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( Photo credit: Art Seitz ©2009 )
Andy Murray at Wimbledon
December 16 , 2009: "Anyone who starts their answer with, 'I haven't read the book, but . . .', I hope that they would read it all and then speak. To Rafael Nadal, Marat Safin, Martina Navratilova and Roger Federer, I would say that if they do that and they still have the same opinion of me, I would be sad and disappointed."
— Andre Agassi, when asked about big-name players who condemned him after he admitted in OPEN: An Autobiography that he had lied to the ATP tribunal in 1997 about taking drugs to escape a ban that could have cost him his career, in The Times (UK).
December 1 , 2009: "Everybody concentrates on Nadal and Federer. Everybody's looking this way, not on me. Maybe now, after London, I'll be just a small part famous here in London. And I hope that I will become famous in Russia. For me it's really important. It was always disappointing when I played against Marat and it was 80 percent support for him. I hope now Marat is finished, everybody supports me."
— Nicolay Davydenko, after beating Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro to win the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, the biggest of his 19 career titles.
October 22, 2009: "Andre had the problems with the head, Marat had problems with consistency; so did I, Dinara maybe she has something missing in her game. Everybody has a problem. Who's better is who fights and how far it goes. This is life: It's the same in the court and out of the court. It's talent what we have, or willingness we have to work. That's why it's so interesting to live, no?"
— Svetlana Kuznetsova, 2009 French Open champion, with some insights about the head cases in tennis, including herself, on SI.com.
October 6, 2009: "The basic lack of the unity that existed in my playing days. Too many players just seem to think about themselves."
— Women's tennis pioneer Billie Jean King, on the worst thing about the game today, in The Sunday Times (UK).
October 6, 2009: "He's the most important man in the history of tennis."
— Bud Collins, Tennis Hall of Fame writer and broadcaster, on Jack Kramer, the legendary 1940s-'50s champion and pro promoter who died September 12 at age 88.
September 16, 2009: "Serena can be disingenuous off the court, make excuses and not give her opponents credit, but I will always remember her and Venus for being incredibly fair and honest on the court. Serena doesn't argue line calls. She doesn't even [use the Hawkeye] challenge. She usually just gets on with it. I've always really admired her for that. This was an aberration. I've never seen her like that."
— ESPN TV analyst Mary Carillo, on Serena Williams's obscenity-laced tirade and threatening gestures toward a U.S. Open lineswoman who called her for foot-faulting, on ESPN.com.
September 16, 2009: "I didn't have the experiences in these types of matches. Last night was terrible. I couldn't sleep. I was playing the best player ever in such a big stadium and in a Grand Slam final, and it weighed heavily on me. But I knew I had to keep fighting because it was Grand Slam final, and the crowd was supporting me so much that they deserved it. They lifted me, and finally I was able to turn it around mentally. It was an amazing match, amazing people. Everything is perfect."
— U.S. Open Champion Juan Martin del Potro, ftalking about the mental side of his stunning upset over five-time titlist Roger Federer.
August 26, 2009: "While Roger and Mirka Federer are no Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, I just find it curious [and in a way, admirable] that they share the first public photos of their babies for free on Facebook, unlike most celebrities who demand millions just to show the same photos of their own kids so that they can 'donate' it to charity."
— Roger Dulay, from Manila, Philippines, in a letter to SI.com.
August 26, 2009: "I think I've been portrayed as every single type of person - good, bad, ugly, rude, nice. This is kind of the first time that it's been presented in a light that I'm a kind of hard-working, everyday-Joe-type tennis player trying to make good."
— Andy Roddick on his evolving image.
August 14, 2009: "Two years without playing a match - it's pretty amazing the level she has already right now. I guess the level of play, yes, it's inside the top 10 already. I can tell you that. The way she was moving and hitting and her physical strength after two years without playing a match, it's just amazing."
— Marion Bartoli, ranked No. 13, after former world No. 1 Kim Clijsters, playing her first Tour match in more than two years after getting married and giving birth to her first child, beat her 6-4, 6-3 at the Cincinnati Open.
July 29, 2009: "In the past, I think there was that reaction: 'Oh, bloody hell, we don't want that scruffy urchin to represent us.' Now it's turned completely. I think whatever demons he's had in his past are gone. Those who come to the courts see him as a fantastic British tennis player. They don't see an identity crisis, they don't see that scruffy urchin, they just see someone who's an amazing athlete, a wonderful tennis player."
— Neil Harman, respected tennis writer for The Times (UK), on the changing British attitude toward Andy Murray, the rising star from Scotland.
July 29, 2009: "It's a tough existence out here. It's sort of legalized drug taking, that's how I see it. You have unbelievable highs but incredibly tough lows. For me, I'm quite an emotional person and player and so I really feel the highs and lows."
— Rennae Stubbs, a 38-year-old doubles star, telling MetroWeekly newsmagazine about life on the WTA Tour where she's competed for 20 years.
July 08, 2009: "I would go crazy just thinking about it. I think anyone really could. That's just shocking. But whatever. It is what it is. I'd rather definitely be No. 2 and hold three Grand Slams in the past year than be No. 1 and not have any."
— Serena Williams, rightly denouncing the flawed WTA Tour computer rankings for ranking her No. 2 despite her winning three of the last four Grand Slam events.
July 08, 2009: "I have to give it to him. The critics say Laver, and [Rafael] Nadal has beaten him a few times at majors. He's won all the majors, he's won 15 now, he's going to win a few more here. So in my book he is."
— Pete Sampras, whose career record 14 Grand Slam titles Roger Federer broke when he won Wimbledon, acknowledging Federer is the greatest tennis player ever.
June 24, 2009: "Martina has got a fight on her hands. Without any warning, my life came crashing down around me. I was kicked out on the streets with only the clothes on my back. I was left an emotional wreck, with nothing to show for eight years of my life. I still suffer nightmares today. It's something I don't think I will ever properly recover from. But what I want now is justice. Justice for all those lost, wasted years."
— Toni Layton, 56, who married tennis legend Martina Navratilova in an official wedding ceremony, is now suing her for millions of dollars because Navratilova dumped her without warning after eight years, in the Daily Mail (UK).
June 24, 2009: "A series of graduating penalties - loss of point, loss of game, loss of match - could, and should, be employed."
— Noted tennis coach Nick Bollettieri, advocating a series of penalties, culminating with a default, for players, such as the shrieking Michelle Larcher del Brito who make persistently loud noises during pro matches, in The Independent (UK).
June 24, 2009: "I think serve and volley is not dead. I can play this game and win, of course. I have practiced a lot, I feel good and I am excited about Wimbledon. I feel like I can do it."
— Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a flamboyant, 24-year-old Frenchman, likes his chances of winning Wimbledon.
June 8, 2009: "I'm sure he's going to go on and win a lot more. Now that he's won in Paris, I think it just more solidifies his place in history as the greatest player that played the game, in my opinion."
— Pete Sampras, telling the Associated Press that Roger Federer had already earned the title of best tennis player in history, even before winning the French Open, which Sampras never did, and tying his record of 14 career Grand Slam titles.
June 8, 2009: "I don't think you can compare eras. You can be the dominant performer of your time, but I don't think anyone has the title of best ever."
— Rod Laver, who captured Grand Slams in 1962 and 1969, in USA Today.
May 29 , 2009: "I am a very open person, I like to keep in touch with a lot of people and a lot of them are my fellow tennis players. Vika [Victoria Azarenka] is one of my really good friends and I don't see that as a problem. If we play each other we are determined to win, but when we leave the court things get back to normal. Isn't that the way it should be?"
— Caroline Wozniacki, an 18-year-old Dane ranked No. 10, will have no part in the catfighting in women's tennis.
May 10 , 2009: "For the first time, she's enjoyed life away from tennis. She has a boyfriend, it appears, and zillions in the bank. I think she's struggling to motivate herself. She knows what she has to put herself through, emotionally and mentally, to be 100 per cent committed to playing tennis, and I can't see her coming back."
— Annabel Croft, the former British No. 1 and now a TV commentator, predicting that former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova, who hasn't played a singles event in nine months because of a shoulder injury, will retire at age 22.
April 26 , 2009: "Malaria is completely preventable and stoppable but yet it still kills more children in Africa than any other single disease. We can radically change this, it is a huge opportunity, and I'm urging the UK public to help save a life and get behind Malaria No More UK, a truly world-changing and life-saving initiative."
— Andy Murray on why he chose a campaign to combat malaria, which threatens half the world's population, as his first global charity.
April 12 , 2009: "I just think it's crazy that I can just be so consistent throughout the year and last year and barely be No. 1. I mean, winning two of the last four Grand Slams and getting into the finals of three of the last four, I just, I can't compute it. I mean, it's just psycho, really."
— Serena Williams is perplexed by the fact that had she lost to her sister Venus in the Sony Ericsson Open semis, she would have lost the No. 1 ranking. (Note: That injustice would be due in part to the WTA Tour's ranking system which does not count all tournament results.)
March 28 , 2009: "I'll never count the guy out. He's an amazing talent, but I don't think he could do the same things in 2009 that he did in 2004 and '05. You can't be as dominant. It's too difficult with the top 15 way better now than it was in 2004."
— Noted coach and former world No. 4 Brad Gilbert, on Roger Federer's chances to take the No. 1 spot back from Rafael Nadal, in the Los Angeles Times. March 9 , 2009: "I got to the point where there's no turning back. Is it scary? No, because there's just no turning back. You're aware of the consequences and the hurt and everything but, you know, love is a funny thing."
— Chris Evert, telling Australia's '60 Minutes' program that she was not intimidated by the publicity that would surround the nature of her relationship with golf star and husband Greg Norman, who also divorced his former spouse, because love overcomes everything.
March 9 , 2009: "I was never that bright at school so I had to be clever with something."
— Andy Murray, on his reputation as one of the smartest players on the ATP World Tour.
February 20, 2009: "It teaches you to have respect for the rules, respect for your opponent, respect for the crowd, respect for the traditions of the sport. It is why I love Wimbledon so much, you walk around it and you feel the history. I feel very content there. And the same is true of Paris."
— French star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, on why tennis is a school of life, in The Times (UK).
February 20, 2009: "If they're going to bar Israelis, why not just rename it the 'Dubai Apartheid Tournament'? What Dubai is doing is caving to extremists who want to harm the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. If Dubai cannot handle appropriate security arrangements, then the tournament should be cancelled. But to penalize athletes who are qualified to participate in a sanctioned international tournament runs counter against the idea of sports as a place for players of all nationalities and beliefs to compete - free of politics."
— Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, on the United Arab Emirate's decision not to grant Israeli standout Shahar Peer a visa to compete in the Barclay Dubai Tennis Championships.
February 2, 2009: "In the first moment [afterwards] you're disappointed, you're shocked, you're sad then all of a sudden it overwhelms you. The problem is you can't go in the locker room and just take it easy and take a cold shower. You can't. You're stuck out there. It's the worst feeling."
— Roger Federer, who cried for two minutes during the awards ceremony after losing the five-set Australian Open final, describing the agony of defeat.
February 1, 2009: "I feel I can go forever. I talk to Venus, and we're always like, 'We're going to play forever.' I definitely feel like I have so many years to play. I think I'm playing pretty well, so... I think I can do it."
— Serena Williams, ecstatic after capturing her 10th Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open.
January 7, 2009: "I don't pay attention to what people say. There are always some people saying something, and I have my own goals. I play tennis for my own goals. What people say isn't going to distract me from that. And not many people can say that they have been the world No 1."
— Jelena Jankovic, on critics who argue that she doesn't deserve the No. 1 ranking because she's never won a Grand Slam title, in The Telegraph (UK).
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