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Quotes of 2012
( Photo credit: Art Seitz ©2012 )
December 6, 2012: "These kind of matches [at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals] give me illusions for the next season. I beat Roger yesterday. I was close to beating Nole today. In the end, they are too good for me, but I'm getting closer every day. Maybe it could be my big challenge for next year, my big goal, trying to fight at all Grand Slams with this group. They win all the Grand Slams: Novak, Federer, Rafa and now Murray. I would like to be part of those names in the Grand Slams."
— Juan Martin del Potro, who reached the quarter-finals at three of the four majors and won a career-high 65 matches in 2012, grabbed an Olympic bronze medal, and captured four ATP World Tour titles.
December 6, 2012: "Me, Victoria and Maria are playing so consistent-it's exciting. We want to do something like men's tennis is doing: Have all of us win Grand Slams all the time. Maria is so dedicated and Victoria hates to lose-and me? I despise losing."
— Serena Williams, who won Wimbledon and US Open titles plus an Olympic gold medal in 2012, saying she wants to continue dominating women's tennis with Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka and French Open champion Maria Sharapova.
November 20, 2012: "What more does he have to do? Climb Everest? Put his name down for I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here? Do a Felix Baumgartner? Renounce Scotland? .. What a shame, though, that a year when he delivered so fully on his God-given talents, ended with a home crowd wanting the other chap to win. Not everyone, of course but a marked majority."
— Neil Harman, tennis writer for The Times (UK), on the disloyal British crowd at the O2 arena who rooted mainly for Roger Federer instead of Britain's Andy Murray during their semifinal in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
November 20, 2012: "We were able to break the [mold] and win a lot of grand slams and change the face of tennis ... when tennis was very dominated by white people. It doesn't matter what your background is and where you come from, if you have dreams and goals, that's all that matters."
— Serena Williams, who was with her sister Venus, during a four-day trip to Lagos, Nigeria, as part of the women's rights campaign Breaking the Mould in the hopes of inspiring women to follow their dreams at various stages of their lives by showcasing national and international "mold breakers" who've achieved greatness in various ways.
November 20, 2012: "Tennis misses Rafa a lot. He's a globally recognized tennis player and athlete, very popular, very attractive player to watch and a great competitor. He already became a legend of this sport, and he's only 26. I really hope for him that he's going to recover and we're going to see him in Australia [in January], because he definitely deserves to be back."
— World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, with a heartfelt wish for a healthy Rafael Nadal in 2013.
October 28, 2012: "It's just been an incredible year-I've had my two dreams come true. To finish No. 1 shows I've been playing really well throughout the whole year. To be a part of this history is just an incredible thing. When I first started to play tennis as a little girl, becoming No.1 in the world seemed so far away, and now I'm standing here and holding that trophy."
— Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, who won her first Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open, in January, became the 11th different player to finish a year ranked No. 1, and became the first woman to surpass the $7 million prize money mark in single season.
October 28, 2012: "She's not going to end the year ranked No. 1 in the world, but she's No. 1 in the world."
— Jimmy Arias, Tennis Channel analyst and former world No. 4, on Serena Williams, who won Wimbledon, the US Open, a Olympics gold medal and the season-ending WTA Championships but finished the year ranked No. 3, partly because of the flawed WTA ranking system.
October 11, 2012: "Bottom line is the right answer has been taken by the tour. I started grunting since whenever I can remember. I see videos of myself and I've grunted for that long. Nobody told me to do it in Russia or in Florida. It's just a natural habit."
— Maria Sharapova, whose loud shrieks have exceeded 100 decibels, telling Reuters she favors the WTA plans to muzzle the next generation with the aid of umpires armed with hand-held devices to measure noise levels on court.
October 11, 2012: "I don't know what I'm going to do with a year's worth of Corona beer. I don't even like beer."
— Kei Nishikori, referring to a bonus gift from the tournament sponsors, after he defeated Milos Raonic 7-5, 3-6, 6-0 to become the first Japanese man in 40 years to win the Japan Open, for his second tournament title.
September 12, 2012: "I proved that I can win the Grand Slams. I proved that I can last four and a half hours and come out on top against one of the strongest guys physically that tennis had probably seen especially on this surface. So they would probably be the things that I would say I have learned tonight: To not doubt myself physically and mentally from now on."
— Andy Murray, after outlasting defending champion Novak Djokovic in a riveting 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 US Open final, which included a 24-minute first set tiebreaker and equalled the longest US Open final in history, for his first Grand Slam title.
September 12, 2012: "For me, she's the greatest player of all time. She took the game to the next level. Having players like that on the women's tour right now is something priceless-something you cannot take away."
— Victoria Azarenka, gracious after extending superstar Serena Williams to 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 in a thrilling US Open final.
September 12, 2012: "It's sad. I know there's other life out there, but there's never ever anything that can replace it. Nothing. No matter what you do, business-wise or whatever, you're just never going to replace that feeling of doing what you've done in front of 25,000 live and hundreds of millions around the world and showcasing your talent. It's the best feeling ever."
— Jimmy Connors, telling Sports Illustrated why Andy Roddick reveled in the display of affection US Open spectators showered on him during his farewell match against Juan Martin del Potro.
August 29, 2012: "It brings me the nicest memories, that's for sure. That point, you know, saved me from losing the [2011 US Open] semifinals and giving me the opportunity to win the title. I have done it. I mean, this is another example that on this highest level in men's tennis, few maybe one point, one shot can decide a winner. Yeah, it was a great shot, and, you know, it's something that I will remember forever."
— Novak Djokovic, when asked: "When you think back about that forehand [service return winner] on match point against Federer, a year later, what do you think about that?"
August 29, 2012: "My mind frame this year is that something is going to happen, for sure, because something always happens to me at the Open, whether it's a horrendous line call that's two feet in or whether it's a grunt and I get a point penalized, or a foot fault when I actually don't foot fault. I'm prepared for something to happen."
— Serena Williams, still in denial about her 2009 and 2011 US Open mental meltdowns and misconduct, although correct about the bad line calls she received in her 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 quarterfinal loss to Jennifer Capriati in 2004. August 12, 2012: "I mean, I don't know. I just always give all the glory to God. You know, lately I've just been focused only on tennis, nothing else, no distractions, no life (smiling). My life is practice in the morning, training in the afternoon. Wake up to practice in the morning, training. Definitely been spending a lot more time maybe on the tennis court."
— Serena Williams, who easily won Olympic gold medals in singles and doubles (with sister Venus), on why she's playing such good tennis now at nearly 31.
August 12 , 2012: "This is the biggest win of my life. This week's been absolutely incredible, I've had a lot of fun. I felt so fresh on the court today. I didn't feel nervous really at all, apart from at the beginning of the match. The support's been unbelievable."
— Andy Murray, after he outclassed favored Roger Federer 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 to win the gold medal at the London Olympics.
August 12 , 2012: "To play on Centre Court at Wimbledon and win the gold medal is a dream come true. We could stop tomorrow, and we got a big smile on our face for the rest of our lives. This one is dedicated to you guys [their parents, Kathy and Wayne]. We love you. Mum, thanks for all the hard lessons every day for two hours. Dad, you ran the best clinics."
— A grateful Mike Bryan, after he and brother Bob edged Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 7-6 for the gold medal at the London Olympics.
July 10, 2012: "We’re all humans. Everyone can beat everyone."
— Lukas Rosol, an unheralded Czech journeyman, after he scored one of the greatest upsets in tennis history against 11-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon second round.
July 10, 2012: "I can't even describe it. I almost didn't make it. A few years ago, you know, I was in the hospital, and now I'm here again. It's so worth it, and I'm so happy."
— Serena Williams, who underwent two foot surgeries and suffered a life-threatening blot clot after she won her last Grand Slam tournament title, Wimbledon in 2010, rebounded to capture her fifth Wimbledon and 14th major title by defeating Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 in the final.
July 10, 2012: "I hope so. God, I've practiced so much that I-you don't want to be worse five years later. I feel I have a great game today. I know how hard it is to pull off those great shots, and I know how easy it is to miss, so I'm more aware of these things. But I'm so happy I'm at the age I am right now because I had such a great run and I know there's still more possible."
— Roger Federer, after winning his seventh Wimbledon and 17th Grand Slam title a month before turning 31, asked if he was a better player today than five years ago.
July 04, 2012: "I'll jump out of an airplane."
— Angelique Kerber, a smiling, 24-year-old German seeded No. 8, asked what would she do if she won Wimbledon, following her impressive 6-1, 6-1 thrashing of four-time major champion Kim Clijsters in the fourth round.
July 04, 2012: "This is hard to put into words. It's kind of crazy, what's going on. I'm trying not to get wrapped up in it. I don't want to be all happy and 'Oh my gosh, I'm in the fourth round of Wimbledon!' The big thing for me is that in key moments of a match, I'm confident that I don't have to step outside my comfort zone. My game's good enough."
—Qualifier Brian Baker, an American mounting a career comeback from reconstructive elbow surgery, continued his surprising run by beating Benoit Paire 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 in the Wimbledon third round.
July 04, 2012: "Just to play three good sets, you know. Just don't lose 6-0, 6-1, 6-1."
— Lukas Rosol, asked what his expectations had been before he scored a shocking 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 upset over No. 2-ranked and 11-time major winner Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon second round.
June 12, 2012: "It's the most incredible feeling. I don't know what to say. I'm so happy. I've worked so hard for this. It took a lot to get to this stage and even more to win it. There are so many tough days where you feel like giving up, but you don't. It's been such a journey to get to this stage again. If this weren't my fourth Grand Slam title, if this were my only one, it would be just as special as it would be to win my fourth."
— Maria Sharapova, after she completed a career Grand Slam by winning her first French Open title.
June 12, 2012: "This is a really emotional day, to win here win another time. Sure, the seventh is important because I am the player who has more titles here than anyone, but for me the important thing is just to win at Roland Garros, whether it's the first, second, third or seventh."
— Rafael Nadal, who broke a record he shared with the legendary Bjorn Borg by winning his seventh French Open title, defeating world No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 in the final.
June 12, 2012: "You get all kinds of feelings going through your mind. You want to break your racquet. You want to shout. You want to cry. You want to laugh and say, 'Oh come on, that's a joke. How could I lose this match?' You want to wake up."
— Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, asked how he felt during the fifth set after he failed to convert four match points during his 6-1, 5-7, 5-7, 7-6, 6-1 French Open quarterfinal loss to No. 1 Novak Djokovic, which Tsonga called the toughest loss of his career.
June 5, 2012: "It's almost like playing a sort of a football match. And I like football. I enjoyed myself on the court today. It's the most fun I've had on the court in a while, so I wasn't so sort of shying away from the fact that the crowd wanted me to lose."
— Andy Murray, telling reporters booing Roland Garros spectators energized rather than deflated him during his decisive four-set victory over Frenchman Richard Gasquet in their fourth-round match.
June 5, 2012: "I'm happy and curious. The strongest sensation is curiosity - to see how far I can go, and up to what level I can arrive. Even I don't really know."
— Sarah Errani, the 21st seed from Italy, after she defeated 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-0, 7-5 at Roland Garros to reach her second straight Grand Slam quarterfinal.
May 25, 2012: "The whole thing is sickening. Reggie Bush lost the Heisman Trophy for much less than Hewitt is accused of doing as a player. Hewitt should be kicked out of the Hall."
— Hall of Famer Bob Lutz, on the International Tennis Hall of Fame's decision to drop its investigation of Bob Hewitt and no longer seek to remove him, after nearly a dozen women on three continents accused the former South African doubles star of sexually abusing them between the 1970s and early 1990s, when he was their coach and they were underage, in The Boston Globe.
May 25, 2012: "I don't consider myself stylish."
—World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, when told he was nominated as the most stylish of all ATP players by GQ Italia magazine.
May 8, 2012: "Fantastic, impressive. The way he's been treating this sport is a real example of a champion, you know. He's one of my biggest rivals, but I only have nice things to say about him. He's been achieving so much."
— Novak Djokovic, gracious after Rafael Nadal routed him 6-3, 6-1 in the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters final to break Djokovic's seven-match winning streak against Nadal.
May 8, 2012: "Since the beginning of the year, I always said she's the player to watch."
—World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, thoroughly impressed with power-hitting Mona Barthel after edging the 21-year-old German 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix quarterfinals in Stuttgart.
April 16, 2012: "Tennis at the Olympics has become a big deal. Everybody plays it now. Ten or 15 years ago, guys were skipping the Olympics. Everybody is playing it now. You see the emotions of the guys. Djokovic won the bronze medal last time and it was a huge deal to him. If you lose in the semifinals of a Grand Slam, you are disappointed. If you win a bronze medal at the Olympics, it's huge."
— Andy Murray, who has never won a major title and lost in the first round at the 2008 Olympics, believes the London Olympics tennis event in July will be viewed by the sport's top players as a fifth Grand Slam.
April 16, 2012: "I have to say that I felt like it could end up emotional, but I didn't expect it to be this emotional. Obviously, it's the end of something beautiful for me. Now it's time to do something else."
— Ivan Ljubicic, who won 10 career singles titles, ranked a career-high No. 3 in 2006 and also served as president and vice president of the ATP Players Council during his 15-year pro career, retired after losing to fellow Croat Ivan Dodig 6-0, 6-3 in the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters first round.
April 2, 2012: "I'm not injured; I'm just tired. It was supposed to happen one day. Today was hard because I couldn't really be there physically. Both of those players came out and probably played the best match of their lives. Everyone wanted to be the first player to beat me. Two days ago, I could turn it around. Today I couldn't."
— Victoria Azarenka, who staved off Dominika Cibulkova 1-6, 7-6, 7-5 in the Sony Ericsson Open quarters but lost 6-3, 6-3 to Marion Bartoli in the semifinals to end her season-opening 26-match winning streak.
April 2, 2012: "It's part of me. I really have this positive body language. I was still focused and didn't get down on myself when she came back. I was able to step into the court and play some great points. Sometimes I took the ball so early, it was almost table tennis."
— Marion Bartoli, an animated Frenchwoman whose swinging bolo fist that got the crowd going during her 6-3, 6-3 upset over No. 1 Victoria Azarenka.
April 2, 2012: "He doesn't have many holes in his game. So therefore, when you play against him, it takes normally six, seven, eight shots, like 15-, 16-shot rallies to win a lot of points. You have to be very patient, pick your moments to go for the right shots. That's why he's been so good the last 18 months to a year. He was exceptional before then, but he's playing better tennis with more confidence and not making that many errors."
— Novak Djokovic, on what makes world No. 4 Andy Murray so effective after he defeated the 24-year-old Scot 6-1, 7-6 in the Sony Ericsson Open final.
March 20, 2012: "It is always in my mind still that I can crush anybody. That's not an issue. But I think that is the same for most athletes. If you don't believe you can win tournaments anymore, then you can't do it."
— Roger Federer, who turns 31 in August, confident he can win another major title, before he disposed of archrival Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-4 and John Isner 7-6, 6-3 to capture the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.
March 20, 2012: "I like to conquer my phobia. I was afraid of heights; I got a pilot's license. My biggest fear was to drown, so I got a scuba-diving license. I get embarrassed dancing by myself, so I figured, why not do it in front of millions of people."
—All-time tennis great Martina Navratilova, on why she is one of 12 well-known hopefuls competing in Season 14 of Dancing with the Stars.
March 20, 2012: "In our 20s, nothing would come between our career. We wouldn't change our schedule to fly home to see our girlfriend. That doesn't mean we still don't hate to lose. We still don't sleep for three days after a loss. But having a baby and Mike being engaged has put stuff in perspective. It feels like you're working out here for a bigger team."
— Bob Bryan, who with twin brother Mike have amassed 11 major doubles titles, telling the Associated Press why tennis no longer means everything to the 34-year-old Californians.
March 2, 2012: "I got comments about being too small, too short, there haven't been any Asian players and who am I to go out there and turn pro before my 16th birthday? And that's all good and fine. People want to have their comments and their opinions. Ultimately, you do what you believe in your heart. I think for me, things turned out OK."
— Michael Chang, 1989 French Open champion and former world No. 2, recalling his early experiences for the Palm Beach Post and referencing Jeremy Linn, an NBA journeyman who recently became a New York Knick sensation..
March 2, 2012: "A brother like that is a privilege. He's helping me a lot. He knows a lot about tennis, and he's trying to push me to go more and more, to improve, to not make mistakes that he made in that stage of his life. There have been a lot of positive and negative things being his brother. It's a lot positive. Financially, I have all the needs and I can get all the coaches and all the practice. But negative things, there is a lot of pressure. Everybody expects, which is really tough to achieve. But I'm trying. I'm doing my best."
—Marco Djokovic, who ranks only No. 869 after recovering from injuries last year, telling Reuters about the pros and cons of being the 20-year-old brother of No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
February 14, 2012: "Men's professional tennis may be the most satisfying sport on the planet at the moment. There is no game with so much excellence currently swirling at its top, that so reliably delivers not just entertainment, but historic greatness. It isn't to be missed. Conventional superlatives fail. Once-a-lifetime? Symphony of brilliance? Wicked good? It all sounds cheesy, inadequate. But what's happening in the men's game is as close as sports gets to unadulterated joy, the kind of outrageous viewer experience that leaves the audience gasping, as if anaerobic, as it did Sunday morning, in the men's final of the Australian Open."
— Jason Gay, in a column titled "Why Tennis Rules The Earth" in The Wall Street Journal, after Novak Djokovic's spectacular marathon victory over Rafael Nadal.
February 14, 2012: "I don't know if I have ever seen anyone finish a match against Roger Federer the way he did today. That was pretty amazing."
— Jim Courier, U.S. Davis Cup captain, after 17th-ranked John Isner scored a shocking 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-2 upset over Roger Federer to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead against host Switzerland in their Davis Cup first-round series.
February 14, 2012: "If you play 27 tournaments, 10 of them don't count. And that's wrong. If all the tournaments counted, you'd get the average, the true average. Then [Petra] Kvitova would have been [ranked] No. 1 last year because she earned more points per tournament. But she wasn't because her total points were less than [Caroline] Wozniacki's."
—Martina Navratilova, rightly denouncing the flawed WTA ranking system.
January 31, 2012: "I'm a professional tennis player. I'm sure any other tennis player would say the same: We live for these matches. We're trying to dedicate all our life to this sport to come to the situation where we play a six-hour match for a Grand Slam title."
— Novak Djokovic, who relished the battle as much as his 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5 marathon victory over Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final.
January 31, 2012: "I made a pretty smart decision, not walking out, right? That was pretty special. There's always ups and downs, now I'm up."
—Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, referencing a wake-up call conversation she had with her grandmother, who reportedly worked three jobs until she was 71, which inspired Azarenka to appreciate her wonderful pro tennis career rather than quit it when she was struggling.'.
January 31, 2012: "It's frustrating (to lose in the final), but I have a pretty good head on my shoulders in terms of having a good perspective on sport and life. And as hard as it is, and as much as you want to be the champion, there's only one. That's why the feeling is so special when you do achieve that. That's why the work is so hard and extreme. That's why the pleasure that you get and the excitement is what you work for, because you know how special it is."
—Maria Sharapova, philosophical after being demolished 6-3, 6-0 by Victoria Azarenka in the Australian Open final.
January 23, 2012: "Lendl hit McEnroe hundreds of times with passing shots, and they always shook hands after matches. Jim Courier once hit me with an overhead in the warm-up. Be the tough 6'5" Czech we all expect you to be."
— Former world-class pro Jeff Tarango, now an ESPN analyst, critical of Tomas Berdych, who complained about being hit in the arm at close range by a bullet passing shot by Nicolas Almagro in their Australian Open fourth-round match and refused to shake hands with Almagro after the match."
January 23, 2012: "I didn't know why I was playing because, you know, my dad was coaching me for a long time. He was the one that was pushing me. I didn't find enjoyment for myself. I was finding enjoyment because I was winning, and other people were happy about it. Last year, my relationship with my dad got a lot better. And I think that helped me a lot with my tennis, to have peace, to be balanced in my life, to be balanced on the court, too."
— Vania King, a 22-year-old American doubles standout who upset 15th-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at the Australian Open, confided that until recently she faced a different kind of strain, uncertain whether she shared the dream of her parents.
January 16, 2012: "I haven't been on a date in forever. I can be super picky, never satisfied. It's a little crazy right now because there's so much going on that when I'm not playing tennis I don't sleep because I'm always doing something."
— Serena Williams, confides that she's suffering from a dating drought and is willing to try anyone "anywhere between 18 and 80, blond, purple or green."
January 16, 2012: "I hate to give credit to Lendl but [Murray] needed to do something out of the ordinary instead of going with the predictable re-tread. This is definitely something that was, to me, unexpected. I didn't know that Lendl wanted to coach. He could bring something to the table, without a doubt. Lendl didn't win a major until he was 24 and guess what? Murray is 24 right now."
— John McEnroe, saying world No. 4 Andy Murray, who has faltered badly in his three Grand Slam finals, may have made a smart move by hiring no-nonsense, eight-time major winner Ivan Lendl.
January 1, 2012: "I'm happy I'm getting older. I'd rather be 30 than 20, to be honest. Do you listen to your body more? Yes, you do. Are you more wise? Yes, you are. Are you more experienced? Yes. Do you have a thousand matches in your body? Yes, you do. You just go with what you have."
— Roger Federer, who turned 30 on Aug. 8, on the advantages of being an older athlete.
January 1, 2012: "I put everything aside to support him. If you count the times I did it, probably the number is in itself ridiculous. My passion was him, I gave myself completely, and I lost my balance ... People felt sorry for me and I could not even defend myself. It was as if I had lost my taste for things. I was trying to be numb towards life, not to feel pain. I did not even feel physical [pain]. A silly example: even when I was waxing, I did not even feel anything."
— Italian tennis standout, Flavia Pennetta, in her new autobiography Dritto al Cuore (Straight to the Heart), on her broken heart and busted romance with longtime boyfriend Carlos Moya, whom she discovered was having an affair with Spanish TV presenter Carolina Cerezuela.
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