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September 5, 1999

Todd Martin


Q. Todd, you got an early exit today. What do you intend to do with all your spare time?

TODD MARTIN: I had an early entrance. But I'm going to go hit some more, probably, 'cause I guess it's supposed to rain most of the day tomorrow. It might be easier to get a few more hits in today rather than worrying about sitting around all day trying to get a hit tomorrow.

Q. What did he tell you, Todd?

TODD MARTIN: He just said he had -- you know, I knew his knee was in some pain before, because one of my friends had told me that he was having trouble getting around the court a little bit on Friday, I guess it was. And then before the match, when he was getting his knee taped up, he had the trainer tape it right to the skin, which usually means he needs a little bit more support than usual. And then he said on top of it being very painful, he said he felt like he had lost most of his strength, pushing off when he needed to.

Q. Is that the earliest you've ever had somebody retire in a match on you?

TODD MARTIN: I don't know. Probably not. But could be.

Q. Helpful or, you know, can it help you down the road here, or does it really matter?

TODD MARTIN: Next question. I'm sorry. (Laughing.) Richard, I don't know. You know, it's hard to say. The other day I came in here and I said that I didn't feel like I played nine sets in two matches because I felt pretty good. Today on the court I felt great, and I don't feel like it's any more about one in three sets but, of course, if I had won in five long sets, then I'd much rather have only played one. So...

Q. Todd, some media people like to talk about revenge matches because --

TODD MARTIN: It's not the only thing you guys like to talk about.

Q. It makes the story more juicy. Typically, do players have revenge on their mind, like when Rusedski loses a big match on an international scale and plays that same player months later?

TODD MARTIN: Well, I think everything's different. I think we all play the sport for different reasons, and I don't necessarily feel revenge in a vendetta type of way. I feel it's more just sort of reassuring yourself as a good player against somebody who's presented you difficulties in the past. For instance, you know, Magnus had my number for a little while, especially a couple years ago. When I finally beat him in Paris, that was a sweet feeling because I beat somebody that I knew how to beat me, and that's important. That's always nice. It's not anything more than that, though. I mean, it's still just a tennis match.

Q. Todd, as a member of the Davis Cup, I wonder what your thoughts are on the current Ryder Cup controversy about some players thinking they should be paid for playing the Ryder Cup.

TODD MARTIN: Is that still a controversy or has it been settled? I don't really know.

Q. I don't think the issue has been settled, whether they'll get paid or not. They're down there playing it now. It was an issue.

TODD MARTIN: Well, I don't think the Davis Cup players should be paid. I don't think the Ryder Cup players should be paid. I do think the $25,000 each player is paid per tie for charitable donations is a wonderful idea, and I fully support the players on the Ryder Cup team asking for that. But, of course, with twelve players on each side, I think you have to be a little bit careful not to take too big of a chunk of the pie for that. But I'd really like to see guys be proud to represent their country and leave it at that.

Q. Do you think guys would say, "No, I'm not taking any money," even if it was offered them?

TODD MARTIN: Well, if it's for charitable contributions, no, I don't think that's right. I think if the organizers feel that they could justify it's viable, they should accept it and find some good things to do with it, and hopefully develop relationships with charities that they're willing to invest their own money in.

Q. What's your charity?

TODD MARTIN: I have -- I am cofounder of one charity, Todd Martin Development Fund in Lansing, and I support a number of others.

Q. Is that like a Junior tennis sort of --

TODD MARTIN: It's an operator of the National Junior Tennis League, USTA's program.

Q. As a member of the Davis Cup team, is your feeling that there will be a new captain? There has been talk about that coming up.

TODD MARTIN: I really don't have an idea. I think USTA has gotten the players' opinions both in individual form and in group form, and I think they'll assess everybody's opinions and assess who is best captain for the USTA's sake and appoint that person, whether it be Gully or a new candidate.

Q. You're perceived as being a nice guy.


Q. Was there ever a time in your career when you were too nice a guy and it maybe affected how you were doing on the court? And if there was, how did you go about changing it?

TODD MARTIN: Well, this week, in prematch announcements, they've listed me as the Sportsmanship Award Winner in '93 and '94. That's a few years ago. I must be getting a little meaner in my old age. (Laughter). No, I don't think that I've ever been affected in, you know, in sort of a benign character on the court affecting my -- affecting my tennis in a negative way. Never.

Q. When Magnus was talking about strength, was that after the match? Did he tell you that?

TODD MARTIN: Yeah, when he came up to shake my hand, I was a little surprised because, you know, when someone is really ailing, it's usually a little bit more one-sided than one sort of squeaky brake. And I knew he was hurting before the match, but when you get the -- especially with your knees, and especially when you're 6-5 or 6-6, I think when you -- pain's one thing. But when you lose the strength, that's another. And I think that was probably the first -- today was probably the first experience this week for him to lose strength rather than just experience some pain.

Q. Did you notice it on the court?

TODD MARTIN: I noticed it in the last game, but I wasn't sure if I just hit great shots or if he wasn't feeling as good, because, you know, a couple times, I didn't know what to expect with his knee. And a couple times I made good plays, and he moved very well to the ball and made good shots. And then a couple other times, he seemed just a little bit slow off the mark. And in that last game that I broke him at 3-4, I hit a few down-lie returns off of second serves. And especially the one on breakpoint that I won, I didn't hit that well, and he never even got going. And that's usually a telltale sign.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about what you remember about Rusedski from the Birmingham tie?

TODD MARTIN: Well, what do I remember? I remember I started off very well. And in that arena and that setting, I think gave me self a lot of confidence, and probably threw him off of his mark just a little bit from the get-go. And it's really important against a guy like Greg that serves that well. You develop some confidence, and it can be a long day.

Q. Indoors, very fast surface. Could that be one of the great return games you've had, considering who the opponent was?

TODD MARTIN: I returned probably as well as I ever have in that match, yeah. But it's a different style of returning. I think, for instance, when I played Berasategui in the final at Barcelona, I felt like I returned great. And I'm facing an 85-mile-an-hour kick serve compared to a 135-mile-an-hour bomb. So it's just two different types of -- against that style of player, though, that's probably the best I ever returned, yeah.

Q. Do you feel like you read him pretty well?

TODD MARTIN: No, I don't necessarily feel like -- I might have that day. I don't think Greg served that well that day, but to still -- you know, if he had just only second serves to work with every game, I think he'd hold most of the time.

Q. What did you do to try to kill time today?

TODD MARTIN: Well, today, I was in part, thankful that I had a little bit of a rain delay, because I had to get up at 6:45 to get breakfast and get ready to go and leave for the courts at 8:00. I practiced at 9:30, and then that only leaves an hour to cool down and get ready and then warm up again to get ready for the match. So that's not as much time as I'd like, usually. So today gave me a chance to eat a little bit, and I took a little bit of a nap when I was just unsure out in the training room.

Q. Where are you physically now? Is there anything you're worried about?

TODD MARTIN: I think physically I'm right here. Would you like to know metaphysically, too?

Q. Yes.

TODD MARTIN: That was actually a class I got above a C in at Northwestern in Intro to Philosophy.

Q. Glib 101, actually.

TODD MARTIN: (Laughing) I feel okay. I'm going to go out and hit some more. The only thing I won't do is serve. Because, one, I feel good on my serve; and, two, my primary concern day-in and day-out these days is my stomach. And right now, it's feeling satisfactory, which is the most I can ask.

Q. The best you've been all summer, you think?

TODD MARTIN: Who knows? Things pop up. I wake up every day with a little something different that makes me go, "Ooh." But when I get out on the court, my legs feel great, which is the nicest thing about it. And everything else, if it can just stay operable, that's fine.

Q. When you played Rusedski in Birmingham, you said you fed off the crowd.

TODD MARTIN: He still has to play a match, just so you guys know.

Q. Do you think it will be a completely different atmosphere because time is on your side and against him?

TODD MARTIN: Not necessarily, and I don't think the court surface has much to do with it. This court's not much slower, if at all slower, than the one we played indoors in Birmingham. But, you know, I think both players in Birmingham knew perfectly well where the crowd was going to be. I think despite the fact that we're in my home country, it's a tournament crowd, not a Davis Cup crowd. So it's going to be an a little bit different for both of us, I'm sure.

Q. You were talking before about your stomach; is it a virus or a pain?

TODD MARTIN: No, I've had -- I should have said abdominal problem. I've had on-again/off-again scar tissue tears in my abdomen resulting from a tear like four or five years ago. So I feel it every once in a while.

Q. The gentleman, I forget his name --

TODD MARTIN: Gary Kitchell (ph).

Q. Is he with you in this tournament?

TODD MARTIN: No, I've been travelling with Tom Snyder, the Davis Cup trainer, the last few weeks. Jim Courier and me.

Q. I'm sure you would look at the rest of the draw, and a lot of people would say if you're playing Rusedski in the next round, you get by that one and you're into the final. I'm sure you would say no, every match is going to be very, very tough. But don't you agree that if it is Rusedski, and you get by that match, you have a pretty solid shot at getting into the last tier?

TODD MARTIN: Well, in a way, from the first round of every tournament, I feel that way. Obviously, that feeling intensifies as you move through the draw. But, you know, I beat Stephane Huet, who is barely in the Top 50, I think, 7-6 in the first set in the first round. So certainly, that proves very true the idea that every match is its own escapade, I guess, and I'm going to need to be there whether I play Greg Rusedski, Chris Woodruff, or Fredrick Jonsson. It doesn't matter; you have to play. Every one of us does.

End of FastScripts....

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