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September 3, 1999

Chris Woodruff


Q. Explain how you beat Tim Henman and a lot of other Top 30, 25 players, and walking in, you lose the first round.


Q. Yes.

CHRIS WOODRUFF: You know, I have to ask myself that. Granted, he plays serve and volley tennis, and the courts in Montreal are very, very fast. I was kind of in the summation of my career, really. It's about every, you know, I seem to play well about every third or fourth tournament I play in. I'd like to definitely get more consistent results.

Q. Do you have any plan in that respect, developing consistency?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: A lot of it's my head. You know, just being, I think, a better competitor, you know. Once I get out there, compete, I'm fine. But a lot of times sometimes I don't always feel like I get as prepared to play as I should.

Q. What do you think of this tournament? Is it sort of fun to look around and not see anybody you recognize after the first couple of days?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: Yeah, you know, this is the first time I've been interviewed. Nobody's been bothering me. I haven't been sidetracked by USA Network or anything, it's kind of nice. I mean I don't know if you meant it like that?

Q. No, I didn't, but that's a good line.

CHRIS WOODRUFF: I figured you meant it the other way, but...

Q. The tournament is breaking up. Could you see Chris Woodruff winning this title?


Q. There are a few guys left.

CHRIS WOODRUFF: I haven't thought about nearly that far in advance, but I do like this tournament a lot. It's my favorite Grand Slam.

Q. Why?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: Well, because I feel if I'm going to win a Grand Slam that this would be the one I could win. I don't think I could win -- I may never win Wimbledon. French is awfully tough. I have a shot at the Australian, but I feel these courts are tailor-made for my game.

Q. Does being an American have anything to do with your feeling?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: No. I just think it's -- I just think these courts set up well for me. It's just -- well, I take that back. I guess it does. Say you won the United States Open, it would mean a lot in our home country.

Q. Greg Rusedski.

CHRIS WOODRUFF: Greg Rusedski is probably a pretty straightforward match. If I return serve well, I win. If I return serve well and serve well myself, I'll win.

Q. You do return serve well.

CHRIS WOODRUFF: Right. But I haven't played a server maybe besides Goran who serves like that, left-handed, and hit all the left-handed serves. It will be a tough match. If I don't return well and give him chipping and charging on my serve, then I'm probably in for a long day.

Q. Do you remember what you were doing a year ago? Did you even watch this thing?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: A year ago, during this tournament?

Q. Yes.

CHRIS WOODRUFF: Never turned on the television. Could have cared less. A year ago I was probably out hitting golf balls during the day when it was on and going out with my friends at night.

Q. Where were you?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: What's that?

Q. Where were you a year ago?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: A year ago I was hurt.

Q. But I mean physically where were you? Back home?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: Yeah, I was back at home.

Q. What was the injury?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: Hurt my knee.

Q. Which knee?


Q. What did you do to it?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: I hurt it playing football, kicking a football.

Q. Tear something?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: I didn't tear anything, I had just some cartilage work done on it. But I reinjured it and I came back too early and --

Q. Chipped cartilage?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: I don't know the definition of whether I chipped it or not, I just know that he went in and took some cartilage out.

Q. This was a good win today. This guy's a good player.


Q. What kind of a game plan did you have?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: Well, today I just wanted to rush him, was basically my game plan. He has big backswings, a lot of top spin. I figured if I could just basically stay on the baseline, hit my shots, I would have a good shot of winning. I came on on his second serves. I actually feel like I've had two good wins. Granted, I played James Blake, another fellow American in the first round. It was sad that we had to play one another because I think that he does have a future out here. I hit the ball extremely well. And I think that match taught me that I matured a lot out here. Two years ago I would have played another American young like that, I would have been nervous, feeling all the pressure on myself. I'm playing well here.

Q. Do you think we might be seeing a renaissance of American tennis in this tournament? Yesterday four Americans won. A lot of Americans are coming on.

CHRIS WOODRUFF: Who's doing what?

Q. Well, Spadea, Gimelstob won last night.

CHRIS WOODRUFF: I know Gimelstob won, I saw him in the training room.

Q. Agassi.

CHRIS WOODRUFF: I don't know if he -- with Agassi, he seems to always play well here, so I'm very happy that Justin and myself are still in this tournament, and I would love nothing more than for us to continue to do well, just for the sake of American tennis.

Q. Does you being in your country give you an edge against Rusedski here? Does the crowd get in your corner?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: Well, when I was playing James Blake, they were pulling against me, clearly. So I don't know. I never really think about trying to -- I try not to think too much about the crowd.

Q. You never really fed off a crowd?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: I have sometimes. I have sometimes, but most of the time I'm back there on Court 10 in the back playing where I don't get a big crowd.

Q. Chris, go back to Canada two years ago. Then think about today. What's missing today that was there two years ago?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: You know, I don't really know. At this tournament I'm striking the ball very well. I'm playing well under pressure. My ranking is slowly but surely getting back up. I think I'll be in the low 60s after this, depending on the outcome against Rusedski. If I beat him, I could still get it back to 30. I could easily wind up where I was in '97 this year. It's just a lot to have 15 tournaments on the computer. To have 15 tournaments on the computer and be 70 in the world, right now that's pretty good I think, considering I missed a year.

Q. Are you impatient?


Q. Yes.

CHRIS WOODRUFF: No. Right now I'm about as patient as I've ever been. I feel very calm and there's no question I'll get back to the Top 30. I know that's going to come. I actually feel like it's attainable this year.

Q. Chris, when you consider the generation of Americans that preceded you: Sampras, Agassi, Courier, Chang, Martin group, is it amazing to you that that much talent would come up at the same time and that -- it seems that it may never happen again?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: That that talent will never come up again?

Q. Well, yeah. First of all, how hard is it to believe that all of those guys came out of this country at the same time? And, how difficult would it be for one country to produce that kind of talent?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: I think you see that in other sports as well. Right now in golf you have Sergio Garcia, David Duval, Tiger Woods. That's kind of like -- I don't want to go as far as saying they're like Sampras -- but it's kind of like Agassi and Courier. I mean those guys are -- so I think you see a lot of that. I think we got a little greedy in there as well. Something happened. We turned our guys like Sampras, Agassi, Courier, and then I don't know who to point the finger at, but we stopped turning out players for whatever reason. I think when Chang came along, I think we took for granted the success that we were having.

Q. Is it cultural, do you think, that kids aren't playing tennis as much as they should be?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: You know, I can just tell you from what I see at my club, back in 1980, late '80s when I was playing tennis, my club was packed, the club I play at at home. And now -- you used to have to wait a long time to get a court; you used to have to bump people. Now there's not a soul up there. You're right. In the neighborhood I live in, and it's a fairly big neighborhood, kids are playing basketball. Not one kid plays tennis. A lot are playing basketball, a lot are playing soccer, a lot are playing golf. I think tennis has lost some interest here and golf's taken off.

Q. Yet this tournament is drawing record crowds.

CHRIS WOODRUFF: You know, I was talking to Todd Martin about that. He and I were wondering where the crowds were. We were like -- (laughing). We were practicing yesterday and, for example, I could count the people over watching the match on Court 7, and the court behind us, there wasn't anybody watching that match either. So he and I were wondering the same thing, if we had record crowds here but --

Q. No people? (Laughter.)

CHRIS WOODRUFF: I don't know.

Q. I think you might have said you haven't played Rusedski in the past?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: I have played him. I played him 16s in Juniors.

Q. How did you do?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: His serve --

Q. I was going to ask you about his serve.

CHRIS WOODRUFF: He had a great serve in the Juniors and he still, obviously, has a great serve.

Q. That was here, wasn't it, the Juniors?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: No, that was on clay in Nashville.

Q. How did you do?


Q. He was a Canadian then?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: Yeah, he was.

Q. You talk about you have a good return, your return has to work on Sunday. Do you have to guess where he's going when he is serving that big, or do you have time to read it?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: You know, I've never had to play anybody where I've had to guess where they're serving. I've played the best -- the best server in the game, Sampras. I've played Ivanisevic. It hasn't come down to where I had to guess. I'm not saying -- there's always a first.

Q. Do you look for a left-handed hitting partner tomorrow, on your day off, to get ready? Or is it too tough to find one out there that serves like him? Can you even come close to emulating what he does?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: It's funny. After I played, I went over and talked to John McEnroe. I talked to him yesterday. I said, "If I win, would you like to hit some balls." I was kind of making fun of his serve, because his serve's kind of weak. And he said he'd do it. So I'm going to try to hit with him tomorrow.

Q. His is much more of a finesse serve.


Q. It isn't really going to help you that much.

CHRIS WOODRUFF: It will help me in a sense that I can see the spin, second serve. Obviously, he serves and volleys. I'm sure Greg will do the same. Nobody has better volleys than John. It's good to look at a ball coming with a left-handed spin. I could go, you know, find a million people and not find Rusedski's serve.

Q. When did you first play here? Were you in the Juniors?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: I first came here in -- I was 18. So, let's see, that would have been eight years ago.

Q. Were you in the regular draw or Juniors?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: No. I was in the Juniors, I played in the Juniors.

Q. How did you do?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: How did I do? Not very well. I didn't do very well in any of those tournaments, the USTA tournaments. I was a late bloomer.

Q. When you were here, did you take an interest in the tournament itself?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: Not really, to be honest with you. US Open, I was 18. It's ironic, Sampras was winning the tournament that year. That was the year that he won the tournament. I didn't -- it didn't really hit me as to what was going on, but now it has.

End of FastScripts....

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