TENNIS: TODD'S READY FOR TAKE-OFF!; Title Dreams Drive Martin
Tracey, Ted, Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
TODD MARTIN, the man who gave Andre Agassi such a fright in the US Open Final, is determined to establish himself in the top ranks of men's tennis.
Martin, who showed courage by recovering from a two-set and 4-5 deficit to KO Briton Greg Rusedski at the last-16 stage, also took fellow-American Agassi to five sets in a New York thriller.
Agassi's 6-4 6-7 (5/7) 6-7 (2/7) 6-3 6-2 win in three hours and 23 minutes gave him his fifth Grand Slam crown.
For big-serving Martin, runner-up to Pete Sampras at the 1994 Australian Open, the brave display marked the latest stage in the transformation from also-ran to star performer.
The first sign of this was when he rose to a career-best fourth in the world in yesterday's ATP ratings.
After the final, Martin said: "As well as I did some things today, it will change my understanding of what I'm capable of doing.
"I'm thrilled that I'm playing better tennis than I ever have. There are many times in 1997 that I would have never expected that or even hoped for that."
Martin has struggled lately with injuries from shoulders to knees to abdominal muscles, but was fit for the final.
He added: "My body held up better than I ever could have expected.
"It's a sign I'm doing some good things in my training."
Agassi's speed wore the underdog down, as did playing five matches in eight days.
"That's a lot," Martin said. "Added on to what I went through in the middle of the week, I'm sure it had a bit of a cumulative effect. …