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Sampras Laver Agassi
( Photo credit: Art Seitz ©2009 )

Pete Sampras, Rod Laver, Andre Agassi

August - October, 2004

October 17, 2004: "I have some really good men friends, but I believe in no sex before marriage. No fornicating. Stuff like that. I really believe in that. I mean, I'm not perfect. It's hard to live by Bible standards, but I'm really comfortable with me. There's so much peer pressure. So much pressure, period. I've just removed myself from it. I don't know if I'll fall in love again. "

-- Ever-uninhibited Serena, on her love life
September 27, 2004: "He's the most gifted player that I've ever seen in my life. I've seen a lot of people play. I've seen the [Rod] Lavers -- I go back a bit -- I played against some of the great players -- the Samprases, Beckers, Connors, Borg. You name it. This guy could be the greatest of all-time. "
-- John McEnroe, seven-time Grand Slam champion and now a TV analyst, praising Roger Federer.
September 20, 2004: "Well, if you take Roddick's serve, Agassi's return, my volley, and Hewitt's speed, you've probably got a chance."
-- Tim Henman, who was routed by Roger Federer in the U.S. Open semis, when asked if anyone can challenge the Swiss superstar.
September 13, 2004: "I can express myself on the court. It's like a singer singing a song from the heart."
-- Svetlana Kuznetsova, U.S. Open champion
September 13, 2004: "When he plays like he did today, he's in a different league than the other players I've played the last two weeks. He's such a big-time player. He plays some of his best tennis in the big matches."
-- Lleyton Hewitt, after superstar Roger Federer whipped him 6-0, 7-6, 6-0 in the U.S. Open final for Federer's third Grand Slam title this year
September 5, 2004: "Both Williams sisters, their forehands break down. And their parents--Oracene and Richard--are not real tennis players, but have been their coaches, basically their only coaches, for the last five or six years…. Not every person, or one person, knows everything about the game, and teaches every stroke perfectly. Why not go to a specialist if you have a little problem? Especially, to me, when Venus and Serena are being coached by parents that didn't play the game."
-- Tracy Austin, two-time U.S. Open champion and now an analyst for
USA Network, with a constructive suggestion for Serena and Venus Williams.
August 29, 2004: "His [middle-class] upbringing messed things up. Tim needs more attitude, then he can kick ass. Tim has been told all his life to be polite, and that's nice, but he needs to be rougher and tougher. I want him to behave like one of those mean dogs, those pit bulls."
-- Richard Williams, father-coach of Venus and Serena, contending in The Daily Telegraph (UK) that mild-mannered Brit Tim Henman would have won Wimbledon by now if he had been "from the ghetto."

August 29, 2004: "I don't want to prove anything to anybody. I don't want to convince anybody that I want to play [pro] tennis. If I can do it, I will be very happy. If I can't, too bad. I tried. At least I gave it my all."
-- Anna Kournikova, formerly world No. 1 in doubles and No. 8 in singles, sidelined during 2004 because of injuries that she hopes won't end her tennis career. From Fox Sport's documentary "Beyond the Glory."

August 22, 2004: "You look at the Winter Olympics, you have biathlon. How many people really do that sport? Or curling? How specific is that? So this is a sport played by millions and millions, and understood by millions, and it should be here."
-- Martina Navratilova, on whether tennis belongs in the Olympics (Note: There are more member nations in the International Tennis Federation than in the United Nations)



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