August 4, 2015

Notes and Quotes from Day 2 of the 2012 US Open

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Some of the more off-beat questions and/or answers from Day 2 of the 2012 US Open.

Q.  You played today with a very nice dress.  Are you and your sister sweet with the dress?  Vain?

VENUS WILLIAMS:  Vain?  Vanity?  I do have some points of vanity (laughter), but I don’t want to confess what they are.  I’m very much into the fashion and EleVen.  You know, I had a floral print today which I think is pretty new for tennis.  It’s pretty fun for me to design this and actually wear it.  So it’s great.


Q.  Have you seen yourself on some posters around town?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I’ve heard a lot about them.  I know there’s one when you come off the subway.  I heard they’re on the 7 train.  Yesterday I went to the American Express Experience, saw myself.

I just think it’s so cool.  There’s a blow‑up picture of me.  I’m like, Wow, that is awesome.  Everyone else who walks by, I’m sure they’re like, That’s awesome.  That’s cool.

No, I love myself.  So seeing myself is like unbelievable.  I don’t know if you feel that way, but when I see myself I like freak out.


Q.  Is Sloane Stephens going to be our next superstar?


Q.  When you walked past the big poster of yourself, did anybody recognize that it was you?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah.  I was practicing on the outside courts.  In the little American Express booths, there will be pictures.  Oh, my God, that’s you.  I’m like, That’s me.

No, I love seeing myself.  I think other people love seeing me, too, so it all works out.

Q.  Do you have an American Express card?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  I do.  I was trying to get my agent to get a black card, but it takes a little bit more than that.


Q.  What do you marvel at most about Roger’s return to No. 1?

ANDY RODDICK:  You know, I was never off the Roger bandwagon.  I wasn’t, you know.  I was never ‑‑ I’m not surprised to see him back there.  You know, it’s not a story for me, because, you know, he never stopped being the greatest, you know.

It’s just a matter of who’s got the hot hand.  Novak was playing unbelievable last year.  Roger was a little unfortunate in the match here last year and a couple of others.

The fact that we can talk about his matches, kind of the negative ones on ‑‑ that we can all remember every one of them is a good thing, you know.  (Laughter.)

I mean, that’s gotta tell you something about him.

Q.  You talked about after you lost to Roger in Wimbledon 2009 how you felt that changed your public perception and what Murray went through recently.  Do you feel like a loss can really change the way the public views you and also how you view yourself?

ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah.  I mean, I think any sort of positive or negative on a big stage when eyeballs are on you, people form opinions.

You know, I don’t think that changes.  You know, I think you get a pretty good reading of someone in tough moments.  You know, I can’t really speak to Andy and what he’s going through, but, you know, I felt ‑‑ I don’t remember much about the post‑match stuff from Wimbledon, but I guess people liked it back then.

I don’t really remember much.  It wasn’t something that I was thinking about.  I was kind of just reacting to what was in front of me.  You know, maybe it was a different side.

Q.  You have talked before about your admiration towards Serena and also for Venus, but what are your thoughts this summer on what Serena has been doing here dominating?

ANDY RODDICK:  Again, I have a hard time seeing how that’s a new story.  You know, she’s been great for a long time.  I still feel when she’s playing her best tennis ‑‑ throughout the course of her career, I feel like when she’s been at her best that no one’s really challenged her ‑ with the exception of Justine ‑ for a little while.

But, you know, you take Serena playing well I think against anybody in the field any day.

Q.  Would you agree with what Kim Clijsters said earlier in the tournament?  She said for her money, Serena was the best ever?

ANDY RODDICK:  Well, it’s tough to ‑‑ I’m sure Steffi would argue that.  It’s tough to compare.  If you’re comparing their highest level at a given moment in a straight‑up match that’s more of a conversation, but I’m not sure that Serena would sit here and tell you that you can compare 14 to 22 yet.

Q.  On the court you talked about getting to the second week, you know, as a birthday gift.  At this stage, is that a very acceptable result?

ANDY RODDICK:  No, there is no acceptable result.  You play your second round, try to win your second round.  You go as far as you want.  Or as far as you can.

I don’t think we think of it in the context of what’s acceptable and what’s not.  You play a match to try and win a match.

Q.  What are your thoughts on the future of men’s tennis in America?  Who are some of the guys that have really kind of impressed you with young guys up and coming?

ANDY RODDICK:  Well, you know, as we said before, it’s not always pointing towards the guys that are 18 and 19 now in tennis.  You know, Isner has impressed me this summer.  He’s only a couple years younger than me, but he’s coming into his own with that serve.

And he doesn’t have a lot of wear and tear.  He hasn’t been out here for 10 or 12 years, so he should have, you know, five, six good years left.  Sam’s been playing better.  So I have liked what I’ve seen from the guys that we know.


Q.  This time last year the players were very forthright in their opinions about what needed to be done within the game, and now we’re hearing about possible strike threats for Australia.  What’s your opinion on all this?  How realistic is that?

ANDY RODDICK:  I don’t know.  I’m on board with whatever the contemporaries come up with.  You know, at this point it’s the same old song.  You know, the ATP, the ITF, powers that be, are betting against us being able to unify, and they have been getting away with that gamble for 25 years and we haven’t proved them wrong yet.  That’s where we stand.

U2 doesn’t ask permission to go on tour.  We ask permission do a lot of things.

Q.  To sort them out, there is not an easy, quick…

ANDY RODDICK:  Well, you’re dealing with a bunch of different languages, different agendas, guys who play singles, guys who play doubles, guys who play clay, guys who play hard.

I guess my view is more of a scope what’s best for the game, not exactly what’s the cut in Kitzbühel and how do we fix that?  I’m not really concerned about that.

So you’re dealing with a lot of different issues inside of it.  The end goal, I think ‑‑ maybe I have too simplistic of a view on it.


Q.  It’s always a tricky thing to analyze humor and joking around.  It’s so important in your life.  Talk about the role of humor in your career.  Does it take pressure off, give you a light side?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, just having fun really.  In life, in my opinion, it’s very important in order to embrace whatever life brings you, you know.  Yes, we need to be professional, committed, focused on what we do.  Our profession brings us a lot of success, you know.  A lot of pressure, important moments, a lot of challenges, but also a lot of joy.  Depends on how you look at it.

I always try to take everything from a bright, positive side.  I’m fortunate because I have a great team of people around me.  That’s where there’s a big source of positive energy for me.

You know, we try to joke around all the time.  That’s us.

Q.  Was that impersonation of Rafa all those years ago one thing that you regret?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I don’t regret anything.  I’ve done things in life that might be considered as mistakes, depending from what angle you’re analyzing those actions of certain individuals.

But deep in my heart I never had any intention of hurting or insulting anybody in my life ever.  That’s the most important thing.  The only purpose of my imitations and joking, if you want to call it that way, is to have fun and bring the smile to the people’s face.


Q.  You love entertainment, you have a great personality.  How do you think your life would have changed if Jelena never showed up in your village?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, it’s hard to go back and say what if the turn of events went the other side, what happened if I didn’t play tennis, if Jelena didn’t show up.

I believe in life everything happens for a reason.  It was kind of a destiny for me to be part of this sport.  I didn’t follow any family tradition because nobody ever played tennis in my family.  I grew up on the mountain with skis.  Yes, I come from a sport family but not tennis.

I fell in love, you know, from the first moment when I was four years old, when I saw it for the first time.  I asked my father to buy me a racquet.  That’s it.

I was fortunate in my early stages of my career to be working with the people that have great knowledge and love for this sport.  Jelena was one of them obviously.


Q.  Novak Djokovic was asked about you and Jelena having dropped a little bit since you all came up at the same time.  He said you both have the ability and you were No. 1 and won a Grand Slam.  He said it’s just mental at this point.  Your agree with that?

ANA IVANOVIC:  Yeah, it is a lot to do with confidence.  I think also since the first time I entered the game has evolved and there is lot more girls that strike and they have nothing to lose.  They play really, really well and they’re very dangerous.

But, yeah, definitely it’s just not the belief of, you know, beating those, you know, top players at the moment.

Q.  If you could go back in history and have an imaginary match against any player, Yannick or Borg or anybody, who would be most fun?  Who would you most like to play that you’ve never played?

JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA:  I will say ‑‑ who I will say?

I don’t know.  Maybe I would say Patrick Rafter, you know, to see if it’s still possible to play serve and volley on tour or not.  (Smiling.)

Q.  He was known for his humility.  Was that always appealing about him, that he was always such a humble champion, Rafter?

JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA:  Yeah, I loved him.  I loved the way he played, you know.  I have a lot of respect for this guy.

You know, I want to play sometimes like him a serve and volley, but on the tour, you know, it’s still difficult to play like this because the ball goes so fast and you don’t have time to join the net.

So I would like to play against a guy like this to see how is it.

Q.  Your capital city, Paris, is one of the great cities of the world; so is New York in this way.  What can we in New York learn from Paris and what can Paris learn from New York?

JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA:  Wow.  Good question.  You know, I feel in New York it’s very attractive and very eclectic.  I feel like there is no, how do I say that, social difference.  I feel like everybody live with everybody, and sometime in Paris it’s a bit different.

But in Paris, you know, it’s just beautiful and there is a lot of charm in the city.  It’s different.  It’s different, but both with beautiful anyway.

Q.  Are you ready for some banter from the crowd?

BERNARD TOMIC:  I am.  I really enjoy the crowd here.  They get behind you so good.  I think playing today, I experienced the crowd never like this in New York.  This is only my second event here to play.  They were really good and excited.  Every shot that we made they cheered for really well.

To get a crowd like that on the backcourts is really fun.  Obviously now it’s probably going to be a bigger match, bigger court.  I have to expect more from myself.


Q.  Your good friend LaLa, what does it mean to have her support at your match?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  It means a lot.  I’m really good friends with La, Mel.  It’s cool.  We missed each other at the Olympics because the venues were so far away.  US Open time, them being in New York, Mel being such a great name for New York City.  It’s really great to have them come out and support me.  We’re always hanging out and laughing.  It meant a lot.

Q.  According to James Blake, he says you’re the most mentally tough player on the women’s tour.  How do you stay in that zone?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  You know, I think mental has been probably my strongest game.  I’ve won so many Grand Slams off of it, so many matches because of what I have upstairs.  Sometimes what I don’t have.

I think for the most part ‑‑ my dad always said tennis was mental.  For me, that’s kind of what I listened to.


Q.  You’re handily beating for a good stretch now the other top players.  Does that really show in a more objective way that Serena Williams is the best player in the world?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  Uhm, I mean, I know what I am.  I don’t know about the ranking.  Like I don’t care about the ranking.  I’ve been No. 1.  It’s cool.  But for me that’s just my thing is just to be the best player.  If that means, you know, I’m winning and not No. 1, that’s fine.

But these players now, they’re very consistent.  They’ve been playing every week.  They’ve had a really consistent year.  They didn’t lose in the first round of Paris, so maybe they’re No. 1.