2014/10/26

Brian Baker and Ryan Harrison Among Men’s Wild Cards at US Open

 

FLUSHING, N.Y., August 13, 2013 – The USTA announced today that Brian Baker, playing in his first Grand Slam since the 2013 Australian Open, 2012 Olympian and former world No. 43 Ryan Harrison, 2010 NCAA singles champion Bradley Klahn and 2011 NCAA singles finalist Rhyne Williams have been awarded men’s singles main draw wild card entries into the 2013 US Open. Other American men receiving US Open main draw wild cards are Rajeev Ram and 2013 USTA Boys’ 18s champion Collin Altamirano. Australia’s James Duckworth and France’s Guillaume Rufin will also receive wild cards.

 

The 2013 US Open will be played August 26-September 9 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. Both the men’s and women’s singles champions this year will earn $2.6 million, the largest payout in tennis history, with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize money – for a total $3.6 million potential payout – based on their performances in the Emirates Airline US Open Series.

 

Baker, 28, of Nashville, Tenn., is attempting to make yet another remarkable comeback from injury. After being sidelined since the 2013 Australian Open in January, when he suffered a significant knee injury during his second-round match against Sam Querrey, Baker returned to competitive play last week at the USTA Pro Circuit $100,000 Challenger in Aptos, Calif., and has advanced to the second round of this week’s Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati on the Emirates Airline US Open Series. Baker, now ranked No. 185, ascended to No. 52 in the world in 2012 after injuries kept him sidelined for nearly six years.

 

Harrison, 21, of Shreveport, La., rose to No. 43 in the world in 2012, the year in which he also represented the U.S. in the London Olympics and in Davis Cup. On the Emirates Airline US Open Series this summer, Harrison, now ranked No. 102, reached the semifinals at the BB&T Atlanta Open and defeated former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in the first round of the Citi Open in Washington, D.C.

 

Klahn, 22, of Poway, Calif., earned a US Open wild card as the top American points earner at select USTA Pro Circuit events this summer. The 2010 NCAA singles champion while a sophomore at Stanford, Klahn won the USTA Pro Circuit $100,000 Challenger in Aptos, Calif., last week, catapulting to a career high rank of No. 123. Last year, Klahn received a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, qualified and reached the second round, becoming the first men’s qualifying wild card to win a US Open main draw match.

 

Williams, 22, of Knoxville, Tenn., reached his first ATP semifinal in Houston this year and played in the main draws of the French Open and the Australian Open, winning a USTA playoff to gain entry into the latter. Now at a career-high rank of No. 114, He was a 2011 NCAA singles finalist while at Tennessee, and his grandfather, Michael DePalmer, Sr., was the Volunteers’ longtime coach who helped found the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy.

 

Ram, 29, of Carmel, Ind., is the highest ranked American who did not receive direct entry into the US Open at the entry deadline.  Ram owns one singles title (Newport, 2009) and seven doubles titles on the ATP World Tour and has been ranked as high as No. 78 in singles. Ram qualified and reached the second round of the 2013 Australian Open.

 

Altamirano, 17, of Yuba City, Calif., earned his wild card by winning the USTA Boys’ 18s National Championship singles title, doing so in historic fashion. Altamirano became the first unseeded player to win the tournament in the 71 years it has called Kalamazoo, Mich., home.

 

Duckworth, 21, of Sydney, Australia, received a wild card through a reciprocal agreement with Tennis Australia, which will grant an American a wild card into the 2014 Australian Open, to be determined by a USTA playoff (Rhyne Williams was the 2013 winner). Currently at a career-high rank of No. 150, Duckworth reached the second round of the 2013 Australian Open and qualified for both the French Open and Wimbledon this year.

 

Rufin, 23, of Charnay, France, received his wild card through a reciprocal agreement with the French Tennis Federation, which awarded a wild card into the 2013 French Open to an American player designated by the USTA (Alex Kuznetsov won the USTA Pro-Circuit event-based system this year). Rufin, currently ranked No. 92, has played in all three Grand Slam main draws this year, reaching the second round of the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

 

In addition to the eight US Open men’s singles main draw wild cards, the USTA also announced eight men who have been awarded wild card entries into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, which will be held August 20-23 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.  One additional US Open qualifying wild card will be awarded to the winner of the 2013 US Open National Playoffs – Men’s Championship, taking place August 16-19 in New Haven, Conn.

 

Players receiving 2013 US Open qualifying wild cards are: 2013 USTA Boys’ 18s National Championship runner-up Jared Donaldson (16, Cumberland, R.I.); 2011 French Open boys’ champion Bjorn Fratangelo (20, Pittsburgh, Pa.), who has won three Futures titles in 2013; Christian Harrison (19, Shreveport, La.), who reached the 2012 US Open doubles quarterfinals with his older brother, Ryan Harrison; Jarmere Jenkins (22, College Park, Ga.), who came one win short of winning the NCAA triple crown this summer, leading Virginia to its first NCAA team title, winning the NCAA doubles title and reaching the NCAA singles final; former Wimbledon and French Open boys’ semifinalist Mitchell Krueger (19, Fort Worth, Texas), who won his first pro singles title in June; UCLA sophomore Dennis Novikov (19, San Jose, Calif.), the 2012 USTA Boys’ 18s national champion who defeated 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz in the first round of last year’s US Open; local teenager Noah Rubin (17, Rockville Centre, N.Y.), who has been as high as No. 6 in the world junior rankings; and Tennys Sandgren (22, Gallatin, Tenn.), a former standout at Tennessee who has won five USTA Pro Circuit Futures singles titles in the last two years.

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James Blake Leads List of Wild Cards for Cincinnati

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CINCINNATI (August 8, 2013) — Seven of the eight men’s wild cards for the 2013 Western & Southern Open have been awarded to American players, with four US players being added to the main draw and three entered into qualifying.

 

James Blake, Brian BakerRyan Harrison and Jack Sock have been granted wild cards in to the main draw.

 

In qualifying, Australian Bernard Tomic joins a trio of Americans who each reached a career high ranking last month – Steve Johnson, Denis Kudla and Rhyne Williams – in the field.

 

“We’re happy to welcome a familiar face like James back to a tournament where he has had a tremendous amount of success in his career,” said Tournament Director Vince Cicero. “At the same time, it’s exciting to offer these younger players a chance to participate in a tournament of this caliber. We look forward to having all eight of these players in Cincinnati for the Western & Southern Open.”

 

Blake, the 2007 Western & Southern Open finalist, will be making his 12th apperance at the tournament, third among active players behind Tommy Haas (14) and Roger Federer (13). He also ranks sixth among active players for wins in Cincinnati with a 15-10 record.

 

Baker, from Nashville, returned to tennis in 2012 after a series of injuries kept him sidelined for nearly six seasons. He climbed to almost No. 50 in the rankings before suffering a knee injury at the Australian Open in January that has kept him out of action until this week’s Aptos Challenger.

 

Harrison, a 21-year-old who now calls Austin, Texas, home, reached the semifinals last month at the ATP event in Atlanta. He also claimed the title at the Savannah Challenger this season. It will be his third Western & Southern Open main draw appearance.

 

Sock, a 20-year-old from Lincoln, Neb., won the title at the Challenger event in Winnetka, Ill., last month. He reached his second career ATP quarterfinal in February at Memphis. In 2010, Sock won the US Open Juniors title.

 

The four wild card entrants to the qualifying field will compete in a two-round tournament over this coming weekend for one of seven spots in the main draw.

 

Tomic, 20, is the top-ranked player from Australia. He recently reached the fourth round at Wimbledon and early this season claimed his first career title with a win in Sydney.

 

Kudla, a 20-year-old who grew up in Virginia, reached the quarterfinals at Queen’s Club in London in June.

 

Johnson, 23, won back-to-back NCAA singles champions in 2011-12 while playing for the University of Southern California. He won the Nottingham Challenger in June.

 

Williams, 22, turned pro after his sophomore year at the University of Tennessee, and was the NCAA singles finalist in 2011. He reached his first career ATP semifinal at Houston in April.

 

In addition, the following players have been added to the main draw – Radek Stepanek , Thomaz Bellucci and Denis Istomin. These three were entered following the withdrawals of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (knee), Viktor Troicki (suspension) and Marin Cilic (personal).

 

The draws for both the main draw and qualifying will be made on Friday. Qualifying begins Saturday, which is also AdvancePierre Foods Kids Day, and tickets start as low as $5. WTA main draw play begins Monday. All matches will take place at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio.

 

The Western & Southern Open hosted 176,000 fans in 2012, recording a record 10 sellouts over the 16 total sessions spanning nine days. The event drew fans from all 50 states and 19 countries. Cincinnati is one of the last stops on the Emirates Airline US Open Series leading up to the US Open, and often critical points and bonus money are on the line adding drama to the week.

 

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Del Potro Leads Wednesday’s List of French Open Pullouts

Juan Martin Del Potro

(May 22, 2013) Argentine media and Reuters have reported that world No. 7 Juan Martin Del Potro has withdrawn from next week’s French Open, still suffering from a virus.

“I am sad to miss such an important tournament, one that you always dream of winning,” Del Potro was quoted on the Ultima Hora website (www.ultimahora.com).

Joining the Argentine on the sidelines will be Americans Mardy Fish and Brian Baker. No. 2. Andy Murray withdrew from the Paris event on Tuesday and will be replaced by a lucky loser.

Fish is still dealing with heart issues, while Baker is still recovering from knee surgery. Fish and Baker will be replaced by Joao Sousa of Portugal and Guido Pella of Argentina.

Withdrawals on the women’s side include – Chan Yung-jan, Alexandra Dulgheru and Lara Arruabarrena. Shahar Peer, Tatjana Maria and Nina Bratchikova will replace them.

The French Open begins this Sunday, May 26.

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Baker Retires with Injury Versus Querrey at Australian Open

 

bryan-baker

(January 16, 2013) Brian Baker was leading his fellow American No. 20 seed Sam Querrey 7-6, 1-1 when he was forced to retire due to knee injury. Baker stretched to get a wide forehand when his right knee collapsed.

ESPN2 reports that Baker has a torn lateral meniscus  in the right knee which will need surgery that will put him out of action and estimated four months.

“I didn’t see what happened,” Querrey explained.  “I hit a ball, and then he hit a ball long.  I was looking at the ballkids to grab balls for my serve, and then I looked back and he was on the ground.

“And then just asking him, he said he kind of just felt his knee almost buckle and kind of heard like a pop or a snap.  He didn’t know if it was bones or a tear, but he couldn’t straighten it, couldn’t walk.

“I feel awful for him.”

Baker’s comeback from multiple surgeries including Tommy John surgery on his elbow, began in 2012 after seven years off the tour.

“Pretty good quality first set, I thought, ” Querry said.  “We exchanged a couple breaks early, maybe a little sloppy those two games.  Then I had a break at 4‑All; he played an unbelievable point and hit a great pass.

“He was playing great.  I mean, those courts are fast.  You can kind of catch up to the return and hit through the court.  He was playing well, and, you know, I was hoping to come back and, you know, just such a bummer for him.”

The 27-year-old from Tennessee ranked 57 in the world who won his first match at the Australian Open on Monday, made the Round of 16 at Wimbledon last year.

Querrey moves into the third round where he will meet Stanislas Wawrinka.

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Baker Sails through

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – The last time Brian Baker won a match at the US Open it was 2005. Since then Baker has been on the road back to tennis, battling injuries, surgeries until his comeback a few months ago.

The man from Nashville, won his second career match at the US Open seven years since the first moving past Czech Jan Hajek 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 on Wednesday.

“I think just being older and, you know, knowing how easy the game was taken away from me, said Baker. It’s very easy to appreciate it a lot.  I don’t take anything for granted.

 

“I remember several years watching it on TV wishing I was here, so just to be here is an awesome feeling.  And then at the same time, the competitive side kicks over and I want to do really well.

“I had some nerves,” said Baker.  “I don’t think it was probably the prettiest match ever.  A win is a win.  I felt like when I needed to I played well.  I’m not sure exactly the break point stats, but I know I didn’t get broken and was probably pretty high percentage on my conversion rate.”

Baker began the year with a ranking of 458th in the world and now he’s at 70.

“It’s always exciting to play the Open, said Baker, “but that was another sense of just pride knowing I had done it on my own.  I hope to be able to play several more US Opens, but I don’t take any of them for granted.

“My mind is in the present right now, and I still have a long way to go this next couple of weeks.”

Next up for Baker is Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia. Tipsarevic needed to rally from two sets down to get past Frenchman  Guillaume Rufin of France 4-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.

http://youtu.be/wNHjfo4etXY

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Baker Continues Dream run from Qualies to the Round of 16

WIMBLEDON – The clock has not yet struck midnight for American Brian Baker who has made a surprising comeback to the tour, after being away from years due to surgeries. Baker who had qualify to play Wimbledon has made it through the qualifying tournament to the round of 16 with a 6‑4, 4‑6, 6‑1, 6‑3 victory over Benoit Paire on Saturday at Wimbledon

“It’s been unreal,” Baker said of his current run from playing Challengers to making his charge to the round of 16 at Wimbledon.  “When I’m on the court I know I definitely have nerves.  Closing out the match you definitely know what’s on the table, what you can accomplish.

“I mean, I missed a few shots at the end that I probably wouldn’t miss if it was the quarters of a challenger and not trying to get to the round of 16 at Wimbledon.

“It is crazy kind of what’s going on.  But I’m still trying to stay focused on the task at hand and not get too wrapped around.

“Because once you do that, I think it’s tough to be able to play your best tennis once you’re happy that you’ve been there.  So I’m trying to every match go in there hungry and try to win the next one instead of, I’m in the Round of 16 of Wimbledon; this is awesome.

“I think it’s great when you can play on any of the biggest courts at each of the Grand Slams,” said Baker.  “I’ve played at Louis Armstrong at the Open; I’ve played now Chatrier at the French; haven’t played the Australian yet.

“I think it’s awesome anytime you can go out and play on one of those courts just because not that many people in the world get to do that.

If I ever get a chance to play on it, it would be great.  I don’t know when I was watching the tennis at that time.  I guess I was probably in the middle of recovering from one or another surgery.  I don’t know if I was thinking, I’m going to be playing right there.

“Ever since a child, I’ve always dreamed it would be great to play on Centre Court at Wimbledon.

Baker will go up against 27th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber on Monday.

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Notes and Quotes from Day 4 of the 2012 French Open

Brian Baker

 

On playing 10 matches in 12 days:

Ah, I mean, yeah.  My body is definitely feeling it.  I don’t know if that was the sole reason I lost 6‑0 in the fifth.

But, yeah, I was definitely a little bit sore and the shoulder was bothering me a little bit in the fifth.

But, you know, I had some chances the first two games.  Didn’t get it.  He played well for a few games.  I played poor for a few games.  It kind of happened.

I think when I get back to the hotel room at night, it kind of sinks in a little bit.  I can understand maybe that I’m accomplishing some pretty cool things right now.

When I come to the courts, it’s more back to getting focused and ready to play.  It was a pretty quick turnaround from Nice coming here, so I didn’t really have a lot of time to let that sink in.  It was more just let’s get ready to go play again.

Well, hopefully there will be more to come, but, you know, this was definitely the biggest thing that I’ve done since coming back, and probably the last couple weeks has been the biggest things I’ve accomplished in my career so far.

So, you know, it’s definitely gonna be something that I’ll be able to look back and say that I played on, you know, center court at the French Open and went five sets, even though hopefully I’ll forget about what happened in the fifth (smiling).

Yeah, I mean, I think there was a lot of rough points.  It wasn’t just one.  Maybe the toughest one was right before I had the Tommy John elbow surgery, just because I had already had numerous hip surgeries and a sports hernia surgery, and I knew there would be a long rehab process for that surgery.  That was a really tough point.

But, you know, I tried to stay positive during those times, even though I was realistic knowing that maybe I would never play again.  But you have to stay positive and you can only worry about the things you can control.  Some of that stuff was out of my hands at that point.

I’m fortunate that finally after five or six years, or however long it was, I started feeling a little bit better, and that gave me the motivation to at least give it another try, and now I’m really thankful that I have.

I never had the point where I said I’m ready to throw in the towel.  Like I said before, you have to be realistic.  You’re not going to keep on having surgeries.  I wasn’t going to keep on having major surgeries to try to continue my career.

But, like I said, fortunately I have been able to start feeling better as of 2011 in the summer, and here I am now.

Gilles Simon

On playing Bryan Baker:

Well, it’s never easy to say, and I think he’s just playing an amazing tennis at the moment.

He’s able to play some amazing shots, really amazing.  He play the ball really early after the rebound, and he’s really, you know, relax on the court.  And it’s disappointing for me sometimes, because he just hits some winners, he just play amazing shot, and it just felt normal to him (smiling).

After, I don’t know for the futures, because I could see today that physically sometimes it’s sometimes difficult for him.  I played some winners I didn’t want to play today.  He knows well about tennis, about the game.  He knows where to go every time.  But I could see sometimes that he was thinking about, I don’t know, backhand down on the line, so he goes, and I just play across, and he was 10 meters from the ball.  So I don’t know after what’s gonna happen for him.

But at the moment he’s really confident.  And, well, I knew I would have a very hard match, and I had it.

Well, it’s a strange feeling because he offers something different from the other players, as everybody would like what is standard, what we know, what we can expect.

As for him, I don’t know if he can play like this all the time.  You know that when you’re upping your ranking, you play the Masters Series, and somebody who is at ranking 50 and it was just one match you will stay at this level.  So he needs to find more confidence to continue playing matches, and I don’t know what the outcome will be for him.

But today he was playing fine, and if I was playing his backhand, he was coming back, and he was returning very well.

But he also has ‑‑ there is the other side of the coin.  Sometimes you can see he’s very far from the ball.  He sees things very well.  He anticipates very well.  He knows exactly where you’re going to play the ball.  He’s very relaxed.

We all know he has disability, but if he manages it the way he did today, it’s going to be tough.

Novak Djokovic

On Brian Baker, having played him as a junior:

Interesting question.  I have actually seen him yesterday after a very long time.  I haven’t seen him I think in maybe seven, eight years or even more.

You know, I was pleasantly surprised with his comeback, and with his results.  He won a couple of challengers from qualification, if I’m not wrong.  Now in qualifications in Nice and reaching the finals.  Actually, he was one of the best if not I think the best junior in the world.  He won the Orange Bowl when I played, I remember.  He’s a very, very talented player.

You know, he always had a very smart game, a variety of shots.  I haven’t seen him play, though, this year, but, you know, it’s great to see him back.

 

Stanislas Wawrinka

On playing Bryan Baker in the 2003 Junior French Open final:

It was a great memory for me.  I won that final.  It was my only junior tournament that year, so it was amazing.  Always tough.  He was playing really good.  He was feeling the game really well.

I was always surprised that he was not better early, but actually he was always injury since six year.  I’m really happy for him now that he’s back and playing great.

I’m really happy for him.  I think he’s great, especially after so many injury.

 

Venus Williams

On her match:

 

I felt like I played.  That pretty much sums it up.

You know, this tournament for me was all about getting to the Olympics, as I have said a couple million times.

If that happens for me, I think the chances are good, then I come out a victor.  So that’s why I was here.

First of all, I have to say she played really well.  It’s important to put the ball in the court.  She chased down a lot of shots.  That’s what you have to do on this surface.  Unfortunately I wasn’t my best today.  Yeah.

 When I lose a match, I don’t really like to get into what, you know ‑‑ any of those other things.  It’s just important to give credit to the people who won. 

And I didn’t win.

You know, that’s what it was.

I don’t know if I ever asked myself, Why me?

I mean, you know, obviously it’s frustrating at times.  I don’t know if there’s anything mental more I can do at this point, but, you know, there’s a lot of stages to go through with this kind of thing.  But, you know, there’s a lot of people who have it a lot, you know ‑‑ a lot worse than I do.

I’m still playing a professional sport, so I have to be very positive.  And I’m gonna have ups and downs.

I haven’t gotten to the “Why me” yet.  I hope I never get to the “Why me.”  I’m not allowed to feel sorry for myself.

Yeah, every morning is different.  Some mornings I don’t feel great, then it’s a better day than I thought it was going to be.  I can’t automatically be discouraged.  When I wake up I just have is to see how it goes.  Sometimes I get a second wind.  It’s just so hard to know.

So I just ‑‑ every time I have to try.  I can’t give up, so that’s what it is for the moment.

The Olympics is just the ultimate in sports.  I grew up watching those documentaries.  My dad had us watch those.  It was his dream for us to play there.  Once I got a taste of it, it was just amazing.  Every time I leave the Olympics I go through withdrawals.  It’s the pinnacle of sports.  I love it there.  That’s the reason why I’m here, on the court today.

You know, I’d like to have better matches, but, you know, I have to get out there and see what happens.  I’m not playing under ideal circumstances, but for me it’s about, you know, making my Olympic chance better at this point.  It’s about challenging myself and not giving in.

So I’ll learn how to deal with this.  I need some time.

Well, doubles is definitely a priority for me because we will have to defend my title.  If I can get Serena to do all the work…  (Laughter.)

Yeah, I’ll be like, I’m going to need to take a break.  She has to be in the shape of her life.  The ultimate dream for me would be able to play both.  I have to see and see what I’m elected for.  Maybe doubles and mixed is better for me.  I don’t know.  So for me, any medal in any event, even if it was the javelin, that’s a medal.

So I need to get a medal if they let me in, accept me in that event.  I’m going to try.  I have to see what the game plan is.  I think that the mixed doubles is elected on‑site.  So I think at that point, you know, I’ll see how I’m feeling and what the best thing is for me.  I can’t say what that is now.

In two months I could have like a major breakthrough and be close to my old self.  I don’t know.  So we’ll see.

Roger Federer

I mentioned the other day I do feel less pressure for this Wimbledon because I have won the Olympic gold in doubles already in Beijing with Stan, and that was an amazing feeling and made me very proud to do that for Switzerland.

Now, I’m going to be super excited for the fourth time, but it is my fourth time, so I think I’ll be a bit more relaxed going into this Olympics.  But I don’t feel like if I don’t win this one, you know, it’s a missed opportunity or whatever it is.  I try as hard as I could many times, particularly the last two, and I had legitimate chance at winning the Olympic gold.

So it’s gonna be a great tournament.  I want to enjoy it, you know, not just crumble under pressure and just talk about that if I don’t win how bad it will be.  That’s not how I see it.  Any medal would be a good one, but obviously my situation, I’ve got to aim for gold.

I don’t know if I’m going to carry the Swiss flag yet.  I haven’t officially heard from them yet.  I have heard rumors.  I’d love to do it.  No doubt about it.  I have done it twice already in Athens and Beijing.  It’s a dream come true for me.

Obviously the Olympics are held, you know, in London for us.  I just think it’s a wonderful city with great spectators.  I’m sure it will be a great Olympics.  That Wimbledon actually helped the London bid get the Olympics, I think it was big, even though Wimbledon doesn’t really need to be part of the Olympics, to be quite honest.

It’s big for I think the game of tennis, looking ahead to the future Olympics, and for the players of this generation.

So I couldn’t be more excited, obviously.

Playing against different generations

I really enjoyed my time coming up playing against sort of heros of mine and guys I knew from TV.  That was, for me, just really exciting.

I couldn’t believe.  It was like surreal at times.  Afterwards playing a new generation, I think that was exciting, because you pushed up through juniors and all of a sudden you’re playing on the center courts in front of many fans and with live TV and everybody judging you, are you going to be the next best thing or is your opponent going to be the next best guy?

I thought that was exciting, too.  Then it takes some getting used to playing the younger guys coming through, because you don’t know yet how good they’re going to really be.  And eventually they really great, like Rafa and Novak, and then sort of you expect the next generation to come through already.

I was happy I was able to play through so many different players and great champions already, and I’m sure I will still play against them more in the future.

Victoria Azarenka

Q.  Was it very different from the first round, a little bit quicker?

VICTORIA AZARENKA:  A lot quicker.  (Smiling.)

Yeah, I mean, it was different game.  You know, I didn’t really know my opponent today, and it took me, you know, first few games to kind of understand what she does and what kind of game she plays to adjust a little bit, but since after a few games, you know, I started to find my better rhythm.  Definitely played much better today.

Q.  You had problems in your first match.  I was wondering if you had any sympathy for Serena if you watched it yesterday?

VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I didn’t watch the end, obviously.  I watched a little bit.  Part sympathy, yeah ‑‑

Q.  Understanding?

VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Understanding, yeah.  The first round is, you know, never easy.  And, you know, you have to give a lot of credit to Virginie.  She showed some exceptional tennis, that’s for sure.  I think in the women’s game you have to be really ready right from the first match.

That’s how I feel for the last few years; that every match is going to be difficult right from the beginning.  There is no easy ones.

Marion Bartoli

Yes, I know, but I really tried my hardest to be ready, both physically, mentally, tennis‑wise, be ready to compete at my best.

I did everything I could, and I think even on the court I really tried my hardest no matter what the score was.

So it’s a bit disappointing right now.  And when you put so much effort into it and you really try your best, it’s a bit hard to just everything is stopping now.

But last year everything start to click together in Strasbourg.  I really thought even though I didn’t have the best preparation I could make it again this year.  Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.

I think I lost the match in the first set, to be honest with you.  I really start to play when I was down a set and 2‑Love, which is a bit late.  Then at the end of it, it was really ‑‑ some points here and there I didn’t serve well the third set.  She served a lot better than me.

But I really thought that the third set was really in equal terms, but I only start to play when I was down 6‑2, 2‑Love, which is really, really late.  So I really felt like I lost the match at the beginning.

But, you know, like I said, I really tried my hardest, and she played better than me today.  She deserves some credit for that.

 

Well, I felt a lot better during warmup compared to my first match.  I felt, I don’t know, ready for this fight, ready for this challenge.  I don’t know.

The match started really badly.  I lost one set, and then it was 2‑0.  I was down 2‑0, and there was no intensity in what I was doing.  And then all of a sudden I woke up.  Six good games in a row, and I won the second set 6‑2.  I thought I would do the same during the third set, but then three double faults in my serve game.  You know, she was 1‑0 and then I had three points, and she broke me.

Afterwards, I could have been 2‑1 during the third set.  You know, my serve was not good enough.

But it’s not easy to say, Okay, that’s the end of Roland Garros for me, because mentally, physically, I did my best to be ready for Roland Garros, despite what had happened in the past tournaments, but it’s got to stop right now.

Addressing issues with the French Tennis Federation in regard to the Olympic Games:

No, there are no excuses to be found for me.  You know, if I lost Roland Garros this year, it would be a lie to say that I lost because of this.

No, frankly, I knew at the end of last year already that there were many chances for me not to be able to play the Olympics.

So, you know, this didn’t have any negative impact on my practice here.  These are two things that are different altogether.

I didn’t lose today due to this.  I didn’t miss my season on clay, because I know I’m not going to play the Olympics.  This would be a lie if I were to say this.

Juan Martin Del Potro

 

On his knee:

Well, yes, this is something that bothers me.  This is true.  It’s a constant bother.  So what I try and do is not to think about it.  I try and do my best with my tennis.  And when I’m out there on the court I try not to think too much about the fact that it really bothers me.

So today and tomorrow I’ll continue with my treatment and the necessary practice, what I usually do.  I want to be ready when I’m on the courts.

This is an injury that really bothers me when I’m trying to find the right stance when I’m serving.  You know, if you’re not strong enough on your legs, it’s difficult for you to play some shots more than others, by the way.  This is something difficult to manage.

But I try not to think about it at all.  What’s important for me is to be right there on the courts, to be aggressive, offensive all the time, even though, as I said, it bothers me so that I can dictate the game so that it wouldn’t be even worse.

Ana Ivanovic

 

This was my first Grand Slam ever as junior even, and I reached quarterfinals so it was a huge success at age of 14.  Every time I came back here I had a good memories and feelings about this place and this tournament.

Last year probably has been the hardest one for me ever.  To come back here this year and play better and go through to the third round, it means a lot.

I really hope I can even go further and, you know, hopefully keep the good games that I’ve been having.

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