|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
August 27, 1996
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Q. Mark, what was the difference between Australia and here in his game?
MARK WOODFORDE: Probably I think he served way better this time around. Different
circumstances, fourth -- first round, competitive fourth round. I think he just really
served well tonight. I saw him play last week against Todd. I've seen quite a bit of him
going through from the Olympics. I know how he's been playing. I think he played very,
very, very, very well tonight, such a very high standard. I think we all know once he gets
his serve going, you know, he just goes for any type of shot from the ground, regardless
whether they're going in or out. He's just holding his serve a whole lot easier. Just
seemed like that's what was going for him. It happens with every person's game. When
you're serving well, you feel great because you're winning your serve so easy, you just go
for the returns and some ground shots. I think that was the difference. I mean, I felt
like I played okay out there. I definitely have been playing -- tonight was better than
what I have been playing the last two weeks. It's a tough draw coming into it.
Q. You said you thought he improved.
MARK WOODFORDE: No, I didn't say that he had improved.
Q. That Mark had improved.
MARK WOODFORDE: I didn't say that.
Q. Do you think he has?
MARK WOODFORDE: Well, I think he's had a very up and down year. I think he's probably
maybe disappointed with his year, from the result from the Australian Open to Memphis,
nothing really inbetween to New Haven semifinals. I don't think there's been too many
other results. One of you guys might be able to correct me on that. I can't really say
that he's improved since then.
Q. Since you played him last?
MARK WOODFORDE: Yeah. But, you know, I've been with him going from the French through
to Wimbledon through to the Olympics. I roomed with the guy. Again, I saw him play last
week against my doubles partner. I knew I had to -- watching that match was important for
me because I had to play him here. I don't think he played anywhere near that standard
MARK WOODFORDE: Last week. Last week, you know, he was sort of really a bit all over
the place. I think Todd and myself and a few others had a game to beat him. Tonight, you
know, he was just awesome with his serve, awesome with his groundstrokes, very confident,
because he was winning the serve quite comfortably. He was hitting deep second serves.
Usually you can squeeze some double-faults out of him. Tonight he just didn't do that. He
was hitting very, very heavy second serves. I wasn't able to put enough pressure with the
return. Felt like if I did, you know, it was sitting up nicely for him to have a hit at
Q. Do you feel like he needs, though, to learn to mix his game up a bit more? Do you
sense that he is trying to do that?
MARK WOODFORDE: I think he is. It's a great basis for your game if you have a big
serve. We all know that the big stars of the tennis game today have huge serves. Chang
maybe is the little one of them, and still he gives it a fair whack. He has the backing,
the basis there. I think tonight, you know, he did some things well. I think he was just
confident. When you're confident, you're moving well. He serve volleyed probably more so
than what I've seen him do. These might have been tactics to play against me rather than
to try and get into a rhythm with me than stay on the baseline. Perhaps seemed like he
came in. Tried chip-charging my second serve. Stopped it, tried it a little later on and
it worked. All credit to him. I mean, he wanted to win that match tonight. He improved
from last week anyway. I mean, that's what I can say. I know he improved from losing to my
Q. He hit the hardest serve on record so far this year. You actually won that point.
Did you realize that?
MARK WOODFORDE: Was that forehand return that I hit back?
Q. It was in the tiebreak. It was 4-3. He hit it down the line. I guess it would have
been a forehand.
MARK WOODFORDE: I didn't really -- I think it's rather -- I don't know. When I play
guys like that I try not to look at the speed because I know mine pales in comparison. I'm
not afraid of playing. Sometimes I get tired of playing guys with a huge serve. When
they're playing well, you feel like a target, you're going left, right; left right; game.
You hold on to your serve, they breeze through theirs. That happens occasionally. If you
hold on, usually they'll have a bad game. You just have to hang in and be mentally
prepared for that game, to get the ball over, get the second serves over. Just sort of I
was waiting for one of them, and I'm glad I went in the right direction to get that first
Q. Todd played a smart game against him last week. As you said, you guys have seen a
fair bit of him of late. Have you sort of got a little recipe for at least attempting to
defeat him? Was there a certain plot that you take into a game against Mark specifically?
MARK WOODFORDE: Yeah, for sure. It would be non-professional to go into any game
against anyone without a game plan. We're lucky enough that I think Todd and I both have a
game that can upset -- if we execute well, we can upset a lot of players, especially tall
players like Mark Philippoussis. Sometimes their court coverage is poor. He goes certain
ways with his groundstrokes. You just have to be, you know, ready for that, make him play
the way that he doesn't like to, the wrong shot. Todd did that very well last week. I
think Mark tried to go for a lot of shots last week, and they didn't come off. He didn't
serve as well. Tonight, I mean, he must have hit some incredible high percentage of first
serves, and a great win percentage when he did get it in. That makes it hard. With a young
kid, you know, he just goes out there and plays. That's Peter McNamara's job, that's the
good thing that he's with him, not that the other coaches haven't done a good job. I think
they're all mixing in well. Now Mac has the reins. He has a game that could really upset
some of the top players. He was a great claycourt player. He knew how to mix it up, really
give all types of players a hard time. I think Scud is going to benefit from that. It's
just a matter if Mac can hold on to the reins long enough.
Q. At first he had a hard time breaking you. You're smiling at your reins comment. I
was just wondering, why was it that he had so much trouble breaking you at first? What
were you doing? Was it just him missing?
MARK WOODFORDE: I think I was serving well. The first set I served pretty well. I
disguised it, mixed it up.
Q. He had like seven or so breakpoints before he finally did.
MARK WOODFORDE: I came up with some good shots to hold on to my serve. I think it's
just maybe giving me credit that I was playing those points pretty well. Maybe the match
changed actually a little bit, now that I think of it. Early in the second set, 2-All, he
hit that incredible reflex. That was pure luck. I was actually thinking of hitting him
with the ball because it was that easy. I pulled off of it and tried to hit it away. He
just sort of put his racquet out there. He was literally looking behind him when he hit
it. Great surprise to me and to him that it went over. That was the game he broke me on.
The first point at that stage, I'm up a set, still holding on to my serve relatively well.
A shot like that, I think that disturbed the balance a little bit. He broke me, even
though it was a long, drawn-out game, he still broke me. I think from that point on, that
began my troubles with my service game. I tried to put it out of my head. Had game point a
couple times next game. I think that maybe changed the momentum of the match. Sort of gave
him a lot of heart. I'm sure he was happy as can be that he made it. Maybe it released
some of the tension that he had. From then on, he just continued serving well. He started
picking my serve up, hitting the ball very, very well from the ground. Disappointing for
me to see them all go in at that stage, too.
Q. If he maintains this level, how much damage can he do?
MARK WOODFORDE: He plays Olhovskiy, I think that will be a dangerous match for him.
Andrei is not going to stay on the baseline too much with him. If Scud gives this guy a
chance, he's going to be all over him. He puts immense pressure on you all the time. After
that I really haven't looked at the draw. If he keeps serving well, we know what Goran can
do, Sampras does, Todd Martin, all of those guys. If they start serving well in a
tournament, they're able to maintain it, they can go deep, deep into the tournament. It's
hard to say how he feels, how fresh he feels. I mean, he hasn't had, like I said earlier,
the results that he's probably looking for with that great start to the year. So this
might be the tournament, a bit of a turnaround for him.
Q. You've had a lot of great wins at this tournament. If you put your mind in Scud's
body, what kind of damage could that do?
MARK WOODFORDE: That would be bloody awesome. Probably would have lofted the crown
already. That's a good thought. If I was built like a --
Q. You think when you're that talented, you naturally don't have to think out the
points like you do?
MARK WOODFORDE: Well, he's still young. That's the beauty of it. Sometimes he doesn't
think about it. When he's playing well, serving well, no need to think of anything else
because he's able to bottom away. Heck, I mean, it's a great weapon. I wish that I had
something like that, was able to just step up there and give the ball a wallop like it's
nothing. That's where the coaches have got to come in and help him, that at some stage
there are a lot of other crafty players out there that are going to give him trouble, can
mix it up, match him with some power, play with touch, perhaps make him move a little bit.
I don't think tonight I made him move. In the Australian Open, he was going, left, right,
high, deep, up, low. Tonight I didn't do that. That's a credit to him.
Q. Would you want to coach him?
MARK WOODFORDE: That's a tough question. I don't know. It would be frustrating, I
think, because sometimes you wonder how in the hell can he miss that when it looks very
easy, you've seen him play great matches when everything works, you think no problems,
then maybe tomorrow it doesn't work. Fingers crossed, it would be nice for me to say that
I've lost to a player who has played well in this tournament and can go through the draw.
Q. I'm just saying, because you're older enough than him that you could be ending right
when he's coming into his prime?
MARK WOODFORDE: Yeah, don't wish me upon that yet, pal. I want to keep playing for a
few more years.
End of FastScripts...