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July 7, 2011
TIM CURRY: With the draw done, we'll start with a general comment from Jim on how the draw shaped out.
CAPTAIN COURIER: When we come to these draws, we know we're going to get one of two outcomes. I don't think we really mind one way or the other.
Fortunately we're in a situation where our team is healthy and we're ready to go. These guys both know they're going to play tomorrow.
Mardy coming out of the blocks is good for us. We'll look forward to that. Andy obviously will be backing him up.
There's no real drama for us. Sorry not to give you a headline, but it kind of is what it is.
TIM CURRY: Questions.
Q. Mardy, it's probably been a while since you opened up a tie of this magnitude. I know you played the first match in 2004. I don't remember exactly when you started a tie. Can you talk about that mindset, what it means for you to be opening up the tie here.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, I started the last tie that I played in Colombia. I played the first match there as well. The last home tie I believe was Delray Beach that I started, so obviously it's been a while, seven years.
I'm real excited. I enjoy when I know when I play, as well. I know I play at 2:00. I think that helps me a lot.
Q. Just getting that first point on the board, can you talk about that.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, it obviously sets the tone for the tie. We've got a pretty good guy coming behind me, as well. So, you know, I won't feel any extra pressure. We're looking to get to three, and that's the goal.
Q. Obviously you play the players that come. Obviously Rafa not being here, how does that change the complexion of the tie?
ANDY RODDICK: I think obviously it's kind of for the fans a disappointment that Rafa's not here. For us, I don't think it changes our mindset. We give the same boring old answer of getting to three points of being our team goal. That's what you have to do to advance.
We play the person across the net. We've been busy preparing this week for the players that are on their team.
Q. Andy, do you feel extra pressure playing at home?
ANDY RODDICK: I don't know yet (laughter).
I mean, I never have before. You know, I'm sure there will be some jitters tomorrow. I've played 44 of these Davis Cup matches and I've had jitters for every single one of them. I don't think that's a new situation. This is an event that I feel very comfortable playing in. I'm looking forward to the energy in the building.
Q. Jim, same question to you. Your first home tie as a captain, do you feel extra pressure?
CAPTAIN COURIER: No, I don't feel any extra pressure. I think the first tie was a really good one for me personally to play on the road to kind of be very much in the bubble. There are a lot of extracurriculars that come with playing a home tie. I was well served as captain to play in Chile. Fortunately we got through and got the honor of hosting this tie. I'm very excited about it. I think all five of us are very excited about it.
Andy, you know, this is his hometown and the only time Davis Cup has been to Austin in 110 years of competition. It's a pretty big deal particularly for Andy with his home here.
Q. Andy, could you describe the experience in 1992 going with your mom to Fort Worth and what kind of impression that left you at that Davis Cup final.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, that was a huge experience for me. I saw a guy named Courier come through with a couple of wins against Switzerland.
CAPTAIN COURIER: One win.
ANDY RODDICK: One win, sorry. But it was the big one, the clincher.
Just seeing people go mental for tennis, 'USA' chants, flags, all sorts of stuff. I was up there with my mom and got to see it. It left a lasting impression. It left me with a dream.
So, you know, I certainly look back on attending that final, I think I was 10, with a lot of fond memories.
Q. Can you tell us about the air horns.
ANDY RODDICK: The air horns. Yeah, I guess, Switzerland, they're famous for their cow bells. On the first day these massive cow bells were kind of I guess louder than a lot the artillery we had to make noises with. My oldest brother and I went out before the last two days and found these bike air horns and kind of distributed them around.
The cool thing for me about it was I asked Jim when we finally knew each other a little bit if he actually remembered the air horns. He said he did. Then I claimed them as mine. We beat the cow bells in the end.
CAPTAIN COURIER: They were yours, right?
ANDY RODDICK: I didn't want any more cow bells.
CAPTAIN COURIER: No more cow bells. Saturday Night Live skit.
Q. With Spain, we played in the last decade several times, slow courts. Is this court here in Austin very, very quick? There was a certain polemic in Spain about that. Does it suit anybody?
CAPTAIN COURIER: The mandate is not for us to find a court that suits everyone, it's to find a court that suits ourselves within the rules which is what we've done. So we're very happy with the court.
Kind of the advantage of being the home team is you get to pick your surface. So we've chosen a surface we've been playing on on our home ties when we play indoors, and we're quite comfortable on it. It's a very fair surface.
It's playing beautifully in the Irwin Center. I think it's going to make for some good tennis to watch. It's certainly been good in the practice and the buildup. Our guys are feeling very comfortable on it.
Q. You guys have played Spain quite a few times in the last few years. Is there a special buzz about the matchup for you guys as opposed to maybe some other teams?
MIKE BRYAN: Yeah, I mean, it's always special playing a great country like Spain. They have a rich history in Davis Cup. We've had a lot of battles against them, you know, especially over there on the dirt.
We've been a part of Davis Cup since 2004, and this is our fourth time playing Spain. I don't want to say there's a rivalry, but there is (laughter).
Q. Mardy, a lot has been written about your 30-pound weight loss coming back from the surgery. How tough was that to reinvent yourself in a sport that's so competitive?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, we changed a lot of things. We put a lot of work in. There were a lot of people that helped me sort of look-yourself-in-the-mirror-type of experience. I'm glad I did it. Obviously it's worked out for the good.
You know, these are the spots that you want to be in as tennis players. I've dreamt about this tie ever since it came and ever since Andy said that we might be getting a tie in Austin, just knowing how much he wants it to be here.
So these are the special times. These are the times you put in all the hard work for.
Q. Jim, has Andy been a good host this week? Can you also talk about you never had really a home tie. The St. Pete tie you didn't play in.
CAPTAIN COURIER: I did play in that one, yeah.
Q. Retract that.
CAPTAIN COURIER: I'll talk about Andy as the host.
We have a real true home-field advantage here with Andy in Austin. The red carpet rolls out whenever we decide to roll out along with Andy. We had some great dinners. He hosted us, as you probably heard, at his house for a July 4 barbecue, which was awesome. We had a great time.
Everything has just been just right this week from that standpoint. You know, he's roughly the mayor of this town. So it's nice to be riding shotgun with him this week with the team.
No, it's been real good. We're very comfortable and very happy here.
Q. What was it like for you to be playing so close to home in St. Pete?
CAPTAIN COURIER: I got to play against the French in St. Petersburg. It was awesome. It's a great feeling to have home matches because in tennis we don't play for teams, we play for ourselves, except for Davis Cup. You don't get those home matches. You're always on the road.
It's nice to have this home tie really be a home tie. I'm not sure we're going to get one in Vero Beach, Mardy. It's unlikely.
MARDY FISH: Minnesota maybe.
CAPTAIN COURIER: Minnesota maybe.
I know it's special for us. Andy has meant so much to this team and these guys since the time they've been playing Davis Cup. I'm new, along for the ride on this one, but I think everybody's pretty excited to be here.
Q. Bob and Mike, obviously you are going to play L√≥pez and Verdasco. I'm sure you're preparing for a variety of situations. You have played them before. Talk about how you feel about playing them and how confident you are feeling after such a great two weeks.
BRYAN: Yeah, we feel very confident coming here. You know, the conditions are different. It's indoors. It's a hard court. It's different balls. But, yeah, we still have a smile on our face from the Wimbledon title.
We've been having great practices. We've been preparing for the lefties, righties. We got a lot of practice partners giving us different looks. We didn't know if they were going to throw in Granollers. We still don't. They could change it up.
All these guys are experienced doubles players. L√≥pez/Verdasco have a lot of experience if Davis Cup. We played them once before. Played them all over the world.
So each guy presents a challenge. Hopefully we'll be ready for whatever they bring at us.
Q. Andy, we had a chance to hear your second grade teacher a little while ago. She had some memories of you doing forehands and backhands in the back of the classroom. Maybe you'd like to give us some of the memories you have of her.
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, gosh. Thank you for teaching me how to read. That was great of you. It's served me very well. Appreciate it. I don't lose in Scrabble (laughter).
Q. Andy and Mardy, could you talk about the Bryan brothers, what separates them from other doubles teams. Where would their part of the sport be without them?
MARDY FISH: I think a lot separates them from every other team. They're far and away today the best team. They're going to go down as the best doubles team of all time. They still have five, six, seven, nine, ten years, 20 years (laughter). They're not slowing down at all.
They're great to have on the team. That middle Saturday point is huge, it always is. We've been able to rely on them for a long time.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, I agree with everything Mardy said.
As far as it pertains to our team and for us, it's beyond a luxury to have the best team in the world playing Saturday. You know, used to be where a couple of the singles players would have to play doubles, as well. It really helps Mardy and I focus.
I think we all understand we have a job to do. We can prepare knowing that these guys are going to take care of business on Saturday and we can focus on our weekend.
We didn't start contending for Davis Cup titles until they came onboard. They're a huge, huge, huge part of this team.
TIM CURRY: A question that was phoned in from media colleagues that couldn't attend was for Andy regarding Mardy.
ANDY RODDICK: Boxers (laughter).
TIM CURRY: The question was: Mardy's recent success might correlate to when he got married. Have you seen anything different about Mardy since marriage that he can attribute to Stacey?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, as far as Stacey Fish goes, Mardy looks at greatness every day. Therefore, he has to kind of achieve that on a daily basis for himself.
It's created a lot of common ground for Mardy and I. We are by far the ugliest people in our immediate families, wives included.
No, she's great. I love them like family. Stacey is great. He's lucky to have her.
TIM CURRY: Do you want to echo any sentiments or leave it as it is?
MARDY FISH: Too good.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports