Jim Courier: “Our guys came up with big points in the end and that’s why we’re talking in the past tense”
Following their Davis Cup first round tie-clinching 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 win over Switzerland’s tandem of Roger Federer/Stanislas Wawrinka, winning Americans Mardy Fish and Mike Bryan met the press in Fribourg.
The US will travel to the either France or Canada for the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas quarterfinals, April 6-8.
Q. Mike, how are you feeling right now?
MIKE BRYAN: This is probably going to go down as one of the most memorable, after Portland.
It was a really tough tie, playing Switzerland. Really tough team on the road, on dirt. Everybody stepped up. Jim did a great job coaching.
It was a dogfight. We just hung in there.
Q. Have you texted or called Bob yet?
MIKE BRYAN: Jim just read us an email. Can’t read it on air. He’s taking excerpts from Braveheart, different movies.
Q. What was the plan going into the game today? What were you especially pleased with?
MIKE BRYAN: We just thought we had to go in there, make a lot of first serves. We were just going for our shots.
Came down to a few breakpoints there. Luckily we capitalized. It’s not very easy to win on the road. The crowd was pretty loud. I think Mardy stepped up. He played a five‑and‑a‑half‑hour match yesterday.
CAPTAIN COURIER: Tremendous filibuster to not give you the strategy, too. Well‑played.
CAPTAIN COURIER: Obviously on paper you look at the American team in recent years and you go, Of course, no‑brainer, play us on clay.
But altitude indoors is a different surface than outdoor slow clay. I’m sure they recognized that. Conditions we knew were not going to be our favorite, but also not the worst for us.
I have to give our guys credit for coming in here and grinding all week on a surface which started off as a pretty poor court and got better every day.
Our attitude remained strong all week long. We were ready for whatever. That’s really what we needed to be. Every road tie you have to come in for the unexpected, ready for everything to be the worst. Our guys never wavered from that commitment. I think it showed. When we got bad bounces, as did the Swiss team, we just shook them off, just kept playing. It worked out well from that standpoint.
I mean, if I was the Swiss captain, I was looking at the American team, I would have said, Of course, red clay. I think every team would be thinking that if their team were as good as Roger and Stan are on this surface.
Q. Winning at the French Open, did it help to coach the guys how to play on clay?
CAPTAIN COURIER: These guys know how to play. Mardy grew up in Florida like I did. He slides beautifully on the clay. That’s not an obstacle. He’s not mentally afraid of the surface. Neither is John. Mike and Bob obviously have had a tremendous amount of success over the years on clay.
It’s not an obstacle for us; it’s a challenge. It’s something that could have been more of a factor if we’d have been at sea level, I think, but we weren’t. That was a nice choice from our perspective.
Q. Describe how you felt physically and emotionally after yesterday’s game, Mardy.
MARDY FISH: Physically I felt fine. It’s what we train for. Mentally Davis Cup obviously takes a lot out of you. So three days in a row would have been tough to play. But we’re happy about that. We’re happy to pull through, obviously.
It’s great that the guy that I have to tee it up with is the best doubles player ever. It’s pretty easy. I’m just trying to do my part on that side. He played great today, Mike did.
Q. (Question about turning point.)
MIKE BRYAN: Sometimes you get breaks. It clipped the tape. Mardy, I think he swung at it.
MARDY FISH: I whiffed it (laughter).
MIKE BRYAN: I had a gaping hole. It’s tough to miss because I had the whole court.
I think we only had four or five breakpoints all the match. We won three of them, converted. Pretty good ratio.
Q. (Question regarding Mike being nervous.)
CAPTAIN COURIER: Is that a question or a statement?
MIKE BRYAN: I’d be in a wheelchair if I played one of those singles match yesterday. He served first. I had a few shots. It happens in Davis Cup. There’s always nerves. I beat off nerves the whole first set. You know, I didn’t really have to use any psychology or coaching.
MIKE BRYAN: I think it happens in doubles. I’m not trying to hit anyone. I’m a huge fan of Roger’s. He’s one of the best guys out there. Stan is a great guy, too.
Sometimes it happens so quick, you try to go through the court. I get hit probably about 100 times per year.
But the fans were looking for a good match. I’ve seen it a hundred times. I didn’t try to hit anyone.
CAPTAIN COURIER: Yeah, without a doubt. Playing with a lead is a huge advantage in Davis Cup. Coming into a day like today, there’s no margin for error with the Swiss team. We’ve been down 2‑0 before and had to play with that hanging over our heads, as well. That was a nice advantage.
But when you get in between the lines, you still have to win the points. Our guys were down the first set. Crowd was trying to get things going. We hung tough. Our guys played strong and waited for their chances.
Roger and Stan were serving big in the first set, hitting a lot of lines. Our guys were patient. They knew they’d get a chance. Mardy told you what the conversion rate was. Very high conversion rate whenever they got a look. That’s guys knowing how to close things out coming through in a clutch.
Let’s be clear. This match could be very different out here. These things look big on paper at 3‑Love, but we very easily be in a dogfight right now. We won big points. Our guys came up with big points in the end and that’s why we’re talking in the past tense.
Q. Jim, a question about your suit. Did you want to show that this match is all business?
CAPTAIN COURIER: That’s not really what I’m saying with it. But I made a decision when I was offered this captaincy that I would do that because I wanted to make it clear to everyone that there’s absolutely no chance that I’m going to be swinging a racquet. I’m going to be sitting down, watching what’s going on.
When it’s hot outside in a place like Santiago, Chile, I wore slacks and a collared shirt because it was too hot to wear a suit. This will be my uniform just as this is these guys’ uniform. I hope you don’t mind too much, but I honestly don’t really care what you think (laughter).
CAPTAIN COURIER: These guys are committed to playing well. I wouldn’t have any broad strokes about American tennis, how they play their game.
Q. It’s February, it’s clay, it’s Europe. There were no excuses.
CAPTAIN COURIER: Patrick is leading playing player development for the USTA. He has one of the best minds in tennis. A couple of his lieutenants have some great minds, some of the best. Jose Higueras created a lot of great tennis players. They are preaching no excuses. It’s coming from the top down.
Q. Next round will be another away tie.
CAPTAIN COURIER: Worst draw you can have. If it’s Canada, it’s not as bad as France on paper. But you saw what paper meant here, which is absolutely nothing.
I think the winner of that most likely gets Spain away. So we have a very tough draw, but we got through a tough one here. That should give us some confidence going forward.
Q. What made you pick Mardy?
CAPTAIN COURIER: He’s clearly our second best doubles player on the team. He’s got great volleys and he’s got experience. That’s a big factor.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
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