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THE LIPTON CHAMPIONSHIPS


March 19, 1998


Todd Martin


KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA

MIKI SINGH: 7-5 winner in the third today. Next rounds he will face 17th seeded Alberto Berasategui.

テつ

Q. Welcome back to Lipton.

TODD MARTIN: Charlie, I feel like you guys are at the player's meeting last night, everybody sitting in the back.

テつ

Q. You competed well today, didn't you?

TODD MARTIN: Yeah, I guess. I mean -- no, in the first set I think I pressed a little bit in the first set, and then the breaks just didn't go my way. In the second set the breaks still didn't go my way. A couple of breakpoints that didn't seem to fall the way I thought they could have when he was down breakpoint. But, eventually I started to feel more and more comfortable and that allowed me to compete a little bit better. I don't think if I had hit the ball like I did in the bad parts of the first set that I would be able to compete throughout the match. But, there were occasional glimpses of what I wanted to be doing.

テつ

Q. Is there a medical report on the elbow?

TODD MARTIN: Feels pretty good.

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Q. The sleeve is just --

TODD MARTIN: It just really keeps it warm and secure.

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Q. The radar gun seems to suggest you are not really hitting the serve like you used to.

TODD MARTIN: I have been over 120 a little bit through the course of the beginning of this year, and that, I think, is fast for me. I don't -- I don't really remember breaking 120 more than four, five times in my career. So, I know when I am painfree that the speed is there. It is a matter of feeling free to swing out and not feel like I am going to hurt myself.

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Q. Have you talked to Tom Gullikson at all; any indication as to --

TODD MARTIN: No, I haven't. But I know he is thinking about it. I am sure we will talk in the next 24 to 48 hours.

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Q. How do you feel bit? Do you want to play?

TODD MARTIN: I'd love to play. And I'd love to play in any capacity that he would like me to play in. But, are there things that I could find to do that week if I weren't in Atlanta? Yeah, sure. But I'd really love to be there. It is something I look forward to every year. And I only want to be a part of it if I deserve to and if I am playing well enough to help the team out. If I play like I did today, I probably shouldn't go. But the one positive thing is that I get -- I am getting another match. And, who knows, I might find my range a little bit.

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Q. Sometimes it's a good way to measure yourself against top players. You have played Rafter twice, played Pete once. How -- you know what the scores were. We know the five sets with Rafter --

TODD MARTIN: I didn't used to think so much of that idea that you only -- you get a better read off of the top players. But -- I think that is partly because I rose to the occasion years ago when I first was coming up, much better than I do now. And I played Pat tough a number of times, three times since I have been back, and had chances to win all three matches. But I didn't play real well against Pete last week, and I felt put upon a little bit. His game was a little bit much for me. It tells me a couple things. One, that I need to step it up a little bit. And, two, I need to walk out on the court a little bit more ready to assert myself in a way that might unsettle my opponent. And that certainly didn't happen last week. But I have also beaten some other very good players. Like Larsson I hadn't beaten -- I was 3-1 down before this last match and once 3-0. And the same thing with Pioline earlier in the year. Couple of players that generally give me a lot of difficulty and I have gotten by.

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Q. Were there any moments last year where you thought this just -- it could be it and did you ever think about what you might do next?

TODD MARTIN: In my very, very, very most pessimistic days, yeah, there were, 4-and-a-half months in, doc said four months I would be playing again, competing, and I would be able to go out and practice two hours a day. But as soon as I had to put the racket above my head I was -- I was -- I just couldn't do it at all. And that was pretty disappointing. But then few things happened. So I saw my doc again and got some things done that I think were just sort of that final hiccup as far as --

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Q. You mean physical?

TODD MARTIN: Yeah, cortisone shot, that smoothed the joint out a little bit. And then this year I have worked a lot harder on my rehab, and it is really -- it has made great strides in the last two-and-a-half, three months.

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Q. Did you consider what you would do next anytime there?

TODD MARTIN: I considered it -- even when I wasn't pessimistic I was considering what was next, because although there were only a few days where I was wondering whether I would be able to play again, there were a number of days where I thought, well, it definitely shows that tennis mortality is here and there is going to have to be something at the end of this road.

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Q. What were they?

TODD MARTIN: Something that I have always said I would do is go back to school. And with the reality a little bit closer at hand, I definitely talked about it -- or thought about it and sort of reconvinced myself that it wasn't just something I was saying that I would say I am going to do, it is something that I am actually going to do.

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Q. With an eye towards what?

TODD MARTIN: Education, probably.

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Q. Teaching?

TODD MARTIN: Yeah. And then -- I certainly wouldn't want to abandon the game of tennis. In fact, when I go back to school I wouldn't mind helping out a tennis team. I'd love to keep playing some golf here and there. Maybe a little bit more than I do now. I think there is going to be some time for me when I am done playing to really firm things up. But, for now, I am happy with saying just a couple of options.

テつ

Q. How is your movement on the court?

TODD MARTIN: Well, you know, it is not great, I don't think. Some days I feel much better than others. That has a lot to do with who I am playing. Jerome is a peculiar player to play. His forehand has got all the topspin in the world and his backhands are very flat strokes, so timingwise, that makes it pretty difficult. But I have spent so much time working in the gym to rehabilitate what is already injured that I haven't had enough time or I haven't made enough time in my schedule to work on my movement, which has always been a major focus of mine.

テつ

Q. You have got caught flatfooted a couple of times on returns.

TODD MARTIN: The returns, I got caught flatfooted on were returns that I could have hit with, so that type of thing isn't a big deal to me. It is more when you are in the flow of a point getting caught off balance. And these things are unsettling because they shouldn't happen. And that is a little bit just not being completely sure of what I am doing. But a little bit probably that I am not quite as fit and quite as agile and, you know, I was very agile before than I used to be.

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Q. Your feet sort of react automatically when you are playing all of the time, they are not just there yet?

TODD MARTIN: A little bit. But definitely a little bit of it is amount of strength and the conditioning that I have been able to work on in my lower body. I am in good physical condition, generally, but I definitely think that things need to happen a little bit better than they have been.

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Q. Do you think it is possible that that is right now the major thing keeping you from getting more consistency in your game?

TODD MARTIN: Well, sure. You can't hit the ball unless you are there to hit it.

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Q. You feel like --

TODD MARTIN: That is why Andre is playing so much better. He didn't forget how to swing a racket. He forgot how to move. Once I start moving better, the ball is going to be where I want it to be more often and I am going to hit the ball more clean and hit it where I want to hit it more often, and the ball is going to come back in a weaker fashion if I am able to do that. So a lot of it does start here and a lot of it is in the head as well.

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Q. You are not going to cut your hair for a year; is that correct?

TODD MARTIN: It is so invalid and it is so inappropriate for you to ask. That is not true. I am just not terribly interested in getting it cut. I am almost at the point where it is as long as it has ever been.

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Q. Just testing you to see if you can be tweaked this afternoon.

TODD MARTIN: I am over here right now and I am sort of trying to gradually move back to the center.

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End of FastScripts....

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