Pro Tennis Player
Quotes of the Week
( Photo credit: Art Seitz ©2013 )
Djokovic leaning over the net for a point - 2013 French Open.
Dec 8, 2013: "He was completely destroyed emotionally. He cried. He was saying, ‘What is going wrong with my life?’ Believe me, it’s like somebody died in your family, but if you kill someone and they are dead they can say nothing. Killing someone when they stay alive is the worst thing you can do to someone."
— Serbia’s Davis Cup captain, Bogdan Obradovic, who with doubles specialist Nenad Zimonjic and Janko Tipsarevic have seen and helped regularly in Belgrade in recent weeks the distraught Viktor Troicki, who was banned from tennis for 18 months by the ITF for failing to provide a mandatory blood sample for a doping test at the Monte Carlo Masters Series event in April, in the New York Times..
Dec 8, 2013: "There was no Li Na on the horizon. But it was a strategic decision. When we looked at the growth of markets, G.D.P. growth, coming on the heels of the Olympic Games, you needed a presence in China. And that strategy was to be in market so that we can learn culture, how to adapt our communication to that audience. Educate media year round, and a big event that creates the promotional platform. It’s a playbook right out of David Stern. He went to China 30 years ago. There was no Yao Ming. But he said to CCTV, here’s N.B.A. basketball. And look at how the N.B.A. has developed its brand and business in China. Be in a market, seed the market, and be ready when the gift comes and a champion rises, you’re ready to capitalize on it. And that’s what we were able to do."
— WTA president Tracey Allaster, telling the New York Times about the WTA's focus on China, which began in 2006 before the emergence of Chinese star Li Na, and citing the model used by the N.B.A. to focus on growth in China.
Nov 23, 2013: "People often comment on the amount of people you have travelling with you, like it’s an entourage or something. That’s not how it works. Everyone has to justify their place, whether they’re giving me the emotional support that I need or keeping me fit. Right at the heart of it all is Kim. I first met her at the US Open in 2005. She was on holiday with her dad Nigel who was coaching Daniela Hantuchova, on the WTA Tour, so she understands tennis and the pressures it puts on you. She is very savvy about people – she can see which of them are trying to leech on to me or who might want to be near me for their benefit rather than mine. Kim was there in 2006 in San Jose when I won my first event, which felt really important. It was all really innocent back then when I was 19, but it was hard to have a long-distance relationship. Kim’s always been there for me. She really cares about me and helps with so many things. Kim also understands when I need to be by myself and when I need companionship, which might sound like it isn’t much, but it’s really fundamental."
— Andy Murray, on his longtime girlfriend Kim Sears whom he met in 2005—they parted in 2009 but were back together within months—from his new book Seventy-Seven: My Road to Wimbledon Glory.
Nov 03, 2013: "There is no room for prejudice of any kind in sport or in society. The ITF Board decided to send a strong message to the Tunisian Tennis Federation that this kind of action will not be tolerated by any of our members. The Board felt that suspension from Davis Cup, a competition that was founded 113 years ago to encourage better understanding through sport, would provide a good lesson for the Federation and a fitting penalty for their unfortunate action."
— International Tennis Federation President Francesco Ricci Bitti, on the ITF Board of Directors' vote to suspend Tunisia from the 2014 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas competition after it found that the Tunisian Tennis Federation was in breach of the ITF Constitution by interfering with international sporting practice and ordering Tunisian player Malek Jaziri not to compete against Israeli player Amir Weintraub at the 2013 Tashkent Challenger in October..
Nov 03, 2013: "You can say, aside from the Williams sisters, Li Na has had the most significance for women's tennis in the last decade."
— ESPN analyst and 1980s superstar Chris Evert, on Chinese star and world No. 3 Li Na.
Nov 03, 2013: "I think I'm playing even better than many years ago. I couldn't win a Grand Slam [title] like I did in 2009 [at the US Open], but I reached finals in the [ATP World Tour] Masters 1000s. I have already won three tournaments [and] I beat the top guys, which is fantastic for me. I think I’m playing even better than 2009 or 2008 or last year. That’s important [and] a good thing for the future. I still have the same goal, which is [to] get closer to the top guys. If I still work like this, I hope I can be there one day."
— Juan Martin del Potro, del Potro, after he lost 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 to Novak Djokovic in the Shanghai Rolex Masters final following an impressive 6-2, 6-4 semifinal victory over No. 1 Rafael Nadal.
October 18, 2013: "An unbelievable comeback. No doubt about it. One year ago, people were saying he might never play tennis again. One year later, he's world No. 1. That's how quick things can go in tennis, which is great. I'm really happy that Rafa's proved that you never write off someone like him. He proved himself so many times this year that he deserves to be world No. 1."
— Roger Federer, applauding the superb comeback of longtime rival Rafael Nadal, who began his season in February after missing seven months with a knee injury and since then is 68-5 with 10 titles, including his eighth French Open and second US Open.
October 18, 2013: "You are ordered not to play against the Israeli player."
— Email sent by the Tunisian Tennis Federation ordering its top player, Malek Jaziri, not to play Israel's Amir Weintraub in the quarterfinals of an ATP Challenger event in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
October 18, 2013: "What is certain is that it was not Malek who decided not to play this match. Malek was taken hostage."
— Jonathan Chaouat, president of the Sarcelles Tennis Club in France where both Malek Jaziri and Amir Weintraub are members.
October 1, 2013: "Nadal has an argument to make for the best of all time. If Nadal is sitting at a table with Federer and Federer says, ‘I'm the best ever,’ my first question would be, ‘Well, then how come you didn't beat me, because I beat you twice as many times? And, hey, by the way, you know I won everything, including a gold medal [in singles at the Olympics] and Davis Cup [with Spain].’ But at the same token, Federer has separated himself during a few years like nobody else. And he's done it more consistently. To be able to make the argument for both guys playing in the same generation is pretty remarkable."
— Andre Agassi, talking to HuffPostLive about his picks for the greatest players of all time.
October 1, 2013: "Ivan Lendl, Andy's coach, is always rude to me in his own inimitable way. Thankfully not just to me. It wasn't enough that he called me "granny" at the US Open. There was also the day in Miami when I just sneaked in quietly to watch Andy practice. I sat at the very top of the stand and Ivan unfortunately spotted me. He shouted up at me in full view of about 300 people: ‘What happened to your hair? Did you have an accident?’ He thinks he's funny."
— Judy Murray, Andy Murray's mother and first coach and now Britain's Fed Cup captain, talking to BT Sport.
October 1, 2013: "On Monday evening, I was in our shared apartment when the doorbell rang. In the course of a dispute, Martina and her mother Melanie Molitor pounced on me—beating and scratching me. My upbringing forbids me to beat women. I resisted every effort, but Mario Widmer, the partner of Melanie, struck me in the head with a DVD player. The policemen went back to the apartment with me and forced the three to surrender my valuables. They wanted to kill me. I'm shocked! I never thought it would go so far."
— French showjumper Thibault Hutin, who is waiting to divorce former world No. 1 Martina Hingis, telling the Swiss newspaper Blick that he was sitting at home minding his own business when Hingis, her mother, and her mother’s boyfriend combined to launch an attack on him.
September 12, 2013: "Well, there's one
word. She's a champion, and she knows how to repeat that. She knows what it takes to get there. I know that feeling, too. And when two people who want that feeling so bad meet, it's like a clash. That's what happens out there, those battles. And in the important moments it is who is more brave, who is more consistent, or who takes more risk. And with somebody like Serena, you got to take risk. You can never play safe, because she will do that. She did that today really well."
— Victoria Azarenka, on what makes Serena Williams so special as a champion, after Williams defeated her in the US Open final to win her 17th Grand Slam singles title.
September 12, 2013: "During the match, the thought that kept coming to my mind was that I was watching a genius. It's like Chopin who was born to compose music. Nadal was born to win tennis matches."
— Wojtek Fibak, a former Polish standout hired by Novak Djokovic as a coaching consultant, after Rafael Nadal defeated Djokovic 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the US Open final, in the New York Times.
September 12, 2013: "I had hoped to see Murray play with such new-found things as authority, dominance, a deeper-than-ever self-certainty and a rekindled love for the cut and thrust of the game. I had hoped to watch him play big matches with the assumption rather than the hope of victory. Alas, last night he played tentatively, diffidently and as if he hated every second of it all. There was a part of him that was screaming to get off court. Instead of the new Murray, it was back to the old one: the one that used to get caught in a closed feedback loop of unhappiness. He was unhappy because he was playing poorly, he was playing poorly because he was unhappy, and if no one knows where such a process starts, we have all seen where it finishes."
— Simon Barnes, sports columnist for The Times (UK) on Andy’s Murray's dispirited 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 loss to Stanislas Wawrinka in the US Open quarterfinals.
September 12, 2013: "Without even addressing McEnroe's competence or incompetence, here's a fundamental question I struggle to get beyond: If the USTA were a public company and the board were answerable to shareholders and Wall Street, would it ever—at a time of unprecedented crisis and public relations challenges—install as a leader someone unwilling to commit to doing the job full time? Someone who would spend much of the Slams and other big pro tournaments (including the U.S. Open, the American tennis Super Bowl and annual trade show) working in the TV booth? When there are players to observe, coaches to be assessed, meetings to attend, complaining parents to be assuaged? The person tasked with turning around a struggling enterprise, at a significant salary, is moonlighting?"
— Sports Illustrated's Jon Wertheim, questioning why the USTA would allow Patrick McEnroe, the head of its player development program, to work extensively as a TV tennis commentator.
September 2, 2013: "Like I said out on the court, I'm never [again] going to have 15,000, 10,000, 20,000 people cheering for me, chanting U S A, screaming my name, that kind of stuff. I'm lucky enough to have had that for 14 years. I try to look at the positives. Most people never have had that. Most people in the world will never be able to relate to that. That's why I was proud of my book. I felt like I related to people on a much more human level. Now I'll go back to being a normal person that doesn't have people cheering for him, just changing diapers and hoping to get 18 holes in on a given day. That's okay with me."
— James Blake, who announced his retirement at the US Open, talking to the media after losing to Ivo Karlovic in the final singles match of his career which peaked at No. 4 in singles.
September 2, 2013: "Yeah, it was quite funny, actually. I was there playing qualies and his dad [the controversial John Tomic] sort of fobbed me off and said I wasn't good enough to practice with Bernard. It was a bit embarrassing, but hey..."
— Dan Evans, an unheralded Englishman, after upsetting Bernard Tomic at the US Open, recalled signing up to practice with Tomic in Miami in 2012 only to find himself rebuffed when he showed up at the sign-up hut.
September 2, 2013: "There's a lot to be thankful for. I don't take anything for granted. You never know what can happen any day. My Dad is really fortunate to be here [alive]. I thank God every day for everything that has happened. Life is short."
— Victoria Duval, a 17-year-old qualifier ranked No. 296 whose physician father nearly lost his life in Haiti's devastating earthquake, with a heartfelt speech to the crowd after she upset 11th-seeded Samantha Stosur at the US Open.
August 18, 2013: "What I'm so proud of is to see the eyes of my dad when I won. He told me, 'Marion, you can lose every single match you're going to play. I don't even care anymore. What I care for you is you get married, you find a nice husband, and that's it.' My dreams now are outside of tennis. It's different. When I'll be retired, it's to have a nice family, to have a nice husband. But tennis-wise, I achieved my dream."
— What Marion Bartoli told reporters before the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, where she announced her surprise retirement just six weeks after winning Wimbledon.
August 18, 2013: "I feel like I made a mistake in the spur of the moment, something, I guess, because I hadn't been faced with it before. I just sort of—I'm disappointed with myself how I dealt with it, and it's something I learned a lot from. I really didn't have the opportunity until really the last two days to think about it that much. It's something that I feel sorry about and something I want to apologize to Juan when I see him here. I don't think I dealt with that the right way, and I think it's something that I probably should have in that situation, and probably in the future, call on myself."
— Milos Raonic says that after giving the matter some thought, he wishes he would have conceded a controversial point when he knew he touched the net but did not tell the umpire that against Juan Martin del Potro during Raonic's third-round win at the Rogers Cup in Montreal.
July 29, 2013: "There will never be a rivalry like ours. Not even that between Borg and McEnroe, despite their different personalities and one being left-handed and the other right-handed. Murray and Djokovic are very similar. Rafa and I are extreme opposites and that's what the fans like so much. Our rivalry isn't over, I'm sure it will be back, I miss it."
— Roger Federer, talking to the Spanish newspaper, Marca, about his storied rivalry with Rafael Nadal.
July 29, 2013: "I talk to Rafa during matches. I know that is against the rules. At my age, I have nothing to hide."
— Toni Nadal, Rafael Nadal's uncle-coach, telling Spanish journalist David Nadal, he's not contrite about flouting the no-coaching rule.
July 29 2013: "I just wonder if her dad, because he has obviously been the most influential person in her life, did say to her when she was 12, 13, 14 maybe, ‘Listen, you are never going to be, you know, a looker. You are never going to be somebody like a Sharapova, you're never going to be 5 feet 11, you're never going to be somebody with long legs, so you have to compensate for that. You are going to have to be the most dogged, determined fighter that anyone has ever seen on the tennis court if you are going to make it,’ and she kind of is."
— John Iverdale, a veteran Live 5 Radio commentator, with some insensitive remarks while chatting on air about Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli’s technique as a player.
July 29, 2013: "So many young female tennis players look like dolls, the confusion of woman with (sex) doll is almost natural for the broadcaster swimming in the miasma of his own idiocy. Except it is a remark, throwaway or planned, that exposes the wider culture. Sexism and the explicit discussion of the female body is still acceptable; that it exists in the sporting arena, where women thrive because they are strong, is only more offensive. Women are judged on their appearance everywhere, the better to ignore their skills; in a male, ugliness is always more forgivable."
— Tanya Gold, a columnist for The Guardian (UK), on John Inverdale’s sexist remarks.
July 10, 2013: "The atmosphere today was different to what I've experienced in the past. It was different to last year's final, for sure. And then the end of the match, that was incredibly loud, very noisy. I've been saying it all week, but it does make a difference. It really helps when the crowd's like that, the atmosphere is like that. Especially in a match as tough as that one where it's extremely hot, brutal, long rallies, tough games, they help you get through it."
— Andy Murray, on how the highly partisan, boisterous Centre Court crowd helped him defeat long-time rival Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 in the Wimbledon final.
July 10, 2013: "It still wasn't enough. I wasn't patient enough in the moments when I should have been. He was getting some incredible shots on the stretch and running down the drop shots. He was all over the court. He played fantastic tennis. I wasn't patient enough in the moments when I should have been. He deserved to win. Me, you know, I should have played better in the decisive moments."
— Novak Djokovic, after Sue Barker, the BBC presenter, in a post-final interview, said, "You threw everything you had at him."
July 10, 2013: "When I started this campaign back on Court 14, if you told me I'd be in the final I would not believe you, so to hold this trophy is unthinkable. I mean, I can't still realize I just won Wimbledon. I can't realize I'm a Wimbledon champion. It's just so overwhelming."
— Marion Bartoli, who had lost to nine opponents ranked below the top 20 this year before surprising everyone, including herself, to win Wimbledon without dropping a set.
July 10, 2013: "I think I was just overwhelmed by this whole situation, but credit Marion. She has been in this situation before and handled it well and she deserves it. I hope I get the chance one more time."
— Sabine Lisicki, who had received good-luck texts from seven-time Wimbledon champion Steffi Graf, the last German to reach the final here in 1999, after enduring a heartbreakingly, nervous 6-1, 6-4 loss to underdog Marion Bartoli in the Wimbledon final.
June 30, 2013: "Two weeks ago, I was in a fantastic situation, winning at Roland Garros. Now, losing in the first round, it's tough. The tour continues. Life continues. This is a sport of victories, not a sport of losses. Nobody remembers the losses. I don't want to remember the loss."
— Rafael Nadal, who won his eighth French Open title and two weeks later suffered a shocking Wimbledon first-round loss to No. 135-ranked Steve Darcis.
June 30, 2013: "I think she's amazing. It's amazing how she's just, you know, completely dominating. I like how she continues to go for her shots. She always goes for it. She always just plays her game. She's an extremely confident person, and I also think she fights very, very hard, which, you know, I think everyone tries to emulate. Hopefully one day it would be great to be able to be like her."
— Madison Keyes, a power-hitting, 19-year-old American who lost in three sets to No. 4-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska in the Wimbledon third round, on why she would like to emulate Serena Williams.
June 30, 2013: "There was a time where some players didn't believe they could beat the top guys. So maybe there's a little bit of a thing happening at the moment. I'm happy about that, that players believe they can beat the best on the biggest courts in the biggest matches."
— Roger Federer, in the twilight of a phenomenal career highlighted by 17 major titles, almost acknowledging his vulnerability after he suffered a stunning upset loss against No. 116-ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky at Wimbledon.
June 30, 2013: "Yeah, basically. The big sports over there are basically boxing, baseball and basketball. Now that I've been doing well, tennis is starting to become bigger as well."
— Monica Puig,a 19-year-old rising star from Puerto Rico, asked if she were becoming a national hero after she upset No. 5 seed Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2 in the Wimbledon first round.
June 10, 2013: "It hasn't been easy, but this is life. Life gives you things, takes away close people in your life, and Jelena was my first coach, like my second mother. We were very close throughout my whole life, and she taught me a lot of things that are part of me, part of my character today, and I have nicest memories of her. She never got married, she never had kids, so tennis was all she had in life. She's one of the most incredible people I ever knew. So it's quite emotional, yeah."
— Novak Djokovic, talking about his boyhood coach Jelena Gencic, whose death he learned about after his third-round match at the French Open.
June 10, 2013: "This was a really emotional match, that's the truth. I lost a match like this in Australia. This one was for me. I'm more than happy about the way I fought in the fifth, after losing a big chance in the fourth. Djokovic always comes back. [To win a match like this] you need to love the game. You need to love what you are doing and appreciate every moment. I have learned to enjoy suffering in these matches, because what is much harder is to be [injured] at home in Mallorca, watching these matches on TV."
— Rafael Nadal, whose love of competition never wavered during his fluctuating 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7(3), 9-7 triumph over Novak Djokovic in the French Open semifinals.
June 10, 2013: "I want to go out [retire] at my peak. That's my goal. But have I peaked yet?"
— Serena Williams,who is playing her best tennis now at age 31, after winning her second French Open and 16th Grand Slam title.
May 21, 2013: "Last year I was feeling excellent but didn't do that great at Roland Garros. This year I'm cautious and I want to work hard and stay focused and win every point I play, and not slack at all."
— Serena Williams, who played superbly to outclass No. 3 Victoria Azarenka in a 6-1, 6-3 final at the Italian Open where she lost only 14 games in five matches and extended her record on clay to 33-1 since the start of the 2012 clay court season.
May 21, 2013: "Our present system for men at Wimbledon has worked very well since we introduced it in 2001. This system distributes players fairly throughout the draw, based on their current form and their past record on grass, so that the public, the tournament and the players themselves all benefit. The French have indeed shot themselves in the foot this time. We should all campaign for objective seedings at all four Grand Slam Championships."
— John Barrett, distinguished British tennis journalist, rightly criticizing Roland Garros's decision to follow the ATP rankings and seed defending champion Rafael Nadal No. 4-and not No. 1 or at least No. 2-despite the seven-time French Open champion's extraordinary record on clay during the past 12 months and his entire career.
May 21, 2013: "I've been criticized for saying it, but the rivalries are soft. I can only compare it to what I did. To me, they were real, not only on the court but off the court, too. I don't see Mac [John McEnroe] coming up and putting his arm around me and consoling me. Maybe it's because tennis has become such big business, that they're all making their fair share. Back in my day, it was all about the winning. But now, sometimes there are guys who get their success at the end of the year by the size of their bank account, as opposed to the number of titles that they win."
— Jimmy Connors, a pugnacious competitor who had no love for his 1970s and 1980s rivals, telling ESPN he's not enamored with men's tennis rivalries today.
May 03, 2013: "We've got to get rid of the shame. That's the main thing. And Jason's going to help that. He's going to help give people courage to come out. I guarantee you he's going to feel much lighter, much freer. The truth does set you free, there's no question. It doesn't mean it's easy. But it sets you free."
— Billie Jean King, tennis legend and longtime civil rights activist, who confirmed she was gay after being outed in the early 1980s, talking to the Associated Press recently about NBA veteran Jason Collins, who turned away from years of worry and silence to become the first active player in one of the four major U.S. professional sports leagues to come out as gay.
May 03, 2013: "Any year when I'm playing on this day I always wear a black band. This day is very meaningful. My grandparents were in the Holocaust. My grandfather isn't alive now but my grandmother is-she didn't talk about it for a long time but one day my sister had to do a school project and she told us stories about how she was in -20 temperatures in the snow for weeks, wearing only a dress and getting nothing to eat besides a small piece of bread once every few days. But she survived it-it's unbelievable. My father and I were talking about it yesterday, how crazy it is that these things happened, and how crazy it is that some people even managed to survive through it. To me, this day reminds us about the people who survived as well as the people who didn't. The survivors won't be alive forever-many of them are over 80 years old now. But in Israel and around the world we're trying to remember them always, and every year I try to be with them in my heart."
— Shahar Peer, Israel's top female tennis player whose grandmother survived the Auschwitz death camp, had a black ribbon on the right side of her top as she played in Katowice, Poland, to honor Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah.
May 03, 2013: "Roger has always [been our] top priority. We have launched campaigns in the millions for him and allowed him to promote his sponsors, which is not very common. We are grateful for the time we were allowed to have with him. The thing is very simple: We have made an offer to him, which he refused. We have submitted a second offer, which he has not responded to. We do not normally pay a seven-figure [appearance fee]... We actually speak the same language, but with [Federer's agent Tony] Godsick it's not fun. I've never seen anything like it. I can contact Djokovic or Murray if I want. I have spoken personally with Nadal. But with Roger it's not possible."
— Basel tournament director RogerBrennwald, told the Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger that he and Roger Federer have yet to reach an agreement on his appearance fee for the October tournament after Federer's contract with his hometown tournament, which he played 15 times and won five times, expired last year.
April 11, 2013: "People think I am unemotional because my voice is flat and a bit boring. It is unfortunate but it is just the way it is. I've tried to change it but it doesn't seem to make a difference. The truth is, I have lots of emotions inside. I cried after the semi-final at Wimbledon  because I was proud to reach the final and I knew how much it meant to the country. I cried after the [losing] final [to Federer], too, for different reasons. I felt I had let people down. I think people warmed to that. They could see how much it hurt."
— Andy Murray, admitting to the Scottish media he lacks charisma but not emotions.
April 11, 2013: "I find that to be so sexist. Men don't have it, but the women are allowed to say, 'Daddy, she's breaking my serve'? Are you kidding me? This is the biggest women's sport in the world. We've had decades of mental toughness. It was always, 'Give me the ball, I'm going to figure a way to walk off winning this. I refuse to lose.' That's the whole, beautiful point of it. Here's a sport with a chance to show young girls what a strong and independent woman can do, yet you get this- basically saying, 'I can't figure this out by myself, I'm just a woman.' That galls me."
— TV tennis analyst, Mary Carillo, with an astute analysis why the one of the worst rules in sports is the WTA Tour's allowing on-court coaching, in Inside Tennis.
April 11, 2013: "I'd be lying if I said I weren't surprised [at my recent results]. It's been an unbelievable ride. If I didn't have these health problems, I don't know how my career would have been. But, at the same time, you can't change the past. I do love this sport and I love to compete. I feel I'm blessed I've played against so many great players. It's spectacular."
— Tommy Haas, who upset No. 1 Novak Djokovic at the Sony Open and ranks No. 14 at age 35 after being plagued by injuries throughout his career, on ESPN.com.
March 25, 2013: "A lot of things happened the last seven months, [so] to be back here and to have this very heavy trophy with me is amazing. Beating three Top 10 players and winning a title like this is just something unbelievable for me. I'm very, very happy and very emotional. When you have one comeback like I'm having, you remember all the low things, the lower moments that you had during the seven months. Hopefully I passed and can just remember all the people that really helped me a lot during all this time."
— Rafael Nadal, after he won a record-breaking 22nd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown and celebrated his third triumph in Indian Wells, as well as his 600th career win and 53rd career title.
March 25, 2013: "I don't need to tell you that a mix of inputs like that, however knowledgeable and well meaning, is a recipe for disaster. I don't blame the individual coaches for accepting a very attractive employment option, but as our results demonstrate, the TA player development strategy is fatally flawed in my view. After all, systems do not produce champions, people do. As a consequence, and I'm not alone in saying this, we've pretty much lost a generation of players who have not transitioned to the Tour."
— Former Australian Open director Paul McNamee, denouncing Tennis Australia's player development program that marginalizes rather than embraces private coaches, in an "Open Letter" to Australian coaches.
March 25, 2013: "I'm not disrupting my brand enough. I need to do it more. Nike always tries to improve. They never say, 'I'm No. 1 and I'm happy.' They always say, 'How can we get better?' Beyond a company, beyond entrepreneurship, you can really take that attitude in your life, like, I want to be a great mother, or a great student, or a great doctor. What can I do to be better?"
— Serena Williams, who has been one of Nike's most visible athletes for nearly a decade, with advice to "consider yourself an underdog," in Fast Company magazine.
March 6, 2013: "We've been in the media spotlight so long separately. It's nothing new. We've gotten so used to it, we don't really pay attention anymore - unless it's a rumor like the one the other day that we've broken up. Oh really? Thanks for letting me know."
— Caroline Wozniack, the former No.1 tennis player from Denmark, when asked what it's like to date another sports star, golfer Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland.
March 6, 2013: "My God, I just cannot believe I won this match. I saved I don't know how many match points, I think eight. It was such a great fight and such a great match."
— Alizé Cornet, who escaped nine match points before outlasting Lourdes Domínguez Lino 3-6, 7-6 (10), 7-6 (2) in the quarterfinals of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco, Mexico.
February 19, 2013: "I still think I'm dreaming. It's an honor playing against him. I enjoyed being with him at the locker room, eating with him. He's a great guy, I would like to ask him if he's from this planet."
— Horacio Zeballos, an unheralded Argentine ranked No. 73 in the world, after upsetting Rafael Nadal 6-7 (2) 7-6 (6) 6-4 in the Spanish superstar's first tournament in more than seven months, to win the VTR Open in Viņa del Mar, Chile.
February 19, 2013: "I do understand that when someone gives you a [expletive] load of money, you take that money. Someone like Larry Ellison wants to invest into his event and make it the biggest possible, and he gets stopped by the ATP. If you're a start-up, what would make you want to navigate through that and to go through that firing line? How can you step into tennis with any confidence? It's the stupidest thing I've ever heard of."
— Andy Roddick, on the ATP Board of Directors' failure to approve an $800,000 increase in prize money offered by the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells this year, in The Desert Sun.
February 19, 2013: "Yes, I was nervous. Even though you only have 20 seconds [to serve], in that time I was thinking a lot of things like how my parents would react or how I would react or (how) the girl that I was playing would react, or the media. Or would I start crying, or have a feeling of relief?"
— Esther Vergeer, who won the last 470 wheelchair tennis matches of her incomparable career, telling FoxSports about the time she almost lost when her opponent had a match point in the gold-medal match at the 2008 Paralympic Games.
January 31, 2013: "To be in the same list with all those champions, it's a privilege. Right now it's hard to believe that. I think of myself as a nine-year-old girl who's playing against the wall, picturing those big moments. Right now I'm still living those moments. It's like a dream."
— Two-time Australian Open champion, Victoria Azarenka, on joining an elite group - along with Venus and Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova - as multiple-Slam winners on tour.
January 31, 2013: "I try to enjoy what I do, and every moment of the life that I have is a blessing. What else can you do but to be happy and try to bring that joy to the other people around - especially in the tournaments. Everybody has bad days. I'm not always funny or laughing."
— Novak Djokovic, who won his third straight Australian Open title, turned philosophical when asked if his good humor was a conscious effort.
January 31, 2013: "[Andy Murray's] coming into his own ... so now you're talking about four guys. They've separated themselves from the field. If it was one person, I would say, OK, he came at a good time or he squeezed in a window. But they raised each other. When I see those top three guys [Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal], I see what history will say is the golden age of tennis. You're talking about arguably the three best guys. Djokovic will still need some distance to cover, but best of all-time, if you're having that discussion in the same generation, it's remarkable."
— Andre Agassi on what he considers the "golden age" of men's tennis.
January 21, 2013: "I just had flashback of 2012. It was maybe 45 minutes less this match than the one 12 months ago, but still it was still as exciting. I tried to enjoy the moment and couldn't ask for more. What a match point ... unbelievable."
— Novak Djokovic, who needed just over 5 hours, 2 minutes to overcome the brilliant play of Stanislas Wawrinka 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 12-10 in a thrill-filled fourth-round Australian Open match, on the same court where he needed 5 hours, 53 minutes to beat Rafael Nadal in last year's spectacular final.
January 21, 2013: "When you look at the history of tennis, especially Wimbledon, you see these women wear these long gowns. I don't know how they could have possibly played in that. Someone always has to be first. I think that obviously she made a way for not only tennis players but just women in general in sport. Like you don't have to wear a dress to your ankles to be a female athlete playing sports. I think being a trailblazer is honorable."
— Serena Williams, paying tribute to "Gorgeous Gussie" Moran, who shocked staid Wimbledon by wearing a tennis skirt above her knees and lace-trimmed underwear in 1949, and passed away on January 16 at age 89.
January 21, 2013: "When you play these sort of players like Roger [Federer] or Novak [Djokovic], you lose belief before you get into the match. I got in there; I started to think after they mentioned all these Grand Slams [titles] leading up, Wimbledon champion six times, six times U.S. Open champion. Then I was, 'Oh, crap, it's Roger.' I try to block out who's on the other side of the net but couldn't quite do it after that announcement."
— Australian teenager, Bernard Tomic, ranked No. 43 in the world, admitting his confidence was shaken a bit by the royal introduction reverberating out of the public address system before his 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-1 loss to the legendary Roger Federer at the Australian Open.
January 2, 2013: "I've lived and died with Andy for the last two years of his tennis and to finally see him win a major at the U.S. Open was incredible... Everybody was like, 'Yeah, Murray's great but he can't win the big one.' It's a frustrating thing... His story was so remarkable this year, and I'm excited for him. I am one of the few guys who know what it is like when you are on that shit list. They talk about 'these are great players but...' It's always a 'but.' So when you are on that list and you see one of those guys get off the list, you get really excited."
— NBA Hall of Famer and TNT analyst, Charles Barkley, who never won an NBA title during his 16-year career, on why he picked Andy Murray for Sports Illustrated's "Sportsman of the Year."
January 2, 2013: "They can't believe that things will ever get better. You have to make children, even children who have gone through something as horrible as this, believe that things will get better. It starts with giving them love."
— Former world No. 2 tennis player, Andrea Jaeger, who has been heavily involved in charity work since retiring from pro tennis in 1987, telling Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News about the schoolchildren who survived the tragic massacre that killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on Dec. 14.
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