On Thursday the U.S. Davis Cup team met with the media in France ahead of the U.S. vs. France clash, with Ryan Harrison the big topic, making his Davis Cup debut for the U.S.
Q. Since the beginning of the week, the weather has been changing a lot. Do you believe the weather will be a key, depending on rain or not rain?
CAPTAIN COURIER: Yeah, I think the temperature will play a part in how the balls react. The atmosphere always changes the conditions. I think yesterday was much different than today. We don’t know what the weekend will hold. We have forecasts, but we’re never sure. The rule of thumb is pretty simple: when it’s warmer and dry, the balls are going to bounce higher, they’ll go faster; when it’s damp and cooler, it will be slower. It will change, no question.
Q. Did this make the preparation more difficult than usual?
CAPTAIN COURIER: No. Same for both teams. It’s pretty normal. It’s what we expected.
Q. Is it an advantage for Ryan to start the first match?
CAPTAIN COURIER: Ryan, why don’t you take that one.
RYAN HARRISON: I think that obviously it’s something both people have to deal with. I think either way, playing first or second, it’s the same for both players and we’ll both be prepared either way.
CAPTAIN COURIER: Just to be clear, Ryan has played a match before. I understand what you’re asking. But, you know, I think Ryan said it best: We’re going to be ready to play whenever. The draw is a formality. The matches take place. It’s boring to answer the question this way. I’m sorry we have to. But it’s the way we think.
Q. From our side, you seem to be extremely cool, not worried. Is that what you really feel?
CAPTAIN COURIER: We’re a very Zen team. That’s what he asked. Do you guys agree?
RYAN HARRISON: We’re very prepared. We have a great team, a great coach and captain. I think we’re as prepared as we can be. We’re all confident in ourselves and each other.
CAPTAIN COURIER: Put it this way: There will be a lot of energy spent Friday, Saturday, Sunday. We don’t need to spend a whole lot right now.
Q. Ryan, did you talk with Jim about the special feelings and emotions you can have in a Davis Cup match that are completely different than what you can find on the tour?
RYAN HARRISON: Well, I think I have the advantage of being a practice partner a couple years ago, also being a part of that fantastic tie we had in Switzerland. Like Jim said, I played the dead rubber match for me to get out there. We discussed a lot of that stuff in the past. Obviously we talked about it, just like we talked about many other things for this match. I think we’re both on the same page. We both have a very clear mindset of what has to be done in order to get the job done. We’re going to try to go out and execute tomorrow.
Q. John, can you compare the conditions in Switzerland and here now for this tie?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, in Fribourg, I think the court was a bit of a wild card, I guess you could say, because the bounces weren’t true all the time. I think the court here, it’s a better court. As far as the speed of it, I think it’s about the same. If it’s like today, it’s pretty quick. Yesterday was a little bit slower. The main difference to me are just the bounces. There were quite a few weird bounces in Switzerland, and this court is a little bit better.
Q. Jim, the fact that you never won a title here at the same club, is it special to you?
CAPTAIN COURIER: It won’t be revenge. It’s an honor for us as a team to play in one of the world’s most beautiful tennis clubs, most spectacular tennis stadiums. We’re excited about what the ambience will bring to the matches. So I think it’s going to be a special weekend. It’s a bonus that we’re here playing in such a fantastic spot. No revenge.
Q. (Question to John Isner about if his recent win over Simon at Indian Wells have any effect on tomorrow’s match.)
JOHN ISNER: I don’t think it’s going to play that much of a difference. It’s Davis Cup. It’s a whole different animal than a regular tournament. He’s going to take the court very confident. I’m going to take the court very confident. Obviously it’s a different surface. As far as my win over him I guess a few weeks ago, I don’t think it’s going to play that big of a factor. Whoever plays better tomorrow is going to win, simple as that.
Q. Are you guys trying to fool everyone by both wearing B. Bryan jackets?
MIKE BRYAN: I actually lost my jacket yesterday. Bob had an extra.
BOB BRYAN: It’s a sick joke (laughter).
Q. Jim, can you give us a little information about why Mardy didn’t make the trip, why you went with Ryan?
CAPTAIN COURIER: I spoke to Mardy Friday evening after he went through some medical testing. We both agreed it was best for him to stay home and get some rest. I immediately called Ryan. I already had a preview. I already knew that Mardy was getting tested. I had some time to think about it and talk to Jay Berger and make the call. That’s how it worked out.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the doubles point, the importance for this team.
CAPTAIN COURIER: It’s a luxury to have Bob and Mike. It was a luxury I never had when we I was a playing member of the Davis Cup team. We tended to scrambled singles players together, and we didn’t do very well, by and large. Their record is extremely strong. I have the utmost confidence in them. As a captain, having them on your side, it feels like you’re almost cheating, so it’s great to have them onboard. I’ll explain: I don’t have to do anything. They’re a very self-sufficient organism.
BOB BRYAN: Nice of Jim. Like Jim said, I wish it was that easy. This is one of the toughest teams we’ll be facing. Llodra has been one of the biggest rivals over the last 14 years we’ve been playing. Played him in big matches all over the world. This is another big one. We’re expecting another tough match.
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