In July of 1993 I made my first Wimbledon quarterfinal and made it into the top 15 in the world. After 2½ struggling years on tour, I was finally making my way in professional tennis. When I was traveling, my singular focus was tennis. Fortunately, I made plenty of time to return to Lansing, MI, where I grew up and where my parents still lived. My visits home were good for me and restored some balance into my life. Rick Ferman, my long time mentor and coach, as usual, had a very similar focus on balance and character that my parents had come to expect out of me.
One day after practicing with Rick, we got to talking about what was important to him, to me, and the great sport of tennis. The conversation was focused on the discipline and respect that tennis requires and rewards, the community of Lansing and its specific importance to both Rick and me, and finally children and all they need in order to flourish during their childhoods. It was in that conversation that the concept of Todd Martin Development Fund originated.
So, after Rick exercised his methods of persuasion on me, he set out to sell my dad, Dale Martin, on the concept. Once convinced that it was something that we could make work and realizing how committed to the idea I was, my dad was on board. He lent his expertise as an attorney and we began forming an organization. Together the three of us and our unique array of skills successfully raised funds, designed a program, hired a staff, and began operation in the summer of 1994. Having had my fair share of doubts at the onset, I am still surprised and always excited that, through the hard work of so many people in 2017, we are still growing and serving mid-Michigan's youth better than ever.