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March 11, 1998

Jim Courier


MIKI SINGH: Jim has advanced to the third round to play Jan-Michael Gambill tomorrow. First question for Jim.

Q. That must be a rather encouraging win for you?

JIM COURIER: Yes. It's good to come through a tough match like that. I hadn't played many matches in many months. Obviously he's been on a bit of a roll since the end of last summer, so it's a good win for me. It's a good kind of barometer, I suppose, to see where I am. As bad as I played in the first set, I played that much better the second. So that was encouraging for me, that I could come back from such a terrible first set and actually look good in the second.

Q. Jim, when did you feel so encouraged with the result?


Q. When? When did you last feel so encouraged by a result?

JIM COURIER: Probably in Beijing in October.

Q. But as far as a big match atmosphere, does that recall happy days, that crowd, that setting?

JIM COURIER: Yeah. It's nice to feel that support in a home country. We usually don't get quite that vocal of an audience behind us. It was great to have that feeling out there, such a big ambiance out there. I really think that had a lot to do with the way he kind of reacted towards the end of the match there. Looked like it started to bother him a bit actually. It's kind of nice to have that because I'm not used to it, really.

Q. Is that something unique to the Americans? They just don't -- American fans aren't that way?

JIM COURIER: American fans like underdogs. I'm no different than anybody else. I like to watch underdogs, too. Normally our players are not as much underdogs, historically anyway. You know, obviously I was the underdog in that match, they rallied behind me, that was nice. We like to see the stars get upset in America. That's our thing.

Q. Couple match points, right, that he had?


Q. What were you thinking then?

JIM COURIER: "Don't miss." The usual.

Q. Did you think it was over?

JIM COURIER: It's never over till he finishes it. I mean, it wasn't like it was 5-Love. It was 5-4, we had been trading breaks like a bunch of women tennis players out there. I knew I was still in there. He wasn't exactly blowing me off the court with his serve at that point. I knew if I could just hang in there and see what happened, played okay on a couple of match points, played better after that.

Q. Now that you're over the arm problems, have you and Brad been doing anything different as far as training or working on anything specific?

JIM COURIER: Well, it's just a relief to be able to train, you know, after not being able to for a long time. It's nice to be able to go out and be myself again on the court, not have to worry about how is the arm going to feel after this is over. I guess, you don't know what you have until it's gone. I was definitely worried there for a while. At the moment, knock on wood, everything's going good.

Q. Was there any diagnosis?

JIM COURIER: Here was the diagnosis. Here is a bill for $8,000. By the way, we didn't find anything. That was the diagnosis.

Q. So you still don't know more than just dead arm?

JIM COURIER: Nope. It's just not there. It's not coming back. That's all there is to it.

Q. Is it numb, tingling? Any of those?

JIM COURIER: It's not coming back.

Q. Did you have to switch racquets?

JIM COURIER: I've been switching on a weekly basis now, for the last three or four weeks, playing around, yeah. Don't be surprised if I'm with a different racquet here in the next week.

Q. Has it changed your game?

JIM COURIER: I'm just fiddling around, trying to find what's working the best right now. That seemed to stump them.

Q. Do you get at all concerned, when you look at a draw these days, granted, you've had all the experience, but you haven't had as much matches as you would have had in years gone by because of the injuries, do you get at all concerned or worried as to who you're coming up against?

JIM COURIER: First of all, Craig, I never look at the draws. I only know who I'm playing on a given day. I never really know who's next. For me right now, my season kind of got started, I'd say, Memphis and Philly, that was kind of like the warm-ups for me getting back, feeling like I'm back on tour, making sure that my arm was going to hold up. I really feel like even this tournament and Lipton, it's still kind of -- I'm trying to find my way. Hopefully after that, I'll be full throttle, everything from head to toe ready to go. Right now, I'm still -- I wouldn't say I'm playing great, but I'm competing well.

Q. We were talking to Thomas Muster several days ago. He was saying even if he drops in the rankings to the 80s, he feels able to win the French Open. He named you as a player in the same situation. Doesn't matter the ranking, he feels you can win a Grand Slam. Do you feel the same way?

JIM COURIER: I feel like it certainly helps if your ranking is up higher, because that means you've got some good wins behind you. I think that confidence gives you a little bit of momentum going through there. But Gustavo Kuerten won the French Open ranked in the sixties last year, I believe, if I'm not mistaken. There's no doubt everybody felt Andre ranked around 100 had a legitimate shot at winning the Australian Open. I think you're talking about players who have done it before, not to say they're going to do it again, but you have to respect the fact they've done it before and can possibly make another run at it.

Q. Does the surprise factor come in to winning the French Open, as a French Open champion, more than at any of the other Grand Slams? You see Kuerten winning, somebody like that.

JIM COURIER: Did that surprise me?

Q. No. Vilas says there's a surprise factor with an unusual player coming through that happens at the French that doesn't happen at the three other Grand Slams. It's the easiest one for someone to come through.

JIM COURIER: Historically, most of the top players are not fantastic claycourt players, on the whole. So that's probably why that might possibly be true at the French.

Q. Do you do any reminiscing here, given the fact you had such early success? This is really where Jim Courier started.

JIM COURIER: Yeah. I actually felt bad in my match -- thought about it. I've been in final set breakers on that court in bigger matches than that one. I take a little bit of solace in knowing that I've been there and come through in the past on that very court. It's kind of nice. This was my home, basically, for five years. In the winter, I was here. I know all the restaurants. I know where to get my clothes cleaned. Very familiar out here. Still can't get a practice court (laughter).

Q. Are you still based in Miami?

JIM COURIER: I'm in Orlando. I've moved in the last couple months to Orlando.

Q. What precipitated that, any particular reason?

JIM COURIER: Come back closer to home.

Q. Jim, you seem, I don't know maybe it's perception, but you seem much more relaxed, at ease now than you did when you were up at the top. Is that just a perception that some people have?

JIM COURIER: Well, I don't know. After the match there on the court, I wasn't exactly at ease. Pretty pumped up then. I don't really know, honestly. I mean, I'm comfortable with myself, that's for sure. You know, maybe I'm a little less antagonistic in these situations than I was when I was 21, 22.

Q. Just maturity as much as anything?

JIM COURIER: Mellowing with age, like fine wine (laughter).

End of FastScripts....

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