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June 30, 2000

Todd Martin


MODERATOR: Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. Todd Martin.

Q. Some people will probably find some comparisons between this and the MaliVai Washington match in '96 because of the final score in the fifth, the lead that you had, the two breaks. Would it be a fair comparison?

TODD MARTIN: I think so, sure.

Q. Can you go on to talk a little bit about the breakdown in the fifth set in this one?

TODD MARTIN: Well, you know, I'd played really, really well from -- must have broken me to go up 4-3 in the first set. He broke me two games in a row in the first. From there on out, I didn't get broken again until 5-2 in the fifth. Yeah, I felt like I'd gotten to the point where I was controlling play. Even the points I wasn't dictating, I felt like Andre was forcing when he had a little bit of an opportunity. When I had the opportunity to attack, I was doing it very well. I started returning well in the fifth set. Especially today I had been serving well. I felt like I was in control of the match. You know, the tide can turn very quickly. I hit an ace in the first point, 5-2. Didn't hit a good second serve. Hit a great shot. He hit a good return at 15-All. Before you know, I'm between a rock and a hard place in that game. I know once that happens, once one of those breaks goes, the other guy can't help but feel a little bit of a boost. Also it's tough for the server to come back if, in fact, he has to serve again and play a good game with those vivid memories.

Q. Do you feel the lack of matchplay this year might have had something to do with your inability to close that out at certain times or not at all?

TODD MARTIN: No, no. I felt great out there. I played very well. I think the one thing that hurt me probably was when I served well, I didn't have to volley. When I didn't serve well, the balls got by me. Also I sort of flinched at a few volleys that were makable. You know, that's difficult to do. I'd just as soon serve well most of the time.

Q. Those momentum changes you talked about do happen in tennis. What goes through your mind on the court when you kind of feel one of those coming on?

TODD MARTIN: Well, you don't feel it until it happens. Then when it happens, it's just a matter of how quickly you can get it to stop. Unfortunately today, it took me a couple games to get it to stop. For Andre today, it took him, you know, 12 games maybe till he got the momentum to stop. You know, just a matter of I needed to keep the "mo" for one more game, and I didn't.

Q. As you said in 1996, you stopped breathing, your feet stopped moving, you described it very eloquently. It was difficult, I know. Did that happen again?

TODD MARTIN: A little bit, but to a much lesser extent. I don't think the moment was as big as in '96. Frankly, I was much more confident going into those last few games in '96, probably from being there in '96. For sure, there were points where I got tight, and those were critical points. At 15-Love, 5-2, it was a tight second serve. From there, you know, I tried to keep '96 in my mind so I could draw from the positives that I found from there. Just so happened that, you know, I gave an inch and he took a little bit more.

Q. What are you saying to yourself during that time when you're thinking about '96?

TODD MARTIN: "Don't do it again." That's part of it. You know, it's most important in our sport to focus point to point; once you get the point started, from shot to shot. I'm trying not to think so much about, "Okay, you're up 5-2, you're serving and it's 15-All." You say, "What's the best way to win this point?" I hit a wide serve, which had worked very well. Typically he hit return up the line. He hit it cross-court for a winner. I hit a good second serve at 15-30. Then at 30-All, overhit my first serve, and the second serve I said, "You know, let's be aggressive with it." I remember that's the thing I struggled with most a few years ago. I was aggressive with it, and I didn't make it. Sort of live by the risks, die by the risks.

Q. Do you have a tendency to overthink during situations like that?

TODD MARTIN: I think pretty much the same throughout the course of a match. I think if you watch, you're not going to see -- I'm a little bit hard on my athletic ability or my natural ability, but I'll plainly admit or profess that I'm not as gifted as some of these guys - and Andre is one of them. It's necessary for me to be thoughtful out there. I don't believe I thought any more than normal.

Q. First match point, did that second serve handcuff you a little bit?

TODD MARTIN: Yeah. You know, the best thing about his serve on grass is that he varies the spin very well, and also the speed. The way he tossed the ball, the way he hit the ball, everything looked to me as if the ball was going to kick. It ended up taking a little bit of a low bounce and sliding a little bit. I think if I was a little bit more composed and a little bit more relaxed, then I can adjust that ball and get it in play. In that situation, I didn't move as fluidly as I needed to to get out of the way.

Q. On the second match point, slice-slice rally, did you get your slice up too high?

TODD MARTIN: I don't remember the second match point as well.

Q. Knocked off the backhand volley.

TODD MARTIN: There were a few steps before he got there. I think I probably -- you know, I don't remember that point well enough to comment. Sorry.

Q. It's been noticed that some of the big-draw matches have been played late at Wimbledon. Agassi complained last night. Has it been a problem for you at all?

TODD MARTIN: A problem, no. I think if we were to continue -- if I were to continue through the tournament, I'd be disappointed finishing at 9:15. The other night, that was after starting at 7:00, 7:15 on Tuesday night, then not getting to start until after 6:00 last night, obviously being postponed to today. I think it's difficult, but if Wimbledon insists on starting at 2:00, that's going to happen, especially considering the weather. I would advocate, since the sun comes up at about 3:00 in the morning here, maybe start before 2:00.

Q. What about Davis Cup? Are you looking forward to getting back out on the court again?

TODD MARTIN: Yeah. I've been over here for way too long. No offence to Europe. I'm really looking forward to going home and having some time. I'll be plenty refreshed, ready to go for Santander.

Q. What about Pete's injury? How do you think that's going to affect things?

TODD MARTIN: Well, gee, my fingers are crossed that, one, he's healthy enough to play here; and two, that it won't be an issue come our Davis Cup tie. If that happens, then I know John is working on his options. I trust him to make the right choices.

Q. To continue on that, what do you think of Mac maybe playing doubles? Would you want to play with him?

TODD MARTIN: I think it's best if the captain is the captain. As exciting as that would be for the public and the press, it also takes away from the productivity that I think John -- and influence that John can have on the rest of the team during the practise week especially, and then even during our doubles match. It takes the third party, such a valuable third party sitting on the bench telling the doubles team what he sees, out of the equation. I think that would hurt us more than help us.

Q. Strictly in terms of level of play, if I understood correctly you had a pickup match with him at the Forum. Is his level of play up to standard to play dubs, do you think?

TODD MARTIN: Fifth Amendment. Do they have that over here?

Q. Have you told him how you feel, your opinion?

TODD MARTIN: No, but I think he understands. I don't think he's going to play. If he does, you know, the rest of us will live with that choice and make the best of it.

Q. Can you just tell us how you felt at the end of the third set, being down two to one, as compared to then winning 11 of the next 15 games, how you felt at 5-2?

TODD MARTIN: I was disappointed I was down two sets to one. I felt like I outplayed Andre the first three sets, especially the second and third. You know, it just so happened that he rose to the occasion come tiebreak time, and that's what matters. It's the beauty of our game that, despite the fact that today and yesterday I might have won more points or games, he ended up winning more sets. That's why we play the way we do.

End of FastScripts....

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