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March 23, 2003

Todd Martin



Q. Congratulations, Todd. Can you tell me what that took out of you tonight?

TODD MARTIN: What that took out of me?

Q. How hard was that, to win that game?

TODD MARTIN: I mean, it's hard to win every game, as you say, or match out here. Tonight's was no more difficult than any other. Nowadays, you play somebody who's 6 in the world or 106 and you can rest assured that they know how to play the game and you're going to have to be there.

Q. What was the difference, do you think, between the two of you tonight?

TODD MARTIN: Well, I think, like most close matches, boils down to who plays the big points well. I saved a number of breakpoints, especially in the second set, and played a good tiebreak. Andy, when, you know, on the bigger points, missed a few first serves and I was fortunate enough to get a few of his first serves, when he made them, back in play and made him earn as many points as I could, which is a big change for our matchup.

Q. Very big game in the second set at 4-3, Todd, right after the break. Seemed to be looking for those slices. You came down the middle. Designed plan going into that game?

TODD MARTIN: Well, no. It's pretty difficult to go out, you know, with an idea of what your intent is for a number of points in a row. I sort of approach the baseline and just sort of try to feel where the right serve is. I think the last point for me to go up to get to 3-all in the second set maybe, I think I might have gone up the T and then felt like he would be leaning on the first point out wide. But I hadn't hit that serve all that well today, but I just so happened to calk a couple as well as I did all night.

Q. Is this a particularly big win for you?

TODD MARTIN: They're all pretty big right now. I'm in an interesting position, trying to sort of earn my way into the French Open and into Wimbledon. So every win is helpful. But I think this is encouraging, because Andy's beaten me a couple times in the past. He's got enough game to sort of bully me around the court. I don't really like that feeling too much. But I handled it well today.

Q. Why did that not happen tonight?

TODD MARTIN: Well, I think you have to look, first, at his first-serve percentage. I don't know what it was, but I imagine it wasn't super high. And then, second, I put a ton of first serves back in the court, and that just has never happened. I've only ever played him on clay before, so I think it's a bit more difficult to return serve on clay. And the other thing is that I was real -- I returned his second serve in a very smart way. I went out with the intent to attack a lot, and the first couple games certainly gave me the impression that attacking wasn't going to be the easiest thing to do on a second serve. So I adjusted a little bit, and still attacked on occasion. You know, it might be pot luck, but the right things happened at the right time. I made good plays attacking, I made good plays not attacking. Usually, that's what makes a match win.

Q. Your volleying tonight, the anticipation, the coverage of the court, is this as good as you've volleyed in some time?

TODD MARTIN: Well, at times, I volleyed as well as I can, and at times, I volleyed absolutely horrendously. So when I didn't volley well, I blamed it on the lights. When I volleyed well, I just said, "I'm a superstar," you know? (Smiling). But, no, if you volley in the right place, it's easier to cover the net. That's sort of the one thing I've gotten better at over my career, is hitting the right first volley and then the right second volley and then continually putting myself in the right position to make him work as hard as he can to pass me, and if he makes the shot, for me to be in position to hit another volley. So I was pleased with that part, but there's a lot of winning volleys that I had on the racquet that I missed and an overhead, a real crucial overhead in the first set. These are the shots that when you win matches and miss them, you realize you're a little fortunate and try to be better the next day.

Q. You did read him well tonight, though, didn't you?

TODD MARTIN: Yeah, I think if you can look at the times where, sincerely, he was in an offensive position to pass me, I did read the ball fairly well and, you know, won a couple crucial points from those points. Then the others, yes, I read him, but in many ways I felt like he sort of had one option to hit the pass and I could pretty much lean that way and either know that if he's going to pass me, he's going to hit a great shot, or I'm going to have a real good opportunity to hit another volley.

Q. What was the exchange that you had with him there at one point? Was there a ball you hit that you thought would have been out? Is that what happened?

TODD MARTIN: No, there was a ball I hit that was the equivalent of probably a two-inch putt in golf. I only missed it by about six feet. It was a critical point. I think that was at 1-all in the second set after holding in a tough game. I had the opportunity to put him in a bind. That's exactly the place you want to be, and exactly the shot you don't want to hit.

Q. What did you say to him?

TODD MARTIN: I think I said -- I alluded to the fact that it was like a two-inch putt and he should have given it to me.

Q. He said...?

TODD MARTIN: He said, "Thanks. I need a couple more of those, preferably on your serve."

Q. What did you think of the crowd reaction tonight?

TODD MARTIN: I thought the people over 72 were on my side and everybody else was on his.

Q. So it was about half and half?

TODD MARTIN: You make the demographic call.

Q. When you win a game like that, does it make you feel like you're back in your 20s again?

TODD MARTIN: Come on, I'm not that far removed from my 20s.

Q. You're certainly a lot younger than me.

TODD MARTIN: Well, that's obvious (smiling). It makes me feel -- it doesn't make me feel young, it just makes me feel like I can still compete and I still have a place out here. You know, if I go out and I play -- you know, there are not too many older guys, but Tim Henman or Nicholas Escude, guys who have been around for a long time, even Andre, and I either win or play a good match, I feel the same way. It's more about competing with one of the best players than what their age is relative to mine.

Q. Look at Andy's backhand and you can see it can get a lot better than it is. Should we marvel that he's No. 6 in the world with a backhand that ordinary? Or should we say, "He needs to get better or he's not going to stay in the Top 10"?

TODD MARTIN: Well, I think Andy does a lot of really good things, and I think all of us play matches that are below our standards and above our standards and so forth. I think Andy's -- Andy and Tarik are both very disciplined about working on the things they need to work on. I think he is one of the best ten players out here. It's just a matter of continuing to compete at the level that he's been competing while being able to construct other areas of his game and develop into a more complete player. There's no reason he can't do both at the same time.

End of FastScripts….

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