November 30, 2015

In Their Own Words – Federer, Wawrinka, Anderson, Halep, Azarenka, Pennetta and Kvitova

228 Federer hands up celebration-001



Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Roger Federer

Press Conference

R. FEDERER/R. Gasquet

6-3, 6-3, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. At 34, how do you explain continuing to peak? How are you able to maintain such a high level?
ROGER FEDERER: Ah, I don’t know. I mean, since a few years now or many years I have tried to look at the big picture to hopefully still be playing at a high level at this age. So in some ways I am not surprised I am playing as well as I am.

I think I have worked on my game moving forward, have been able to take the ball earlier, and, you know, I think I’m volleying better than I have the last 10 years. I think I was volleying well coming up on the tour when I was younger because I was spending more time at net.

I think that gave me confidence to keep working on that, moving forward. Now because my serving is working quite well, you put those two things together, and standing in on the return as well, I think has changed the dynamics a little bit. It’s all about keeping yourself in shape and staying injury-free. And motivated, I guess.

Q. You have Stan next. You know him well. What do you think it is about his game or his mentality that lets him play so well at times against the top guys? Like against you and Novak at the French.
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I think a lot comes through practice for Stan, because he’s worked very hard throughout his career. It took him a while to figure out exactly what his possibilities were. I don’t think he was a guy who always, you know, had enough confidence.

I always thought he was a better player than he actually was, but somehow something was holding him back maybe. I think only once when he really started to break through and he had some big wins — I recall a big win for him when he beat Hewitt in the fifth deciding match in Davis Cup in Sydney. Beat him on the grass two sets to one down. Came back and won it. Played unbelievable tennis at the end.

Then I think in practice he started working to hit the ball harder consistently, and today he can consistently bring the power on forehand, backhand, and serve almost anybody when he gets hot.

I’m happy he found that level of play. Two slams, got Davis Cup, Olympic gold. Has a complete career. Won a Masters 1000. Has everything he ever wanted. He has had a wonderful career.

Looking forward to playing him, because he definitely is a big test and a big challenge for me. He beat me in straight at the French, so I hope I can do better this time.

Q. During the tournament, how much time do you spend taking care of your body? How much of that maintenance is, shall we say, age-related?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I guess I’m more professional these days; whereas when I was coming up on tour I would bounce up and down for two minutes and then just walk out to the practice and do almost the same for the match.

These days I take more time, put in more of the core exercises, do more stretching. Sometimes I just can’t wait to get off the table again honestly. It’s nice not to be on there all the time.

Yeah, for me, also sleeping has become quite important. I make sure I sleep enough, as well. Like when I went to bed after the Isner match it got quite late and I couldn’t sleep quite as much as I wanted to.

Because I believe it’s really the sleep that gives you energy again down the road. That’s why the next two days are very important for me in terms of sleeping.

Q. How much is your target?
ROGER FEDERER: In terms of sleeping? Hopefully nine to ten.

Q. The other night you were asked about the Williams sisters and you said you were happy to not have a sibling in tennis. Just curious if Stan is as close to that tennis brother as you feel, and the relationship that you have guys have on court, is there any difference in approaching Stan, say, from any other opponent for you mentally or emotionally?
ROGER FEDERER: Honestly, emotionally it’s not so hard for me. I have always found it quite not easy, but it’s just another match. I’m able to see it that way somehow with him. But then of course subconsciously you know he knows what your preferences are, where you like to go, where you’re probably going to go.

Probably he feels the same way. That’s the weird part. I feel we meet each other somewhere in our minds before the point is being played out.

So that’s odd sometimes, but otherwise it’s pretty straightforward for me. I enjoy the matches, because always that means one of us moves on. For Swiss it’s huge that we have two guys in the semis of the US Open, a huge tournament, biggest arena in the world. It’s what it’s all about.

I think we are both very much pumped up that’s the case. Only better scenario would have been in the finals, but this is already very, very good. We are very proud of that.

Q. I know when you were younger you probably had more anger and these days seems like you have a wave of joy out there. How important is mood to you in terms of winning goes?
ROGER FEDERER: Mood in terms of?

Q. How important is your mood to how well you actually think you play.
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, well, I mean, I’m not the kind of guy who wakes up angry. (Laughter.) Even if I am, I don’t think it will have much of an impact of how I play.

I feel like I see the matches as an isolation. I don’t know if it’s when I arrive at the tennis, when I go warm up, whatever it is, but that’s a different world for me. You know, when I leave the grounds I feel like not I’m a different person, but like that’s my other life I have.

So I have two lives, and all the problems I might have, I feel like I drop them once I step on to the match court or when I enter the grounds. I don’t know if it makes sense, but that’s the why the mood doesn’t really matter that much to me.

Q. What does the US Open Championship trophy mean to you both in terms of the ones you have already won and the one that you’re two steps away from today?
ROGER FEDERER: I like the trophy, and I’m happy when you win it you get the same-sized one. I wish it also had engravements of all the previous winners, but I will speak at the tournament that one day I will get them all done, you know. Because I think — I love tennis history and I like to see who has won in the past, you know, here on the trophy so it feels like it’s an original one, not just a duplicate.

Yeah, it’s a good size. It’s different to the golden ones. It’s a silver one. Yeah, I like it. I would like to have another one. (Laughter.)

Q. What is the belief that you have now? How does that contribute to seeing that trophy, being so close? You’re two steps away.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, two steps, but they are not like from here to there. (Indicating few feet.) They are like… you know what I mean. Hours of work and sleeps and waits and nerves and all that. It’s still a long way.

I feel like I’m close, of course. You enter now a territory which is very interesting, and definitely Stan is going to present the big test for me. Don’t look further than that, to be quite honest.

Q. Given how well you’ve played thus far in the tournament, will it take an extraordinary performance by an opponent to beat you right now?
ROGER FEDERER: I hope so. I really do. I believe Stan can bring it, you know. That’s my No. 1 focus, that I make it as hard as possible for him to beat me. Personally I’m very happy with the where my game is at. It’s just a matter of keeping it up and adjusting to Stan now.

Q. You’re one of the few players who won this tournament when it was played on both green courts and blue courts. Wondering if you have a preference.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I have already — I hardly remember when we played on the green courts. I prefer watching it on the blue courts. Playing was nice, I guess, either one of them. But I like the blue courts. They are better on the eye, I think.

Q. Have you noticed how many courts in the world are blue now?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, many of them.

I think it’s important that you see the ball properly on the TV, otherwise why watch two players running and not seeing the ball? (Laughter.)

I mean, if you like that, sure, let’s keep it yellow courts, but…

Thankfully we have HDTV now too, so that helps.

Q. At any time when you were making these adjustments in the racquet and being more aggressive, was there any point where you thought, I don’t know if it’s going to work? Were you unsure or were you confident that I’m going to make these adjustments and eventually it’s going to pay off?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, I was sensing that it was going to work, because I did feel in practice that I was hitting my backhand better, not shanking as much anymore.

What I wanted to — if I changed, I wanted to feel that I had more easier power on the serve. If I was not going to feel that I was not going to change. In these two main factors.

The only problem for me was that in the beginning I didn’t feel like my slice was as good and the forehand took a while. You know, when you go full swing, are you going to spray it a bit more? Naturally, yes, because it’s in your racquet, so that not scared me, but I was like respecting that fact.

But when I felt like my backhand was better my serve was better, I just said if the more hours and more months I can put on the racquet, the better I will start to feel. Hopefully down the stretch I will really be able to play good tennis again and who knows maybe even better.

So it was interesting, you know, because I did switch, go back and then switch again. I think that was the right thing to do, because first I had to figure out my back problems over trying to figure out my racquet and my racquet issues.

Q. They were talking about just how high your level was, saying maybe even the best ever. I won’t ask you to grade that. Are you amazed at all at yourself that you’re doing that at this level at this age?
ROGER FEDERER: A little bit. I mean, a little bit to the extent where it’s nice to play this way. And maybe at my age to run through, you know, five opponents the way I have done here at the US Open, I don’t consider that normal, to be quite honest, even though I expect it in some ways for myself to come out and play well.

I’ve played so well over the last one-and-a-half years. I don’t feel like I’m as old as I am. I still feel young. So it’s nice to get rewarded with the hard work and, you know, that actually I’m able to play sort of fun tennis, I maybe call it for myself. Aggressive, pick it up, you know, like half volley it, move in, serve and volley, cut the points short, and if I want to, if I want to, extend the rallies.

But it feels like on my terms. Then if you win this way, it’s a great feeling.

Q. We’re obviously getting towards the end of the tournament, but I did want to ask you about the very unfortunate incident that occurred with James Blake today and whether you had heard that or whether you had any thoughts about that.
ROGER FEDERER: I read a piece, but it’s hard for me to comment on it, to be quite honest. You know, you hope these things don’t happen. Like I think James said it the right way. I have nothing else to really add to that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports



Wawrinka in press


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Stan Wawrinka

Press Conference

S. WAWRINKA/K. Anderson

6-4, 6-4, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Great performance. You were able to step it up at the right moment?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, for sure the best match of the tournament for me. I was really happy the way I play. I was focused on doing what I wanted on the match. I was trying to be really aggressive on the return and make him play a mix or some slice, some aggressive play from the baseline.

Q. Seemed like the crowd loved you there. Was it a good switch to go to Armstrong?
STAN WAWRINKA: We wanted to play on Ashe, but I think it was the better thing to do if we wanted to play all matches today. It was tough with the rain this afternoon. Was some long match with the womans.

At the end of the day, for me I don’t really mind, you know, where I’m playing. I’m trying to be focused on the match, and I was ready for both.

Q. When you think about the US Open trophy, what is the importance to your success in this tournament of the belief that you could be holding that trophy at the end of the tournament?
STAN WAWRINKA: Don’t really think about the trophy yet. I’m too far again. When I arrive here I’m trying to focus beginning of the tournament, first match. I know it’s boring, but that’s the only way. You can see how I was playing at the beginning. I wasn’t playing the best, but I was trying to get through the first week.

And now I play my best tennis so far in quarterfinal. Beating Anderson was great match for me. I’m in semifinal. I know it’s only two match left but it’s some big challenge ahead of me. I’m far away from thinking about the trophy. I think you can think about the trophy, for myself, when you are in the final. Not before.

Q. But you have won majors before. What about the belief? How did that change the belief that at the end of a major you could be the one holding that trophy?
STAN WAWRINKA: I just know that I can do it, for sure. I did twice. That’s it.

I know I can finish by winning the tournament, but I’m really far from that yet. So far I’m going to enjoy first tonight and the quarterfinal, because was a great performance for me. I’m really happy the way I was playing, the way I dealt with the way I improve and start to perform tonight.

Then tomorrow I will start to be ready for the semifinal against Roger.

Q. You know him a little bit.
STAN WAWRINKA: A little bit only.

Q. All three of your wins against Roger have come on clay, including the French, but you played him really tough in the ATP finals, winning a set there. Do you think you’re getting closer to him on hard courts?
STAN WAWRINKA: I think the past three years, for sure, I get closer from him. My level improved a lot. I’m playing better tennis. So I was always really close from him, if we look Wimbledon last year.

I will for sure need to play my best tennis. He’s playing really well so far. He loves to play. He know how to play. He had some amazing match. It’s going to be a big challenge. I think I’m ready.

Q. Before the start of the tournament you said Roger would be the only one who could play that SABR shot, and tonight you did it.
STAN WAWRINKA: I have to see how close I was from the line, but I’m still not at his level, for sure.

But, you know, I think — I’m not trying to do what he’s doing. Just the reason why I improve so much the past few years it’s also because I’m looking a lot what the top guys doing, Novak, Roger, Rafa.

I always try to see why they are so good. I’m not trying to do what they are doing. I’m just trying to see how they improve, how they can play so well, how can they play so fast, how they can do the passing shot and everything.

For sure we all see what Roger is doing right now. It’s quite impressive. He’s doing it against everybody.

I saw him play also against Anderson in Cincinnati, and I was surprised how close he was returning. But it’s actually a good way against Anderson to be closer than behind, because you completely cut the time from him.

I was trying to be really close from the line to don’t give him so much time.

Q. How different is your mindset now going into matches with Roger than it was, say, four, five years ago?
STAN WAWRINKA: I think now we both nervous when we enter the court. Before it was only me. I was nervous because I knew I wasn’t at his level, for sure.

And now I think we can see that he was also nervous every time we play each other the past few years. That’s a big difference, because that show how much he knows that I can play at his level, how much he knows that I can try to play my game and not just try to react about what he’s doing.

Q. There was a small controversy about your personal life before the French Open and you went on and won the tournament. Obviously coming into here you had some weeks of controversy again away from the court. I’m wondering how you have been able to manage those distractions and manage to play really good tennis?
STAN WAWRINKA: Great question. Just trying to focus on my tennis. When I’m on the court, there is nothing else to think. Just trying to play my best tennis.

Q. How are you able to do that?
STAN WAWRINKA: That’s my job.

Q. You mentioned on the court, you know, that Roger has invented this new shot. Do you feel like Roger has kind of reinvented himself this summer, that he’s captured something that’s helping him play like he used to?
STAN WAWRINKA: I think he’s trying some new things, for sure. He’s feeling really good at the moment.

I think probably what he did between Wimbledon and Cincinnati with his fitness trainer was something really good for him. You can feel he’s fresh and enjoy. He always enjoy. We love to watch him since more than ten years. More than that. He always do shot that no one can do. That’s why he’s the greatest.

Q. What do you admire most about him as a player? What has helped you beat him?
STAN WAWRINKA: As a player, I think it’s the way he’s playing. It’s just nice to see how he’s moving. You think he’s flying on the court.

Honestly, I watch him a lot in Cincinnati. Even here. He’s moving better than ever. Everything he’s doing, it seems so easy when we watch him. But as a tennis player, when you play against him, you know how difficult it is.

Q. How have you beaten him?
STAN WAWRINKA: By trying to play my game, to play really aggressive. Don’t give him so much time. Trying to push him, push him back. It’s going to be tough because I know he’s serving really well since the beginning of the tournament. I’m not going to have so many opportunities. He’s playing really aggressive.

That’s the way he’s going to try to play against me. That’s for sure. But I will have to play really, really fast, to be the aggressive player, if I want to have a chance to beat him.

Q. Friday’s match will be a different circumstance, but obviously Roger, wherever he plays, is a fan favorite, and he will have many, many people hoping he reaches the final. Contrast that to the experience of Paris where, you know, there was this assumption of a great moment for Novak and you were able to rise to the occasion of that remarkable moment. How are you thinking? Do you kind of like no expectation, or do you rise to it?
STAN WAWRINKA: No, I like to play when there is a big crowd. Doesn’t matter if they cheer for me or for the opponent. I’m used. We’re all used to, when we go on court with Roger, he’s the crowd favorite. That’s for sure.

Doesn’t matter. It’s normal. Everybody loves Roger. He’s the best player ever. He’s on court and off court a really good guy.

I just love when there is a lot of people watching us. Doesn’t matter if they are going to support him or support me. I think it’s always good to have a good atmosphere on the court.

Q. Roger said on the court that when you beat him in Roland Garros he was happy for you. He said it was not the first time feeling that. It would be the same for you?
STAN WAWRINKA: Beat me? Hopefully not. I’m always happy for him. You know, I’m the first fan since many years. Always watch his big match. Always happy with him, with all the titles he got.

So tomorrow it’s always the same. We are good friend. Really close friend. We always laugh together. Friday we’re gonna laugh together in the locker because we have locker next to each other before the match.

We are going to go into the match trying to win. Doesn’t matter how, but try to win. Then after the match it’s back to normal.

Q. I’m sure you’re tired of answering questions about Roger, but when you see him playing as well as he is at 34, does it make you think differently as a pro about the length of your career, what is possible in terms of if you pay the right attention to conditioning and fitness and you have luck with injuries and so on that you can play competitively later on through your career?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, for sure. He show that it’s possible. I’m lucky to have the same fitness trainer as him, so I’m doing right schedule. I’m doing some good work so far. And again, if I look at myself, I’m playing my best tennis. I start to play my best tennis at 29, so hopefully I can still play for few years.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Kevin Anderson

Press Conference

S. WAWRINKA/K. Anderson

6-4, 6-4, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What are your sentiments after that one?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, it was really tough out there. Was maybe a little bit nervous just with the occasion and a lot of waiting around, switching courts. Obviously something that you deal with, but just getting out there and everything seemed to be going pretty quickly.

I thought conditions were, you know, quite quick and quite live, especially compared to my last match out there. One poor serve game in the first set and I wasn’t really making too many inroads on his serve.

I thought I sort of got it back a little bit in the start of the second set. Another poor serve game, and then things sort of went downhill a little bit.

I mean, after taking the — changing my clothes and having that bathroom break, I was just trying to compose myself and reset myself. I didn’t feel, you know, that out of sorts, but going back it sort of snowballed a little bit.

He started free flying, swinging, and I was trying to find my way a little bit. Obviously it was not a good one to be in.

Q. Did you struggle to come up after the defeat of Andy? Any letdown factor there?

Q. Physically?
KEVIN ANDERSON: No. I felt fine. Obviously it was a big moment for me, but I felt I did a good job of resetting myself and getting ready for this next match.

But just obviously wasn’t meant to be today. Stan didn’t make it easy. He was taking time, I felt, away from me. He was swinging out, and, you know, I was just a step slow. Wasn’t going to bode well. I needed to be on top of my game today.

Q. Did it feel like he was on some sort of a mission the way he was playing?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I mean, I think he stuck to his guns and what he needed to do. He did that very well.

You know, I can’t talk especially for how he felt, but obviously he did what he needed to do today. As I said earlier, he’s a very experienced player, especially at this level. He knows what it takes.

You know, it’s a very tough lesson for me today and, you know, it’s difficult not to think about it, but obviously I have got to take what I can. This week has been a great week for me, the last two weeks. There is a lot of positives.

I always try to look at that to obviously keep motivated and keep improving.

Q. That is the point, though. I mean, you have made that breakthrough. You finally got into the quarterfinals and knocking on the top 10 door. So those are the big positives for you to keep going with confidence?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, that’s what I’ve got to look at. It’s not that easy to do right now obviously just because of, you know, just the way I felt out there. It just really wasn’t my day.

But, you know, it’s the thinking that I’ve just got to take those feelings that I have had, the way I have played throughout the last few weeks, especially in my round of 16 to beat Andy there, and used it as extra motivation to give myself another chance.

I definitely know I can do better than I did today.

Q. Did you start the season with the goal of breaking the quarterfinal mark in mind and was there any other goals that you had going into…
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, it was definitely on my mind. I had been in the round of 16 a few times and put myself in that position a few times even this year.

My goal is always to give myself opportunities. I was able to capitalize on one of them, big one, getting to the quarters in this event. That’s definitely something I can take with me.

So, yes, it was a goal. It was a goal to put myself in this position through the quarters and then obviously take it from there, one step at a time. I was able to achieve that. I want to put myself in this position again, because as I was saying, I think just today I didn’t feel like I gave myself the best shot of maybe going a little bit further.

Q. Talk about the sportsmanship award. What does that mean to you?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, it was great. I mean, I didn’t expect it. Nobody had mentioned anything. I’m very, you know, honored to receive that and to be acknowledged with that. I always try my best to, you know, behave the best I can out there.

You know, especially for the many people coming to watch and always been very appreciative of their efforts, especially, you know, the younger boys and girls who come here with high aspirations. I remember when I was in that position.

So to be recognized, I have always tried to do that throughout my whole career. It’s the first time I have actually officially been recognized this way, so I guess that’s a nice little ending for me.

Q. Stan’s attempt at the SABR tactic on return of your serve, what are your thoughts about it? What might we see, do you think, between Stan and Roger?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah. I mean, definitely didn’t start out like that, but, I mean, towards the end I think when you’re in that position obviously gives you a bit more freedom in terms of what he was doing.

You know, I think it will be an interesting matchup in terms of those sort of tactics, taking pretty aggressive second serve cuts. Definitely probably expect to see a few. Seems to be pretty consistent. So, you know, we will just have to wait and see.



Simona Halep

Simona Halep



Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Simona Halep

Press Conference

S. HALEP/V. Azarenka

6-3, 4-6, 6-4

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Great match.
SIMONA HALEP: I know. (Smiling.)

Q. I guess I’m not the first one to tell you that.
SIMONA HALEP: Both of us, we played amazing, in my opinion.

Q. And obviously you come in here with a big smile on your face. Vika not so much. But, you know, somebody’s got to win and somebody’s got to lose. How happy are you to win that match?
SIMONA HALEP: I’m happy that I won this match. It was an amazing match. She played fantastic. But in the first set I played my best tennis, and I knew that I have, you know, I have the game to win the match. But I know also that she’s very strong and she doesn’t give up during the matches.

So after first set I did a step behind the baseline and wasn’t good. She was dominating me in the second set, and I was running well but no power to hit from very far from the court.

And then I came back a little bit, 3-2, and I had a chance to do 3-All. But I lost my serve. So then everything was negative in my head. The rain delay was perfect for me. (Smiling.) It was unbelievable that I had another chance.

So I said in the gym with my coach, I spoke and I said that I have another chance. So I have to go just to do everything I did in first set and to get this one, because it’s made for me.

Q. To reach your first semifinal here, how does that feel? Looking forward to that opportunity?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I’m looking forward for the next match to enjoy the semifinals. It’s first time when I play this.

I knew when I started the tournament that I have a good game. I feel great and I have good mentality coming in this Grand Slam. I had no expectations, no pressure. So that’s why I’m playing so good.

It’s a great feeling now that I can be in the semifinals, and of course tomorrow I want to fight to win it. But we will see. I expect a tough match.

Q. If you do win it tomorrow, then you have to look back at Cincinnati, and you told Serena at the end of that match that you’d be cheering for her to win the Grand Slam. What’s going to happen then?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I said I have one more match to get into the finals, first, and then to think about that.

But when I came here, someone asked me, You said this in Cincinnati. But I said, If I’m in the final, I want to win. (Smiling.) I want Serena winning if I’m not in the final.

Q. So you changed your mind?
SIMONA HALEP: No, no, I didn’t change. Before the tournament I said this.

So if I will be in the final, of course I will fight for my chance, but first I have to play tomorrow.

Q. You played Flavia on hard court and you beat her on hard court —
SIMONA HALEP: This year.

Q. — last time you met. What was that experience like, and what is it like playing her?
SIMONA HALEP: It’s tough. I know her. She’s very smart on court. She’s fighting. I know that she never gives up.

During the match today I saw a little bit, because I was warming up, and I know that she has a great backhand. I have just to play smarter than usual. I have to be aggressive like I did today in the end of the match. I have to keep my serve and just go in there and be focused.

Q. What are the biggest differences in your styles, yours versus Flavia’s?
SIMONA HALEP: The difference between us?

Q. Yeah, the way you play.
SIMONA HALEP: It’s tough to answer this question, because maybe we have similar game because she has a strong backhand, I have the strong backhand. It’s tough to answer, and I don’t want to make mistakes about that.

It’s just she’s aggressive, as well, and I have to make her run like I do with all the players. But first I have to think about my game and what I have to do on court.

Q. You had a difficult summer. First round at Wimbledon, early loss in France, and then turned around on the hard court season. What made the difference?
SIMONA HALEP: I had a long break home after losing in Wimbledon. That one helped me a lot to relax myself. I had a lot of pressure. I put pressure on myself for when I played French Open, because in my mind was that I have to repeat the result from last year. So it was a bad thing.

And then I relax myself, and I started to be aggressive again, to go without expectations at every tournament. Everything went in the right way in my game.

Q. Can you talk about having Nadia Comaneci in your player’s box and knowing her and what inspiration you might take from her?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, she’s a great champion. I mean, she had perfect 10, first 10. You know, to have a great champion in your box, it gives you power, that she appreciates what I’m doing. She was supporting me. I heard her sometimes when she said, Hi, Simona. So it was great, and I really want to thank her for coming. She told me that she’s coming tomorrow again. So it’s good.

Q. What did Darren tell you during the rain delay?
SIMONA HALEP: No, I’m not telling you. (Smiling.) I cannot say this.

Q. Fair enough. Second question: Vika said that she was surprised by the pace of your ball, that she didn’t think that you hit the ball as hard as you do, that you caught her a few times. I’m curious, because you hadn’t played her for three years, did anything surprise you in her game?
SIMONA HALEP: If I remember well in that match, she was hitting strong, like she does now. She has the same game. At that moment she won her Grand Slam, I think. Now she’s coming back. I think she was playing amazing today. I think she found her way back.

She’s, you know, more motivated, more focused for what she has to do. Today was really good match for her, and, you know, I think she’s stronger now. I am stronger, as well, since we played last time. I’m much stronger, and actually, mental, my mind is stronger than three years ago.

Q. Flavia was asked, before we knew the outcome of your match, she was asked to assess both you and Vika and she kind of laughed and said, Look, I’m not going to tell you. It’s strategy how she’s going to take you on. One thing she did say, because she was pressed on the topic, she talked about Azarenka’s power, she said she thought you actually had more power than Vika, and that a lot of people may not realize just how powerful a player you are. Talk about that part of your game and also, duly noted, that your next opponent is well aware of your power.
SIMONA HALEP: I think I have inside power more than during the game. I’m not very strong. Unless you see, I don’t have big muscles. I’m not tall. I have power inside. I fight. Always it’s like big challenge for me. Every point is a big challenge. So I do everything I can. I run for every ball, and that one makes me stronger, I think, in this moment.

Q. How does it make you feel to have that sort of inner strength?

Q. That strength that you just spoke about, the power inside. How does it make you feel to have it?
SIMONA HALEP: It’s natural. It’s natural. It’s coming from inside. I don’t work like this. Maybe my parents gave me this. Yeah, so I have it like natural.

Q. But what does that do for your confidence?
SIMONA HALEP: It’s like I feel strong when I go on court. I feel that, actually, when I started this tournament after coming with — I had two big results, and I thought that I have enough power to win matches here. I thought that I have my chance during this tournament, and I couldn’t accept to lose.

Like I did with Lisicki. It was an amazing match, as well. And second set where we were very close at 5-All, I said, I cannot lose.

So I was fighting, and this power came. You know, I just tried to stay calm and to think that I can win every ball.

Q. Based on your supernatural strength…
SIMONA HALEP: It’s not supernatural. It’s something normal.

Q. If you had your favorite surface, based on your strength, what would it be and why? Naturally, you know, hard court you’re mostly baseline.
SIMONA HALEP: Last year I said clay is my favorite because I had the biggest result there. This year I say hard court is my favorite.

Actually, I want to play on every surface good tennis. I know I’m able to do that. I have just to work on some things at my game and just believing in myself. Because I know if I believe, I can do many things.

Q. How much do you feel like those runs at the French Open and Wimbledon last year are helping you now? And why do you think it’s taken a full year for you to shuck away that pressure and feel like you’re just focused on what you need to do?
SIMONA HALEP: After Wimbledon I said that the year is finished for me. I cannot win a match.

So I took the pressure off of myself. I was going home, relaxing. I didn’t touch racquet for almost four weeks.

So it was just — I wanted just to forget about tennis, about official matches. I just wanted to come back with the pleasure on court and taking just, you know, the fun.

Because that’s why I played mixed here, to have fun and to refine the pleasure during the official matches. And after I lost in Wimbledon, I said that that’s the worst thing. Cannot be like worse than losing in first round in a Grand Slam. I went there with expectations in my mind. So that’s why I change my mind now, and I feel much relaxed.

Q. Is it fun to be in the semifinals of the US Open?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, a lot of fun. (Smiling.) Really happy. And I just want to enjoy tomorrow. No pressure, no expectations.

Q. How much between now and when you play about 24 hours from now will the thought enter your mind at all about the other semifinal possibility of, if you win, perhaps playing Serena Williams in the match that would have a lot of significance personally for you but also for her and what she’s trying to accomplish?
SIMONA HALEP: If I will play the final here against Serena, again, would be like a record to play two times against her in one month. I have nothing to lose. Even tomorrow it’s like big challenge and will be a big bonus for me to get into the finals here.

I didn’t expect this when I came here, but I knew that I have a chance. So I was working hard every day, and I was believing in myself that I can do it.

We will see tomorrow. It will be a tough match. I just want to be focused for that, and then we will see what is happening.

Q. You hit a serve today at 112 miles an hour.

Q. Yeah, wow.
SIMONA HALEP: Was it an ace?

Q. Yeah, it was.
SIMONA HALEP: Okay. I had only one, no?

Q. You had a few.

Q. But can you talk a little bit about your serve? Because it’s getting bigger and it seems like you’re going for it a little bit more.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. It’s getting bigger, and I’m working a lot on my serve. I changed some things on it. I’m much happier now that I can feel it, and in important moments it’s helping me. Like today at 2-1 I hit an ace. So it was a great moment.

I feel the serve now. I feel stronger when I serve, so I’m not afraid anymore to serve. But actually, I feel the return better. It’s there.

Q. European players always talk about the French Open, Wimbledon, watching them growing up. How much did you watch of the US Open when you were little? Do you have memories of this tournament?
SIMONA HALEP: I didn’t watch tennis too much when I was younger. Actually, this week I was watching a lot at the TV every day.

I didn’t like to watch tennis since last year, I can say. Yeah, last year I started just to watch some players just to learn many things from them.

I’m more relaxed, to be honest, and I enjoy a lot this period of my life, of my career. So I have to get just the fun and the pleasure of everything.

Azarenka 10 5 2012


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Victoria Azarenka

Press Conference

S. HALEP/V. Azarenka

6-3, 4-6, 6-4

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You played so well. You fought so, so hard out there tonight. What are your emotions? Disappointment? What are your thoughts?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think I played well. I believe I could have played better. I did really fight really hard, and I was trying to find solutions. She played really well today. I was a little bit surprised by the pace of her ball, to be honest.

I think that, you know, a couple of free points that I gave away today cost me the match a little bit.

Q. Seeing how Petra was out in the morning, a big opportunity, you played Serena well here in a couple of finals, two three-setters with her. Is there a sense that maybe you could get to her in this tournament? Does that put you under any more pressure in this match? Did you feel it was a great opportunity for you going into this?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, I didn’t really look into that because I knew I had a tough match today. So I was just trying to play today and win today. That didn’t happen. That’s out of the question.

Q. You fought hard to come back into this match. You were up in the third set. Do you think maybe what you could have done to go up 3-Love before the rain, or…
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Maybe. You know, I don’t know. It’s tough to say what could have happened. I just tried to accept what happened and learn from it, just improve, because thinking of what could have happened is pointless to me.

Q. She struggled this year. She lost first round at Wimbledon. French Open didn’t play that well. Were you surprised she played so tough at the end?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don’t usually get them when they are in the bad form. Usually they play really well against me. (Smiling.)

You know, she had a great summer. Obviously she played two finals in the two big events. Coming in she was in good form and playing well at the Open. So I didn’t expect an easy match or that she was going to give me something away.

Obviously she didn’t. She played well. She stayed strong. As I said, I believe that the couple points that, you know, I could have maybe be a little bit more aggressive or sometimes more consistent did cost the match today.

Q. You talked the other day about the dream and the passion to be back at No. 1. Obviously when you have had your share of injuries and been hampered by injury, are there things you could take from this tournament that make you feel that, you know, that the positives, if you can take out of it, that you’re on track to maybe get back to your old form?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Definitely. I have no doubt in my abilities. This tournament is just another step forward. I believe I played pretty well throughout the whole tournament. There are, I think, quite a bit of improvements in my game compared to Wimbledon or other tournaments, so, you know, I’m on the right track. You know, today I didn’t have much luck on my side today, I think.

But luck has nothing to do with it. You’ve got to create your own. I will keep working hard.

Q. Congratulations on a victorious season, at least. What do you plan to do in terms of relaxing and kind of reflecting? Do you take some time off after?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: We’ll see. It’s too close to think what I’m going to do. I’m definitely going to go home and spend some time with my family, pick my nephew up from kindergarten. So I’m looking forward to that. That’s, you know, life experiences that has nothing to do with tennis that makes me happy.

And reflecting, I’m going to reflect after I’m done with tennis. I have no time for that.

Q. Simona said some nice things about Serena after the Cincinnati final. She said she might cheer for her to get the Grand Slam. This is kind of ironic. If she ends up playing her here it will be kind of a weird situation, wouldn’t it? Do you think it was a mistake for her to say anything?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I’m not here to judge what she said. You know, she said what she wanted to say. If she ends up playing against her, you know, we will see what happens.

Q. Could be a lousy final, right?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don’t know. There is still semifinals that both have to win. So we’ll see.

Q. You said you were surprised by Simona’s pace today. Can you explain what was tricky?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah. I thought that she has more speed on the ball, and she does play with fast pace, taking the ball early. But the majority of her shots actually sits up pretty nicely. I should have adjusted a little bit better, take a little bit more advantage of that.

But she changed it up, her pace, and there were a few things that I was just a little bit surprised you don’t see that well on TV when you face that, and since we haven’t played against each other for a long time, that was a little bit of a surprise.

Q. Obviously the prime storyline here is about Serena and the slams and so forth. So if I could, could I ask you how you think Simona would line up against her, what her choices are? Just talk about…
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, if she’s going to cheer for her during the match, then she probably has less chances, as she said after Cincinnati. (Smiling.)

I don’t know. It depends on so many factors: how she’s gonna play, how Serena is going to feel, what the conditions will be.

It’s difficult to predict, you know. I just hope it’s going to be a great final or semifinal. We still have semifinals. It’s going to be great matches for women’s tennis. That’s what I’m hoping for.

Q. Do you think it feels all right to play Zhuhai instead of Singapore based on rankings at the end of the season, or do you feel very disappointed to not qualify for the Championships?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Do I not have any chance to qualify or what?

Q. You will actually have to try to qualify for Singapore?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: That’s the goal.

Q. After two close matches with Serena in majors this year, were you particularly motivated here, maybe get one more crack? You had some very good chances in those matches.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I mean, of course I was looking forward to that, but what’s the point talking about it right now? I’m out of the tournament, so I just gotta go back, back to work, and hopefully create another opportunity for the Wuhan, Beijing, next year, whenever it’s gonna happen. Right now it’s — what do you want me to say? (Smiling.)

Q. You were mentioning the concept of luck and luck not being entirely on your side today. Tough losses at the slams. Do you think there was a little bit of luck just not on your side at the majors this year? Draws? Opponents?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I mean, I’m not gonna sit and find excuses or feel sorry that I was unlucky with the draw or whatever it is. You know, maybe it’s just not my time right now. But that doesn’t discourage me to work hard. And, you know, there’s nobody in this world that’s gonna put a limit on what I want to do.

To me, it’s quite a good motivation.

Q. Does your nephew know that his aunt is a tennis star or an athlete?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I hope he just is proud that I’m his Aunt Vika, you know, regardless the rest of the stuff. You know, I hope he’s just happy to see my face and he’ll be excited. That’s what I love about kids. They don’t care about anything else but who you are as a person.

Q. And there’s more tennis to play, but this is the end of the Grand Slam season. You put so much effort, worked so hard. Just talk about your Grand Slam season this year.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it’s not bad for the ranking that I had. I don’t think that anybody has done better than me where I am in the rankings. It could have been better. It is what it is. You know, it’s that simple.

I just want to take it and accept as it happened. I made, what, two quarterfinals? Next one I want to try to make it further.

You know, I have won Grand Slams before. I believe I can do it again. I need to put more work in, and I’ll get it.


Flavia Pennetta

Flavia Pennetta


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Flavia Pennetta

Press Conference

F. PENNETTA/P. Kvitova

4-6, 6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Petra was in earlier and said she wasn’t all that disappointed because she played very, very well and you simply outplayed her. Is that how you would describe it?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I think we both play very well. It was a good fight. In the end I play a little bit better.

Physically I was better than her in the last set, so that was the difference, for sure.

Q. How do you feel about being back in the semifinals where you were a couple years ago? Who knows who you’re going to play; they are slugging it out right now. How do you feel about being back in the semis?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Of course I’m really, really happy. It’s something incredible. Before the tournament I never think to be so far in the tournament, so it’s something special. It’s something amazing for me in this moment.

Q. Why did you not think that, because you have been there before?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: No, because I didn’t play really well in the last week and the feeling was not that good. I just come here and try to practice, try to find the good feeling with the ball, with the atmosphere here, and everything it seems working. (Smiling.)

Q. Yesterday your countrywoman, Roberta Vinci, said how proud Italy was to have her in the semis, but they may be even more proud to have two women in the semis. How proud are you, and how proud is your country at the moment?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Of course I’m very proud. Of course yesterday when I saw Roberta in the locker, I mean, I hug her and I say — I mean, she was amazing yesterday also.

I think this is really important for our country. We did a lot of good things in the last 10 years. We have me, Roberta, Francesca, Sara, now Camila is coming also.

So I think it’s really good for Italian tennis to have such a good player.

Q. They say to never talk to women about their age, but Schiavone…
FLAVIA PENNETTA: We are old. I know.

Q. Thank you.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, old for tennis. For the life we are younger. (Smiling.)

Q. But just talk about that. There must be just some reason for that.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: No, there is no reason. I mean, also Serena, she is not that young. I mean, of course we are a little bit old for the age of tennis right now. A lot of young players coming in the last — since the Olympic game, I think, was a little bit of change of generation.

But we are here. We still fight. We still enjoy what we did. I think this is important.

Q. Talk about the role of Fed Cup just over the past many years. You have had success after success. Has that helped you guys? Has it pushed each of you?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, I think was really important for all of us because sometimes I mean, I starting the year in 2009 with the top 10 and then Francesca won Roland Garros and then Sara come. Everyone was pushing the other one.

I think it was really important for us to have someone before us just to try to catch it all the time.

Q. People aren’t really giving Roberta much of a chance against Serena tomorrow, but from your perspective, what about Roberta’s game is so difficult on court?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, Roberta, she’s completely like a different player. I mean, she’s one of the — maybe the only one. And there is another one, Niculescu. They play different in that way.

But of course — I think she have chance tomorrow. I mean, she has to go in the court and try her best. She don’t have nothing to lose. She has in front of her Serena Williams. I mean, you just have to go on court and try everything.

I mean, she make a really good tournament. She has to believe that she can make it, because if you go on the court you are not that sure or you are thinking, Okay, it’s done; I’m okay, like this, it’s going to be bad.

Q. We don’t know of course who your next opponent will be. Can we take each player separately? Would you please speak about them as individuals and what you feel about the challenge with each?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, they are really good both. Amazing players. Powerful. They have everything. I mean, they are now in court and fighting and running and try everything to get through this round.

Doesn’t matter who I gonna play tomorrow, because I think they are both really good and it’s going to be a big fight with both of them.

Q. So in terms of style of play, let’s start with Vika. When you watch her play, what do you consider her…
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I cannot tell you right now. Because I cannot tell you what I want to do against her or against the other one. Maybe after the match we gonna talk about that. (Smiling.)

Q. How about just to describe Vika. When you look at her and you see her play, what are the things she does that most impress you?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, she play really aggressive all the time, good backhand, good forehand; first serve really good; second one you can attack a little bit better.

You have to push her all the time, because if you give her a time to push you, you gonna die on the court.

Q. And how about Halep?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Halep, it’s look like she’s not that powerful like Vika but she is. She is more powerful, I think. To make a winner to her you have to finish the point seven times. She always there, always in — the ball is always come back.

It’s gonna be like marathon, I think.

Q. Her getting to No. 2 in the world, what do you consider her greatest attributes that have brought her to that place?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: She’s really consistent. I mean, from the beginning of the year until now she’s really like — she didn’t play really well Roland Garros and Wimbledon, but I think for different things, not about tennis.

Maybe she had too much pressure outside the court. I mean, everyone expecting so much. She has two months where she was a little bit like scaring, not of everything. But now she’s back in the same way she start the beginning of the year, focus and with a lot of the determination.

Q. You mentioned Niculescu, who of course at Indian Wells played Serena and gave Serena a big, big headache. Just talk about how that might be a matchup problem in terms of Roberta going in.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Well, Roberta has two things much better than Niculescu. She serve much better and with the forehand she can make a lot of winners. You cannot compare one with the other one because they do like different thing comparing to the other player.

But Roberta and Niculescu, they are different player. I mean, Niculescu is more physically maybe, stronger. She is running much more. But Roberta has winner, has a good serve. I mean, it’s different in this way.

Q. Regardless of who you play tomorrow you have beaten them before. What would it mean to you to make a final?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I don’t know. I gonna tell you if I have a chance to beat her. (Smiling.)

Q. How does being in the semifinal here before help you? You have been in the semifinal before. How does that help you?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Nothing today. I mean, you just go on court and play. I mean, doesn’t matter if you make final, semifinal, quarterfinal years before. You just try to play the match the best you can and nothing more.

Q. Are you happy it’s being played at night rather than the weird sunny/shade like today?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: If I could choose I prefer night session, of course, because I like the light. It’s not the big problem for me with playing with light.

And play with this, I mean, the shade on the court was a disaster today. I was not able to see. I mean, was the same for her, for sure. I mean, it’s not easy.

But it was the same for both of us.

Q. New York obviously has a big Italian-American population. Do you have any contacts here? Family here? Have you gone to Little Italy?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: No, no, I didn’t have any family here, but I like a lot to go to Italian restaurant when I can. I have some friends, they have restaurant here. I try to be home just to with the good food. (Smiling.)

Q. Playing doubles last year with Martina, what kind of tips did she give you for singles and playing well in majors?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, she’s a good player and you can — she’s a champion, no? So it’s always nice to have someone like her with you.

But she didn’t say, told me nothing like different that I already know, but was a really nice to play with her. I really enjoyed the time we spent together.

Kvitova bh-001


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Petra Kvitova

Press Conference

F. PENNETTA/P. Kvitova

4-6, 6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Did you have some injury that we saw?

Q. Not at all? No, honestly.
.PETRA KVITOVA: No, no injury.

Q. But you had something wrapped up.

Q. Your leg. At the end of the second set you seemed to be a little tired.
PETRA KVITOVA: I am tired. (Smiling.)

What you saw on my leg, it’s from the first match already. It was just protection. It wasn’t really nothing serious.

I think just from the beginning of the match I didn’t really feel 100% ready today. I’m just glad that I left everything what I could today. I suffered a lot, but I’m still here. That’s good.

Q. Did you suffer because of the heat or something else?
PETRA KVITOVA: Probably. Yeah, I was kind of hot out there today. But my energy-wise wasn’t probably the best today, as well.


Q. Do you have explanation for the fact that on the first set nine games out of ten were won when you were playing on the shadow, and one the sun — only one and you won the first set because you won one game against the sun. In the second set this completely changed. I mean, five games won in the sun, five in the shade. Did you change the situation completely or you just get adjusted to the situation?
PETRA KVITOVA: Yeah, I think that both of us, we just need some time to get used to the shades over there. It’s not very nice when you’re playing out there. Of course you’re feeling much more better if you are in the shades. You’re just feeling a little bit like cooler.

But when you see the ball it’s kind of a little bit tricky because you really don’t see as well as you normally do. That’s why probably we were kind of suffering from the first set. But then probably we just get used to when it was — just doesn’t matter if it’s the shades there or no.

Q. Do you feel like you played the best game that you could play today? I think I heard you sort of say that before that you played well, but she was just the better player today. Is that how you feel?
PETRA KVITOVA: I think I should a little bit serve better, but on the other side, I think that she returned very well. I made a lot of double faults today, and it was just presents to give her.

On the other side, I mean, if I am not really counting the serves sometimes, I left everything what I could today, s I said already, and she didn’t miss at all. She was very consistent player. She moves very well, and it was tough to have any winners and everything.

So, yeah.

Q. Quarterfinals is your best final here, but certainly to the level you have achieved at the other Grand Slams. Is it a bit frustrating you haven’t been able to get beyond this point and maybe get to the semis or the finals?
PETRA KVITOVA: Yeah, of course. I’m disappointing that I lost today for sure, but on the other side, I think I have a lot of positive things to take from the tournament.

You know, it wasn’t really easy situation. I’m just very — I’m kind of proud of myself how I played here, anyway. I didn’t really practice that much before. Everything was just like puzzles to take it together somehow and just take it together somehow and everything.

Of course, I wish to play tomorrow semifinal, but on the other side is good.

Q. The third set, do you think it’s normal fatigue or do you think it is from your asthma?
PETRA KVITOVA: I think I never have the explanation for that. I mean, you never know what is it. I just know that from the first point I don’t really feel like energy level great.

Really tough to say. I think it was kind of combination of everything.

Q. There was a heat policy today or not? You stopped at eight minutes…
PETRA KVITOVA: I don’t know. They didn’t tell us.

Q. They didn’t tell you anything about that?
PETRA KVITOVA: No, so probably not.

Q. I saw at the end you were nice to Flavia and you embrace each other. Do you know each other well? Are you friends in a way or not? She’s eight years older than you, so, I mean, I don’t know.
PETRA KVITOVA: I think the age doesn’t matter. I know her long time, of course, on the tour. We meet each other very often. She’s very nice person and I like her.

I mean, she’s a good, I don’t know to say good friend, but for sure nice person, as I said. I just wished her best of luck. She really deserved to win today. I just felt it like that. So that’s why.

Q. Nice of you. Of course you probably don’t care very much who is going to win next match, but do you see Flavia has more chances in your opinion versus Halep eventually or versus Azarenka in terms of technical abilities or situation?
PETRA KVITOVA: Tough to say. I think either if she gonna play Azarenka or Halep, I think both of them playing very consistently. I think very similar game as Flavia has.

Difficult to say. I mean, for sure it’s going to be a lot about the physical side kind of and who gonna serve probably better.

Q. Was it more difficult to wake up this morning than it was other days?
PETRA KVITOVA: A little bit. (Smiling.) Actually, I couldn’t fall asleep last night, so it was kind of difficult anyway.

Yeah, when I heard my alarm I didn’t want to wake up. Yeah, I’m kind of sleepy right now, as well. I’m okay. It’s fine.

Q. And you mentioned before that there were positives to take out of this tournament. Can you be a little more specific? What positives do you take out of it?
PETRA KVITOVA: I think the positive things, for sure, it’s kind of in the mind that even I wasn’t 100% ready, my body wasn’t really ready, I was still able to play really good tennis.

Which I know in the past, as well, that if I feel kind of suffering with some injuries or something I was still able to play good, so that’s nice to have it back, for sure.

Another positive is that a played a lot of matches, as well. It’s great to have it, because last couple of months I didn’t really have that many. I mean, I played French Open and Wimbledon, so it was kind of difficult time.

And I’m looking forward for the next matches again.

Q. Just wondering how is your body holding up right now after this long, exhausting, really hot summer in North America? Do you think you will be fully recovered to play in Wuhan and Beijing?
PETRA KVITOVA: I wish so, for sure. I mean, I really don’t know. I’m coming back to make some blood test how is it everything looking right now. Now I’m feeling really exhausted, so I’m really glad I can sit now.

But I have really no idea. I gonna talk with the doctors again and see how everything is working, but if I’m okay I will come there, for sure.

Q. How much attention do you think you’ll pay to the rest of the tournament here?
PETRA KVITOVA: I think it’s not that much because it’s only two matches, so I think it’s fine.

I have no idea. Normally when I lost I really don’t care about the others, how the tournament is going to continue. I will see. I have no idea.

Q. Would you be surprised at this point if Serena Williams did not win the title?
PETRA KVITOVA: Yes. (Smiling.)

Q. Is there anything in your mind that could prevent that from happening, either because the players who are left or any other reason?
PETRA KVITOVA: Of course it’s still great players playing, two of them right now. But I think I saw the match Serena played yesterday with Venus, and I just felt that she’s more focusing than she did before, the matches before, and I think that she’s kind of the player who with the tournament she’s playing better and better every match.

So I think that if she gonna be in the final, I think she gonna put everything what she has inside and she gonna win it.


Note from the US Open Media Operations Guide as to 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.

Easy Victories for Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka set up an All-Swiss Semifinal at the US Open

Roger Federer

Roger Federer

(September 9, 2015) One of the men’s US Open semifinals on Friday will be an all-Swiss affair. On Wednesday, both Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer made quick work of their opponents to advance.

No. 2 Federer moved into his 38th major semifinal, his 10th at the US Open, with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 victory over 12th seed, Frenchman Richard Gasquet. Federer’s dominance showed in the statistics. The 17-time major winner hit 50 winners to Gasquet’s 8, hit 16 aces with no break points against.

Federer was asked about if he is surprised that he’slaying at such a high level at his age of 34.

“A little bit,” he said. “I mean, a little bit to the extent where it’s nice to play this way. And maybe at my age to run through, you know, five opponents the way I have done here at the US Open, I don’t consider that normal, to be quite honest, even though I expect it in some ways for myself to come out and play well.

“I’ve played so well over the last one-and-a-half years. I don’t feel like I’m as old as I am. I still feel young. So it’s nice to get rewarded with the hard work and, you know, that actually I’m able to play sort of fun tennis, I maybe call it for myself. Aggressive, pick it up, you know, like half volley it, move in, serve and volley, cut the points short, and if I want to, if I want to, extend the rallies.

“But it feels like on my terms. Then if you win this way, it’s a great feeling.”


Fifth seed Wawrinka broke a string of four string of four straight losses to 15th seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-0 win. The match was moved over to Louis Armstrong Stadium as the women’s matches ran late due to an 85 minute rain delay during the second women’s quarterfinal and rain was expected in the evening.

Wawrinka broke  the 6′ 8″ Anderson’s serve five times. He hit 25 winners, and made just 15 errors to Anderson’s 42.

“I felt I did a good job of resetting myself and getting ready for this next match,” Anderson said. “Wasn’t meant to be today. Stan didn’t make it easy.” The South African upset third seed Andy Murray on Monday.

“It was really tough out there. Was maybe a little bit nervous just with the occasion and a lot of waiting around, switching courts. Obviously something that you deal with, but just getting out there and everything seemed to be going pretty quickly.

“I thought conditions were, you know, quite quick and quite live, especially compared to my last match out there. One poor serve game in the first set and I wasn’t really making too many inroads on his serve.”

“Yeah, for sure the best match of the tournament for me,” Wawrinka said. “I was really happy the way I play. I was focused on doing what I wanted on the match. I was trying to be really aggressive on the return and make him play a mix or some slice, some aggressive play from the baseline.”

How does Federer feel about playing his countryman Wawrinka?

“I think a lot comes through practice for Stan, because he’s worked very hard throughout his career. It took him a while to figure out exactly what his possibilities were. I don’t think he was a guy who always, you know, had enough confidence.

“I always thought he was a better player than he actually was, but somehow something was holding him back maybe. I think only once when he really started to break through and he had some big wins — I recall a big win for him when he beat Hewitt in the fifth deciding match in Davis Cup in Sydney. Beat him on the grass two sets to one down. Came back and won it. Played unbelievable tennis at the end.

“Then I think in practice he started working to hit the ball harder consistently, and today he can consistently bring the power on forehand, backhand, and serve almost anybody when he gets hot.

“I’m happy he found that level of play. Two slams, got Davis Cup, Olympic gold. Has a complete career. Won a Masters 1000. Has everything he ever wanted. He has had a wonderful career.

“Looking forward to playing him, because he definitely is a big test and a big challenge for me. He beat me in straights at the French, so I hope I can do better this time.”

“I think the past three years, for sure, I get closer to him,” Wawrinka said. “My level improved a lot. I’m playing better tennis. So I was always really close from him, if we look Wimbledon last year.

“I will for sure need to play my best tennis. He’s playing really well so far. He loves to play. He know how to play. He had some amazing match. It’s going to be a big challenge. I think I’m ready.”

In the other men’s semifinal, No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia will face-off against defending champion No. 9 Marin Cilic of Croatia.



Kevin Anderson Upsets Andy Murray to Reach US Open Quarterfinals


(September 7, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Andy Murray lost for the first time before a major quarterfinal since 2010 when the third seed was toppled by 15th seed Kevin Anderson 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (0) in the fourth round of the US Open on Monday.

“Obviously something that is disappointing to lose because of that (record)” Murray said of the loss. “Obviously that’s many years’ work that’s gone into building that sort of consistency. To lose that is tough.

“Also to lose a match like that that was over four hours, tough obviously after a couple of tough matches earlier in the tournament, as well, it’s a hard one to lose, for sure.”

The 6’8” South African who his 81 winners broke a 0 for 7 string of losing in the fourth round of majors. Most recently at Wimbledon to Novak Djokovic, whom he led by two sets to none.

“Sitting here having played the match and winning it, it’s hard to describe how I’m feeling,” Anderson said in press. “I felt I played one of the best matches of my career. To do it at this stage, at this round, obviously to get through to the quarters the first time in a slam definitely means a lot to me.”

“I was playing against an excellent player,” Murray said. “He served extremely well. And I would say, you know, the service game I played at 4-1, I was up 40-Love in the second set, got broken there. Then that was really around the time when I was starting to get the momentum a bit back on my side.

“I obviously broke him straight after that, held serve, then had breakpoints the next game. You know, maybe if I’d held serve there at 40-Love, I might have been able to snatch that second set but obviously didn’t. Then fought hard through to the end.”

Anderson will face Stan Wawrinka next. The world No. 5 bested American Donald Young 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.

“It’s going to be just a tough matchup in my next round, Anderson said. “I mean, it’s definitely not going to be any easier than it was today. As I was saying, I think Stan is a terrific player. Especially at majors he’s really stepped it up, I think one of the people you really have to watch out for.

“I’m just so pleased to get through the quarters for the first time here. Got tomorrow to prepare. Right now it’s nice to think about from today’s match. It really meant a lot to me. There’s a lot of good feelings here.”

The South African holds a 4-3 record against the Swiss.

Roger Federer straight setted the last American man in the singles draw, No. 13 John Isner 7-6 (0), 7-6 (6), 7-5. The first set tiebreaker was the first time that Isner has ever been shutout.

Federer will play world No. 12 Richard Gasquet, who defeated No. 6 Tomas Berdych 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1.

As for his match-up against the Frenchman, Federer said: “I’m not sure if I’ve seen maybe Gasquet play as well as he has right now. I really like the way he played in Wimbledon, and also now here. I haven’t seen that much. But the match I saw that he played against Stan and Novak at Wimbledon was impressive. He had a good attitude. He was fighting. Good shot selection. I don’t know, it was nice, you know.

“Now he’s backing it up. I’m sure he gained confidence from Wimbledon. That’s why I expect it to be tougher than maybe in previous years against him or previous times. I know he can play much better at Davis Cup. I know I played very well, as well. Still I expected him to be tougher there, because I beat him in straight sets. I don’t know, he kind of went away. In Dubai, of course, he was injured. That doesn’t count. I don’t remember when I played him the last times.

“I feel like this could be one of the tougher Gasquets I’ve played in previous years, so I expect it to be difficult.”

Two of the women’s quarterfinals match-ups are set. It will be No. 2 Simona Halep against No. 20 Victoria Azarenka, and No. 5 Petra Kvitova versus No. 26 Flavia Pennetta. Halep defeated 24th seed Sabine Lisicki 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-2, fifth seed Kvitova stopped qualifier Johanna Konta 7-5, 6-3, 20th seed Azarenka topped Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 6-3, 6-4 and 26th seed Flavia Pennetta defeated 22nd seed and 2011 champion Samantha Stosur 6-4, 6-4.


In Their Own Words – Kevin Anderson, Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Donald Young and Johanna Konta



Monday, September 7, 2015

Kevin Anderson

Press Conference


7-6, 6-3, 6-7, 7-6

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How good did that shower feel tonight?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, you know, obviously knowing I was playing Andy in the fourth round a couple days ago, it’s sometimes tough not to wonder and think about the match, think post the match and what it will be like. Obviously sitting here having played the match and winning it, it’s hard to describe how I’m feeling. I felt I played one of the best matches of my career. To do it at this stage, at this round, obviously to get through to the quarters the first time in a slam definitely means a lot to me.

Q. Were you able to read all the texts from the University of Illinois alumni players?
KEVIN ANDERSON: I turned my phone onto flight mode before. It’s interesting. I think my phone kind of froze. I got so many. It was awesome to see all the support and actually amazing to see how many people were watching the match.

Q. To what degree does your demeanor play into your success?
KEVIN ANDERSON: I’m not sure. Especially in a match like that where I felt there was so much energy out there, you know, I was just really trying to focus on the basics as much as I could. I mean, I was feeling it a lot.

I guess I wasn’t showing a whole lot. But, you know, I was just really taking it one point at a time, taking care of my serve games. Yeah, especially I think in that instance where there is so much, you can easily sort of get caught up. I mean, I was definitely feeling it in terms of fatigue. It was a very physical match. I was trying to balance conserving energy but at the same time showing some emotion.

I felt, you know, at least I found a good balance there. Maybe I wasn’t ecstatic, all sorts of jumping up and down, but inside I definitely found a really good balance.

Q. What was your key to your dominance in the tiebreaker at the end?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, you know, at that point having lost that third-set breaker, in the fourth I was just like, you know, really focused just one point at a time. Obviously winning my first point on my serve, then going 2-Love up, hitting a really good return winner to go 3-Love up, like just let me get one of these next serve points. To get both of them, now I’m suddenly 5-Love up. I was able to swing a little bit on that next point, grinded out a good point.

I think always with breakers, it’s really just about not getting too far ahead of yourself. I mean, not many times you are going to win it 7-0. So obviously switching in at 6-0, it’s a lot more comfortable than being 5-All, 6-All, something like that.

Q. I know you have a Green Card, but how close are you to U.S. citizenship? Is there any chance you would ever play Davis Cup for the United States?
KEVIN ANDERSON: I have my Green Card. Right now I’m getting it through my marriage. There’s like a three-year time you have to have your Green Card for. But within that three years you have to spend a certain amount of days in the U.S. It’s like 50%. I’m like at 45%. I think maybe I’ll be eligible sometime next year, I think.

In terms of Davis Cup, no, I’m not going to be playing for the U.S.

Q. You haven’t had a ton of success against Andy in the past. What sort of tactical adjustments did you make coming into this match?
KEVIN ANDERSON: I think obviously quite a few things. I played him a few times. Just in this matchup, I think there’s more than just a couple tacticals for the match. It goes way back in my preparations. I’ve got a great team behind me, all the work that they do and the support, you know, from obviously my coach to my fitness trainers, my physical trainers. I’ve been working with a sports psychologist, as well. Obviously I think that’s been a big benefit for me, just being more comfortable in these big positions.

I feel like the last while I’ve put myself in that position, obviously being in the fourth round a few times but falling a little bit short. Today it feels good to take a little step and actually beat one of the best guys in the world in the fourth round of a slam, as well.

Q. How does this register at home?
KEVIN ANDERSON: It will be interesting to see. Over the last couple years, I feel like there’s been quite a bit of press following my results on the tour. Obviously there’s been a lot of Davis Cup questions regarding my participation. I’ve just always tried to point out I just feel like wins like this, at least when I was growing up, would mean a lot to see somebody from South Africa. I was looking at Wayne Ferreira. I know that the coverage has been great, so I’m pretty sure there will be quite a bit of press back home. That definitely feels good to see that. Obviously tennis is struggling a bit, so obviously the more the better.

Q. That crowd was pretty rough on you for a while there. Was there a moment you wanted to say, I’m kind of American here?
KEVIN ANDERSON: It was so much fun playing out there. It was packed from the first point right till the end. The crowd was really getting into it. Playing Andy, who is a champion here, obviously he’s always going to have so much support.

I felt I had quite a bit, as well. There were quite a few chants going on. I’ve never really been somebody who’s been affected by the crowd even if I’m not the favorite for the match, but I must say playing out there will be definitely one for the memory bank.

Q. Without going into any personal detail, how has this sports psychologist helped you?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I mean, I think on numerous fronts. I think especially at this level, there’s such fine details. I think a lot of the physical side, obviously I’m working on that. But I felt just from the mental side, being as neutral as possible in these big matchups, somebody just to talk through, you know, sort of understands how I think and stuff has definitely been a huge benefit for me.

I definitely feel even though it’s a gradual process, I feel like I’m on the right path and making good decisions.

Q. Do you feel you’re as mentally strong as the top four guys?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I mean, that’s my goal. That’s how I approach my tennis. Obviously I want to get to that stage. Top 10 has been a lifelong dream for me. I feel like I’m getting closer. Even top 5, I think that’s ultimately where I want to be.

So we try structure and think that way. Obviously it’s a lot of tennis and a lot of wins to get there. But I feel like over the last while I’ve definitely been on a good part and am giving myself the best opportunity to get there.

Q. The American public does not know you all that well. If there was one thing you want them to know about you, what would it be?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Oh, you know, in terms of the American public, obviously I’ve been living in the U.S. for 10 years. Obviously I’m still South African. But I have a lot of ties here. I went to college here. My wife is American. I live in the U.S. It’s one of my favorite places to play.

Even though I’m South African, I’d like people to know that it definitely means a lot what the States has actually given me over the last 10 years.

Q. What are your thoughts on facing Stan?
KEVIN ANDERSON: It’s going to be the first time at a major. Obviously I’ve played him a few times now. Had some success against him the last few times we’ve played. Very close matches. I mean, Paris last year, he served for the match. I was able to come through and get that. At Queen’s this year, I think it was two tiebreak sets, so very close. I played very good tennis.

So it’s going to be a tough match. I mean, I think especially in the last few years, he’s really put himself up there as one of the main contenders for slams. I really feel he’s playing some of his best tennis. To win two slams in the last year and a half is obviously a testament to that.

He knows what it takes. He’s been in that position. It’s my first time, but I feel like I’m hitting the ball very well. I know what to expect going into the match. It’s just about giving myself the best opportunity and obviously trying to execute as best as I can.

Q. How about contrast of styles?
KEVIN ANDERSON: I think some similarities. Both serves, I think we both have a very good serve. Obviously his backhand I think is his main shot-maker. I think he has a bit more variety than me on that. At the same time, I feel like I’m able — at least I have been in our matches — to stay with him from the back. When I’ve been aggressive, I’ve been able to keep him at bay. He’s one of the best shot makers in the game. I think I come forward a little bit more than he does. It will definitely be an interesting matchup.

Q. After you lost the third set, for a second what went through your mind? The match against Djokovic in Wimbledon?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Funny you mention that. It was definitely on my mind quite a bit there because I felt we were playing some long points. It was a long match. I mean, over four hours for four sets. I was fatiguing a little bit in the third. But I just stuck with it.

I think it was important for me going into the match, thinking back to Wimbledon, the way I played there. That’s how I wanted to play again today.

Once I was up two sets to love, I think it was important not to think about it. I was just really happy with the way I stuck the course, especially in the fourth set. I think he was really finding his way back in the match. He was getting the crowd going. I just really stuck to my guns and I think I played a great fourth set.

Q. You have a great record, 4-3, against Wawrinka. Your confidence level is raising. Since 1980, you’re going to be the first South African to reach the semifinals of the US Open. This is like pressure.
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I’m definitely not looking at it that way. It’s going to be just a tough matchup in my next round. I mean, it’s definitely not going to be any easier than it was today. As I was saying, I think Stan is a terrific player. Especially at majors he’s really stepped it up, I think one of the people you really have to watch out for.

I’m just so pleased to get through the quarters for the first time here. Got tomorrow to prepare. Right now it’s nice to think about from today’s match. It really meant a lot to me. There’s a lot of good feelings here.

Q. You said getting into the top 10 has been a dream. You are not that old, but you went to university, you started your professional career a little bit late. At any point have you ever felt you’re too old to achieve your dream or too late to reach the top 10?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I mean, it’s obviously a very interesting question. But I think if you look — I think two things.

A, just the way I feel. My body’s holding up great. I really do as much as I can to take care of myself. Going to college and turning pro a little bit later, I always felt myself a little younger than maybe some of the other guys my age who have been on the tour a little bit longer. It takes a bit more out of you than I think it was when I was in college and not traveling as much.

Secondly, I’m looking at the guys. I mean, just watching Roger playing at 33 or 34, just moving incredible. Obviously he’s one of the best athletes of all times. Maybe tough to compare myself to him. A lot of guys, Ivo Karlovic is over 35. I definitely feel my trajectory is still going up. I’m still improving. My desire is still there. Right now I don’t think age is something to worry about.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


Andy Murray

Andy Murray


Monday, September 7, 2015

Andy Murray

Press Conference


7-6, 6-3, 6-7, 7-6

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Where would you assess that went wrong for you?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I was playing against an excellent player. He served extremely well. And I would say, you know, the service game I played at 4-1, I was up 40-Love in the second set, got broken there. Then that was really around the time when I was starting to get the momentum a bit back on my side.

I obviously broke him straight after that, held serve, then had breakpoints the next game. You know, maybe if I’d held serve there at 40-Love, I might have been able to snatch that second set but obviously didn’t. Then fought hard through to the end.

Q. The kind of atmosphere playing under the lights on Armstrong, is that something that is only here in New York or do you have that someplace else?
ANDY MURRAY: Look, I played in many great atmospheres. Tonight was obviously very good, as well. You know, the match was a very long one, close. I was trying to use the energy of the crowd as much as I could to help me.

The atmosphere was very good.

Q. Did you feel you were playing at your best today or were you struggling to find your game compared to the previous tournaments?
ANDY MURRAY: It’s a tough match. That court is a lot quicker than Ashe. I felt like, you know, I was on the back foot quite a lot. Wasn’t able to play that offensively.

But, you know, when you’re playing against someone that’s playing and has the game style that he does, you’re always going to have to do, you know, a fair bit of defending, especially if he serves well.

Q. As tough as it is to lose, is there a place where you can feel good for Kevin who has been around a long time, finally in the quarters of a major?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah. Obviously just now I’m more disappointed for myself. We only came off court 15, 20 minutes ago. It was obviously a big match for him. The way the match went, to come through I’m sure will be good for him in the long run.

Yeah, obviously he’s had a very good couple of weeks. The buildup here, then obviously some good wins in this event, too. It’s good for him.

Q. Different surfaces and circumstances, but how different was that Kevin Anderson to the one you beat at Queen’s?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t think massively different. You know, obviously it’s a different surface completely. I played him in Miami earlier this year and also in Valencia last year. We played close matches there on the hard courts.

I think this is his preferred surface. And, yeah, I didn’t notice massive changes in his game.

Q. Did you sense there was a different kind of composure to him? Did you feel as if you had gotten into the fifth set he might have gotten tight?
ANDY MURRAY: From my side, like I said, the second set I felt like I was starting to put pressure on him there. When I had the breakpoint at 5-3, I had a backhand pass that I really should have made. When you’re playing against players that are at that level, like him, you need to obviously make them think and then give them a chance to get nervous.

The beginning of the fourth set, as well, I think it was his first service game, I had 15-All, hit a dropshot, midcourt forehand, then ended up winning the next couple of points.

You know, I felt like I had my opportunities there but didn’t manage to capitalize on them. When you’re playing against someone as good as him, you know, it’s tough.

Q. Can you just assess Great Britain’s chances in the Davis Cup? Also this loss earlier in the tournament than you expected may be a blessing in terms of preparation?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know if it will be a blessing or not. And I also don’t know what their team’s going to be. It’s quite hard for me to assess their chances until I know what team they’re going to put out and what players they’re going to select.

I haven’t seen it yet. I don’t know if it came out today yet. I don’t know who’s playing, so it’s quite tough to know.

Q. How important will the doubles be, though?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, doubles will be important. I think all of the points are. You know, you need first team to get to three. I think everyone has an opportunity to beat everyone. I don’t know if there’s one match in particular that’s more important than the others.

Q. Having played well at the other slams, how big a blow is this for you? That’s 18 quarterfinals you made up to this point in Grand Slams, consecutive.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, well, that’s obviously something that is disappointing to lose because of that. Obviously that’s many years’ work that’s gone into building that sort of consistency. To lose that is tough.

Also to lose a match like that that was over four hours, tough obviously after a couple of tough matches earlier in the tournament, as well, it’s a hard one to lose, for sure.

Q. Glasgow be the perfect pickup back home in Scotland?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I’m looking forward to the tie, yeah. But right now I’m not thinking about that.

Q. Jamie has had a good year. Look like he’s in good shape to qualify for the World Tour Finals. Will you stick around and watch his quarterfinals tomorrow?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it’s possible. I haven’t thought about what I’m going to do yet. I haven’t spent loads of time at home this year. I’ve been away for quite a long time this summer, as well. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do.

But I’m looking forward to getting a few days home, as well.

Q. You played a lot of tennis recently. Do you think the matches last week or the number of matches you played in recent months played any factor today in terms of fatigue?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t think so. I felt like, you know, I was able to fight as I wanted to through to the end of the match. So I don’t think the amount of tennis I played, you know, played a part.

It was more playing against Kevin on the court of that speed, and with him serving as well as he does, it’s a tricky match. It comes down to a few points in each set. He managed to get them today.

Q. You mentioned the speed of the court, the previous match you played on Armstrong. When you find yourself scheduled on there…
ANDY MURRAY: No, I didn’t think about it today at all like that. I mean, I practiced on the court before the tournament and practiced very well on it. Obviously I had some tough losses there, some tough matches. But I’ve also had some good wins on that court, as well.

But it’s tricky. I’ve been playing on Ashe. Because of the conditions, Ashe is sheltered from the wind now, a bit slower. Armstrong is a tighter court which is very open. You get a lot of wind in there. It’s different conditions and something you need to just try and adjust to.

228 Federer smiles-001


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Roger Federer

Press Conference


7-6, 7-6, 7-5

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. He hadn’t been broken in over a hundred games here. He never lost a tiebreaker 7-0 before. How proud are you of that?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, no doubt I’m very pleased because I knew of the toughness of the matchup. I think it happened very quickly how tough it was going to be because we were not really getting that many chances. You could sense if John really hit his spots and I would do the same, it would be tough for either one of us to break through.

I think the first-set tiebreaker, when you win a tiebreak 7-Love, things have to go your way. You need to make some right decisions; he needs to take some bad ones. Needs to match up nicely.

Of course, I think that first set is always going to be key, especially in a serving contest. I think especially the second one was massive just because I wasn’t feeling that good going into the second-set tiebreaker like I was going into the first. I had to fight off some tough serves. I thought John was going really big then, like with some massive pace. It was just tough, you know.

I picked the right sides. I think confidence helped me to get through that one. Then the break clearly was nice. But I kind of felt it was coming. He was maybe not having as much energy anymore. But still it was nice to break and win at the same time.

Q. Taking into account what you’re saying now, when he recovered from Love-40, did you feel like you were going towards a third tiebreak?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, probably. Even though I had a Love-30 game when he was serving against the match and then another Love-30 game when I finally broke, I mean, I see it positive in the sense that I made it work. Okay, I didn’t get the break. I took a decision that game to hit more slices. It matched up maybe the wrong way at Love-40 with his serving. Then at 30-40 when I hit the chip, you know, I just gave it not enough margin because I think that would have been a tough shot for him to hit.

Credit to him for, you know, just going really big on the second serve. It’s unbelievable with how much ease he’s able to hit those big second serves time and time again. I think he only double-faulted once. He’s going on an average of 115, 120 miles an hour. It’s impressive to say the least.

Q. You made the conscious choice this summer just to play Cincinnati. Deep into the tournament, you’re into the quarterfinals, do you feel a difference in your body? Do you feel fresher? If so, how?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, honestly it’s hard to remember how I felt last year this time around. I definitely also think the Monfils match took some emotional energy out of me because, I mean, it was razor’s edge, you know. It was a fun match, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t feel tired going into the Cilic match necessarily, but maybe somewhere deep down you’re a little bit tired somewhere. You don’t know exactly how and where and what, but I had definitely played a lot.

This year that shouldn’t happen. I will tell myself it cannot happen. Even if I play five sets, it doesn’t matter. I think I’ve had a great preparation now with Cincinnati, now here playing great, not dropping sets. Clearly I feel really good about my chances in the quarters now.

Q. You finished him off in three sets like you did the previous three matches. How much does that affect the rest of the tournament considering you only have to run half the kilometers than guys like Wawrinka?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, like I explained, it could be a difference. I hope it will be. But if it’s not, then I’ll battle through tough matches. I’ve worked hard in the off-season. I gave myself that extra week to be in the gym, be on the practice courts. Thankfully it was nice and hot in Switzerland that time around. We also had around 90 degrees as I was practicing. So I feel like I could work on my game a little bit, I could rest up as well, so I come into now sort of the business end of the tournament with a good mindset and a good body.

Q. When you face somebody like John whose serve is different in part just because it’s coming at a different angle, do you do anything in practice before that match differently to prepare for that?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I don’t. I mean, no, I didn’t. You could, of course. You could have somebody serve these big serves.

I don’t know. I think I win the match through his second serves, even if he’s serving that big. I’ve seen 120 serves every single day of my life. But the 135s from that angle, no, not so much. But there you just try your best, in my opinion.

Q. Have you ever seen the ball spin back onto the opponent’s court before in a match that you played?
ROGER FEDERER: I would think I have. I’m not sure on breakpoint (smiling). But it was a nice shot. I was thinking, That was good, that was nice, John. Not so nice against me, but nice nevertheless.

Q. You were serving down Love-40 in a crucial game in the second set. In general, what is your mindset when you get into that big of a hole?
ROGER FEDERER: Not feeling great about my chances then. Seeing sort of the second set evaporate sort of thing. I’m thinking the same, like just make it difficult for him, don’t just give it to him, make him work for it. I don’t know, it sounds so cheesy, but it’s the way it is.

Try to get the first serve in. Then, of course, you miss it. I think I made them all. Then you fight back to deuce. I think I gave him another breakpoint. That’s really disappointing, to be broken that way potentially, it’s rough. If you lead 40-Love and you get broken, same thing if you fight back from Love-40, get to deuce, then get broken again. It’s pretty rough on the confidence. I’m happy I was able to get through that one. If we would have all taken our chances, it probably would have looked like two sets to one rather than three sets to love. I’m aware margins are extremely tight playing someone like John.

Q. What is it like to watch when Venus and Serena play each other, especially when the stakes are high like at a major?
ROGER FEDERER: What I’m thinking?

Q. What it’s like to watch. What goes through your mind?
ROGER FEDERER: Like I’ve seen this before, yeah. Serena’s the favorite. That’s probably what I’m seeing. I hope for a good match.

Q. Novak said last night that it’s very uncomfortable for him to watch, the idea of siblings playing against one another. What emotions or feelings do you have when you see Venus against Serena and think about a sibling rivalry on the grandest of stages?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, not easy to play, no doubt about it. I agree with Novak. I’d have a hard time playing a brother. I’m happy I don’t have a tennis brother.

Q. You talked about keeping a good mindset. Could you offer any tip or thought that you return to to deal with the mental side of the game when you’re digging deep for some of those points that are a real struggle?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think this time of my career, I see, you know, like a dropshot when it comes back. It’s obviously just one point. Like an ace is just a point. Like a horrible error is just a point. When you lose it, you see it as, All right, this point was a great shot but it didn’t count 10.

When you win it or you lose it, I feel like I take it pretty relaxed these days. I’m obviously aware of what’s more important, which are less important, which points. The scoring system is awesome in tennis. It’s like you can switch in a heartbeat. That’s why you have to stay calm at all times, in my opinion. I feel like if I conserve energy by not fist pumping every single point, looking at the big picture, I feel like I can play better throughout.

Q. Can you recall a particular time or even a mentor where it helped drive those lessons home?
ROGER FEDERER: I think it definitely grew within me, finding myself and my right attitude on the court, what I feel comfortable with. I think once you find that peace, that place of peace and quiet, harmony, I don’t know what you want to call it, and confidence, that’s when you start playing your best.

I tried to turn the corner in 2001 in Hamburg when I lost to Scolari. I was so angry I lost that match. The attitude was wrong. So much was wrong about it. The match point was wrong. I squeezed the ball between the racquet and the court and the volley. I looked where had the volley gone, and the ball was like lying on the ground. I was looking, What the hell is going on here? He was in the back fence trying to hit pass. I couldn’t make the valley. I got so angry, I smashed the racquet. I was like, This is enough. I can’t take this attitude anymore? To me that was a changing moment in my career and my attitude.

Q. Had you not broken John’s serve there at the end, even if you had still won in straight sets, would you have left the match feeling a little disappointed not to have been able to break his serve?
ROGER FEDERER: Seriously, no. Would have put me to even have felt better, to be quite honest. To win three tiebreakers against John would have been probably a better feeling than breaking him. I don’t know if it makes sense for you, but for me it does (smiling).

Q. Do you remember such a good streak on your serve in your career? Is there anything particularly working well for holding serve?
ROGER FEDERER: I guess I got good focus. I got confidence. It’s easier probably on the faster courts to do it, to get on streaks like these. What else? I mean, I don’t know. I think I’m taking the right decisions at the right times. I mean, there’s many moments where it’s close. I think the focus is where it needs to be. Like I said, I think the racquet is helping me, easier power. Now having played with it for over one-and-a-half years, I feel like I’m really finding the zones, where to hit them. I can place it more accurately right now than I ever could. So I think that’s also part of the success.

I don’t know when is the last time I served like this. You got to check those stats, please, but not me.

Q. What do you foresee as the biggest challenge in Gasquet’s game and what will be your approach?
ROGER FEDERER: I’m not sure if I’ve seen maybe Gasquet play as well as he has right now. I really like the way he played in Wimbledon, and also now here. I haven’t seen that much. But the match I saw that he played against Stan and Novak at Wimbledon was impressive. He had a good attitude. He was fighting. Good shot selection. I don’t know, it was nice, you know.

Now he’s backing it up. I’m sure he gained confidence from Wimbledon. That’s why I expect it to be tougher than maybe in previous years against him or previous times. I know he can play much better at Davis Cup. I know I played very well, as well. Still I expected him to be tougher there, because I beat him in straight sets. I don’t know, he kind of went away. In Dubai, of course, he was injured. That doesn’t count. I don’t remember when I played him the last times.

I feel like this could be one of the tougher Gasquets I’ve played in previous years, so I expect it to be difficult.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


Donald Young


Monday, September 7, 2015

Donald Young

Press Conference


6-4, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How do you sum up this last week or eight days? Do you feel like that’s something that was unexpected or this is a breakthrough you were waiting for?
DONALD YOUNG: A little bit of both, but more so what I was kind of waiting for or wanted to happen. I feel like I’m working hard lately, but just, you know, hadn’t come yet. It’s come in spurts.

But like I say, I’m looking to be a little bit more consistent. This was a good step in the right direction for me.

Q. How do you feel about your play today specifically?
DONALD YOUNG: It wasn’t bad. I mean, Stan is a quality opponent. I mean, 5 in the world. Most of the year he’s been 3 or 4. He’s won two slams including the French this year. He’s competed at the highest level consistently.

He’s playing well. He’s definitely a different player than I played in 2011. It was a different situation.

Q. How far away do you think you are from consistently playing at the level of someone like Wawrinka?
DONALD YOUNG: Couldn’t tell you, really. I mean, I hope not far. You know, I feel like I should be playing these matches more often, but it hasn’t happened lately.

But I would like to say, you know, the rest of this year and next year can start being somewhat consistently. To be playing at his level is going to take a little more than what I’m doing currently. He’s won a couple slams and playing consistently in the second week of slams.

That’s quality right there.

Q. You said he’s not the same guy you faced back in 2011. If you do feel differently about yourself, in what ways are you maybe not the same guy you were then? And, you know, sort of same result fourth round at the US Open but do you feel like the trajectory might be different?
DONALD YOUNG: Yeah, for sure. I think I’m a little more ready to be a little more consistent than it was then. At that point it was a shot, and, yeah, I just feel better about myself.

I feel like things are coming around. I really feel like, you know, I’m ready to do it on a consistent level and not just do it for a while or work hard for a little bit and then relax. I’m looking forward to keeping it going.

Q. Do you look at a guy like Stan who achieved great success kind of in his later 20s and think, you know, maybe that could be a model for you, as well?
DONALD YOUNG: I mean, seems to be how guys are doing it quite a bit lately. Obviously the top guys started quite young. They are doing it — he’s one of the top guys now, but definitely you gain confidence with something like that.

He’s always been like a quality player. That’s the thing. He just, as of recently, became stable, steady person in the top, like, 5, but he’s always been a top 20 or top-10 player earlier in his career, as well.

Q. With the Williams sisters preparing to meet tomorrow night, what does their rivalry, their matchups, what does all that stuff mean to you and to the sport, do you think?
DONALD YOUNG: It’s awesome any people from the same family be competing at the highest level. They played a lot of matches when they were both 1 and 2 in the world and in finals.

So that is super rare. Doesn’t happen. I don’t know if it’s ever happened before or will happen after.

It’s great. I mean, they are both extremely awesome competitors and athletes and champions, so for what they are doing and their family and everyone who is behind the scenes helping them get there, it’s awesome.

Kudos to them all.

Q. As you know, tennis can be a brutal endeavor. Your play today in Ashe, crowds behind you all week, now you turn around and go to Uzbekistan. Talk about how you’re going to tough it out and be a leader there in front of a hostile crowd.
DONALD YOUNG: I mean, this week is awesome. Uzbekistan, it’s going to be the same thing where I am playing for the U.S. and we’re going to be trying to beat Uzbekistan to get back in the World Group.

We are going to have our team of support and look to that. If it’s hostile or not, I don’t know. I know it’s not like the best place to be going, but I’m excited to be part of the team and get the call and do whatever is need.

Q. What have you learned from your previous two Davis Cup appearances?
DONALD YOUNG: Yeah, they were both totally different even though they were the same opponents. One was my first one. I wasn’t expected to play. John unfortunately couldn’t go at the last minute, so I got told a day or two before I was going to play.

I really wasn’t ready to play. I was at home. It was my first one against Andy Murray of all people. It’s not like I went out and played someone exactly my ranking or whatever.

Then to go to Scotland in Andy’s home and it was his first time playing there for a long time or whatever the situation may be in front of not a hostile crowd but a crowd that was pretty much 100% for him, it was another tough situation.

But I was able to play well in that match even though I lost. Those experiences were two totally different, but they gave me a lot of confidence and experience, for sure.

Q. Jack Sock and Stevie Johnson making their debuts with Davis Cup team. What would you say to those guys about what to expect out of a tie like this?
DONALD YOUNG: I don’t think I’m in any situation to be giving like advice to Stevie and Jack. But as far as the young guys, it’s going to be fun. As a hitting partner, those were some of the best weeks for me. When I was able to go as a hitting partner in 2007 and Winston-Salem for the quarters against Spain then for the finals against Russia.

Those memories stick with me as a junior growing up more than almost any. To be with the top American guys and be there, play cards and hear what they talk about, and, you know, what they talk about — whatever they talk about, it’s just new to you. It’s all new to you. It’s awesome.

For Stevie and Jack, I’m excited for them to play for their first time. It’s just a great honor to be chosen to play for your country.

Q. You obviously had two really big comebacks this week. I’m wondering, after a really good second set and you fall behind Love-5 in the third, was it a different process for you, given the opponent and the situation and everything, how you were going deal with that to just hang in there or whatever needed to be done?
DONALD YOUNG: Yeah, every match is different. This one the first set kind of got away. The second I was surprisingly up that much and he got quite frustrated pretty early, and I won that set pretty easily.

Then I think it was a little mental lapse early in the third and he took advantage. He stepped his game up again and started hitting pretty big. I got down 5-0, won three games, but from 5-0 it’s tough to come back in a set.

And then again he jumped on me early in the fourth and it went on from there. I have been playing a lot of tennis this week, but I was feeling good physically, to be honest. It just didn’t go my way.

Q. Was there a lot going through the head and everything or just trying to stay in the moment of each point?
DONALD YOUNG: No. You know, at this point I was just trying to stay in the moment of each point and play each point as an individual point and focus on the point in front of me. I didn’t play the best tennis of my life, but it wasn’t awful, either.

Q. It’s been a while since an American didn’t reach a Grand Slam semis. Why is that, and do you think what should be changed by the USTA?
DONALD YOUNG: I don’t know. I mean, you’ve got to look at the top four guys. They are taking everything.

You have Roger and Rafa and Novak and Andy and then you have Stan in there now, Berdych. Those guys are quality opponents. It’s not like — I mean, it’s just tough. I think the ranking and the seeding plays a big play in the draws. Because if you’re not seeded in the top, like, eight or whatever and you’re playing one of those guys in the third, fourth round, it’s tough to beat them.

I don’t think the USTA really needs to change anything. I think the next crew of young kids are great and are going to be really good.

Q. You have been mentioning Tony Dungy, and one of the things he says is, It’s all about the journey; few have had more interesting journeys in tennis. What’s been the one thing you like the most about your journey and the one thing that you like least about your journey?
DONALD YOUNG: Really the whole journey I got to learn myself quite a bit and learn what, you know, what I’m about and, you know, what I have in me, what I don’t, what I like and what I don’t like.

Just growing up and maturing quite a bit. To go from winning everything to not winning much to having some success to having no success. It’s been a lot of back and forth. Just the resilient part for me, because I could have easily stopped a while ago and done something else, gone back to school.

I have said a bunch of times I was going to do that. At the end of the day I don’t play tennis for a few days and I miss it. I love tennis. Without it I don’t know what I would do. I’m sure after I’m finished playing professionally I’m going to do something in tennis, as well.

And what I dislike the most probably was losing those 14 matches in a row from 15 to like 17.

Q. It was tough?

Q. How did you finally end up procuring sneakers today?
DONALD YOUNG: That’s a good question. (Smiling.) Actually, Asics was nice enough to bring me two pair over. My mixed doubles partner contacted them and kind of got some shoes. I wore them. I was excited to have something on my feet. (Laughter.)

Q. What happened exactly?
DONALD YOUNG: Unfortunately, I came to the locker room yesterday and I opened it up and it was clean. Like a couple shirts missing, all my shoes were gone, and apparently someone said I was out of the tournament so the guys thought I went home. They were taking some souvenirs.

Q. They stopped watching after the second set?
DONALD YOUNG: Yeah, I guess so. (Laughter.) I was still in three events, as well, so…

Q. Have they returned the stuff?
DONALD YOUNG: Yeah. I got a pair of them back. They made it back. They magically appeared back in the locker.

Q. When was the last time you played on Ashe?
DONALD YOUNG: Mixed doubles semis last year was the last time I played. Singles match was 2012 against Roger.

Q. How do you feel like it played differently with the roof structure? What about that crowd getting behind you?
DONALD YOUNG: Yeah, it was totally different. A lot more shade than I’m used — well, it would have normally been at this time of day. It kind of — whatever it is, it kind of covers up part of the court, and then certain times of day shade was on the whole court for the end of the match.

By the second set it was sunny the whole match court, which was great for me. It’s a lot more intimate. People have been saying it’s cool, like it echos, and you can almost see everybody at the top.

Before he’d just get lost up there and couldn’t see anyone. Now if you look around I feel like I can kind of see.

Q. One follow-up about the locker. What was your reaction when you were told the person thought you were out of the tournament?
DONALD YOUNG: I shook my head. Wow, I guess they weren’t watching anything.

I really don’t know what the reason was. Maybe that was an excuse or whatever the situation may be. I don’t know.

Q. The real question that I want to ask you is: How is your perspective on your future our, on your potential? Perhaps different today than it was at the beginning of this tournament?
DONALD YOUNG: Yeah, for sure. I feel like I’m playing well. I feel like if I’m playing like this and competing, I’m going to put myself in chances to win a lot of matches in almost every match I play. If I can keep doing this and build upon it, I don’t know what can happen. Hopefully it will be at least winning, and that’s what I want to do.

Q. Gladys Knight was in the crowd today. Do you notice celebrities? Does it motivate you?
DONALD YOUNG: I see everything. Looked at the Jumbotron. They put her name up and the crowd went wild. It was cool to see her out there. Just any time those type of people show up and you’re playing on the court, you kind of feel special.

Q. Being that you still have a bit of tennis still left in you, still relatively young, do you think like once this is all said and done for you, you will follow in your father’s footsteps and go into coaching tennis?
DONALD YOUNG: A bit of tennis left? I hope I have more than a bit. (Laughter.) I don’t know. I really haven’t thought about the end. I feel like I’m kind of in the middle now. I do enjoy like helping people out, so maybe one day that might be something I would like to go into.

Yeah, definitely. I enjoy helping people out and whatever I can do around tennis. I just love the sport.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports





Monday, September 7, 2015

Johanna Konta

Press Conference


7-5, 6-3

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I guess it’s probably not the result you would have chosen, but were you pleased with your performance?
JOHANNA KONTA: Yeah, obviously not the result I wanted. It would have been nice to have kept my run here going.

But I played against an incredibly tough player today. She doesn’t give you much rhythm. She definitely doesn’t give you many chances to be able to take control in a point.

So it was very difficult for me out there. But I had an amazing time on Ashe, to be honest. You know, my mum actually reminded me when I was speaking to her yesterday that when we were here back like 2007 for juniors, I said, This is like the most amazing stadium. I completely forgot about that.

Yeah, I guess I had a little childhood dream come true, so that’s pretty special. Yeah, I’m just obviously looking forward to a little bit of recovery now, you know, heading over to Asia.

Q. Have you ever played anyone who hits the ball as hard as Petra?
JOHANNA KONTA: Obviously Sharapova hits it quite hard, and Muguruza hits it quite hard and Petkovic hits it quite hard. A lot of girls hit it quite hard.

I think what Kvitova does really well is she keeps very good depth on her ball, as well. That’s why it’s quite difficult to be able to take charge in a point. Yeah, she gave me very few chances to do that.

Yeah, no, good luck to her for the rest of the tournament because I thought she played quite well.

Q. What were the keys to your run? What did you do so well here?
JOHANNA KONTA: You know, I think I stayed true to how I wanted to play out there. I felt that I competed really well, just stayed calm. Really rolled with the punches. There’s a lot of things going on here. There’s a lot of emotions from a lot of players. It’s a high-pressured environment. I felt I did a reasonable job at just dealing with that.

Yeah, no, I’m just looking forward to the next time I can go out onto the match court.

Q. How proud are you that you proved at this level in a Grand Slam?
JOHANNA KONTA: Obviously I’m really happy that I got some rewards for my hard work. But the hard work’s not by all means over. You know, I’m not blown away by my performance here. I’m just satisfied that I get a little bit of candy for doing well.

Yeah, no, to be really honest, I’m just really looking forward to heading already to my next tournament. Obviously I need to take a little bit of a break now, just a couple days’ rest. But I’m looking forward to the next plane I’m on to head to Asia.

Q. How important is the next bit of candy to be the British No. 1? Very, very close.
JOHANNA KONTA: Oh, to be honest, that’s always (indiscernible) at the end. I haven’t looked at that. I don’t know. I don’t even know what Heather is ranked right now. That’s not something I actively look at.

It’s always a nice bonus to hear that from you guys. Yeah, no, it’s not my, I guess, most important goal.

Q. When you look back over the whole tournament, are you surprised at all the way you’ve handled it? Nothing seems to have fazed you in any match you played. The quality of the opposition going out on Ashe, you seem to have taken it all in your stride.
JOHANNA KONTA: I’m not surprised, to be honest. Because if I would be, I wouldn’t be thinking very highly of myself.

Like I said, I’m humble with coming up against any opponent knowing that I can beat them but they can beat me. I can lose, they can win. I’m humble in that way. But I’m an ambitious person. I do believe in my ability, and I wouldn’t be playing in this sport if I didn’t think that I could do well.

So I’m just really looking forward to getting back out on court with my coaches and my team and training and just keep enjoying the battle of just getting better every day. When things don’t go my way, keep enjoying that, as well.

Q. Your run here will put you into the top 60. You won’t have to qualify for Australia. How much of a relief is that to go straight into the main draw?
JOHANNA KONTA: Obviously it’s another bit of candy. Yeah, no, I was anticipating — I wasn’t anticipating anything really, to be honest. My coach was actually saying, Oh, it’s a nice bonus to be able to go to Australia next year and go into the main draw.

But, yeah, you know, things keep going. I don’t want to stop here. It’s not something that I sit back now, and, Oh, that’s nice. Like I keep saying, I’m an ambitious person, so I’m just looking forward to keep working hard and keep trying my best every time I step out onto the court.

Q. In the first set you had three breakpoints. You lost both your serves on double-faults. Can you call it a little bit of a case of stage fright? Were you nervous in those pivotal moments of the match?
JOHANNA KONTA: I wouldn’t call it stage fright. I think if it were stage fright we would have seen it at the beginning of the match. I actually settled quite quickly and enjoyed being out there. It sounds silly to say it was a great court to play on, because that’s just so obvious. But it really was. It was a great court to play on.

I think she played really well when she was breakpoints down. Obviously, you know, I’m not that happy with how I double-faulted the two times I was breakpoint down. But in all fairness, whether it was a conscious thing or not, she puts pressure on my serves, on any servers. She looks to step in. She really does take some swings at the ball. A lot of them do go in. That’s why she is top five.

Maybe I consciously, subconsciously felt that. But honestly I felt I was trying to serve the same and just trying to do my best out there.

Q. Who was here watching you tonight? There were some kids in your box.
JOHANNA KONTA: To be honest, I don’t know. I put my agent in charge of all the tickets. It was at her discretion who was getting them. I pretty much just only look at my coach if I’m looking at anyone. Obviously I’m aware that my boyfriend and my agent were next to him. Otherwise, I don’t actually know. I didn’t even look there.

Q. What will your program be the next few weeks?
JOHANNA KONTA: I’ll be going home. Dad will be cooking, yeah. A few days’ rest. Some training. Then I’ll probably be heading to Wuhan and Beijing.

Q. You’ve been getting a lot of questions about your win streaks and all that. Sorry. How does that feel? Is there part of you to be somewhat relieved?
JOHANNA KONTA: I’m dead honest when I said you were the ones updating me on that. I wasn’t really counting myself. Actually, I’m okay. Like I said, it was not going to go on forever. So, you know, everyone loses sometimes. There will be many more matches that I’ll lose and hopefully many more that I’ll win. Hopefully I’ll have another streak someday.

To be honest, I’m really happy I’m leaving this tournament after so many matches and coming in here healthy. My body’s in a good state. That’s not always the case when you’ve played so many matches. I’m taking the positives from that, and really, if I wasn’t a bit kind of sleepy tired, I’d be looking forward to getting on the court when I got home.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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Petra Kvitova and Kevin Anderson Win Titles Leading into the US Open

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

(August 29, 2015) In New Haven, second seed Petra Kvitova defended her Connecticut Open title on Saturday, taking down Czech country woman Lucie Safarova 6-7 (6), 6-2, 6-2 in an all-left handed battle.

Kvitova has now won the tournament three times 2012, 2013, 2015, she’s just one title behind Venus Williams behind Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki for the tournament record.

“It’s the first time I’ve defended a title, it’s a really good to have that experience,” said Kvitova.

“It definitely helps with my confidence going to the US Open. I’m looking forward to my next match.”

“I feel terrible, but it doesn’t matter. I will have day off tomorrow.” Kvitova has been recovering from mononucleosis.

“I’m really pleased,” Kvitova said about the win. “I didn’t really come here with a good kind of confidence and game and everything. But everything turned around. I have it again. I’m happy because of the trophy here.”

“She’s a big hitter, so she is putting a lot of pressure on you serving really big,” said friend and Fed Cup teammate Safarova. “It’s kind of hard to break into her serve, and it puts extra pressure on your serve.

For Kvitova, it’s her third title of the year and 17th of her career.

For both women, the next stop will be the US Open which begins on Monday, but both women play their opening round matches on Tuesday.


Kevin Anderson of South Africa returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since 2012 when he beat French qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4, 7-5 in the Winston-Salem Open final on Saturday.

No. 15 Anderson last won a title in March 2012 at the Delray Beach. This was his third career title on the ATP World Tour

“Coming into the week, I had some high expectations,” Anderson said. “But I was thinking back to my first match against (Kazakhstan’s Mikhail) Kukushkin on Court 2, and not playing the best first set. I had to save a bunch of break points and getting broken, and even breaking my racket.

“But things seemed to click after that – I felt I served very well throughout the week. But as each match progresses and you get closer to the finals, and a chance of winning the tournament, that starts to play in your mind.”

The victory for Anderson breaks a seven-match losing streak in ATP World Tour finals, dating back to Sydney 2013.

“I’ve been in a few finals and come up short, which is always tough. Each final is a different situation, and for some reason it just hadn’t happened for me. Someone has to win and someone has to lose.

“Maybe it’s a bit of an added pressure to be the favourite coming into the final, but [Herbert] has been playing great to get here. In my mind we were completely even before the match.”

“But if feels fantastic to get that win. It’s been a few years since I’ve won a tournament, and it’s definitely something I can look back on and feel happy about.”

“It’s been a very positive week,” Herbert said. “I came here to play some matches; I didn’t expect to play that many matches. But I’m arriving at the U.S. Open with a lot of optimism.”

Herbert came into the tournament through qualifying. “I came here to play some matches, but I didn’t expect to play that much. I’m really happy since it’s the best result of my career. There are no regrets because I think I played a good final, but [Anderson] was better and more experienced today.”


Serena Williams, Sharapova, Radwanska and Muguruza Reach Wimbledon Semis


(July 7, 2015) Serena Williams kept her hopes for a fourth straight major alive on Tuesday, rallying to defeat Victoria Azarenka, taking 10 out of the last 13 game to win 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 and reach the Wimbledon semifinals. Williams blasted 17 aces and 46 winners en route to her 26th straight Grand Slam match win.

“It’s been up and down, up and down, but somehow I’m still alive. I don’t know how,” said Williams. “So we’ll see what happens, but I’m just happy to still be here.”

“I can’t lie and say I’m not disappointed, because that’s a normal reaction,” Azarenka said. “But it is what it is. It was a high quality match. I can’t say I went out there and didn’t play well – we just saw why Serena is No.1. I haven’t seen her play like this, honestly, even the last matches before that.”

“I feel like Victoria and I always have really wonderful matches. She’s always able to push it to three sets, we always have some great three set matches,” Williams said to media.

“Whenever I see her name I get excited, because I feel like there’s going to be an opportunity to see how well I’m doing. We play each other pretty much every tournament. I’m getting used to that.”

“I’ve been really proud of her and her comeback,” Williams said when asked about her post-match hug at the net. “I told her in Madrid, ‘Man, you’ve gone through a lot. I really support that. I really support you coming back.’ And we really get along off the court. She’s so sweet – we always text each other when we’re doing well.

“She’s a really nice girl. I really admire her because she’s so intense on the court, but the second she comes off the court, she’s just so different. It’s really interesting to see. It’s super respectful.”

“I have a lot of respect for Serena,” said Azarenka.  “We have a great friendship off the court.  You know, once the match is over, we put it out a long time ago.  We’re going to put it out all on the court.  She played a great match and I respect that.”

Williams, who is now 37-1 on the year is looking to complete a second “Serena” Slam with a Wimbledon trophy, which would mean she would be holding the last four major trophies. She did this in 2002-03.

Winning Wimbledon would also give her the third leg of the calendar-year Grand Slam.

Next for the world No. 1 and 20-time major winner, will be the fourth seed Maria Sharapova who bested unseeded American youngster CoCo Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-2.

“I’ve played five matches already, I’ve faced different challenges, matches, opponents, circumstances – the first four matches I was playing quite well and got the job done in two sets,” Sharapova said.

Sharapova led 6-3, 5-3 when Vandeweghe made a comeback.

“Today, serving for the second set, I could have made it easier,” Sharapova said. “It went to a third, but I still got the job done. I have to be pleased with that, that I’m in the semifinals again here after so many years.”

“I thought I relished it pretty well,” said the young American about her fortnight.  “I enjoyed my experience.  I enjoyed the crowd out there.

“I didn’t enjoy the result too much.  But I’m sure tomorrow I’ll be feeling even less happy about this, at least body‑wise.

“It’s been a long two weeks, playing singles and doubles here.  So I’m happy with my progress through the tournament, and I’m happy with the whole experience of it.”

Williams owns a 17-2 record against Sharapova, including a winning streak against her at 16 in a row.

“Definitely no secrets between each other’s games,” Sharapova said.

“But, I mean, look, I haven’t played Serena here in 11 years.  That would be an incredible moment for me to step out on Centre Court against her again.”

“I love playing Maria,” Williams said.  “I think she brings out the best in me.  I think I bring out the best in her.  I thought we had a wonderful final in Australia.  It was very entertaining.  She played really well.

“For me, I don’t feel like I have any pressure going into this match.  We both actually lost early last year.  We both are kind of enjoying this moment and one of us will be in the final.”

The other semifinal will pit No. 13 seed and 2012 Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska against No. 20 Garbine Muguruza.

Radwanska beat No. 21 Madison Keys 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-3. Muguruza defeated No. 15 Timea Bacsinszky 7-5, 6-3 to reach her first major semifinal.

“I couldn’t feel any better, I’m just so happy I managed to stay in that match. It was very tight and I just tried to play it point by point, game by game,” Radwanska said. “That’s how you have to play it and in the third set one break was the difference.”

“I’ve seen a few of her matches this tournament and she’s playing great tennis,” Radwanska said. “She’s actually playing very similar to Keys so I think it could be a similar match.

“It’s the semifinals so, of course, there’s nothing to lose. All the players are playing great tennis. I’m just going to fight for each point and try to play my best. One day’s rest and I’ll be ready to go.”

“It’s amazing, I’m so happy. It was a very tough match,” said Muguruza, the first Spaniard to reach the Wimbledon semifinals since Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario in 1997. “The last game was a very intense one, so there was so much relief after that.”

“It’s very hard to achieve this, so I’m very proud and happy for Spain also! All this experience helps you a lot and makes you believe that you can do it. So I’m going to be confident and ready for the match.”

Novak Djokovic completed a five-set match held over from Monday, due to darkness with a win over to reach the Gentlemen’s quarterfinals 6-7(6), 6-7(6), 6-1, 6-4, 7-5.

The world No. 1 will play Marin Cilic on Wednesday. The other men’s quarterfinal match-ups include: Roger Federer vs. Gilles Simon, Andy Murray vs. Vasek Pospisil, and Stan Wawrinka vs. Richard Gasquet.


Notable Quotables from the Queen’s Club Tennis Tournament


By Wendy M. Grossman

(June 21, 2015) LONDON, England – Notable quotes from 2015 Queens Club tournament:

Nick Kyrgios, asked about buying a scooter: “I don’t know, mate. I just bought a scooter because I felt like buying a scooter. I can’t tell you if it’s linked to tennis or anything like that. I just bought a scooter.”

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka, asked after their match about Nick Kyrgios’s comment that he doesn’t want to think about tennis for a couple of weeks: “I think he’s saying a lot of things every day, so it’s quite interesting for journalists to hear that. I’m sure he’s not going to switch off…If he switch off two weeks of tennis, then he can go home and not play Wimbledon…When I read his interview, it’s always funny, a lot of things you can take. When I read before the match he was ready, excited for the challenge, and now he was sick.”


Rafael Nadal, asked if he’d look for advice from Jose Mourinho, the Portuguese manager of Chelsea Football Club, who attended Queen’s on Tuesday: “He’s a football manager. He’s one of the best of the world. And I have my team. I will not give him never an advice of football and probably he will not giving me never advice of tennis.”

315dimitrov fh-001

Grigor Dimitrov, asked about being defending champion: “It’s one of the tournaments for me that every time I step on that court I feel like I own the court.”


Kevin Anderson, asked if he’d rather watch a guy with big aces or a match with lots of rallies: “Sometimes it would be interesting to see both.”


Andy Murray

Andy Murray

Andy Murray, asked after his three-set Muller match if he was having as good a time as it looked like: “I was when I was winning.”


Milos Raonic, on this year’s extended grass schedule: “I think just from the start of [Wimbledon] the quality of tennis will be better just because of time. You can’t really cheat time, spending time on court and so forth.”


Kevin Anderson, asked how much of an impression Kevin Curran, Wimbledon runner-up 30 years ago, made on him growing up: “Wayne Ferreira was the influence when I was growing up.”


Andy Murray, asked what shot he would pick if he could have a shot from any other player on the tour: “Probably would be Isner’s serve, I think. I mean, it makes the game a whole lot easier when you can serve like that.”


Kevin Anderson, asked to name the best servers in the world at present: “If you just look at the serve itself, I think – if you just looked at numbers, I think you’d have to look at [Ivo] Karlovic or [John] Isner. I mean, just in terms of stats…But I feel like Raonic, I feel like myself I think probably would round out the top four in terms of serving.”

Raonic trophy (1 of 3)

Milos Raonic, asked who he thought was the best server in the world: “I believe myself.”


Gilles Simon, asked if he thought he was reading Milos Raonic’s serve better in the second set: “I was guessing. There is nothing to read.”


Andy Murray, in response to the comment that the last time he won at Queen’s he went on to win Wimbledon: “Yeah, but that means nothing, really. You know, it’s great preparation obviously, but, you know, I think it has only happened six times where someone has won Queen’s and gone on to win.”


Andy Murray, in response to a comment about his nine-match winning streak since Jonas Bjorkman joined his team: “I also have to give a lot of credit to Amélie, because a lot of the work I have done with her is paying off. All of the things I have worked on with her, like using my variety is something I have spoken about a lot in the past, that’s things I have been working on with her for quite a while now.”


And finally, this exchange…

Question (after Kevin Anderson talked about being given Jack Nicklaus’ three grass courts in Florida to use for training): What’s your favorite Jack Nicholson film?

Anderson: Jack Nicholson?

Question: Or Jack Nicklaus.

Anderson: I don’t know. Is he in any films?


Andy Murray Wins Fourth Queen’s Club Crown

(June 21, 2015) Top seed Andy Murray won his fourth title at Queen’s Club on Sunday with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over unseeded Kevin Anderson. This was the Scot’s 36th career ATP World Tour tournament title. He joins John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt as the only four-time winners of the London event.

Due to Saturday’s rain, Murray was forced to win two matches on Sunday. He won his semifinal 6-3, 7-6 (4) over Serbia’s Viktor Troicki in the morning with the final in the afternoon.

“I served extremely well and then, thankfully, when the chances came I managed to come up with some kind of instinctive shots,” Murray said about his match against the South African.

“I felt like once I got into the rallies I was doing really well, but it was obviously tough to do that some of the times. He served an extremely high percentage of first serves and was serving big. But it was a good performance.”

“It was tough today,” Anderson said. “I didn’t feel like I played my best tennis today, but I think that’s a lot to do with the way Andy played. I felt he served really well. I tried to be aggressive… It’s tough grass-court tennis like that; just a couple of breaks, and then [the] match feels over. It was pretty tough out there today.”

For Murray it was his third title of 2015, he won events in Munich and Madrid.


At Queen’s Club Wawrinka Loses, Simon Ends Kokkinakis’ Long Journey


By Wendy M. Grossman

(June 17, 2015) LONDON, England – The big emotional high notes of the first two days at Queen’s – Monday, Lleyton’s Hewitt’s 16th and final appearance, Tuesday, Rafael Nadal’s loss – have given way to mid-tournament flatness. The biggest news of the day is that Hewitt, who is currently ranked 117, has been granted a wild card into his 17th and final Wimbledon. Until or unless British favorite Andy Murray loses, that may be it for major excitements until the final. True, two current Grand Slam champions are still in the draw – Stan Wawrinka, facing Kevin Anderson, and Marin Cilic, facing Adrian Mannarino – but neither is famed for his grass court game.

There were hopes – if not high ones, at least of the “new! kid! big! chances!” variety – for the second round match between the veteran Frenchman Gilles Simon and newcomer Thanasi Kokkinakis. For two games, this seemed justified as Kokkinakis quickly went up 2-0. And then…those hopes faded quickly despite some nice moments: a dink volley here, a well-executed drop shot/lob combination there. The match lasted an hour and 16 minutes and went 6-4, 6-2 to Simon.

“I liked it yesterday,” Kokkinakis joked about the grass. “I didn’t like it so much today.”

Afterwards, Kokkinakis tweeted, “Feel bad for the spectators tbh about that one….😐 yuck. Hope to redeem myself on the doubles court with Rusty”. To the press, he explained, “I felt like I had to say something. I felt like it was one of my poorest performances in a while.”

Jet lag can sometimes be worse a couple of days later than it is at first. Kokkinakis had planned to play the qualifying here, but instead went home to Adelaide to pay a quick visit to his sick grandmother. He was on the way back when he got the news Queen’s had awarded him a wild card. He arrived back Monday at noon, and although he declined to blame the “something like 48 hours in [the air in] three days”, he admitted to waking up “pretty tired” this morning and to getting distracted by spotting Top Gear TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson in the crowd.

Wawrinka vs Anderson which ended 7-6, 7-6 in Anderson’s favor, was a more tense affair but, much like the grass-court contests of 20 years ago, came down to serve and return. “Maybe [I] didn’t return great,” Wawrinka said afterwards, “but he was serving big”.

Yesterday, after his win against a coughing Nick Kyrgrios, Wawrinka said he thought he’d be better able to manage the aftermath of winning his second major title; after the first, the 2014 Australian Open, he took six weeks off, and then struggled to get his form back for some months.

“Australia, everything was new and I didn’t know what to expect,” he said yesterday. “Everybody was saying it’s going to change your life and change your career. And that’s true. You win a first Grand Slam, especially in that era and you have only the big four winning Grand Slam since 10 years. So that was a big thing for myself. I did few mistakes after. I had a lot of ups and downs. I had to learn and to change the way I was and trying to adapt myself to my new life. ” This time, although he thinks the achievement is bigger, “what’s coming after, I have more under control”. And, of course, no chance to take off much time: Queen’s and Wimbledon awaited.

Today’s losses, put together with Nadal’s, leave the bottom half of the tournament draw looking a little anemic: Milos Raonic, seeded 3, and Simon, seeded 7, are all the remaining seeds, and they play each other in the quarter-finals on Friday. For the right to face the winner of that match in the semi-finals, Anderson will play Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who put out Alexandr Dolgopolov, whose win against Nadal carried him no further. In the top half, tomorrow top-seeded Murray faces Fernando Verdasco, Grigor Dimitrov faces Gilles Muller, fourth-seeded Marin Cilic faces Viktor Troicki, and, in probably the most interesting match-up of the four, John Isner plays eighth seed Feliciano Lopez, who is an exceptionally strong grass-court player.


Lleyton Hewitt Bids Farewell to Queen’s Club in Loss to Kevin Anderson

By Wendy M. Grossman

(June 15, 2015) LONDON, England – There are certain kinds of matches that no one likes to play. The young kid swinging pressurelessly from her heels when you’re the established, perhaps even aging, champion (Chris Evert’s 1989 Houston final against 15-year-old Monica Seles made her decide to retire). Or: the retiring established star that everyone else is rooting for when you’re a mid-career journeyman.


The latter was Kevin Anderson‘s lot on Monday on the Centre Court at the Queen’s Club, where he faced Lleyton Hewitt playing in his second-to-last grass-court tournament before he retires after next year’s Australian Open, gets into the pumpkin waiting outside, and turns into a Davis Cup captain.


Not that Hewitt is preparing for this. “I’ve prepared my whole life,” he said after today’s match, meaning that stretching all the way back into childhood he was always planning, preparing, training, doing whatever his body needed so he could play his best. The idea of not having to prepare for anything sounds like his idea of freedom. He will miss, he said, the motivation of playing the majors and Davis Cup, but he relishes the idea of “Not always having to think about training and all those 1-percenters you have to do to keep playing on the tour.”


For the first set and a half, Hewitt did not play like it was almost midnight. He sliced, ran, lobbed, and used all the grass court skills that have won him 52 matches here – more than any other player in the Open Era. Among active players, only Roger Federer has won more grass-court matches, and that only by a hair: 132* for Federer (as of Monday), 128 for Hewitt. Titles are a different story: Federer 14, Hewitt 8. Still, one was at Wimbledon (2002, beating David Nalbandian in the final) and four at Queen’s, where this is his 16th outing: 2000-2002 and 2006, beating, respectively, Pete Sampras, Tim Henman, Henman, and James Blake in the finals. The surprise is to remember that Hewitt and Federer are the same age: Hewitt broke through five years earlier, half a tennis generation.


In the first-set tiebreak, Hewitt got a mini-break on the second point, and that carried him through to take the set. In the second set, he broke Anderson early on, and serving at 5-4 everything looked solid. Match point, Hewitt serving at 40-30, nets a forehand. Still, it’s only deuce, and while the winning horizon had receded just a little, surely…Double-fault. Advantage, Anderson. A long series of cross-court backhands followed, which Anderson interrupted with a down-the-line forehand that Hewitt scraped back, giving Anderson the chance to hit a winner. Which he did. Now 5-5, Anderson serving. Hewitt won the first point with a fine lob over Anderson’s head – not an easy task, since Anderson is one of those beanpole giant servers that seem to come out of mothballs the day after the French Open final. Maybe that lob was, in the long run, a bad idea. The rest of the game took only a few seconds: three aces, and a service winner. Serving to stay in the set, at deuce, Hewitt netted a backhand and then sent a forehand long. Set all.


Probably few would have expected in 1998, when 16-year-old Lleyton Hewitt broke through to win his first ATP title that he would still be playing in 2015. The most surprising change in those years, he said, is, “The bigger guys, how well they move around now on the court.” Citing players like Anderson (6’8″), John Isner (6’10”), and Ivo Karlovic (6’10”), he noted that they are not just big servers: “They are quality players from the back of the court, and they make a lot of balls out there.” When he started, he said, the big servers didn’t do much besides serve and volley – and if you could pin them to the back of the court, “They weren’t going to make a lot of balls.”


The third set was all Anderson, who quickly went up 3-0, and although Hewitt fashioned a break point serving at 1-3, the shot he netted looked tired, far from the Energizer Bunny of 2002. Anderson ran out the match 6-7, 7-5, 6-2.


Looking ahead, Hewitt, who loves this time of year, expressed the wry hope that his first match at Wimbledon will be easier than today’s or his second-round loss in Stuttgart to Nicolas Mahut: “It would be nice to play someone who’s not quite as good as those two on grass first up, at least. You’re in the hands of the gods, though, when you’re not seeded.” Which he won’t be: his current ranking is 117, and he needed a wild card to get in here.


Afterwards, the Queen’s Club presented Hewitt with a replica of its giant silver trophy and a bottle of Moet Chandon with his name inscribed upon it.


Anderson was pretty happy with his win – but for Hewitt at this point even a loss feels something like that. “Not many people in sport get to go out on their terms,” he said. “It looks like I will be able to do that.”