was ready to play.

Q. What about Courier, Tom?

TOM GULLIKSON: I spoke to Jim. He is somewhere on vacation in Europe, and I think he still needs some more time off. He sounded very good. He was in good spirits, but I think he is probably going to take some more time off and then hopefully get his eagerness back to play.

Q. Was this your decision; I mean, you told him he wasn't playing or he told you he wouldn't play?


Q. Yes.

TOM GULLIKSON: It was kind of a mutual thing. I mean, Jim basically said, "Listen, if I feel like I am ready to play, I would love to play. But I don't think I would be doing you or the team, or our country, any good by playing right now." A direct quote from him. He said it would be like putting a band-aid where I really need a little bit of major surgery.

Q. What do you think prompted Pete to reconsider and in view of the lack of conditioning he apparently had here; was there any concern on your part?

TOM GULLIKSON: I think every circumstance is completely different. Looking back in retrospect at the match, we would have loved Tim and everybody else supporting me would have loved to seen him shorten up those points a little bit as he is certainly capable of doing. I think, Pete obviously was very disappointed after the Open, and very down. And he feels it was certainly a lost summer for him which it was, but I think you know the Davis Cup can give him something to look forward to. It is going to be played indoors on a carpet surface with teraflex; a lot faster surface with shorter points, and, you know, indoors conditioning rarely is a factor in the outcome of a men's match, even a best of five match. I think, you know, Pete looks at this as an opportunity to, you know, get going in the right direction and look forward a little bit and also it will be a good springboard for him to try to finish the year strongly and in a positive fashion.

Q. Do you know who Sweden is playing other than Edberg?

TOM GULLIKSON: Well, I am assuming it is going to be Apell/Bjorkman in the doubles. They have played the first two Ties and I think they won both their matches. They are a strong, young team, even though they lost first round here and Bjorkman looked like a young Edberg; actually at least against Edberg an improved version of Edberg here at the Open. I don't know if they will put three points on his head or not. He is a young guy and I think putting three points on a young player would be a lot of pressure, and, you know, Magnus Larsson has had an up and down year and he hasn't played that well recently, but he is certainly an option, and I would think Enqvist can play some good tennis and he has played some good tennis this year. So I think their second singles spot will either be Bjorkman, Larsson or Enqvist.

Q. I think Bjorkman indicated at his press conference that he was playing.

TOM GULLIKSON: Oh, he did? I wasn't at that one.

Q. Don't quote me, but I am fairly confident that he said that. Considering the--


Q. He thought he would played doubles and he was hoping--

TOM GULLIKSON: He would be happy to play singles.

Q. Tom, considering the surface you will be playing on, had Courier said, "I am refreshed. I am ready to go. I am fit," would you have chosen him over Martin?

TOM GULLIKSON: That would have been a tough call. I mean, just looking at Jim's situation, he was the first player to really commit to Davis Cup for the whole year. He said, "If you need me, I will be there any time." He was eager to go to India and he said "Yes" right away, and certainly Jim carried our team in Holland. He won both of his matches and played great in the fifth match. So, I would say probably it would be hard to kind of boot a guy like that off the team. So I think if he was playing well and he was ready to play, I think he probably would have deserved the spot.

Q. All the way back to Smith/Lutz, through to Leach/Pugh, I mean, our doubles team was at a certain point-- was our strong point and we have hit a little bit of a rough spell here, been a bit of an Achilles heel. Do you have any thoughts on how to develop to try and develop a dominant team again?

TOM GULLIKSON: Well, I think the one thought I have is that all the best Americans should play together, if possible. I mean, certainly, Byron Black is a great player and great guy, but he is from Zimbabwe, that doesn't help us a lot. Patrick Galbraith who has played some good doubles, he continues to play with Grant Connell. It is hard for me to play the magician here and start juggling people around when particularly the guys who are playing doubles only, like Pat Galbraith that is their whole living, and for me to say you need to play with an American player, and they go out and he does that, he makes that commitment and they lose first round, not only would he not probably have the opportunity to play Davis Cup, all of a sudden his living has gone down the tubes and maybe his house payment is threatened. So it is a hard call to say something like that, but certainly we would like to see all of our top Americans playing doubles together, and given the fact that most teams don't stay together that long these days anyway, you know, we are hopeful that the next time somebody is willing and ready to change, they will change to another American partner as opposed to say foreign partner.

Q. Given the difficulties in doubles, did you or do you take McEnroe's offer seriously and throw him in with maybe a young guy or something?

TOM GULLIKSON: I think John's offer is a real sincere one, but I think, you know, we really need to look more to the future and, you know, John, obviously was the greatest doubles player, I think, of all time and certainly one of the great players of all time, but you know he hasn't really played the circuit for more than two years now and he has got a lot of other interests, so, you know, I would say we really need to stick with the young guys who are really trying to build for the future.

Q. Despite your selection of Stark, are you concerned about his early loss here with Black in the doubles?

TOM GULLIKSON: They lost third round and if you look at the doubles here, Apell/Bjorkman lost first round, if you look at some of the players who are playing singles and doubles, the guys who had to double up like Apell lost his singles match in fourth sets, went out, played doubles, won the first set 6-2, then they lost. It is very common when you have got players playing singles and doubles if they lose a tough, 4, 5 set singles match it is hard to spring back and play a doubles match that same day, so I am not that concerned about it.

Q. Is this choice an attempt to put a more powerful, strengthwise, physical team on the carpet?

TOM GULLIKSON: At the end of last year Stark really caught fire on the indoor circuit over in Europe. And he won, he and Black. That is when they first started -- they won like four tournaments together indoors and John also won two singles titles indoors last year in Bolzano, and he won a challenger somewhere in Germany as well. So Stark plays very, very well in indoors and he has got a big serve it is nice in doubles if you have got at least one guy who can thump down those big serves, and you know this guy is going to hold serve every time and we are certainly looking for a combination of one big server like Stark and then a little bit more of a finesse player and a you've got volleyer like Palmer has been.

Q. The selection of Palmer, was that in doubt, was it talking to some of the people at Palmer Academy last week, they seemed to not be optimistic about not being back on the team?

TOM GULLIKSON: They lost he and Richey lost in five sets to Haarhuis and Eltingh, obviously, a great time. They have won the U.S. Open here, they came within 2 points of winning that match. I think if we would have won the second set tiebreaker I firmly believe we would have won the match. There was really nothing in that doubles match except a few points here and there. And I thought Jared, for his first Davis Cup Tie, performed very well. And, you know, he a young and certainly deserves other opportunities.

Q. Tom, can you pretty much take this after you beaten Holland; can you-- maybe you're thinking you got Pete-- or certainly up until Tuesday, I guess you might think you have Pete, and you don't have him, and you got him again; just what is kind of in between the lines there as far as thinking who you might have to call?

TOM GULLIKSON: Certainly, we are speaking to Michael, and like I said, his concern was his scheduling problem or conflict was pretty-- we are going to really have to juggle, he was willing to do that. Michael was ready to step up and play and he has a very good indoor record.

Q. For you, personally, how -- how difficult was it going back and forth in your thinking?

TOM GULLIKSON: Well, you know, you have certain thinking that you start out with and then you always have to make adjustments. It is kind of like being a good player. I mean, you start out on the court with a game plan and this is my ideal situation, this is how I'd like to play, and then something happens where you have to go a different way. And coaching is similar to that. You know, I have got maybe a team that would really be ideal for indoors and two guys get hurt and one guy, you know, loses some motivation and all of a sudden we have to scramble a little bit, but I was always confident that at the end of the day we would come up with a strong team.

Q. Did Richey's injury enter into your decision-making on the doubles?

TOM GULLIKSON: Yeah, it was Richey was certainly under consideration again. He played really the best singles I have seen him play here and, you know, I think Todd might possibly have been in trouble that match if Richey wouldn't have snapped that hamstring when he did. And I spoke to Richey after the match and that is as disappointing as I have ever seen him and the doctor said he'd probably be out anywhere from two to six weeks. So is that effectively takes him out of the Davis Cup and probably I would say, it would be more toward the six weeks rather than the two weeks.

Q. Would it be fair to say that had he not gotten hurt, even if he had lost a Tie in a close match, he would have been one of the doubles players?

TOM GULLIKSON: That wouldn't have been fair to say. Possibly.

PAGE CROSLAND: Tom has a 3:30 flight. You just tell me when you want to leave.

Q. Would it be fair to say, though, if he had beaten Todd, continued on, that he would be considered for singles considering what happened this week?

TOM GULLIKSON: He would have been considered, but I wouldn't say he was the dark-horse pick, because indoors is a different situation than outdoors and swirling winds out here.

Q. Tom, before you talked to Pete two nights ago, did you think he was going to be on this team?

TOM GULLIKSON: Originally, I thought he was. Originally, I thought leading up to the U.S. Open he was optimistic that his foot was fine and he would do well here at the Open and obviously after the loss and the disappointment and he was hurting a little bit, you know, he didn't feel he would be ready, but then after some time at home and time to think about his schedule, his situation, I think he probably thought the best thing he could do was jump back in and play. Pete is not the kind of guy that is going to go and train for four weeks and practice four hours a day. What really motivates Pete is competition, so, I think the best thing for Pete is to get back on the court.

Q. Was Todd always going to be one of the people that you took --

TOM GULLIKSON: Well, Todd certainly had a great year in the Grand Slams, and his health was a question mark as well. So he was also a question mark certainly coming into the Open and, you know, the guy, Raoux, had 3 opportunities to put him away in the first round and didn't Todd was one point away from having a pretty disastrous U.S. Open. For him, that would have been a questionable decision, but certainly Todd was always in consideration.

Q. As captain, is one of your responsibilities to tell the players who have been left off the side that they are not going to play and if it is, how did McEnroe take the news that he was not going to be included?

TOM GULLIKSON: It is my-- I haven't actually spoken to him. I have called him a couple of times and I actually had to leave a message for him, but I will speak to him, and I think Patrick obviously is a final doubles player, but he -- he lacks the power that we really need for good indoor team, I think.

Q. Do you have any alternative for Pete should have any physical problems?

TOM GULLIKSON: Well, you know, like I said, Michael was ready to step up and play. Now he has gone back to his normal regular schedule and we are very optimistic that Pete is going to be fine.

Q. Tom, this is probably the first time in memory where the U.S. doubles team is either not going to be an experienced team or have one experienced veteran player. Is this going to be a real test for you as a coach with two young guys out there?

TOM GULLIKSON: I think both the guys have been very successful and they are both very experienced, even though they haven't played Davis Cup, per se', together. They have-- Jonathan has won a Grand Slam title and he has beaten Apell and Bjorkman quite a few times. I think he has got a real good read on how to play those two players, and they have played well together and I think they are excited about the opportunity to play together again and good doubles is good doubles. It doesn't change that much. So, you know, Jared has been playing the deuce court for quite a while and Jonathan has been playing the ad court. So I think they will match pretty well together.

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