Tennis Quotes

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Serena Williams Quotes

Serena French Open 2013
( Photo credit: Art Seitz ©2013 )

July 17, 2018: “It was a great opportunity for me,” she said. "You know, I didn’t know a couple of months ago where I was, where I would be, how I would do, how I would be able to come back. It was such a long way to see light at the end of the road kind of. So I think these two weeks have really showed me that, ‘Okay, I can compete.’ Obviously I can compete for the long run in a Grand Slam. I can, you know, come out and be a contender to win Grand Slams.
Serena Williams, accentuating the positive after she lost 6-3, 6-3 to Angelique Kerber in the final at Wimbledon, only Serena's fourth tournament in the past 17 months.
May 13, 2018: “I put so much pressure on myself [trying to tie Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert at 18 Grand Slam tournament titles] that I lost three in a row really, really badly, and I couldn’t play. I talked to my coach and he sat me down and said, ‘Why are you trying to get to 18? This makes no sense. Everyone puts all of this pressure on you. Your goal should be 30 or 40. Eighteen is such a low goal.
Serena Williams, who has now won 23 majors but says her goal is winning more than the record of 24 held by Margaret Court.
March 31, 2018: “Obviously I wish it was anybody else in the draw, literally anybody, but that’s OK. Just have to go out there and see how I am and do my best…. I’m getting there. I have such a long way to go. It definitely felt better than the first round, but I’m still a little rusty. I’m still making errors that I don’t normally make. But I call this a trial run. I don’t think I have a favorite match (against Venus). I definitely don’t have a favorite match. I really abhor every time we play, but I do enjoy the battle when I’m out there. It’s just afterwards I don’t like it as much.
Serena Williams, who owns a 17-11 record against her sister Venus, having taken the final at Melbourne last year, before she lost 6-3, 6-4 against Venus in the 2018 Indian Wells third round.
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.
July 14, 2016: “I prefer the words, one of the greatest ‘athletes’ of all time.
Serena Williams', reply when a reporter asked what she makes of it when others talk about her as one of history’s greatest female athletes.
March 15, 2016: “Like everyone else, most people were surprised and shocked. But most people are happy with the fact she was upfront with what she had done in terms of what she had neglected. With that being said, she’s taking responsibility, which she was ready to do. . . . “In sport and in life, there’s always a double standard. Everyone knows that, whether it’s a race thing or sex thing. However, this is a different thing. As Maria said, she’s ready to take responsibility. And that takes courage and heart.
Serena Williams, reacting with surprise and empathy to Maria Sharapova’s announcement that Sharapova had tested positive at the 2016 Australian Open for a banned substance she had taken for the past ten years for her heart, while she acknowledging that she failed to read the WADA rules that went into effect January 1.
February 3, 2016: “Every time I walk in this room, everyone expects me to win every single match, every single day of my life. As much as I would like to be a robot, I’m not … I do the best that I can. I try to win every single time I step out there, every single point, but realistically I can’t do it. . . . “I think it’s good to know that if I want to win some tournaments, I have to play better.
Serena Williams, sounding unusually humble and philosophical after being upset 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 by No. 7 Angelique Kerber, a 28-year-old German, in the Australian Open final.
June 13, 2015: “This is by far my most dramatic match [of the tournament]. I didn’t even train yesterday. I had the flu. It’s just been a living nightmare. I got so upset I was down 0-2 [in the third set]. I was like you’re up 4-1, 40-15 [in the second set], and now you’re gonna lose this. What are you gonna do it about it? Once I relaxed, I don’t think about it. I stopped thinking and started playing and next thing I know I won.
Serena Williams, explaining her roller-coaster 6-3, 6-7, 6-2 victory in the French Open final against heavy underdog Lucie Safarova to capture her 20th Grand Slam title.
April 10, 2015: “I love watching her play. I’m actually a fan of hers. I like her attitude. I like how she gets pumped up. I like how she fights. I like how she plays. I think it’s fun to watch and different. It’s a refreshing type of game.
Serena Williams, praising Simona Halep after edging the 23-year-old Romanian 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 in the Miami Open semifinals to give her a 10-0 record in semifinal matches at that tournament.
Feb 04, 2015: “There was a long time when I didn’t think too much about what I have done and achieved. I still don’t really, because I’m afraid if I do I will become very happy with the results, impressed even. And I don’t want to do that. I want to play next week, play next month, next year. Wanting to finish my career as the greatest player that has ever been is definitely something that motivates me, although I never thought I would be sitting here having this discussion. Yet a part of me thinks I really have a chance to make history and another part thinks I have really done so much already. I try to look on both sides.
Serena Williams, after winning the Australian Open for her 19th Grand Slam singles title to get closer to Steffi Graf’s Open Era record of 22 and Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24.
Oct 1, 2014: ““[You should look at a player's] whole body of work -- singles, doubles, mixed doubles, Olympic medals. [So] I'd put Serena and Martina in front of Steffi. Steffi won her first title in '87 and won her last in 1999. Serena won her first in '99 [at age 17 at the U.S. Open]. So far for Serena, that's a 15-year gap between your first and your last. Which also measures greatness: that ability to do it over time. To me, Serena's longevity is one of those are-you-kidding-me stats, same as that one about Chrissie having won at least one Grand Slam title for 13 consecutive years. I mean, 13 straight years? Are you kidding me?”
— 1980s doubles superstar Pam Shriver, making the case for Serena Williams as the GOAT—greatest of all time, on
Sept 12, 2014: “Do I have the hunger for 22? I don’t know. I mentioned No 19 in an interview on court afterwards, so that’s definitely in sight. I definitely feel like 19 [Grand Slam singles titles] is my goal, not 22. But I’m just taking it one at a time. There are so many unbelievable players coming up, so I think it’s only going to get harder and harder. I’ve definitely stayed too long, but I would love to go out on top. Who wouldn’t? Everyone does. But I can’t write the end of my story. I don’t know how it will end.
Serena Williams, who won her the US Open for her 18th Grand Slam title, talks about her quest to break Grand Slam records, such as Steffi Graf’s 22 major titles in the Open Era.
June 30, 2014: “I think everyone in general plays the match of their lives against me. I’m pretty sure that the next match, it won’t be the same. So I just have to always, every time I step on the court, be a hundred times better. If I’m not, then I’m in trouble.
Serena Williams, with her perspective on why she was upset 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 by Alize Cornet in the Wimbledon third round.
June 10, 2013: "I want to go out [retire] at my peak. That's my goal. But have I peaked yet?"
Serena Williams,who is playing her best tennis now at age 31, after winning her second French Open and 16th Grand Slam title.
May 21, 2013: "Last year I was feeling excellent but didn't do that great at Roland Garros. This year I'm cautious and I want to work hard and stay focused and win every point I play, and not slack at all."
Serena Williams, who played superbly to outclass No. 3 Victoria Azarenka in a 6-1, 6-3 final at the Italian Open where she lost only 14 games in five matches and extended her record on clay to 33-1 since the start of the 2012 clay court season.
March 25, 2013: "I'm not disrupting my brand enough. I need to do it more. Nike always tries to improve. They never say, 'I'm No. 1 and I'm happy.' They always say, 'How can we get better?' Beyond a company, beyond entrepreneurship, you can really take that attitude in your life, like, I want to be a great mother, or a great student, or a great doctor. What can I do to be better?"
Serena Williams, who has been one of Nike's most visible athletes for nearly a decade, with advice to "consider yourself an underdog," in Fast Company magazine.
January 21, 2013: "When you look at the history of tennis, especially Wimbledon, you see these women wear these long gowns. I don't know how they could have possibly played in that. Someone always has to be first. I think that obviously she made a way for not only tennis players but just women in general in sport. Like you don't have to wear a dress to your ankles to be a female athlete playing sports. I think being a trailblazer is honorable."
Serena Williams, paying tribute to "Gorgeous Gussie" Moran, who shocked staid Wimbledon by wearing a tennis skirt above her knees and lace-trimmed underwear in 1949, and passed away on January 16 at age 89.
December 6, 2012: "Me, Victoria and Maria are playing so consistent-it's exciting. We want to do something like men's tennis is doing: Have all of us win Grand Slams all the time. Maria is so dedicated and Victoria hates to lose-and me? I despise losing."
Serena Williams, who won Wimbledon and US Open titles plus an Olympic gold medal in 2012, saying she wants to continue dominating women's tennis with Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka and French Open champion Maria Sharapova.
November 20, 2012: "We were able to break the [mold] and win a lot of grand slams and change the face of tennis ... when tennis was very dominated by white people. It doesn't matter what your background is and where you come from, if you have dreams and goals, that's all that matters."
Serena Williams, who was with her sister Venus, during a four-day trip to Lagos, Nigeria, as part of the women's rights campaign Breaking the Mould in the hopes of inspiring women to follow their dreams at various stages of their lives by showcasing national and international "mold breakers" who've achieved greatness in various ways.
August 29, 2012: "My mind frame this year is that something is going to happen, for sure, because something always happens to me at the Open, whether it's a horrendous line call that's two feet in or whether it's a grunt and I get a point penalized, or a foot fault when I actually don't foot fault. I'm prepared for something to happen."
Serena Williams, still in denial about her 2009 and 2011 US Open mental meltdowns and misconduct, although correct about the bad line calls she received in her 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 quarterfinal loss to Jennifer Capriati in 2004.
July 10, 2012: "I can't even describe it. I almost didn't make it. A few years ago, you know, I was in the hospital, and now I'm here again. It's so worth it, and I'm so happy."
Serena Williams, who underwent two foot surgeries and suffered a life-threatening blot clot after she won her last Grand Slam tournament title, Wimbledon in 2010, rebounded to capture her fifth Wimbledon and 14th major title by defeating Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 in the final.
January 16, 2012: "I haven't been on a date in forever. I can be super picky, never satisfied. It's a little crazy right now because there's so much going on that when I'm not playing tennis I don't sleep because I'm always doing something."
Serena Williams, confides that she's suffering from a dating drought and is willing to try anyone "anywhere between 18 and 80, blond, purple or green."
September 7, 2011: "I just remember that I lost, and that was that. I got really popular. A lot of people were telling me they thought I was super cool, that they'd never saw me so intense. So, yeah, it was awesome. I don't know. I don't think about it. Are you still thinking about it? Oh, my God, that was like two years ago. This is like two years later."
Serena Williams, still not contrite about the 2009 US Open semifinal incident when a penalty for profanely threatening to choke a lineswoman with a tennis ball resulted in her being defaulted.
June 20, 2011: "I feel like we've been on a similar road together. Her road hasn't been as arduous or as long as mine, but I know what she's been through coming back from Australia. She never retires, and she had to retire. When you're down and someone's down with you, it kind of makes you feel a little better."
Serena Williams, who was sidelined for nearly a year because of two foot surgeries and a pulmonary embolism, talking about her misfortune and that of her sister Venus, a five-time Wimbledon singles champion who was off the pro tour since injuring herself at the Australian Open.
February 1, 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..

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.
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.)
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.
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.
January 22, 2007: "I have it in me. I believe in my game and more than anything I believe in me. It doesn't matter what people say or people write. At the end of the day, I'm my biggest fan. Maybe my Dad. But other than that you have to always be your biggest fan. I'm just working on staying positive."
- Serena Williams seven-time Grand Slam champion but unseeded at the Australian Open, after she routed 11th-seeded Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals.
April 3, 2007: "I don't necessarily like coaches coming on the court. That's the beauty of the game, to figure it out by yourself. You're down 6-0, down two match points, and you're able to come back. And I was able to do it on my own, not by calling my coach."
- Serena Williams, didn't want or need on-court coaching - which the WTA Tour is currently experimenting with - during her thrilling 0-6, 7-5, 6-3 comeback victory over world No. 1 Justine Henin in the Sony Ericsson Open final.
January 22, 2007: "I have it in me. I believe in my game and more than anything I believe in me. It doesn't matter what people say or people write. At the end of the day, I'm my biggest fan. Maybe my Dad. But other than that you have to always be your biggest fan. I'm just working on staying positive."
- Serena Williams seven-time Grand Slam champion but unseeded at the Australian Open, after she routed 11th-seeded Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals.
December 1, 2006: "Now is the time to realize that that we're here, this is our generation, and we can make a statement and we can fight different diseases and we can fight poverty and we beat this. I would never forget where I come from and I would always want to give back and let people know that it's OK to grow up one way and it's OK to be that way."
- Serena Williams, who went on a five-day humanitarian trip in November to Senegal where she staged tennis clinics and met President Abdoulaye Wade. Earlier she was invited to Senegal by the United Nations Office of Sport for Development and Peace in New York, where she attended the first U.N. Global Youth Leadership Summit.
August 18, 2006: "I can't imagine my mom running up and down the court like [Miami Heat coach] Pat Riley. What's going to be so exciting about it? If you have people that are going to speak Russian, no one's going to be able to understand that."

- Serena Williams, who is not in favor of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour's experiment with on-court coaching at events in Montreal and New Haven, Conn.
March 1, 2005: "You can't really beat that [winning an Oscar]. You can always win Wimbledon."

—Serena Williams, comparing movie accolades to tennis triumphs.

February 13, 2005:: "It also feels good, because people say you can't act and can't design [clothing] and win Slams. So that's also special, because I just finished a TV show and just did a fashion show on the 15th of December, which was crazy. I couldn't even practice the last six days before I did it, because I was working so hard."

-- Serena Williams, who rebutted her critics by winning the 2005 Australian Open despite having her pre-tournament training reduced to less than three weeks because of a torn abdominal muscle and her other careers.

February 1, 2005:: "I just hate to lose. When I am on the court, it is like my life depends on it."

-- Serena Williams, on her fierce competitiveness, after winning the Australian Open for her seventh Grand Slam title

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

2003: "If you can keep playing tennis when somebody is shooting a gun down the street, that's concentration. I didn't grow up playing tennis at the country club."

-Serena, who grew up in violent, gang-ridden Compton, California

Roger Federer

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