Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Martin Makes Bid for Davis Cup

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Martin Makes Bid for Davis Cup

Article excerpt

Ponte Vedra Beach resident Todd Martin has again pushed back his return to the ATP Tour, but he hasn't changed his mind about Davis Cup. He wants to be part of the United States lineup when it travels to Barcelona in July for the semifinals against Spain.

"I definitely would like to be an option for John [McEnroe, U.S. Davis Cup captain]," said Martin. "If I come back and play at a reasonable level, I think I'd be a candidate."

Martin, who is recovering from a severe ankle sprain suffered while playing basketball in February, originally intended to return this week at the tournament in Atlanta, then decided to wait until next week's Tennis Master Series event in Monte Carlo. Now he has targeted the Italian Open in Rome, also part of theTennis Master Series, for his return on May 8.

"It's better to be safe than sorry," Martin said. "I've been pushing it close to 100 percent, but I'm still having to wear a bit of protection."

The 29-year-old Martin has to heavily tape the knee for practice and also wears a fiberglass splint brace. He was in Los Angeles last weekend as a practice partner with the U.S. team, which beat the Czech Republic 3-2 in a battle that was much tougher than expected. Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras had to win their Sunday singles matches inside the Los Angeles Forum for the Americans to advance.

But with the next round being on Spain's clay courts -- a surface and country where Martin has had success -- it could force McEnroe to change his lineup again and use Martin's experience in either doubles or as a third singles option. Martin is 31-4 lifetime against Spanish players and 12-1 on clay, the only loss coming in the finals last year at Estoril to Albert Costa. He also won a 1998 tournament in Barcelona. McEnroe said yesterday that he will wait to see how Martin fares during the clay-court season and if his health holds up before making a final decision on his lineup. …

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