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April 8, 2012
G. SIMON/R. Harrison
THE MODERATOR:Â Questions, please.
Q.Â Talk about John's play today.Â We're you surprised?
CAPTAIN COURIER:Â No, I'm not surprised the way John played all weekend.Â He played very close to his maximum at the moment.Â That's what it was going to take to beat this team.Â All the of today's match was exceptional, I thought better than even on Friday.
But, no, John is definitely continuing to improve even from the last tie.Â He played better I think this one.Â It's impressive.
Q.Â What was your philosophy or strategy for today's matches?
CAPTAIN COURIER:Â I don't think there's a lot of magic to it.Â If there was, I wouldn't tell you.Â I would keep it to myself.Â Keep that for our team.
What I preach is that we're going to be well‑prepared both physically and mentally for the battle ahead on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.Â We make sure that we have good practices.Â We make sure the guys play enough, but not too much.Â If they get tired because they're playing too hard, they want to take an afternoon off, that's okay with me.
It's all about what each individual player needs.Â Every player's different than the next.Â It's about trying to get them to maximize their talents and at the same time that we're preparing to play, we're trying to make them better players along the way during the week.
Jay Berger, who coaches the team along with me, we have a good thing going I think with these guys.Â We also talk to their personal coaches almost every night afterwards.Â So obviously they're the people who are driving every day the ship, and we come in and we take over for a few days alongside them, even if they're not here.Â It's a group effort.
Q.Â (Question regarding Americans playing on clay.)
CAPTAIN COURIER:Â I think our team has proven to be capable on many surfaces.Â If I was Guy, if I was Severin, who is the Swiss captain, I would also choose the surfaces that they choose.
But our team is okay.Â We're comfortable on clay.Â Although it's the obvious choice, we're still competitive on this surface.
Q.Â Talk about your manner on the court, the way you behave.
CAPTAIN COURIER:Â You'll have to ask the players if the way I behave impacts them.Â The way I behave is the way I need to behave to be the best captain for them, to be calm, to give them the best advice on the changeovers.Â Doesn't mean it's the right way for everybody; it's the right way for me.Â I think the players are comfortable with the way I behave.
Q.Â (Not translated.)
CAPTAIN COURIER:Â No, I can't tell you (laughter).
Q.Â It seemed that you had really a personal relationship with John, you taught him how to slide on clay and volley with his backhand.Â Is it important for you to have that relationship with him?
CAPTAIN COURIER:Â I think you're reading more into that than maybe there is.Â On a day like today, it's just getting him prepared to play.
I try to develop good relationships with all of the players on my team, and the American players who aren't here this week, as well.
It's important that everyone knows that I have their back and their best interests.Â I would have been out there with Ryan for his warmup, but we were taking the court to play.Â For all the players for me it's the same feeling and philosophy.
Q.Â Jo talked about a point where apparently you said something and he was surprised that the umpire allowed him to play again.Â Can you say if it is true.
CAPTAIN COURIER:Â I told him on the court that I said 'Good serve' to John as the ball was bouncing.Â The ball bounced on the line.Â Before John hit it was when I said it, which was my mistake.Â I told the chair umpire, told Guy, My fault.
It's the chair umpire's judgment to say whether both players were impacted.Â If he would have said, Play two...Â We play whatever the umpire says.Â It is his job to make the call.
It was my mistake.Â I apologized to everyone immediately.Â I wasn't trying to hide anything.Â I was embarrassed.Â Obviously I don't want to impact play for my player, for Jo, for the umpire, for anyone.Â It was an unfortunate time in the match for sure.Â It is certainly something that I regret.
But it's the chair umpire's decision.Â That's the way that one was called.
Q.Â You're a good captain, seem to like the job.Â Are you ready to go for 14 years?
CAPTAIN COURIER:Â Like Guy?Â If I could do as well as Guy has with his team, to have the feelings he has with his players, it would be a great honor to be continue to be the captain for that long.
I'm just in my second year.Â It was the sentiment on the court, it was obvious between the French team and their captain.Â It was nice.
Q.Â (Question regarding the draw.)
CAPTAIN COURIER:Â We've had the worst draw that you could possibly imagine so are far.Â I'm shocked we're still in the Davis Cup this year.Â Honestly at the beginning of the year, it was my hope we would be able to stay in the World Group.
Switzerland away, you think you probably lose that match.Â Here, away, we probably lose this one as well.Â Spain, we probably lose it on paper, but we don't play on paper.Â We have to play it out here.Â We've got players that are capable and are passionate.
We know we're definitely going to be the underdog once again, but we'll be ready to play.
Q.Â (Question regarding John's leadership.)
CAPTAIN COURIER:Â I think so.Â I think he realized that he was the guy we were going to be looking for primarily.Â Ryan was here, and it has been a battle.Â But John had the experience.Â He was going to need to play very, very well, and he certainly did.
I think it's been an interesting process to see John come through the last year or so, the changes he's made in his game, the qualities he's brought to the court.
He and his coach, Craig, have done an amazing amount of work and we've seen the benefits here on a big stage.
Q.Â The key word would be 'composure'.Â He seems to have never lost his calm.
CAPTAIN COURIER:Â He has great composure.Â He has a very good game plan right now.Â I think when things are clear in your mind, you're able to execute things better.Â I think John is clear in his head when it comes to big moments.
Q.Â He'll need that against Nadal.
CAPTAIN COURIER:Â If Rafa plays in the semis?
CAPTAIN COURIER:Â We'll find out during the US Open.Â But anytime you step on the court against Spain, no matter who they're bringing, they're tough to beat.Â They won last year on hard courts indoors.
They have been the best team in the world, so we're going to have to play every bit as well as we played in the first two ties.
Q.Â 2008 you beat France in the quarterfinals.Â Perhaps this is the year.
CAPTAIN COURIER:Â As I said before, we've had the worst draw you could possibly imagine in Davis Cup, but we're still in it.Â We're in the semis.Â We're going to be the underdog in Spain.Â But we'll come with guns blazing and see what happens.
Q.Â It was a great weekend for you.Â How do you explain your team's success?
CAPTAIN COURIER:Â I think our team played up to their capabilities and handled the big moments beautifully.Â Bob and Mike Bryan are the best doubles team in the world.Â They showed why.Â They were extremely strong and constant with their pressure.
John Isner is becoming one of the best players in the world.Â He showed his qualities out here.Â I think Ryan Harrison would have played a much better match in the fifth match if that would have been live tennis.Â He gained some invaluable experience this weekend here as well.Â So it was a very successful weekend for us across the board.
Q.Â Did you expect John to play at such a high level?
CAPTAIN COURIER:Â I did.Â I did expect John to play at such a high level.Â I didn't know if that would be enough against a team of this quality.Â You never know.
These matches, you look at the score on paper and you never know really how close they are from changing from one player to the next.
Those of you who were here watching could see that it was closer than the score.
Q.Â Were you confident when the French said it would be on the clay?
CAPTAIN COURIER:Â I wouldn't say we're confident, but we're accepting of whatever surface that our opponents choose.Â It's not something we can control.Â We don't spend energy worrying about that; we spend energy getting ready to play on it.
Q.Â What do you think of Guy Forget's career?
CAPTAIN COURIER:Â He's been a tremendous asset to tennis in general.Â As a player, he was a beautiful player, great champion, great Davis Cup captain, teammate.Â Of course, he's been a phenomenal captain.Â You can show the fellowship and the love that the team has for him, and vice versa.
I'm sure it's bittersweet for him to close his career as the captain.Â But I do know Guy is a very valuable commodity in tennis, and he will maintain a presence.Â I'm confident he'll be a very visible person in French tennis going forward, and very valuable going forward.
Q.Â What do you think about his speech on the court?
CAPTAIN COURIER:Â I thought it was beautiful.Â Those are moments you always remember.Â Gives you chills.Â It's special.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports