Tennis Prose



Jim Courier Press Conference 1992 US Open

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ATP world no. 1 Jim Courier defeated Andrei Cherkasov for the first time in his career at the US Open. Here is his press conference after the match…


September 3, 1992

Jim Courier


Q. Jim, what did you do different today compared to the last five times you played him?
JIM COURIER: I won the last point, which is a start. Something I hadn’t been able to do five times against Andrei. I played a little smarter today. I was a little more patient than I had been in our past meetings, and that was really the difference. I served smarter, and just, you know, wasn’t over anxious out there.
Q. Was he always just one of the players – obviously you didn’t beat him in five tries – who would always give you more trouble than anybody else?

JIM COURIER: Seems like Andrei, I mean, he kind of goes like this during his tennis year. He comes out a couple of good tournaments, then he goes back down. He always seemed to get up to play me. So today I kind of got up to play him.
Q. What is your tennis doing this year?

JIM COURIER: I feel really good after this match. Best I felt in a long, long time.
Q. Can you explain, elaborate a little bit? Is it more physically? Is it mentally?

JIM COURIER: The whole package is feeling really good right now.
Q. Andrei says the difference between the five victories he had over you is that you are playing with a lot more confidence now. Would you acknowledge that?

JIM COURIER: I’d say that is one of the factors that I would not be worried about, staying out there extra long. Before, maybe, I was too anxious to get off the court, and today I wasn’t concerned. However long it took was how long I was going to try and be out there.
Q. What about the fact that he said four of them were when your ranking was lower than his. Do you think specifically being in the favored position and number one helps that confidence?

JIM COURIER: I really don’t think that ranking gets into the match. Once you get on the court, it is man against man. You see who plays better on that day.
Q. Given your history with him after the result of the first set, you said you weren’t anxious today; but after the first set with the history did you feel —

JIM COURIER: Actually, four times, except this year and Indian Wells, he beat me in straight sets, but the four times prior, I had won the first set. So my strategy today was to tank the first set and come back; not really, but you know, it is a long match. Three out of five, just go out there and keep playing and I didn’t play really — I played one bad game in the first set.
Q. Would the word slump be too hard of a word to describe–

JIM COURIER: I would never use that.
Q. What would you call your summer starting after Wimbledon?

JIM COURIER: I mean, let us look at my first half of the year. I may never duplicate that in my career again. That was something that you know, four tournaments in a row on two different continents, two different surfaces, from Tokyo on through to the French. It was unbelievable. I mean, for me, I still can’t fathom that I made it through, you know, almost three months without losing a match. And, you know, I was having a good year prior to that too. I had been in a bunch of finals, won the Australian. Shoot, it is tough to match up with the first half of the year. You know if I do that, then, you know, goodness, gracious, I am going to be almost on another planet.
Q. Jim, you said that after today you feel real good. I mean, is it a Grand Slam that always is a mystery; you have no idea how you are going to do? Did you come in here having no idea?

JIM COURIER: You never really know. You come in and you hope that you are physically and mentally fresh and ready to go and you give it your best shot. There is no– you can’t go to see a palm reader or anything like that and tell you how you are going to do. You come in; do your best.
Q. You can come in with a good feeling and do terrible?

JIM COURIER: Sure. Edberg came in two years ago; lost first round. He was on a five tournament win streak. He was feeling pretty good.
Q. You were talking before about your patience on the court today. Was that reflected the way you dealt with the rain delays and perhaps the way he didn’t deal with it? He was upset when the rain came and he had to keep on serving?

JIM COURIER: That is another thing. I just wasn’t really worried about any of that stuff. There is nothing you can do about it.
Q. Jim, how did you develop that kind of inside-out forehand like a right-handed batter hitting to right field?

JIM COURIER: Repetition. I don’t really know.
Q. So you take what happened to you in the summertime or the way that you played in the summertime was almost sort of natural, or inevitable after such a first good six months?

JIM COURIER: I don’t think anything is inevitable. You try to do your best. I certainly was given everything I had. I didn’t play, you know, as well as I did in the first — through that period. I had a little lull but, you know, I think that everything is back in gear, and you know, it is very difficult, I think, for an athlete to try and peak five times in the span of three months which is what they are asking for us to do – when you play French, Wimbledon, Olympics, U.S. Open, and then go on to the Davis Cup. After that, I think it is very tough for an athlete of any sport to peak that many times. That is what we are trying to do. You do your best. Hopefully, I am peaking again now.
Q. Is being number one much fun as it may have seemed from the outside looking in?

JIM COURIER: You want to switch for a day? I don’t know. You can go sign some autographs. Some days is better than others.
Q. I mean, what are the down sides to it that maybe you didn’t expect?

JIM COURIER: I said this in Indianapolis, it is not like you wake up in the morning and go, Whoa, I am number one. It is not something that you can reach out and grab, you know, it is in the back of your mind, but winning a tournament or winning a match is something that you can say, on this day and date, I have done it. The ranking is a 52 week process that says that you have played the best tennis over the last 52 weeks, not necessarily today, that today you are playing the best or whatever, just means over the last year you played the best. It is not something you– really that you can reach out and grab.
Q. Aside from money, has it changed your life in tangible ways, like people calling you or wanting to talk to you that you didn’t know before?

JIM COURIER: No, not really.
Q. Are you rushing the net, making a point of doing so more than in the past?

JIM COURIER: I am doing whatever in each match needs to be done.
Q. When you talk about the everything is back in gear, is there a first– sort of first thing that has to– that clicks in or has clicked in over the last couple of weeks or this match or something that everything else rolls off of, Jim?

JIM COURIER: I wish I knew, Richard. If I knew I’d never have bad matches. That is the world’s biggest mystery for the tennis players is why some days you have it and some days you don’t. But that is what we keep striving and searching for.
Q. So you don’t know whether you are going to still have it come Friday or Saturday, the next match or do you feel confident now?

JIM COURIER: I feel pretty good. Sometimes you get that confident feeling, and that carries into the match. And I feel pretty confident right now.
Q. What do you think the chances are of anybody winning the Grand Slam, all 4?

JIM COURIER: I don’t know. What do you think? I wouldn’t bet on it.
Q. Jim, I know this is kind of silly, but I will ask anyway. Can you see yourself playing at this level when you are 40 the way Connors is doing it?

JIM COURIER: Definitely not.


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