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September 5, 1996

Mark Woodforde


MARK WOODFORDE: That is the match I think we probably expect from those two because they have been our main rivals over the last few years and hopefully we have tried to - all 4 of us - have lifted the profile of doubles because we are all four pretty, you know, decent singles players, the week-in and week-out, playing singles and doubles. We know the court. We know the angles, and that is what made it a big match in Atlanta. And I think it is just fitting now that perhaps to play them in a big final rather than the quarters or the semis because they really are one of the premier teams on the doubles Tour.

Q. What is the secret of keeping a partnership together, other than winning, as long as you and Todd -- what are the tensions or whatever?

MARK WOODFORDE: It is not necessarily winning, as you say. Because I think sometimes you do go into a bit - if you have a lot of success -- you tend to get a bit lethargic or tend to maybe dip into apathy - times of apathy - and it is hard to shake that off. Todd and I try and spend - when we do have a time of success winning tournaments - you know, maybe two, three weeks on end, we understand we have got to spend a bit of time a part because that crispness about you, the freshness, when it is a tight moment, disappears after spending several weeks together so we are very much aware that you have got to spend a bit of time - maybe it is not for -- we don't go out and eat together quite as much or practice together quite as much. But, you know, probably after about a week or ten days, two weeks, then, you know, you are ready to get back with each other and spend some more time, which is what we really have gone through after the Olympics. We suffered a bit of a let-down, you know, we have been through Paris, Queens, Wimbledon, then, you know, bang, straight into the Olympics. There was a lot of pressure on us because we were really the only teams that are from the same country. So we sort of expected to have a bit of a lull going through Cincinnati, Indy and Toronto which we did and, thankfully, we have got through it and we are back, you know, hungry to win this one.

Q. Ray Russell said it was kind of like a marriage. You have your ups and downs, is that what you are saying?

MARK WOODFORDE: Yeah, well, we both wanted to become one of the best teams and, you know, we have worked very hard at it, and I am sure Jacco and Paul say exactly the same thing, and I don't think I could perform to a high standard if I didn't like my partner or want to spend time off the court. I think you really have to have a good understanding with each other and communicate well, and Todd and I certainly do that.

Q. Todd said first match you played together you lost, didn't take long before you realized that you guys were complimentary to each other.

MARK WOODFORDE: We were horrendous the very first match.

Q. When was that and who was it against?

MARK WOODFORDE: We played Macpherson and DeVries, and it was in New Haven 1990 I think and -- but I was coming off of playing finishing my time with McEnroe, so was playing the first court and Todd was actually on the second court, and we switched that around quick smiling after we never made a return in that match. I think the second tournament we made the semifinals and we actually beat Forget and Hlasek who were the world champions next week. They went on to win the World Championships so we thought if we could be a pair like that and after a few weeks before being so bad together, that, you know, there was some hope, and as I said earlier, we wanted to work at it. We felt like that was always going to help our singles, and, you know, Ray helped us immensely in that area.

Q. When you people associate doubles with these big explosive games, big volleys and everything, you guys are still winning with finesse, it looks like. I mean, is that accurate?

MARK WOODFORDE: Yeah, well, you know, hopefully today playing that match against Mark and Pat out there that you sort of got the feeling that the crowd hopefully were understanding that, you know, once we are able to get their serve back enough that, you know, we were going to perhaps be the better team. Hopefully I understood that. We certainly got that feeling that, you know, if we could -- I mean, there are going to be times when both of those, you know, Pat and Mark are just going to serve us off the court. Hopefully, that won't happen too soon, but there are going to be times when they will do that and we won't be able to return a ball and that is too good. They have played above their game, but in the past when we have played them, if we feel we get enough back, we have the array of shots to really end up winning the match which finally we at 4-3 today, that is what happened and we just put the ball over a few more times than they did.

Q. The night before when you and Todd realized you were going to played each other in Toronto in the first round, did you kind of go your separate ways the night before? I know it was tough for both of you.

MARK WOODFORDE: Yeah, it is. That was probably even especially harder on the both of us coming -- I pointed out earlier, that we were coming off from French through Wimbledon to the Olympics. We had spent a lot of time together, you know, at that time we sort of whatever I said Todd thought it was really having a go at him, and whatever he said, I thought he was, you know, having a go at me, and, you know, so it was like we were both a bit snappy with each other. Then you turn up at a tournament and you are being told by everyone "the Woodies are going to play each other," you sort of -- it is not -- it is like, you know, graded against you, and it was -- yeah, it is hard. The night before, I really just -- I mean, he stayed in town and I was back at the other hotel out near the courts and so we really didn't see each other a whole lot that week anyway. So it was hard and you just, you know, sometimes, you know, you get to play a good match against each other. I mean, that is my wish that you do play a really quality match against each other, but more often than not, it doesn't happen because one of you is nervous or one of you is a bit cranky about having to play each other, and he ended up winning, and.....

Q. And he went to the finals, I guess.

MARK WOODFORDE: Yes, well, that is probably -- makes it a little bit easier if when you do lose that -- I lost -- I think I lost the last three times to Todd and those three times he has gone on to be in the finals, so, you know, I obviously give him a lot of confidence.

Q. You guys have both have had your good moments in singles last couple of years. Has it ever crossed your mind that you concentrate on singles; maybe I can be top 10, top 15. I know a minute ago you said doubles helped your singles.

MARK WOODFORDE: Yeah, it does occur, you know, at various tournaments where we are playing -- well, in both events and, you know, it does, especially at -- I feel at my age I sometimes do get a little bit more tired than what I used to and yeah, I don't think at the Tour events that we would forego playing the doubles. We have already cut back maybe to two or three tournaments out of our schedule. I don't think we would drop it down anymore than that. I think we are hungry for success, any type of success and, you know, you can get confidence from both. As far as the Grand Slams, I mean, Todd hasn't played the mixed for a while and I really think this will be my last mixed tournament until maybe I start really dropping down in form, as far as my singles and doubles go, because it is hard and sometimes you are not in control of the match as you are in singles and so I think next year both of us will probably spend time out of the mixed doubles competition to really try and focus on doing better at singles. I got that impression when I played the Australian this year, that once I was out of the men's doubles, you know, I had so much energy to play in my singles, then I could really relax and play mixed on the out day that I didn't play singles and, you know, usually we are doing well in all three events; that makes it very hard.

Q. When you are out there how does the personality work, who is the calming influence who is the fiery one?

MARK WOODFORDE: I think I said in Toronto that Todd is the fiery one and I am usually the calm one. I think that has a lot of truth to it that, you know, Todd is the person that if we are in a bit of a lull or stuck, we need to be fired up. I think he is more aware of that in a match. And I am more aware when it comes to a time that if, you know, perhaps we have argued too much about a line call or something is bothering us, I am more aware of that, I say, come on, let us just sort of lie low or keep our heads down and -- but, you know, it is not anyone is really the captain of the team. That is where the marriage works is that we are both very aware and we are building up such a rapport with each other and reputation and experience that, you know, we help each other out in all situations now.

Q. How clairvoyant are you with each other?

MARK WOODFORDE: Look, I think that just comes from playing enough matches together that, you know, you just see each other, the type of shots we both can play, that comes from practicing with each other, and winning, and being in a lot of tight moments in big matches and where it comes down, you just really have to hit the ball in on a dime and know where to move to put a lot of pressure on your opponent. It is not really clairvoyant, being clairvoyant. I wish we could sometimes, but it is more or less just working as team having good understanding of each other.

End of FastScripts....

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