Martin quiets the crowd, ousts Agassi

June 28, 1994|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun Staff Writer

WIMBLEDON, England -- Todd-mania? Todd Martin doesn't think so.

"It doesn't have the same flair," said Martin, who put an end to Andre Agassi-mania yesterday. "The only people I have screaming for me are my parents back home. Maybe I don't need 13- or 14-year-old girls to really get excited."

Martin sent a lot of tennis fans home unhappy yesterday, when he beat Wimbledon's heartthrob, 6-3, 7-5, 6-7 (0-7), 4-6, 6-1, to move into the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

The crowd around Centre Court let out a collective moan, as Agassi was blown away in the fifth set in less than 20 minutes.

And when Martin entered the post-match interview room, the first question he faced from the ever-vigilant British press was this:

"Todd, there is a huge army of Andre's fans outside there, and he has obviously been the big star of Wimbledon," said a British reporter. "Do you feel at all like the man who shot Bambi?"

Martin is 6 feet 6 with a permanently furrowed brow. He is noted for his serious disposition, not his sense of humor.

"Do I feel like the man who shot Bambi?" he said incredulously. "Some friends of mine in college called me Thumper, but no, I don't see too many similarities between Andre and Bambi.

"I think I'm the guy who overcame quite a bit out there and was fortunate enough to have a few people on my side -- very few people on my side."

Centre Court was going crazy, as Agassi fell behind by two sets and then rallied to force the fifth.

Agassi looked as if he were taking control after winning the third and fourth sets, when, all at once, "Thumper" took his game to another planet and swept Agassi out the door.

When the former Wimbledon champ was offered a variety of excuses for the loss, he refused to bite.

"I think you should watch the fifth set again and count how many outright winners Todd had," Agassi said. "You obviously sound confused as to what happened out there. I'm not.

"The guy served incredible, hit incredible returns, hit incredible ground strokes. The reality of it is, geez, he can serve huge."

Martin, the No. 6 seed, was a quarterfinalist last year but is playing a much sharper game this time around. He had 22 aces yesterday, including six in the final set.

And he may need all his power tomorrow, when he faces unseeded but dangerous Wayne Ferreira.

Ferreira advanced with a 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 6-3 victory over Jonas Bjorkman and has lost only two sets here. He has a 3-0 record against Martin, and, like Martin, is known as a big server.

"I don't resent the fact that people find baseliners more entertaining than big servers," Martin said. "I won the match in all areas of the game, not just with my serve. And if the public doesn't see that, then hopefully, they can see that in the future. Maybe I do resent it after all."

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