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Mark Woodforde first told Todd Woodbridge to shut up during the best-of-three doubles final at the 1991 Donnay Indoor Championships in Brussels. They had won the opening set against Libor Pimek and Michiel Schapers 6-3 and were leading 3-0 in the second. "We'd never made a final before, and Todd couldn't stop yapping," says Woodforde. "He was so nervous, he was frothing at the mouth."
While Woodbridge frothed, Pimek and Schapers fussed. "Those guys were in total disarray," Woodforde says. "In fact, they had gone into the tank."
Still, Woodbridge fretted. During the changeover, he asked his more experienced partner, "What if they rally and win the next two sets?"
Woodforde counseled, "Just stay calm, play normal, and we'll win."
"But what if...."
"Look across the net. They're screaming at each other."
"Todd, shut up!"
He did, and they won the set 6-0 for their first title. Forty-one tournament championships later, Woodbridge says, "I've gotten better."
"A lot better," says Woodforde. In fact, he hasn't told Woodbridge to shut up since.