Tennis Channel Inside In - Todd Martin

For a certain generation of tennis fans, the American men were revolutionary. The 1990s were dominated by the games and personalities of US players that collected accolades while garnering household recognition. Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Jim Courier were generational talents that took the game to a special place.

But it wasn't just a top heavy effort. Todd Martin was as much of a mainstay as anyone, and in 15 pro seasons he was an integral part of the US tennis movement. You might not be as familiar with his name, and he may not have reached the heights of his compatriots, but he's still an enormous reason for the sport's success domestically and abroad.

Martin joined the Tennis Channel Inside-In Podcast for a reflective chat regarding his playing career, and why staying involved in the sport is still at the top of his priorities.


The conversation conveys a lot about Todd Martin the person, which explains his success as a tennis player. He was heavily influenced and guided by his parents, which is where the foundation of such great character and respect was formed. His tennis journey took him from the Midwest & Northwestern University to the ATP Tour, where Martin admittedly struggled before finding his footing.

In 1993 he started to win matches against elite competition, which preceded a 1994 season where he became a bonafide top player himself. He won 53 matches, reached the Australian Open Final, and had two additional runs to major semifinals.

"I knew I was ready to compete in 94 but still, you don't really know until you get into the swing of things and a couple of things fall your way," Martin reflected. And while he acknowledged his commitment to his craft, he also credits the good breaks he received. "It took luck for me. A lot of good tennis, but a good bit of fortune as well."

Martin was ranked as high as No. 4 in the world, but was often overshadowed by his fellow Americans. Instead of feeling disheartened by the lack of accolades he achieved due to such stout competition, Martin feels grateful that his own game was pushed to such a high level by those Hall of Famers.

"In spite of losing to them, I benefited more from their presence than I could have ever imagined," he explained. "From a motivation standpoint it was like, that's greatness. So at least I know what greatness is and I can work towards that. I think that gave me a tremendous advantage against so many of my peers, because I had a closer look."


Todd Martin's contributions on the court have been impressive, but off the court he's flourished in several leadership roles. He joined the ATP Player Council in the 90s, and is about to complete a highly successful tenure as the CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame (ITHF). Martin is admittedly not an outgoing person, and certainly not in it for the glamour, money, or spotlight. He simply wants to help the people involved in the sport he loves, and he wants to ensure that tennis is in a better position than it was he arrived on tour as a wide-eyed young adult in 1990.

"The compelling draw to come and work for the Hall of Fame in 2014 was, how much have I taken from the sport, and what can I give back to the sport?" Martin is proud to be in such a prestigious position, but it's his use of the word "serve" that underlies what he feels is his most important duty.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed my almost nine years and I'll shed a couple of tears in December as I'm walking out of my office for the last time."

Martin is one of the most respected and well-liked members in this tennis community, and if you didn't realize that before than allow this episode to teach you why that it is. You will learn about his appreciation for tennis history, the role models he idolized as a youth, and why he never quit competing on court, a fact highlighted by his record-sharing nine comeback wins when trailing two sets to none in majors. The Todd Martin Youth Leadership organization (TMYL) is helping underprivileged youth through tennis, and the commitment to helping people has never waned as Martin continues onward on his post-playing career.

The 1990s featured some of the most influential and important Americans in tennis history. Let's make sure Todd Martin is featured on that list.