August 25, 1997
FLUSHING MEADOWS, NEW YORK
Q. Todd, was there any reluctance at all that cut loose because of the elbow surgery?
TODD MARTIN: Reluctance in what way?
Q. Just let it rip.
TODD MARTIN: I don't really feel like I ever really let it go completely, which is actually good for me. I think the smoother my motion is, the more effective I am. I find my spots a little bit better. My consistency goes up.
Q. Looked like your location today was better than the pop on your serve.
TODD MARTIN: I had to rely on location. I wasn't going to go out there and hit 120-mile-an-hour bombs point in and point out. I think the location was good, the fact that I didn't feel a hundred percent comfortable with my elbow forced me to mix it up a lot. That's a good way to play.
Q. A couple of second serve aces.
TODD MARTIN: Yeah. But I don't want to rely on those too much. I'd love to see first serve aces a little bit more, and second serve aces when I need them.
Q. You must be pretty pleased, I mean, first match back in six months, playing Jim Courier, which is not an easy first round.
TODD MARTIN: It's not for me, that's for sure. I've never beaten Jim. That was a hurdle to get over. I told Andrea Joyce when she talked to me out on the court I was just thrilled to be out there. Anything above and beyond that was great. I certainly didn't want to go out and get embarrassed. But, you know, once I found my comfort level out there, I knew I was going to equip myself fairly well, everything from there, I had really gotten into the flow of the match pretty well and played pretty well.
Q. Did you exceed your own expectations then really for a first match back?
TODD MARTIN: Sure.
Q. What were your expectations?
TODD MARTIN: I'm not really sure, but they were exceeded (laughter).
I expected to go out there and, you know, be able to give it my all. Probably I expected to have a little trouble with my elbow here and there. I had very little trouble, if any. I played much better than I thought I would, considering the situation. I'd been playing pretty well in practice, but that doesn't always translate onto match court very well. And I competed loads better than I thought I could, just because I haven't been in that situation in a long time.
Q. What were your thoughts when you saw Jim's name opposite yours? Did your heart sink at all?
TODD MARTIN: I heard about it before I saw it, so. It's probably one of the better draws I could have had. In mind set, it helped me out a lot because I figured I had nothing to lose. I've never beaten Pete and Jim before. He's obviously a very good player. In that regard, it was pretty good. I still felt like it was a winnable match. But I also didn't feel like I was going out there against some upstart guy that 99 percent of the people figure I should beat, even with elbow surgery. It was a good draw for me. I didn't really expect to walk away and say I have to play again on Wednesday or Thursday. It worked out well for me.
Q. Did you have any points where you felt any twinges in the elbow, tightness?
TODD MARTIN: Yeah, I feel it once in a while, but it doesn't -- the important thing is that it doesn't hit me and stay. It hits me and I touch it with my other hand, two seconds later it seems to be fine.
Q. Didn't make you back off at all?
TODD MARTIN: Made me be controlled, but that was from point one.
Q. What changed between the first and second sets?
TODD MARTIN: I figured out how to play tennis again (laughter). First set, I played one bad game really, but it was a markedly bad game. I just finally got my composure about me and realized that it wasn't the court No. 5 at Hamlet Cup or court No. 6 at Indianapolis, or court eight at Cincinnati. I wasn't able to joke around with my coach and have them throw out some ideas. I was out there by myself and I had to bear down and compete like a professional again. I think the first set I played pretty well, but I didn't think through the points and think through the games and think through the set as well as I did in the second, third and fourth. Plus, Jim played, I would say, much better in the first than he did in the second, third and fourth.
Q. Did you guys say anything to each other during the course of the match?
TODD MARTIN: During the course of the match, no. I don't think we did. Your eyes tend to meet a couple times in a match. During the match, regardless how good of a friend, you've got to take care of business as much as possible.
Q. You were out for six months. How mentally engaged were you with what was happening in tennis in your absence?
TODD MARTIN: Well, when I'm not playing, I usually keep a pretty good eye on tennis. I guess starting the first week of Wimbledon, I started doing sort of a web page through a company called Athlete Direct on AOL. They asked me to do a journal every couple or three days. I couldn't ignore it. They asked me to do sort of a commentary on Wimbledon as well, so I couldn't really ignore what was happening in the tennis world at that point. I kept a pretty good eye on it. I went to Indian Wells, Lipton, first round of Davis Cup -- second round of Davis Cup, sorry. Kept on talking to a few of my buddies out on The Tour. It was very nice of them, a few of them stayed in pretty good touch, kept on checking in with me. It was enjoyable.
Q. Did you know at the time of the surgery that it would be a six-month period?
TODD MARTIN: No.
Q. How long did you think you'd be out?
TODD MARTIN: I was expecting four months. Then Dr. Andrews felt pretty confident after the surgery that I might even be able to make it a week or two before four months. The first stage of rehab, first couple stages of rehab went really well. Started practicing on time, started doing everything. Then the day came where I had to put my arm above my head and try to hit some serves. I went from three serves one day to about 30 serves in about a month and a half, if not two months. So that was pretty slow stage.
Q. Todd, if there's any advantage to a long layoff, a lot of the other aches and pains that you have may have a chance to go away, your legs get real fresh. Did you feel fresh legs out there today?
TODD MARTIN: My legs felt pretty good. At first when I started really pushing myself again and starting to serve a bit, some of my tendonitis in my knee came back a little bit. I've figured out if I stay on top of it, keep it iced down well, stretch it, things tend to stay away with the knees, at least with my knees, knock on wood.
Q. Did you ever think that this might be career threatening ever? Did you get a little down about that?
TODD MARTIN: Things can be career threatening, even though the injury can eventually get back to a point where you can play. My mind set was never career threatening, but it definitely -- you definitely start to wonder or think sometimes optimistically, sometimes pessimistically, about what's the next stage of your life going to be. A couple times, I was getting down because I wasn't able to keep doing what I wanted to be doing. I figured out much more how much I wanted to do it. Optimistically, I also figured out that I learned more about what avenues I might want to pursue after tennis. When I was in a good state of mind, it was very positive and a very good layoff. The other five months and 28 days weren't all that much fun.
Q. Jim said he thought you might be a lot more eager than people that have been playing the summer.
TODD MARTIN: I think eagerness is very important on the tennis court. I think today I might have won the match on eagerness. Today Jim started off so well, really carried play for a while. When that initial surge of his Waned a little bit, I sort -- I was a little surprised to actually be back in the match after being down a set and a break. I took what came to me and made the most of it. I think that really helped. Hopefully, that eagerness sticks around with me for a while. I definitely know how thankful I should be for having this opportunity to keep playing. I've come to the realization that I got it pretty good, so try to keep it as long as you can.
Q. Any comments on the new facility here?
TODD MARTIN: It stinks (laughter). Please do not take that out of context.
Q. Put it in context.
TODD MARTIN: This facility, as I think the press is aware, because I've seen some of your quarters, it's vastly improved. It makes it -- it's a great reward for American tennis players. It gives us something to be very proud of, to be able to play not only in one of the most unique cities in the world, but also in one of the more unique and one of the nicer, if not the nicest, tennis facilities in the world. I think the USTA deserves a lot of credit and a lot of praise for what they've done. I think they've done it well. I'm sure there's going to be a few nitpicky complaints and criticisms here and there, but I think the public should be pleased and the players and you guys and everybody else involved with the tournament should be pretty pleased. I think some people in the public might get the short end of the stick, but change usually -- that usually comes with change.
Q. Todd, can you tell us a little bit about what some of those options you were contemplating for the future are so we know where you might be going down the line?
TODD MARTIN: Well, I forgot (laughter). First and foremost, it gave me the opportunity to really come to grips with going back to school. As more success comes your way, as more contacts and more ideas, also just more life knowledge is developed through the years of doing what I've been doing, my commitment to go back to school maybe drifted a little bit. It was good certainly thinking about things at 27 was a little bit more premature than I had hoped, but it gave me sort of hopefully a mid career jolt into thinking that school is a necessity for me. I've always wanted to go back and teach. I wouldn't say that's going back, but I'd like to teach. Also I wouldn't want to leave the game of tennis. It's been great to me. I'd like it to continue to be a part of my life.
Q. Would you go back to Northwestern?
TODD MARTIN: It would be an interesting decision for me. I think a lot of it has to do with my personal situation and also whether they'd accept me again. 2.08 grade point average ain't going to do very good there (laughter). I had such a great time there as an 18 or 19 year old. Don't remember a whole lot about what I studied, so it would be difficult, I would think, to go back there and see at 30, 35, whenever, and see all the 18 and 19 year old, 20 year old coeds having the type of time that I used to and not being able to chime in with them. But it is definitely a possibility. I think it's an exciting possibility.
Q. What would you want to teach?
TODD MARTIN: Kids (laughter).
Q. Obviously. Subjects?
TODD MARTIN: I could have sworn I heard "last question" a while ago. I'd love to teach somewhere in the middle school region. I think I could teach just about anything. Keep me away from science.
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