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Quotes of 2011
( Photo credit: Art Seitz ©2011 )
December 16, 2011: "Politically correct education has masterfully escorted homosexuality out from behind closed doors, into the community openly and now is aggressively demanding marriage rights that are not theirs to take. To dismantle this sole definition of marriage and try to legitimise what God calls abominable sexual practices that include sodomy, reveals our ignorance as to the ills that come when society is forced to accept law that violates their very own God-given nature of what is right and what is wrong."
— Former tennis superstar Margaret Court, who is the founder and senior pastor at Victory Life Church in Perth, has urged Australians to make a stand against same-sex marriage, in The West Australian newspaper.
December 16, 2011: "Seems to me a lot of people have evolved as has the Bible, unfortunately Margaret Court has not. Her myopic view is truly frightening as well as damaging to the thousands of children already living in same gender families."
— Martina Navratilova, winner of 59 major titles in singles and doubles and a lesbian, blasting anti-gay comments by Australian tennis legend Margaret Court on TennisChannel.com.
December 16, 2011: "The more we talk openly about issues like gay marriage, the more we learn about each other. It is a blessing the people of Australia can live freely and express their own opinions because we need open dialogue to help us move forward. We have to commit to eliminating homophobia because everyone is entitled to the same rights, opportunities and protection."
— All-time tennis great Billie Jean King, denouncing Margaret Court's opposition to gay marriage.
November 4, 2011: "Without my mom, I wouldn't be playing tennis in the world, period. It's definitely great to have her here and have her see my best success in the tournament so far."
— Donald Young, after he upset world No 9 Gael Monfils of France 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5) in a 2-hour, 46-minute battle in the PTT Thailand Open semis, paying tribute to his mother Illona.
November 5, 2011: "I think there are some players who do it on purpose. They don't do it in practice and then they come into the match and they grunt. I think they [officials] could definitely cut it. If you grunt really loudly your opponent cannot hear how you hit the ball. Because the grunt is so loud, you think the ball is coming fast and suddenly the ball just goes slowly. In tight moments, maybe the grunt helps them with getting less nervous."
— Caroline Wozniacki, who doesn't shriek or scream, says that offenders have an unfair advantage by distracting foes when they emit loud noises.
November 5, 2011: "I can't stop, and I won't."
— Victoria Azarenka, a close friend of Caroline Wozniacki and one of the loudest and longest shriekers on the WTA Tour, telling reporters in Istanbul that critics of grunting should mind their own business.
October 7, 2011: "Tennis analyst is the easiest job in the world because whatever the person does, if it works you just say that's what's good, and if it doesn't work, you guys go, 'He should have done the other things.'.It just doesn't take much thought. If I'm grinding and I'm winning, you guys are like, 'He's reinvented himself.' If I'm playing like crap and pushing, then, you know, 'He's horrible and he needs to hit the ball.'"
— Andy Roddick, telling ESPN broadcaster Chris Fowler he has a low opinion of TV tennis analysts.
October 7, 2011: "They are making absolute fortunes. Normally you strike because you are not getting enough money or your place of work is not good enough. They play all the best places in the world, they get picked up by Rolls Royces at the airport, they stay at 10-star hotels and get paid a fortune. So I am not sure what part of the normal reasons to strike are there."
— John Lloyd, the 1979 Australian Open finalist, saying the threats by Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick to strike because players receive only 13 percent of the revenue at Grand Slam events are "incredible."
September 16, 2011: "We were in America last time I checked. Don't look at me. If we're ever walking down the hallway, stay on the other side. You're totally out of control. You're a hater and you're unattractive inside. What a loser."
— Serena Williams, with a tirade directed at chair umpire Eva Asderaki, who penalized Williams for violating the hindrance rule for yelling, "Come on!" before Samantha Stosur hit the ball during the US Open final.
September 16, 2011: "I fought until the last point. I tried my best in every moment. I am happy with a lot of things, much happier than the previous matches against him. I always had big trouble beating him here on this surface in the past. It's not an exception now, especially because he's doing better than ever. But you know what? I go back home knowing that I am on the way. I like to fight; I want to enjoy this battle against him. Six straight losses, for sure that's painful. But I'm going to work every day until that changes."
— Rafael Nadal, highly motivated after losing 6-2, 6-4, 6-7, 6-1 to a spectacular Novak Djokovic in the US Open final.
September 16, 2011: "I don't want to say that's not possible. It's possible. Everything is possible. But still, it's such a tough task to ask to win all four Grand Slams in a year. How many players did it in all history?"
— Novak Djokovic, talking about a Grand Slam, a feat previously achieved only by Don Budge, Rod Laver, Maureen Connolly, Margaret Court and Steffi Graf, after he won three majors this year.
September 7, 2011: "I just remember that I lost, and that was that. I got really popular. A lot of people were telling me they thought I was super cool, that they'd never saw me so intense. So, yeah, it was awesome. I don't know. I don't think about it. Are you still thinking about it? Oh, my God, that was like two years ago. This is like two years later."
— Serena Williams, still not contrite about the 2009 US Open semifinal incident when a penalty for profanely threatening to choke a lineswoman with a tennis ball resulted in her being defaulted.
September 7, 2011: "I've never bought into this whole idea that our kids are soft. We're soft-the coaches and the mentors are the ones who're soft. Kids will adjust to what we tell them to do. It's up to us to set the tone and send that message across the board. Hopefully we're sending the right message: You've got to earn it. To be perfectly honest: We're not going to take any s---. That doesn't mean we're not going to work with you or listen to what people say about how we can do better. But we're not going to take any s---."
— Patrick McEnroe, former U.S. Davis Cup captain and now General Manager of Player Development for the United States Tennis Association, adamant that the USTA will no longer cater to demands for special treatment by young players or their parents.
August 24, 2011: "The guy [1980s bad boy John McEnroe] is still getting endorsements because he was allowed to throw things. I understand where [umpire Carlos Bernardes] is coming from, but at a certain point, you know, you hit a tennis ball into a stadium, someone goes home with a souvenir, and it [penalizing the player] pretty much ruins the match from there. Seems counterproductive. At a certain point, I would love it if we got out of our own way."
— Andy Roddick, defending his whacking a ball into the stands at Cincinnati and contending tennis players should get a little more leeway, rather than being penalized, in such situations.
August 24, 2011: "I'm not the type of person to just withdraw and leave the audience out there. You know, when I go to concerts and the band comes two hours late and plays for 45 minutes and then they leave, then I'm really, really mad. I just tried to put myself in their position. The moment that I knew I'm probably going to be fine for the US Open, I knew I'm going to play. And I would rather die than retire, so the decision was quite easy for me."
— Andrea Petkovic, on why she played her semifinal against Jelena Jankovic at the Western and Southern Open with a meniscus tear in her surgically repaired right knee.
August 4, 2011: "First of all, in any sport where you can measure distance, height speed and all of that, you see how athletes have changed their sport and made it better. I believe, with every generation, the sport has improved. Certainly, in the men's game, that has been the case. I think that I played Pete [Sampras] at his best, I played Roger [Federer] at his best.. I believe wholeheartedly that Roger and [Rafael] Nadal have pushed the game much further than myself or Pete ever did. Their options on the tennis court are considerably more than ours."
— Andre Agassi, with high praise for 21st century superstars Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
July 18, 2011: "For sure Agassi was a magnificent player and three-dimensional character, but is it right that someone often mired in controversy and involved in such a scandalous drugs cover-up [as revealed in his autobiography] gets to receive this enormous accolade? It seems the sport's traditional hero worship of its biggest stars has overridden concerns that putting him in the Hall of Fame sends out mixed messages about the sport's attitudes to banned substances."
— Mike Dickson, tennis writer for The Daily Mail (UK), questioning Andre Agassi's being voted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
July 18, 2011: "The States has a lot of big sports that are sucking talent, and more kids are playing football, basketball, and baseball. And they go to school. Some of these other countries pluck these kids at 9 or 10 years old and turn them into tennis robots or machines. We got spoiled in the '80s and '90s with [Jim] Courier, [Michael] Chang, [Pete] Sampras and [Andre] Agassi. There's not going to be that kind of domination by one country anymore."
— Bob Bryan, who ranks No. 1 in doubles with his brother Mike, on why American tennis is declining steadily, in The Statesman newspaper.
July 5, 2011: "The most special day of my life. This is my favorite tournament, the tournament I always dreamed of winning, the first tournament I ever watched in my life. I think I'm still sleeping."
— An ecstatic Novak Djokovic, after winning his first Wimbledon title by decisively dethroning Rafael Nadal.
July 5, 2011: "When one player is better than you, at this moment, the only thing you can do is work, try to find solutions and try to wait a little bit for your time. I'm going to wait and I'm going to try a sixth time. And if the sixth doesn't happen, a seventh. It's going to be like this. That's the spirit of sport."
— Rafael Nadal, both philosophical and determined about reversing the trend in which he's lost five straight matches on three different surfaces to new world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
July 5, 2011: "I'm thrilled for her. She played brave tennis, and she deserved to win. She was by far the better player. I don't think this is the only time she'll win here. It's very exciting. A new star."
— Martina Navratilova, nine-time Wimbledon singles champion, talking about Petra Kvitova after the 21-year-old Czech won her first Wimbledon and first major title.
June 20, 2011: "I know I can beat Novak on any surface; I've done that in the past."
— Roger Federer, scheduled to meet Novak Djokovic in the semifinals, in his quest to win a record-tying seventh Wimbledon title.
June 20, 2011: "I feel like we've been on a similar road together. Her road hasn't been as arduous or as long as mine, but I know what she's been through coming back from Australia. She never retires, and she had to retire. When you're down and someone's down with you, it kind of makes you feel a little better."
— Serena Williams, who was sidelined for nearly a year because of two foot surgeries and a pulmonary embolism, talking about her misfortune and that of her sister Venus, a five-time Wimbledon singles champion who was off the pro tour since injuring herself at the Australian Open.
June 8, 2011: "Afterwards I felt much easier that he wasn't my coach. He did too. He can do everything for me, but sometimes I would think: 'You're my husband. Why are you shouting at me on the court?' This isn't easy to change. But now I can talk about everything to do with tennis with my coach and talk about everything to do with the rest of my life with my husband."
— French Open champion Li Na, on why replacing her husband as coach with Danish Fed Cup captain Michael Mortensen was the right decision.
June 8, 2011: "I'm so impressed with what he's able to do mentally and physically. It's jaw-dropping to watch him play on this surface. Borg was always this god on this surface; no one believed that they could beat him. But given the depth of the field today, for Rafa to be as dominant as Borg is unfathomable, and we're just lucky to see it. I have a hard time imagining how you beat this guy on this surface."
— Jim Courier, the 1991-1992 French Open champion, and now a TV analyst, on Rafael Nadal's winning his sixth French Open crown.
May 18, 2011: "This is just the beginning of many things to come. This is just a great start to everything."
— Three-time major champion, Maria Sharapova, after winning the Italian Open, her biggest title on clay.
May 18, 2011: "In speaking publicly about the condition, Djokovic has become the world’s most famous coeliac, and living proof that sufferers can not only lead relatively normal lives but can excel. Sufferers of coeliac disease experience an auto-immune response to gluten, a protein in many grains, which irritates the small intestine, sometimes causing symptoms throughout the body. The disease runs in families."
— Martin Hickman, writing in The Independent (UK) that tennis champion Novak Djokovic partly attributes his amazing 37-0 unbeaten streak this season to overcoming a wheat allergy by going on a gluten-free diet.
May 2, 2011: "You always have to respect Roger. For him to be three in the world is a downgrade, and if you think about that it’s stupid. For me he’s the greatest player ever. Every time he loses, it’s tragic."
— Jurgen Melzer, after upsetting Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4 at Monte Carlo.
May 2, 2011: "They have screwed me for the last time."
— Donald Young, blasting the United States Tennis Association for not giving him a wild card at the French Open, in an expletive-filled Tweeter. Subsequently, Young apologized to the USTA.
April 6, 2011: "You have to believe on the court. In the end, it’s mental. In these moments against a great champion like Rafa, you have to believe. It’s all about stepping in and taking your chances. I always believed, but it’s a process of learning."
— Novak Djokovic, who had lost five of six tiebreakers and five of six finals against Rafael Nadal before defeating him 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) in the thrilling Sony Ericsson Open final.
April 6, 2011: "You always care to win. What I meant by not caring about losing a tennis match is to not create such a big drama out of it. If you just lose a tennis match, it’s not the end of the world. Look what happened in Japan, for example. And we’re here playing tennis. So, I mean, why make a big deal out of it?"
— Victoria Azarenka, a maturing 21-year-old from Belarus known for her emotional outbursts during matches, stayed calm throughout her impressive 6-1, 6-4 victory over Maria Sharapova in the Sony Ericsson Open final.
March 24, 2011: "I think Serena is the best player out there, and I think just as a tennis player and a tennis fan, I do miss her."
— No. 2-ranked Kim Clijsters, who won the last two majors − the 2010 U.S. Open and the 2011 Australian Open − graciously pays tribute to Serena Williams, who has been sidelined by foot injuries.
March 24, 2011: "I really don’t have one with him. I wish we could. After all this time, you would think it would be reasonable."
— Ever-candid Ivan Lendl, when asked if he and John McEnroe, bitter rivals in the 1980s and now players on the senior tour, were friends and had a relationship with one another.
March 5, 2011: "I would eliminate and prohibit clapping shots for your opponent. Tennis is not about the shot making; it's about the mental battle. It needs to be more warrior-like to me."
— Mats Wilander, whose mental strength helped him capture seven Grand Slam titles in the 1980s, when Tennis magazine asked: "If you could change one thing about the pro game, what would it be?"
March 5, 2011: "Like tennis, poker is very much a mind game. You're out there on your own. It's fun to BS your opponents with your tactics."
— Boris Becker, six-time Grand Slam winner who
retired from the pro tennis tour in 1999, has a contract with pokerstars .net and plays online,
talking to ESPN The Magazine.
February 15, 2011: "I'm going to miss all the great feelings you have as a professional tennis player. I hope I'll pick the racquet up again one day, but more than anything I want to live a normal life."
—Seven-time Grand Slam winner Justine Henin, who retired for the second time in her career, soon after her third-round Australian Open loss where she was hampered by a chronic elbow injury.
February 15, 2011: "Everything so far has to do with something like war, like a missile. I think 'Maple Leaf Milos' is nice, but let's just stick with 'Milos' until I make up my mind."
— Milos Raonic, a 20-year-old Canadian whose rocket serve has hit 151 miles per hour, on nicknames, including "The Maple Leaf Missile," "Mr. Mr." (for his initials, MR), "The Big Leaf," "Bombardier Milos" and "Avatar" that have been used for him.
February 2, 2011: "Obviously over the years, it's been America, it's been Europe. It's all been very kind of divided between those two continents. It's nice to kind of see that Asia is starting - and especially China - starting to get recognized in this sport, too."
— Kim Clijsters Australian Open champion, paying tribute to finalist Li Na, as well as other Chinese players, such as 2010 semifinalist Zheng Jie and the team of Yan Zi and Zheng, the 2006 doubles champions.
February 2, 2011: "I wouldn't be writing any epitaphs too quickly. But I think what makes it interesting is that now Novak has truly, I think, joined that conversation firmly. I don't think the big two will be the big two in quite the same way."
— Jim Courier, former world No. 1 and now the U.S. Davis Cup captain, speaking of superstars Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer being joined by Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic.
February 2, 2011: "We've been growing up through two wars. When you turn around and analyse what you have been through, you appreciate some things more in your life and you know what your values are. Of course everybody loves their country. I don't love my country more than you love yours, but in my case it's a more special feeling because we've been through something different. So to be able to help those people who I know how much they've suffered - and they still suffer because of some problems - it's our obligation in some way to give support as best we can."
— Novak Djokovic, on what his winning the Australian Open means to Serbia.
January 20, 2011: "Yeah, husband and wife always fighting, doesn't matter on the court or out of the court. This is a problem. But on the court I have to listen to what he says . . . out of the court, it's opposite. He was travelling the tour [with me] for two, three years already, so I think he has a little bit experience. He needs to do something for the family, right?"
— Li Na a semifinalist at the 2010 Australian Open, on being coached by her husband, Jiang Shan, this year.
January 20, 2011: "When you have bodyguards, everything is more difficult. That's when people recognize you. When you go normal, it's easier to go out without problems, people are respectful."
— Rafael Nadal, one of sport's most normal and reluctant superstars, in Sports Illustrated.
January 8, 2011: "How tough it is to climb, and how easy it is to go down."
— Dinara Safina spent 26 weeks ranked No. 1 in 2009, but was hampered by a stress fracture in her lower back in 2010 and finished No. 63, on what she's learned, in the Sunday Star Times.
January 8, 2011: "Tennis is at an amazing time when you've got two of the best players ever to play the game. You can argue the two very best playing in the same generation. It's a rivalry I think that we've never seen in our sport."
— Andre Agassi calling the rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal "more compelling" than the one he had with Pete Sampras.
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