home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


September 11, 1999

Todd Martin

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NEW YORK, T. MARTIN/C. Pioline 6-4, 6-1, 6-2

USTA: Questions for Todd.

Q. First round, you struggled to get by a qualifier, then somebody withdraws on you, then you have this five-setter with Greg Rusedski, stomach virus, don't think you're going to be able to post against Dosedel. Here you are in the final. Is this the strangest two weeks of your career?

TODD MARTIN: No. It hasn't been strange. You know, it's been enjoyable. It's presented different challenges than others. That's one of the reasons it's enjoyable.

Q. What does it mean really for you to be in this final?

TODD MARTIN: It means I get to play tomorrow. It's exciting. It's something that a couple weeks ago I probably wouldn't have expected to happen. But it's here, and hopefully I'll be able to do a good job tomorrow.

Q. When Yevgeny made his prediction about three guys could win this tournament, one of them was not you. Do you feel a little bit like Rodney Dangerfield here?

TODD MARTIN: No. I didn't expect to be here myself; I knew I could. Given the right circumstances and playing well, I thought I had a great chance to be in the final. When somebody speaks in the quarterfinals, it's going out on a limb, regardless of who you pick. I told CBS the other day that I agreed with him. If I were to have picked three favorites, I would have picked those three. In fact, Richard was one of my only picks at the beginning of the tournament.

Q. When Pete and Pat go out in the first round, do you look at the draw, does it become a whole new tournament for you at that point?

TODD MARTIN: I really didn't look at the draw at all this tournament. I had a pretty good idea who I played, just from watching the TV and them flashing the draw up. I wasn't aware that - I knew that Pete was in my section. I wasn't aware that Pat was on my half until at least the Round of 16, maybe after that.

Q. Not a great deal of success against Agassi or Kafelnikov. Would you prefer to face one or either of them?

TODD MARTIN: I don't have any preference. I have had a lot of trouble with Yevgeny. I've always felt comfortable against him playing. With Andre, at one point, I think I was probably ahead in the series. For that matter, I was ahead of Yevgeny because I won the first time (laughter). Yeah, you know, you don't have to play great; you only have to play better than the other guy. That's what I'll try to do.

Q. What is your health update now?

TODD MARTIN: I felt good today. I woke up this morning, felt fresh. I was a little nervous that I might not be able to play as well on a full tank as I did on a half. Today I played probably even a little bit better than earlier in the week.

Q. Have you noticed more people noticing you this week?

TODD MARTIN: I'm a star (laughter). If it mattered to me, I'd probably notice it. I've had to do more of this, more in the TV studio.

Q. People saying things to you in your hotel, on the streets of New York?

TODD MARTIN: That always happens, especially in the hotel. You're carrying your bags through the hotel lobby. It's hard not to draw a little attention. On the streets, you know, people watched the match the other night, and the next morning patted me on the back or something. It's nice.

Q. Did you get any interesting comments or advice from strangers?

TODD MARTIN: I got some advice midway through the third set with Rusedski that I didn't appreciate from one of the fans, and told him so.

Q. What was the advice?

TODD MARTIN: I can't remember, but it wasn't good.

Q. In the Rusedski match, I think a lot of people thought that maybe you'd never recover after that. You had to play pretty quickly after that. Did you think that that might have been just the limit right there?

TODD MARTIN: Well, when you're playing and you feel poorly, yeah, you don't know what it's going to be like the next day. At the end of the match, I didn't feel well. I was more concerned with the way I felt the next day. I did have pretty much 48 hours to recover. I recovered enough to play a pretty good match against Slava.

Q. Did you throw your racquet into the crowd after that game?

TODD MARTIN: Against Rusedski, I did.

Q. Did you get it back?


Q. Have you ever done that before?

TODD MARTIN: Once before.

Q. In?


Q. In triumph or anger?

TODD MARTIN: Not anger. I'd break it.

Q. You don't see too many linguistics majors in the field of sports. What influenced you to have that as your major?

TODD MARTIN: I'd taken five courses in linguistics; three in the next closest subject. I had to declare a major in order to be eligible for my junior year, if I'd chosen to go back.

Q. Was it something you were seriously interested in?

TODD MARTIN: Linguistics, the courses I took, had definitely a slant to them that I enjoyed. The first linguistics course I took was Language Acquisition for Children. I found that very intriguing. That's the reason I took other linguistics courses. I said, when I go back to school, I'd like to go back into education.

Q. What does that mean, "language acquisition"?

TODD MARTIN: They don't learn it; they acquire it.

Q. Speaking of linguistics, what would the phrase "US Open winner" mean to you?

TODD MARTIN: Well, first I have to acquire it (laughter). That was good.

Q. Wait, wait.

TODD MARTIN: You want more?

Q. Yes. It was a question.

TODD MARTIN: It would mean I accomplished something over this two weeks, something that nobody else these two weeks accomplished, or at least on the men's side. It would be a real honor.

Q. If Andre gets through, would playing an All-American final have any additional significance to you?

TODD MARTIN: Only that it would be probably viewed by more people across the country, and I think that's great for tennis.

Q. You said that you never really expected to be in this position. Was there some point during this tournament that you started believing a little bit more in yourself, maybe even this match, that you said, "I'm going to be in the finals"?

TODD MARTIN: Expectations and belief are two different things. I believed it from the beginning; I just didn't expect it. The only time I didn't believe maybe that I could was after my first round match, or during my first round match at points. But from the moment I walked out on the court against Richey, I felt like this was definitely a possibility, and I believed I could do it.

Q. After the appearance of the astronaut yesterday, were you aware that Jimmy Carter was at your match today?


Q. Of all the Grand Slam championships, is this the one that would give you the most pleasure to win?

TODD MARTIN: I'd like to win this one the most, sure. This is our National Championship. To be able to win in front of your home crowd, that would be a thrill. Not that the others wouldn't (laughter).

Q. You just mentioned it would mean you were the best player over these two weeks. Would it have a greater personal significance to you?

TODD MARTIN: You mean, like how I feel about myself?

Q. This is what you do; you're a tennis player. To win a Grand Slam, what would it mean to you when you walked out the door in the morning?

TODD MARTIN: You know, I'd still put one foot in front of the other. I don't think it matters a whole lot in the broad scheme of things.

Q. You obviously put a lot of miles on, a couple of five-setters in this tournament. How important was it that you were able to kind of get through today's match fairly quickly to kind of conserve energy for tomorrow?

TODD MARTIN: Well, I think maybe as much as anything, it gives me some confidence. I played a very solid three sets of tennis today. I'm certainly not going to suffer from having a little less court time today. The most important thing for me is that I got the job done in a high-pressure situation today. The closest things that I have to compare it with -- to have tomorrow to compare with.

Q. As difficult as it has been for you to get to this point, do you look at tomorrow, the fact that you're going to play either the second or third seed, and say, "As tough as it's been, as good as I've been, I have to be that much better to beat one of those guys"?

TODD MARTIN: It's not true. I said earlier, I don't have to be better than I have so far; I just need to be better than him. You know, we'll see what that takes tomorrow.

Q. These three coaches, Ferman, Gullikson and Goldfine, what have each contributed to your life and tennis?

TODD MARTIN: Well, I think you're selling one person way short if you don't mention Jose Higueras.

Q. Add him in.

TODD MARTIN: He's had as much of an effect as any of them on my tennis game. Rick taught me how to play tennis. Since then, he's been an incredible contributor to my life in general. Jose, I spoke about. Gully has been a terrific supporter. I was a neighbor of his for a few years, somebody that I've always relied on for camaraderie and support. Dean has been the most tolerant individual I've ever met in my life, to put up with me the last few years, has taught me a lot about professionalism, a lot about the game of tennis, how to be just a super person.

Q. In any ways did your experience playing Davis Cup in Boston improve your game or affect you as a person?

TODD MARTIN: Once again, please.

Q. Your experience in Boston playing Davis Cup, in any way does that affect you as a player, improve your game, affect you as a person?

TODD MARTIN: I think, if I do my job right, I learn and better myself from every match. Those two matches certainly were opportunities for me to learn some things. I feel the same way as a person. Against Lleyton, I really disappointed myself. Against Pat, I proved a lot of things to myself. You go to bed knowing those things. On the tennis court, you're maybe a little bit better prepared for the next time you encounter those situations. I think the other night against Greg was a somewhat similar situation as I had with both guys, because at first I was disappointed with myself, and at last I proved something to myself.

Q. So the experience in Boston did help, is another way to put that?

TODD MARTIN: Yeah, if you wanted to make it just one sentence (laughter).

Q. Did you grow up dreaming of playing in the US Open, hitting the winning ace for the match?

TODD MARTIN: I know one thing, I grabbed a racquet every time I saw a Grand Slam final, couldn't get to the tennis courts quickly enough. It was inspiring to watch those players. You know, I probably did dream about winning a US Open, but I dreamt more about just being able to play at these wonderful places.

Q. Would you say that you're a late-bloomer in the game? Some players turned pro earlier in their careers.


Q. Why, if that's true?

TODD MARTIN: Definitely, I am. My peers are mostly, at least the peers you're referring to, are guys who could have or did turn pro before they left -- before they were finished with high school. Gee, you know, in comparison to those guys, I had absolutely no fathomable chance of being at a level anywhere near high enough to do this. These guys competed for Grand Slam titles ten years ago. I was happy to get a wildcard here nine years ago. Yeah, I'm a very late-bloomer. But, as you see, all those guys are still playing on a very high level now. They age just as quickly as I do; it just doesn't show.

Q. You seem very relaxed about this. Are you going to wake up nervous tomorrow?

TODD MARTIN: Sure, sure, yeah. It's impossible not to.

Q. Does it seem strange to you, as a late-bloomer, you're blooming real late, is this the best tennis of your whole career? Some people seem to think it is.

TODD MARTIN: I've thought for the last 11 months, 10 or 11 months probably, that I've played my best tennis of my career. I said yesterday that I thought if the body is willing and able, the resources you store up, and the experiences that you go through over the course of a career should benefit you. I think that's so far the case this week.

Q. Back to the Rusedski thing one more time. It seemed at the end that it was more than just coming back and winning, it seemed that you were casting off -- maybe every tennis player wants to prove that they can do it, everybody has choked at some time, lost a game or match they should have won. Did you feel that was cathartic?

TODD MARTIN: I don't feel that. I feel like today is more that than the other night. The other night was the opportunity to prove to myself that I could overcome something - first of all, a player like Greg in a bad situation where I was down and out. And, more importantly, prove to myself that I could cope with not being 100%, coming up with some good tennis, being able to reverse the tide of a very bad match.

Q. Can you talk about how today was cathartic from Wimbledon, is that what you're talking about?

TODD MARTIN: Yeah. It was very nice. I was very pleased, more than anything else, with the way I played the last two games. That's important. I'm not taking a monkey off my back, which I'm sure some people would write. I feel just like that was, you know, a great opportunity to be in the same situation and do something good with it.

Q. How long did that Wimbledon thing stay with you?

TODD MARTIN: Not that long. I won't tell you that I don't think about it once in a while. I think about a lot of matches. That's one of them. Most of my memories are good from '96 Wimbledon.

Q. When you were going through the elbow problem at the relatively advanced age of 27, that's getting kind of late.

TODD MARTIN: Actually, I was still 26 when I had the surgery.

Q. Was your basic optimism, "I can get out there when this is over"? Were there some low moments where you thought you were never going to really get back?

TODD MARTIN: There were lots of moments during the six months I sat out with it that I wondered -- there were a few moments that I wondered if I'd play again, and a lot of moments where I definitely questioned whether I would be able to play the way I liked to play. Those thoughts stuck with me for another six months to a year.

Q. What does the elbow feel like today? Any residual effect?


End of FastScripts....

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297