Pro Tennis Player
Quotes of the Week
( Photo credit: Art Seitz ©2016 )
Gael Monfils makes an unbelievable shot in the first round at the 2016 US Open.
December 8, 2016: “We should have been the Fed Cup dynasty. It’s a pity Venus and Serena didn’t play much. We could have won it 10 times [if they did]. They played Fed Cup mainly so they would qualify for the Olympics.”
— Tennis Channel analyst Mary Carillo, lamenting the fact that the United States hasn’t won the Fed Cup since 2000 because Venus and Serena Williams played only 12 of 34 ties since then.
December 8, 2016: “I was struggling after the [elbow] injury [in April and May 2016], and I wanted a different insight into my game. My dad [Tony] was a top-100 player and had some ups and downs in his career. He gave me some useful words, and I started playing well. When I’m not confident, I’m not the most aggressive player. I use my athletic ability to retrieve a lot of balls. In today’s pro game, guys are hitting the s--- out of the ball. Getting a lot of balls back—that can be your Plan B. But to be successful, you want to be in control of the points…. I’d have to say, I think the year-end top 100 is realistic for me. The main thing I need to do to improve my game is to be more unpredictable. My game’s there to do the damage.”
— Michael Mmoe, an 18-year-old American ranked No. 198, talking about what he needs to improve to take his game to the next level in 2017, on ESPN.com.
December 8, 2016:
Donald, this can no longer be about you, your photos, your Twitter, your SNL obsession. It’s now about your service and leadership. #getoverit https://twitter.com/fusion/status/805260369472159744 …
9:01 AM - 4 Dec 2016
— Tennis legend Chris Evert, lost patience with President-elect Donald Trump’s incessant, narcissistic, and often petty tweets. So Evert tweeted this to her nearly 170,000 followers.
November 22, 2016: “Britain boasts the best male tennis player in the world. It is not a statement that would have sounded plausible for most of the past 50 years. Now comes a holiday and the celebrations; no doubt another BBC Sports Personality award, which would make an unprecedented third in four years. Those who do not appreciate him — holding silly grudges because he can be a bit grumpy, or once made a harmless joke about the England football team — are in a daft, dwindling minority. It is not just the vast scale of his achievements but all that he has overcome, including some of the sport’s greatest players, that makes Murray a marvel of British sport.”
— Sports columnist Mike Dickson, writing proudly about British hero Andy Murray after he captured the ATP Finals to clinch the season-ending No. 1 ranking, in The Times (UK).
November 22, 2016: “I’ve had better seasons results-wise. But every year is an evolution for me. It’s a different year. I mean, it’s hard to expect to repeat all these things forever. I mean, nothing is eternal. I know there are other players coming up, present players that are getting stronger. I’m trying to do the same thing. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. All in all, it’s one great lesson that you have to accept and move on hopefully as a wiser person and as a better player.”
—Novak Djokovic, assessing his results in 2016 when he won the Australian and French Opens, Miami, and Indian Wells and reached the finals at the US Open and the ATP Finals to finish No. 2 behind Andy Murray.
November 22, 2016: “Unbelievable. We don’t have words yet, we are going to celebrate. The feeling is something so special, even if it’s our fifth title. It’s really unbelievable. It was a huge day, but we made all three points which is something really special. Today was tough but in the end, it’s a fairytale.”
—Barbora Strycova, after she and Karolina Pliskova clinched a thrilling Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final in the deciding rubber against host France to give the Czech Republic its fifth title in the past six years. They prevailed 7-5, 7-5 against Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic. They also powered the Czechs to victory in the final in 2015.
October 22, 2016: “Well, I’ve seen many people change a lot with power. Power can change a person greatly. I’ve seen people get better, but usually I’ve seen people get worse. I’ve seen people go crazy and become power-hungry. They were nobody and all of a sudden they develop power. I’ve seen it politically. All of a sudden they become total monsters – and they usually crash and burn.”
—Donald Trump, in a 2004 interview with Inside Tennis magazine.
October 22, 2016: “Everything post-Olympics was a bit of a shock to me, but I think looking at it now. It’s a huge opportunity for me to really express my gratitude to my country and let people know where I come from, and in a way, show off the attitude Puerto Ricans bring to the table. It’s always good to have a positive voice and a positive impact on people, and there are a lot of important messages I want to send post-Olympics -- about Zika, but also that if women and girls across the world have a dream, they can achieve it. The Olympics made my voice a little louder than it was before. And it’s always nice to give back to people who have given so much to me over the years.”
— Surprise gold medalist Monica Puig, telling ESPN.com how she can use her Olympic experience off the court.
October 22, 2016: “I try to look at things from different perspective, from more human perspective rather than from perspective of professional tennis player. When I get on the court, of course I want to give my best and eventually try to win the match, but that comes as a consequence of how I feel and how I approach, how I prepare, you know, just a general mindset and approach. But not as a priority of must-win type of mindset, you know, because that is not working for me anymore.”
—Novak Djokovic, who slumped after winning the French Open, talking about his new mellow approach to competition—focusing less on winning major and being No. 1—after he defeated Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-3 in Shanghai.
October 1, 2016: “By having a full year or two to plan we can do more for sponsors and fans with a stadium that's an appropriate size. It's a balancing act, making sure we get bids from a number of different cities so we can make comparisons. But it's not all about money. It's about eyeballs and awareness. Our mission really is to develop, grow and promote tennis around the world. So we will take great caution.”
— International Tennis Federation President David Haggerty, telling the Associated Press that cities will bid to stage the finals of the Davis and Fed Cups as part of a revamp of the international team tennis competitions, and the ITF will launch a bidding process in December, although the governing body is yet to determine whether the same city will host the men’s and women’s competitions.
October 1, 2016: “I know Félix likes Jo and Gaël, and I see some similarities with them in his game when Felix is playing. But I think Felix at 16 is better than Jo or Gael was at that age.”
— Louis Borfiga, vice-president of high performance athlete development at Tennis Canada, who had held a similar role in France and helped bring along French stars such as Gaël Monfils (world No. 8) and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (No. 12), with high praise for Félix Auger-Aliassime, the 2016 US Open junior champion and world No. 2 junior player, in The Globe and Mail newspaper in Canada.
October 1, 2016: “I’m so tired. I’ve got cramps everywhere. It was my longest match of my career and I won it against Andy playing here. It’s very special for me and also the way of my tennis. It could be the revenge [for the Olympics]. But in that match I was exhausted before the final. We made a good choice with the captain [Daniel Orsanic] to play Andy on the first day.”
— Juan Martin del Potro, after revealing he suffered from cramps during his “revenge” victory—6-4, 5-7, 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 lasting five hours and seven minutes—over Andy Murray in the opening rubber of the Davis Cup semifinal in which Argentina edged Britain 3-2 at Glasgow.
September 14, 2016: “I think I’m ready to have this pressure on my shoulder, because I think I get used to all of this, especially after my first grand slam in Australia. I had so much pressure after the title. And to being No. 1, of course now everybody will try to beat me and have nothing to lose. I will try to take this challenge, because it will be a little bit new situation for me. But at the end, I was always practicing and working hard to be No1. Now I can also take the next step and try to stay as long as I can there.”
— Angelique Kerber, the Australian Open and US Open champion and at 28 the oldest player to make her debut at No. 1, on how she plans to handle the new pressure of being No. 1.
September 14, 2016: “Because first I think it’s not fair for them to put me there. They have been there since more than 10 years. They have been in all semi-finals of grand slams, all finals, all semi-finals of Masters 1000, all finals. They have been winning everything and I think it is just not fair. The big four stay the big four, like that. I am me. I have been achieving something that I never expect the last three years, I have been winning three grand slams and it’s more than amazing. But I don’t want to keep talking about being part of them or close to them. The big four stay the big four. It’s part of tennis history, and it will always be like that and I think it’s great like that.”
— Stan Wawrinka, modestly rejecting the idea that he is now equal to the Big Four—Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal—after winning the US Open, his third major title in the last three years, a total only Novak Djokovic has equaled or surpassed.
September 14, 2016: “Here is a quick list of the things that upset the Scot during the course of the match: The crowd talking, the roof, the floodlights, a butterfly, the rain, his box not cheering enough, his box standing up too much, supporters returning to their seats late, the umpire, the malfunctioning PA system. Some of those are more understandable than others, but clearly none of Murray’s traditional ‘Big Four’ rivals would have been distracted to anything like the same degree. After the malfunctioning PA system meant a let had to be played with Murray up a break point at 1-1 in the fourth set, he ranted and raved and lost the next seven games. This was not behaviour befitting a multiple grand slam champion, nor was slamming his racquet on the net when broken in the fifth set with Nishikori no more than a few feet away.”
— Charlie Eccleshare, sports columnist for The Telegraph (UK), hitting the nail on the head about Andy Murray’s self-destructiveness in the US Open quarterfinals in an article titled “Andy Murray enters full meltdown mode in Kei Nishikori US Open defeat—but will he ever change?"
August 21, 2016: “One of my dreams is to play her. To beat her, I donâ€™t think I was even dreaming of that.”
— Elina Svitolina, a 21-year-old Ukrainian, after she upset world No. 1 Serena Williams 6-4, 6-3 in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics third round.
August 21, 2016: “I cannot believe the moment. The crowd makes me cry in every match. Every match feels like a final for me. Itâ€™s a very special tournament.”
— Juan Martin del Potro, a genial Argentine ranked No. 141 after being plagued by wrist injuries, during the Rio Olympics where he upset No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic and 2008 gold medalist Rafael Nadal, before Del Potro was stopped by Andy Murray in the gold medal match, talking about the rowdy crowd who supported and inspired him.
August 21, 2016: “This Olympics isnâ€™t about me. Itâ€™s about Puerto Rico, and I know how bad they want this. The island is full of such bad news all the time, so every time . . . somebody from the island wins a medal, everything stops. I know how happy everybody gets.”
— Monica Puig, a highly patriotic, 22-year-old Puerto Rican ranked only No. 34, referring to her countryâ€™s economic crisis and soaring crime rate, during the Rio Olympics where she upset 2016 French Open champion Garbine Muguruza and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova before stunning No. 2 Angelique Kerber 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 to give Puerto Rico its first gold medal in any sport.
August 2, 2016: “One week, I’m pretty motivated to train and play. I’m really looking forward to getting out there. One week, I’ll just not do anything. I don’t really know a coach out there that would be pretty down for that one. It was a good first set. The rest of the match was pretty pathetic. As soon as I lost the first set. I just lost belief. When things get tough, I’m just a little bit soft. I mean, I’ve got experience, but it ultimately comes down to just laying it all out there and competing for a long time. I didn’t do that today at all. At times, like I’ve previously said, I don’t love the sport. But, you know, I don’t really know what else to do without it. I obviously like playing the game. It’s a massive part of my life.”
— Nick Kyrgios, a 21-year-old controversial Australian, baring his conflicted soul about his ambivalent passion for and commitment to tennis, after he was routed 7-5, 6-1, 6-4 by Andy Murray in the Wimbledon fourth round.
August 2, 2016: “I’ve said many times, ‘Let your racket do the talking.’ And you can’t do that anymore.”
— Rod Laver, a reserved Australian superstar, when asked by Tennis Channel’s Mary Carillo whether he would have preferred to play today “when everything is blown up in proportion,” or in the 1960s when he won the Grand Slam in 1962 and 1969.
August 2, 2016: “It’s hard to say just one lesson. It’s easy to be afraid. You have to let fear go. Another lesson is you just have to believe in yourself – you just have to. There’s no way around it. You’ve got to believe in yourself. No matter how things are stacked against you, you just have to every time.”
— Venus Williams, the third player to reach the Wimbledon Ladies’ Singles semi-finals after her 36th birthday, discussing what she has learned since being diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome in 2011.
August 2, 2016: “You know, I have to be honest, I like that kind of situation. I like it more than playing on the Court 27 somewhere, you know, somewhere far away from the crowd, the people. I just like big stage more, when it’s more important. When I have more pressure, you know, when the expectations are big, I like those occasions. I think that’s what we’re training for… Obviously, that’s when I play best. At least for now. I hope it’s going to stay like that.”
— Borna Coric, after winning his second tie-clinching Davis Cup victory of 2016 (he also clinched Croatia’s first-round win in Belgium by straight-setting Kimmer Coppejeans in a deciding fifth rubber) with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Jack Sock to clinch a 3-2 victory over the U.S.
July 14, 2016: “I don’t mind failing. Failing’s OK providing that you’ve given your best and put everything into it. Obviously a lot of questions would get asked of me after those losses. But failing’s not terrible. I put myself in a position all of the time in these events to win them. Haven’t won them all of the time. I’ve lost a lot of close ones against great players most of the time. That’s it. Just have kind of not being afraid of failing. Sort of learning from all of my losses. That’s what I’ve done throughout most of my career.”
— Andy Murray, who had a dismal 2-8 record in Grand Slam finals before he defeated Milos Raonic 6-4, 7-6, 7-6 to win his second Wimbledon title.
July 14, 2016: “I have definitely had some sleepless nights, if I'm just honest, with a lot of stuff. Coming so close. Feeling it, not being able to quite get there. . . . I've just felt a lot of pressure, I guess. I put a lot of that pressure on myself. Obviously had some really tough losses.”
— Serena Williams, referring to her failures at the three majors before the 2016 Wimbledon where she avenged her Australian Open loss to Angelique Kerber with a 7-5, 6-3 final victory to capture her 22nd Grand Slam title on her fourth attempt, tying Steffi Graf for the Open Era record.
July 14, 2016: “It’s an incredible comeback for me. I was struggling through the third and fourth set, he was playing some really good tennis. I managed to turn it around and played a really good match. It’s a great feeling to be giving myself a chance to play in my first final. Playing Roger, you know he has the most decorated achievements and successes in tennis. But you’re playing who Roger is today, not who he’s been the past few years.”
— Milos Raonic, talking about the message from John McEnroe, who is advising Raonic during the grass court season, after the 25-year-old Canadian rebounded for a 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory over seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer in an exciting semifinal.
July 14, 2016: “I prefer the words, one of the greatest ‘athletes’ of all time.”
— Serena Williams', reply when a reporter asked what she makes of it when others talk about her as one of history’s greatest female athletes.
June 27, 2016: “The last time we’d had such a clear-cut No. 1 was Roger Federer, but then a Spanish teenager came around and a rivalry was born. So then we had years of The Big Two. Then Novak started to elbow his way in, and it was The Big Three. And Andy Murray made it The Big Four. But now? We’re back to The Big One. Let’s review. Djokovic has beaten Rafa seven times in a row. He’s won against Federer the last four times they've met at majors—and he's beaten Murray in the last five Grand Slam matches they've contested. He’s long been lapping the field. He has the Serena Slam. Why not suppose he can do what Serena came so close to pulling off last year?”
— NBC and Tennis Channel analyst Mary Carillo, on Novak Djokovic’s great domination over the other elite players as also evidenced by his 16,950 ATP World Tour rankings points, which nearly double that of No. 2 Andy Murray (8,915) and are 10,000 better than No. 3 Federer (6,425), on ESPN.com..
June 27, 2016: “Don’t you understand that playing tennis is great fun? I don’t need to win three Slams a year to be content. If the body doesn’t want to do it, if the mind doesn’t want to do it, if my wife doesn’t want me to do it, if my kids don’t like it, I’ll stop tomorrow. Zero problem.”
— Roger Federer, telling The Guardian (UK) about his undying passion for playing big-time tennis.
June 27, 2016: “I mean, who is going to be next, the next No.1 player, after Serena is gone? You’ve got to put your money on Muguruza because first of all, you have to have power in today’s game. When I look at the next three, I look at Radwanska, Kerber and Halep. I don’t think either of those three are going to end up No. 1 in the world. They don’t have that sort of overwhelming power. Muguruza does have it, very much like Serena, following in her footsteps. Muguruza, she still has to mature a little bit. She’s still young. She still has to probably get a little more consistent with her results in the smaller tournaments. But when I look at winning Grand Slams, you’d have to say Muguruza, you’d have to look at Madison Keys, Victoria Azarenka, and Petra Kvitova—the power players more now more so than the consistent counter-punchers.”
— Chris Evert, asked in an ESPN conference call how far Garbiï¿¿uguruza can go.
June 9, 2016: “It was a very special moment, the biggest of my career. I felt today something that I never felt before at Roland Garros; I felt the love of the crowd.”
— Novak Djokovic, after a highly partisan French Open crowd watched him outclass Andy Murray 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 for his first French Open and 12th Grand Slam title.
June 9, 2016: “When I am on the court, I want to dictate my game and bring more of these cups back home. I am attack-minded.”
— Garbine Muguruza, who sustained her power game to dethrone Serena Williams 7-5, 6-4 in the French Open final for her first Grand Slam title, talking about her style of play and her career ambition.
June 9, 2016: “At the risk of sounding really arrogant, I kind of think that I can play like the Top 10 players. I feel like I can play with anybody. I just have to be consistent and not freak out all the time.”
— Japan's Naomi Osaka, after losing 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 to sixth-seeded Simona Halep in the French Open third round.
June 9, 2016: “That is a ‘when’ and not an ‘if.’ When will Serena tie Steffi at 22?”
— Tennis Channel analyst and former No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, during Serena Williams’s 6-4, 7-6 fourth-round French Open victory over Kristina Mladenovic, referring to Serena’s bid to equal Steffi Graf’s 22 Grand Slam titles.
May 13, 2016: “I let my family down, I let my team down, I let my fans down with that kind of behavior, which I definitely apologize for.”
— A contrite and apologetic Grigor Dimitrov, who lost his composure and smashed his racket three times, which ultimately led to a warning, a point penalty and then another point penalty, which came with Dimitrov down 5-0 and gave the game, set and match to Diego Schwartzman, who staged a stunning comeback—after trailing 5-2 in the second set—to upset second-seeded Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-0 and claim his maiden ATP Tour title at the Istanbul Open.
May 13, 2016: “It would be incredible to reach the top of my sport. It’s something that you dream of when you’re younger. My brother has just topped the rankings in the doubles, so as brothers it would be incredible to say that we were both able to reach number one during our careers, but it’s not something that I’m going to solely focus on. To reach number one, you have to be incredibly consistent in tournaments, so I will just continue to focus on one tournament at a time, and make sure I keep working as hard as I can to win every tournament.”
— Andy Murray, the 2012 US Open and 2013 Wimbledon champion, says joining Jamie as a world No. 1 is his ultimate goal.
May 13, 2016: “While he appears the embodiment of calm, collected grace, a man at times humbled to tears, who enjoys nothing more than traveling the ATP circuit with his wife, Mirka, and their four children, there lies within Roger Federer a primordial need: the same ineffable hunger that possesses Tiger and Peyton. ‘When you do something best in life,’ Federer has said, ‘you don't really want to give it up. And for me that is tennis.”
— Tim Struby, in his new “The Natural” profile of Roger Federer in Maxim magazine's April issue.
April 26, 2016: “This substance was never considered as doping. It doesn't influence the result. That's totally certain. It just keeps the heart muscles in good condition under high load.”
— Russian President Vladimir Putin, who waded into the debate over meldonium during a marathon phone-in program on Russian television, defending Maria Sharapova, who was provisionally suspended for her positive drug test, and saying the banned substance should not be considered a performance-enhancing drug.
April 26, 2016: “I think if I played like all the normal players for sure I would not be Top 100 because my forehand is too bad. I try to learn something else and it’s working. If I feel good on court, I can beat any player; if I feel bad, I can lose against you, maybe. I like to make some drop shots. Today I was not very good at this shot. If I have one shot I prefer, it’s the drop shot.”
— Refreshingly honest Benoit Paire, a 26-year-old Frenchman who described his game as “different,” after he reached his third ATP semifinal of the year on Friday with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 win over Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri at the Barcelona Open.
April 26, 2016: “I wouldn’t go out there and kill myself every day if I didn’t feel like that.”
— Victoria Azarenka, asked before the Miami Open final in which she defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-2 to complete a rare Indian Wells-Miami double, if she’s the best player in the world.
April 4, 2016: “When I first came on to the tour [in 2007] and won three tournaments in the first five months, I thought everything was going to keep going that way. That didn’t happen, but you keep learning about yourself. I am proud of what I have been able to achieve, especially from where I was three years ago. Maybe people” – meaning sponsors – “will be more interested in me now. We’ll see. It’s nice to make money, but still I would rather say that I got to the top of my sport.”
— Jamie Murray, who won the Australian Open double titles with Bruno Soares and recently became the No. 1 player in the individual doubles rankings, but still does not have a racket sponsor, in The Telegraph (UK).
April 4, 2016: “Every time Serena plays a match that overshadows the men, should they drop to their knees and thank God for her? And should the top five men in the United States — and I couldn’t even tell you who they are — drop to their knees and thank God for Federer and Nadal? Why just the women?”
— Mary Jo Kane, the longtime director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota, telling The New York Times that she is more focused on actions, attitudes and, yes, language, and that after reading India Wells tournament director Ray Moore’s sexist comments—he claimed that women “ride the coattails of the men”—what she wished someone had asked him.
April 4, 2016: “It seems bizarre that when his opponent sends down a perfect ace, he so often chunters at his team. Whatever the detail of the comment, the underlying message is: “You should have told me that he was going to serve down the ‘T’.” This has become a culture of blame, and it is unedifying to watch. On Monday night, the Miami fans began to treat the whole thing as a circus, jeering when Murray repeatedly smashed his racket into his bag and parroting his gloomy self-admonishments back at him.”
— Simon Briggs, tennis correspondent for The Telegraph (UK), blasting ill-tempered Andy Murray for his childish tantrums during his 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 upset loss to Grigor Dimitrov at the Miami Open.
March 15, 2016: “I was OK holding her. The only thing I found difficult was changing her because you see a small person and you think they’re so fragile – or that their hands are so small that when you’re putting their fingers through their top that they could maybe break. But when you see all the midwives—and Kim has a good friend who is a midwife—they’re a lot rougher and they do things much more quickly. Lots of people have told me babies are a lot more resilient than you think. They’re not going to break.”
— Andy Murray, asked by The Guardian (UK) if he worried about dropping his daughter the first time he gathered her in his arms.
March 15, 2016: “Like everyone else, most people were surprised and shocked. But most people are happy with the fact she was upfront with what she had done in terms of what she had neglected. With that being said, she’s taking responsibility, which she was ready to do. . . . “In sport and in life, there’s always a double standard. Everyone knows that, whether it’s a race thing or sex thing. However, this is a different thing. As Maria said, she’s ready to take responsibility. And that takes courage and heart.”
— Serena Williams, reacting with surprise and empathy to Maria Sharapova’s announcement that Sharapova had tested positive at the 2016 Australian Open for a banned substance she had taken for the past ten years for her heart, while she acknowledging that she failed to read the WADA rules that went into effect January 1.
March 15, 2016: “Few people have had the historical significance, lasting impact, and the unqualified love of tennis as Bud Collins. He was an outstanding journalist, an entertaining broadcaster, and as our historian, he never let us forget or take for granted the rich history of our sport.”
—Tennis legend Billie Jean King, paying tribute to Bud Collins, who passed away March 3 at age 86.
February 24, 2016: “Coming into the shoot, I thought, ‘Oh, I can lay down and I can just sleep through most of it.’ But it turned out that I was standing up for at least five or six hours in the beginning before I got to lay down. But it was all worth it and I’m really happy I did it. . . . I feel totally naked, but when I look in the mirror, it’s the weirdest thing. I feel like I have plenty of clothes on. It’s kind of a surreal experience.”
— Caroline Wozniacki, who landed a spot in Sports Illustrated’s glamorous swimsuit issue for the second straight year, this time, going thread-less, appearing solely in body paint.
February 24, 2016: “This has been the greatest victory of my career, beating the best player in history on clay, so I’m very happy. The best thing I did was keep my confidence the whole match. I always believed, being above or below. Even after an hour and a half and losing, I believed that I could defeat him.”
— Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay, after upsetting No. 5 Rafael Nadal 6-7 (6), 7-6 (3), 6-4 in the Rio Open semifinals for just Nadal’s second defeat on clay to a player ranked outside the top 30 since 2005.
February 24, 2016: “I love the sport of tennis, but I sort of got a little bit away from what I really wanted to do. I think deep down I knew if I kept trying to drive on through it, it would drive me away completely. So it was the right time to step away and just refresh. I went from not being known anywhere in the world to winning junior Wimbledon, and six months later playing the Australian Open…Obviously I was very young, but I turn 20 this year and it's a different perspective on life and tennis in general. I'll be able to do it my way a little bit more.”
— Australian 19-year-old Ashley Barty, who won the Wimbledon girls’ title and reached three Grand Slam doubles finals with Casey Dellaqua as a 15-year-old, telling the WTA’s official website she left the pro tour 17 months ago because was not equipped to deal with having so much success at such a young age, while announcing her comeback on Feb. 8
February 3, 2016: “I believe that all the guys that are out there fighting each week to get to No. 1 are very hungry to get to No. 1. I want to enjoy, and I will, but it's not going to go for more than a few days. After that, I'm already thinking about how can I continue playing well through the rest of the season at each tournament. There is a mind-set one needs to have if you want to stay up there. I think you need to work doubly hard when you’re actually up there. Very hungry. The wolf needs to eat a lot of different meals to get to Paris. Paris is a dessert.”
— Novak Djokovic, after he won his sixth Australian Open and 11th Grand Slam title, answering a question noting the widening gap between him and the leading contender with a metaphor—the wolf that is running up the hill is much hungrier than the wolf standing at the top of the hill.
February 3, 2016: “Every time I walk in this room, everyone expects me to win every single match, every single day of my life. As much as I would like to be a robot, I’m not … I do the best that I can. I try to win every single time I step out there, every single point, but realistically I can’t do it. . . . “I think it’s good to know that if I want to win some tournaments, I have to play better.”
— Serena Williams, sounding unusually humble and philosophical after being upset 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 by No. 7 Angelique Kerber, a 28-year-old German, in the Australian Open final.
February 3, 2016: “I talk about it every time, especially at the end of a tournament, how thankful I am for the crowd. It is an incredible run. It’s a big part of why I'm still playing today. I spent a lot of hours on the practice courts, you know, for exactly moments like these where you feel like you’re appreciated, you’re being pushed forward, they want to see you win, and all that. I wish I could have one more chance to play another match here this week, but I don’t. So of course I’m disappointed maybe for parts of my fans and also for myself. Definitely walk away from a place like this and say, I want to come back next year. I want to relive it again. No problem to hit the practice courts. Can’t wait for the next tournament. You know, everything’s easier when you have a crowd like that. I felt that again tonight.”
— Roger Federer, asked about the standing ovations he received at the start of the third set and for hitting a spectacular passing shot to win a super point in the fourth set, and how much that crowd support helped him turn the match around to win the third set of his otherwise decisive 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 Australian Open semifinal loss to Novak Djokovic.
February 3, 2016: “It’s been overwhelming. My phone’s run out of battery about three times since the final because everyone keeps sending me so many messages. It’s amazing to have all that support. The number of messages I’ve had from back home, including me alongside Jamie [Murray] and Andy [Murray], is kind of surreal.”
— Gordon Reid, a 24-year-old Scot, after winning his first Grand Slam wheelchair singles title at the Australian Open by beating Joachim Gï¿¿rd, of Belgium, 7-6, 6-4, in the final, in The Times (UK).
January 12, 2016: “I played against a player who did everything perfect. I don’t know anybody who played tennis like this ever. When I say perfect, it’s not one thing in particular. It’s everything. If not, it’s not perfect.”
— Rafael Nadal, praising Novak Djokovic’s terrific performance in the Qatar Exxonmobil Open final at Doha after Djokovic routed him 6-1, 6-2.
January 12, 2016: “What would be very interesting to me is a final four concept. In the final week, generally in November, we would have the final four teams come together in a neutral location somewhere to be determined. We would be able to plan in advance where that is. We could have the semifinals in the first three days, a day of rest and then three days for the final. We’ve got to make sure what we do resonates with the fans and spectators. It has to be player-friendly so that they will want to play in the competition every year. . . . We also have to collaborate with the [ATP and WTA] tours and the [four] Grand Slams to have the whole tennis body embrace whatever it is that we do.”
— David Haggarty, the new president of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), has proposed that the Davis Cup and Fed Cup play their finales at a neutral venue with four finalists to “polish and update” the competitions.
January 12, 2016: “He was an unbelievable teenager, and so strong so early, and I learnt a lot from him how feisty he was, how tough mentally and physically he was, and he’s definitely also one of the reasons why I’m the player I am today, because I took a completely different route. I went more the talent route, and thought it was going to take care by itself, but eventually I learnt how to work hard as well, like him. . . . So I’ve always enjoyed the matches with him, but also watching him was maybe even more fun, because I loved his work ethic and his grit he brought to the match every single time. A true professional.”
— Roger Federer, credits early-career nemesis and two-time major winner Lleyton Hewitt, who will retire after playing his 20th Australian Open, for helping to make the talented Swiss the legendary champion he became, in the Sydney Morning Herald.
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