August 21, 1998
NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT
Q. You looked very sharp today, I thought.
TODD WOODBRIDGE: Big improvement, that is for sure, first time we have played in the
day. This summer every other match we have played at night. A lot different conditions. I
think the conditions we play better in today. We are working on just trying get a bit
better each match. That was a good improvement from our match last time.
Q. How long do you think you are going to continue playing together? For how long more?
TODD WOODBRIDGE: Probably as long as he can put up with me.
Q. Can you take him?
MARK WOODFORDE: It is not quite like that. I think we sort of set ourselves a goal of
trying to play 'til the Sidney 2000 Olympics and then that, I think, will be the ultimate
goal for us if we can still play at the very top level up until that stage and then after
that, I think I will go away quietly and let Todd finish out his illustrious career. So
hopefully we can survive 'til then. We have been playing pretty long time and, you know,
so, we would like to make it through 'til then see what we can do.
Q. You were always the top, the last couple of years you have had more competition. Do
you think now that the doubles teams now they are better than two or three years ago, that
is the reason or you have lowered your level of play?
TODD WOODBRIDGE: Probably a little bit of both, but when you are at the top so much,
everybody charges at you and what we have had to deal with over the last few years and
thinking that we are both fairly proud of ourselves for staying there for so long is that
everybody comes out and plays their best tennis at you every time you come out on to the
court. There isn't someone -- because they have nothing to lose and they feel like they
probably maybe are going to lose anyway, so I am going to try and win it; see if I can
come out of the gates swinging and they do. It is generally -- that is the hard part about
being at the top is that you have to absorb a lot of great play from people all the time.
To stay there you have to get through that. Over time, you are going to come back a little
bit, but it is sometimes good to come back a little bit because then you can reassess
perhaps where you have been making a few errors and can get better again.
Q. Are you looking to Hartford; very determined to win that this year, would you say?
MARK WOODFORDE: I think every tournament we go into we always look at trying to win.
That is one of the big tournaments that we play. It is the season-ending tournament for
us, you know. I think the way we have played this year, we are trying to set ourselves up
to make it through to the end of 2000 and, you know, winning something like this along the
way is just going to -- this year hasn't been, you know, what we consider one of our
better years, but we have won tournaments and I think we are just trying to redevelop our
games a little bit to strengthen up again. That will just top the year off nicely if we
can -- obviously by winning here and the US Open and then winning Hartford as well, so, we
haven't won the last couple of years really there.
TODD WOODBRIDGE: Last year was funny first because we played reasonably well and
thought we were pretty much through the real stage of the tournament so the semis after
the round Robin we didn't make the semifinal, so that was kind of weird. It will be nice
to do a little better this year.
MARK WOODFORDE: For now it is just trying to get through this tournament; then the US
Open, like one tournament at a time for us. I don't think we have ever looked too far in
Q. You were just saying about the Olympics - have you really given yourself that
timeframe enough to finish with Sydney that you will decide to retire?
MARK WOODFORDE: Yeah, that is a reasonable goal for myself, and for our partnership, it
is still a year and a half away or something like that, so, I am not saying that I am
going to play singles -- I'd like to be out and play singles up in that stage as well, but
it is something there for me to shoot for. I think if I can keep setting goals for myself,
it helps me focus in and continue with, you know, my training on and off the court and
trying to still develop my game and become a better player. I think that is, as I said,
reasonable goal for myself, and for us as a team. So then I can, you know, hopefully look
back and say well, I have gave myself every chance to become a decent player and hopefully
be able to say that I have had a great year and great life as a tennis player.
Q. Is that the reason you think the level of your play level has lowered a little bit
really because playing singles and doubles and a little more of your age, a little more
injuries with time, that is probably the reason why --
MARK WOODFORDE: No, I don't think age really has, you know, too much to do with it. And
I don't think our level has dropped dramatically. Jacco and Paul are always there. We
enjoy having them as one of our main opposition because they keep -- I think we keep
pushing each other, both teams up to become better teams, and better players. We have had
so many years of being at the top, it is nice to be not the hunted team for a period and,
you know, just -- I think while I have set a goal for myself, as I said, it is just going
to help me keep pushing and pushing and while Todd accepts me as a reasonable partner and
be able to play well, that will keep pushing me as well. As soon as he says that I am not
playing well, then we will stop. (Laughs)
Q. He hasn't said so?
MARK WOODFORDE: Not yet to me, anyway.
Q. Seems that you two have raised the doubles in the public because it is difficult
TODD WOODBRIDGE: That is one of things that we have tried to do and it is good now that
we have had other teams that are, you know, building that profile too. It helps to have
countries, you know, like say like ours the Woodies are Australians, the Indians that are
coming up playing well, the Dutch team, that helps building in those countries as well.
You wouldn't believe the amount of following in India when we went to India this year and
played and we were superstars because how big a superstar the Indian teams were and they
knew that we were their biggest rival. That is great for the game in general and
particularly in getting doubles back up there in peoples' eyes as a really entertaining
piece of the game to watch.
Q. It has been kind of a long struggle. It continues too?
TODD WOODBRIDGE: Yeah, it will always continue, but when you have the quality there and
like with our performances and then the other teams now coming to back you up and making
the competition strong then that helps it out.
Q. Wouldn't you favor that the World Championship of Doubles be played if different
places so you can expand a little bit more the interest in doubles because Hartford hasn't
been exactly a nice site because people don't go to the doubles. However if you go to a
country where there is less tennis tournaments or more interest in tennis that in this
country, wouldn't it be a better idea to have it going around so you can get better
TODD WOODBRIDGE: I guess, but we have a great -- in Hartford you have a great sponsor
who really believe in the event and it makes it work because they want to make the event
work. Right now we have to go where people will take it and make the event work. They have
already 30% above their ticket sales for the whole year last year this time already. So
the event is progressing in that area. So we are working really hard at trying to get it
going well in that particular site. Hopefully it can continue to do that.
Q. They have set attendance records to, have they not, the last, I think, two years?
TODD WOODBRIDGE: They didn't have much to beat.
Q. True. But if it did go around - started going around the world again, would it not
drop back or has --
TODD WOODBRIDGE: I don't know. If you go to India, you can play in the middle of a
cricket pitch and have 250,000. You get attendance records there, but whether that is
feasible, who knows.
Q. The experience you are talking about, where were you in India?
TODD WOODBRIDGE: In Chennai, the ATP Tour event there.
Q. Had huge crowds for the doubles?
TODD WOODBRIDGE: Sold out day and night.
End of FastScripts