I recently had a chance to catch-up with Todd Martin at the Hall of Fame Champions Cup in Newport. After a stellar career on the Tour (13 titles and a career high of 4 in 1999) Martin continues to build high-caliber competive tennis into his personal schedule.
What's the biggest change you've seen in the game over the years? "Poly-based string. It makes the ball easier to spin and the combination of an uptick in pace and spin is a big factor now. In addition, the guys at the top of the game are some of the best athletes in the world, so explosive and agile. The nature of the game is much more physical than it was ten years ago. Skill could make up for a lot before."
Your favorite surface? "European red clay."
Favorite tennis venue? "The Real Club in Barcelona and Roland Garros. That week before Roland Garros starts is just perfect, I could play there for weeks on end."
His gear? Grip, racquet, string, all Wilson. "I've been playing with Wilson since I was a boy and the racquet I use on tour with Champions is a version of one I've always used. It's loaded with subtle tweaks and is very heavy everywhere. It's custom for me; you wouldn't be able to find it anywhere."
His apparel? Balle de Match and shoes, custom Nike's for grass.
How much do you hit these days and how do you train for Champions Series matches? "I play at least a couple of times a week. Tennis comes naturally to me at this point but I do need to work on my fitness and I mix it up with swimming, gym work, yoga, the medicine ball. The trend now is really in training the body universally for the game."
Image: Philip J. Picott -- MDS