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March 25, 2003

Todd Martin


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. You're not going to shuffle your feet and say, "Well, I didn't play very well," are you?

TODD MARTIN: Why is that?

Q. You've played pretty well out there.

TODD MARTIN: I played fine. I played really well on the big points today. I don't know how many breakpoints I had. I might have capitalized on three of three. Obviously, I saved a couple. He's an unorthodox player. I think he understands how to play real well. I think that's really the main reason he's done as well as he has done. He's extremely fast, and he made me hit a lot of balls. But at the same time, I felt like I could get away with not hitting every ball as firm and as aggressively as against some of these other guys. But it posed a lot of different challenges, a much different match than what I had with Andy the other night. The important thing is, you know, you're expected to go out there and compete against the guy that's on the other side of the net, and today I did that.

Q. He's getting a lot of help from Petr Korda. Do you see any of Petr Korda in his game?

TODD MARTIN: He's not quite as offensive as Petr, mainly because he's not as technically sound and not as explosive from the ground. But he hits the ball flat. He does good things with depth and trajectory, understands how to play defense very well. Those are some things that I didn't think Petr did all that well. He hits the ball up the line well, and, I mean, he's lightning fast. I couldn't believe how fast he was.

Q. That one point, you put it all the way out in the alley, he hit a perfect drop volley.

TODD MARTIN: I learned my lesson. I started to hit it down the middle of the court more often.

Q. What stage of the match did you think you had the measure of him?

TODD MARTIN: Jeez, I don't remember quite how I broke him to go up 2-1 in the second, but he held easily in the first game. I struggled with a lot on my service games, maybe not down breakpoints, but, you know, he was getting to 30 or deuce a lot. So at 1-all I break him, you know, it was not the most decisive of breaks but, you know, he let up a little bit and gave me an opening and I took it. Then, jeez, I dug myself out of a few jams at 2-1 serving. Frankly, at 3-1, he played the one bad game of the match, puts me up 4-1. It's hard not to feel like even if you don't have, as you say, the measure with him, you certainly have your grips on the match and understand that two good service games and you're in pretty good shape.

Q. I think your career record at this tournament --


Q. Coming in here was 6-7.

TODD MARTIN: I don't know if it's that bad.

Q. According to the notes it was 6-7.

TODD MARTIN: Did Sharko do the notes (smiling)? It's well within the realm of possibility. Historically, I've stunk here. Frankly, I didn't have much higher hopes this year than in the past. I don't think, typically, the conditions are all that favorable for me. The high humidity, it slows the ball down a little bit. These balls are extremely -- in humid weather, wear extremely well and get big. Once again, that slows things up. Against most of these guys who are big and strong and hit heavy ground strokes, that's difficult. It's difficult to attack on. I was disappointed about not performing better last week in Indian Wells, because conditions there very well suit me. I guess I'm turning the tide on history. I usually do well in Palm Springs and not so well here, but I'm not turning my nose up at it, that's for sure.

Q. Why the good run?

TODD MARTIN: I think it's commitment. I think it's commitment to a game plan and commitment to competing rather than trying to win, and a lot of good breaks throughout the course of the week.

Q. You seem to be volleying the ball. Your play at the net, overall, seems too good.

TODD MARTIN: It's been strange, especially these two matches. I've volleyed well when I shouldn't volley well. I've volleyed terribly when I should volley well. I've missed a lot of easy volleys. I've lost a lot of points where I was well in control of the net and the point and -- but I've also guessed right a lot on some fairly easy passing shots from my opponent and hit good volleys off of those, so maybe that's the key. Just do the tough things well and the easy things badly, and out here, that makes sense, you know. You're going to have to do tough things a lot more often than you're going to have to do easy things.

Q. You've posted some surprisingly good results on clay. When you look at the young guys, Andy, Robby, James, which one do you think has the best chance of making a statement at the French Open and why?

TODD MARTIN: Well, I think at this point in time, if you're asking about the 2003 French Open, Andy Roddick has the best chance. He and James are both real comfortable on clay, I think. Andy's probably a little bit more comfortable. Robby is due to gain some experience on the clay and figure out the movement a little bit better as the years go by. But then Andy's got a serve that is a weapon on hard courts, clay courts, grass courts, you name it. The other guys have good serves, but they're not going to be able to hold serve strictly on their serve very often. Then Andy's got a huge weapon in his forehand. I think on clay, his style of play is sort of, you know, the heavy or the big first serve followed by controlling the point with the forehand, not necessarily going for winners, but being in control of the point with the forehand and loading up on the topspin is very effective and suits -- the clay suits his style more than the hard courts do in that regard. But the other guys, jeez, and Mardy Fish has a good chance to do well on the clay as well. Even Taylor Dent, I'll say that. I think, you know, he's one of a rare breed, serving and volleying as much as he does. On clay, it's as difficult to return as it is to volley. He volleys real well, so he's got a chance, too.

Q. Your next opponent, two very different styles out there, Paradorn's a big hitter, likes to take chances with the ball. Rios is like the stylist out there?

THE MODERATOR: It's going to be Paradorn. Rios pulled out. I'm not sure what the injury is.

Q. I guess that settles that question.

TODD MARTIN: There's no contrast in style anymore.

Q. Can we go right to Paradorn?

TODD MARTIN: Paradorn is every bit of a physical specimen that I am not. He is a great athlete, he certainly is a huge contrast to what I was out on the court with today. For as much as I was able to get away with balls in the middle of the court and maybe a little bit softer against Radek, jeez, Paradorn will take his buggy whip out and go crazy on it. He's much more similar to Andy, goes for big first serves and tries to hit big ground strokes from there. I've played him twice on grass and did well against him. But, you know, this is a different matchup.

Q. Given the changes that have occurred, given the debate of a few years ago about the game being too fast, and the changes that have occurred; racquet technology, ball, court surface, how different is playing in a hard court tournament like this today, from eight or ten years ago when you're starting out? How different is that from the other surfaces?

TODD MARTIN: Well, considering I haven't done well here in the past, I'll talk about hard courts in general. In years past, I felt like if the tournament was conscientious about getting the courts resurfaced and playing fairly, we could go and anybody with a fairly well-rounded game could compete. Some of the clay court players at that time didn't return well enough to compete on hard courts. You put this group of players out there now, five years ago and it's no problem for them. Nowadays, there was all this talk about the ball five years ago. Slowly but surely, they've tweaked the ball to the point where it's bigger and heavier and fluffier and I always felt like the most important thing was to address the courts. You put -- you can play with the same ball all year long, but if the court's too fast, it's not going to be fair to the other guys. Unfortunately, I think, for the diversity of styles of play, both were addressed; the courts were slowed up, which was great, but, also, the balls were made heavier. So then you, I think, you put a premium on a different style of play. You see now, I mean, granted, Stepanek is extremely fast, but it's tough to get the ball through the court still. Most of that is because he's really fast. But part of that is because the court no longer helps volleys -- or the ball no longer helps volleys. That's a change. That's the way it's gone. As the years go by now, I think you'll see guys like Taylor Dent, Tim Henman, Roger Federer, Max Mirnyi, guys who are willing to come to the net. They're going to be a little bit more intimidating now because fewer and fewer guys get to see this style of play on a regular basis.

Q. Talk about Jack a little bit. He's with you here. When you go home, what do you like to do when you get an opportunity, he's awake, not sleeping. What do you do with the kid?

TODD MARTIN: Well, he's two months, so let's see, I change his diaper, pinch his cheeks, kiss him, tickle his belly, hold him, feed him. And look at him. It's awesome. It's great. Amy and he were hanging out in the player lounge before my match. I just went up to get a couple pieces of bread and, you know, they were the first two people I saw. It's a nice thing to experience.

Q. Is he smiling yet?

TODD MARTIN: He's smiling to dad, you know. No, he's pretty expressive so far.

Q. Are you reading various "how to raise children" books?

TODD MARTIN: I'm reading my own book.

Q. You have your own plans?

TODD MARTIN: Well, I think, you know, Amy's 28 now and I'm 32. I think we understand what's important in life. That's how we plan on raising our child. I think we've used some books to help with the, you know, somehow, some way getting him to sleep through the night and digest his food properly. But, you know, when it comes to raising a kid, I think you -- hopefully, you have the instincts to do so on your own.

Q. Do you flip a coin to decide who gets up that particular evening?

TODD MARTIN: Well, I'll announce to the world last night was the first night neither one of us had to get up in the middle of the night. No wonder I won (smiling).

Q. But on other nights?

TODD MARTIN: I'm going to pause your little soliloquy and ask for the next question.

Q. I was going to ask, based on the same thing, with Jack usually not sleeping through the night, you seem to be getting stronger as opposed to more tired and more tired.

TODD MARTIN: Well, just as a bulletin for all those folks who think we have real jobs, we've got plenty of time to relax during the course of the day. It's been real nice for me, and also we're playing every other day thus far in the tournament. So, you know, when he naps, I feel very comfortable napping myself. Sorry, Charlie. Right back at me.

Q. That was a better answer than I would have gotten.

TODD MARTIN: Maybe you should feet the questions to the other reporters (smiling).

End of FastScripts….

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