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( Photo credit: Art Seitz ©2010 )
Rafael Nadal Wins Wimbledon
December 18, 2010: "I'm not angry. As an athlete ... you should be open to criticism, and you're allowed to be criticized, because not everybody has the same opinion, not everybody likes the same players. The rankings are quite volatile: Today you're 'great,' tomorrow you're 'not,' but then you're 'great' again. It makes for great stories. Now, I always look at the long term and by doing that, obviously, I can stay calm through the storm."
— Roger Federer, telling the Associated Press that he's philosophical about media criticism.
December 1, 2010: "The theory is that if 'hate sells', Rafa vs. Roger just does not possess the ingredients of the tastiest sporting feuds. They're just too damn nice, killing each other with politeness. But isn't that matiness actually what helps make it a completely refreshing rivalry for the ages? Cut out all of the hype and unnecessary posturing and manufactured animosity and just savour only the absolute competitive brilliance of two masters near the peak of their powers."
— Ian Chadband, sports columnist for The Telegraph (UK), on the sublime, friendly rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
December 1, 2010: "The grass is one part, it being at the Holy Grail of tennis is the second one. London, if you see how successful this World Tour Finals is, how successful Wimbledon is, how much tennis is liked in this country - all these things make this a very, very special place to play tennis."
— Roger Federer, telling Reuters what the attraction of having tennis staged at Wimbledon for the 2012 London Olympics is.
November 11, 2010: "Wozniacki has to be disappointed. She wanted so much to prove why she is No. 1 - even though many of us know why. She still has a lot to prove in 2011."
— ESPN Analyst Pam Shriver, on Caroline Wozniacki who finished 2010 ranked No. 1 despite not even reaching a Grand Slam final, after Kim Clijsters defeated her 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in the Sony Ericsson Championships final in Doha.
November 11, 2010: "We kind of grew up together. I've been playing with her since the juniors. It's nice to see her look forward to something new in her life. She's been one of the most professional, nicest girls on tour. It will be rare to see another player like her."
— Kim Clijsters, paying tribute to Elena Dementieva, the longtime top 10 player and 2008 Olympic gold medalist who announced her retirement, while also speaking of the special rapport she had with Dementieva.
October 23, 2010: "PMac was more than a captain. He mentored those kids. He helped them grow up. The things he looked for and the things he stressed, the spirit de corps he developed, that's his legacy. He got a collection of young kids and imbued them with this great sense of what Davis Cup was and they listened and believed."
— Mary Carillo, paying tribute to Patrick McEnroe, who resigned after captaining the U.S. Davis Cup team for a record 10 years, in Inside Tennis magazine.
October 6, 2010: "One thing I'm really jamming down the kids' throats is that we've got to make it tougher for them, they've got to toughen up as well, and there are ways to do that. By giving them everything, it's not helping to find solutions. If we give them a tough situation where they are on their own for a few months with no coach, no nothing and make them do it tough in Europe, you've got to find different solutions and ways of getting around it."
— Patrick Rafter, two-time U.S. Open champion, telling AAP that Tennis Australia was pampering up-and-coming juniors and that needs to change for Australia to become a top tennis nation again.
October 6 , 2010: "It was as tough a relegation match as we could have had with the altitude, the balls and a quality opponent. To win three points in one Davis Cup match under these circumstances, is one of the biggest - if not the biggest - accomplishment of my career."
— Mardy Fish, a 28-year-old American, after winning three points to lead the U.S. to a 3-1 Davis Cup triumph over host Columbia at an altitude of 8,000 feet, on FoxSports.com.
September 15, 2010: "We don't say enough about Kim for being a great mom and concentrating and compartmentalizing on the competition."
— Chris Evert, winner of 18 major singles titles before giving birth to three boys, on Kim Clijsters who has captured two U.S. Open titles since the birth of her daughter Jada.
September 15, 2010: "To be in such defensive positions and hit outright winners is something I had never seen in this sport before Nadal arrived."
— John McEnroe, 1980s superstar and now a CBS tennis analyst, during Rafael Nadal's sensational 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Novak Djokovic in the U.S. Open final.
September 15, 2010: "You just have to put a hat down for this guy, everything he does on and off the court. Great champion, great person, and great example of an athlete."
— Novak Djokovic, expressing his admiration for Rafael Nadal.
August 27, 2010: "The main thing is if people can see that we both get along well, there's no reason why other Pakistanis and Indians can't get along."
— All Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, a 30-year-old Muslim from Pakistan, who has teamed with Rohan Bopanna, a 30-year-old from India, to win one ATP World Tour doubles title and reach four other finals since 2007, while gaining wider recognition this year from their involvement in a Monaco-based Peace and Sport organization. ."
August 27, 2010: "In the last couple of years, as women's tennis has become more popular, some of the girls on tour have also been trying to look nicer, more feminine, and, face it, there are fans who like to look at girls in nice tennis dresses. It has become very competitive in this sense, but the level of tennis is very high. It all depends on how you want to develop your brand. Some players want to be known as great tennis players, others for something else. I smile a lot, I show my emotions, and maybe that's what I'm known for."
— Jelena Jankovic, world-ranked No. 4 from Serbia, in The New York Times.
August 6, 2010: "No doubt about it, Williams is one of the greats. Her poor sportsmanship, however, offsets her amazing ability. She doesn't give credit to her opponents when she loses, and she's still convinced she was justified in her behavior at the 2009 U.S. Open. She's a champion but not a role model."
— Rob Moore, of Coronado, Calif., in a letter to Sports Illustrated about its Serena Williams cover story, "Love Her, Hate Her - She's the Best Ever."
August 6, 2010: "They are the face of doubles. They've pretty much been the number one team for 10 years. When people think of doubles, they think of the Bryans. They are fun to watch. I don't think any team in history has been as consistent as they have been."
— Daniel Nestor, one of the top doubles players in the world for the past 15 years, praising Bob and Mike Bryan after the California twins captured their 62nd career doubles title by winning the Farmer's Classic in Los Angeles to break the record they had shared with the great Australian team of Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge.
July 22, 2010: "We have electronic line-calling even though we don’t need it. They [football] should have it, and they don’t. It’s a choice the guys have to make at the top. It’s frustrating as a fan."
— Roger Federer, who opposes the Hawk-Eye line-calling system in tennis, was perplexed by the absence of goal-line electronic technology that cost Frank Lampard a goal against Germany in England's 4-1 World Cup defeat.
July 22, 2010: "How on earth has the linesman and referee missed that?! Regardless of no technology, that mistake should never happen, worst mistake ever."
— Andy Murray, on his twitter page, dumbfounded that Frank Lampard was robbed of a World Cup goal against Germany despite his shot clearly crossing the line.
July 5, 2010: "I’m telling you, I don’t think about that kind of stuff. My thing is I love my dogs, I love my family, I love going to the movies, I love reading, I love going shopping. I would like to be remembered, ‘yeah, she was a tennis player, but she really did a lot to inspire other people and help other people.’ That’s what I think about, not about Serena Williams won X amount of grand slams."
— Serena Williams, who captured her fourth Wimbledon and 13th major title, saying she is not concerned with breaking the record for career Grand Slam titles.
July 5, 2010: "I was a little bit more nervous than usual. I was lucky on a few moments with the break-points, especially when he missed a backhand into the net. But if you are not nervous in the final of Wimbledon, you are not human."
— Rafael Nadal , who nonetheless controlled his nerves enough to convert four of six break point chances and outplay Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 for his second Wimbledon title.
June 9, 2010: "Yes, I ate a little. It means a lot to me. Dirt? It tasted better than spaghetti carbonara."
— Francesca Schiavone, the surprise French Open champion, on kissing the clay court after her last three victories.
June 9, 2010: "Rafa always plays kind of the same. He has more or less one game, but he does it so well it’s enough to not lose a match on clay for a whole year, which is pretty good. He’s a great defensive player but also has a great offensive game. He can change defense to offence really quick. That’s why he’s so good."
— Robin Soderling, analyzing Rafael Nadal's game after the sensational Spaniard whipped Soderling 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 for his fifth French Open title.
May 8, 2010: "I just started concentrating more on tennis, treating it more like my job. Last year I didn’t take it as a job. It was more like a hobby. I didn’t have a system. Before I was practicing maybe three days and then going out with friends two days. I’m still not a big tennis freak ... but I have a better system. My team is perfect now. It’s my coach, my fitness coach and my father."
— Ernests Gulbis, after upsetting No. 1 Roger Federer 2-6, 6-1, 7-5 in the Rome Masters second round, on his newfound dedication.
April 27, 2010: "That would crush me if they ever did that. That’s the one thing that always sets the majors apart, to win 21 sets. It’s a combination of mental and physical. Being injury-free is part of it. You can’t take that away from them."
— Noted coach Brad Gilbert, appalled at suggestions that the International Tennis Federation, the ruling body of the Grand Slam events and Davis Cup, shorten the best-of-five-set format at the four majors to reduce injuries, in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
April 27 , 2010: "I’m this healthy person, I’ve been healthy all my life, and all of a sudden I have cancer. Are you kidding me?"
— Tennis legend Martina Navratilova ,53, telling “Good Morning America” she is fine physically but struggles emotionally at times, particularly when discussing her breast cancer diagnosis.
April 7, 2010: "Not getting injured or tired is part of playing tennis. Everyone can close their eyes and hit tennis balls as hard as they can, and if it goes in, great. Are you playing to win tournaments or are you playing to hit great shots? That’s the difference between winning Slams and not. Nadal realizes he can’t continue to play that style. Federer knows he can’t grind these matches for five hours hitting 25 shots a rally so he doesn’t. He picks the right tactics for how much he has left in the tank. Federer has figured it out. Andy Murray is getting there. Djokovic apparently hasn’t."
— Seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander, on why he favors best-of-five-set matches at the four majors, in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
April 7 , 2010: "The press started asking questions because a father hasn't won much before, but I am a master at blocking stuff out on the court. The marriage and kids inspire me. My relationship with Mirka was always very strong and intense, and we worried a little that if we have kids, can we keep that? Should we take that step? We decided it's better sooner than later. Hopefully, they can see me play. That was important to Mirka. My life feels very balanced now, and my perspective changed. All of a sudden, I have children depending on me. It's not all about me anymore."
— Roger Federer, on the positive impact his twin daughters have had on him.
March 20, 2010: "The joke fell flat and I'm sorry. My hope was that the night was still enjoyable. My whole book is about living and learning, and I guess you never frickin' stop."
— Andre Agassi, apologized for baiting and badgering Pete Sampras about purportedly being a cheap tipper, during a "Hit for Haiti" fundraising exhibition at Indian Wells on ESPN.com.
March 20, 2010: "I tip very well. Trust me."
— Pete Sampras, disgusted at Andre Agassi's hectoring about his tipping habits during their "Hit for Haiti" fund-raising doubles exhibition with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
March 2, 2010: "There's a responsibility that comes with what we do. We have the [platform] to do more than hit tennis balls."
— Roger Federer, on why he organized a January 17 exhibition, Hit for Haiti, that raised $150,000 for earthquake victims and why he made a humanitarian visit to Ethiopia in February.
March 2, 2010: "She's so brave. She's got so much character. I can't imagine playing so well with this kind of circumstance. I don't think anyone on tour could do what she's doing."
— Venus Williams, praising Shahar Peer who upset three seeded players to reach the semis at the Dubai Championships, a year after the Israeli tennis star was denied a chance to play in the tournament when the United Arab Emirates government denied her a visa.
February 16 , 2010: "I have time on my hands. If USTA wants to step up, I'll make a champion. These young guys are still green and I see so many things in their attitudes and games that need changing. I'm available for services."
— Pete Sampras, the highly knowledgeable 14-time Grand Slam singles champion who earned $43 million prize money during his storied career, saying the cash-flush United States Tennis Association has rejected his undisclosed price for coaching promising American junior players.
February 01 , 2010: "I congratulate Roger on all of his accomplishments, and to keep it doing it year after year is incredible and tonight he was a lot better than me. I can cry like Roger; it's just a shame I can't play like him."
— Bitterly disappointed Andy Murray, choking on his words at the trophy presentation after he failed to convert five sets points in the thrilling 13-11 tiebreaker of his 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 loss to Roger Federer in the Australian Open final.
February 01 , 2010: "As you saw today, she took me to the umpteenth level. She clearly hasn't, like, lost a step at all since she's been gone. So I feel like I played a girl who's been on the tour for the past five years without a break. I think her game is definitely better. I mean, it was excellent before she left. But, you know, I think she's added a lot to it."
— Serena Williams, evaluating Justine Henin and her game, after beating her 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 in the Australian Open final..
January 04, 2010: "I felt I came from a different world. In the Congo, I saw how hard it was for so many people who had to flee their homes because of the conflict there. They were hungry and had no water. These were people who had nothing in life. It took weeks to recover from what I saw but, in another way, I learned so much. I realised it is so precious to be healthy, and to have people who love you."
— Justine Henin, who travelled to the Congo and Cambodia in 2009 as an ambassador for UNICEF before she announced her 2010 comeback to the pro tour, in the Daily Mail (UK).
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