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December 6, 1996

Mark Woodforde


Q. What is your strategy going in against a server like Goran?

MARK WOODFORDE: Well, I think it's the obvious: just to try and get the bloody ball back over the net often enough. That's basically it, trying to make him volley. You know, I've played him a few times, and I have a lot of respect for that serve because he's able to serve incredibly well. That's probably one of the tennis' phenomenons, Goran Ivanisevic's serve. Yet, I always feel if I can get it back over enough times and make him play a little bit, you know, I feel like I'm a better player. Doesn't really make a lot of sense, but there's probably a difference between Goran and Mark Woodforde, that's honestly how I feel. I know a lot of players feel that way as well. If he serves like that, if he gets it in the court, that fast, he's going to be a threat at the end of the tournament. He's able to serve it down and doesn't have to play too many times because he just hits everything else as hard as he can. That's really my strategy. I know he has certain weaknesses elsewhere, from the ground, so on. But, you know, on a court like that, you don't really get a chance to bring that into the outcome of the match because it's just whether he's going to ace you enough or whether he's going to give you a couple of double-faults.

Q. You're right, though, that's how you broke him, making him volley. He was unable to do it.

MARK WOODFORDE: I mean, heck, like I said, I have respect -- lot of respect for him because he's one of the best tennis players. But I think he's got definitely one of the best serves. Everything else is, you know -- a guy like me would love to go back to playing with wooden racquets, probably from yesteryear. I feel like maybe I would be a better player. Maybe a guy like Goran wouldn't be quite a threat in all these tournaments that have fast surfaces. That ain't to be, and you go play against him, you've got to get that serve back as well as you can. Today, you know, I just couldn't get it back. I mean, he was serving incredibly well, I haven't played a left-hander for a while. That was the difference really: his serve.

Q. Can you compare his serve to Philippoussis'?

MARK WOODFORDE: Well, I think Mark's certainly getting up there. I think Mark, I feel, maybe I'm biased, but I think Mark is more of a complete player. You know, Mark has the great groundstrokes. It's not like Goran doesn't hit groundstrokes, like he doesn't hit any volleys. I think, you know, in that match, I think the crowd can see it as well, you make him play enough, he's going to miss. Mark, I just have a feeling sometimes, even if you get the ball over the net, then you have to stand back another ten feet because you know there's huge forehand or backhand is coming to come out and he's going to hit that for a winner. That's the difference, I feel.

Q. Just one more, I'm sorry.

MARK WOODFORDE: That's okay.

Q. When you hit the ball right at him today, was that a mistake or what was that?

MARK WOODFORDE: It was the only way I was going to win the match, trying to injure him, wasn't it (laughter)? I didn't hit him hard enough, I don't think. No, it was just -- at that stage, you know, it was just trying to get in and win a point, to try and unsettle him a little bit, but it didn't work. He just shrugged it off, came out and served another ace, didn't work.

Q. Mark, this year has been a year of incredible highs for yourself. If you had to just pull out two of them as the absolute pinnacle, which two would you choose?

MARK WOODFORDE: Making the semis of the Australian Open in Melbourne, home country, home crowd behind me. And probably maybe the Olympic gold. The Olympic gold and winning a fourth Wimbledon were probably very close, a little different. Wimbledon is for Todd and myself, that's our pride. But winning the Olympic gold is for Australia's pride. It's sort of like more of a team effort. I sort of rate them maybe a little bit evenly. I think those two are the outstanding highs of my year.

End of FastScripts….

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