August 30, 2016

Day 1 of the US Open – In Their Own Words

 

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

 

U.S. OPEN

Monday, August 29, 2016

Roberta Vinci

Press Conference

R. VINCI/A. Friedsam

6-2, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. The great memories from last year, if you could just talk about do you still carry those with you? How does that help you coming into the tournament this year knowing that you had such great success last year?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yes. Was great to be back here to play on center court first match. I was proud to play in Open, this US Open 2016.

Yeah, it’s incredible to be here. It’s pass one year, so like yesterday. But I had of course a great memory, but today just think about the match and keep the positive things of the last year.

Was a tough match. Is always tough play the first match of a Grand Slam, but I won. So this is important thing today. I start to play great first set, and then 2-Love in the second set a little bit nervous, a little bit scared about the match because, well, she’s — also in Australia when I lost against her I won the first set easy and then I lost in the third.

So just my mind to stay focused and think about every single point. Don’t think about the opponent. Just keep — just try to play aggressive.

But was a little bit nervous, so I fight a lot and I won the second set.

Q. Talk about how you feel coming into the tournament and what your expectations are. You know you can go far here. You have done it before.
ROBERTA VINCI: It’s tough to repeat of course the results of last year (Smiling.) But I’m No. 7, so of course I have a lot of pressure. They expect me semifinal, quarterfinal, step by step and match by match.

So now I’m really happy that I won the first round. Tomorrow relax and play the second round. I don’t know the opponent right now, but will be of course a difficult match, tough match. I try my best and don’t think that I have a lot of points to defend.

 

 

U.S. OPEN

Monday, August 29, 2016

Taylor Townsend

Press Conference

C. WOZNIACKI/T. Townsend

4-6, 6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You take her three sets, winning the first. How do you look at the result? Even though it’s a loss, are you to the point you’re satisfied or do you feel you should have had this?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: No, this is one of the wins that — or losses that really stings. I had so many chances.

Overall, I just have to take the positive from it. This is definitely not satisfying for me. I want to continue, go back out, I mean, if I could I’d go back out on the practice court now. That’s just how I feel. Just to get better because I know that I’m so close.

So that was just — that match proved a lot to me today, but I’m not satisfied at all.

Q. It was a pretty special match in the sense it was the first match on Grandstand. Did that give you a special feeling? Have you ever been, especially at an opening of an event, of a venue — was that a special moment for you?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Definitely. I didn’t have a chance to hit on the court at all before I went to play the match, so obviously — you know, I played quallies. I was on other courts.

But the court is amazing. It’s beautiful. I didn’t realize how big it was until people started to come in and started to get a little bit more packed. You know, people started cheering. I was in awe. You know, it’s such a beautiful stadium. And to see the improvements they have made in the course of a year, it’s amazing.

I was really happy to be able to, you know, to break the court in, quote/unquote (Smiling.) It was really great, and especially putting in — being an American, it was awesome.

Q. How hot was it out there? Looked like it was really blazing.
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: It was — it was decently hot. You know, I didn’t use the ice towel for the first two sets. I’m from Atlanta, so the heat is not really a big deal. It wasn’t that hot to begin with.

But as the match progressed it got a little bit hotter, a little bit more breezy, so it was — and obviously, you know, it’s 10 degrees hotter on the court than it is like wherever you are.

It was getting pretty toasty. The conditions, it wasn’t affecting me that badly because I’m used to it. I train in the heat. The Atlanta heat is different than here. I was kind of used to it.

Q. Did you take a break between sets with heat protocol?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: No. I just went to the restroom after the first. The heat rule was in, but I didn’t take the break.

Q. When you look at this match, when you look at it as a whole, are there specific points that come out? Like if that point went one way or the other, or was there something she was consistently doing and you are weren’t doing that was impacting the outcome?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Yeah. I mean, obviously she stayed steady, which is her game. There are a lot of different points that I feel like if I could have done something different or if I made a different decision that it could have maybe changed the outcome.

Instead of getting broken, could have got broken. Instead of being down 30, could have been up 15-30 or 15-all. But that’s tennis. There are so many points during the match where it can go either way. You have to make a decision in a split second. Sometimes you make the right decision; sometimes you make the wrong decision.

I have to learn from it. I can pick apart the match and tell you every little thing, but overall I’m just going to assess it, watch the film, learn from it, and keep moving.

Q. Is it just more the decision-making maybe you’re disappointed in or execution-wise? What do you think?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Just the decision making, I think. Because if I would have made a different decision then I probably would have executed the shot. I think I was doing a good job of executing my shots when I had it.

But, you know, there are points in the match where I did something and I was like, Oh, I should have done that. You know, I can’t change it. Like I said, I’m just going to look at it and try to build on it.

Q. Would you say that maybe those couple of dropshots you tried during the match would fall into that decision making category?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Definitely.

Q. And what kind of vulnerability did you sense in her? First set she had a point for 4-1 and you turned around and won the set. What sense did you get from her?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: I wasn’t really concerned about what she was doing. I was more into myself. I realized that I could win the match (Smiling.)

Ultimately, it just comes down to that belief in myself and the things I have been working on and the training I have been doing.

You know, winning three quallies matches obviously it’s great, but to win a main-draw match against someone like that, she’s been No. 1 in the world so she knows what it takes to win matches.

But, you know, I could taste it. It was so close. I just think that — I don’t know. Like I said, I just want to continue to build on it, really. It really was a great match. I can’t beat myself too much, but just going to keep building and keep working.

Q. What do you think has been the key to your ranking turnaround? You are up several hundred spots from where you were earlier this year.
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: I think great coaching, great people around me, just having peace of mind. You know, knowing that my team and everyone that I surrounded myself with has my best interests and I’m just moving forward.

You know, we’re not complicating anything, not putting too much into it besides just going out and playing tennis.

Just getting out on the court and just playing a lot of matches, you know, and having to go through that grind of, you know, playing 25s and losing quallies. You know, all of that stuff.

I just think that, you know, just great coaching. I have worked really hard on and off the court. I just think that when you give yourself opportunities and you keep playing, you get experience more than anything.

I think that you begin to grow as a player and get results.

Q. Do you feel like you’re moving up for good now, or do you still like you have to keep battling to work your way, steadily keeping your ranking up and moving up?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: It’s always going to be a battle. It’s like you can see — I mean, it’s always going to be a battle because you know that when you gain points the following year you have to defend or do better or you will lose those points.

So it’s always going to be about to continue to grow and push yourself and just get better and better and better.

I mean, I can’t worry about what I have done or I don’t know what’s ahead of me. I just have to continue to focus on what I’m doing right now and the results will come.

Q. It was a great match to watch. What do you think Billie Jean would say about it?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: I have no clue.

Q. Are you still in touch with her much?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Not really, but, you know, she sends me messages. We chat back and forth sometimes every blue moon. But, you know, you talk to Alana (ph) every once in a while, and I was able to sub for a TeamTennis match. I got to see her there but didn’t get to chat much. Opening night is always super busy for them.

Q. Do you think you would have trouble seeing the ball if your opponent was wearing the same color as yours?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: No, I don’t think so.

Q. It doesn’t kind of fade —
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: No, not really. I mean, I feel like at this point, you know, we should all know how to watch the ball (Smiling.) If we don’t, then we’ve got a problem.

So I don’t think that it’s really a problem. During the Open, they always — all the companies always go with bright colors and super fun outfits. That’s not really something that you can worry about or control.

Q. Who’s the coach you’re working with now or coaches?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Donald Young, Sr., and this week I have been working with his wife, Illona Young. They have all been helping me, those two together.

Q. Where are you doing your training now?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: What train?

Q. When you practice when you’re home.
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: I hit with a majority of people. The tennis community in Atlanta is pretty broad. There are a lot of colleges and a lot of players that come out of the South, you know, that visit there and that live there.

So I hit with a lot of college guys, college girls. It just depends on who’s in town, because, you know, obviously our schedules sometimes don’t match up together.

But there are a lot of people. I can’t really sit here and name them all because it is a lot.

Q. You seem to be in pretty good frame of mind after a loss. You also seem to be growing and maturing. I wanted to ask you just a general question about the sport. What is it that you really love about the sport of tennis?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Well, not this (Smiling.) Well, no, actually, I do. Moments like these before, you know — obviously, you know, I was crying and upset, but at the end of the day, you know, I have good people around me, like I said.

And Mrs. Young kind of helped me a lot just understanding the growth I have made over the last year. It’s been monumental. Like I said, I can’t really beat myself up too much. Moments like these where I have played and I left my heart out there and I know I could have done things better, it just drives me more to want to get out on the court and fix it, just try and do better.

Luckily, you know, I was able to get an opportunity to get a wildcard for doubles, so I have another chance to get out on court and play competitively. I know I have an opportunity to not really fix what I did, but to work on it and just be able to get back out on the court and compete.

So, you know, just the opportunity to be able to redeem yourself or, you know, just grow. Because, you know, you know in your head what you did. Now it’s about executing and just doing it.

Q. Good match.
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Thank you.

Q. Do you feel when you get on the court there was bigger pressure on you as a sport we are still trying to get in with more African-Americans?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: I wouldn’t really call it pressure. You know, I think that it’s an opportunity to use a platform that we have been getting in with talent and blessings and gifts. Just to be able to inspire other kids, you know, I don’t think that it’s a pressure situation.

Because, you know, there are kids that no matter how you do, they’d just be happy to be able to see you and watch you play. They are just even more excited when you do well.

Just to be able to inspire people like that, it’s not really pressure. I think it’s more of a blessing and a gift, you know, just to be able to do that. To be able to be on this platform, it’s amazing. I can’t complain at all.

Q. There was a 29-shot rally in the third set that you were able to win. What does a rally like that do for you in terms of your confidence with all the hard work and everything that’s been going on? That was impressive stuff, the construction and putting it away. In that moment, is that something you look back on and think, that’s one of those breakthroughs?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Yeah, like first of all, catch a breath. That was the main thing (Smiling).

No, I think that it was really good. I didn’t know how long the rally was, but I knew it was long. It is a confidence builder, because I know that for someone like her who she just thrives on rallies like that and she can hang in points all the time – that’s her game – for me to be able to win a long point that was probably the longest point of the match is good, and it proves something to me that I can hang in rallies like that.

And then to go even farther and win the game, you know, you can win a point like that, but if you lose the game it kind of defeats the purpose of it.

But then I was able to bounce back, hold my serve, and stay in it, you know, neck to neck, that really is great.

 

 

U.S. OPEN

Monday, August 29, 2016

Kyle Edmund

Press Conference

K. EDMUND/R. Gasquet

6-2, 6-2, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Given the context of the match, the opponent, and the tournament, was that your best-ever win?
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah, I think so. Yeah, I played really well. Yeah, on ranking I think, yeah, it’s probably my best win. And the way I went about it, the way I played, a lot of things went well.

Yeah, definitely one of my best wins in my career. Yeah, very pleasing. Very encouraging the way I played, the way I handled myself, dealt with situations. I thought I was smart with the way I played when I needed to be in certain situations.

Yeah, a lot of good things. Yeah, days like this feel really good. You know, just lots of positives. There is definitely days where they are not like that, so, you know, that’s when you put the work in.

I have had a few days like that over the past few weeks on the hard. Really haven’t quite found my form, but luckily the match when I needed it it came good against a good opponent.

Q. Was there something about New York that lifted you?
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah, I guess so. It’s a Grand Slam, and you always get a little bit more excited about it. Yeah, to be honest, it’s just been a really long trip. I haven’t really felt too comfortable as much as — well, coming from Davis Cup where I was playing really well, and then to come to Toronto, I guess you compare — form was really good.

You’re always comparing to how you’re playing. Like as I said, I just didn’t quite find that. It had been a long trip and stuff, so I just accepted the way I was playing and just, you know, sort of said, Look, this is the situation. You’re playing a good player. You’ve got nothing to lose. Just go out there and play.

I knew after this tournament anyway I’ve got a bit of a break before Davis Cup in Asia. Either before Davis Cup or after Davis Cup, just depends on how I do.

So maybe that just relaxed me a little bit and made me enjoy it as well a bit more. You know, not playing so tense. Just played a lot freer.

So I definitely played better than I expected to be playing. The last few days actually have been a lot better than the start of the trip. So there were good signs. But it just already clicked today, so I’m very grateful for that.

Q. How has the pressure of playing and winning the Davis Cup helped you when it comes down to the Grand Slam tournaments?
KYLE EDMUND: Those two matches were a big thing for me. Just probably because I value them very highly. So in my head I knew what was at stake or maybe the pressure I put myself under. You know, however you want to put it.

I valued those matches very highly, and I targeted that just because I knew I had a good chance of playing them. And especially when Andy said he wasn’t going to play, I knew I was definitely going to play. I was going to have the responsibility of playing two matches.

I really wanted to do well there, and obviously when I beat Lajovic it was a lot of relief because you wanted to do well. So I guess I played in a pressure environment, plus in the final it was an intense environment. So those absolutely definitely helped coming out there. You know, playing the 13th seed in the first round of a slam, you want to do well.

But, yeah, from having those experiences, they definitely do help me. No doubt about it.

Q. As a player, is it frustrating at all that you’ve put a lot into Davis Cup and the Olympics, and there is no ranking points at stake for those? It’s been quite a big part of your summer, hasn’t it, and not playing for points?
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah. It’s just one of those things. I think — well, like I said, I value them highly, so I wanted to play them. But, yeah, I don’t know the reason why the ITF changed that. There were points last year; obviously not this year. And I would have gotten a nice chunk of points from Davis Cup, but it’s just one of those things.

The way I look at it is I am 21. I still do have lots of years. So I’m not hanging on two tournaments for my ranking. You know, that doesn’t make my ranking, those two tournaments or anything.

So I see it as building experience. Even though there is maybe not points in there, the experience from that will benefit me far more than the points in the long term.

So, yeah, that’s just the way it is. I’m sitting around 80 at the minute, maybe with the points I could be sitting at sort of low 70s, high 60s. So there is a small jump, but as I said, that doesn’t really concern me, you know. You want to be 30s, 20s, 10s. That’s where you want to be — 80/60 is not a huge difference, so I think the experience is more beneficial.

Q. Was there any degree of immaturity out there? I remember the Davis Cup final. We all remember it. Started off like a dream. But here, a break down in the third set and brought it back, which maybe you wouldn’t have done 18 months ago.
KYLE EDMUND: No, yeah. I think it’s, again, getting back to that experience. Just when you’re more experienced you’re a little bit probably more calmer in those situations in your head. You’re more relaxed about it. You’re not — maybe because — if it’s happened the first time you’re a bit unaware of what will happen, but maybe you’re a bit calmer about the situation.

When I did go a break down I thought I didn’t do too much wrong. I didn’t make enough first serves. Maybe he was trying to get something going so he was playing a little bit more freer.

But the way I had been playing, I was playing very consistently and I wasn’t playing out of myself. I was very confident with what I was doing, so I knew it wasn’t going to take much to get that back.

So I just remained calm. Yeah, I had a good game to break him, and then because I got that momentum, it really helped me kick through towards the end of the match.

Again, those experiences definitely do help, and I think I’m getting some good ones now.

Q. When you beat someone like Gasquet so convincingly, as well, how much belief do you get that you can beat these kind of top players more and more regularly?
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah, it gives you more belief, absolutely.

I had a good summer. I beat some good players, and, well, I beat a guy Simon, but then had a good experience against Andy. Those matches, top players, give you more experience, more confidence with your game, that you are able to take it to him. Especially the way I play my game is very much on the offensive, wanting to take it to the opponent.

So I have to be expressive. I have to express myself, and that’s the way I play.

So it gives me confidence doing that. Definitely Davis Cup I expressed myself very well. Was very aggressive on that weekend. And today I thought I was aggressive but playing smart at the right times; not being too overly aggressive. I got the balance right.

That’s against a good opponent, so that gives you more confidence about your game.

Q. How did you feel with the heat out there? In the end, did you feel like you would have hoped it went to four or even five sets in those conditions?
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah, I mean, it’s difficult to say. I would always back myself to do it. Like going out there, if I needed to play five sets I was ready to play five sets, you know. I had done all the preparation I normally do for five sets and stuff.

So, yeah, I would have felt confident doing it. It’s hard to say in hindsight how you would have coped, but, yeah, it was pretty hot out there.

I don’t think it was hot as last year. I thought it was more humid last year; a lot of pullouts last year. So I think that just shows in itself.

It’s hot but you adapt to it. The body adapts. I have been in America, what, four or five weeks now, so your body does adjust to it.

Yeah, I guess I wasn’t out there about an hour and a half or something, so it wasn’t that long compared to other people.

Q. Do you know anything about Escobedo?
KYLE EDMUND: No. I actually played him in the first round of Binghamton challenger last year, so I think that was three sets. I honestly can’t remember a huge amount of the match because it was a year ago.

I will watch a little bit of tape of him. You see a few things you pick up. You see his game style. But, yeah, I mean, all these matches here are going to be — you have to get your game out there.

But I’m pleased with the way I played today, so I think the main thing for me is trying to keep that going, and basically what I did today, try to put that in my next match and I’m sure you’ll have a good chance.

Q. I think he’s a wildcard. Always a tough match. A great opportunity to make round 3?
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah, it’s a good opportunity. Maybe, yeah, on paper not as high ranked as someone like Gasquet. But, again, you have to respect the opponents. The worst thing you can do in sport is get ahead of yourself, get too forward thinking, start looking what’s going on.

Definitely not — you have to look at one match at a time, look at the guy in front of you right now, stay in the present. You start looking elsewhere then you’ll get called out. I have always done that. You have to give respect to your opponents. He is in round 2, so there is a reason he’s in round 2 is: because he’s playing well.

But, yeah, I definitely look forward to it for sure.

Q. I know you kind of touched on this the other day, but is there an element of the sort of head-to-head between you and Evo for the second Davis Cup spot at this tournament?
KYLE EDMUND: I guess so like in terms of the last tie and there is not that much time. So I guess it’s almost like whoever is maybe doing well at the time or has that bit more confidence.

But, again, it’s Leon’s decision, how he sees it, how he sees matchups.

Again, we will see what happens. We have actually had a lot of ties over the past few years now because — and that’s a good problem, I guess, because we have been doing well.

It’s sort of like another tie that’s come up. So, yeah, for me, I will just concentrate on here, first.

But, yeah, it’s just really is Leon’s decision. Nothing more to say than that, because you do what you do, as in play your match. Results give you a good chance of getting that, getting a pick.

We’ll see. I mean, it’s just one of those things. I mean, Dan’s obviously had a good summer. He’s had some good results. I’m sure my result today would have helped things. Yeah, we’ll see.

 

U.S. OPEN

Monday, August 29, 2016

Belinda Bencic

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. 4-nothing lead in the tiebreaker. She came back to win it. How did you regroup and save your best tennis?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, the first set was so frustrating because I had so many chances which I didn’t convert. I honestly didn’t deserve to win this set because I didn’t use my chances, and always when I was leading I was super tight.

I think it’s normal after the injury to have this. I mean, in the moment I was very frustrated, but, I mean, I had nothing left, just to fight and win the next two sets. That’s what I did.

Q. You want to make easy work out of your competitors in the first match, but it’s good to be pressed a little bit and know you can turn things around.
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I don’t want to practice, so I practice in the match. (Smiling.)

No. I mean, it’s good. I didn’t play a lot of matches, so I don’t mind playing longer match. For me, it’s nothing. I don’t need to save energy now. I didn’t play for so long.

 

Angelique Kerber

Press Conference

A. KERBER/P. Hercog

6-0, 1-0 (ret.)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Not a lot of work out there today. It was a pretty quick match. Just kind of the way you like to get a Grand Slam fortnight started?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: To be honest, it’s never the way I would like to finish the match, but I went out there to feel my rhythm and start the tournament well. I played the first set really good, so this is what I will take from this match, that I’m playing my tennis.

For me, it’s always tricky the first few rounds. So it’s always good, yeah, to have the first round done. Just now focusing on the next rounds.

Q. You have had a terrific season. You come in seeded No. 2. Just talk about coming in the highest seed you have ever come into a Grand Slam and the level of confidence that I would think comes with that?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I have a lot of confidence, especially also from the last few weeks and from the whole year, actually. I mean, I’m playing one of my best tennis now.

To come in here is always special. You know, for me, especially. I’m not looking too much about the seeds because I know every round it’s tough in the Grand Slam.

But I think that I know that I’m playing good right now. That gives me a lot of confidence. And also, the experience I had from the last years and the last weeks especially, yeah, gives me the confidence of going out and playing really good tennis.

Q. Serena and Venus Williams have inspired so many young players to take up tennis. Who, for you, was the most inspiration as you were getting to learn the game?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: When I starting, of course, Steffi was always my inspiration when I was growing up. I was always watching her on German TV. I was always like thinking, Okay, one day I can play like her and playing the big tournaments.

So that was always like my inspiration. But also when I start, of course Serena and Venus, they played already. So for me, the both, they, yeah, are also great champions for me.

Q. Besides the power of Steffi Graf and of course the Williams sisters, what about the intelligence of the way they played? What did you learn maybe from the mental side of it?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, when I was young, I don’t know. I was not thinking too much about mental stuff. But when you are like growing up and you’re playing your tournaments and matches and a lot of like experience you take, then you start to think also that the mental side, it’s really important, and to think about like strategy and everything what’s coming with this.

So I think you have to take time to grow with all the stuff around you.

Q. You were asked on the court today again about the prospect of being so close to No. 1. You said you didn’t want it to be a distraction, but that if it would come it would certainly be something that you would look forward to. Without it distracting you, how does the prospect of that inspire you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I mean, for sure to be one day No. 1, I think this is a goal from everybody, especially also for me. But I will not putting too much pressure on myself like I said a lot of times, because I know that when I put the pressure I’m not playing my tennis then.

You know, I will go out there to win every match going step by step. If the day will come someday it will be amazing. But, yeah, just let’s see. I have to win few more matches.

Q. We have been hearing about records in women’s tennis a lot lately. They separate them whether they happened in the open era or it didn’t. Do you know why they separate like that? Do you think they should?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I don’t know. I mean, I have — I don’t know actually. No.

Q. What is the thought of playing indoors on Ashe Stadium? What are your thoughts about that?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It’s really like — it’s really huge when you go out there, and for me it’s nice to have now the chance to play on this court and like indoors. It’s nice, actually.

Q. Anything specific about what you think will make it special indoors?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It’s always a little bit different when you play indoors or outdoors. It’s always like not the same, but, I mean, the surface is the same. So, yeah.

Q. Do you find it any different this year? Because even though the roof is open, there is a lot of structure that encapsulates the stadium.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah. It looks of course a little bit huger and bigger. It’s also like of course you have the first few hours you have like one side it’s sun and the other side is shadow.

But at the end, I think if it’s raining we all are happy about that. (Smiling.)

 

Catherine Bellis

Press Conference

C. BELLIS/V. Golubic

6-2, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. They keep calling you Catherine in the media room. You are still CC, right?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yes.

Q. Can you talk about the value of coming through the qualifying and what you gained, the experience of winning three matches going into today?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yeah. I think just playing actually three matches made me so much more comfortable, and knowing the surface of the courts and just playing on the courts in general is I think a big advantage for me.

I think it’s better for me to come through qualifying rather than getting just a wildcard.

Q. You have talked about going to Stanford. What would make that decision change?
CATHERINE BELLIS: It just — it used to be ranking-wise. I used to think of it, you know, the past couple years about, oh, I should be close to the top 100 and stuff like that.

But I think now it’s just more me being confident that I can, you know, compete at this level consistently.

Q. As of right now you’re still going to Stanford?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yes. Yes.

Q. You are waffling?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I am. For right now. I verbally committed and I talked to the coach a lot. I think the signing date is in November.

Q. How much of a reminiscent moment was that for you to win out on that court today and do what you did? How much do you feel you have changed as a person and as a tennis player in the two years?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yeah, I think it was really great that I was on that court again for the first round. It was really cool. When I saw the schedule, I was like, Oh, my God. I’m on that court again.

Yeah, it was great. The girl I played was really good. I’m glad I got through it. I think I have grown as a person and as a player last couple of years. I think my game has matured a lot. I think I have improved pretty much everything in my game a lot.

Back when I was younger I could have some good wins here and there, but now I can consistently, I think, have better results.

Q. Four matches, including qualifying, and dropped only one set. What’s been the key?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I think I have been focusing on playing for myself and my game style. Not focusing on anything else going on. Just thinking about each point one at a time.

Q. Coming into New York, what were the emotions like? You’re going to go play qualifying. Typically it might have been a wildcard situation. What was your thinking once you got here about what you could do and what you wanted to maybe prove to yourself or to other people?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Qualifying was actually one of the biggest things that I wanted to do here, and just do in general in a Grand Slam.

That’s one of the biggest, you know, moments for me in my tennis so far, so I think that was one of the main things. Everything else is icing on the cake for now.

Q. You come from a beautiful but very quiet California suburb, yet you come here to The Big Apple and sort of kick back. What makes you do so well, do you think, here in New York?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Honestly, I think it’s all the support that I get and everybody that comes out to my matches.

If I didn’t have that support I don’t know if I’d be doing as well as I am right now. (Smiling.)

Yeah, I think that’s one of the main things. I just love the atmosphere. Atmosphere. The courts are amazing. Everything about it I love.

Q. Have you gone back at all and watched the tape or do you reminisce at all and — that was such a big moment I think in your life. Do you sort of waffle over that at all?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I don’t have any tape of it. I haven’t watched it at all. Yeah, I mean, it was so long ago. I don’t think it really has anything to do with me or my game right now.

No, I don’t really look back on it.

Q. You played Shelby once and she said it was on clay. She knows that you swing for the fences. What are you thinking about going into that match?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yeah, we played each other a couple months ago. Yeah, I mean, I haven’t really thought about it too much. I’m just focused on I went out and practiced and focused on my game, everything like that.

I think I will think about it more tonight and tomorrow. I’m just going to focus on me, focus on myself.

Q. You practiced after your match?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yeah.

Q. For how long and what did you work on?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I mean, I do it after every match I play. My coach and I usually go out for 30, 45 minutes and we practice. We do all my groundies, you know, cross-courts, down the lines. We do counting just to groove everything. Volleys, overheads, serves, returns.

Q. Is it dependent upon how you do in a match?
CATHERINE BELLIS: No.

Q. No matter what you have the same routine after every single match?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Unless I’m on the ground dying tired, then I’m going and practicing. That hasn’t happened yet, so… (smiling.)

Q. Glad to hear.
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yeah.

Q. What did you think of Shelby’s run at the French Open?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Oh, my God, it was amazing. Yeah, it’s unbelievable for American tennis and for Team USA. Yeah, she was playing unbelievable there. It was really great.

Q. There was so much attention to her run and she was said to be the Cinderella. Did it ever cross your mind there was a little bit of sameness to your experience when you first emerged here?
CATHERINE BELLIS: No. No. I think it’s a lot different. She, I think — round of 16 or quarterfinals there? Yeah. I mean, that’s obviously a lot better than what I did.

I don’t think it really has anything to do with that. I mean, different surface, different tournament, so…

Q. At this stage of your career, what is fun for you in terms of your tennis? What do you get the most enjoyment out of?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Still playing. Yeah, playing matches I love so much. Having all my like hard work from practice come out in my matches. That’s the best thing any tennis player can possibly be a part of.

Q. Are you harder on yourself than anybody else could ever be on you?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yeah, definitely.

Q. Why?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Because I think that I can do big things in tennis and that I think if I don’t — you know, say I didn’t play well one day or something. I know can I do a lot better than what I did.

So, yeah, I think it’s good. I think it’s good that I am.

Q. You talked about all your hard work. What element of your work really has borne the most fruit? Has it been the physical work? Has it been stroke technique? Has it been the mental side and mental toughness?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I think it’s a combination. Yeah, in the last year I have worked very hard on my fitness and just getting a lot stronger. I mean, even in the last couple of years when I have played here, like I said, I could have some good matches.

But my body couldn’t handle playing consistently at this level. Neither could my game.

Definitely my fitness, but also just everything in my game being a little more solid.

Q. The NCAA keeps changing the rules on amateurism. It’s changed last year again where you could keep money for expenses or…
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yeah. You get to keep $10,000 a year, plus like at every tournament that you go to, whatever you can make you can expense that money if it adds up to however much you expense.

Q. Are you going to seek out some pretty nice expenses if you keep on going here?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yeah. I have already upgraded to a suite in my hotel. I had my dad do that for me. (Laughter.) I was excited about that.

Q. Maybe you can buy us members in the press corps a gift as part of your expense account.
CATHERINE BELLIS: (Laughter.)

Q. After your match today or after qualifying?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Qualifying. Yeah, couple days ago.

Q. I mean, I know you won four matches and there was so much attention around you because you were 15 and you beat a seed two years ago, but how much more satisfied, if you are, of what you’ve accomplished the last few days?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yeah, I think I have earned my way into the tournament this time rather than — I mean, I did last time. I won the National Hard Courts, but it’s different.

I think getting through qualifying, for me, it means a lot more than, you know, just getting straight into main.

 

Gael Monfils

Press Conference

G. MONFILS/G. Muller

6-4, 6-2, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. So when you crashed into the wall, did you think you had hit it that hard?
GAEL MONFILS: Ah, no. When you are in the moment you don’t feel really anything. Just jump. I saw was a wall, but it was quite lucky.

Q. How surprised were you when it kind of came over?
GAEL MONFILS: I was surprised, because it hurt me a little bit. You know, could be pretty bad. Could have fallen on my ankle or calf and could be more than that.

Q. What thoughts do you have on the situation for the big four that has dominated for so many years: Murray, Nadal, Djokovic, and Federer, where they are right now?
GAEL MONFILS: Oh, I have no idea, you know, actually, because I don’t very focus about the big four you call them. I just focus about I know all of them, and I can beat them, you know, no matter what.

So I think Roger is out for his injury, but the other ones, still tough players for sure. Novak is still cruising again a little bit this year. The other ones are playing tough also. I think we all improve all the time a little way to try to beat them sometime and to actually put them in more trouble.

Q. Who do you draw most inspiration from as far as your tennis?
GAEL MONFILS: For me? Actually like current player?

Q. Could be current or past.
GAEL MONFILS: For me, past definitely Arthur Ashe for me. I used to watch a lot of documentary of him. Really love his life and what he achieve. It’s him for me I look up for most of the time.

Q. You obviously have wonderful power shots with your forehand and your serve, but you’re also known for your wonderful creativity, spontaneity, and different shots. Is that one of the things that you love about your tennis that keeps you going? Talk about that aspect.
GAEL MONFILS: You know, to be honest, I always say that is very natural, you know. Just instinct player, you know. And I do what I feel to do at that time.

You know, I think I played a lot of sport when I was young and still play now other sport. Maybe have different coordination of others, so that’s why sometimes it looks a little bit different.

Q. Do some of your shots sometimes surprise you? Was there one shot in particular that you can…
GAEL MONFILS: You know, it’s tough because when I’m inside, you know, I have no look, you know, by myself. And actually when I jump or when I dive or whatever, you know, for me it’s natural.

So I have no look. Right after if someone show me, say, Shit, it was good. (Smiling.)

Q. Coming up obviously you had really good results right up and through the Olympics, and having the Olympic experience this year and coming out to the Open. Are you feeling good? Are you feeling satisfied with the way you’re playing coming in?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, I feel good, you know. I think I have a strong first round, and obviously I know it was a little bit worries, my back a little bit.

Today I just play tough and cruised. I’m satisfied. Still have won a lot of matches. No, I just feel good and hopefully going to keep going.

Q. And you take the first set, straight sets, do you feel good the way things went out there?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, because this one, I think it was a bit more than a first round. I think Gilles is just out to be seeded and he’s a tough player.

I feel like to win this match straight sets was I think a good effort for me, so it give me a lot of confidence.

Q. What about the possibility of playing under the roof here? What do you think it will be like to play indoors?
GAEL MONFILS: I don’t know. I don’t know. No one ever ask me this question. Would be cool. Would be more electric, I guess. I think it’s gonna be more noisy. Yeah, actually, can be a really cool experience.

Q. You had that incredible match with Federer here. What has been the most wonderful match in your career?
GAEL MONFILS: Honestly, the first time I beat my dad. But in the tour, I always say when I lost to Lleyton Hewitt in 2004 in Bercy. I lost 6-3, 7-6. For me, it was the best match I ever play so far.

Q. When you’re in the zone, you know that expression, in the zone, playing your best, how would you describe that feeling?
GAEL MONFILS: I can’t, because I will do it every time. I can’t, because I think actually we practice, you know, to be at this zone. You know, for the zone is like when you’re in the top and you achieve anything, you can beat anyone, and no one can beat you.

Somehow, you know, I think maybe Novak is the one can say it most because he’s not losing a lot.

But me, I can’t I tell you. I know it’s a great feeling, but never happen a lot in the season, when you’re in the zone, what, a match, two matches maximum? But when you’re in the zone it’s very rare to have this sensation.

 

Rafael Nadal

Press Conference

R. NADAL/D. Istomin

6-1, 6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. If you can, assess the match. How you feel you played today?
RAFAEL NADAL: Normal. That’s the real thing. Not very good; not very bad.

I think I played — was a good start for me obviously winning here in straight sets. I have been dominating the match comfortable after 6-1, 4-1, and I think in that game I could have the second break in the second set, no, and go 5-1.

Didn’t happen. And then the second set was tougher, no? Was tough at the end. He had some chances in the 4-All. Happy that I finally saved that game. I had the break in the last one. In the third I think I finished playing well. Last couple of games I played a little more aggressive with my forehand.

I feel that I was changing a little bit, you know, playing a little bit longer the cross shot, and then changing down the line, like last point. It was positive one.

That’s it. My serve worked well almost all the time. I am hitting very well the backhand, but it’s true that the forehand I need time. I need confidence and I need to keep practicing the forehand, no?

Is not easy to go two months-and-a-half out of competition in the middle of the season without hitting a forehand. I need to have the confidence again with my wrist. That is coming, because I feel the wrist much better, and every day feel that the wrist a little bit better. That’s very important thing for me. By the way, the most important thing.

I need to recover the normal movement with the forehand. Even if I played very well in Rio, you know, when you have pain you try to change the movement to avoid a little bit that pain no? So I need to find again the normal movement. But I am in the way.

Q. How different with the roof on is the wind or the shadows?
RAFAEL NADAL: Oh, the wind, there is no wind. It’s just a little bit of wind, no? Since the first day that I practiced here I checked that was not wind at all, no? Because I remembered one of these days that I was practicing in the center court outside was very, very windy, and in the center court was not wind at all, no?

The shadows are, you know, always a little bit of inconvenience during, but it’s true after 2:30, 3:00 in the afternoon it’s over. That’s a good thing. In general terms, is great. Is beautiful court. Is an amazing job that USTA did, and I think is a great improvement for everybody, for the players, for the fans who are visiting here Flushing Meadows, and for sure for the people who are following the tournament on the television.

Q. In Rio you said that you played there just because it was the Olympics. You wouldn’t have played in any other tournament. It ended up you had to play a lot. In hindsight, looking back, do you think that much court time did good for your recovery or you think that you just got too tired?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, was too tiring. After the Olympics I feel myself destroyed. But it’s normal, no? Is not because I was not ready. It’s because I didn’t competed and I didn’t have the chance to practice strong practices on court, no? I was doing a lot of physical performance, training in the gym.

But since one week before the Olympics I was not hitting forehand, no? Just practicing 45 minutes to 30 to one hour. That’s the maximum thing that I was practicing, no?

So was a very important event for me, and in general terms have been very, very positive. I will say more than very positive, and I’m 100% recovered physically, no?

In terms of the wrist injury, I was not sure when I was there, but the real thing is the wrist improved. Was a very good decision.

Q. You’re known for your love of our sport and also for the love of your country. When you came out of the tunnel holding the flag for Spain, you were beaming and smiling. As you walked down the track, what went through your mind about the country and your journey? What were your thoughts?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I was just enjoying that very unique moment, no? Olympics are the most important event of the world of sport, so for me was something that I missed the opportunity in London, 2012, to bring the flag.

And I see it like (Asking for translation) for award, reward. Is an award after a lot of years of hard work, a lot of years of passion for the sport, a lot of years having represented well I think my country around the world no?

That moment was unique, unforgettable, and was just very, very high emotions.

Q. If that’s the case, can you understand why players choose not to play the Olympics because they are not getting ranking points and not getting prize money?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. No, in my personal feeling, you know, in terms of importance, the events are — always you need to find in your interior, no? You need to find what’s the motivation of yourself for everything, no?

But for me personally, Olympics is the closest thing to a Grand Slam. That’s my feeling, no? And I can’t understand some players that are a little bit older that they decided to not go because they prefer — they have been there. If they believe that there is no chances for medals I could understand, but some young players that choosed to not go there, it’s difficult to understand, no?

Olympics are once every four years and is something that is an experience you can’t miss. Even if you are young, you need to have the right people around you to advise you that have to go there. You know, because then when you are older you appreciate a lot these events and these experiences that are completely special and unique.

So that’s a thing the same what happened in golf, the same what happened in tennis with a couple of players.

But is something that makes the sport bigger, no? I think if the stars are going to Olympics makes the Olympics bigger. But at the same time, have the golf in Olympics I think makes the golf bigger, and having the tennis in Olympics have — you know, is true that we help to have the Olympics bigger, but the Olympics help us to be bigger in the world of sport, no?

Because there is a lot of fans around the world that they don’t follow tennis normally, but during the Olympics everybody see the Olympics, no? So you have a lot of visibility during that week. In my opinion we should promote that.

Q. Much less serious experience is at the end of matches here when you hit the balls into the crowd. What is that like? Where are you trying to hit it? How far and which direction?
RAFAEL NADAL: Oh, I don’t know. (Laughter.) No idea. Don’t know. Just I try to send the balls where more people are. No, I just try to send the ball where the people really want the ball. That’s it.

Q. In our stadium do you ever try to hit it out of the stadium?
RAFAEL NADAL: No chance. We tried before. I try when I was younger but have more power without the roof, and there was no — impossible.

Q. You said you would have rested longer with the wrist had it not been for the Olympics, so if there had been no Olympics do you think you would have been playing in this tournament or still resting?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, sure I would be playing this tournament. The wrist is better, yeah.

Yes, if there is not Olympics probably I will start here. That’s the normal thing that will happen, no? But the real thing is I was very happy to play the Olympics, no, because was nothing against the injury. Nothing happen against the injury.

So the improvement had been very positive. Sometimes you take decisions, and I take the decision to play in Roland Garros and it was a very negative decision. It was very important event for me.

After that I break a little bit the wrist so had to stop for two months and a half. Then I decided to play in the Olympics and was positive thing, no?

So in terms of decisions, after the decision when you know what happened, everything is easy, but before you need to take a decision. So when you take decisions, you have mistakes or you don’t. People take decisions are the people who can have both things.

Q. You have seen it happen in basketball where there are a lot of players that want to rest because of injury. You have Laver Cup and other things happening in tennis. Is tennis too full schedule-wise, or how much more tennis do you think guys can play or players can play because the sport is also so physical?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, don’t compare the exhibitions or the tournaments outside of the tour than when we are competing on tour, because it’s a different story in terms of, you know, what is the tougher thing for the body. What really damage your body and your mental strength is other real competition.

When I have exhibition I relax. We try to do it for the crowd, to try to play good for the crowd. We try our best, but we don’t know what is the limit. You have problems when you go to the limit, so is not fair to compare that.

And in terms of calendar, I never said that calendar is too long. In my opinion the calendar can be as long as you want. For me it will be great if we have tournaments since the first week of the season every single week.

The only negative things sometimes are the mandatory events. We have a lot of mandatory events, and that creates very short periods of rest, no? But as many tournaments as we have, as more tournaments we have the better, because there is more jobs.

One sport is bigger and better not only if the best players win a lot of money, if is a lot of players can have the right money to live well.

So that’s how much more players can have the work on the tennis life, better for our tour. So the only thing is the mandatory events.

Q. You were just talking about how each of the players have to find their own motivation. In the past you said your motivation for tennis comes from your love of the sport. Talk about that. Talk about the love that you have for tennis and how that affects your motivation and drive.
RAFAEL NADAL: I always say the same, no? Sport in general is one of my hobbies and is one of my passions. Not only like player, like a spectator, too. I love the sport with a lot of competition, when I am practicing, and when I’m watching on the TV. I love the sport in general, and my life and my family always have been very close to the world of sport and living the sport with a lot of passion.

That’s why I always tried hard and I love what I do.

Q. You have done it many times, but do you still wake up on the morning of the first round of a Grand Slam and feel that nervous energy of a big tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: If you are not nervous a little bit it’s time to say good-bye. That’s the real thing, no? You need to be nervous. No, that’s part of the competition, no?

If you don’t feel that then it’s because you really don’t want to win as much as you need or you are not afraid about the lose. When you don’t have those feelings it’s because you don’t have enough motivation for what you are doing.

 

Garbine Muguruza

Press Conference

G. MUGURUZA/E. Mertens

2 6, 6 0, 6 3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What was wrong physically that you called the trainer after the first set? How were you feeling the rest of the match?
GARBINE MUGURUZA: I started and it was difficult a little bit to breathe for me. It was really humid. I don’t know. When you feel the heat that makes you a little bit, like, down kind of, you know.

I was talking in the locker room a little bit with the physio. Was kind of like similar to Australia, you know, where is hot.

I forgot that there was the ice towels and everything. So I start using them, trying to breathe a little bit better, I don’t know, taking more calm just to, you know, go with the match.

But I didn’t remember that was that hot in here. I don’t know why I felt this today. It was like really, really humid.

Q. Were you not feeling well before the match or was it just the heat of today that made you feel unwell?
GARBINE MUGURUZA: No, I kind of felt this also in the practice two days ago, that I’m like, Whew, this is hot here.

Today in the warmup I didn’t feel it. It’s only half an hour in a warmup. It’s only a warmup. But as soon as I started the match moving and running, also with the competition makes you more tense. I guess that, yeah.

Q. You mentioned the next player, you don’t know who she is, never seen her play. How do you mentally prepare for a game like that where you just don’t know your competition?
GARBINE MUGURUZA: Well, it happens more in the Grand Slams at the beginning of the rounds because there’s a lot of people and sometimes you don’t know the opponents.

But today was the case. I went to the court and I didn’t really know the opponent. You play and you do your stuff. You kind of see a little bit during the match how she plays, but you cannot know anything before.

It’s like that. I don’t know.

Q. Coming in as the 3 seed, a Grand Slam champion, somebody not really known to the public here, how does it feel to come in with higher expectations? Does that raise the confidence level and your own expectations of yourself?
GARBINE MUGURUZA: I think is different. If I would say no it would not make sense. Someone that, I don’t know, has reached the last rounds of the tournaments or, you know, the important moments every time you go to a tournament, you believe, Maybe I can do it again. You have more expectations, that’s for sure.

But I got to play with that. I have to go on the court, try to don’t have in my mind all the time, Hey, let’s go for this match, let’s try to win this. That’s the way.

For sure maybe a lot of people is talking. All this kind of stuff that I cannot control. If I cannot control it I don’t put it in my bag, you know. I’m minimizing and doing everything very simple around me.

Q. Some people thrive on the environment here; others find it daunting. Where do you come in there? Do you enjoy this atmosphere?
GARBINE MUGURUZA: You mean in the court?

Q. Yes.
GARBINE MUGURUZA: Yes, I felt there’s more movement, more noise, more stuff. But it’s well known also because of the environment and the crowd and the vibes, I don’t know, that feeling that brings New York.

I think it’s also special to feel. I don’t know. There’s a lot of people. They’re watching you. Maybe it’s not as silence as Wimbledon, that everybody is like this, but I enjoy a lot also.

Q. Aside from the tennis, can you enjoy the city of New York? Anything besides tennis?
GARBINE MUGURUZA: You can enjoy. For me it’s difficult during the tournament. I came one week earlier here to prepare and everything. In those days I have more chances to, Hey, let’s go watch this show. This is the city of shows. There’s 10 every day and restaurants and everything.

Once I start the tournament I’m very, I don’t know the word, like in a cave. I’m in my room. I do simple stuff. I don’t go to a lot of places. I just try to keep my energy with me and not going there and there and there.

Q. You came here early this year?
GARBINE MUGURUZA: I came one week early.

Q. Shows or anything?
GARBINE MUGURUZA: Yes. Where did we go? We went to a Mark Anthony concert. I loved it. I was dancing. I have to say, there was all womens. Not one man in that concert.

And are trying Greek restaurants. I love Greek restaurants. Italian and steakhouses. I love the steakhouses. I just discover places.

Q. Did you have a lot of media appearances for sponsors? Was that part of that week?
GARBINE MUGURUZA: Yes. Here is where they’re all more or less based. This is the part of the year where you’re more compromises, or, I don’t know. It’s just more people, more sponsors, more people that want more time from you.

Yeah, it would be more here. You have to really schedule everything.

Q. But you also have to train.
GARBINE MUGURUZA: Yes, because between this, this, this, I have to practice, go back 10 blocks, one taxi.

Q. First round match, having difficulty breathing, playing against somebody you never played before, it’s very easy to panic. Did you ever come close to that? Did you ever feel like you were panicking? If not, how did you reel the match back in?
GARBINE MUGURUZA: No, I don’t feel I panic. I think I always have a chance. I’m there. Even though I’m down 4 1 I always try to see what can I do to turn these things around.

Maybe you’re like, Oh, this is dangerous situation, because you feel that you’re like 4 1 or in the third set you know last set.

These kind of things, I think all the players feel that. But you always have to focus and, Okay, what should I do now to win this point? How can I turn this set? Where should I play? You kind of think about something else.

 

John Isner

Press Conference

J. ISNER/F. Tiafoe

3-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-2, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When he’s serving for the fifth set, what advantage do you have not being 18 years old?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I guess, I mean, experience is definitely on my side in that match, but sometimes experience is overrated.

You know, I think in that instance I actually probably played the best return game I played all match.

You know, he played very well, I thought, and he earned everything up to that point for sure. I just tried to stick with it. Was able to get back into that set at 5-4.

Actually, even though I was pretty haggard out there, I got a jolt of energy when I got it back to 5-4.

Q. Were you at all surprised by his level of play?
JOHN ISNER: No, I wasn’t. I mean, I know how talented he is. At such a young age, he seems to be the type of kid that can rise up to the big occasion, big moment, and great atmosphere. He played I thought very well.

I was struggling matching his intensity. In the early goings of the match he was all over me and was the better player hands down.

I had to stick with it and had to try to tilt the match in my favor a little bit, which I was able to do.

Q. You’ve won some epics in your career. You’ve also had a lot of tough, close losses this year. Where do you rank this match as far as the drama, being out on the Grandstand for the first time?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I mean, the atmosphere was amazing. I mean, you guys saw it. Standing room only in that fifth set. The crowd was going nuts. A lot of people were cheering for him – rightfully so.

But it’s definitely up there. I feel like I was due. I’ve lost a number of close matches this year, so to be able to pull that one out feels really good. And in the way I pulled it out feels especially good, so…

Yeah, I can’t say enough about Frances. I’ve always liked him. Always. He’s a great guy. He has a fantastic future.

Q. Can you describe what you really thought of the play of the new Grandstand? What kind of court was it? Is it quicker?
JOHN ISNER: I’m not the best person to ask when it comes to that stuff. I don’t pay too much attention to it.

If I had to say, it’s probably a little on the quicker side, I think. You get rewarded for the right type of play out there. I don’t know.

I mean, I practiced on Armstrong. Maybe it’s a little quicker, but I don’t know.

Regardless, the court is beautiful and it’s fun to play on.

Q. He’s obviously the youngest player in the draw. What elements do you think he has to grow to play big points?
JOHN ISNER: He’s got so much room to grow as a tennis player. Yeah, I think probably his second serve. He’s improved his serve from when I practiced with him.

He’s been at some Davis Cup ties. He definitely has improved his serve. I think the best thing he has going for him is he’s just an incredible athlete. You can’t really teach that.

He’s got wheels; he’s got the hands; he’s got shots on both sides. One area, if he improves his second serve a little bit. But I would certainly buy stock in him right now for sure. He’s a great player.

Q. At the end of a match when you’re hitting balls into the crowd, what is that experience like and what are you trying to do?
JOHN ISNER: Oh, I don’t know. I was enjoying it at that moment. The atmosphere was awesome. A lot of people were on their feet cheering for that match. They weren’t just cheering for me at the end.

It’s why you play. It’s why you work so hard, to have moments like that. Everyone that’s been part of a painful loss like that, as well. The wins, in an atmosphere like that, in a close match like that, are really sweet.

Q. How about in general, the whole experience of hitting balls in the crowd? Do you try to hit them out of the stadium? Where are you aiming?
JOHN ISNER: No. I was pretty tired. I just hit them up. I didn’t hit them anywhere in particular at the end there.

Q. What did you and Frances say to each other up at the net?
JOHN ISNER: I can’t really recall. I don’t think he said much. I think I said, Great match. It was really fun to play against you today. Keep your head up. You know, your future is immensely bright.

I mean, I didn’t say that. Keep it going, man. It was fun. I think that’s what I said.

Q. How important has that slice backhand been for you to develop as a shot that gets you out of trouble sometimes? Does it get you into trouble ever?
JOHN ISNER: No, it’s improved. Sort of a shot that sometimes I feel it really good and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes it’s not there at all. You know, leading up to this match, practicing here, I feel like that shot has been working pretty well for me.

For me to use that shot in a sort of defensive fashion is very important to get it low and get it down cross-court.

I’ve worked on that shot ad nauseam forever now. It’s always going to be a pretty important shot for me.

Q. Does someone hit that shot best on tour?
JOHN ISNER: Roger probably. Yeah.

Q. After a match like that, when you lose a close match, how do you make it learning experience instead of making it a scar that lasts?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah. As I said before, I’ve lost a lot of close matches this year in final-set tiebreakers. You have to try to learn from it, even though it can sort of scar you up, as you said.

But you have to try to learn from it. You have to try to stay positive and stay the course and know that it will turn around.

I know with how I play, very good chance I’m going to be in that situation a lot. Maybe not at a Grand Slam like this, but, you know, I just stuck with it. I was confident in that fifth set icebreaker. I really believed I was going to win it.

I had no reason to believe that considering how many matches I lost, but I was positive and believed I was going to pull through.

Q. What do you like most about his game?
JOHN ISNER: His backhand is world class. His backhand return is world class. He was handling my serve better than anyone really, maybe outside of Novak. I mean, he was really on it. His forehand’s great. I think that shot’s improved a lot.

As I said earlier, he’s such an incredible athlete. He’s got that on his side. That’s not going to go anywhere, so…

He’s got a very bright future.

Q. As someone who follows football and other sports, what is your reaction to Colin Kaepernick’s statement with not standing for the National Anthem?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I thought that was pathetic from him. The cause he was going for, fine by me, but don’t do it in that fashion. He could have found some other ways to present his voice there. A lot of NBA players have done it, and good on ’em.

For him doing it in that way really irked me. I’m a big Blaine Gabbert fan now.

 

Frances Tiafoe

Press Conference

J. ISNER/F. Tiafoe

3-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-2, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Where do you think you had the better chance of winning, the third set tiebreak or when you served for the match?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Both, I mean, about the same. Yeah, pretty disappointed I missed that backhand at 5-All with that much court I had to work with. Overcooked it.

But, yeah, serving for it I thought I definitely had it. I thought I definitely thought the match was over, but he played a good return game. Didn’t make that many first serves that game. Probably should have played a higher percentage, but it’s tough.

Q. You were very gracious on court. What were you feeling after the match, having chances? What is going on in your head?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I mean, toughest loss of my career so far for sure. But, you know, think I’m getting over it now a little bit. I mean, not much to really say. It’s tough. I was so excited serving for it 5-3; the crowd is going nuts; I’m going nuts. You have so much adrenaline going.

Come up a little short, it hurts.

But it’s against an experienced player. Me and John are great friends. It was a good battle and I had a lot of fun today.

Q. (Question regarding experience.)
FRANCES TIAFOE: I think that played a part in it. If I could replay that, probably wouldn’t have gotten as hyped up when I broke. Maybe would have taken a little bit out of it.

No, I mean, I think that played a little part in it.

Q. Talk about the atmosphere playing on the new Grandstand. What was that like?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I think it’s going to be the best court at the US Open in years to come. It was unbelievable. It was pretty much packed the whole time.

Yeah, I mean, it still feels pretty intimate, just like the old Grandstand. I think it’s going to definitely be a court I want to play on for sure in the future.

Q. What did you and John say to each other at the net when you hugged? There’s always a lot of questions about the future of American tennis. With young guys like you and Taylor Fritz, how bright is the future? Can you compete for slams down the road?
FRANCES TIAFOE: To be honest, yeah, I don’t really know what John said. I just heard him say, You’re going to be great, you know, and I was kind of crying on his shoulder. But, yeah, I mean, he’s so nice. I mean, we’re such good friends.

And then the last thing I heard him say is, Don’t let this get you down.

For American tennis, I think it’s looking really good. I think we have a lot of guys that are going to be very good. I think American tennis is definitely on the right path. We just got to keep our heads down and keep doing the work and I think we’re going to have good careers.

Q. What did those first two sets feel like? Looked like you could do no wrong.
FRANCES TIAFOE: Seemed like everything I touched was golden. Came out playing pretty much lights out. I was returning unbelievable. I was guessing right on everything. Wasn’t really expecting that. I was ready to play a couple breakers going in.

But, yeah, I mean, it was a lot of fun today. I really enjoyed myself and I really thought I played one of the best matches I’ve played so far.

I pretty much did everything but win the match today. It was an unbelievable experience.

Q. Did your dad have anything to do with tennis before he got the job at the camp?
FRANCES TIAFOE: No, nothing at all. Nothing at all. Never really even held a racquet before he came there at all. No relation to tennis whatsoever.

Q. How do you build off a match like this going forward, take the positives out of it?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I think the positive is that I can play that level, you know, on a big stage like that. Also that I think one day I could maybe have a good run at a slam.

You know, just keep going on the practice courts and keep doing what I’ve been doing: working hard, get my strengths even better, and my weaknesses to one day be strengths.

Q. I saw you in the Orange Bowl when you were 15. What part of your game has made the biggest advance since then?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I think I’ve just gotten a lot stronger physically. I think that’s helped me a lot. Moving better. You know, hitting the ball stronger from both sides. Serving a bit better.

I mean, yeah, I just grew a lot as a person, as a player since then. I think that’s really what’s been helping me the last couple years.

Q. Which tennis figure has provided you with the greatest inspiration?
FRANCES TIAFOE: As far as player or… ?

Q. Can be a player. Doesn’t have to be.
FRANCES TIAFOE: I’m a big DelPo fan. Huge DelPo fan. Seeing him win a slam here when he was 19, 20, that was huge inspiration for me. I always wanted to be like him.

Seeing him in the locker room, now we’re talking, that even seems surreal. I think he was a big inspiration for me.

 

Monica Puig

Press Conference

S. ZHENG/M. Puig

6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How tough was it out there today?
MONICA PUIG: It’s always a little bit tough, especially coming off winning the Olympic gold medal. A lot of pressure, a lot of expectation, but I can always continue to learn. That’s what I’m going to try and do.

All credit to her, though. She played well. She complicated me just enough. But, you know, I’m still learning. I’ll still growing. Trying to find the positives out of everything.

Q. Does this feel like something you’re going to have to take some time to process in terms of recovering in a way from this big career achievement?
MONICA PUIG: Sure. I’ve never been here before. These are new waters for me, new territory. I’m going to have to start getting used to it. Once it starts becoming a little bit more of a habit, then I’ll feel comfortable.

It took me a while to be comfortable being in the top 50, the top 30, all this stuff. It’s always a process. I’m just going to have to keep learning and just take it day by day.

Q. New York City has such a big Puerto Rican community. What did you make of the crowd support for you?
MONICA PUIG: Well, it was great. Everyone was there supporting me. They didn’t really let down at any moment. It’s even great to see that at my lowest points they were there for me. I really appreciate it.

I know that I can always come back to New York and have a Puerto Rican family there for me.

Q. You mentioned positives that you want to take from this match. What are some of those positives that you are going to work on?
MONICA PUIG: At no point in the match did I have a bad attitude towards what was going on, and no moment did I give up. That’s really positive for me, because no matter how tough situations get, I know that I won’t give up and I’ll always keep trying.

I tried to be aggressive when I could. It didn’t happen today. But we have bad days as tennis players. I just got to keep working on my game.

Again, I’m still in the process of learning. There’s so much to be done still with my game. I’m 22 years old. There’s always room for improvement. I’m just going to go back to the drawing board with my team and see what else we can fix.

Q. How tough is it that it was such a big tournament so soon? Did you feel maybe there could have been an extra week between the Olympics?
MONICA PUIG: I wish. Everybody does. Kind of had some time to come down from the high a little bit. At the end of the day, the calendar doesn’t really give you much room to, you know, ask and take, whatever. You have to get back out there like everybody else does.

Kerber went out after the final of the Olympics and made finals of Cincinnati. But, again, she’s been there. She knows what it’s like. She knows she’s No. 2 in the world. She’s tested the waters out a little bit. I’m brand-new to this.

I need to keep racking up as much experience as I can. You know what? This isn’t going to be the last of me. I know I’m going to keep working hard. The Olympics was something that happened because of all my hard work.

I’m just going to keep working harder to get those results as soon as possible.

Q. Kerber, after she won her first Grand Slam, she had struggles. Does that give you confidence knowing they were able to rebound from that?
MONICA PUIG: Of course. I mean, I’m playing well. I’m playing good tennis. I feel good out on the court. I feel good hitting the ball. It’s something I did tell myself.

Garbine won her first Grand Slam and then she had a little bit of a letdown. She’s coming into her own as well.

A lot of people go through this. It’s not, you know, just me. That’s what a lot of people need to kind of understand sometimes. I’ve gotten a lot of negativity over these past few weeks. I’m like, Well, okay, take your time a little bit. You know, I’m still learning. I’m still coming about.

With time everything will become a lot easier for me. Again, it’s all about hard work and it’s all I’m going to keep doing.

Q. What are some of the things you’re going to work on for the next tournament?
MONICA PUIG: I’m going to keep on working on everything in general. I know what type of game I like to play. I know how I play. It’s just continuing to make myself as solid as possible to try and patch up all the holes in my game. Just make everything as solid as I can.

There’s only a few more tournaments left in the year. I’m going to definitely try and finish the year off with a high. I have had a great year until now, so only going to try and build my confidence up with that and just keep going.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Press Conference

J. TSONGA/G. Andreozzi

6-3, 6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Did the match pretty much go as you expected? Were there any surprises for you? You won in straight sets.
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah, I played well enough. I served pretty consistently. Then it was easier for me to put pressure on his serve.

So, yeah, I expect to win, of course, before the match, and I did it. So, yeah, that’s great.

 

Taylor Fritz

Press Conference

J. SOCK/T. Fritz

7-6, 7-5, 3-6, 1-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I know it’s a tough one to lose. After Australia, you were positive after that match because it showed you you could stay at that level. What do you take from this?
TAYLOR FRITZ: You know, I’ve always been a fighter and someone who competes till the end. I don’t know what I really take from it. I think I’ve proven I can come back from two sets to love down; never really out of it.

It’s just really tough to do everything that I did, get back to the point where I was at, and then after all that lose the match.

Q. Must be hard to go from day to night on a court. Were there visual conditions that were difficult?
TAYLOR FRITZ: In the very, very beginning of the match, first set, it was kind of tough with the shadows that were coming across the court, but those went away pretty quick.

So I think the whole second set and on the shade covered the court, so it wasn’t tricky with the sun in your eyes or anything.

Q. How about the color of Jack’s shirt? Does the ball ever get lost in that?
TAYLOR FRITZ: No. Didn’t seem like that to me. I mean, I was wearing the same shirt, so…

Q. Looked so similar.
TAYLOR FRITZ: Never. Didn’t see a ball come out and thought, Wow, the shirt did something. I never even thought that was an issue at all.

Q. What’s next for you?
TAYLOR FRITZ: I play doubles here. Afterwards I’m going to have a couple weeks to myself to just train and get stronger. It’s been a while since I’ve had a nice long training block to get stronger and really improve my game.

So I’ll do that.

Q. Where will you do that?
TAYLOR FRITZ: Probably in Carson.

Q. Do you work at all with Christian Groh anymore?
TAYLOR FRITZ: When I’m in San Diego we work, but I’ll be in Carson, USTA.

Q. Does he work with you at Carson, too?
TAYLOR FRITZ: No. At Carson I work with mainly David Nainkin, and Mardy Fish comes in sometimes, too, to supplement and help out.

Then my first tournament back is going to be in Tokyo.

Q. You’re a little bit further along in the year now. Quite a bit further along. In January you were looking ahead. What do you think you’ve gotten in this year so far?
TAYLOR FRITZ: I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in this year. I feel like overall when I look back at it, it’s better than I expected. I have to be proud of being where I’m at at the age I’m at.

It’s tough because I just set the expectations so high for myself. I want to do better and I want to do more than I’ve done. Didn’t want to have any of the lows in the season.

At the end of the day, need to step back and look at the big picture. I’m 18; I’m 50 something in the world. It’s way farther than I thought I’d be at this point a year ago. I have to stay positive and keep looking at the positives that I can take out of this year, and there are a lot.

Q. What are the tournament highlights of this year for you?
TAYLOR FRITZ: Memphis, for sure. Memphis and Acapulco were two great tournaments for me. I’ve been to a lot of great places.

But towards the end of this season I haven’t had the results I’ve been looking for, even though I felt like I’ve been playing some pretty decent tennis.

I’m not too worried, though. I think if I keep playing well, the results will come. It’s just I’ve had some close matches I’ve lost and some tough draws. I’m not too worried.

Milos Raonic

Press Conference

M. RAONIC/D. Brown

7-5, 6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. A little uneven the first set. Didn’t seem to have timing on your serve.
MILOS RAONIC: Had trouble with my serve even throughout the match. It got better and better, but definitely something I’m going to put some time into tomorrow.

I know it’s something that I can get back on track pretty quickly, but definitely was not where I would have liked it to be to start the match.

Made good progress throughout.

Q. Overall a pretty easy way to start. Would that be the way to put this match?
MILOS RAONIC: I was efficient at the end of the day. Three sets; not too much time on court. I would have wished to play better, but it’s not the goal to be playing my best tennis in the first round. It’s about getting through and giving myself a chance to get better in the next round.

Hopefully my level continues to improve.

Q. Can you clarify the situation for us with John and you now. He was sort of going back and forth in his comments.
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, well, John, throughout these weeks, will not be helping me. We’ll see where it goes after that.

Q. Do you have an idea of what you want already after?
MILOS RAONIC: I believe it was just too many things going on throughout this period of time. He felt like that was the right decision.

At the end of the day, it’s a decision we’re both okay with. We spoke about it, were up front, and there’s no ill feelings over it.

Q. Is it hard to be on the other side of a net from a guy who is kind of a Harlem Globetrotter?
MILOS RAONIC: I don’t know if that’s necessarily a fair way to call him.

It is from the aspect you don’t know what you’re going to expect. The match is going to go through many different stages and you just have to sort of stay on top of it.

I did that well for certain bits; then I didn’t. The thing I always did was I rebounded quite well, so I’m happy with that.

It’s a first round. It’s about getting through. It’s about getting yourself to go through this tournament.

Q. You practiced with John McEnroe here.
MILOS RAONIC: Yes.

Q. Did you get advice from him?
MILOS RAONIC: For today?

Q. Last week practice.
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, we spent some time. We were working on certain things. Then Carlos arrived later in the week then, after Ricardo departed. Yeah, we worked on a lot of things two weeks before Cincinnati, as well.

There’s certain things I’m trying to bring awareness to in my game. I’m trying to improve what I feel I need to do better. We’ve had some good matches to reflect on over the last little while.

Hopefully I can implement those things I’m working on.

Q. For so long other players have been trying to get to where the big four are. How would you describe right now the status of the big four?
MILOS RAONIC: Well, I think it’s a little bit spread out. You have Roger, who was always there, that is unfortunately unable to be playing at this moment, who is sitting out for a little while.

You have Andy and Novak who have pretty much led the charge of those big four. Have been leading it at least throughout this year.

Rafa is still one of the most dangerous players on tour.

You’ve got to navigate your way through. You’ve got to be trying to play your best. Hopefully you face these guys later in tournaments and you can bring your best tennis.

Q. What is the message to guys such as yourself about where those guys are now, because it has been so hard to break into where they’ve been?
MILOS RAONIC: Well, I’ve just personally looked at it from the chance of I’m trying to get better every single day. I compare myself to those four guys, what I need to do to compete against them, to win against them. ‘Cause you can’t avoid these guys, especially not in the big tournaments. Even the smaller ones as well. If they’re there, they’re consistently playing well.

I’ve always had that outlook of what I can do better and how I can go about it. I guess there’s a little bit more opening now than there used to be, but you still have Andy and Novak holding a pretty good lockdown on the big tournaments.

They played all the finals this year, at least one of them, and two of them were against each other.

Q. How much have you worked to develop that slice backhand as a defensive shot? The one-hander. Do you feel it’s become more important in the men’s game to have that in your arsenal?
MILOS RAONIC: I believe you have to defend well; you have to move well; you have certain guys that do it different ways.

Novak doesn’t defend too much with a slice. He’ll actually slide out and try to get two hands on it and play pretty flat down the middle of the court. He doesn’t give you much.

You have other guys that have made great careers for themselves defending with the slice.

I think for each player it’s their own difference. Obviously for me it’s important as a guy with a big reach. It helps me out. Also buys me some time if I’m out of position to get back in a situation that I have a better opportunity.

Q. Your stretch at Wimbledon was a very important run in your career. What would be the one or two takeaways from that experience?
MILOS RAONIC: I think the most positive side of it was the way I was able to fight through two probably of the most identifying matches, coming down [sic] from two sets to love down, coming back in that situation, and sort of being able to turn that around against Roger late in that semifinal, as well. Those I think are steps that I can try to implement more and more.

I’m sure I’ll be facing similar scenarios many times where I’ve got to step up. I think that puts something in my pocket as far as understanding of how to get through those situations.

And then it was great to put myself in that situation, to have a chance to be one match away from winning a Grand Slam. But at the same time, the negative side of it was I wish I played with a little bit more intensity and stepped up a little bit better, which I would try if I could put myself back in the situation, which I believe I can.

Q. Was it nerves?
MILOS RAONIC: I thought I was doing it. That’s the different aspect of it. Only when I re-watched the video I sort of put myself back and saw the whole picture. I was unable to do that. I know that everything I had I did put into that match, into that final, because I knew the importance of it.

But I think I could have expressed it more externally to get a little bit of pressure off myself and get a little energy out and convert it and use it in a better way.

Q. Writing for the players tribune, what was that like?
MILOS RAONIC: It was a fun process. It was a process in the sense of you get to say what you want to say. There was a lot of different theme lines that they wanted me to stick to. This one was the one I felt was more relevant on the timing that they were looking to put out the article.

I worked with two other guys really to get the meat of the work done, and then I put in my own words. So it came from my voice. I’m happy with how it looks. I haven’t read it other than the last draft we went through and I feel comfortable with.

But I feel like I got to say what I wanted to say, and that was the most important thing.

Q. Is that a way to help you with what happened in the match, to write it?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, but I write everything down. So I’ve already dealt with it myself. I think this was I guess a more public accountability for it.

Q. Funky looking shoes you’re wearing. How would you describe the color? Is it your choice?
MILOS RAONIC: The color’s very pink and loud, but I like the outfit. Definitely I think it was a color they wanted to work with. I like the sort of disconnectedness. That that’s sort of the focal point of the outfit. Then something more classic and more toned down for the rest of the outfit. I think it works nicely.

Q. When you say they, you mean New Balance?
MILOS RAONIC: Yes.

Q. Was the goal to have everybody wear the T-shirts in your box and your parents said no?
MILOS RAONIC: I don’t know how many people were wearing them.

Q. Two. Is the one you’re wearing, is that a little bit of brand building?
MILOS RAONIC: I’m just having some fun with it. Having some fun with it. The other one, I don’t know what you’d call it with the badger, whatever my girlfriend made for fun. These were made by New Balance alongside with their designer, and they’re actually pretty close. They communicate back and forth about it. I guess they’ve helped each other in a way.

Q. Could you talk about New York City as an art center.
MILOS RAONIC: Probably right now with the generation of artists coming up, and after the unfortunate events of 9/11, I think there have been a lot of very influential New York artists that have really grown up through the city and made a difference.

I think you have that sort of current of guys passing through. Then you have previous phenoms that have changed the world. A lot of it has been based and centered in New York, so I think this is one of the cities where you don’t have to travel too far to see the different influences.

There’s galleries on many different corners. Some small, private, to much bigger public things as well. There are many collectors throughout the city as well, so you can amuse yourself through that outlet pretty easily.

Q. Can you briefly give few names?
MILOS RAONIC: Dan Colen, Jeff Elrod, Rashid Johnson. There’s many great artists that have, after that whole unfortunate event of 9/11, stepped up and I think done great things.

Q. (Question regarding records and the Open era.)
MILOS RAONIC: Which records?

Q. For example, Serena’s slam count. She’s tied with Steffi Graf in the Open era, but Margaret Court before still has more.
MILOS RAONIC: I think people compare it. I think Rod Laver’s Grand Slams are compared. I think that was before the Open era, if I’m not mistaken. People still consider the fact that he completed a slam in a year as one of the greatest feats.

I think people like to have that discussion for argument’s sake, but people still appreciate the great things that were done throughout any period of time in tennis.

Q. When would be the first time you played Ryan Harrison? How do you feel about playing him in the next round?
MILOS RAONIC: I can’t remember the first time I played him. It would have to be a long time ago. Juniors. He was younger than me. Probably second to last year or last year of my junior career. I think the last time I played him was in San Jose.

I know the things he liked to do back then. Obviously times have changed on both sides of the court, mine and his. So I’ll definitely do some research and maybe try to watch a little bit of that match he played yesterday, maybe have a few words with other players that have played him over a recent period of time.

Jack Sock

Press Conference

J. SOCK/T. Fritz

7-6, 7-5, 3-6, 1-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How many times have you played him in a tournament?
JACK SOCK: That was the second.

Q. All your matches go five sets, right?
JACK SOCK: Two for two. Yeah, today was obviously a back-and-forth match. Two sets my way, two sets his way and then a battle in the fifth, but just happy to get through.

Q. What do you think made the difference tonight?
JACK SOCK: I thought I came out and I thought I returned well the whole match. He’s got a great serve. He can really pop the first serve. Can’t be spotted well. It’s tough. I was able to get on a lot of second serves and put pressure on him I think. That paid off in the fifth getting up two breaks. Obviously didn’t help me too much when I gave them right back.

Yeah, once again, I was able to come up with some good returns at the 5-4 game and played a couple good points and got it done.

Q. How badly did the color of his shirt throw off your game?
JACK SOCK: I guess it could have gone both ways because I was wearing the same one for the first few sets.

Q. An adjustment you have to make?
JACK SOCK: No. We’ve seen them before. Nothing new.

Q. Doesn’t ever get lost?
JACK SOCK: No.

Q. What are your thoughts on the state of men’s tennis in America right now with the younger players who got a chance to play in the first round against a couple more veteran American players?
JACK SOCK: Yeah. I mean, you never want to see a bunch of Americans playing first round. Less chances for us to have more in the second round. But draws are draws. I saw some of the Isner-Tiafoe match earlier. These guys are in the main draw for a reason. Grand Slam matches are always tough.

I think the younger Americans are doing a great job of making a splash, making names for themselves early. Taylor has been a pro for a year and some change now and he’s already in the top 60 or 70 or wherever he is.

Yeah, these guys are playing great tennis. They’re playing with confidence. As many for some of us, my first few years I wasn’t top 100 right away. It took a little more time. These guys are playing free and with nothing to lose and coming out playing well.

Yeah, I mean, I saw Frances serve for the match earlier. Didn’t get it, but the experience does go a long way. This is my sixth or seventh US Open. Sixth, I think. I know John has played however many.

The experience does play a factor.

Q. When you win a match here you hit balls up into the crowd. What is that experience like and where are you trying to hit the balls?
JACK SOCK: Whoever’s loudest probably most of the time. If I have a certain section or a few people that are really loud supporting me throughout the match, I’ll try to hit it to them to kind of thank them.

Other than that, I usually have a sort of signature one where I will face one direction and kind of hit it backwards and tease them a little bit. That’s one I usually like to do.

For the most part, whoever is being loudest and whoever helped me most in the match.

Q. What is the experience like when you get to do that after a match?
JACK SOCK: I mean, it’s fun. The people go nuts. They get really loud. It’s a fun experience for them. They stuck around for however many hours you played a match. It’s the least we can do to give back.

Q. You talked recently about wanting to build on your doubles success. How has your experience in Rio or the medal and success there, how do you channel that into singles?
JACK SOCK: I’ve never considered myself a doubles player. I’ve just enjoyed playing it. Happened to have pretty good success in it so far in my career.

But like I’ve said recently in the media, I won’t be playing any more doubles in slams. I want to put my focus solely on singles. Been a few instances in these slams where obviously you’re playing three-out-of-five, and especially here in New York where it can be 95 degrees, 70 percent humidity, you need to have all your energy. You need to rest up for these singles matches.

There’s been a couple places where I always loved playing doubles 100%, and obviously I go out there and give it my all. Yeah, just decided to put it aside and be able to rest and put everything into singles. Maybe there’s schedule mishaps where on your day off you’re waiting to play last on in doubles and all of a sudden you’re here.

This happened to me last year a little bit. I was here, played until 9:30, 10:00 at night and you’re not out of here until 11:00, 11:30, and they put me on second the next day.

There is nothing you can do about it. You can’t control the schedule. But it can be avoided if you’re not in the draw.

Q. Is there something you try to do differently on the big points from the not-so-big points?
JACK SOCK: Win them would probably be the most important. I mean, no. My game is pretty straightforward, I feel like. If there’s a big point I’m looking for a forehand; looking to be aggressive.

If I’m serving, looking to make first serves. If I’m returning, dictate with my forehand as much as possible. Get the majority of the points. Yeah, any point, especially big points, that’s what I’m trying to do.

Q. From which tennis figure have you drawn the most inspiration and why?
JACK SOCK: Oh, man. It’s tough. Growing up, I’ve said this numerous times being from Nebraska, Roddick was a big influence watching him. I can remember to this day watching him win this tournament with his spiky blonde hair and visor and wearing the Reebok clothes.

That was big for me growing up one city over from where he was from. Other than that, when I was really younger I watched Andre a lot, Andre and Pete, and then Andy when I started taking tennis seriously when I started getting older.

Just as time has gone, you’re focusing on your game and trying to get better yourself. But you can pick up things even your first few years on tour when you watch the top four guys, what they can do. You can always take a few things what they’re doing and apply it into your own daily routines, professionalism.

There’s always something to be learned. Yeah, I mean, I would say the majority of people.

Q. A little while ago in your career you were playing in the Wimbledon doubles final. You score the great championship point. This summer you go to Rio and become a bronze medalist. Can you compare the two different peak experiences?
JACK SOCK: How did you describe the first-round loss?

Q. I called it wretched.
JACK SOCK: The guy’s a pretty good player, so I wouldn’t consider it a bad loss. He took a set off Del Potro next round, so I think he’s a pretty solid tennis player. So we can make that clear.

But, yeah, I mean, it wasn’t my day in singles. He played good tennis. Had to regroup and get ready for the doubles. Then in the mixed, able to come away with two medals, one being gold. Had one of the best weeks of my life.

I mean, I put Rio and my time there at the Olympics at the same level as Wimbledon and my first singles title, if not in front of it. Something about the Olympics. Obviously you dream of it as a kid. It’s even different being there, I think.

I’ve heard so much going in and the expectation and everything, but I think it’s that much and better when you’re there. It’s definitely one of the best weeks of my life being there with all the athletes and supporting everyone and the camaraderie, and the overall experience was incredible. I think all the guys would say that.

Q. Can you try to put into words the rush you get at the moment of victory?
JACK SOCK: I mean, the bronze was awesome. I’m a big golf fan. One of my favorite golfers is Matt Kuchar, and had the pleasure of him watching our bronze medal match. I was pretty hyped up for that, having him there and then being able to win in there. Went over and gave him and the whole team a hug afterwards. That was a pretty special moment for me.

And then a few days later winning gold and hearing the U.S. National Anthem standing in the middle of the podium with a gold around your neck, there’s really nothing like it. Don’t really know if it’s sunk in totally. Just flew from Rio, and the next day started training, the day I got off the plane, for this tournament.

Different from the other sports where you maybe have a little time off after the Olympics. After this maybe I’ll sit back and enjoy it a little more.

 

Novak Djokovic

Press Conference

N. DJOKOVIC/J. Janowicz

6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. First of all, what is your physical status at this moment, and what was it before the match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s getting better and better each day. I’m glad that I’m experiencing that. So hopefully as the tournament progresses, I’ll reach my peak.

Q. What were you having treatment for and what pains were you suffering?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was just prevention. It’s all good.

Q. Of what?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Of my arm.

Q. When you come back to New York and you have all this fun in post-game interview, why is this tournament different?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, each Grand Slam has something different about it. US Open is the most entertaining Grand Slam, I think. There’s a lot going on on and off the court. You’re in one of the biggest, most important cities in the world. New York City, always something going on.

There is a great vibe during these couple of weeks for the tennis. Everybody’s in town. It’s always fun to be out there.

Q. It was the first match for you after a long break during this period of the season. What were you looking for in your game? Now that it’s done, were you satisfied completely with what you did?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, each day presents us some kind of challenges that we need to overcome, accept and overcome. It wasn’t easy today playing against Jerzy for the first time. He’s a very, you know, potent player, powerful serve, big forehands. Unpredictable really.

Play well as he did in the second set and he can make a couple double-faults in a row in the important moments. It’s really up and down. That’s why it wasn’t easy to keep the concentration.

But I thought I’ve done well in the third and fourth to bounce back from the dropped second set. It’s an opening match, night session. After all I’ve been through in last couple of weeks, it’s pleasing, of course, to finish the match and win it. I’ll try to look positive and just think about the next day.

Q. With injuries you’ve had coming in here, how you’re feeling, is it fair to say your expectations are measured or lower for this tournament? You’re willing to not be too much of a perfectionist?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: To be honest, I take it day by day. That’s what I feel at the moment. It’s good, as I said, just to finish the match. I’m pleased that as the match progressed I was feeling better and better.

Tomorrow is a new day. I hope that I’ll feel overall good so I’m able to perform at my best for the next match.

Q. Vesely next, one of the guys who has beaten you this year.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Different surface, different circumstances, best-of-five. But still, Vesely deserves respect. He’s somebody that has been kind of trying to break through as the next generation.

Couple years ago he already was there. He made a name of himself. Just gained the consistency I think over the last couple of years. He has a big game, a big serve, big forehand, and moves well for his size. So let’s see.

Obviously he hasn’t played many times on the Arthur Stadium. If you get to play there, it’s quite different. I like playing there, especially with the roof construction. Conditions are quite suitable to my style of the game. Hopefully I’ll be able to slow his serve down a little bit and then take it from there.

Q. One of the great things about you is you’ve learned and grown over the years. People love you because you’ve been transparent and open. Can you share about what you’ve learned or how you’ve grown over the past couple months?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Last couple months? Whew. I think as anybody else really, life arranges things to happen for you so you can evolve. Whether you recognize those kind of signals and circumstances as an opportunity to grow, that really depends on you, how conscious you are.

I’m really grateful to be able to have that conscious at the moment. Hopefully I’m at the right path, you know. As everybody else, I’m trying each day, day in and day out, to first of all find always new ways of motivating myself to play tennis.

I have more than enough happiness in my life and blessings to be a father and a husband. Life is wonderful. I mean, there is no doubt about it. I cannot sit here and complain and whine about the issues that, you know, everybody has in each day in their lives, privately, professionally.

But that’s a beautiful thing. When you expect the least, that’s when you have things coming at you as life’s lessons. I’m glad that I’m able to accept them and to greet them with a consciousness of wanting to evolve and wanting to get the best out of them.

That’s all I can say. I’m very grateful.

Q. You had the beautiful statement on court where you said Ashe is like a dark tunnel; at least there’s a beautiful light at the end. Does that in some way reflect your spirit some days?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Ashe is like a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe I said something wrong. It’s not like a dark tunnel.

It does feel like you’ve been illuminated on the court with all these lights and all the show and everything that’s going on. The opening ceremony is always a special night, of course. Phil Collins is one of my favorite singers. I was enjoying that and getting pumped before the match.

Yeah, it was wonderful to come back and play a night session that is undoubtedly the most special night session that we have in sport.

To be there and play another time, I don’t take anything for granted. I know the player in my position earns a right to play these kind of matches in the biggest stadium. But, again, I try to be aware, be present. It’s really a beautiful moment.

Q. You’ve been elected to the players council. How do you see this new role?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: First of all, an honor to be elected to be part of the council. I was part of the council some years ago for three years, then I had a little gap where I wasn’t involved in the politics of tennis, if you want to call it that way.

Now the players, most of the players, majority of the players that were in the council, they put my name in the election group, so I was elected to be in the council. I gladly accepted it, because it’s a calling. It’s a responsibility. If, as it is the case, my colleagues and friends have given me the trust of being there, I need to take it.

Of course I’ll do my best to contribute to the evolution of this sport for the time being. The first council meeting was very long but productive. I was elected the president. Kevin Anderson is vice president.

But to be honest, you know, it doesn’t change much. In the council we are all even. We are all equal. It was interesting to really sit there and hear and talk about, discuss, debate about different subjects that are ongoing right now, new ideas, new prospects.

You know, we are all in the same ship basically: the council people, the board people, and in the end of the day, tournaments as well. Even though historically the system is such that there is 50% of players, 50% of tournaments, many times there is a conflict of interest a little bit.

In the end of the day, we are all part of the same governing body. We’re all part of the same organization. As I said, we’re all in the same mission to make this sport better.

Q. Did you come into this tournament, and now that you’ve won this first match, do you think it’s a little easier road that Roger is not part of this tournament or does that not factor in at all?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, to be honest, it doesn’t really factor in. I mean, still the draw is 128. You still have guys like Andy, Rafa, Cilic, Nishikori, Raonic. You still have the best players in the world.

Certainly it’s not the same when you have Roger and you don’t have Roger for the tournament, for the fans. He’s been one of the most popular players of all time, one of the most successful players of all time. There is no doubt that every tournament is missing him. Of course.

But on the other hand, we got to focus on the players that we have at the moment. So I think even without him, it’s a very strong field. I’m sure it’s going to be a good tournament.

 

 

 

Note from the US Open Media Operations Guide as why Tennis Panorama News is allowed to post transcripts:

Transcripts of player interviews cannot be posted until one (1) hour after the interview has ended. Player transcripts can only be posted on the website of the publication that was accredited.
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US Players go 10-13 on Day 1 of the US Open

(August 29, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY -Thirty-nine players are representing the United States are playing in the US Open this year. Americans went 10-13 on day one of the US Open with a few five-set struggles for seeded men.

No. 20 seed John Isner had to rally past countryman 18-year-old wild card Frances Tiafoe 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2, 7-6 (3) in 3 hours and 27 minutes on the new Grandstand court. The 125th-ranked Tiafoe served for the match at 5-3 in the fifth set, but could not close it out.

“Experience is definitely on my side in that match, but sometimes experience is overrated,” Isner said .

“You know, I think in that instance I actually probably played the best return game I played all match.

“You know, he played very well, I thought, and he earned everything up to that point for sure. I just tried to stick with it. Was able to get back into that set at 5-4.

“Actually, even though I was pretty haggard out there, I got a jolt of energy when I got it back to 5-4.”

“Serving for it I thought I definitely had it,” said Tiefoe. “I thought I definitely thought the match was over, but he played a good return game. Didn’t make that many first serves that game. Probably should have played a higher percentage, but it’s tough.”

“Toughest loss of my career so far for sure. But, you know, think I’m getting over it now a little bit. I mean, not much to really say. It’s tough. I was so excited serving for it 5-3; the crowd is going nuts; I’m going nuts. You have so much adrenaline going.

“Come up a little short, it hurts.”

No. 26 seed Jack Sock stopped the comeback of fellow American and last year’s US Open Boys singles champion Taylor Fritz 7-6 (3), 7-5, 3-6, 1-6, 6-4. Sock made 73 errors in the win.

“Two for two,” said Sock who also beat the teenager in five-sets at the Australian Open. “Yeah, today was obviously a back-and-forth match. Two sets my way, two sets his way and then a battle in the fifth, but just happy to get through.

“I thought I came out and I thought I returned well the whole match. He’s got a great serve. He can really pop the first serve. Can’t be spotted well. It’s tough. I was able to get on a lot of second serves and put pressure on him I think. That paid off in the fifth getting up two breaks. Obviously didn’t help me too much when I gave them right back.”

Jack Sock withstood Taylor Fritz’s repeated comebacks to win the second five-set match between American men Monday at the U.S. Open.

Olympian Brian Baker using a protected ranking of No. 56 due to injuries, lost a five-set match for the first time after going up two sets to none when he fell to Argentina’s Federico Delbonis 3-6, 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-2,6-2.

“Anytime you lose a slam match it’s tough on the soul,” Baker said.

Despite his ups and downs with injuries, Baker still keeps going on. “I still enjoy playing,” he said. “Obviously it’s not much fun to lose a match like that, but I’m still trying to make my way back this year. When you are out as long as I have, only 8 months back and I really wasn’t as fit as I really wanted to be until May So really just trying to get my feet back under me so it’s really disappointing to lose a match like that. I know I should be getting better and better as the year goes on and into next year.”

Another heart-breaking five-set loss coming after going two sets up was wild card Mackenzie McDonald who won both the NCAA singles and doubles titles while attending UCLA. The  former Bruin lost to Czech Jan Satral 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. This was the American’s debut at a major.

“I think there’s more positives to take from this match. Just thinking more about the experience,” he said. “You know that was my debut, I went five sets, my first five-set match. I think that this is just a long process. I think I’ve learned so much from doing this and experiencing this.”

McDonald plans to play challenger events to build his ranking up.

USTA Pro Circuit Challenge Winner Ernesto Escobedo Wins First Round Match at US Open for First Match Win at a Major

American qualifier Taylor Townsend had former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in trouble after winning the first set in the first-ever match on the new Grandstand. Wozniacki pulled it out 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 but Townsend the former No. 1 junior said she had chances.

“That really stings. I had so many chances,” said the Georgian.

“Overall, I just have to take the positive from it. This is definitely not satisfying for me. I want to continue, go back out, I mean, if I could I’d go back out on the practice court now. That’s just how I feel. Just to get better because I know that I’m so close.
“So that was just — that match proved a lot to me today, but I’m not satisfied at all.”

“There are a lot of different points that I feel like if I could have done something different or if I made a different decision that it could have maybe changed the outcome.

“Instead of getting broken, could have got broken. Instead of being down 30, could have been up 15-30 or 15-all. But that’s tennis. There are so many points during the match where it can go either way. You have to make a decision in a split second. Sometimes you make the right decision; sometimes you make the wrong decision.

“I have to learn from it. I can pick apart the match and tell you every little thing, but overall I’m just going to assess it, watch the film, learn from it, and keep moving.”
The USTA Girls’ 18s national champion Kayla Day from Santa Barbara Calif., won her first main draw match at a major when US countrywoman Madison Brengle retire with Day leading 6-2, 4-2. Day earned a spot in the US Open as the Girls National champion.

 

“There were a lot of nerves in the warm-up and first game, but after the first couple of games, I just felt really comfortable out there…. happy with that, she said. “It’s not always the best way to win, but I was happy with the way I was playing, and I was in control of the match.

“All my life, I dreamed about playing here, so I just told myself to go out and enjoy it today, that it would a good experience, no matter the result.”

Cathering “CiCi” Bellis, who made a splash in the 2014 US Open when as a 15-year-old she been seeded player Dominika Cibulkova is now two for two in first round matches at the US Open. Now 17, the qualifier beat Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic 6-2, 6-3.

Bellis talkd about the virtues of coming through qualifying:

“I think just playing actually three matches made me so much more comfortable, and knowing the surface of the courts and just playing on the courts in general is I think a big advantage for me.

“I think it’s better for me to come through qualifying rather than getting just a wildcard.”

 

Singles Results of United States players:

(26) Jack Sock d. Taylor Fritz 7-6(3), 7-5, 3-6, 1-6, 6-4

(DEN)Caroline Wozniacki(DEN) d. (Q)Taylor Townsend 4-6, 6-3, 6-4

(20) John Isner d. (WC) Frances Tiafoe 3-6, 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2, 7-6(3)

(13) (GBR)Johanna Konta(GBR) d. Bethanie Mattek-Sands[WC] 6-3, 6-3

(24) (SUI)Belinda Bencic d. Samantha Crawford 6-7(6) 6-3, 6-4

Federico Delbonis(ARG) d. Brian Baker 3-6, 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-2, 6-2

(JPN)Naomi Osaka d. (28) Coco Vandeweghe 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4

(WC) Kayla Day d. Madison Brengle 6-2, 4-2 ret.

(Q)Catherine “CiCi” Bellis d. (SUI) Viktorija Golubic 6-2, 6-3

(WC) Ernesto Escobedo d. (SVK) Lukas Lacko 6-4, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3

(RUS) Evgeniya Rodina(RUS) d. (WC) Danielle Collins 6-1, 6-2

(ARG) Guido Pella d.(WC) Bjorn Fratangelo 6-3, 6-4, 6-4

Christina McHale d. (GER)Mona Barthel 6-2, 6-2

Shelby Rogers d. (27) (ITA) Sara Errani 6-4, 7-6(3)

(TUR) Cagla Buyukakcay(TUR) d. Irina Falconi 6-2, 6-1

(CZE)(Q)Jan Satral d. Mackenzie McDonald[WC] 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2

(WC)Lauren Davis d. (BLR) Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 4-6, 7-5

(Q) Ryan Harrison d. (FRA) Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-3

(8) Madison Keys d. Alison Riske 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2

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Borna Coric Beats Jack Sock to Complete Croatia Comeback from 0-2 to Send Team to Davis Cup Semis

Borna Coric

Borna Coric

(July 17, 2016) BEAVERTON, Oregon – Croatia came back from an 0-2 deficit for the first time to beat the United States 3-2 to reach the Davis Cup semifinals on Sunday at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center.

Nineteen-year-old Borna Coric  ranked No. 54 in the world, beat No. 26 Jack Sock in a fifth and deciding rubber 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to seal the victory.

Croatia will host France in the semifinals September 16-18.

The United States came into day three of their Davis Cup quarterfinal tie against Croatia leading 2-1. Friday saw the U.S. get two singles wins and on Saturday the Bryan brothers lost for only their fifth time in Davis Cup play on Saturday.

Borna Coric served with confidence in the first set, Sock barely winning any points against his opponent’s serve. The Croatian went up a break but was challenged in the tenth game, having to save a break point before closing out the set 6-4.

The Croatian teen won 86 percent of first serve points and 100 percent of second serve points with three aces in the opening set.

In the second set Sock seemed to gain some momentum breaking Coric for a 4-2 lead. In the critical seventh game which lasted over 11 minutes, Sock saved five break points to hold for 5-2. He won the set 6-3.

Coric went up 3-0 to start the third set, Sock getting back on serve at 2-3 only to lose serve again to fall to 4-2. Coric held on to take a two sets to one lead by taking the third set 6-3.

Coric kept up his confidence breaking serve n the opening game of the fourth set. Sock went on a three game run. to reach 3-2. Coric made the crucial break in the ninth game and served out the match to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Jack Sock on Borna Coric: “I mean, he played a pretty solid match I thought overall. Obviously I had chances and opportunities that I didn’t really convert.

“I mean, that’s tennis. Some days it’s firing and feels great; some days they’re missing a little bit. Credit to him. He played a great match. First point to last played solid and deserved it today.”

Coric lost the second singles rubber to John Isner in straight sets on Friday and he was in a much better mood on Sunday.

“It’s completely different mood, honestly,” Coric said. “I have to be thankful for the Marin and also to the Ivan. They played unbelievable match in doubles. No one was expecting that really.

“Also Marin today winning in straight sets. He was playing for the three days. He played nine sets in two days, which is really not easy.

“To play like that today was unbelievable, and the effort from him. I was feeling good coming in the match. I was practicing a lot on the Saturday, doing some work on some things which I was not happy, you know.

“Today I was playing very good.”

What was the key to his better play on Sunday? “I think I was much more relaxed.” said Coric.  “You know, I was hitting the ball. I was going for the points. I just wasn’t waiting for him to miss, because I knew I cannot play like that because he’s going to kill me with the forehand.

“You know, that was my tactic basically, you know, just to maybe try to stay as close as I can on the line and make good tempo, which I was doing very well.”

Coric has now won ties for Croatia in back to back fifth set rubbers.

“It’s not easy to play in a fifth match obviously,” he said. “You know, I have to be honest, I like that kind of situation. I like it more than playing on the Court 27 somewhere, you know, somewhere far away from the crowd, the people.

“I just like big stage more, when it’s more important. When I have more pressure, you know, when the expectations are big, I like those occasions. I think that’s what we’re training for. That’s what I like. That’s what I enjoy.

“Obviously that’s when I play best. At least for now. I hope it’s going to stay like that.”
Earlier in the day, Cilic, who coming into Sunday had a 5-0 record against the American, would deny the U.S. from closing the tie in the reverse singles. Cilic extended his perfect record over Isner to 6-0 with a 7-6(9), 6-3, 6-4 victory forcing a fifth and deciding rubber later on Sunday.

Isner gave all credit to his opponent.

“I felt like he played pretty well, to be honest,” Isner said to media. “The first set was critical. Felt like I definitely was the better player in the first set.

“Didn’t get paid off, but that’s on me. He came up with the goods when he needed it. That gave him a lot of confidence I think. He got his legs underneath him even more after the first set as well.

“I knew it was going to be a tough task. He was going to be feeling pretty confident because he played very well yesterday in the doubles. I felt like he carried that over today in the singles.”

“I felt from the beginning of the match that John (Isner) start(ed) extremely well, Cilic said in his post-match news conference. “He was not missing much; he was very aggressive; making a lot of returns back.

“He was covering most of the court. I was, in my service games, in trouble for a lot of times in that first set. I felt that I had to be every point very focused, very aggressive as much as I can to stay in there, not to have any loose points.

“I was just hoping that I’m going to get to the tiebreak to give myself a chance there to try to do something.

“During the first set I didn’t have any opportunities on his serve, and I felt that he played probably the best set in all of our encounters from the past. That was definitely a tough task, but I stayed in there mentally. I was very, very focused.”

For Cilic this was his third straight day playing, losing his opening singles on Friday to Jack Sock, after leading 2 sets to none, pairing with Dodig to win the doubles on Saturday and winning in reverse singles on Sunday.

Asked if his doubles victory gave him some confidence for Sunday’s singles, Cilic replied: “I just took some positives out of that match. I was very emotionally involved yesterday. I was very motivated. When you are losing that kind of match like I did on Friday, things can go negatively and you can go down.

“I tried to just lift myself up with the team. I was very much emotionally focused to be positive throughout yesterday’s match, and also today I felt it helped me to lift my game in critical situations.

“Especially when you play three days in a row you can get a little bit tired also towards the end and you can miss some balls that you are not regularly missing.

“So I was trying to be very focused with those emotions to stay in there throughout all the match.”

“It’s really unbelievable,” said Croatia’s Captain Zeljko Krajan of the comeback. “We are still, I mean, I would say shocked from this win. Looking back on Friday and being 2-Love down and then playing against Bryans yesterday, didn’t look very positive for us.

“I have to say honestly after yesterday’s win I was believing we have a good chance today, because I knew that Marin and Borna are for sure going to raise their level from Friday. Friday was much tougher.

“We been here just four days, and it’s tough to have four days to prepare for these conditions and time difference and everything.

“Today I knew they going to bring the quality on the court and it would be very tough for your team to win.”

This win for Croatia marked only the fourth time that the United States lost with a 2-0 lead. They are now 157-4.

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Jack Sock Rallies From Two Sets Down to Beat Marin Cilic; John Isner Also Wins, Gives USA 2-0 Lead in Davis Cup Quarterfinal

Jack Sock

Jack Sock

(July 15, 2016) BEAVERTON, Oregon – The United States is off to a 2-0 lead against Croatia in quarterfinal action in Davis Cup play on Friday at  the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center in Beaverton, Oregon.

In the first rubber of the United States versus Croatia Davis Cup quarterfinal, 2014 US Open champion and No. 12 Marin Cilic took on No. 26 Jack Sock.

Sock rallied from two sets down to beat Cilic  4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to give the USA a 1-0 lead.

The first set saw little difference between both competitors, but Cilic sealed the break in the tenth game to claim the set 6-4.

The second set saw Cilic took advantage of three break point opportunities to take the set 6-3. Sock contributed 16 errors to his opponent’s cause in the set. Cilic had a medical time out after the seventh game of the set.

Sock drastically reduced his unforced error count in the third set, making only four while upping his first serve percentage making 16/17 to win the third set 6-3.

In the fourth set both men stayed even until the the ninth game, when the 23-year-old American broke serve at 30. Sock served out the set to even the match at 2-sets all.

Cilic broke Sock with a drop volley winner in the American’s first service game of the fifth set and consolidated for a 3-0 lead to start out the fifth set. Sock bounced back with a break in the fifth game to get to 2-3.

“Well, I wasn’t very happy down 3-0,” Sock said. Once again, just stayed the course. Having such an experienced player in Jim Courier on the bench with
you, you can’t ask for much more. He just kept me level headed and kept telling me to do the right things,which I had been doing for a few sets to get back.”
In the seventh game, Sock failed to take advantage of three break points and Cilic held off the inspired American to hold for 4-3.

Sock broke through in in the eighth game, setting up a break point on a drop volley winner for break point. Cilic hit a backhand volley wide to give team USA the break and a 5-4 lead.

As the old Ringo Star song goes “It Don’t Come Easy.” Sock had to fend off two break points in the tenth game to seal the three-hour and 13 minute match win. Final score 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

What made the difference in the match for Sock?

Sock said: “I mean, I had a ton of chances in the second. I didn’t get blown off the for two sets. I was up a break twice in the second. Struggled on my serve a little bit.

“But just maybe made a few smarter decisions on the serve. Made a lot more first serves to kind of put it in
the spots where I could get forehands, start the rally.

“Returning the whole time I felt like I could get in a lot of his games. The court is slow enough I could get back
on the serve and make it neutral.

“Just stayed the course really and was lucky enough to get the win.”

For Sock this was his first match on home soil in his Davis Cup career, he talked about this win being one of his career accomplishments.

“Haven’t played a ton of five-setters in my career. Haven’t come back from two sets to love down. To do that today, in front of
the home crowd for the team, it almost feels extra special today. Maybe if I had done it in another tournament – obviously playing individually there – to do it today for the team in this, the first match to get us off to a good start, feels unreal.”

“I was just a little bit unfortunate in the beginning of the third to lose my serve at the beginning, and then Jack started to serve really well from the beginning of the third,” Cilic said.

“Obviously I think he served much, much better in the fourth and fifth set. He was not giving me too many
chances on the return games. I had a break in the fifth that’s a little bit unfortunate to lose it. I was 3-1 up, 15-Love, and easy forehand in the middle of the court.

“Yeah, a little bit disappointed with that, just to lose that opportunity of getting that lead in the fifth set to make
that extra step to closing the match.

“You know, when I gave him a chance to come back I felt that he started to play also really well. He was very aggressive. Obviously last game I had 15-40 also to come back. You know, just one point where I went for a shot, missed a little bit.

“Overall, I think he played pretty good tennis in the last three sets. It’s not that I played so bad. I felt that
maybe I could have served better today. I was not serving as good as I can. Just from the game, obviously he’s very dangerous.
He can play very, very fast tennis. He’s got big forehand, so that was I think working well for him today.”

Tennis Panorama asked U.S. Davis Cup Jim Courier about he said to Sock after he went down two sets.

“Well, the second set Jack was up a break twice and was having trouble holding serve,” Courier said.

“Both of them were for that matter.

“But I felt like Jack was in a good position once the rallies got started. He just needed to execute.
“I though he was actually playing pretty well from a tactical standpoint in the second set. He just needed to lift his level a little bit and stay in there mentally and just be there.

“We also recognize that Marin had a tough loss in Wimbledon. He had chances to take out Roger Federer. Sometimes players coming off matches where they had match point and didn’t close a player out can be a little susceptible, too.

“So I was using that as a little bit of a carrot to keep Jack in there, too. Jack stayed in there point for point and fought hard and made it physical. He did a lot of great things out there today that will hopefully carry him to new places in his career.

“First time he’s come from two sets down. I think he learned a lot about himself out there. He deserves all the credit for it. He would’ve stayed in there I am pretty sure. He started to make that transition in the last month and a half or so mentally to sticking in there a little bit better.

“Today was just a manifestation of the work he’s been doing with Troy Hahn, his coach. Today it paid off for the team; certainly paid off big for him, too.”

On a day which saw top players Simona Halep and Milos Raonic withdraw from the Olympics due to concerns about the Zika Virus, both Cilic and Sock are looking forward to participating in the Olympic Games in Rio.

“Yeah, it’s really exciting” Sock commented. As a kid you grow up watching a lot of the Olympics – not only tennis, but a lot of the sports. Kind of a bucket list for every athlete I feel like to be able to represent your country on the biggest stage possible”

“I am very excited to get down there and rep the U.S., ” Sock an excited Sock. “Hopefully I can play some good tennis and wear the
colors proud. Definitely beyond happy.”

As for Cilic, “I’m going to play. A lot of guys have concerns about that (Zika virus), but I hope it’s going to be fine.”

Coric also commented on the Olympics: “As far as I’m concerned I’m going to play. I don’t have problems with Zika. Yeah, it’s going to be great experience for me. Going to be my first Olympics. I’m really looking forward to it.

“Obviously it’s very big thing. I’m only 19 and I’m going to be already there. Not many people can say that. So I’m just very proud of that. Obviously I’m just looking forward to it”

John Isner

John Isner

In the second rubber Borna Coric had no answers to John Isner’s serve, as the American nailed 23 aces in a 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 win over the teenage Croatianin a minute less than two hours.

The last of Isner’s aces came on match point.

Isner said that Sock’s comeback win helped his own momentum in his match.

“Oh, it helps a lot, he said. “I’m just sitting right here and he’s down two sets to love and things aren’t looking too good. He won the third set. I saw that he had a lot of positive energy on his side.

“Then he wins that fourth set, and I’m getting really animated in the locker room in the fifth set. He was able to pull it out playing incredible tennis.

“For me, it helps a lot. I feel like it takes a bit of pressure off me as well, knowing that regardless of what I do out there on the court, we’re not going to be losing. At worst, we’ll be 1-1.

“I was in a good spot going out there today thanks to Jack.”

Coric was pretty downcast after his loss to Isner.

“I lost, he said. “That’s what happened. I didn’t use my chances in the first two sets obviously. I had many chances to break him, and then on 5-4 in both sets I played really poor game. It was basically not much to say honestly.”

The USA is 0-3 against Croatia in Davis cup play, vying for a place in the semifinal round of Davis Cup.

The U.S. is 157-3 all-time when leading 2-0 after the first day of play and 40-1 when leading 2-0 since the World Group format began in 1981.

The doubles rubber will take place on Saturday with Bob and Mike Bryan of the USA going up against Croatia’s Ivan Dodig and Marin Draganja.

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Jack Sock Leads Off First Davis Cup Home Tie Against Marin Cilic

Jack Sock

(July 14, 2016) PORTLAND, Oregon – The draw for the USA versus Croatia quarterfinal Davis Cup tie took place in Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland on Thursday.

Jack Sock will lead off play Saturday against 2014 U.S. Open winner Marin Cilic. Cilic comes off a five-set loss in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon to Roger Federer, when the Croatian was leading two sets to none.

For the 23-year-old American Sock, ranked 26th in the world, this will his first Davis Cup tie played in the United States. This is the first time the U.S. has played at home since 2014.

Asked if he felt any added pressure, he said: “I mean, not necessarily any pressure.
“I’m more excited, honestly, to be playing on home soil. I love being a part of the team with these guys. They have a lot more experience than me out here.

“Yeah, I mean, maybe when I go out there, it will be a different feeling than when I played in Uzbekistan and Australia. But more excited than anything to be able to play in front of some home fans, some family and friends. Obviously playing in front of my country and these guys as well.

“Definitely more excited than nervous.”

The second match on Friday pits, No. 1 American John Isner, ranked 16th in the world, against No. 2 and No. 54 in the world, Croatian Borna Coric. They are playing each other for the first time.

The doubles rubber on Saturday will feature Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan of the United States against Ivan Dodigand Marin Draganja of Croatia.

Reverse singles will be played on Sunday with the No. 1’s battling in the first match, followed by the fifth rubber face-off between the No. 2’s.

Croatia comes into the tie having never lost to the United States with a 3-0 record. The U.S. last lost to Croatia in the 2009 World Group Quarterfinal in Porec, Croatia, in which Croatia won 3-2 with Cilic and Ivo Karlovic leading the team. The U.S. also played Croatia in the 2005 World Group First Round in Los Angeles and in the 2003 World Group First Round in Zagreb, Croatia.

The winner of the tie faces the winner of France-Czech Republic in the World Group semifinals.

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Davis Cup Notes and Quotes: USA vs Croatia, Pre-Draw News Conferences

(July 12, 2016) The United States plays host to Croatia in Beaverton, Oregon at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center, July 15-17, on an outdoor hard court in the quarterfinal round of the World Group in Davis Cup. Tuesday saw both teams have pre-draw news conferences.

 

U.S. Captain Jim Courier, John Isner, Jack Sock, Mike Bryan and Bob Bryan took questions from the media about the Davis Cup tie. Here are a few of the highlights from the news conference:

 

On the short turnaround from Wimbledon:

JACK SOCK: Yeah, I mean, obviously we were all in

London for a while, even playing warmup tournaments,

some of the guys.

 

We were all excited to get back in the States for sure.

Our favorite time of the year is to play in front of the

home crowd here in the States.

 

Especially for me, it’s my first home tie. I played two

ties kind of far away. For me, it will be nice to play in

front of a home crowd and be on a team with all these

guys. I think we’re all looking forward to it.

 

Asked if the team could change the trend of not having a Top 10 player and still winning the Cup.

CAPTAIN COURIER: Well, I think Davis Cup is also

pretty unique in that the home-field advantage can play

a big role. We’ve played a lot of tough teams, some

home, but a lot on the road as well.

 

For us to have a chance now to play here against a

tough team in Croatia, and should we get through this

weekend, which we obviously are here to do, and hope

to, we’d have a home match against France or the

Czechs.

 

You pay your dues in Davis Cup. You go on the road

and try and get your wins, but you also earn the

chance to play at home by playing those matches, too.

Draws matter. Team chemistry and makeup matters.

We have four guys here that love to play for their

country. I have a lot of confidence in them as the

captain, which is why we’re sitting here. I believe we

can win this Davis Cup.

 

I think this year is a really good opportunity for us. We

can’t go more than one step at a time, but it certainly

looks promising if we can get through this weekend.

 

On the debate about the Davis cup format and whether it should be changed.

CAPTAIN COURIER: Davis Cup format has been a

discussion point for the players since Open tennis

began. You can go back and get quotes from Stan

Smith on the challenges that the Davis Cup schedule

puts on the players.

 

When you put it in an Olympic year, like this year, you

look at the calendar, you see why Andy Murray and

Novak Djokovic are both declining to play this week for

their countries, and they’re players who typically play a

lot of Davis Cup. You can see why those challenges

still exist in a pretty crowded calendar.

 

The new president of the ITF, Dave Haggerty, was

president of the US Tennis Association. He’s very

progressive, and I think you’ll see change. It will be

incremental change. It won’t come tomorrow. But I

think you’ll see the ball start to roll towards a new look

in Davis Cup that is a little bit more of the times.

You have to remember the Davis Cup started in 1900,

long before the Masters, long before many massive

sporting events like the Ryder Cup.

 

Davis Cup will need to change if it wants to get more

attention. It’s still a wonderful event. It will be a

tremendous event here this weekend. The people in

attendance will absolutely love it. We’ll love it. But

there will be a lot of people on the east coast of

America that won’t be aware that it’s taking place,

which is one of the things that I think a change in

format would bring for Davis Cup, more attention, not to

mention it would make more money, which for the ITF

would do wonders for the growth of the game.

I have a lot of thoughts on it. It’s on the record. You

can look up my comments from years and years and

years ago on Davis Cup. But I’m sitting here because I

love to be a part of it, even in its current format.

Davis Cup succeeds largely in spite of the format, not

because of it.

 

Asked about strategy against Croatia.

CAPTAIN COURIER: Look, it’s pretty clear what our

strengths are. Bob and Mike on the court are just so

complete. They move in sync. They make it very

difficult for other teams to hit winners. They extract a

lot of errors. Bob and Mike will do their normal dance

out there, which is a thing of beauty to watch. It’s been

incredible to be a captain and witness what they’re able

to do for us.

 

Jack and John, although the heights are a little bit

different, the style and the strengths are very similar.

Serves and forehands are the shots. They’re the ones

that will cause opponents to lose sleep.

 

That gives me great comfort as a captain because that

was my bread and butter, too. I think I have a pretty

good understanding of how they need to play and what

they do on the court well.

 

The other team, just to give you a quick overview,

Marin Cilic, big server, solid off both wings on the

ground, moves pretty well for a big guy. Obviously has

tasted sweet success at slams and tasted some

frustration last week at Wimbledon when he had three

match points against Federer.

 

How will that impact him here? We’ll only know come

Friday when he gets back on the court, because that’s

the only way to figure that out.

 

Coric, probably a better backhand than forehand.

Moves well. Very hungry, very professional for a 19-

year-old. He’s a rising star who won the fifth match for

these guys earlier this year. Has good Davis Cup

experience.

 

Not sure what we’ll face doubles-wise. We know Ivan

Dodig is a terrific doubles player. He has been one of

the top doubles players for a long time. So not sure

who he’ll match up with. Not sure what the

composition of their team will be come Thursday when

they have to tell us, because they have another player

named Skugor, who has played for them, who is also

here with them on site. So they have five players.

There is a lot of unknowables right now on the doubles

format. Cilic is a good doubles player. He could find

himself on the court on Saturday, too.

That’s my overview.

 

Asked about what he needs to do to jump up in the rankings.

JACK SOCK: That was an incredible win by Sam(Querrey). I

think everyone sitting here, everyone in this room, is

very happy for him.

 

Yeah, I mean, obviously the consistency from Novak

and those other guys at the top is what separates

them. I mean, they’re doing it week in, week out,

winning a majority of the tournaments, majority of the

slams.

 

Yeah, I mean, the skill level could be very slim and

anyone can kind of beat anyone on any given day. It’s

probably the little things, the preparation and

everything that goes into it, might be a couple levels

better, a hair better. That can make the difference.

For myself personally, obviously everyone here,

everyone’s always trying to improve and do the little

things the best they can. Doing that week in, week out

can only help us. Hopefully that gap will close sooner

than later.

 

JOHN ISNER: Jack said it. It’s about consistency.

Myself and Jack are very capable of having some very

good weeks on the tour, going deep into some big

tournaments. But these guys do it week in and week

out. That’s really what separates them from everyone

else. It’s what makes them the toughest out in tennis.

You know when you step on the court against them,

you’re going to be up against a very high level of talent

and dedication. Also these guys mentally are so

strong and have been doing it for so long, always have

a lot of confidence because they have a lot of wins

behind them.

 

It’s all about being consistent. It’s what those guys do

remarkably well. As Jack eluded to, we see these guys

in the locker room, on the practice courts. They’re

extremely professional. It’s one of the reasons they’re

top in the world, is because they do absolutely

everything right.

 

 

Team Croatia which included Captain also handled questions from the press with Captain Krajan, Marin Cilic, Borna Coric and Ivan Dodig in attendance.

Asked if members of the team remember Croatia winning the Davis Cup in 2005 and how important it was to their country.

BORNA CORIC: I’m the youngest, so I’m going to

answer first.

 

Basically I started playing even more serious when that

happen. I was very young at that time and I wasn’t

sure if I’m going to try to go pro or not. This was big

thing for the Croatia, as well, and also for me.

It gave me some boost to go forward. It was

unbelievable.

 

MARIN CILIC: Generally it has definitely huge impact

on tennis, in general, especially for a country that small

like Croatia. It was one of the country’s best

achievements in the history. So that’s definitely huge.

I think it gave also a little bit of financial help for the

young ones. Obviously winning it, it’s a big thing. It

attracted few more sponsors for the Federation and

obviously gave a little bit more opportunities for the

young ones.

 

We of course would like that it is still a bit more. But at

that time I think for the young ones was pretty good,

and they could, you know, just look up to the best guys

and follow their lead. That’s, for sure, big motivation.

 

Asked if perfect 3-0 record against the US gives the team confidence.

CAPTAIN KRAJAN: I mean, for sure it gives you

confidence when you are playing against somebody

that you are already 3-Love ahead, better than if you’re

3-Love down.

It’s different because it’s different players, different

times. It’s not the same teams. From that side it is

different.

 

Again, probably there is something that suits us playing

States. We are pretty positive about this tie also.

 

Why is the Croatian team so good?

CAPTAIN KRAJAN: I mean, simply they’re good,

they’re very good. You all know Marin, and you know

what he achieved here in the States. I think you all

remember what he did in New York.

 

You know Borna, what kind of potential. He’s one of

the youngest, best players at his age in the world.

Ivan, great singles player, winning slam in the doubles.

I think they all top players in the world. As I said, that’s

why we are strong and we are looking forward for this

tie.

 

Asked about what it feels like to be a

Grand Slam champion.

IVAN DODIG: Yeah, I think it’s really special moment

for every athlete. For us is to win Grand Slam. It’s

obviously like you feel all the work you put into it, it’s in

the end rewarded. I think every player who start to play

tennis, dreaming about big things, is to win Grand

Slam.

 

Me and Marin had this great feeling. I hope I can still

continue in doubles, do some great results. Still I’m

motivate and hope I can get more Grand Slam. As well

for all our guys here, for Marin, Borna, other Marin. I

think we have great potential and will still have great

moments, as well.

 

MARIN CILIC: Tennis is a very difficult sport looking

mentally. You are all year round going up and down

with your emotions. You’re wondering if you are going

to achieve your best potential, if you’re doing the best

things possible for yourself.

 

Obviously winning a Grand Slam is a part for yourself

that you achieve for all your career, all your life.

Everything you’ve put into it is suddenly worth it. For

me, you have different view on tennis, on your career.

You are obviously more relaxed, but as well on the

other side you are more motivated as you know your

potential, as you know what you can do, what you can

achieve.

 

To be especially in this time, in this era with great

tennis players, the ones that are breaking so many

records, it’s definitely very challenging. It carries a

bigger weight to win a Grand Slam. So it’s definitely a

huge, huge motivation for me to continue on this path.

It’s a sign for all the other guys that are not achieving

their best potential yet, you know, that they can see

with hard work, with dedication, you can of course

believe and achieve these big things.

 

 

The Official Draw Ceremony for the U.S. vs. Croatia Davis Cup World Group Quarterfinal will take place at 1:00 p.m. PT on Thursday, July 14, at Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland. The ceremony will be open to the public.

Croatia is set to play its tenth tie away from home in its last 11 Davis Cup ties, while the United States is seeking to get back to the semifinals for the first time since 2012. The U.S. last won the Davis Cup in December 2007 in Portland, Oregon.

Singles play begins at 11:30 a.m. PT on Friday, July 15, and Sunday, July 17. Doubles play begins on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. PT. Tennis Channel will have television coverage.

Davis Cup Quarterfinals and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Tennis Channel

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Isner, Sock and the Bryan Brothers Named to U.S. Davis Cup Team for Quarterfinal Tie Against Croatia in Beaverton, Oregon

USDavisCup

 

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 5, 2016 – The USTA and United States Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier today announced that top-ranked American and world No. 17 John Isner, world No. 26 Jack Sock and 16-time Grand Slam doubles champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan will represent the U.S. in the 2016 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Quarterfinal against Croatia. The best-of-five match series will be played on a temporary outdoor hard court at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center, July 15-17, in Portland, Ore.

Croatia’s Davis Cup Captain Zeljko Krajan nominated No. 13 and 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, No. 50 Borna Coric, Ivan Dodig, who is ranked No. 15 in doubles, and Marin Draganja, who is a former Top 20 doubles player, to his team.

Play begins at 11:30 a.m. PT on Friday, July 15, and Sunday, July 17. Play begins on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. PT. Friday will include two singles matches featuring each country’s No. 1 player against the other country’s No. 2 player. Saturday’s schedule features the pivotal doubles match. And the final day of play on Sunday features the two “reverse singles” matches, when the No. 1 players square off, followed by the No. 2 players meeting each other in the final match. All matches are best-of-five sets until one nation clinches the tie. A revised schedule for Sunday may take place if a team clinches in the third or fourth match.

Tickets are available and may be purchased by visiting www.usta.com/daviscup or by calling 888-484-USTA (8782). Prices for single-day tickets for Friday, Saturday, or Sunday range from $40 to $175 per day. The USTA has partnered with the Oregon Sports Authority to bring this event to the Portland area. The USTA has also partnered with tie sponsors Delta Air Lines, Comcast Business, Nike, and the City of Beaverton, along with the following tie suppliers North American Breweries, The Juice Plus+ Company, Ponzi Vineyards and Beaverton Honda

Croatia holds a 3-0 record over the United States in Davis Cup, one of only three countries that hold a winning record over the U.S. The U.S. last faced Croatia in the 2009 World Group Quarterfinal and also faced them in 2003 and 2005. This will be the United States’ first home tie since 2014. The U.S. is 111-18 all-time in Davis Cup ties played at home.

The winner of this match advances to the World Group Semifinal, held September 16-18, for a chance to compete for the 2016 Davis Cup title.

Isner, 31, is ranked No. 17 in the current world rankings and will be competing in his 12th Davis Cup tie; he is 10-9 in singles and 2-0 in doubles. His last Davis Cup appearance came this year in the first round in Melbourne, Australia, where Isner won both of his singles matches. His biggest Davis Cup victory came in 2012, when he defeated Roger Federer in the U.S. Davis Cup team’s first-round win at Switzerland. The tallest player in U.S. Davis Cup history, at 6-foot-10, Isner made his Davis Cup debut in the 2010 World Group First Round in Serbia, where he became the first U.S. player since 2003 to compete in three live rubbers in the same tie. He also represented the U.S. in the 2012 London Olympics, reaching the quarterfinals before losing to Federer. Isner turned pro after an outstanding four-year career at the University of Georgia, leading the Bulldogs to the 2007 NCAA team title as a senior. He holds 10 career tour singles titles, the last of which came in Atlanta during the 2015 Emirates Airline US Open Series. So far this year, he has reached the fourth round of the Australian Open and the French Open and the semifinals of the ATP clay-court event in Houston. 

Sock, 23, is ranked No. 26 in the world. He made his Davis Cup debut in September 2015 in the World Group Playoff in Uzbekistan, where he won both of his singles matches to keep the U.S. Davis Cup team in the World Group for this year. Sock also competed in the Davis Cup first round this March in Australia. He reached the final of the ATP events in Auckland and Houston earlier this year and won his first ATP singles title in 2015 in Houston. Sock has also thrived in doubles, winning the 2014 Wimbledon doubles title and the 2015 Indian Wells crown with Vasek Pospisil and peaking at a career-high No. 6 in the individual doubles rankings in May 2015; he also reached the doubles quarterfinals of the 2015 French Open and 2016 Australian Open. In 2011, Sock won the US Open mixed doubles title with fellow American Melanie Oudin.

Bob and Mike Bryan, both 38, hold a 24-4 doubles record together in U.S. Davis Cup competition; the 24 wins are first all-time in U.S. Davis Cup history for a tandem. Bob and Mike, the only brothers to pair in victory for the U.S. Davis Cup team, hold the all-time Open era record of most Grand Slam men’s doubles titles (16) and ATP doubles titles (112). In addition, the Bryan brothers won the gold medal in doubles at the 2012 Olympics in London, where they completed a career Golden Slam by winning all four Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal. The Bryans ended 2014 as the No. 1-ranked doubles team in the world for a record 10th time in 12 years.

Overall, Bob holds a 25-4 doubles record in Davis Cup competition; he is also 4-2 in singles (all dead rubbers). Mike holds a 26-4 record in Davis Cup doubles matches, playing without Bob just twice in his Davis Cup career. Bob did not compete in the 2012 first-round match at Switzerland due to the birth of his daughter, Micaela; in that case, Mike teamed with Mardy Fish to defeat 2008 Olympic doubles gold medalists Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka to clinch the tie. Mike also partnered with Fish in the 2008 semifinal against Spain. Bob played without Mike (food poisoning) in the 2010 first round in Serbia, partnering instead with Fish.

Additionally, U.S. Captain Jim Courier announced the practice partners for the U.S. Davis Cup team—former junior standout Tommy Paul and University of Illinois alum Jared Hiltzik. Paul, 19, won the 2015 French Open junior singles title, becoming the sixth American ever to win the title, and also reached the final of the junior US Open in 2015. He peaked at a career-high No. 3 in the ITF World Junior Rankings in fall 2015. As a pro, Paul captured his first career USTA Pro Circuit singles at the $10,000 Futures events in Plantation, Fla., and Sunrise, Fla., this year. Hiltzik, 21, graduated this year from the University of Illinois, where he earned three All-America honors—one of three players in program history to ever do so—and  finished his collegiate career as the eighth-winningest singles player in program history with 115 wins. He also reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament as a junior in 2014. Hiltzik won his first USTA Pro Circuit doubles title this year at the Collegiate Series event in Winston-Salem, N.C., and reached his first USTA Pro Circuit singles final last year at the $15,000 Futures in Godfrey, Ill.

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Juan Monaco Rallies to Win Second U.S. Clay Court Championship Title

(April 10, 2016) Juan Monaco rallied past an ailing defending champion Jack Sock 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 to win his second U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship on Sunday. The Argentine also won the tournament in 2012. Just nine months ago, Monaco had wrist surgery, and back on the tour for only two months and now holding a trophy.

“I didn’t expect this so fast,” Monaco said during the trophy presentation. “No words to describe this moment.”

“It’s amazing, amazing to hold the trophy again in only my fourth tournament back, after three years” said the 32-year-old. He last won a tournament in 2013. “It’s almost like a dream come true for it to happen so fast. The hard work really paid off.”

“Today was a quick movie of my life.”

This is Monaco’s ninth career ATP World Tour title.

The 23-year-old American Sock suffered from problems with his right arm and cramps, which was evident in the final set.

“I felt great all week. I’m not exactly sure what happened with my body,” Sock said after the match. “Last night, I didn’t feel great. I was sweating in a very air-conditioned room, so maybe possibly coming down with something. But that doesn’t take away from battle and fight today. It came down to the wire. I tried my best and put it all out there.”

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Former Champs Monaco, Sock To Meet in Houston Final, Bryan Brothers Win Record Sixth Clay Courts Crown

Jack Sock

Jack Sock

(April 9, 2016) Two former champions, Jack Sock (2015) and Juan Monaco (2012), will meet in the final at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship on Sunday. For just the fifth time in the Open Era two past champions are meeting in the final, and this is the first time since 2003 when Andre Agassi defeated Andy Roddick. Sock will be trying to win a second straight Houston title.

The fourth seed Sock knocked out No. 1 seed John Isner 7-6 (4), 6-3 in the semifinals on Saturday. Monaco beat third seed Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 6-2.
The winner will be the eighth player to have won this title multiple times in the Open Era. The most recent multiple winners were Agassi (2003 and 1988) and Roddick (2005, 2002 and 2001).
Bryan brothers

Bob and Mike Bryan won their record 110th doubles title together, beating Victor Estrella Burgos and Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico 4-6, 6-3, 10-8 for their first title of the year.

“It feels great to get over the hump and win number 110 after a bit of title drought,” Mike said. “There’s no better place to do it than in Houston, where we’ve enjoyed so much success and had unbelievable fan support. Thanks to the River Oaks Country Club and its members for another fantastic tournament.”

“It was a battle from the first point to the last but we feel like we played our best tennis down the stretch,” said Bob. It’s nice to pull out some close wins after losing a few tight matches to start the season. We’re looking forward to building momentum through the clay court season.”

For the Bryans, it was their sixth title in Houston. They have also won six titles at the Australian Open and Los Angeles.

RESULTS – Saturday, April 9, 2016
Singles Semifinals
[4] Jack Sock (USA) d [1] John Isner (USA) 7-6(4) 6-3
Juan Monaco (Argentina) d [3] Feliciano Lopez (Spain) 6-4 6-2

Doubles Final
[1] Bob Bryan (USA) / Mike Bryan (USA) d Victor Estrella Burgos (Dominican Republic) / Santiago Gonzalez (Mexico) 4-6 6-3 10-8

SCHEDULE – Sunday, April 10, 2016
Center Court – 2:00 pm start
Juan Monaco (Argentina) vs [4] Jack Sock (USA)

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Davis Cup: Isner “Aces” Australia, Powers U.S. to Quarterfinals with Victory over Tomic

DAVIS CUP: ISNER “ACES” AUSTRALIA

Powers U.S. to Quarterfinals with victory over Tomic

By Junior Williams

(March 6, 2016) MELBOURNE, Australia – John Isner blasted 49 aces – including one on match point – to give the United States a 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(4) victory over Bernard Tomic and Australia, securing an unassailable 3-1 lead and advancing into the quarterfinal round of the Davis Cup World Group.

In the first set, Isner took advantage of his first break point opportunity with a successful backhand volley, putting the U.S. up 3-2.

The world No. 11 finished the set with ten aces and won all six of his net points.

Isner’s next break of serve came in the second set when Tomic netted a return from the American, resulting in a 4-3 U.S. lead. Tomic shook his right wrist numerous times during that game and had it wrapped during the changeover. Isner went on to win the set after a Tomic volley at net went wide.

The momentum shifted in the third set, when Tomic began impersonating a backboard, successfully defending against the Isner serve. The world number 24 secured the set on his fifth break point of the game, giving hope to a home crowd cheering for a comeback.

But in the end, Isner pulled through after being down a mini-break early in the fourth-set tiebreak, rebounding to go up 5-4 – putting the match on his racket.

It was only fitting that he closed out the match — and the tie — with his 49th ace.

”We always knew it was going to be very difficult coming down here,” said U.S. captain Jim Courier. ”Our team came good. John stepped up today.”

“It was incredible tie for us,” Isner said. “We knew Australia was going to be tough and they put up a great fight.”

With the victory, The U.S. avoided a fifth and deciding rubber that the Aussie faithful at Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club had been hoping for: A potential match-up between American Jack Sock and Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt.

Halfway through the second set Tomic was picked up on a court microphone berating his countryman Nick Kyrgios who could not play the tie due to a virus. Tomic said to Hewitt during a changeover: “While I’m here, Nick’s sitting down in Canberra. Bull**** he’s sick.”

Next up for the U.S. A home tie in July against the winner of the first round tie between Belgium and Croatia.

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Some irony involving the U.S. victory over Australia: International Tennis Federation admitted the tie should have played on hard court instead of on grass. That’s because of an agreement in 1999 to have the Aussies play the Americans in the U.S. that year to celebrate the Davis Cup centennial – this despite it being Australia’s turn to host a tie between the two countries.

 

Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the US home ties. He is in Melbourne covering the Davis Cup first round World Group tie between the United States and Australia.

 

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