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November 27, 1997

Magnus Larsson


Q. Nicklas, can you tell us how your back is?

NICKLAS KULTI: It's much better. I had some problems with it over the weekend. I had a couple days of rest and treatment. I feel a hundred percent again.

Q. Jonas, do you consider this a little revenge, considering what happened one year ago when you didn't play on the team?


Q. Is it true that you were a little bit annoyed last year when you couldn't play?


Q. Jonas, is this just the icing on the cake for you as far as the season that you've had?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Yeah, more or less. I think it couldn't be a much better way to finish the year off, if I could be part of this team, winning the Davis Cup. So that would be something special, definitely.

Q. Nicklas, can you tell us about your experiences last year, the match you played against Arnaud Boetsch, is it nice to be back, do you think about that final?

NICKLAS KULTI: Well, I don't think about that final. It's nice that we're in the final this year again, have some revenge. Hopefully we're going to win this. I can't say that I just had good experience from last year because we lost. We were close to winning it. But, I mean, overlooking everything, I mean, it was a great match. It's not that bad to finish runner up in the Davis Cup. Hopefully, we're going to win this year.

Q. Talk about your choice of a second singles player and about how you feel Jonas and Magnus stack up against Michael and Pete in the singles.

CAPTAIN HAGESKOG: The choice of Magnus playing the second singles was, after this week's practice, Magnus has played well. The matches against Pete and Michael, I think Magnus has a really good chance to do something big against Pete. And Jonas has good memories from the Hannover match against Michael. So we're going to discuss what he did well in that match and then go on from that.

Q. Magnus, does it matter to you psychologically, or how does it matter to you psychologically that you've beaten Pete twice this year?

MAGNUS LARSSON: I think the most important thing is that I know what it feels to beat him. Otherwise, it's tougher in tight situations. But, I know I can beat him in tough matches, which I've done. And, he knows also that he can lose to me, you know, if he doesn't play a hundred percent. So I will have that in mind. I did a good match against him a few years ago. I lost, but still I had a good match. You know, I have chance. I come here to take it. If not, I still hope we can win. If I lose to Pete, I'll have another chance with Michael. Hopefully, I can finish that one. I'm looking forward to the weekend. We have a great spirit on the team. Going to be excited about it.

Q. How much do you think in a final the crowd home advantage can be or isn't it?

CAPTAIN HAGESKOG: Of course, it's nice to play for a home crowd. It's easier to feel at home and comfortable the week before when we are practicing. So, yeah, it's going to help us, I think.

Q. Jonas.

JONAS BJORKMAN: Well, like Carl said, it's nice to be back home. You've been on the road for many weeks this year, so it's nice to concentrate back home. The home crowd definitely will be nice to play in front of.

Q. Question for Jonas and Nicklas. Do you consider yourself the favorites in doubles or do you expect that Sampras might play? For example, if you're leading two zero?

JONAS BJORKMAN: No matter who is going to play doubles on the American team, definitely will be tough to beat. But me and Nicklas has been playing pretty good the last couple months, and hopefully we can continue that.

Q. Jonas, what is it like to be all over town on these posters?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Different (laughter).

Q. Could you have imagined something like this a year ago?

JONAS BJORKMAN: No, not at all. It's definitely a nice feeling, but a little bit unusual. I'm not used to that, what can you say, only me up on the signs. It's nice, but the whole team is here to win, and hopefully we can win it together. It's not only a one-man show here. It's just nice to do something, try to promote the Davis Cup as good as they can.

Q. Mr. Hageskog, can you give one or two reasons on why it is you feel that Sweden with a small population and not a very big budget is able to maintain its place at the top of the game, not only in Davis Cup, but you have six players in the top 40? Could you give one or two reasons why you think this is able to be maintained?

CAPTAIN HAGESKOG: I think it's due to that we are a small country, and we have good support in the clubs. If there are talents, we know all of them. And we have a good system in the Swedish Association where they educate the players. And also tennis nowadays is very popular, a very popular sport in Sweden, that makes the talented athletes choose tennis perhaps instead of soccer or ice hockey nowadays. I think that also helps.

End of FastScripts....

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