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September 7, 1999

Todd Woodbridge


USTA: Questions for Mark and Todd.

Q. Conditions pretty tough out there today?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: Really. I thought it was good tennis, considering how difficult the conditions were, very breezy and swirly. Everybody made a lot of balls, pretty good tennis.

Q. What about the bad part?


Q. The bad part, the fact that you didn't win.

TODD WOODBRIDGE: Played well. Played all right. Played hard.

Q. How did you feel about the second serve on the line set point in the first set?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: It was a shank.

MARK WOODFORDE: He didn't hit it.

TODD WOODBRIDGE: It was a shank.

MARK WOODFORDE: Came off the frame.

TODD WOODBRIDGE: Took a bit of the frame.

MARK WOODFORDE: I don't think he meant to hit it so violently to clip the line. A lot of it was out. But it caught the line, as well.

TODD WOODBRIDGE: That would have really changed it a lot because they'd been up. We'd broken back a couple of times, kind of had the momentum.

Q. You had a great run, tremendous run. Do you feel you started to lose your grip dominating men's doubles?

MARK WOODFORDE: Yeah, a little bit. I think there are other teams out there that just get to see us play a heck of a lot. We probably set the standard for such a long time. When someone sits down and probably dissects your game plan, you know, you have to come out with something. That's exactly what we do to other teams we play against often enough. Probably just a bit more aware of what we do and obviously very keen to beat us.

Q. You've set the standard, haven't you?


TODD WOODBRIDGE: Yeah, a pretty good example. Every time you go out there, you're a pretty good example.

MARK WOODFORDE: I think when we play, we play well; I think we're the best team out there. Doesn't matter whether it was Jacco/Paul, or Leander/Mahesh or any of the other teams now. I feel comfortable that when we play well, that we're still the best team. We haven't been able to maintain a high standard this year throughout a tournament.

Q. How much longer can you see yourselves playing?

MARK WOODFORDE: Well, I'm hoping to stop at the end of 2000. I've always said that. Whether that (inaudible) our partnership, that's basically up to Todd. I know I'm stopping, because I'm quite a bit older. I'm prepared to finish up then. I think that's long enough for me. Then it's just up to Todd, whether he chooses to continue for 2000 or perseveres with 2000 or whether at the end of 2000 he continues on himself.

Q. You will still play doubles until the end of 2000?

MARK WOODFORDE: I will be, yes.

Q. What's your response, Todd?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: That's something we have to talk about. We're not going to have a conversation about something like that at a press conference.

Q. What is the situation with Davis Cup?

MARK WOODFORDE: What did he say?

Q. Are you going to Brisbane?


TODD WOODBRIDGE: I haven't had any communication with the team.

Q. If they wanted you to play, would you?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: As I've said, I've had no communication with the team at all. I can't answer that until they come to me. I've had nothing, so.

Q. Mark, how do you prepare then with a bit of uncertainty about the format the team will take at the moment, what your position will be?

MARK WOODFORDE: Treat it like any other Davis Cup tie that I've played in the past; going in there believing that I'm going to play doubles. You know, I think it's a bit against the odds for me to be playing singles and doubles. I think it's a question mark over some of the other guys on the team, whether they're going to be fit to play. I mean, I've never gone into a tie thinking, "I'm just going to sit back and play doubles and that's it." I think every team member has to go in there believing that they've got a shot in the singles. Once you get there and hit for a couple of days, I think then it starts to appear who is going to be playing singles. I think it's fairly certain that I'll be there playing doubles.

Q. Given injuries, your name is in the hat?

MARK WOODFORDE: Yeah. It's probably a different situation than we've been in, not an enviable position. Obviously, having Pat under a cloud of injury, and Mark still struggling with his knee, obviously Lleyton coming back after an ankle problem. They're really out three main singles guys coming into any tie on any surface. They're under a bit of a cloud. I don't think any of us really know - even Newc and Rochey - how the team is going to form until we get down there. Obviously, Pat is a wait-and-see situation, as is Lleyton and Mark. Knowing those guys, they'll be there with bells on wanting to play. I don't think they would put themselves into the position where there would be any doubt if they're going to play unless they'd be 100% fit.

Q. You had like an arm or shoulder that kept you out of Davis Cup?


Q. Was it all your elbow or just more?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: No, just my elbow.

Q. That's okay now?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: Yeah. I've been playing pretty well the last few weeks.

Q. How disappointed are you when you say you haven't had any contact with the Davis Cup team?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: Well, I think -- the tie I missed was the second out of maybe 20 or something. I've been a good team member for a long time.

Q. All the guys that are in that decision-making process are here at the moment, aren't they?


Q. I was going to ask if you're planning on stopping at the end of 2000, how much pressure that puts on you next year to get back and get at least one more Grand Slam? You had such a streak going for a long time.

TODD WOODBRIDGE: I don't think it's pressure. I think it's a challenge. I think it's pressure on the guys that are coming out to play you, really; whereas, this year has been more actually pressure on us to try to do that. When you know you can just go full bore, give anything you've got, see what happens, that's a challenge. That's a positive way to go at it. I think it would be pressure if you thought that it was something that (indicating). There's a finish line everywhere. It's like go hard to the finish line.

Q. Do you change your game at all if you think people are getting more familiar with your game? Do you try and execute better or actually do something different?

MARK WOODFORDE: We have to be inventive. If there are any weaknesses developing, you have to, you know, try and strengthen them up so they're not so glaring, and they're not going to break down at a particular point of the match. Yeah, you just find new ways. I think that's been the beauty of our partnership, is that we haven't really relied on one particular shot that's got us through all the great successes that we've had. We've been able to adapt to the opposition. If we're not hitting a particular shot too well in any match, then there is something else we can back it up with. Yeah, basically against certain guys, you've got to try and execute better, not give any free shots away. I think that's what we've been known for, is that we don't give too many free balls away. Perhaps this year we have. You know, a little bit of the enjoyment has disappeared.

TODD WOODBRIDGE: Because we haven't been winning as much (laughter).

MARK WOODFORDE: Yeah. It's something different for us to go through the first eight months, nine months that we're in this year. It's something else for us to handle. The success is fun, but the losses also, they strengthen your character. If we can turn that around and play the rest of this year, and hopefully next year, really enjoying it, you know, certainly there's going to be pressure when you get through deep into the bigger tournaments. We've been there; we've done that. That's nothing new to us. We've just got to try to enjoy it a little bit more.

Q. Do you think this sport, say in the next decade, needs any major changes to make it more attractive or do you think it will kind of evolve nicely and maintain its fan base, all of that?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: What are you suggesting?

Q. I'm not. I'm asking you guys.

TODD WOODBRIDGE: I think the sport's doing pretty good. You look at all the attendances and everything that has been going on. It's on the improve from - how many years ago was it now - where it was, "Is tennis dead?"

Q. Six years.

TODD WOODBRIDGE: It's really turned around. It's come around with good, young players coming up that want to get out there, play well, have a bit of spunk in them. It's a game that has a lot of history. I don't see that it's going to sort of just lose itself. I think it's too good for that.

Q. Do you think the younger, athletic guys will catch up to the speed of the serve, meaning that the serve will not eventually dominate?

TODD WOODBRIDGE: I think one of the things that has happened is that more of the athletes, maybe lack of track and field, are playing tennis because of what you can get out of the game, where it can take you, the money and the lifestyle. There's a lot more athletes that are out there playing. Even for me, when I started playing ten years ago, I was an average sort of height, not tall, but average, at 5'10. Now I'm short. You take a look at how all of these people have evolved in it. They're better athletes than what they were 15 years ago and more. Because of that, you know, the game is better. Certainly the game is better than what I started.

Q. So it might not be height, because you have your countryman Lleyton.

TODD WOODBRIDGE: When it comes down to big matches against big players, it's tough for him to hang in there for a long time. Sure, he's going to win some. He has to work so much harder than the other guy has to.

End of FastScripts….

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