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March 21, 1997

Chris Woodruff


GREG SHARKO: Chris improves to 12 and 6 on the season with a win today and he takes on MaliVai Washington Sunday, in the second round. The two have never played before.

Q. Have you ever as a junior received any assistance from the USTA in your career?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: Well, I don't know how to answer that. I prefer not to get into that.

Q. That was an interesting smile.

CHRIS WOODRUFF: I've had some problems, but I don't want to get into any names or anybody.

Q. The answer is no?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: As a junior, I received what I would call no help. I guess a long time ago they had -- I don't recall really any help as a junior. I would say I received some help from Stan Smith. He was the guy who I felt was most instrumental from them, but other than that I would say probably not. What brought that up?

Q. I happen to be doing a piece on junior tennis in the US, how it seems to be falling behind the rest of the world. You are among the next wave of players after Pete Sampras. You're the one who is doing best right now.


Q. I was interested in knowing how much you received by the junior development program here in the United States or whether you basically had to do it all on your own?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: Just like I said, Stan probably was the most instrumental. I felt he helped me -- I would say he went out of his way on numerous occasions to help me. Also another guy I guess -- they all kind of helped me in a way. I worked some with Jose Higueras, helpful, went out of his way to help me, Tom Gullikson, worked out many times in Palm Coast, Florida, he helped me out a lot. I never really would consider myself part of the USTA. I felt they were very nice in helping me.

Q. They were doing it individually as opposed to within?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: That's what I would say.

Q. You weren't one of their Todd Martin protege type people?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: I wasn't on the junior pro team, didn't wear any USTA shirts or anything like that.

Q. How frustrating was it today to be kind of like hanging around all day?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: Well, this is really like the second time I've had to go through this out here. There was another incident that happened to me in Washington where it was like this. I was telling some of the guys in the locker room, it would have been nice today to be a professional golfer because you play until you hear the siren, lightning, then you get off the course. Now it's a little drizzly, we have to come in, particularly on a hardcourt. It's tough.

Q. You've had a very steady rise here particularly for the last year.


Q. Your rise, your improvement the last year particularly, win over Agassi, Muster, can you sort of do a scouting report on yourself for the last year? What in your game has gotten better?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: I think, like anything else, it takes time. I always felt like I had the game to play out here. Coming from college where you're used to winning a different way, where the shots I hit in college, they aren't necessarily going to be good enough out here. I found it hard to close out matches. I think on numerous occasions I couldn't close out a match. I feel like I've gotten a lot better at closing matches out than I did when I first started out here.

Q. Were you pretty anxious to get today's match over quickly once you got out there?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: Well, no. I mean, it's just tough. You try to go out there and have as much patience as you can when you get out there. I would say I guess I found myself sometimes rushing just because he was making some quick errors. In fact, I think he made a lot of quick errors. I don't think it was one of his better days. I know he's had a lot of good results on fast courts, so obviously I think his game is more conducive to a faster court.

Q. You were a hitting partner for the Davis Cup team.

CHRIS WOODRUFF: I guess that was 1995. Was that the right year? It was against France in St. Petersburg.

GREG SHARKO: February of '95.


GREG SHARKO: Or February '96.

Q. Did that experience help you in any way?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: I guess you can never really -- I didn't really feel like I was actually a part of the team. That team, those guys were great to me when I was young. All the top American guys like Courier and Todd, they were always very nice to me when I first got on the Tour. I never really felt like I was part of the team. I had practiced with them before. I don't think it helped me. I felt more of an honor that Gully would ask me to come and help out the team.

Q. What do you think you have to do to earn a place on that team? What needs to improve? Does somebody have to disappear off the scene?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: I figure I have to get my ranking down a little lower because the way we're going, I guess everybody -- granted, I don't know that much about it, so I'm not going to sit here and say, "He should be playing." I guess I need to get my ranking down a little lower, obviously. Maybe Gully would have to ask me to play, the way we're going right now. I feel if I can get my ranking into the 20s or teens, I would become a candidate.

Q. Do you think the sort of game you play will mean that you would be somebody they could select no matter what the surface is that the tie is on, or would that come into it?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: It would have to be pretty much, I'd say, hardcourt or claycourt. By no means do I want to go in on a grass court.

Q. That's pretty unlikely, unless you play Britain. Chris, do you feel sometimes like the forgotten American out on the Tour?

CHRIS WOODRUFF: The forgotten American? No. I don't have any animosity or jealousy.

Q. Not necessarily animosity.

CHRIS WOODRUFF: What do you mean, jealousy or I should get more writing?

Q. Nobody mentions, nobody thinks Chris Woodruff, as Martin.

CHRIS WOODRUFF: No. I never think about that. That would be a bad thought for me to think about. I just try to go out and play tennis. I know if I keep winning and have good results, the press has got to come to me. I don't think about it.

GREG SHARKO: Anything else? Thank you, very much.

End of FastScripts....

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