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September 5, 1999

Chris Woodruff


Q. Tough one to lose, Chris. It was very, very close.

CHRIS WOODRUFF: Yeah, it was pretty close.

Q. What was the nature of your injury?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: My foot? That was just a toenail problem, digging into my skin a little bit because my socks were making my foot really, you know, my foot had softened quite a bit. But it was nothing, no major problem at all.

Q. Did the game go much as you expected?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: Yeah, it did. I didn't play as smart tactically as I should have, but it was like I expected.

Q. What was the tactic that you thought might work?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: Well, you know, contrary to popular demand, you need to serve him more to the forehand. No doubt about it, because he holds the return serve with the backhand grip. He can't pass on his backhand to save his life. He can't come over his backhand at all to pass. He's very comfortable hitting a chip; he's got a great serve. But I just don't think he's very comfortable passing off the backhand. You need to serve a lot to the forehand, and you need to play most of the shots over to the forehand because that really can't hurt you from the back.

Q. You say contrary to belief.

CHRIS WOODRUFF: I'm sure people will get out there and say: You got to play his backhand; you got to play his backhand. If you notice, he's very comfortable chipping. If I pressured his backhand, even on a couple of ducks, I hit to him and he came in and chipped the ball. I never saw him once step up and come over it. These courts are tailor-made for him. I wish him a lot of luck here.

Q. In terms of the pace?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: Yeah. The balls never really fuzz up. It's very slick out there. He's got a great serve. What a pretty motion, one of the best motions, if not the best, out here.

Q. Did you seriously think you would beat him?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: Absolutely. I thought I had a lot of chances. I really started to return well. I competed, you know, extremely well out there, and so I walk away from here a little dejected because obviously I had a good opportunity. If I were to beat him, I would have played Todd Martin, and that whole side is really wide open.

Q. Was it a deliberate tactic to try and slow him down a little bit when he was stepping out to serve?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: No, I just think he was playing pretty quickly. He was always ready to go. He was looking to hit four bombs, four serves and get out of there. I didn't really even have a chance to get ready.

Q. What were the conditions like? Obviously, we could tell how humid it was, and windy.

CHRIS WOODRUFF: Very windy down on the court. It was very windy. I also struggled on my serve. If I had served better, had a little more confidence, I think it would have been even a closer match. But it was extremely windy, and I'm not sure he was hitting all his serves. He hit a couple really huge ones, but he was predominantly hitting a lot of slices, kicks, trying to make a high percentage of first serves.

Q. Do you think he can go all the way here, Chris?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: All the way, that's a heavy statement on my part. I think definitely he's got a shot at the final. But I don't -- obviously, next match I want my friend Todd to win.

Q. As you say, you're pretty good friends with Todd. Will you have a chat with him about how great he's playing?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: Todd doesn't need to have a chat with me. Todd's beaten him, I'm sure, several times. Greg is a great matchup for Todd. Todd's a little more comfortable at the net than I am. He'll make Greg pass him.

Q. How will Todd beat Greg?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: He'll make great pass off the backhand. Rafter has a good record against Greg. Rafter gets into the net and makes a great pass off the backhand.

Q. Davis Cup?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: He returned really well there. Todd returned incredible, which Todd's very capable of doing.

Q. Do you think his inability to come to the backhand could kind of prove his own doing?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: You know, I think it would be wrong of me to sit here and tell you he's an underachiever with that serve. But I think he -- I don't know if he'll ever get to the top because that's a pretty big hole.

Q. The backhand?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: Yeah. But his serve, I think what was his career high, 4 in the world or something, 3? So, you know, obviously who am I talk to talk about not getting in the Top 20? He's a runner-up in a Grand Slam, he's got a great serve.

End of FastScripts….

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