DAVIS CUP SEMIFINALS: USA v SWEDEN
September 20, 2007
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Patrick, were you surprised by Wilander's selection of Joachim Johansson to play singles?
CAPTAIN McENROE: No, I was not surprised.
Q. You've seen him play. Is he fit?
CAPTAIN McENROE: Well, we saw him practice a little bit. He looked pretty good in practice. Obviously he's got a lot of talent, a lot of game. But, you know, he hasn't played a match since January.
I think the proof will be in the pudding. He's got to play a best-of-five set match. But he looked reasonably healthy in practice.
Q. Andy and James, over the years, have you developed any sort of different way of preparing for away ties as opposed to home ties, either in what you do in practice or mentally?
ANDY RODDICK: I think the only difference is just preparing for the surface. Most of the time we're away on clay. Sometimes you prepare a little bit differently when you're playing on clay.
But as far as home and away, you know, we always have the support of our teammates wherever we are, so that helps a lot. Mentally you know it's going to be a battle either way. So I kind of just go into it -- try to go into it with the same mentality.
JAMES BLAKE: Yeah, I feel pretty much the same. There's very small differences getting used to the time zone. But it's helped by the fact we get here so early and we do have the support of all our staff, the people making sure we're feeling fit, feeling good to go. Otherwise it's still a tennis court. It's the same size. So we're ready to play the same way.
Q. Bob and Mike, you have a very tough doubles match ahead of you against the US Open champion and Jonas Bjorkman. How do you handicap your chances Saturday?
MIKE BRYAN: I think it's definitely our toughest match in Davis Cup. Playing Jonas, you know he's got nine Grand Slams, lost to him many times. Played him in four Grand Slam finals. And then we just lost to Simon at the US Open.
So, yeah, I think it's going to be our toughest match. They're both ad court players, so one has to play the deuce court. They haven't played a lot together. But on paper they both rank really high in doubles and they've beaten us before. I think it's going to be -- right now, it's going to be our toughest match.
Q. Do you mean toughest match in history, in your Davis Cup career?
BOB BRYAN: Davis Cup.
MIKE BRYAN: On paper it's definitely our toughest match. We'll see how it plays out. Jonas has been there before. He has a ton of experience. He doesn't get tight. We know he's a clutch player. We like to play Davis Cup also. We usually rise up and love these moments. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. I think it's going to be a good match.
Q. I know you guys probably talked about this Tuesday as well. I do want to know how the surface feels. It seems loud to me. I went and kind of stomped on it. Is it noisy?
JAMES BLAKE: I didn't notice the sound. I mean, it's always loud when I'm returning Andy's serve. I didn't notice anything different about that.
I actually feel like we can play very well on this surface. The ball stays pretty low. I think we're all actually expecting it to be even quicker than it is. With the speed that it is, it seems relatively fair, like the ball will go through the court, giving us the opportunity to create winners pretty quickly.
But I've enjoyed the practice time on it and hopefully it will continue in the matches.
ANDY RODDICK: Same here.
Q. Bob and Mike, how big a disadvantage is it for Jonas and Simon that they don't play together as you do all the time?
MIKE BRYAN: I mean, they've played Davis Cup together a few times. You know, obviously we've played more matches together, like 2,000 matches together. You know, it does help. We have the best communication. I know what he's thinking half the time.
You know, we've played 12 Davis Cup ties together, and have a pretty good record, so it does favor us. As I said before, one of them has to play the deuce court. During the tour, they play ad court, both of them. So, yeah, I mean, it's still going to be tough. They've had a lot of days to practice together and I think Simon is going to play deuce court.
Q. Patrick, a lot has been made of the United States history here in Gothenburg. Did you give credence into that or is it just a matter of which four guys you bring here and how they stack up against the other team?
CAPTAIN McENROE: No, I don't put really any credence into it other than the fact that we're playing away, we're playing against a good team that plays well in Davis Cup.
I think if we had been here as a team before, these particular players, maybe that would have some impact. But you're talking about completely different teams on both sides.
Again, playing on the road is always tough. And Davis Cup is always unique. But what's happened here in the past hasn't played into the way we're approaching the match at all.
Q. Bob and Mike, this business of the two doubles players usually liking the same side of the court, is that something you can exploit? In other words, do you expect a little bit more maybe miscommunication or bumping into each other in a pair like that?
BOB BRYAN: Well, I mean, I know if I played the ad court, I'd be less comfortable. It takes a little white to get used to it. Simon is a talented player. I think he could adjust pretty quickly.
As far as communication, we'll see. We fill up the middle pretty well and cover each other's backs. They've played a couple Davis Cup matches together. We'll see if there's any holes. Who knows.
But, yeah, we'll see out on the court. We'll try to pick them apart. If it happens, it happens.
Q. Andy, what kind of memories do you have from your previous matches with Joachim Johansson?
ANDY RODDICK: It was a long time ago. A lot's happened since those matches. But I played him pretty similar, once in San Jose, once at the US Open. He's going to come out and play high risk tomorrow. I don't think he's going to want to get into a lot of long rallies. I feel like he's going to go big on first and second serves.
He has nothing to lose out there tomorrow. So I just kind of have to stay the course and try to play my match solid the whole way and take my chances when I do get them.
Q. Do you expect a lot of service breaks?
ANDY RODDICK: Probably not.
Q. James, coming off the Open, you've had a couple weeks to digest that. What is your mindset right now? Is this your one big goal for the rest of the year, to win the Davis Cup for the U.S.?
JAMES BLAKE: Yes, just like every year. I feel like it's kind of the biggest goal. It would mean so much to me to do it with these guys, the guys that have committed themselves to Davis Cup. Patrick is great, making sure we're comfortable every time we do get here. These guys have all stepped up to be a part of it. As long as we're healthy, we're playing.
It's a great feeling to be a part of the team and reach the ultimate goal of holding up the trophy and bringing it back to the States would be my biggest goal every year. This year we have a realistic chance at it, so I'm not going to get ahead of myself and start thinking about it already.
But we need to worry about our matches tomorrow. We get through that, get through to the finals, then we'll think about it's even a more realistic possibility. It would make any year of mine on tour, no matter what happens the rest of the year, a positive year.
Q. Andy was pretty convincing in his win over Thomas Johansson. Have you picked his brain at all about what to expect from him?
JAMES BLAKE: Not yet. But we will. I played Thomas a couple times. Once last year, actually in Stockholm. Once this year in Indianapolis. So we have a little bit of experience against each other. So I've got my thoughts. Andy's got I'm sure a little extra to add since he had a pretty good result against him at the Open, like you said. We'll brainstorm, come up with a plan.
But I doubt it will be much different than my normal aggressive style and kind of play with my Plan A and see if he can adjust to that.
Q. Andy, I've just been tipped that you played junior doubles with Joachim. Are you still pals? Do you have any kind of relationship off the court?
ANDY RODDICK: I haven't seen him too much, to be honest. No, we were pretty good friends in juniors. We were the same year. I remember the first time I saw him, we were 13, we were playing World Youth Cup Championships in Japan. All of a sudden this guy 6'5" comes out serving canons with a profile. I was about 5'2" at the time. That was a little intimidating.
Q. Has it helped to have tall practice partners to take a look at the serve out of the tree?
ANDY RODDICK: Sure. I'm sitting here walking around with Sam and Isner, you know. Joachim, he doesn't seem as tall (laughter).
But, yeah, it is good practice having played some sets against Sam and Jonathan. There's no question about that.
Q. I'm wondering if the prospect of being cast as terra cotta warriors is extra motivation for making the year-end championships?
ANDY RODDICK: No (laughter).
JAMES BLAKE: It was more weird than anything else, have someone measure your scalp and stuff. It wasn't the real inspiration to get there.