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April 1, 2000

Todd Woodbridge

Mark Woodforde


ATP: Our four-time winners here. One title short of tying the all-time team record in The Open Era of 57. Mark is on his way down to Australia tonight, so we'll make it quick. Todd, where are you headed?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: Home, Orlando. Just going down the turnpike (laughter).

Q. What is this elixir that you drink?

MARK WOODFORDE: It's just a carbohydrate drink, protein drink afterwards.

Q. When will be the first opportunity to tie the record? When do you play next?

MARK WOODFORDE: I don't know. Maybe we shouldn't reveal that. We can maybe get more money to show up (laughter).

TODD WOODBRIDGE: I don't know about that.


TODD WOODBRIDGE: We're trying to play in Atlanta.

Q. Let's say you win Atlanta. What would be the first opportunity to break the record?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: We don't quite know. Definitely playing Hamburg.

Q. How about your hometown tournament?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: You'll have to talk Mark into that. We don't know.

MARK WOODFORDE: It could be, you know, something like that. You know, it's important to try and get it. It's not that we're in a rush, but it would be nice to do it. I think once it's maybe completed, like what we've both said, once it's sort of done, it might help us get a few more extras, rather than waiting and trying to pick a tournament, bigger tournament or something that's close to us. Probably Atlanta, Orlando might be the next two.

TODD WOODBRIDGE: One of the things we did try and do, last year when we lost five finals in a row, after the fourth or fifth, I said to Mark, "We need to talk about this." We weren't talking about it. We kind of knew it was there, but it wasn't being discussed. We were getting a little bit tight about it. We just kind of talked and made the decision, "We do it, we do it; we don't, we don't." We've done a lot anyway. Just to take the added pressure off of trying to pass it becomes kind of so huge, in the end you lose focus on the little things that help you win them.

Q. When you win a tournament, someone on the court says, "One of the greatest doubles team of all time," how does that make you feel?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: For me, I think we're one of the greatest in the era that we played. That's how I like to look at it. You can't compare to yourself to Newc and Rochey, McEnroe and Fleming, you didn't play them. Over the last ten years, I guess we've been the best that people can throw at us over that time. Just to be I guess grouped in the category with all those great teams, there's not many of them that they consider in that. You feel honored to be placed amongst them.

MARK WOODFORDE: Still a big thrill, though. I mean, I do, and I'm sure Todd does, when people say that. It's like when they say, "If you break the record, do you think you'll be the best ever?" It's not really for us to say. Our focus is going out there and really playing good tennis. We know if we play good tennis and have fun out in the court, the results will be there because we've done that throughout our whole partnership. Let everyone else talk about if you're the best, or as Butch said: These are one of the greatest teams. It's really nice. It's sort of sometimes you want to shrink away from it. It's nice to be up there and considered with some of the best ones. You just sort of reaffirm it. If you can keep winning as many titles as possible, probably even a little bit more, you know, winning these tournaments after not having a great run last year, to come back and, you know, win some more tournaments.

TODD WOODBRIDGE: I think we stepped up our play quite a lot from what we played.

Q. Have you ever wondered how the two of you would have done at the height of your powers against Fleming and John?

MARK WOODFORDE: I know I was in total awe when I did watch them play a tournament in Rotterdam, playing two other Australians. They never made an unforced error for like, I don't know, it was a set and a half before one of them made an unforced error. I mean, I was shocked by that. That was just amazing. Then to get to play with him and just feel the aura or experience the aura that he took onto the court with him. That probably defeated a lot more players than his actual game play. I think a lot of players walked out defeated before they actually played the match. I think for Todd and I, we go out and we beat the opposing team. I mean, he's one of the greatest players, you know, to have played doubles. It's just nice to be up there. I'm sure if you asked him, he'd say he's sure he could have kicked our asses every time. Let him think that.

TODD WOODBRIDGE: Fred and Newcombe beat him, and they weren't at their best at that stage.

Q. Is it inconvenient for you to live on opposite sides of the country?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: It's actually quite good. You can't spend all day every day in pressure situations and really get along all the time.

Q. You can go golfing together.

MARK WOODFORDE: We do that. But success, it pushes you together. When you're succeeding through a tournament, you're there practicing, training. We do socialize occasionally during the tournament. It's almost like when you get your free time, you do want to go like that (indicating apart) because you have to be fresh when you come back again. I think we realized that very early on.

TODD WOODBRIDGE: It's worked well for us really, that sort of thing. Really, you're only away from each other a probably of maximum of three to four weeks ever.

Q. Have we thoroughly Americanized both of you?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: In what respect (laughter)?

Q. You've been living here for a few years.

MARK WOODFORDE: We have homes, but that's about it.

TODD WOODBRIDGE: I still have Vegamite on toast for breakfast (laughter). Not quite. I don't have jelly and peanut butter yet.

MARK WOODFORDE: I'm trying to Australianize my wife.

Q. Is your first born going to be named Todd and yours Mark?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: I'm sure it won't be. It will be something completely opposite.

Q. Without kind of intruding too much on the sort of private grief, how difficult will it be to see him go off and play for Australia this week, you're going to be in Orlando?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: I think it's disappointing to me that I'm not going to have that chance. We've played really good tennis this year. It's our third win. Semis of Australia. This is one of the bigger ones to win, The Masters Series. Basically because I think of this new rule of the Davis Cup that I spoke about the other day, it takes out the best team in the world. Especially this week, we've come off a win, we've got confidence, and I can't play. That's I think something that really has to be looked at by the people that are running the Davis Cup now. They've taken away one of their assets. Nothing I can do about it, but it will be hard to sit back knowing that they're going through what they're doing, and I'm going to be going just off to another regular tournament, which I need to do, but I'd like to be on the court.

Q. What do you get when you win the Davis Cup final? Is there a medallion?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: You get a large replica of the trophy.

Q. Where do you guys keep yours? In your homes? Are they locked up?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: It's in a trophy cabinet at home.

MARK WOODFORDE: I walk by mine almost every day. I'm sure Todd's is out, as well.

Q. Still get a little bit of a jolt walking past it, looking at it?

MARK WOODFORDE: It's one of the greatest trophies to win.

TODD WOODBRIDGE: That match we won to win the final actually propelled us onto better things again. I think we came off of that match, won three out of five tournaments since then. I think really we were a little bit iffy, how well we were playing. We weren't even expected to win that match. I think we were 50/50 going into it. We won a good match. So the Davis Cup has kind of actually given us another kind of boost to really finish off our partnership in a great way.

Q. Why do you think the Davis Cup does that? We saw it with Pat with his singles against France, Philippoussis says it's probably going to do that for him after the final, so many other players from other countries.

TODD WOODBRIDGE: Because you have to put everything on the line. You put everything on the line because it's not for you. You let everybody down if you don't put everything on that line. You play a regular tournament and lose, you feel bad for yourself. No one else cares. You're under extreme pressure. It's the most pressure you'll play under. If you don't perform, it can make you or it can break you. If you don't do it, it often breaks players.

Q. You were up watching with Darren last night.

MARK WOODFORDE: The night before, yeah.

Q. Lleyton Hewitt, no BS, how good can he be in your mind?

MARK WOODFORDE: He's surprising me how well he's doing now. I thought maybe after he's been playing for over 12 months now, playing these type of tournaments, I thought he would have a little bit more of a difficult time. That win beating Gambill I think pushed him into the Top 10. It's phenomenal that he's got there already. Just his game, I would have thought maybe there would be more thinking players out there to try and dissect him a little bit better than what he has. I don't know whether it's because I've been in such close quarters with him in Davis Cup, played him many, many times, been on the losing end, you know, I might have got a closer look at his game. Always seems to me that some of these top players that he's beaten, they haven't like really -- they either haven't taken him seriously or they're not doing their homework properly enough. That's not trying to take anything away from Lleyton, because I mean, he's got some of the biggest guts that he leaves on the court. He's tenacious and he believes he can do it. He's got a great set of wheels. You know, he's improving. You know, his serve's getting better, his groundstrokes, he's trying to attack a little bit more, which I think will help him. He's playing doubles, which will certainly help him when he gets up to net. But I'm still a little bit surprised that he's got into the Top 10 already, just at 19, knowing the basis of his game. Yeah, I thought maybe he'd beat Sampras last night, and he didn't.

Q. French Open, it would be nice retiring from the tour having that title. Mark likes to play clay. What are your plans, Todd?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: Yeah, I'd like to win that (laughter).

Q. But how?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: How? I mean, we've kind of tried to do every which way. No way has worked. I think the best way is not to put pressure on ourselves to go in there to try our hardest to win. When we go to our tournaments, we go in and try to be relaxed, prepare, do what we can. I think that's what we have to do there. The last few years, two probably especially, we've really tried to do everything we could to get there. By the time we got there, we beat ourselves up and wore ourselves out. We played too early. This year we're not exactly sure, because I'm still trying to continue with my singles. I don't want to let that go. Having had these two Masters Series in a row, it's been four weeks. I'm going to play a couple of Challengers, all on clay, but green clay. We're definitely going to go to Hamburg. The week prior to the French I think we're going to be in Paris. I may play quallies. We'll do work there, be there early. Then if we can, we'll try to play another tournament in Europe. It all depends.

Q. How does that sound to you, Mark?

MARK WOODFORDE: I have to go along . A partnership, a team, is trying to set compromises.

TODD WOODBRIDGE: I think Mark would like me to play six or seven tournaments in Europe. At this particular time it means me giving up a whole lot of singles, and I can't afford to do that if I want to continue in that. I'm in a different stage of my career still. Mark has kind of let that one go. I can't let that go. You know, I hate that word "doubles specialist." I consider myself a very good singles player. I don't want to be left playing one event for four years or something.

Q. Did your experience in Nice on a clay court give you an added belief on that particular surface?


MARK WOODFORDE: Most definitely. Most definitely. With the work that we put in, I mean, I don't think we've approached it -- I know it's just one match, and a tournament is different. I don't think we've really undertaken that same approach leading up to the French Open before. We've maybe played a couple of tournaments. One year we did play like four tournaments leading up to it. As Todd said, by the time the French came around, we sort of had run out of steam a little bit. For me, doing well in Nice against the French was just affirmation that we can do it.

TODD WOODBRIDGE: I think it was important for us actually. I think in a lot of ways, it might have put it into other people's minds, as well. They sort of say we don't play well on clay. We've won enough tournaments on clay, more than most people. It's kind of like saying, Rosewall is no good on grass because he lost the Wimbledon finals. But he was. It's the same. We lost two semis, I think, one or two. That really put into other people's minds that we won a huge match.

Q. When do you hear Bhupathi will be back on tour?

MARK WOODFORDE: I think it's Rome or Hamburg. I think he's trying to get one or two weeks before Paris.

Q. Do you think those guys would be the team to beat at the French Open?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: I think it might take them a little bit to get going again.

MARK WOODFORDE: It took them a while to get to where they were probably this time last year through 1999. Really hard for anyone to take time off the tour, then just to step back in it again. Who knows? That could very well be that they might strike a victory early on.

Q. Stolle-Black?

MARK WOODFORDE: Stolle-Haarhuis.

Q. They be one of the suspects?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: The good teams don't always get through. Funny tournament, that one. Seems a hard one to pick.

Q. What would be a bigger victory or bigger deal for you, winning the French or winning a sixth Wimbledon?

MARK WOODFORDE: I mean, I'd love to be able to win the French. There's just something about completing. It's like a mission.

TODD WOODBRIDGE: I think it would be good to complete it all.

MARK WOODFORDE: I think probably you guys might turn around and say, "Yeah, good record, but they didn't win that French Open." If you take that out of the equation, it just strengthens maybe people's argument to say, "They seriously could be some of the best." It's just our job to try and do it. Hey, if you do it, you do it. If you don't, we've still got a pretty good record. There's no shame about the attempts that we've put in for it. I think that's what we're trying to do, just go there and give it a shot.

Q. How much are you playing on European clay before?

MARK WOODFORDE: At this stage one, Hamburg, then we'll both be in Paris the week before trying to simulate what we did leading up to the Davis Cup final.

TODD WOODBRIDGE: That's different.

Q. What about the clay ones over here?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: Atlanta, green. There may be something in the middle. Just have to see what happens.

GREG SHARKO: It was also their 62nd career individual doubles title for both. Tomorrow Sampras will try to go for his 62nd.

End of FastScriptsâ?¦.

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