|HOME | SPORTS | OLYMPICS | NEWS|
September 13, 2000
Woodies aim for golden farewellLarry Fine
The timing is perfect, the setting ideal and a Hollywood climax a wonderful possibility as Australia's famed "Woodies" prepare to defend their men's doubles title in the Olympic tennis tournament.
Mark Woodforde, fast approaching age 35 and the birth of his first child, is retiring at year's end, thereby dissolving a partnership with Todd Woodbridge that has produced a record 58 career titles, including 10 Grand Slam crowns.
The Olympic tournament will mark their farewell performance in Australia and give the Woodies a chance to go out on a golden blaze of glory.
"This will be the last time I get to play in Australia. It's fantastic to be able to go out in the Olympics," said Woodforde, instantly identifiable by his bushy shock of bright red hair.
"And a great way to put an end to a fabulous partnership with Todd as the Woodies."
In winning the 2000 French Open title, the Woodies broke the record for most titles won by a partnership.
Woodbridge, ranked first in the world in doubles and at age 29 not about to quit the game, joined Woodforde for a run of five successive Wimbledon titles from 1993 but said their Olympic triumph in Atlanta ranked near the top of his career list.
"Winning the Olympic gold medal has been one of the highlights of my career," said Woodbridge. "It's one of the greatest experiences of your whole life."
The men's singles tournament has been hit by the late withdrawals of 1996 champion Andre Agassi, missing the Games for serious personal reasons, and 1992 winner Marc Rosset, who complained of being too tired.
The field also lacks Grand Slam singles king Pete Sampras due to his general disinterest, an affliction shared by women's world number one Martina Hingis.
Woodbridge believes they are the losers.
"Anyone who misses it is a fool," said Woodbridge.
While the Olympics will mark their last competition before the home folks, the Woodies are expected to end their partnership in one last flourish at December's Davis Cup final in Spain.
"The last two events of my career, I'll be playing for my country," said Woodforde, who has also won two Grand Slam doubles titles with other partners and five mixed doubles titles in Grand Slam events.
"It's an exciting time for me to be able to go out on that note."
TRAVEL | NEWSLINKS
ROMANCE | WEDDING | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEATHER | FREE MESSENGER | BROADBAND | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK