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July 18, 1999

Stefan Fransson


STEFAN FRANSSON: I was on-court when they were practicing this morning and then I left after that, been hitting a for a while. Went back to my office; then I was called over to the lockerrooms and when we got there I brought in the neutral doctor with me. The neutral doctor then examined Todd. It was the neutral doctor and also the team doctor from both the Australian team and the US team that was present. Then after having done that he declared Todd fit to play.

Q. What about the other two doctors?

STEFAN FRANSSON: Well, I am only concerned about what the neutral doctor said.

Q. Do you know what they did?

STEFAN FRANSSON: Everything -- they were just there when he when he was talking to Todd.

Q. What was the extent of the examination?

STEFAN FRANSSON: I am not going to get into the medical examination. The only thing I know is that the neutral doctor examined Todd and after having talked to him, examined him, he provided me with a medical saying that Todd was fit to play.

Q. There was no judgment involved at that point once the doctor gave the okay?

STEFAN FRANSSON: I am not a doctor, so I obviously have to rely on his opinion when it comes to medical --

Q. His opinion was that he could not have played which you have -- would you have gone along with that?


Q. Sampras could have played?


Q. Did the United States submit that they wanted to make a substitute?

STEFAN FRANSSON: They brought us over because they said Todd, after having practiced, was not feeling well basically.

Q. Were you aware that Gullikson had brought this possibility up as early as yesterday?

STEFAN FRANSSON: Well, only through media, not through anybody else.

Q. Were you aware of that?


Q. Did that have any part to play in your decision ultimately?


Q. When you were watching Todd hit up, what was -- did you notice any obvious signs of distress?

STEFAN FRANSSON: I was only there for the first about five to ten minutes of his warming up and it looked fine then.

Q. This took place in the US locker room?

STEFAN FRANSSON: No, we went to separate room.

Q. Was he standing? Sitting? Laying down?

STEFAN FRANSSON: I guess he was walking.

Q. How do you select the neutral doctor?

STEFAN FRANSSON: It is provided by the home nation. They provide us with an independent doctor who is not linked to the team.

Q. Could you at least tell us how long the examination lasted?

STEFAN FRANSSON: I would think totally 10, 15 minutes.

Q. Did Todd appear to be disappointed or distressed when the news was given to him that he was --

STEFAN FRANSSON: Well, he was told by the doctor and he walked away. So I have no more comments about that.

Q. Did he say anything?


Q. Todd said he looked in the mirror and saw that he looked really sick. Did you just on looking at him?

STEFAN FRANSSON: I am not going to make any medical comments because that is not why I am here.

Q. Realizing that you are not a doctor, there is a difference between not really feeling so well and not being able to go out and play a five-set match. Does that come into it at all that the doctor might say he doesn't need to go to the hospital but do you have any judgment to say this guy can't play tennis for five sets?

STEFAN FRANSSON: Basically the two questions for me, at least one is if it would have been dangerous for Todd to go out there, the answer to that was no, it wasn't. The second question is if there was -- if the doctor could tell me that Todd would not be able to go out and compete and the answer to that was always yes.

Q. Has this ever occurred before that and a doctor has said that after a player has said he couldn't play that the doctor said, yes, you can; has it ever happened before?

STEFAN FRANSSON: Never happened in a tie that I have done, but I think it has happened in previous Ties but I don't have the history of that.

Q. Were you aware that Todd had two intravenous fluids before the match?


Q. Were you happy to see the rule changed of resubstitution so you don't have to go through --

STEFAN FRANSSON: I think it is good for Davis Cup. I think it opens up the selections much more. Obviously it makes it easier. We will avoid this situations in the future.

Q. What contact did the Australian team have with you over this matter?

STEFAN FRANSSON: Well, I spoke to John.

Q. What did he say?

STEFAN FRANSSON: Well, he first said he was -- I told him that a neutral doctor was going to examine Todd and then we brought him in and I talked to them and then he was told. That is basically.

Q. What was his reaction to that?

STEFAN FRANSSON: I think he was pleased that Todd was playing, I think. You should ask him that.

Q. What was his reaction when you said we are going to bring in a doctor to look at Todd Martin?

STEFAN FRANSSON: Nothing special.

Q. What was Tom Gullikson's reaction when you said Martin had to play? Did he raise any questions?

STEFAN FRANSSON: No, I mean, he -- when the doctor said that he had looked at him and he would declare him fit to play, I think Gully was disappointed. Again that is a question you should ask him, not me.

Q. As the referee in a tie like this, when you have a player professing that he is unwell and can't play and a doctor is saying that that is not the fact, does it occur to you that something is happening that is against the spirit of the game?

STEFAN FRANSSON: No, I think -- I think in this case that he wasn't feeling well. I mean, I think that was an honest -- that was honest from Todd. He was not feeling well after having practiced, but, you know, again, to take that into the situation where he is unfit to play, that is a different --

Q. Isn't physical fitness a part of the sporting equation? In other words, I mean, I could go out there and I am not very fit somebody could beat me and could I say hey, you know substitute me because I don't think I can make it?

STEFAN FRANSSON: Yeah, know, I think that is can -- unfit what I mean, with unfit is he is not in a physical health to play. I don't mean physical fitness as you mean it.

Q. Do you think that when you what you saw out there, the five set match very close, justifies the decision to make him play?

STEFAN FRANSSON: Well, he competed very well, that is the only thing -- you saw it as well as I did.

Q. Any doubt about whether he should go out there at all, when a guy goes out and actually almost wins, plays five sets, does that remove any doubt that he was fit to play?

STEFAN FRANSSON: Again, that is a medical question, that is not a question for me.

Q. Just a hypothetical question at what point in the timeframe could he could Todd come back and say, look, I just can't play and what would have been the reaction?

STEFAN FRANSSON: You mean before the match?

Q. Yes, would you have forfeited?

STEFAN FRANSSON: As the rule is now, it is opened so that we can substitute players that are not well, not healthy. So there is no time limit to when that can happen, obviously, because it can happen five minutes before the match. It can happen three hours before the match, depending on what it is. So in the rules there is not half hour, hour, two hours anything like that.

Q. At what point does it cross the line where the tie would be awarded to Australia, at what point would that have happened?

STEFAN FRANSSON: I think that depends on what the conditions are that they are saying that this player is not well enough to play. I mean, if somebody would walk out of the locker room and fall down -- they fall down the stairs I mean, I would have no problem saying that that is legitimate five minutes of before the tie starts. So it is all depending on what the condition is.

Q. If he went out there and warmed up and hit up and then came to you and said I can't play, what would have been the reaction?

STEFAN FRANSSON: You mean the warmup before the match?

Q. Yes.

STEFAN FRANSSON: Well, again that I would have had the doctor look at him.

Q. Again for a second time?

STEFAN FRANSSON: Yes. Depending again what the reason would have been.

Q. My point - what I am trying to get to is at what point do you then say, okay, then you forfeit the match?

STEFAN FRANSSON: When the match had start.

Q. When it started?


Q. Were you expecting any of this today or did you just think you were going to have typical day?

STEFAN FRANSSON: I didn't expect it more than any other tie when it is 2-1 after the first two days.

Q. One of the best players sitting on the bench in the world...

STEFAN FRANSSON: Sort of the same thoughts every time it is 2-1, will they have any substitutions or not.

Q. But you said it has never happened before to you?

STEFAN FRANSSON: No, I said it has never happened where I have had a doctor looking at their player and saying he is fit to play.

Q. But it has happened to you where a doctor?

STEFAN FRANSSON: Replacement, oh, yes.

Q. How many times?

STEFAN FRANSSON: I don't know, 5, 6, 7 times.

Q. In what kind of a span, how many years would that be?

STEFAN FRANSSON: I have done Davis Cup since 1990, so.....

Q. So this is the first time I mean, is that surprising to you that the doctor wouldn't take a word of a player?

STEFAN FRANSSON: No, not surprising. I mean, he is there to use his professional judgments, make a decision.

End of FastScripts….

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