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( Photo credit: Art Seitz ©2009 )
Andy Murray at Wimbledon
December 18, 2008: "If I had to bet on anyone winning two grand slams next year, I'd bet on Nadal doing it again. The French Open is going to be his again, the guy's ridiculous on clay, and he's got a shot at all the others, but it's going to be tougher than it was in previous years."
— Andy Murray, the U.S. Open finalist who finished 2008 ranked No. 4, with a prediction for 2009..
December 1, 2008: "When they [court announcers] say, 'This is the world No. 2,' it just doesn't sound right to me because either I'm No. 1 or I'm a grand slam champion. I'm not world No. 2. I just don't like the ring of it when I'm introduced on court because I've been up there for so, so long."
— Roger Federer, wounded by his demotion to No. 2 behind Rafael Nadal and vowing to regain his top spot in 2009.
November 14, 2008: "America is a wonderful place. I love my country, I love living there and I love my passport. But also it's a country that since its beginning - especially as it is supposed to be a place where people were escaping intolerance - it became a country which was intolerant of different minorities and skin colors. So I think it's amazing that America has an opportunity to have someone who is from a minority or mixed race."
— Venus Williams, on her country's electing Barack Obama as the first African-American president.
November 1, 2008: "Talk about taking it to another level - Arlen did all those things we always talked about. Like, wouldn't it be nice if fans could move down to the lower seats during late-night matches? Wouldn't it be nice if fans could see scores and watch video highlights of other matches from their seats? When you see the top players in the world taking a twirl after matches, hitting balls into the stands, relaxed, Arlen made those things happen. He helped make it the norm that entertainment is part of being a professional player."
— Patrick McEnroe, CBS and ESPN TV analyst and U.S. Davis Cup captain, about Arlen Kantarian, who resigned as CEO of Professional Tennis for the U.S. Tennis Association after running the U.S. Open since 2000, on ESPN.com.
October 12, 2008: "The rules as they exist now are terrible for the players. [Etienne] De Villiers [the current ATP CEO who will resign in December] lost support of the players and tournaments. He was making rules that the players didn't like and he should have never done that. The tour is a car. The engine is the players, the tournaments are the body, and wheels are the sponsors and TV. Without all of them working in concert, the car won't work. But without the engine, the car won't move."
— John McEnroe, Sr. , who is campaigning to become the new CEO of the ATP Tour on a plank that would allow players to compete where and when they wanted to, on FoxSports.com.
September 24, 2008: "I don't think you could draw up a tougher scenario than playing Nadal away in front of this crowd. It's probably the toughest match you can think of. Even Roger [Federer] on grass, at least you can serve and the points are a little quicker."
— Andy Roddick, after Rafael Nadal routed him 6-4, 6-0, 6-4 on clay in Madrid in their crucial Davis Cup match.
September 24, 2008: "I was living a year under constant pressure. And I still didn't get any official apologies from the ATP. They just announced that the investigation was finished and they didn't find any wrongdoing. But this is not enough! I don't like the formulation. I definitely need to do something to change the situation."
— Nicolay Davydenko, relieved that the ATP's corruption investigation has come to an end but says his lawyers are still working to clear his name, in the Russian newspaper Sport Express.
September 9, 2008: "I've been working so hard all year. Sometimes I wake up at 6 a.m. to go and practice and it's too dark, and I wait until it gets light. No one really, really knows the work an athlete puts in. But it's all worth it. It's all paying off. I feel like gosh, I've been working the hardest, so I should win."
— Serena Williams, who captured her third U.S. Open and ninth Grand Slam title.
September 9, 2008: "One thing's for sure. I'm not going to stop at 13. That would be terrible."
— Roger Federer, after demolishing Andy Murray 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 to win his fifth straight U.S. Open and 13th major title.
September 9, 2008: "It's a matter of 'when,' not 'if.' It's the right next thing to do."
— Arlen Kantarian, the United States Tennis Association's CEO for Professional Tennis, saying a retractable roof on the U.S. Open's Arthur Ashe Stadium will prevent cancelled matches due to tropical storms.
August 19, 2008: "How do you think Federer will deal with being No. 2? The way he's playing, he's on his way to No. 5 or No. 10. Borg was 26 when he quit after McEnroe beat him in the  U.S. Open final. He couldn't handle being No. 2."
— Jimmy Arias, former world No. 4 in the 1980s and now a respected TV analyst, during Roger Federer's 6-4, 7-6 Olympic quarterfinal loss to James Blake who had never beaten Federer before.
July 24, 2008: "The whole time I was thinking what I would do against Roger in this instance, or what I would do against Nadal. Getting really aggressive. . . . That court? You need to cut up that court with a nice serve and volley. You can't give those guys time to just sit back and whale all day."
— Pete Sampras, seven-time Wimbledon champion, on what he was thinking while watching Rafael Nadal slug it out with Roger Federer from the baseline in the 2008 Wimbledon final, in The Los Angeles Times.
July 7, 2008: "I never lost it, otherwise I would have stopped a long time ago really, because for sure I'm not doing it for the money. Nobody's doing it for the cash. I think there are plenty of players that are doing it because they love the game. We love to go on the court. We love to suffer, and we love to win. That makes a huge difference, because after tennis, you're going to miss that adrenaline."
— Marat Safin, who says he's never lost his passion for competing despite being plagued by injuries and major slumps, after losing to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon semis.
July 7, 2008: "I can't imagine having a pro career without Serena. She inspires me. She taught me how to dig deep, be a fighter."
— Venus Williams, who beat Serena to win her fifth Wimbledon title.
July 7, 2008: "This really hurts. Losing Paris for me was nothing, losing here is a disaster."
— Roger Federer, after losing 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (8-10), 9-7 to archrival Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon final to end his five consecutive Big W titles streak as well as his 65-match winning streak on grass.
June 15, 2008: "On the court, you have to be a killer. But it's important [not to] lose your appearance."
— French Open Champion Ana Ivanovic, who, most assuredly, has not lost her lovely appearance.
May 28 , 2008: "I'm happy for her if that's what she wanted to do. It takes a lot of courage. And whether I'm courageous enough, I don't know, but it's great for someone to be so courageous and tough."
—Venus Williams, on American tennis pro Ashley Harkelroad's posing for Playboy magazine.
May 11 , 2008: "There's not going to be any exceptions to the rule for any players. There's not going to be a Williams rule [for Indian Wells]."
—Larry Scott, CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, on the suspensions that will be introduced next year for players skipping mandatory events, a problem that has plagued the Tour in recent years.
April 24 , 2008: "Now the umpires can hide even more behind these calls. It makes it really hard for us. They tend to now just let us do the work, the tough stuff. They let us get embarrassed, basically."
—Roger Federer, rightly lambasting the inept and unfair implementation of Hawk-Eye electronic line-calling system by means of Player Challenges.
April 7 , 2008: "That's what you wake up for, the moments you go to the practice court for. You can have low moments, but those 10, 15 seconds after a big win make up for a lot of bad days. Not all of them, but a lot of them."
— Andy Roddick, who upset No. 1 Roger Federer 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the Sony Ericsson Open, after losing 11 straight matches to him.
March 18 , 2008: "As far as sportswriters go, Jon is in the top echelon. But if you're going to make statements as accusatory and defamatory as 'blowing off kids for autographs,' 'jaded by your existence,' 'hating the tour,' 'insufferable' and insinuating that 'everyone from ATP personnel to former Grand Slam champs' concur with your assessment that Andy holds himself as the 'smartest guy in the room and everyone else is an idiot,' you'd better do better research.."
— Recently retired Justin Gimelstob, now a TV tennis commentator, defending Andy Roddick, his friend, against severe criticism by Sports Illustrated's Jon Wertheim, in his SI.com column.
March 4 , 2008: "I guess the problem is not the same for both of us. I am a Muslim too, but my country has supported me. Sania's case is strange in that she is from a secular country and yet has to face all the criticisms."
— Tunisia's Selima Sfar, a 30-year-old tour veteran, tells XPRESS that she was surprised by the kind of adverse reactions fellow pro Sania Mirza evokes in India.
February 13 , 2008: "I have no sympathy for Richard Williams. Imagine if another tennis parent were an outrageous liar, bragged about giving his kids 'ass whippings', made flagrantly racist and anti-semitic remarks, held up bizarre and provocative signs on a grease board, stood accused by his wife of domestic violence (supported by police reports) and allegedly cut ties with children he had fathered from a previous relationship. Would we really be dismissing him as a harmless, kooky uncle? My take: If there's a double-standard with Richard, he's the beneficiary, not the victim."
— Jon Wertheim, SI.com tennis writer, rejecting the notion that criticism of Richard Williams, the father-coach of Venus and Serena, is motivated by racism.
January 28 , 2008: "When one gets beaten by somebody better, one has to know how to lose with humility. Sure, I could have served better. Sure, I could have hit my forehand harder. But the truth was this was like an avalanche, and there was no way to stop it."
— Rafael Nadal, impressed with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after the unseeded Frenchman routed him 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 in the Australian Open semis.
January 28 , 2008: "If I loved a guy as much as I love my dog, the guy would be in serious trouble because I'm all over that dog, all of the time."
— Maria Sharapova, on her great love for her Pomeranian pooch, Dolce, in The Times (UK). January 2 , 2008: "There shouldn't be a heat rule regardless. We're athletes. If you don't put in the hard yards, don't play. So it's only fair the ATP [doesn't]. We're only playing three sets too; if you can't cope with that, then get another job."
— Australian star Lleyton Hewitt, pointing out that the U.S. Open had a history of players cramping in hot conditions but the USTA had not brought in a heat rule, a policy which he also favors in Australia despite temperatures reaching more than 42C (107F) at the Adelaide International tournament.
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