2014/04/23

Notes and Quotes from Day 8 of the 2012 French Open

Victoria Azarenka

Pretty much everything, really.  I don’t know how to describe my performance really today.  It wasn’t satisfying at all.  It wasn’t satisfying being out there playing that way.

But I guess it happens, you know.  I don’t know even what to find positive really in my performance today.  But, well, it’s been too little time.  Maybe in a few hours I’ll find something that I can be happy with.

I’m gonna kill myself.  What am I going to do recovering?  I’m just gonna go on the practice court and practice again.

This tournament is over for me.  What’s to recover from?  It’s to really look forward and improve.  That’s it.

 

Yeah, she’s a dangerous opponent.  She had big wins before, and it was no surprise that she was going to be playing well today.

 

But right now I’m just really, really unhappy with the way I played.  And I’m gonna look for what I do wrong, you know, so make sure it doesn’t happen again.

 

I mean, the beginning of the year couldn’t have been possibly better for me.  It happened, you know.  Today I lost a match.  I’m not trying to look back, you know, what happened in January right now, what happened in February.

I need to learn from what I did today because there is still a lot more tournaments to play, and I have to be ready.

 

Well, for sure I’m going to go back home.  I haven’t been home in a while, and it’s something that I for sure need just to get rested mentally, definitely, and, you know, just to get out of the tennis field a little bit.

And once I have my passion and desire back on the court, I’ll be on the grass.

 

 

Dominika Cibulkova

 On kissing/smelling the tennis balls:

No, I’m not kissing the balls.  I really like the smell of the balls, of the new balls.  (Smiling).

I was just smelling the balls all the time.  I do the same things.  Yeah.

 

I don’t need to do it, but it’s just my habit, what I do on the court when I have new balls.  I just smell them.  It’s maybe also for the luck, and I do it all my life, so it’s just, you know, something, what I do on the court.

 

On giving credit to her former coach:

We split with Zeljko after Miami.  We split with him after that match  not after the match, but whatever.  We split after Miami, and it was maybe a little bit too much for me, you know.

I mean, I have to give him the credit.  He gave me a lot on the tennis side.  You know, he helped me change my game.  He showed me what is my weapons.

But maybe after it was a little bit too much pressure, you know.  I just I just couldn’t handle it, you know.  He was maybe too much pushing.  It was, I would say now, the best thing what could happen to me that we split with him.  And actually now I’m just more relaxed on the court, and I just don’t need to go for everything, you know.  I go what I feel, and, you know, it’s really so, so much better.

I just feel relaxed and I’m again love tennis.  You know, we love to go on the court, and I’m enjoying it on the court.  That’s what’s the most important.

I think that’s why I play much better now.

 

Kerber photo Courtesy of WTAtennis.com

Angelique Kerber

 

I think after the US Open I start to believe in me more.  And also I continue my practice and do a lot of fitness things.  So I think that’s the things to… yes.

 

Yeah, today it was a tough match.  I mean, I am not playing my best tennis, and it was not the best match I played.

But, I mean, I just try to stay in the match and try to play a little bit aggressive, but it’s not working the whole two sets.

But, yeah, I mean, I just try to play point by point, and at the end it was just two, three points what decide the match.

 

Paris is one of my favorite places.  I mean, I won here my first WTA tournament.  So I have a lot of good weeks and days here, and I hope the next week and days will continue.

 

 

I’m not thinking to win this year.  I mean, I just thinking to play round by round, and because now I know that I need to improve and play better like today to win like the quarters against Errani, because, yeah, today  like I say, I didn’t play my best, and the matches will be tougher, and we will see.

 

I don’t know why, but it’s good for Germany that we have a lot of top players right now.  After Steffi Graf, there was a long break, and now we are, I don’t know, five or six good players.

And it’s good.  I mean, we know each other and we are friends, and, yeah  yeah, we practice like from the beginning together.  But everybody goes her own way, and it’s good to see that, yeah, the girls you practice from the young age are also good and playing very well.

Svetlana Kuznetsova

On Paris run:

I mean, as I said from the start, I didn’t expect a lot.  But then I didn’t expect a lot from the tournament, but then when I started to play better and better, of course I know my possibility.  I knew of my chances.

As I said, I didn’t use them.  Yeah, again today was really tough day.  I didn’t play a good game, far away from it.

Really disappointing.  Again, it was no expectation.  I did fourth round.  It’s all right for me for the moment.  I just have to go back and just to work on my game.

It’s already starting it’s like the drawing is already getting better, but still lots of works to do still.

Yeah, I mean, first set was just horrible.  Today the weather was so bad.  I felt cold like during whole match.  For me to move was really complicated.  I could not make my feet just go and moving.  I couldn’t get myself on the roll.

Then in the second set I started to play better, the right points at the right time.  But at 5-3 I just didn’t play the right thing.  Maybe I rushed too much.

Sara, for her game, it’s the best I’ve seen her play.  Her ball is very good on clay.  I’m far away from my best form yet.

 

On the aspects of her game that she working on:

Well, on defense and passing to attack, playing more spin, forehand.  Change few things with the serve, which I’m really happy about it.

But still have to adjust some things.  You cannot just start to work with coach one week before French Open.  You cannot change really big things.  We are not looking to change big things, but still have to add little by little some changes.  And I didn’t have any time for that.  And I’ll have to adjust to the schedule, so I’ll see what it’s going to be.

 

On her new hairdo:

It’s my hair?  I don’t know.  My friend does this for me.  My coach was really pissed after second match because my  these things were falling off the way I made it and I was taking it all the time and pulling it back.  So he was really mad at me.

He said, If you don’t do something good for next match, I will give you the kitty whatever is the baby’s of his daughter’s he’ll put on my head and I will play with Hello Kitty things.

I had to make up something interesting.

 

Well, my friend offer me to do that.  I said, Okay, let’s try.  I always love the cornrows or whatever.  It’s good.

Novak Djokovic

Well, you’re always happy and relieved when you win.  So that’s what matters the most today.

All the congratulations for his tournament and performance today.  I think, you know, he was a better player for first two sets, definitely.  I was very fortunate to come through to this match.  I was fighting.  When I was two sets down, I believed I could win the match, and I think, you know, that’s the only positive I can really pick up from today’s match.

 

Well, it’s one of those days where you don’t feel just  nothing is working, you know, really.  My serve was well.  But aside that, I could not get into the rhythm, you know.  I was fighting, and I think because of the fight I won the match.

 

You know, I’m not worried.  I’m just hoping that I can wake up tomorrow knowing that I’m in a quarterfinals, and I just want to deliver my best performance in the next challenge, forget this match today, take the best out of it, you know.

I’m proud that I’ve been fighting and coming back from two sets down.  That’s all I can say now.

 

I was most worried about my game.  You know, I wasn’t really worried about the match itself.  I mean, his game, he played well.  That’s a fact.

But, I mean, I wasn’t managing to get into the rhythm.  I had my kind of flashes, you know, positive flashes where I was winning games in a row, and I felt that I actually can hit it now.

But most of the match I was defensive, and so that was it.

 

Look, you know, I think it’s just a bad day, you know, for my game, for my rhythm in general.

But, look, I won.  So I don’t need to be disappointed or, you know, think, okay, you know, I’m gonna be worried now or whatever.

I’m in the quarterfinals.  I won the match.  That’s what matters the most.  That’s something that gives me, of course, always motivation to continue on and trying to, as I said, wake up tomorrow, you know, hoping for a better day, you know.

It was just not a good day.  That’s what’s happen in sports.  You have good days; you have bad days.

It has to be much better performance from me in order to try to win against the next opponent, because both of these guys are great quality players.

Jo is a home favorite, crowd favorite.  He has big support, obviously.  I think he’s a big match player, you know.  He loves the big stage, the pressure and everything.

Stan is one of the most consistent players we have on tour in the last couple of years.  And he loves playing on clay.  He loves playing best of five and upsetting some favorites.

It’s a quarterfinals now.  There is no more clear favorites anymore.

Roger Federer

Rating David Goffin:

I thought he played really well.  Great impression.  You know, he took the ball early every time.  Don’t hit a very good shot, he can take advantage of that.

I guess for his size and, you know, he’s not the heaviest guy out there, it’s natural he’s gonna be a good mover, and his strengths lie sort of in the baseline game, right?  That’s what he showed today.  He’s got great potential in terms of his touch and the way he reads the game.  I thought it was an interesting match.

Obviously in some ways I guess it’s tough for me coming out not knowing exactly what his favorite patterns are in the game, the way he serves, when he does what.

But, no, he impressed me, and I enjoyed the match today.

Obviously the way he, you know, I think he takes a backhand early and he absorbs pace really well, as well, from the baseline.

You know, I had a very hard time getting control from the baseline.  Obviously the wind wasn’t helping, and maybe I wasn’t playing all that great early on, but that was due also to his great playing.

But what I enjoy very much about this story, about David and the way he played today, it’s nice to see someone do it at a Grand Slam again for a change again, because back in the day we were used to seeing Becker winning Wimbledon, Chang winning the French Open at very young ages, even in the women’s game.  It just doesn’t happen so often anymore.

On his first week of the French Open:

Yes, of course I’m very happy that I went through the first four rounds, because I may have thought that I was playing too different a game compared with my opponents, starting from the second round.

Physically I feel well.  I’m not tired.  I don’t have any source of pain anywhere, so that’s very positive.

And regarding my level of play, everything is fine.  Could be better.  But, again, I’m still adjusting.  Sometimes I’m not so sure.  So I may miss something, but usually I prepare for the rest of the tournament.

And I suppose it’s going to help me if, in the next round, I play somebody I’ve already played against several times.  It will be a much more straightforward sort of match.

Del Potro or Berdych, I know them, I know the way they play on their backhand, I know how they serve, I know how they return.  They have no secrets for me.

You know, sometimes you expect something, and when you’re the favorite, you end up thinking you are going to win, but you don’t exactly know how you’re going to win.  That’s probably what made things more difficult during this particular match.

I almost lost today.  It was a very tight match.  So I’m very happy that I’m still here tonight.

 

Advice to Goffin:

All in all, I think that he has many people, coaches and a full team around him, who are going to tell him what to do.

However, what matters is that he has a couple of people whom he trusts, and those are the people he needs to listen to.  He should not listen to those who are going to try to jump on the train while it’s already running.  Then he’s going to need to improve, and, you know, there’s no secret.  You work hard.  You improve.

Your talent is helpful up to a certain degree, but then it takes a bit of hard work.

You need to work on your basics, and I’m sure that that’s what he’s going to do.  And if he has any more questions, I’m available.  I’m on the tour, so he knows where to find me.

 

I’m not used to playing against an opponent who loves me or loves the way I play, loves me as a tennis player.

But, I mean, I’m aware that it had to happen someday, because it happened to me when I played against Sampras or people I admired, like Agassi.  Although it was different, because I still played a one‑hand backhand.  I missed Becker and Edberg, unfortunately, but I had a lot of fun during the very first years on the tour, so I suppose it’s going to be exactly the same for him.

 

 JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/GettyImages

David Goffin

Yes, it was a very nice day, very nice match.  I start very well early in the match, I was playing aggressive, and with my backhand, and, yeah, it was great.  But I give all my best during all the match.

I was a little bit tired at the end, because I play a lot of match in this tournament, but it’s okay.  No regrets.

I give all I had.

Yeah, of course, it’s the biggest match of my life, play Roger here in Roland Garros after tournaments.  It was a bonus match for me, but I took a lot of pleasure on this stadium.

I was a little bit nervous, of course, but I was feeling good.  Physically I was good at the start of the match.  So it was a great match.

 

Asked about what he will do with his big payday:

I don’t know yet, but, yeah, first I see the result and not the prize money.

But of course it’s my best prize money ever, but I don’t think about this.  First I think about the result and the moment on the court.

 

On the match:

It’s definitely the greatest moment in my life.  I had never played in such a big stadium against the best player I’ve ever had as an opponent.

This is a moment that I will not forget, and I hope I will have many more in my life.

 

Well, what is very frightening is his (Federer’s) attitude.  When he was down, I thought he’s going to show something with his face, he’s going to have a shake in his lips.  Nothing.  Poker face.  Like in every other match.  He’s very focused.

Even when he’s not playing at his best level, he continues playing and he ended up winning.  Just like anywhere else.  That’s what I find impressive.

 

About the future:

Well, of course people will expect more from me in the future.  But I’m still very young.  I’m working on the long term, and if I want to have a long career, I still have to work hard.

Of course you can’t play in the round of 16 in a Grand Slam tournament three times a year, so I’m going to work hard to go back to the same level.  It might not happen overnight, but I will give it all so that I can improve.

I still have to work a lot.  I still need to develop my play.  I’m young.  I have a long career ahead of me, so I’m going to work on the long term.

 

Thought of being sent to the Olympics to represent Belgium:

Of course.  If they ask me to go, I will go.  I will defend Belgian colors in London.

But I had not been thinking about it before I came for this tournament.  But now after this round of 16, obviously I’m on the brink of going to London.  I hadn’t really thought about it.

We’ll see after the tournament.  I still have to manage my grass season, but I will prepare for the grass season.  I really like the grass, and I will prepare and I can do some good stuff.

 

My very first match was great, and then the second match I won in five sets, and then the third match is an unbelievable result that opens the door for me for a match against Federer.  And obviously “the” match was today’s match against Federer.

That is “the” memory that I’m going to hold on to.

Sloane Stephens

 

 

So much fun to just be out there and just play, you know.  I don’t know.  Some people can’t even play tennis, so for me, it’s just like when you think about it, it’s not bad at all.

I was playing pretty well in the first set and I had my chances.  I served for the set; didn’t serve it out.

So, I mean, I was playing well, and second set made a little comeback.  Then it was a weird one, but you learn from it and, you know, take that.

I have been playing really well.  I have more confidence now and I’m kinda like coming into my own, I guess you could say.  I feel a lot better on the court, and, you know, the whole thing, the whole game is pretty much just believing in yourself.

People play well with confidence, and when you’re having fun and you’re, you know, doing the right things, everything’s all good.

So even though I lost today I played pretty well, I’d say, to play against, I guess, No. 6 seed and she’s top 10 in the world.

I thought it was okay.

 

I have had such a good time.  And even though every day I have been saying, Man, I can’t wait to get home to eat my grandpa’s curry crab, I don’t want to leave.

So it’s kind of bittersweet that I’m going home, but I had so much fun.

 

It was kind of a weird thing.  We played on a court that was  there was really no people there.  There was no crowd.  There was nothing really.

So the tennis part probably came down to experience, and I wouldn’t say that it was like, Oh, my God, she was just like overwhelmingly whatever.

But definitely things to be learned on my part.

Samantha Stosur

Yeah, for sure the start was, I guess, pretty tense, like you said.  I mean, she came out playing very well.  I felt like I was struggling to kinda get into it, like I played a good point and a couple of bad ones.

She came out playing very aggressive and kinda got me off guard, I think.  I went down that break and got a little bit mad with myself and then recomposed, and, yeah, really tough to come back from 5-3.

I think that 5‑All game was huge for both of us.  Luckily I was the one that got through and was kinda able to step it up and get on a little bit of a roll from that point.

 

No, I knew she played aggressive and the little bits and piece about her it, yeah.  Her forehand was, I thought, excellent.  She hit it very, very well.

If I didn’t hit a really good shot into that side then I was kinda getting burnt.  So I kind have had to raise just a few things and really kind of, yeah, change what I was trying to do a little bit from that point on.

 

I think she’s, yeah, got a very bright future ahead of her.

I think again at that point of maybe 5-3, 5-All, 5-4, 5-All, that inexperience probably showed through a little bit.  And then again for me to be able to run away with a string of games, I think that’s just, yeah, being young and maybe not handling it as well as you might down the track.

And, yeah, but I think like I said before, she’s got an excellent forehand and serves pretty big and moves very well.  I think, you know, as she matures and gets a little bit older that’s all going to really come together.

I think she’s, yeah, got a very good future ahead of her.

 

 

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