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July 5, 2011
TIM CURRY: I'd like to introduce the U.S. Davis Cup team. Jim Courier making his home debut as Davis Cup captain, world No. 8 Mardy Fish will be the No. 1 American for the U.S. this week, Andy Roddick No. 10, and the world's No. 1 doubles team Bob and Mike Bryan fresh off their Wimbledon championship.
Jim, if you would make a few comments and then we will open it up for questions.
CAPTAIN COURIER: We're excited to be here. The team has been in position since Bob and Mike arrived fresh off of their Wimbledon victory on Sunday night. We're all tucked in here and practicing, getting prepared for what we know and anticipate will be a challenging weekend of matches against a very tough team.
So we're here. We're happy to take your questions. With that, fire away.
Q. Jim, are there mixed emotions about Rafael Nadal not showing up here?
CAPTAIN COURIER: I think we're very realistic as to the challenges that the players face with the schedule, the week after Wimbledon, when I think we saw that we were playing Spain. Given Rafa's history of playing well on the grass, it's not surprising he's taken this decision. I think the fans will probably have more mixed emotions than we will.
We have a job to do. We need to win three matches. We know they're going to post players on the field. We have to beat those guys. We don't control who they bring; we just have to control our efforts.
No mixed emotions on my side. We have a task on hand, and that doesn't change.
Q. Andy, can you talk about the atmosphere of Davis Cup, a home event, how different it is than playing a match on the road.
ANDY RODDICK: One thing we don't have in tennis that other sports have is a home team. That changes with Davis Cup. It's definitely rowdier than any other tennis environment that I've played in. It's fun. You can be as biased as you want. I've always enjoyed the atmosphere.
Home ties are great. I even enjoy it on the road when we're trying to upset the home team and the crowd is against us. I think it's one of the things that makes Davis Cup so unique.
Q. (Question regarding the fan support at home.)
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I'll let you know after I play. I'm actually with the team at the hotel. I'm not staying at my house this week.
But the thing that kind of was nice for me was I was trying so hard to get a Davis Cup tie here to Texas. Then once Austin kind of fit the bill for this tie, to see the fans come out, tickets sell out in an hour, it almost validated the effort. I was real happy to see the support that Austin and central Texas has been giving this event as far as selling out, as far as the excitement.
It's just nice to see excitement for tennis in this area of the world.
Q. Andy, could you talk about how you handled the loss last week. Is it a clean slate for you, Davis Cup in your own backyard?
ANDY RODDICK: Davis Cup's totally different. I lose at Wimbledon. It's kind of my disappointment. You know, it's my loss. These guys still went through and had great tournaments. Here it's a totally different atmosphere. We get to three, I don't think any of us care how we get there. We just want to get to that three number.
Davis Cup is an environment I'm extremely comfortable in. What are you going to do? I felt like I was playing well going into Wimbledon. Played decent. Ran into a guy who was serving really well and was a hot player.
I came back. It's actually probably healthy for me that I had this around the corner. It was something that I could instantly focus on after the fact.
Q. Jim, there's been some controversy about the court even before it was installed. After seeing it, how happy are you with it?
CAPTAIN COURIER: Well, first and foremost, the ITF is happy with it because they've given us a pass on the court pace rating. So we have a court that's been ruled legal to play with. So that's first and foremost. We were never in doubt we were going to have a court that all players on both teams were comfortable with the surface, familiar with the surface. It wasn't going to be any surprise.
I think it will be a good, competitive surface for us to enjoy the weekend tie over. I don't make the rules. We didn't have anything to say about it. We sat back and let things go as they went between the Spanish team and the ITF. Our job is to adhere to providing a court that fits the bill for the ITF. We've done that.
Q. Bob and Mike, can you each describe the whirlwind week that you've had, kind of compare the two tournaments between last week and this week.
MIKE BRYAN: It was a whirlwind week. We played six days in a row, which we've never done before. We played two five-setters. One was two days long, 16-14 in the fifth, our longest match.
We're feeling pretty good actually. We were taking care of our bodies over there, doing everything right. Coming in here really confident.
I think we're going to play the same strategy on this court as we do on grass because it's pretty fast. It was a good warmup tournament, as Jim said.
This is totally different. The atmosphere out here is going to be to our liking. We're playing great, playing with a lot of energy. We're going to be feeding off the crowd. It will be nice.
BOB BRYAN: Great answer, Mike. I feel the same way.
Q. Andy, you talked about how impressed you were to see the support here in central Texas. You've been here many years to see Austin grow. Did you think there would be a point when you first got to town where something like this was even possible?
ANDY RODDICK: You know, I didn't really think about it too much. I lived here till I was 11. In total out of my years, I think I lived here 16 years out of 28 now.
It's not something I really thought about too much. Then the last couple of years I think it became more of a realistic possibility. If anything, you just get the name thrown in the hat and see what happens. I'm just lucky that they deemed it the best venue, the best fit for this tie.
Q. Bob and Mike, why no chest bumps in Wimbledon? Are you getting soft or what is it?
BRYAN: You probably only saw the final. You missed about 20 of them all week. Our chests were sore.
Q. Andy and Mardy, the whole Davis Cup profile, I wonder if you feel like anything can be done to improve the profile of tennis in this event in particular?
ANDY RODDICK: I think, first and foremost, you have to look at it from a global perspective. Davis Cup sells out arenas around the world. I don't think it's really a Davis Cup question; I think it would be more how to bring tennis to the forefront. But if you look at tennis from a perspective of a sales, viewership, it's up across the board.
There's really no reason to defend something that I think has grown more than any other major sport in the last eight, nine years.
Q. Mardy, after the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, a lot of people are finding out about you. We've known about you. Can you talk about your role now as really the lead guy with the Davis Cup, the higher-ranked player coming in here.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, Andy is and always will be sort of the lead guy on the team. I've played well in the past 12 months. You know, these are the benefits of playing singles on the Davis Cup team and being hopefully a solid contributor on the team.
I played a few over the years, my last one being in Colombia, getting us back to the World Group here. It's all sort of a team effort. Everybody's got a role. These guys sat out of that one, so that was sort of my role, to win those matches and get us back here.
Now here we are. We're excited. I'm excited to be in Austin. We've looked forward to this for a really long time. I personally have put in a lot of work and stuff. This is one of the weeks that you look forward to.
Q. Andy, you played so many Davis Cup matches through the years. Are there any that are extra memorable or forgettable?
ANDY RODDICK: Obviously, the most memorable match that I've been a part of I didn't play in, when Bob and Mike clinched for us to win. The third set of that one, I was having trouble sitting still.
I've been on the best and worst sides of Davis Cup. But the tough ones where you lose 15-13 or 17-15 in the fifth just make it when you win it the next year that much better and don't lose a match that year.
It's been a big part of my career and it's been a part of my career that I'm thankful for.
Q. Jim, your side seems to be pretty well set. Do you have any feel for how the Spanish team is going to shape up? Talk a little bit about the players, what kind of difficulties they present.
CAPTAIN COURIER: I was hoping you would tell me who is going to play for them because we're certainly wondering.
Three of the four players I'm very familiar with. I'm not as familiar with Granollers. I haven't seen him play a ton. I've seen him play a little bit when I've been at the Australian Open.
Certainly when you look at L√≥pez and Verdasco and Ferrer, you're talking about quality players. Those are three extremely quality singles players that they can obviously do whatever they like with those guys as far as who plays and it will still be difficult for us. Hopefully that's not disrespecting Granollers, who I believe is here in the doubles capacity.
But we know that we have a job to do, which is why we're here early this week, that's why we're preparing. We're very focused on what we have to do on our side of the net, knowing there's a righty and two lefties out there for us. We have to make those preparations in practice. We have some right-handers and left-handers here to work with our guys to make sure they're ready.
I can't really get specific. I'm sure on Thursday once the draw is made you can ask me that question. But we don't have any speculation on who is going to play where for them. We'll wait for Thursday and prepare appropriately.
Q. Bob, Andy talked about 2007. You had some great wins over the years. What was it like in Portland winning that match?
BOB BRYAN: Yeah, I mean, we're asked all the time, What is your biggest victory, best moment in tennis? That was it. 2007 Portland, clinching for the team. We actually got lucky we were in that position because not all the time we get a chance to clinch.
To have Andy and Mardy run out on the court give us hugs, parade around with the flag, it was amazing. We had our lows which made that win a lot sweeter.
We're hungry to do that again. We love that feeling and that's why we're here.
Q. Jim, is there anything you think Davis Cup could do to increase the profile?
CAPTAIN COURIER: I'm on the record for a long time with saying I think Davis Cup is and undervalued asset for tennis. It's a pristine property that I think could be a little bit more visible internationally. Certainly in this country it could be more visible.
I think when people are in this stadium on Friday, they're not going to want to be anywhere else in the world. It's going to be incredible. These feelings go on all over the world in the quarterfinal matches taking place. There's something to be said for a global focus and a media focus on a two-week event, which makes sense.
It's not my fight. It's not my battle. I don't own Davis Cup. I'm a willing participant. I love Davis Cup. I want more people to care about Davis Cup.
When I was given the job as captain, all of my friends said, That's great, you're the captain, now can you explain Davis Cup to me. That's a real problem. That in a nutshell tells you that Davis Cup has some uphill battles to fight at least in this country.
But I think you'll see by the presence of the Spanish press here that it's incredibly meaningful in that country as it is in most outside of the United States. We're here; we care about Davis Cup. We wish more people in this country did. But the ones that do are very passionate like we are.
Q. Jim, your history here. Let your hair down at Antones a little bit after midnight. Hoping to do that again Sunday night?
CAPTAIN COURIER: This is Andy's town. We'll take Andy's lead if we have cause to celebrate. We have a lot of work to do.
Had a lot of fun in Austin over the years in this building, Grand Slam Jams, five of them. These guys have been nice enough to be here for some of them. It's a great town. Hopefully we'll have a chance to get to celebrate in some of them.
Q. Bob and Mike, you were named honorary Austinites. What does it mean to play here?
MIKE BRYAN: We love this town. Every time we come to visit Andy, we look at real estate. Music scene is awesome. Downtown, 5th Street and 6th Street, we've had a lot of late nights down there. We love the lakes. There's a lot of trees. I like trees. I have 150 palm trees at my house, Andy.
ANDY RODDICK: We don't have 150 palm trees in Austin.
MIKE BRYAN: It's beautiful.
ANDY RODDICK: Bob, you need to take first crack at that one.
MIKE BRYAN: I like trees.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports