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September 21, 2007

Thomas Johansson

Mats Wilander


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Thomas, congratulations. You had not had this kind of success against James before. We understand that when you were training you were practicing being very aggressive on his second serve. Was that the key to winning today?
THOMAS JOHANSSON: Yes, I think that was the biggest key for me today. To try to stay aggressive especially, as you said, on his second serve. So I put a lot of pressure on him from the start, because as soon as you don't do that then you're under pressure from him.
And Mats was all the time pushing, pushing to stay aggressive, stay aggressive, even if I made some errors. On this surface you cannot be second. You really have to take charge.

Q. Mats, all in all are you happy with earning a split today? How would you break down the doubles tomorrow, which should be a fantastic match.
MATS WILANDER: I hope both teams are happy with that really. I mean, I could see both scenarios before. I could see Joachim beating Andy and I could certainly see Thomas beating James because of Thomas' style on this surface.
But it's another thing to pull it off, so, yeah, we're happy. I'm happy with his performance obviously winning and playing great, and also with Joachim's because he's right there. If he didn't' face Andy Roddick today I think he might have pulled it off and at least won a set.
So it's great for the tie and great for the doubles tomorrow. It's not exactly what we wanted, but it's not far off, yes.

Q. What are Bjorkman and Aspelin going to have to do tomorrow to beat a team that's 11-1 over their Davis Cup careers?
THOMAS JOHANSSON: Oh, you know what, they're not 11-1 against Simon and Jonas. Simon beat them in the US Open and Robert Lindstedt, who is another part of our team, beat them somewhere in the States.
So we know they're beatable. If they're beatable in the ATP Tour they're beatable in Davis Cup. We have Jonas and a new US Open champion, so I think we have two doubles specialists and I think that's what you need. Then doubles is about one or two points here and there. The Bryan Brothers are the best in the world at winning those points.
But I'm sure it'll be a very entertaining match and, of course, I don't know who's the favorite. I think Thomas proved today that really the ranking doesn't matter. It's about the surface and the crowd and the style of play. Should be a great match.

Q. Today for at least two, well the first, second, and fourth sets, you were returning exceptionally well. When is the last time you felt you played that well?
THOMAS JOHANSSON: I think I played a similar game against Nalbandian in Davis Cup last time. Then I was playing really, really well, and I feel really comfortable on this kind of surface. It's too bad that we don't have more of those kind of surfaces on the tour because it fits my game. I have small legs so I don't have to bend them.
You know, it's just great. I know that if I hit the ball well and I have the crowd behind me I know that I can play very, very good tennis on this surface.

Q. Maybe a Grand Slam on this surface?

Q. Speaking of surface, everyone talked about how effective the big serve would be on this surface. But isn't the return almost equally as important on this surface, to be aggressive and strike the ball well?
THOMAS JOHANSSON: Yeah, you're absolutely right. I knew going into the match. Against James it's a different matchup if you go in against James or Andy Roddick because they have two different serves. So I knew that it was going to be rallies in my service games and in James' service games.
I knew if I could put a lot of pressure on him, especially on his second serve, I knew that I had a great chance. Because you have to hit the ball first. You cannot hit the ball second.
So it's -- that's the big reason for the game today.

Q. Of course, Mats, we want to know, from what you saw of Pim-Pim, what are his chances of playing Sunday if he's needed?
MATS WILANDER: Well, his chances are great, but I still have to see Jonas play in the doubles tomorrow. You can never estimate how important it would be for him to win the doubles tomorrow, and then hopefully Thomas does beat Andy. But if he doesn't, then Jonas is full of confidence. Maybe he served very well and whatever and whatever.
So it's impossible to judge who's going to play. Pim-Pim certainly is right there. He can play a tough match against anyone. Now it's a matter of does he really believe he can win a fifth match in Davis Cup.
It's a big difference playing James Blake in the fifth match or Andy Roddick the first match.
Today there's no pressure at all. Obviously in the fifth match there's a lot of pressure, because now we're really expecting him to win otherwise he wouldn't be playing. So it's two different matches, and we have to wait and see. He's now supposed to be playing and so he's focusing on playing. Jonas is focusing on playing doubles and we'll see afterwards.

Q. Does it all depend on how well he recovers? It's his first match in eight months.
THOMAS JOHANSSON: Well, the match today wasn't -- I think it's not dissimilar to the practices he's had with Thomas. Pim-Pim is very focused whether you and I are watching or 10,000 people. He doesn't care. He doesn't get tight. That's just the way he is.
He thought, I'm 1-1- against Roddick and 2-0 against Blake. I think I'm going to beat them both. He's had eight months off, so, you know, he has recovered well from the other practices and he should be fine. No problem.

Q. Obviously you feel pretty good about your performance out there. How big was the crowd as a factor?
THOMAS JOHANSSON: They played a big role today. It's always nice to play at home. When we played against Argentina we didn't have this many spectators. Today, going into this match, it was like going into an ice hockey game. I get very fired up when I have a crowd like this.
And it helps a lot, especially losing the third set. You look up and you look on the bench at our team and they're all supporting and doing their best to help me on the court. So of course the crowd was unbelievable today.

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