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September 20, 2007

Simon Aspelin

Jonas Bjorkman

Joachim Johansson

Mats Wilander



Q. Mats, what went into your decision to play Joachim? Did he have to pass a fitness test? Did you feel like he was good all along?
CAPTAIN WILANDER: No, I think he played great in practice. Just hasn't played in matches in a long time. But he looked good in practice. You never know. He hasn't played a match in eight months, go to play a five-set match that lasts for four hours, who knows. You can't really test yourself for that situation.
I like his game, the way he matches up with Andy Roddick. It also puts Thomas against James Blake, which I like the first day. If you ask me if the choice between Joachim and Jonas to play, I would say even though he's sitting here, Jonas might be slightly ahead in the level or at least his lowest level, but he may play against James Blake on Sunday.
It's a team competition. I like -- Joachim is very confident against Andy Roddick. He beat him in a big match in New York.

Q. Joachim, you haven't played in a while. Where is your game right now? Do you feel comfortable in stepping up and playing in this big occasion?
JOACHIM JOHANSSON: In practice, I played pretty well the last two weeks, especially this week when I practiced with the better guys.
But it's tough to say. Like he said, I haven't played five months. It's tough to say where I'm standing when I start to play a match. I'm feeling fit.

Q. Joachim, how long ago did you suspect you might be called on to play?
JOACHIM JOHANSSON: Not that long ago. Probably a couple of weeks ago. (Indiscernible) three or four weeks ago, I said I wasn't going to be ready to play best-of-five. Last few weeks I've improved a lot, I started to play again. Probably two weeks ago.

Q. Is it sort of a case where necessity prompted you to be ready? In other words, you wouldn't have come back if it was just a normal tour tournament.
JOACHIM JOHANSSON: No, I mean, I've been injured for so long, and I wouldn't risk anything with my shoulder if I wasn't ready. Doesn't matter what match it is.

Q. We understand you played doubles with Andy in juniors.
JOACHIM JOHANSSON: I think we have.

Q. In France at Roland Garros.
JOACHIM JOHANSSON: Oh, yeah, the final.

Q. What are your memories of that?
JOACHIM JOHANSSON: Forgot about that one (laughter).

Q. Besides that he was quite a bit shorter than he is now?
JOACHIM JOHANSSON: I remember we both had a big serve. Played him in Melbourne (indiscernible), lost a very close match. It's always been close matches. I think it will be one tomorrow again.

Q. Simon, coming off the biggest win probably of your career at the US Open, where is your confidence level right now and how are you going to adjust to playing with a new partner, albeit a very good one?
SIMON ASPELIN: Well, I'm feeling confident obviously. Winning the US Open was huge for me. But, you know, I had a couple of days off and then I started focusing on this match. We've been preparing here since Thursday. Feels like my form is continuing. So I feel really good on the court.
We've been practicing a lot of different formations for the doubles since Saturday. I feel like I have had enough time to prepare myself for this Saturday.

Q. You wouldn't be worried about a letdown coming off such an emotional high to bring that level back up again so quickly?
SIMON ASPELIN: Well, the US Open is always going to be with me and I'm going to be thinking about that win for the rest of my life. But Davis Cup always is, you know -- it's always one of your highlights to play Davis Cup. It's the best feeling in the world when you win, but it's also hugely disappointing when you lose. That's just the way it is.

Q. Jonas and Simon, the Bryans paid you the compliment of saying they think this will be their toughest match in Davis Cup ever.
JONAS BJORKMAN: We probably say the same thing.

Q. Jonas, that's a big statement from you. You've been playing doubles in Davis Cup for a long time. What makes you say that?
JONAS BJORKMAN: Well, purely because Bob and Mike is a doubles team that has been playing for a long time, had a great success. Past two, three years they've been really consistent, making semis, finals almost every week.
So I think at the stage right now they are the toughest ones to play. We know what we have to do to achieve our goal to win the match. But we need to play good, that's for sure. We're looking forward to it.
It's always fun to play the best teams. I think that's why it's such a nice opportunity to play U.S. again they always been having the best players in the world, but I think this time they actually got one of the better teams as well. Before they had a lot of great individuals, but now they have a good team, so it makes it even more tougher for us to beat the Americans, but it's also a great opportunity.

Q. I understand both of you like to play generally the same side of the court. How difficult is it to adjust to that in a short amount of time, playing a side you're not comfortable with?
JONAS BJORKMAN: Well, this week I've been the one on the ad court, so Simon has been the one who has been practicing a little extra to get used to a new side. Last time in Brazil we had the opposite. I think the good part is that for the last three, four years we had a lot of practice together to be on both sides. So if something happens, we start off really bad, we could actually change during the match, which is a strength I would say in our team right now, that we both are used to be on both sides. Hopefully that's something we can take advantage of.
But like Simon said, we've been here since Thursday and we had a lot of practice in, tried a lot of different combinations. So I think we both feel we are ready to play for Saturday.

Q. Thomas, without Soderling here, you're being called upon to step up and be the No. 1 singles player for your country. How difficult is it knowing you're playing a guy who just beat you pretty convincingly at the US Open a few weeks ago?
THOMAS JOHANSSON: The good thing is that I'm not playing him until Sunday so I have a couple more days to prepare for that match.
But, I mean, the U.S., they come with two top 10 players. It's one of the toughest matches we've had for a very long time. So for me, I mean, we always play well as a team. It doesn't matter who is No. 1, No. 2, who is going to play the doubles, because we fight really well as a team. That's what we're going to do this weekend, as well.
But we have a very tough match-up, for sure.

Q. Mats, Sweden has a pretty good record in the stadium against the USA. Do you believe it's superstitious?
CAPTAIN WILANDER: No, not really. I know they've lost here. They were always the favorite on paper in all three ties. They are this time as well on paper.
But, of course, I've experienced one. Joachim did not experience one, actually playing. Swedish tennis fans know that Sweden has beaten the States in Scandinavian three times and they know it's possible. I'm not sure that's being really superstitious, but it's not an impossibility.

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