Pro Tennis Player
Quotes of the Week
( Photo credit: Art Seitz ©2013 )
Li Na - 2014 Australian Open Champion.
Dec 20, 2014: “You can't compare. When I won Wimbledon, it was a total shock honestly. Davis Cup is something that I knew was possible at some stage in my career. Of course, there was the pressure of being able to manage all this and make everyone happy with all the support we had for the team and everything. So it is a totally different feeling. Also I was not alone on the court. This changes everything.”
— Roger Federer, contrasting his first Wimbledon title in 2003 with winning his first Davis Cup this year.
Dec 20, 2014: “I definitely think I can do a lot better than I'm doing now. I’m learning a lot more about myself, a lot more about my potential, what I believe I can do and how I need to do it. I think every goal that I set this year would be leading to me being in the finals in London, so to be able to achieve that is very special. It means a lot.”
— Milos Raonic, who has been enjoying the best year of his career, winning his sixth title in Washington and making it to the semifinals at Wimbledon—after he upset Roger Federer 7-6, 7-5 in the quarterfinals and Tomas Berdych 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 in the semifinals to reach the Paris Masters final.
Dec 20, 2014: “She told me it's so hard, and she said, 'I don't understand how you can do this while you're playing?' She was encouraging me, but at the same time, she was shaking her head a little bit, thought I was a little crazy. I think I beat her time here, didn't I? I did beat her time. Wow, so yeah, I'm proud of that.”
— Caroline Wozniacki, who had received cautionary advice from former world No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo (who ran the New York City Marathon herself in November 2010, nearly a year after retiring from professional tennis), clocked an impressive time of three hours and 26 minutes—a 7.53 minute-per-mile pace—about 14 minutes faster than Mauresmo and four minutes faster than her pre-marathon goal..
Nov 29, 2014: “I showed them I’m not No. 4 I the world for nothing.”
— Stanislas Wawrinka, after whipping Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in four sets by playing aggressively in the opening rubber of Switzerland’s 3-1 victory over host France in the Davis Cup final.
Nov 29, 2014: “That helped me a lot. At the U.S. [Open], I changed my game plan, I was like very close. I was like dominating him most of the match. Then maybe I had little nerves at the end, was a bit of the same, but I played much better, I had a different game plan and I delivered a more aggressive tennis.”
— Gael Monfils, contrasting his superb 6-1. 6-4, 6-3 victory over Roger Federer in the Davis Cup final with his tough five-set loss to the Swiss in the U.S. Open quarterfinals, when the Frenchman lost after going up two sets to one and failing to convert two match points.
Nov 29, 2014: “When the teams were introduced, they applauded Stan more than us, Roger (Federer) more than us. We heard the Swiss spectators more than we heard the French ones. I was booed in my own country [for checking a ball mark], maybe not by the French spectators but by the Swiss spectators. It’s annoying.”
— Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, dejected that the 2,500 Swiss fans made more noise than the French fans among the record crowd of 27,432 spectators in the stands of the Pierre Mauroy stadium in Lille, France, for the opening day of the Davis Cup final.
Nov 1, 2014: “Because they don’t have a Li [Na] yet. They don’t have an example. They don’t have someone to look up to yet. They don’t have the motivation. Don’t think these are poor guys. They’re actually pretty rich. They feel comfortable in the system. Every expense is paid. And if they do well at the China National Games, they get very rich. So why work so hard, go through all the struggles, just to be ATP Top 100? If this generation doesn’t work, maybe the next generation will.”
— Bendou Zhang, a Chinese tennis writer, telling SI.com why there hasn’t been a breakthrough on the ATP Tour for the Chinese men.
Nov 1, 2014: “This is what we dreamed about. When there were nine of us in 1970, signed a $1 contract. It was the birth of women’s professional tennis. I just think it’s wonderful they’re living the dream. I would love to be their age today and playing in this. It’s so exciting. It’s like your stage if you’re an actor or performer.”
— Tennis legend Billie Jean King, the founder of the Women's Tennis Association and one of the first advocates for equal prize money for male and female players, pleased and proud that the WTA Finals has grown into a prestigious, $6 million tournament.
Nov 1, 2014: “Honestly, the way I feel right now, I feel like I'm already No. 1 with becoming a father last week. For me, this is the most important moment in my life. It was the most beautiful thing that ever happened in my life and her life, definitely.”
— World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, saying he is already on top of the world thanks to the
birth of his first son, Stefan, on October 21st.
Oct 17, 2014: “I haven't had a cramp since ‘99. That was my only time, in Davis Cup, when I was panicky. I was young. I'm very proud of that. Never pulled out. Never had cramps. Never lost very much because of fitness, especially later on in my career where I knew I've put in the hard work. I've done that. I've been very fortunate and clever as well to understand how I need to work, when I need to work. So I'm very happy to have stayed injury free for so long. I hope I can still maintain a few good years on the tour. I really hope so.”
— Roger Federer, healthy and happy at the old tennis age of 33, on his amazingly injury-free career, after he defeated No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-4 in the semis and Gilles Simon 7-6 (6), 7-6 (2) in the final to capture the Shanghai Rolex Masters for his 23rd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title and first in Shanghai.
Oct 17, 2014: “What I really want to do now is try to set up a tennis school of my own and do basic things to help build up the base for Chinese tennis. Like a pyramid, I believe only with a solid base Chinese tennis can have a better future. Keep an eye out. They’ll be coming. Maybe even better than me.”
— Li Na, who retired at age 32, revealing her plans for the future.
Oct 17, 2014: “There are two words I dislike in this sport, and they’re called ‘Quite please.’ I know why they’re there, and it’s the tradition of the sport, but I really think you’re telling your fans to be quiet, and I just don’t think that is the right approach. You want to engage your fans emotionally, and they’ve got to be able to let it out.”
— Michael Downey, president and CEO of Tennis Canada, in
Tennis View magazine.
Oct 1, 2014: “After the surgery in July, I tried very hard to recover, hoping I can make it to participate in tennis matches in China, especially the Wuhan Tennis Open which is the first-ever big tennis match in my hometown. However, this is my fourth big surgery, and with my age and physical state, it is hard for me. I’m very satisfied with my tennis career. I feel this is the best time for me to retire. I don’t feel sorry or have any regrets about retiring. When I was making this decision I asked myself, ‘If I retire, will I regret it?’ My heart told me I wouldn’t, because I’ve done my best.”
— Chinese superstar Li Na, saying surgery on her knees was the reason she decided to retire from the pro tour at age 32.
Oct 1, 2014: “It is preferable that [the captain] is someone with a background in the world of men's tennis. I have nothing against her, I don’t know what her capabilities are, and I hope she does her job well, but in theory she is a person that doesn’t know men’s tennis, because men’s tennis isn’t the same as women’s tennis. The truth is that the men’s game isn’t the same as the women’s game on the tactical level, not that one is better than the other.”
— Toni Nadal, Rafael Nadal’s coach and uncle, telling Onda Cero radio why he believes choosing former WTA player Gala Leon as the first woman to captain of Spain's Davis Cup team is a mistake.
Oct 1, 2014: ““[You should look at a player's] whole body of work -- singles, doubles, mixed doubles, Olympic medals. [So] I'd put Serena and Martina in front of Steffi. Steffi won her first title in '87 and won her last in 1999. Serena won her first in '99 [at age 17 at the U.S. Open]. So far for Serena, that's a 15-year gap between your first and your last. Which also measures greatness: that ability to do it over time. To me, Serena's longevity is one of those are-you-kidding-me stats, same as that one about Chrissie having won at least one Grand Slam title for 13 consecutive years. I mean, 13 straight years? Are you
— 1980s doubles superstar Pam Shriver, making the case for Serena Williams as the GOAT—greatest of all time, on ESPN.com.
Sept 12, 2014: “It’s life-changing, like I’m on a different planet. The feelings haven’t sunk in yet, so I can’t really understand what I’ve done. I felt there was an opening this year, though. Rafa didn’t play over here for the last couple of months, Andy had a bad back injury at the end of last year, and this season he didn’t play as great as we’ve seen him these last few years. So there was an opening for other players to get to the later stages of the tournaments. The guys are still going to be there. Guys like myself, Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov, Nishikori, Juan Martín delPotro when he comes back, I feel we’re having much bigger opportunities.”
— Marin Cilic, ecstatic after winning the US Open for his first Grand Slam title.
Sept 12, 2014: “We’re not going to rest on our laurels. We’re having a lot of fun playing together, we’re going to keep pushing and we’re not stopping any time yet.”
— Mike Bryan, after he and his twin brother Bob captured their fifth US Open and 16th Grand Slam doubles title, a record for a men’s team, to win a major doubles title for a record tenth consecutive year..
Sept 12, 2014: “Do I have the hunger for 22? I don’t know. I mentioned No 19 in an interview on court afterwards, so that’s definitely in sight. I definitely feel like 19 [Grand Slam singles titles] is my goal, not 22. But I’m just taking it one at a time. There are so many unbelievable players coming up, so I think it’s only going to get harder and harder. I’ve definitely stayed too long, but I would love to go out on top. Who wouldn’t? Everyone does. But I can’t write the end of my story. I don’t know how it will end.”
— Serena Williams, who won her the US Open for her 18th Grand Slam title, talks about her quest to break Grand Slam records, such as Steffi Graf’s 22 major titles in the Open Era.
Aug 19, 2014: “Strong is beautiful. That’s the tag line for an ad campaign the WTA Tour adopted to promote its players. The marketing campaign features players in glamorous attire, full makeup and athletic poses. Sporty, yet sexy and physical, but flirty: The WTA walks a fine line when branding its product. The WTA is clearly a tennis organization, established to promote its players. However, sometimes how those players are promoted makes the WTA seem more like a talent agency, grooming spokes models to pitch various products. It’s working. Female tennis players are the most recognizable women in sports. The WTA is the only professional women’s league in which players earn anything close to what their male counterparts make..”
— Merlisa Lawrence Corbett, in a column titled “Is the WTA’s Focus on Image Good or Bad for Women’s Tennis?”, for Bleacherreport.com.
Aug 19, 2014: “I think what happened has been for the better in terms of my golf. I’ve put a bit more time into it, and it has refocused me. I mean, what else do I have to do now.”
— Rory McIlroy, talking to ESPN-UK soon after winning the PGA title, on his break-up with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.
Aug 19, 2014: “One of reasons we believe U.S. tennis has fallen behind is we are not necessary attracting the best athletes in this country to the sport. Contrast that with Europe and South America, where the best athletes play tennis and soccer. If we can bring a little buzz back to tennis and attract great athletes before they get sucked into playing basketball or football, we think we will be able to bring U.S. tennis back to the top. . . . The Foundation wants to support the McEnroe Academy find and train the next John McEnroe and at the same time providing opportunities for inner-city kids, particularly in the neighborhoods surrounding Randall’s Island, East Harlem, and the South Bronx, in their introductory exposure to tennis.”
— Mark McEnroe, the middle McEnroe brother and president of the Johnny Mac Tennis Project, which along with the Sportime Clubs have already provided more than $1.5 million in scholarships and no-cost programming to young players in New York City and its communities, talking to worldtennismagazine.com.
July 28, 2014: “I honestly can’t grasp the fact that we’ve been able to accomplish all of this. I think I’ll realize it all after we finish playing. I’ll say, ‘Wow, we did all of that.”
— Robert Vinci, who teamed with close friend Sara Errani to win Wimbledon and thus become just the fifth team to win all four Grand Slam tournament women’s doubles titles together in their career.
July 28, 2014: “Our games just clicked perfectly together. We were complementing each other the whole tournament. We were a dangerous team.”
— Vasek Pospisil, on why he and Jack Sock, another power hitter, won Wimbledon in their first pro tournament together by upsetting No. 8-seeded Rohan Bopanna-Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, No. 2 Alexander Peya-Bruno Soares, No. 5 Leander Paes-Radek Stepanek, and No. 1 Bob and Mike Bryan 7-6 (5). 6-7 (3), 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.
July 28, 2014: “I thought it was cool because no one would do that—be like, ‘Yeah, show me crying hysterically’—people don’t ever want to show that vulnerability. Everyone sees you as such a strong, happy, powerful woman, and you’re just like—I tell Jack [Sock, her boyfriend] this all the time—‘I can’t be perfect every day. I’m sorry!’ I love Beyoncé, but that’s not real life.”
— Sloane Stephens, telling ELLE magazine although she worships Beyoncé because she “looks perfect from head to toe every time you see her,” she relates more to Katy Perry, citing her tour documentary,
Part of Me, which chronicles the pop star’s split from Russell Brand and subsequent breakdown, as one of her favorite movies..
July 09, 2014: “That’s why this victory meant so much to me. First of all, because it was against a great rival on his court and also considering the fact that I had lost three out of [his past] four grand slam finals. I would be lying if I said it was not in my mind. Of course it started playing with my confidence and I had some doubts. Of course people told me things, trying to help, but I managed to overcome this and I was the one to find a way. Today was a huge test, a mental challenge. We pushed each other to the limit and I could not drop concentration throughout the whole match to win it. That’s why it was extra special.”
— Novak Djokovic, telling the BBC why winning Wimbledon, after losing five of his previous six Grand Slam finals, meant so much to him.
July 09, 2014: “Winning or losing, it’s always something special and something you’ll remember, even more so when the match was as dramatic as it was today. It’s even more memorable when I see my kids there with my wife and everything. That’s what touched me the most, to be quite honest. The disappointment of the match itself went pretty quickly.”
— Roger Federer, after losing a high-caliber, but heart-breaking 6-7 (7), 6-4, 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-4 Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic.
July 09, 2014: “ Kvitova is playing some of the best tennis I’ve ever seen.”
— Former world No. 1, Lindsay Davenport, now a Tennis Channel analyst, on Petra Kvitova’s sensational shotmaking during her 6-3, 6-0 demolition of Eugenie Bouchard in the Wimbledon final.
June 30, 2014: “I think everyone in general plays the match of their lives against me. I’m pretty sure that the next match, it won’t be the same. So I just have to always, every time I step on the court, be a hundred times better. If I’m not, then I’m in trouble.”
— Serena Williams, with her perspective on why she was upset 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 by Alize Cornet in the Wimbledon third round.
June 30, 2014: “Do Novak and the rest of the boys take all this too far? No hate? Not even any sneaking sense of mild dislike? Not a shred of resentment? No sulks? No stamps? No pouts? No burning up inside behind the generous embraces? Well, if there is any such burning, it’s not directed at the opponent. And it’s not as if this extraordinary level of mutual respect inhibits the actual tennis. Once the ball’s in play, they go at each other as if they would die rather than lose. They play in an atavistic fury, as if they wanted nothing more than to see their opponent pummelled to death by furry balls. And at the end they turn back into civilised human beings. Between them, the four of them have demonstrated beyond argument that excellence and decency are not incompatible. All sport should be like that.”
— Simon Barnes, sports columnist for The Times (UK), on the fine example that The Big Four of men’s tennis sets for the rest of the sometimes less-civilized sports world.
June 30, 2014: “It was an unbelievable match out there. It’s an amazing feeling. At [two sets down] it seemed like a massive hill to climb. I just fought and I gave myself the opportunity to win the match. “I think it’s a massive stepping stone for me to finally reach the third round of a grand slam [event]. Especially to come back from two sets to love down, that can be a bridge for more things to come.”
— Nick Kyrgios of Australia, a highly talented, 19-year-old wild card and the youngest player in the Wimbledon men’s draw, on his stunning five-set comeback victory over 13th-seeded Richard Gasquet in which Kyrgios escaped nine match points..
June 10, 2014: “I knew I had lost four times in a row to Novak, and to be able to win again against him was very important to me. I had enough courage. I made the right decisions at the right moment and ended up on top. It’s an emotional moment, a real mix of things .”
— Rafael Nadal, after defeating archrival Novak Djokovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 to win his fifth straight and ninth overall French Open title and 14th career Grand Slam title.
June 10, 2014: “In the end of the day you have to put things in perspective, and see where I come from and what kind of life I have. It’s a blessing. So to be able to also be appreciated by the fans the way I was at the end of the match just gives me more I’d say strength and motivation to come back here and try till the end of my career hopefully to get at least a title .”
— Novak Djokovic, philosophical after losing for the sixth straight time to Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros and failing to win the only Grand Slam title that has eluded him.
June 10, 2014: “We’ve had champions in the past not be good on a surface, whether it’s the Spaniards on grass or the Americans on clay. Most of the time, players just throw the towel in. Pete Sampras, I’m sure, never spent months and months trying to become a better clay-courter. And what Sharapova has done is amazing.”
— Three-time major winner Lindsay Davenport, one of those Americans who struggled on clay, paying tribute to Maria Sharapova, who won her second French Open title on clay, which until 2012 had been her least successful surface, in
The New York Times.
May 28, 2014: “I cannot say that the images and memories of these people were not in my head while I was playing, but I tried to channel this energy and information in the positive direction. And I knew both of these people who were very supportive of my career would like me to play and win for them, so that’s something I had in the back of my mind.”
— Novak Djokovic, recalling that the death of his grandfather inspired
him in 2012, just as the death of his childhood coach Jelena Gencic in the
midst of last year’s French Open inspired him before he fell just short,
losing by 9-7 in the fifth set to Rafael Nadal in a classic.
May 28, 2014: “It doesn’t surprise me. I look back at Jimmy and me. To look at two players that are in the prime of their career and are striving to be No. 1, [you] don’t see each other. I mean, I was married in my 20s to my tennis. That was the only way I could put all my emotions and energies into that goal. I was in awe that it [Rory McIlroy and Wozniacki’s relationship] worked as long as it did. I can't believe it. They must be just different kind of people. I understand 100 percent, you’re married to your career. You’re using your emotions. You’re using the mental capacity that you have. You’re putting everything into it. That’s what it takes to be the best.”
— Chris Evert, who was 19 when engaged to Jimmy Connors, another superstar, and has since been married to former British tennis player John Lloyd, downhill skier Andy Mill, and Australian golfer Greg Norman—all of them ending in divorce—on golfer Rory McIlroy’s recent decision to call off his wedding with former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, in an ESPN conference call.
May 28, 2014: “I doubt about myself. I think doubts are good in life. The people who don’t have doubts I think only two things—arrogance or not intelligence.”
— Rafael Nadal, who has some doubts he can catch Roger Federer’s record of 17 Grand Slam singles titles, in
May 09, 2014: “I’d put Nadal number one and Federer number two. Federer separated himself from the field for four years. He separated himself from Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt. Nadal had to deal with Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray in the golden age of tennis. He has done what he has done and he’s not done yet. He has won multiple (majors), every single one (more than once) except the Australian Open – and give him another year on that. It’s just remarkable to me what he has done, and he has done it all during Federer’s prime.”
— Andre Agassi,
telling Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper, via aljazeera.com
that Rafael Nadal, not Roger Federer, deserves to be called “the greatest
player of all time.
May 09, 2014: “That
was the single most important tennis match. Everything exploded after I played
him. All the indoor courts were built in those days. Everyone was wearing tennis
apparel to supermarkets. It was kind of cool. That was our opportunity [to make
tennis a major sport], and we didn’t take advantage. I knew the match was really
about social change. I was very clear about what it was going to mean.”
— Billie Jean King,
asked by Inside Tennis what happened at the grassroots level in
America after she beat Bobby Riggs in their ballyhooed “Battle of the Sexes”
match in 1973.
April 21, 2014: "Unless
I’m eating really healthy, I feel that way almost every other week. I feel as if
I can do better and be smaller, which I think is just a natural thing for women
to feel. We’re taught that we have to look a certain way. . . . I learned to be
proud of my curves and to embrace my large boobs and my butt. It’s all about
loving who you are and realizing that you’re beautiful.”
telling Fitness magazine how she grapples with her body image issues.
April 21, 2014: “I can see that when mentally I’m
there and I’m fighting, I can play tennis, I can beat all the players. I did an
amazing job. I’m really happy after winning my first Grand Slam to win a Masters
1000 so quick. I didn’t expect to. When I came here, for me it was more like a
test. I knew I was playing good tennis, but I didn’t expect to win because the
draw was so strong.”
— Stanislas Wawrinka,
after he snapped an 11-match losing streak against Swiss compatriot and good
friend Roger Federer by winning 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2 in the Monte Carlo final
for his first Masters 1000 title.
April 21, 2014: “It
would leave the sport with no serve-volley, no opportunity for variation, and a
lot more biff from the back. If you like attritional tennis, this is a cast-iron
way to get more of it. No player is going to risk going for an ace if the
penalty is dropping a point.”
— Kevin Mitchell,
tennis correspondent for The Guardian (UK), rightly explaining why
the idea of abolishing the second serve would hurt the sport.
March 31, 2014: “I
feel most important is the work ethic and making sure that the kids you are
training with understand that it’s not just the coach’s job to motivate them or
that if you win a junior tournament you’re actually great. You’re far away from
it. You have to keep working hard. … You can’t have the parents and the coaches
make you feel good all the time. You have to make sacrifices. I left home at 14
years old, stopped school at 16 and went on tour. I had a hard time
understanding what hard work was, but eventually I figured it out, thankfully,
early enough. If the kids don’t understand and don’t want to put in the hard
work — I’m not talking about just hanging around the courts and playing for four
hours a day; it’s about working well and quality — they will never get anywhere.
It’s just very simple.”
— Roger Federer,
17-time Grand slam champion, when asked about youth tennis and how the U.S.
men, who haven’t won a Grand Slam singles title since 2003, can re-establish
March 31, 2014: “I
know everyone likes to say I was one of the more normal stories—it’s true. I
found tennis by accident. I had two parents who were athletic but involved in
other sports. They didn’t pretend to know much about the sport. They didn’t try
to coach me. They just tried to support me as athletic parents. They instilled
in me I think the same kind of rules that any teenager would have, even though I
was a professional, making more money than they were.”
— Lindsay Davenport, who was recently elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, recalling her normal upbringing, which put her in good stead in the often-abnormal world of pro tennis.
March 19, 2014: “In December, during my preseason training, I watched the Russian TV channels and saw how they described the events in Ukraine. I can put my hand on my heart and say that 80 percent of the information on Russian TV about Ukraine in these past three months has been a LIE. Many may not know that Ukraine is actually a poor country [same as Russia], with an average GDP per capita of about $6,400 in 2012, according to Businessweek.com. The majority of the population does not use the Internet. The only information they get is either from TV or newspapers. So their opinion on the situation is based on what they see on TV and that picture is not reflective of reality.”
— Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovsky, who upset Roger Federer at the 2013 Wimbledon, writing about the Ukraine crisis on SI.com.
March 19, 2014: “It’s not good. I’m losing a lot of sleep. We are lacking competitiveness in our players. They’ve got good backhands and forehands and serves, but they lack an understanding of how the game needs to be played. We have good coaches, but the culture of our players needs to improve. I won’t use the excuse you hear all the time about all the good U.S. athletes playing football or basketball. Sure, if we didn’t have football and basketball in this country, there would be more guys playing tennis. But it’s an easy crutch. If our players were European, things would be different. Being No. 80 in the world wouldn’t be enough then. When a high percentage of the coaches want it more than the players, we have a problem.”
— Jose Higueras, the No. 2 man in the U.S. Player Development Program, when asked about the state of men’s tennis in America, which has only five players—No. 10 John Isner, No. 62 Sam Querrey, No. 63 Bradley Klahn, No. 77 Donald Young, and No. 98 Tim Smyczek—ranked in the top 100 in singles.
Feb. 24, 2014: “I’m a product of the Chinese style of education, which has led me to hesitate before making any decisions, to lack confidence, to not dare to speak up and to constantly calculate what the result of my action will be. What I hate most is my lack of self-confidence when I’m playing tennis.”
— Li Na, the 2011 French Open and 2014 Australian Open champion, blaming her crippling self-doubt on the Chinese tennis system and growing up in China, in her autobiography, Li Na: My Life.
Feb. 24, 2014: “Every now and then in the sport, someone comes along and brings something new to the game that no one has seen before. As a result, all of their peers have to make adjustments and have to evolve. When Pete came along, no one had ever seen a serve like that. When I stepped into the game, no one had a big forehand and big backhand, and no one stayed inside the baseline and ripped every ball. It forced people to have to make that adjustment. When you look at the next generation – Nadal, Federer, Djokovic – the athleticism and the spin that came to the game really changed the rules of engagement. No longer would my game even apply anymore.”
— Andre Agassi, who won the Powershares Series CamdenWealth Advisors Cup in Houston, telling TennisNow how pro tennis has evolved since he arrived in the late 1980s.
Feb. 24, 2014: “My long-term goal in tennis isn’t to be Top 20. It’s to be No. 1. Anything less than that wouldn’t make me fully satisfied. I don’t want to get to 30 years old, look back on my career and say I didn’t make something of it. Everybody’s looking for satisfaction in life and my joy and happiness is based on my tennis career. I think [the top players] feel threatened by my game, because they know if I serve well and I’m aggressive, then it’s tough to play against me. I don’t feel I'm in the same league as the [Top 4] yet, I need to prove it. Game-wise, I think that I can be.”
— Ernests Gulbis, after beating No. 1 seed Richard Gasquet in the semifinals and No. 2 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Open 13 final in Marseille to capture his fifth ATP World Tour event in five finals.
Jan. 30, 2014: “We evolved on the high plains of Africa chasing antelope for eight hours under these conditions. There will be some players who complain and no one is saying it is terribly comfortable to play out there, but, from a medical perspective, we know that man is well adapted to exercising in the heat. Whether it is humane or not is a whole other issue.”
— Australian Open chief medical officer, Tim Wood, defending the implementation of the Extreme Heat Policy when the temperature hit 109 degrees F.
Jan. 30, 2014: “If he said, ‘Enough,’ I think we will divorce. I will keep my way.”
— Australian Open champion, Li Na, asked whether her husband, the butt of many of her jokes, ever tells her to stop it.
Jan. 30, 2014: “To beat Rafa today, even if he was injured, I think I played my best first set during the match. I was ready to play four hours or five to beat Novak (Djokovic) in the quarters, to beat (Tomas) Berdych in the semis. That shows me I’m doing the right thing since many years. That if you practice well, if you work hard, you will always have a chance to be in a great position to play your best tennis.”
— Stanislas Wawrinka, on what he learned from winning the Australian Open, his first Grand Slam title, at age 28..
Jan. 30, 2014: “Marketability-wise, I think she can be the most famous tennis player in the world. She's got the personality, she's got the game, she's got the looks. She speaks two languages [French and English] and the crossover appeal is great. Aussie fans love her, French fans love her … I think she is very rare, let's put it that way. I really think she has the ability to be more marketable than Maria [Sharapova]. She speaks the two languages where the four grand slams are played. Maria was Genie's idol when she was younger but now they're competitors. But if Maria is the bar, Genie has the ability to exceed that bar. She has to perform on the court to do that, and Genie knows that. Maria has won four slams. Her marketability, if she [Bouchard] performs, I have to say is better than anyone on tour. She is the total package. It’s unbelievable how focused this girl is.”
— Sam Duvall, client manager of Eugenie Bouchard, a rising 19-year-old Canadian who reached the Australian Open semifinals..
Jan. 3, 2014: “I don’t know. You would have to ask her. I don’t know why she said some things about me. I don’t know. I guess she was hurt. I’m just here to play tennis, and whatever her or anyone else thinks, at the end of the day I’m a tennis player and I don’t harbour any resentful feelings, ‘cos life’s too short and it’s an ungodly way to do things. You hear about people forgiving and stuff like that, so that’s all I do.”
— Serena Williams, asked whether the ill-feeling toward Maria Sharapova, caused by barbs between them last June, lingers.
Jan. 3, 2014: “I've said to him, ‘Do I want to see at the end of a tennis match three minutes of the highlight reel where you’re featuring for 2˝ minutes but you’ve lost three and three?’ I’d rather not see that. There's going to be a time when certain shots come out, and he'll do that naturally at times, but it’s just maturity in knowing your game. It's not a criticism at all. It's just, ‘Where do you want to get to? OK, here’s what it takes, these are the non-negotiables.’ It’s just about understanding how to get your business done.”
— Roger Rasheed, who started coaching Grigor Dimitrov last October, saying the highly talented Bulgarian must eschew flashy shot-making and play high-percentage tennis to reach his potential.
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