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.
April 6, 2017: “I think it wasn’t so much what I was doing then, it was more what I wasn’t doing. I think I’ve got better now with my habits. I think I’ve gotten a bit stronger now with my identity on court and what I bring to the court. With time I became stronger in just my game style and what I wanted to first bring to the court and then I got clearer on following through with game plans, just being a bit mentally stronger to be able to stay focused for a longer period of time. It’s not easy to stay focused and keep on one train of thought for an hour and a half, two, three, however long it takes. A big part of that was maturity on my behalf.”
— Johanna Konta, on how she been able to transform from journeywoman, ranked No. 144 in March 2015 to an elite star ranked No. 7, after defeating Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-3, to win the Miami Open, the most notable success by a British female since Virginia Wade won Wimbledon in 1977.
April 6, 2017: “Nick loves the matches with the greats on the big stages. Nick is an awesome talent. If he gets over the emotional volatility, he’ll be No. 1. And he’s making progress.”
— Tennis Channel analyst Paul Annacone, who formerly coached superstar Pete Sampras, on rising star Nick Kyrgios, who upset Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic the first time he played each of them.
April 6, 2017: “I think it’s a bit of everything and at the end of the day it’s also confidence. I’ve been coming over the backhand more than I ever have in previous years, especially off the return against right-handed and left-handed players. It gives me the belief that because I’m coming over the backhand so much that I can pull it off at the most important moments. Before the backhand was more of a set-up shot, a variation play, but now I feel it can also hurt a lot on the offensive whereas before it was more keeping me in the point or on the passing shot where I was always pretty good.”
— Roger Federer, telling Sky Sports about his evolving backhand which has improved since Ivan Ljubicic joined his coaching team and helped him win the Australian Open, Indian Wells, and the Miami Open to dominate the first three months of 2017.
March 7, 2017: “Everybody wants to be beautiful. I think it’s how we’ve been trained, not because being beautiful is important but because society has placed a value on it. So it’s really the psychology and philosophy of it all, but I think there are moments when you look in the mirror and think “Whoa, what happened to me?” But honestly I’m more focused on what I’m accomplishing than what I look like. That’s always been how I felt. What am I accomplishing when I wake up in the morning? It’s about how do I get better, what am I achieving? That’s pretty much what I recommend—focus on what you want to accomplish. It doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside. You can look amazing, but in the end it’s what we do.”
— Venus Williams, asked by Humanity magazine if she has ever had to “struggle with different things, like feeling not beautiful or feeling not valuable.
March 7, 2017: “I was trying not to think about, ‘I'm about to beat No. 6 in the world.’ I had to tell myself to stay calm and not get too caught up in the moment. I’ve won before against top players, but it was more of a one-match thing. I couldn’t keep it up because I just wasn’t as strong physically. Now I feel like I can hang with the top players.”
— CiCi Bellis, after she stunned No. 6-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 at the Dubai Tennis Championships. In her first main draw matches of 2017, the 17-year-old Californian defeated three top-50 players in three days.
March 7, 2017: “It is true that I have this image a bit. [But] it’s like [being] a student. If he has revised [prepared] well, he is serene on the day of the examination. We see the result, but we do not know his work [away from the spotlight]. I have a good entourage and my family allows me to remain always young. Plus, when you win, life is just simpler. The victory saves everything, to a certain degree of course. It’s easier to be positive and happy when you win. I worked a lot for that. Now I take advantage.”
— Roger Federer, when quizzed on the perception he does not have to match the extraordinary training load endured by the world’s other top players, in an exclusive interview given to L'Equipe.
February 2, 2017: “I was already prepared in the last couple of majors and I have to say ... I didn't miss them that much. Now they're back I realize, wow, how much they add. They made it look so easy, Federer's way of playing and Nadal's way of being, it's just so natural they're going to win. Now it’s like going to see the (Rolling) Stones every night. For me it's unbelievable.”
— Seven-time major champion Mats Wilander, on the great importance of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
February 2, 2017: “I just really feel fortunate to have been there for the highs and the lows and everything. I never lost hope of us being able to play each other in a final. This probably is the moment of our careers so far. For me, I can definitely say for me. I never lost hope of us being able to play each other in a final, although it was hard because we're usually on the same side of the draw. This is a story. This is something where I couldn’t write a better ending. This is a great opportunity for us to start our new beginning.”
— Serena Williams, 35, after playing her sister Venus, 36, for the first time in a Grand Slam final since the 2009 Wimbledon, and defeating Venus 6-4, 6-4 in the Australian Open final for her 23rd major title, an Open Era record.
February 2, 2017: “I think why people love sport so much is because you see everything in a line. In that moment, there is no do-over. There’s no retake. There is no voice-over. It’s triumph and disaster witnessed in real time. This is why people live and die for sport, because you can’t fake it. You can’t. It’s either you do it or you don’t. People relate to the champion. They also relate to the person who didn’t win, because we all have those moments in our life.”
— Venus Williams, despite energy-sapping Sj÷gren’s syndrome and without a Grand Slam title since beating Serena at the 2008 Wimbledon final, fought valiantly against heavily favored Serena but succumbed 6-4, 6-4 in the Australian Open final.
January 3, 2017: “Athletically, bottom line is the way the game has changed because of technology and the speed of the game. In the old days, a tennis player if he knew the game of tennis, the strategies, the subtleties, the nuances of the game, he could beat an athlete. It’s a little like the NBA.... The athlete is beating the tennis player now. So the great, great guys like Djokovic, Federer, Nadal, Murray they’re both. We’ve got to find the guy that’s both.”
— Former superstar John McEnroe, telling WFAN host Marc Malusis in a radio interview Dec. 13 that he rates 20th-century elite players the best pure athletes tennis has produced and contends that advances in string and racquet technology combined with the homogenization of court speed makes athleticism an even bigger asset in today's tennis.
January 3, 2017: “The ATP wanted me to see a psychologist to help me out and I've been doing that. It's actually been good, just relaxing a little bit, spending more time with my family and my girlfriend as well. So the suspension, one way to look at it, is getting more time off with the people you love and I've been training as well, so it's set me up in good stead for 2017. Obviously, I wouldn't have wanted to get suspended but it gave me time to think about and analyze what I’ve got to get better at. It’s been a rollercoaster, we had a lot of highs, a lot of lows. But ultimately, my ranking jumped from about 30 to 13, so that’s a successful year. I’ve got a couple of guys in my team who hopefully can help me push for that top-10 spot next year. It was a fun year. I did a lot of fun things. I got Australia back in the world group of the Davis Cup, won a couple of titles, so it’s been a good year so hopefully I can back it up in 2017.”
— Nick Kyrgios, after winning the International Premier League Tennis League title with the Singapore Slammers on Dec. 11, told Fox Sports that he took some positives out of his ATP’s three-week suspension and is targeting the top 10 for 2017.
January 3, 2017: “When the subject of equal pay comes up, it frustrates me because I know firsthand that I, like you, have done the same work and made the same sacrifices as our male counterparts. I would never want my daughter to be paid less than my son for the same work.”
— Gender defender Serena Williams, in open letter for Porter Magazine’s December special issue, once again expressed her “frustration” about the prevalence of gender inequality in sports.
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