Woodies ousted in Slam farewell


NEW YORK, AFP

After a disappointing defeat in their Grand Slam farewell, 11-time Slam doubles champions Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge were ready to set aside modesty and accept their place in tennis immortality.

“I don’t think ‘The Woodies’ will ever disappear,” Woodforde said. “That name. Us. We are, I can finally say it, one of the greatest teams that have played.”

“The Woodies” failed in a bid for their third consecutive Grand Slam title as Aussie teen phenom Lleyton Hewitt and Max Mirnyi of Belarus ousted the legendary top seeded partners with a 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (7/4) victory here Saturday.

Woodforde and Woodbridge won the Australian Open title in 1992 and 1997, the US Open crown in 1995 and 1996, five Wimbledon crowns in a row from 1993 to 1997 and this year’s Wimbledon and French Open titles to finish a career Slam.

“It has been great,” Woodbridge said. “I never dreamed about doing as well as we have done.

This has been the best year of my career, the most enjoyable.

I realize that now because I appreciate what we have had together.”

Woodbridge and retiring Woodforde, three weeks shy of his 35th birthday, perform one final encore at the Sydney Olympics.

“I still believe we can win there and get a gold medal and if we do that, that’s just perfect,” Woodforde said.

A double-fault by Woodbridge on match point ended their Grand Slam goodbye after two hours and six minutes, touching off an ovation from the crowd for a match that had been halted by rain.