Pete caught up with Australian tennis great and now media presenter Todd Woodbridge before the start of the Presidents Cup. Little did you know, that between both Pete and Todd they have won 16 Grand Slam Doubles…
Peter: How do you take your coffee?
Flat white with one sugar. I’ll have a maximum of three a day and the last one has to be by 3pm. I can have one at night and still sleep, but I don’t do that often.
Peter: Tell us a little about where you are now with life after being a professional tennis player.
Basically, I’m a Melbourne boy but I spent most of my school years at five different schools because of my tennis coaching. I ended up in Canberra for a year at the Australian Institute of Sport where I finished school.
Peter: Wow, that’s some record!
I turned pro when I was fifteen and retired when I was thirty-four, so tennis has been a big part of my life. It’s just what you had to do at that time to make a go of a tennis career.
Peter: And what a record that is. You were of course the most well-known as part of the Woodies clan. There must have been a few stories about the fun you all had together.
Yes, there are lots but I often get asked by people – “Hello Mark, how is your brother?” I’m not sure how they can confuse me with Mark…who has red hair!
Peter: And what are you doing these days Todd?
I split my time between working for Tennis Australia in the player development area and media commentating for Channel 9. That keeps me pretty busy, especially heading into summer.
Peter: You’ve certainly done a lot!
Yes, between Olympic and Commonwealth Games, the tennis and now golf, it’s very diverse.
Peter: Is footy commentary on the radar?
I don’t think that’s my strength, but you never know!
Peter: Who do you admire most from the media world for what they have achieved?
Bruce McAvaney is just a natural and such a pleasure to work with. I’ve also admired Jo Griggs as she has really established herself in the media and not just as a sports person. Sometimes that is the hard part as we tend to get pigeon holed due to our backgrounds.
Peter: What Melbournian would you like to be for a day?
Definitely Neil Mitchell for the way he keeps everyone honest no matter what the issue may be. I enjoy listening to him when I can.
Peter: What’s your favourite event to attend in Melbourne?
You might find this is not as expected but my family are great theatre lovers. My son, Beau, is going down this path as a career, so we are fully supportive of him and the arts. There are not a lot of shows we don’t go and see!
Peter: Yes, he’s definitely got the acting and singing talent – obviously not from you.
Unfortunately, I’d have to agree with that!
Peter: Why is Melbourne a great place to host events?
We just have everything – sport, arts, theatre – whatever you want and it’s the proximity that makes us unique. You don’t appreciate how good that is until you’ve been to other cities and experienced their major event venues. Wimbledon is a good example as its way out from the city, unlike Melbourne Park.
Peter: What are your thoughts on some of our leading men at this stage of their tennis careers and the headlines they create?
I get frustrated because I only know too well the career span as a player is very short and you have to make the most of it while you can. I just think they are going to regret it when they have retired, particularly with all the talent they have.
Peter: Where is your favourite place to go for a coffee?
I don’t really have a place I go to on a regular basis, so there’s nowhere I can say “you must go there!”
Peter: What’s next for you Todd?
It’s a busy time in between Federation Cup, a summer of tennis and of course the President’s Cup in December.
The line-up of golfers coming is amazing, the likes of which we won’t see here see again for a long time.
Peter: It’s going to be very special and I look forward to seeing you out there. Thanks Todd.