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March 19, 1998

Todd Martin

KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA, T. MARTIN/J. Golmard 4-6, 7-6, 7-5

MIKI SINGH: 7-5 winner in the third today. Next rounds he will face 17th seeded Alberto Berasategui.

Q. Welcome back to Lipton.

TODD MARTIN: Charlie, I feel like you guys are at the player's meeting last night, everybody sitting in the back.

Q. You competed well today, didn't you?

TODD MARTIN: Yeah, I guess. I mean -- no, in the first set I think I pressed a little bit in the first set, and then the breaks just didn't go my way. In the second set the breaks still didn't go my way. A couple of breakpoints that didn't seem to fall the way I thought they could have when he was down breakpoint. But, eventually I started to feel more and more comfortable and that allowed me to compete a little bit better. I don't think if I had hit the ball like I did in the bad parts of the first set that I would be able to compete throughout the match. But, there were occasional glimpses of what I wanted to be doing.

Q. Is there a medical report on the elbow?

TODD MARTIN: Feels pretty good.

Q. The sleeve is just --

TODD MARTIN: It just really keeps it warm and secure.

Q. The radar gun seems to suggest you are not really hitting the serve like you used to.

TODD MARTIN: I have been over 120 a little bit through the course of the beginning of this year, and that, I think, is fast for me. I don't -- I don't really remember breaking 120 more than four, five times in my career. So, I know when I am painfree that the speed is there. It is a matter of feeling free to swing out and not feel like I am going to hurt myself.

Q. Have you talked to Tom Gullikson at all; any indication as to --

TODD MARTIN: No, I haven't. But I know he is thinking about it. I am sure we will talk in the next 24 to 48 hours.

Q. How do you feel bit? Do you want to play?

TODD MARTIN: I'd love to play. And I'd love to play in any capacity that he would like me to play in. But, are there things that I could find to do that week if I weren't in Atlanta? Yeah, sure. But I'd really love to be there. It is something I look forward to every year. And I only want to be a part of it if I deserve to and if I am playing well enough to help the team out. If I play like I did today, I probably shouldn't go. But the one positive thing is that I get -- I am getting another match. And, who knows, I might find my range a little bit.

Q. Sometimes it's a good way to measure yourself against top players. You have played Rafter twice, played Pete once. How -- you know what the scores were. We know the five sets with Rafter --

TODD MARTIN: I didn't used to think so much of that idea that you only -- you get a better read off of the top players. But -- I think that is partly because I rose to the occasion years ago when I first was coming up, much better than I do now. And I played Pat tough a number of times, three times since I have been back, and had chances to win all three matches. But I didn't play real well against Pete last week, and I felt put upon a little bit. His game was a little bit much for me. It tells me a couple things. One, that I need to step it up a little bit. And, two, I need to walk out on the court a little bit more ready to assert myself in a way that might unsettle my opponent. And that certainly didn't happen last week. But I have also beaten some other very good players. Like Larsson I hadn't beaten -- I was 3-1 down before this last match and once 3-0. And the same thing with Pioline earlier in the year. Couple of players that generally give me a lot of difficulty and I have gotten by.

Q. Were there any moments last year where you thought this just -- it could be it and did you ever think about what you might do next?

TODD MARTIN: In my very, very, very most pessimistic days, yeah, there were, 4-and-a-half months in, doc said four months I would be playing again, competing, and I would be able to go out and practice two hours a day. But as soon as I had to put the racket above my head I was -- I was -- I just couldn't do it at all. And that was pretty disappointing. But then few things happened. So I saw my doc again and got some things done that I think were just sort of that final hiccup as far as --

Q. You mean physical?

TODD MARTIN: Yeah, cortisone shot, that smoothed the joint out a little bit. And then this year I have worked a lot harder on my rehab, and it is really -- it has made great strides in the last two-and-a-half, three months.

Q. Did you consider what you would do next anytime there?

TODD MARTIN: I considered it -- even when I wasn't pessimistic I was considering what was next, because although there were only a few days where I was wondering whether I would be able to play again, there were a number of days where I thought, well, it definitely shows that tennis mortality is here and there is going to have to be something at the end of this road.

Q. What were they?

TODD MARTIN: Something that I have always said I would do is go back to school. And with the reality a little bit closer at hand, I definitely talked about it -- or thought about it and sort of reconvinced myself that it wasn't just something I was saying that I would say I am going to do, it is something that I am actually going to do.

Q. With an eye towards what?

TODD MARTIN: Education, probably.

Q. Teaching?

TODD MARTIN: Yeah. And then -- I certainly wouldn't want to abandon the game of tennis. In fact, when I go back to school I wouldn't mind helping out a tennis team. I'd love to keep playing some golf here and there. Maybe a little bit more than I do now. I think there is going to be some time for me when I am done playing to really firm things up. But, for now, I am happy with saying just a couple of options.

Q. How is your movement on the court?

TODD MARTIN: Well, you know, it is not great, I don't think. Some days I feel much better than others. That has a lot to do with who I am playing. Jerome is a peculiar player to play. His forehand has got all the topspin in the world and his backhands are very flat strokes, so timingwise, that makes it pretty difficult. But I have spent so much time working in the gym to rehabilitate what is already injured that I haven't had enough time or I haven't made enough time in my schedule to work on my movement, which has always been a major focus of mine.

Q. You have got caught flatfooted a couple of times on returns.

TODD MARTIN: The returns, I got caught flatfooted on were returns that I could have hit with, so that type of thing isn't a big deal to me. It is more when you are in the flow of a point getting caught off balance. And these things are unsettling because they shouldn't happen. And that is a little bit just not being completely sure of what I am doing. But a little bit probably that I am not quite as fit and quite as agile and, you know, I was very agile before than I used to be.

Q. Your feet sort of react automatically when you are playing all of the time, they are not just there yet?

TODD MARTIN: A little bit. But definitely a little bit of it is amount of strength and the conditioning that I have been able to work on in my lower body. I am in good physical condition, generally, but I definitely think that things need to happen a little bit better than they have been.

Q. Do you think it is possible that that is right now the major thing keeping you from getting more consistency in your game?

TODD MARTIN: Well, sure. You can't hit the ball unless you are there to hit it.

Q. You feel like --

TODD MARTIN: That is why Andre is playing so much better. He didn't forget how to swing a racket. He forgot how to move. Once I start moving better, the ball is going to be where I want it to be more often and I am going to hit the ball more clean and hit it where I want to hit it more often, and the ball is going to come back in a weaker fashion if I am able to do that. So a lot of it does start here and a lot of it is in the head as well.

Q. You are not going to cut your hair for a year; is that correct?

TODD MARTIN: It is so invalid and it is so inappropriate for you to ask. That is not true. I am just not terribly interested in getting it cut. I am almost at the point where it is as long as it has ever been.

Q. Just testing you to see if you can be tweaked this afternoon.

TODD MARTIN: I am over here right now and I am sort of trying to gradually move back to the center.

End of FastScripts....

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