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January 18, 2004

Todd Woodbridge


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Todd.

Q. Can you talk about breaking the record.

TODD WOODBRIDGE: You know, I'm very happy to have got that out of the way, to be honest with you. Sydney was a perfect scenario, as it turned out, for me to be able to surpass that number. Then the Australian Open is one of my priorities of the year really. The Slams are what I'm going after. I think the more Grand Slams you have, the more recognition you have as a player. I think it will be better if I can do well here and get through to a final, not to have that record and a final all on your back all at the same time. I think it frees me up to be a little more relaxed coming into here.

Q. What are you rating your chances?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: Pretty good. My form's good. Jonas Bjorkman is playing very, very well. When we play well, which we did yesterday, there's not many players -- there's really no one that I'm scared of, that I feel like we can't beat. So given the fact that our form's good, you have to have a little bit of luck on a certain day... But if that is the case, we can win.

Q. (Inaudible)?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: I think the Bryans are playing particularly well. Finished the year No. 1 last year. That was another great thing about passing the record, beating the No. 1 team in the world. That was good. It was done the right way for me. But they're young guys that are continuing to improve. They're working on their game, they're playing very well. The other team I think is probably the most dangerous is Max Mirnyi and Mahesh Bhupathi from India. Together they're two big men with big serves and, you know, heavy games. We beat them in the Wimbledon final last year. But I think in a best-of-three set match in fast conditions, they're a tough team.

Q. Did you talk to Mark?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: Yeah. I saw him just a little while ago, ran into him in the corridor. He was very happy. I just did a piece with Channel 7 where he was the surprise guest. I didn't know he was coming in to congratulate me. He was pretty happy about the fact. He's been up to, what, a lot since we haven't played together. And he was I think pretty happy. He said to me he doesn't think anyone will break that record. We'll see.

Q. What do you think?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: I think it's going to be pretty hard. You know, it's taken me 14 years on the circuit to get that far. Not many guys play that long anymore. That's one thing against them. I think some of the tournaments that both John McEnroe and Tom Okker had, didn't incorporate challenger and tour level. Every tournament you played counted. And now it's just an ATP. I think it's a tougher criteria now if you're sort of counting the early '70s, like they did.

Q. What successes do you have left to achieve?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: I think it's doing them all again really, because I've won every major title that we have in our game. I enjoy winning. That's basically the success part, and winning, is the best feeling. It's like a drug: it's something you want more of. Once I am winning, I'm not prepared to give it up. Once my form goes and I can't win tournaments anymore, I'll go away. But right now it's to continue winning.

Q. No sort of time frame?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: No. I don't want to retire, so to speak. I'm always going to be involved in tennis. I'm going to be around it. I'm going to be playing it in some form or another. I'm not a fan of players announcing their retirement a year in advance and going off to tournaments and waving at everybody and playing ordinary tennis, not their best, not what they're remembered for. So for me it will just be when I'm not good enough to be either in it or picked to play in a Davis Cup team or whatever, that will be the time that I don't play anymore. In terms of retirement, I'm going to be around the game forever. You know, it's part of my life. It's what I love.

Q. Players general meeting tonight?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: No, that was last night. Unfortunately, because I was in Sydney, I didn't get to that.

Q. What have you heard about it?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: Nothing yet. I have my notes here to read. I can't fill you in.

Q. Even the papers don't seem to carry the doubles results. What's going on?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: We've got to be realistic. That's another point I'd like to make, is that I've always, you know, said that tennis is a whole sport. Right now we're doing a good job of getting the top guys in playing doubles. Last week in Sydney three out of the four teams we played were all singles players that were in the tournament that week. We have really turned around what is considered a doubles-only event. All the guys are out playing. It's a mentality change, so we're switching it back to what it used to be, which is great. But the big thing here is the singles guys, and I appreciate that. I would understand that that's the role that doubles plays. You know, what was brilliant about the final, say, yesterday was that we played first. By the time we finished, we had a full house of 10,000 people that enjoyed the match and what went down yesterday with the record being broken, and then they had the next match of Lleyton Hewitt coming out to play. So scheduling-wise, that was fantastic. You've got to showcase it in that type of way to make it more of an example.

Q. From your position, looking at the overall scope of the game, the situation that happened with Korda a few years ago, how do you feel the impact of the Korda thing affected tennis? How do you feel this might affect tennis?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: Are you talking drugs?

Q. Yes.

TODD WOODBRIDGE: I think I wrote a column in the newspaper here. A lot of what has gone down has been a case of contamination. You know, I can't say that about Greg's case because that's still pending. However, anybody that thinks they're good enough or smart enough to go out there and try and cheat by taking a banned substance, and I'm talking about cheating, things that are well over limits and that sort of thing, not contamination, they'll get caught. We have too thorough a system. We want to lead the world in the drug issue. We're doing an enormous amount of testing. Over 1300 tests on our players last year. Those guys will get caught. Maybe not exactly when we want them, but eventually they will. They'll be thrown out of the game, or their careers and reputations will be shattered. What we really need to focus on here is finding a way to stop contamination issues and to stop -- you know, players do need to have supplements. They do need to have sports drinks. We need to come up with, I guess, the Olympic Committees, the WADAs, every institution, of finding products that are made in a way that they're clean, that all athletes around the world, not just tennis, can take to help their performance, that are natural, not illegal. If you are playing on a 35 degree day, you can get your body back up to speed and hydrated with electrolytes properly. As it is right now, there aren't any players that can take and feel sure that they won't fail a test. That's an issue that the world sports authorities and drug administrations really have to focus on right now, is to be able to help the athlete be at his peak fitness and provide things that they can do that.

Q. Lindsay Davenport was in this room 24 hours ago. She said she was certain the WTA had the ability to rule out all drug substances and shocked that the ATP hadn't done something about it?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: They may think they have been able to do that, but there are still substances and products out there that I would say that players are taking that have been told they're clean, and you wouldn't be 100% sure.

Q. She seemed very sure. She said without the trainer, she would have been lost.

TODD WOODBRIDGE: Probably. I know that's good. I know the ATP tried to do that, too. As you know, there was an electrolyte tablet that we were -- that we used to give out that they couldn't prove was contaminated, never showed up like that. But we or the ATP couldn't be responsible for putting something in a player's mouth. So it basically comes down to the player to go test their product so that they're the ones responsible.

Q. Do you think Greg has much of a case? Is he that much different from everybody else?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: You know, I can't really comment on it too much because I want him to be able to go and have his right to a fair trial. But all he can do is go to them and prove what he took and when he took it and who gave it to him. If he can do that, then they'll decide on that issue.

Q. Is it time to remove the stigma? At the moment, if you test positive, it goes to...

TODD WOODBRIDGE: The cases last year, in terms of from what I understand, they're traces. They're not enough to enhance your performance. I think the numbers of Korda, they were numbers that were able to enhance your performance. Every one else since then has been such a small amount that it couldn't even do that.

Q. The initial reaction from, say, Greg is quite shrill. I think part of that is because of the accusation.

TODD WOODBRIDGE: He'd be shocked, as I would be, because he has just been trying to keep healthy basically. But what he's taken has put him in this scenario that's going on for him right now, which has got to be extremely stressful. And that's why I mentioned that we need an IOC or a WADA to come out with a list. They give us a banned list of substances, but we need a list of things that we basically can take in terms of supplement and nutritional value, you know, because otherwise we run into exactly just what you said. It is a stigma. Tennis doesn't want that. An individual athlete certainly doesn't want that.

Q. Was there damage done to the game when Petr played here, turned out to be positive, played in the Australian Open under that cloud?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: We don't know that he played here being positive. He would have been tested. He didn't test positive here. All that does is cause suspicion and make you wonder. But he would have done a drug test after the final here, so...

Q. Have you talked to Okker at all?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: No, he hasn't called me yet. I don't know Tom very well. I know a lot of the older players, but mainly the Australian and the American guys. He doesn't come to many tournaments. I think the only time I've really seen him is where he plays the senior event there. I haven't heard or seen from him yet.

End of FastScripts….

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