Sad fallout of beloved Aussie duo

Mark Woodforde has revealed he no longer speaks to Todd Woodbridge in a sad twist to one of the most fruitful relationships Australian sport has seen.

The Woodies combined to win 11 tennis grand slam doubles titles, 61 ATP doubles tournaments, a Davis Cup and Olympic gold during a decade of brilliance on court together.

But Woodforde, who lives in California near Indian Wells, told the Break Point podcast this week their friendship is non-existent today.

“It’s probably one of the greatest quandaries right now. I wish Todd and I were in a better place. We haven’t spoken for some time,” Woodforde said.

The left-hander appears hurt at Woodbridge’s decision to play with Sweden’s Jonas Bjorkman on the legends tour instead of him.

“Todd’s elected to move on and play with Jonas Bjorkman in some of the legends doubles events, who he played with once I retired,” he said.

“He developed a partnership with Jonas and they had success together, but not anywhere near on the same level as the Woodies.

“I guess the Woodies drifted into the background for him and he’s developing his own brand.

“So it’s disappointing for me, I still play the legends events so it’s kind of a head scratcher to turn up and we’re not playing together.

“There’s bits and pieces there which I’m sure we both share in, but I hope some day that we can be on better terms than where we are now.”

Asked directly “are you and Woodforde still close?” in an interview with the Herald Sun earlier this year, Woodbridge said “yes”.

“We are good friends and what we achieved together is very special. We don’t work a lot together or spend a huge amount of time together. We are very different characters and we live in different countries these days,” he said.

But that doesn’t appear to be how Woodforde views the state of affairs.

Breaking Point podcast host Val Febbo asked Woodforde: “Talk to us about how the partnership came about, how the relationship blossomed and do you guys still speak regularly today?”

Woodforde paused before saying, “well the easiest one is to talk about how we began”.

The 54-year-old then discussed how he became aware of Woodbridge as he rose up the ranks in Australia.

After winning the 1989 US Open doubles with John McEnroe he needed a new partner when McEnroe decided to focus on his singles career.

McEnroe told him: “You can still achieve so much in this sport. You need to find an Australian. You need to find someone a little younger. You need to find a right-hander, someone who plays singles and doubles every week like yourself, and someone you can represent your country with in some of the biggest matches you’ll play outside of grand slams, which is Davis Cup.”

“He described Todd Woodbridge to me,” Woodforde said.

The Aussies joined forces in 1990 and after a rocky start became legends.

“The first tournament we didn’t do so well. It was abysmal … we lost first round. We got our butts kicked so badly we were thinking ‘yeah, there’s nothing really here between us’,” Woodforde said.

“But the second tournament, that very first match we beat a seeded team. There was something there. We just kind of walked off and we were like ‘hey, this is pretty good.’

“We actually changed back to our original sides, me being the left-hander on the ad(vantage) court, Todd the righty on the first court. It just flowed. It flowed for a number of other matches that week. We ended up losing in the semis, which wasn’t a bad loss.

“But our coach and a trainer at the time, they saw something on the sidelines as well.”

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