June 1, 2016

Nadal Survives Zverev; Wawrinka Ousted at BNP Paribas Open

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

(March 16, 2016) INDIAN WELLS, California – No. 5 Rafael Nadal came back from 2-5 down and a match point at 3-5 in third set to take down up-and-coming  18-year-old German No. 58 Alexander Zverev 6-7(8), 6-0, 7-5 to reach the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open.

Zverev had a match point at 5-3 in third, but he hit a forehand olley into the net and never recovered from his mistake. The Spaniard lost only two points in his Last two service games to close the match.

“I had match point, so I think I did well there. On match point I sucked, so that was it,” Zverev said.

“I missed probably the easiest shot I had the whole match. That’s what happened.”

“I think it was a great match. I mean, Rafa did what he does best; he was fighting. I mean, he’s known for that. So, you know, I still had chances to win. I had an easy shot at match point and I missed it.”

“Look, in the last three weeks I lost 7-5 in the third to Berdych; 6-4 in the fifth to Berdych; and 7-5 in the third with match point to Nadal. So I know how tough losses feel right now.

” Look, I mean, I think it was a great match. I mean, Rafa did what he does best; he was fighting. I mean, he’s known for that. So, you know, I still had chances to win. I had an easy shot at match point and I missed it.

“I’m out and he’s in the quarterfinals.”

“Very happy for the victory, obviously,” Nadal said. “I have been fighting during the whole match. First set I had big chance with not a difficult forehand down the line that I missed. So that first set probably will be the key, if I was able to hit that forehand right place, no?

“But after that, I think I played a great second set. But at the beginning, sometimes when win a set that easy is dangerous for the beginning of the next one, no?

“The beginning of the third he played aggressive, and I think I stopped a little bit the rhythm, so I was in trouble, no?

“Was a great victory. You know, it’s obvious that I played against a great player, a player who was serving unbelievable, at the beginning especially. He served well whole match apart from some double faults.

“”But you think when somebody is serving with that speed in the second serve, some double faults are the normal thing, no?

Is a great victory, as I said before. I’m very happy about it. I am especially happy about the mentality on court, the spirit of fight during the whole match, believing that I can win a match during the whole time even in the tougher situations.”

Nadal talked about the adjustments he needed to make against Zverev.

“Well, beginning of the match he was serving over 133 first serves and second serves over 120.

“I was trying to return inside the court, as I did every day, but with the second serve 120 miles with a lot of spin, 124, 123, 120, was impossible, no?

“At the beginning when that happened I was in a little bit of trouble, because I felt like I cannot lose my serve, because if I lose my serve and he was serving that way, is impossible. So I felt a little bit the pressure at the beginning.

“But then I think I returned really well during the whole match, no? First serve. Second serve I decided to go back three, four meters behind the baseline, because from inside he was — he’s young, ready to take the risks, and if the opponent wants to take the risk on the second serve and he’s having success, it’s difficult to make something, no?

“”I decided to go back and tried to put more balls in, and I think worked well. I think I had enough breaks to win the match.

“Negative thing is I lost my serve twice in the third, something that cannot happen, especially after having the break back. But that’s it. No, no, no, the match was tough. I think any player can win, and is true he had a big chance with match point and that volley.

“Sorry for him. I think at the same time, I deserve victory like this after couple of loses with big chances to win, too.”

Belgian’s David Goffin, ranked 18th in the world, stunned third seed Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (5) to reach the quarterfinals of Inidan Wells on Wednesday. The victory for Goffin ended a 14- match losing streak against top 10 players.

Wawrinka came back from 0-4 down in the second set to 4-4. Goffin served for the match at 5-4, but failed to close and Wawrinka won the next three games to even the match at a set all. In the third set, Goffin against served for the match and could not hold. The match went on to tiebreak. Wawrinka hit a crucial overhead out at 5-5 to give Goffin match point which capitalized on.

There were 13 breaks of serve in the match.

“I was struggling with my serve and it was difficult with the heat,” Goffin said in press. “In the third, it’s tough to fight again with the heat and with the level of Stan. The tiebreaker is like you flip a coin.”

“Well, not too great day, not too great level,” Wawrinka said smiling. “I didn’t have the rhythm yet. Was a match without brain, let’s put it that way.

“Have some tough time to focus, have some tough time to find what I wanted to play and stay calm. Still try to fight. Got lucky to come back twice. Had the chance to finish the tiebreak. I didn’t, and quite simple.”

“I think he got a bit tired and nervous also,” Wawrinka continued. “He start to miss easy shots. Gave me the chance to come back. Can lose quickly, eh?

“Two time I come back. I had the chance in the third set to finish it also at 5-5 to break him again. I didn’t. I didn’t.

“But in general, he deserved to win. You know, it was the time of. Should have finish before.”
Goffin will play No. 10 seed Marin Cilic, who defeated No. 8 Richard Gasquet, 7-5, 5-7, 6-2. Another upset saw No. 12 Milos Raonic beat No. 6 Tomas Berdych 6-4, 7-6 (7).

“A match where you sort of say you felt great but you went out there and you tried to put the pieces together, Raonic said.

“I got ahead a few service games. He served well. He got ahead. I served well. That was pretty much only one point that I would sort of have played differently. Maybe just be a little bit sharper in the second serves in the beginning service games.

“Other than that, it was all good.”

Top seeds Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic advanced easily. Williams defeated defending champion Simona Halep 6-4, 6-3.

“It feels really good to get that win,” Williams said. “She obviously has been in good form the past couple years. So, yeah, I feel really good just to get under there and buckle down and to win that.

No. 3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who will move up to No. 2 in the rankings, defeated Petra Kvitova 6-2, 7-6 (3) to reach the semifinals. She’ll face Serena Williams in the semifinals.

Asked about returning to No. 2 in the world, Radwanska said: “It’s always a good feeling to be back in this position. I wasn’t long last time, but I think that was a few years ago. It’s always good to be back in that position. Now it’s difficult to be No. 1.

“There is always opportunity, but it’s not about one or two tournaments. To be No. 1 you really have to play the whole season very good, and obviously catch Serena. But she is also playing very good tennis and she will want to play good and be there at No. 1.

“Well, I will try my best, and now I have the opportunity that I’m definitely not really defending much points till the grass, so, well, that’s definitely my spot that I can do that. We’ll see if I can.”

Williams said of the match-up: “She knows how to play in big stadiums and big matches, big games.

“Obviously she does everything so well, including running, and this is a good surface for her because it’s a slow surface. I think I expect there will be a lot of long rallies.

“Honestly, I will be ready. I really like Aga on and off the court. I think she’s super exciting to watch on the court, and off the court I think she’s really one of the nicest people.

“Regardless, I think it will be a really good matchup. Whoever wins will go into the final.”

Novak Djokovic defeated Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals.

“I’m actually glad to have a match like this with not much complications,” Djokovic said.

“I think we both started to play well on our service games, and he was 30-Love on that game when I broke him. Then he missed four first serves. I managed to step in and return very well on those four second serves that I got and just used the opportunity.

“You know, after that I was feeling more comfortable also on the return games even though Feliciano is a very difficult player to play against. He’s left handed and he has a big first serve and he can hit angles, comes to the net, so very strong, physically moves well.

“But I was very solid. I didn’t allow him to come to the net too many times. It was a good performance.”

Kei Nishikori beat John Isner 1-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5) plays Nadal in the quarterfinals.

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Nick Kyrgios Wins Open 13 for First ATP World Tour Title

 

(February 21, 2016) Nick Kyrgios captured his first career ATP World Tour title defeating fourth seed Marin Cilic 6-2, 7-6 (3) in the Open 13 final in Marseille on Sunday.

This was Kyrgios’ second final, he lost to Richard Gasquet in the Estoril title match last year.
The 20-year-old Australian did not lose a set or his serve during the tournament. He closed out the match with an ace. He beat three top 12 players in succession – No. 10 Richard Gasquet in the quarterfinals, No. 8 Tomas Berdych in the semifinals and No. 12, the 2014 U.S. Open champion Cilic in the final.

He is the first player under of 21 to defeat two Top Ten players in consecutive matches since Juan Martin del Potro did it at the 2009 U.S. Open  when the Argentine beat Rafael Nadal in the semifinals and Roger Federer in the final.

“I played my first final last year and was looking for my first title,” Kyrgios said. “But I didn’t really expect to win this title this week after having a couple of weeks off. But from the first round I started playing really well and just gained confidence as I kept winning matches.

“I think I served really, really well again. I was serving really well all week. I didn’t get broken once. That was the main thing that was good. And I was able to put pressure on my opponents’ serves a lot when I was going through my service games really quickly.”

“I felt I was getting much closer in that second set,” said the 27-year-old Croatian finalist. “Every game was becoming a little more intense. I felt also that he was becoming a bit more frustrated, which was good for me. I had a chance at the end of the second set to get the break, but he managed to play well.

“I think he played really, really well today. He served amazing. It was difficult also from the back of the court. I think he was returning well, making a lot of returns in the first set. I didn’t adjust well enough on the balls that were coming back.

“But I’m really satisfied with the week. It’s really good moving forward and it’s important for me. Nick was playing high-level tennis in the end, but I wasn’t playing too bad either and that’s something good I can take from the match.”

Kyrgios, who is ranked No. 41 in the world will see his ranking move into the low thirties.

Related articles:

Montreal Rogers Cup Day 4 – KyrgiosGate

“The Journey Starts Today” An Interview with Nick Kyrgios

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In Their Own Words – Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Marin Cilic and Stan Wawrinka

 

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

U.S. OPEN

Friday, September 11, 2015

Novak Djokovic

Press Conference

N. DJOKOVIC/M. Cilic

6-0, 6-1, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What was is like to play a guy who was limited but also to be so on your game?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, obviously it felt great to be able to perform as well as I did today at this stage of a tournament, again, knowing that Marin carried that injury for last couple of matches. I didn’t allow that fact to distract me too much.

I just wanted to concentrate on what I needed to do on the court and come out with the right intensity, make him move, get as many, you know, returns back in play.

All in all, it was from my side a very solid match, and I take that as a confidence booster for the final.

Q. Did you know about that injury before the match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I knew that he was carrying a bit of a right ankle sprain. Played with it against Tsonga, as well.

But, again, there was two days between. He came out on the court, so it was just — that means that he was able to play. Now, it was probably, as he said, limited; didn’t play as well as he could have.

But, again, that’s a question for him, how he felt. I just tried to execute the game plan, come out with the right strategy, and have done well.

Q. How is that level of confidence and the feeling you have now in comparison with other times you have reached the final here?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, these two days have helped me to, you know, recover physically after a couple of late-night matches and get myself in a right state of mind.

Of course, semifinals of a Grand Slam, there are no clear favorites anymore. I was playing against an ex champion, so these things come to play, which makes me be determined even more to come out and play the best that I can.

So I’m very encouraged with the game that I had today, and hopefully I can maintain that level for the finals.

Q. I’d like to ask you a question about your background in the game and your original coach, Jelena. You said you memorized her guidelines. Her coming to your mountain village and sort of turning you on to the game, do you look at that as a moment of great fortune or luck? Do you think that was sort of responsible for you getting…
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, this is certainly — I have had some luck in my life to be able to meet people who are knowledgeable and passionate about the sport, and there were very few of those kind of people in my country at those times when I was growing up.

So she was definitely the right person to be with, to learn from. From that point of view, I was fortunate. But I also believe that in life everything happens for a reason. Those kind of circumstances in which we were growing up and developing and training to become professional tennis player have shaped me into who I am today and have helped me to grow mentally stronger.

So she has taught me most of the basic stuff that I know about tennis both from a game point of view and also mental approach.

Q. So in some way do you think you were destined to become a professional player?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think so. I mean, the fact that nobody played tennis in my family and that, you know, you’d say by chance they make three tennis courts in front of the restaurant that my family owned when I was four, I think that’s a destiny. That’s kind of life circumstances that kind of come together for you to become who you want to become.

Q. You’re back in a situation where you have been many times before, finals of the Open. One match that can make a really good season a great, great season. Can you talk about how you’re managing and thinking about that match to go in – you don’t know who you’re playing – and how are you managing the expectations you have of yourself and also externally?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, expectations are always there from myself and from the people around me. I think that’s normal and logical to expect that you, you know, have that pressure. You have those expectations because you set up yourself high standards with all the results last couple of years.

I came here with a wish and a mission, as well, to reach the finals and fight for the trophy. So I got myself in that position. It’s already a great result. But I want to get that final step on Sunday and get my hands on that trophy.

Obviously I’m not the only one who wants that. Another Swiss player will be on opposite side of the net. We will definitely want to have the same, the same kind of mission.

So I hope that I will be able to play my best tennis on Sunday. That’s what I’m looking for. I’m used to all the expectations and pressure. It’s part of what I do.

I try to deal with those emotions on and off the court, and with this experience of being out there and competing at the highest level for the biggest trophies has helped me to reach that level again. Hopefully it’s going to help me to handle myself well on Sunday.

Q. First time in your career that you’re going to play the fourth final of the Grand Slams in one season. Does it feel like an achievement to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it definitely is an achievement. I don’t want to even think about the opposite to that, you know, that I’m not happy with four finals. Win or lose on Sunday, it still has been so far a great year, best year alongside of 2011.

But, you know, obviously I’m only thinking about winning and winning that US Open trophy. It’s why I’m here, and I will try to make it.

Q. Another win and yet another final. I want to ask you how you’re going to prepare for Sunday’s final. Is there anything that bothers you physically?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I have recovered in these two days. Physically I have had enough time to get my body, you know, mind, in a proper state and to be performing as well as I did today.

I’m not going to change my routine and preparations for Sunday. It’s going to more or less stay the same. Of course, according to the player that I’m playing against on Sunday I will try to tactically prepare myself, talk with the team, and see what I need to do on the court.

But whoever I play against, it’s the finals of a Grand Slam. Both of these players are top players of the world, so I’m going to have to play my best.

Q. As someone who plays the game and has studied the game and knows the history of the game, can you give us a sense of how big an upset it was that a No. 43 player like Roberta Vinci beat Serena Williams?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, first of all, you have to understand that this is sport. As much as Serena has achieved in her life, these kind of upsets still can happen. Everybody wants to win, and not only Serena and a couple other top players, same like men’s and woman’s. You have 128 players in the draw that want to play their best and show their skills and what they know to the world of sport and Grand Slams.

So it’s quite an effort from Roberta Vinci to win against Serena on her quest to win a season Grand Slam. You have to give her credit for that, congratulate her. Certainly isn’t easy for Serena to deal with this loss today, but she’s a great champion. She has been there before. She knows how to take the, you know, lessons out of this experience and move on as a stronger player.

At her age, she’s still fighting. She’s still committing to everyday practices and trying to perfect her game. She’s very professional, and she’s a great example of somebody that is a champion on and off the court.

That’s all I can say. I mean, it really happens. Of course, it’s not easy to swallow, as I said. But you’ve got to — sometimes when another player has a better day than you, you have to congratulate and move on. Definitely great day for Italy. They will have a Grand Slam. (Smiling.)

Q. Roger has been working on this attacking move. How surprised were you when you saw him do that for the first time? How surprising is it to be on the other side of the court? Would you consider maybe trying this yourself?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, not considered doing that. I mean, he tried that in Cincinnati. It worked a couple of times. It’s exciting shot for him. For the player opposite side of the net, not so much.

So I have nothing else to say about that.

Q. Of course we are in the situation where we don’t know who your next opponent will be, so I’d like to ask you separately about each one, starting with Stan. When you think about were facing him in the final of a major and the possibility that it will be again, what goes through your mind about the challenge of facing Stan?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I have lost to him in Roland Garros final earlier this year, so I think he has a perfect score in the Grand Slam finals, 2 out of 2. He certainly is a player that loves the big occasion, big matches.

He has an immense power from both sides, forehand and backhand. One of the best one-handed backhands in the history of the sport. A big serve. So if his serve is on he can hurt anybody on any surface. He’s all-around player.

Then on the other side, if I have to play Roger, obviously we all know how consistent he is and how good he is in the latter stages of a Grand Slams and any other big tournament. He’s always going to perform on a high level. Rarely he drops his level. He always makes you play your best.

I know that he’s also lately being very aggressive coming to the net, mixing up, and trying to shorten out the points. I think also he improved his speed. His defensive game is better than it was. Maybe healthier. Everybody is working hard to improve their game and give themselves highest level possible.

So in order to win a Grand Slam title I have to be on top of my game, as well. So knowing that, coming to the court, of course it’s going to be incentive to try hard.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

 

228 Federer smiles-001

U.S. OPEN

Friday, September 11, 2015

Roger Federer

Press Conference

R. FEDERER/S. Wawrinka

6-4, 6-3, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you talk about your serve tonight and how valuable of a weapon it’s become over the past couple of weeks in New York?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I always thought I had a decent serve with variation, to be quite honest. I definitely had better and worse days before, but now it seems like I’m able to, you know, just serve maybe better consistently maybe.

I’m not sure if that’s the case, but definitely also talking about faster conditions in Cincinnati and also now here. I’m using conditions to my advantage, it seems like. I hope I can serve equally good, you know, come Sunday.

Q. In anticipation to the final, a few days ago when Djokovic was playing Bautista Agut and he dropped the second set, you know, people would be cheering for Bautista Agut. Djokovic showed some anger, and he said in his post-match conference that, you know, he wasn’t himself. Do you think that that might be in anticipation for the crowd preference in your favor, and how you manage that and what you expect about that issue in the final?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I’ll get ready for either crowd, you know, I must say, because there is never a guarantee who the crowd are going to cheering for. I hope the crowd’s going to be happy to see me in the finals as well again after, what’s it been now, six years I haven’t been in the finals. Sounds like a big deal. Not that long ago, my opinion. (Laughter.)

I still remember the six finals I played ’04 to ’09. I had many great ones, one very tough one against Agassi where the crowd was totally lopsided on his side.

I think it’s important to prepare for both. I definitely think if there would be more on my side that will give me a lift and extra energy and momentum possibly.

That could swing the match a little bit. But other than that, you know, obviously Novak is a great player. Both of us have played in all tough conditions, and you’ve got to play well to beat him. There is no question about that.

Q. We have talked to some other players about your sneak attack, and a lot of them have praised it and laughed about it and so forth. But Novak on two occasions has basically said that he didn’t want to comment about it. Today he said a little something. He said, That’s all I have to say about it. Has he said anything to you about it or do you get any sense his feeling about it?
ROGER FEDERER: I haven’t spoken much to other players about this. It’s players coming up to my coach, Severin, and talking about it.

So me personally I haven’t heard much feedback from any player almost, to be quite honest. I hear it more through the press. I hear some and read some. But not that much, to be honest.

For me, if it makes sense, you know, which I think it does, I’ll use it in the finals. I used it to great effect against him in the tough situation, at was it, 4-1 in the breaker in Cincy.

We will see if the occasion presents itself. It’s got to be the right point, right frame of mind, yeah, the right place to do it. I hope I’ll have the opportunity to do it.

Q. With your serving, it seems like the effectiveness can be as much of the placement as the pace. How do you balance that? (Indiscernible) Do you feel maxed out, like you hit as much pace as you can and now you’re just going for placement? How do you balance the tradeoff?
ROGER FEDERER: It’s really by feel, to be honest quite honest. I think it’s important for me to mix up, like you said, the spin, the kick, and the pace of serves. So I keep doing it constantly to different locations that I feel like it’s important to hit. I’m sure also I take long decisions sometimes and the other guy maybe reads your serve. But at times — like Novak read Cilic’s serve perfectly, I guess.

That’s a matchup for Novak that just works very well. For me, it’s important to serve the right way at the right time. You know, it’s really important that you back yourself with your own serve at the most important moments. Like down Love-40 bring the serve into the box, number one; bring it close to the line, because close to the line also means that sometimes the opponent sort of waits for it to go out and then it’s already past you.

So I believe a lot in serving very accurately, and I could do that over a long period of time, which has helped me over my career.

Q. How much of the way you attacked Stan tonight was based upon the way he was playing, and do you think you could attack that consistently against Novak?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, we’ll see. You know, I think Stan didn’t have very high first-serve percentage in the first set, I don’t think, so that definitely gave him more looks on the second serves.

But of course Stan has more power on the first serve than Novak has. It’s a different server, to be quite honest, and also returns very different one to another. So I don’t want to compare those two.

I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to play this aggressive against Stan, because he does — when he’s on, he presents a very different challenge to all the players I have played thus far in this tournament.

But now that I have been able to do it also against Stan definitely gives me confidence that maybe I can also do it against Novak this way.

Q. A lot of the talk at Wimbledon was how well you played in the leadup to the final, especially in the semi against Andy, and then ran into Novak. I’m just curious if you took anything from a learning perspective out of that and if you believe — we call it peaking, and people said you peaked too early.
ROGER FEDERER: Possibly. I didn’t quite agree that I played a poor finals. I think I played okay in the finals. Maybe not even bad at times, you know. I just think Novak played a really good finals. He was super tough and he deserved it at the end, you know.

I never really looked into the match that much. I kind of left it and just said, Okay, whenever I need to be I’ll go back to it, and that’s what we will do after tonight, I guess.

So I think there is a lot of positives for me to take away from that match or all of Wimbledon, Cincinnati, as well, that match with Novak there, and then now how I have played here thus far.

I think it’s an interesting three months to look back on and take the good and the bad and compress all of those into one thing and hopefully come up with a the perfect game plan against Novak Sunday.

Q. You clearly mastered the art of excellence of staying at the top for long periods of time. On air you just mentioned that you’d like to learn from other athletes about dominance, and you mentioned in particular Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Pete, and Andre. Briefly could you mention some of the key things you learned from those four?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I used to be famous for not being consistent. So for me, I never thought I could bring it, you know, in practice and in matches, week in and week out, every year. I never thought that was really something that I could do.

I knew I could be surprising. I felt like I could beat anybody at any day, but, you know, I knew I had something in me that I like the big occasions, I like playing against the best and testing myself there and not shying away from that.

But consistency was something for me that was just so far away. So for me seeing, like, you know, all the athletes you mentioned, I didn’t understand how they could do it. I think I tried to learn from them, see how they did it, and then hopefully one day, you know, do something similar, I guess.

It took me a big mental step and a physical improvement to actually get to that level to play well, but I’m happy I figured it out at some stage.

Q. After tonight there is one Swiss in the final, and then there are also two Italians. A it’s a bit unexpected. Thinking to withdraw our media credentials because we are ruining the tournament.
ROGER FEDERER: That’s what you would do in Italy, wouldn’t you? (Laughter.)

Q. What do you think about what happened on the women’s side and Serena losing?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, definitely a huge surprise, wasn’t it? I didn’t see much of it. I always thought Pennetta plays a nice game. I’m not surprised for some reason she’s in the finals because she’s showed big matches in the past.

Roberta is more famous for doubles almost, but of course I like that she has a one-handed backhand and uses the slice to great effect. Obviously for you guys it’s an unbelievable moment in Italian history almost, even though you have had success with Errani and Schiavone, as well. I guess it’s even a bigger occasion than me playing Stan tonight, because that was a big deal in Switzerland, as well.

For me, it was, anyway, a huge moment. I hope one day I can play Stan in a Grand Slam final. But you should enjoy it, because you just don’t know when it’s going to happen next. I hope you’re filling your pages because they deserve it. (Laughter.)

Q. Going back to the chip and charge question before, there was a line around the press yesterday with Boris Becker saying that it disrespects your opponents. Just wanted to know what you said to that specifically.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, no, it’s not disrespectful. Pretty simple.

Q. We are clearly obsessed with SABR. It’s really fun.
ROGER FEDERER: I will do it some more. No problem. (Laughter.)

Q. I think McEnroe said he’d be insulted if it happened to him.
ROGER FEDERER: Really? Okay.

Q. So what I am asking is, early on I remember — if I remember correctly, you didn’t love the dropshot.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, that’s true.

Q. You didn’t like replay because it wasn’t tennis. It wasn’t what your code of what the game was. I’m curious if earlier on if someone had tried it on you would you have liked it, taken umbrage at it, or thought it was cool and a great new tactic?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, guys were almost doing that against me back in the day. I remember Max Mirnyi and Henman, they were standing there like, All right, holding their finger up. I’m coming up. You know I’m coming, so whatever second serve you want, you’ll have to hit it past.

I faced those guys, and didn’t matter how you approached it. I remember Spaniards standing outside of the doubles alley waiting to hit a forehand on clay because my second wasn’t as good yet. So I faced all of that stuff, as well.

So I’m actually standing in position when they are serving, and then only once they toss it, that’s when I run so they don’t actually really see me, in my opinion.

You know, whatever works, you know. As long as it’s in the rules, I think you should be able to use it.

Q. How would you characterize your rivalry with Novak? It’s going to be your 42nd match against each other. How would you describe the rivalry? Do you think he’s made you better? You’ve made him better? Is there one particular match, good reasons or bad reasons, a loss that sticks out for you from all of the matches you played?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I see more of a generation of, you know, Hewitt, Nalbandian, Agassi, Henman, guys I had trouble with at the beginning. I felt they made me better a player.

Same with my generation coming up, Ferrero, Safin, Roddick, Hewitt. I was trying to hang on with them and trying to be that next wave of players making it to the top, and everyone made it to world No. 1 before me.

I think that was very motivational for me. Made me a better player. I definitely think Rafa had a big effect, as well. Had to adjust and change so many things playing against him, preparing against him, thinking about it when I was practicing. He’s probably been the guy who challenged me the most with that.

Novak it’s been more straightforward, my opinion. That’s what I like about the rivalry. I think we both can — I don’t know how it is for him, but I feel like he doesn’t need to adjust his game as much, either. I think it’s just a straight shootout, and I think that’s the cool thing about our rivalry. It’s very athletic.

We both can handle each other’s — whatever we present to one another, and I think our matches, it’s very even. That’s it, I think. I don’t need to add more here.

 

 

 

314MarinCilic-001

U.S. OPEN

Friday, September 11, 2015

Marin Cilic

Press Conference

N. DJOKOVIC/M. Cilic

6-0, 6-1, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What were your thoughts about your physical condition before the match, and what do you think you would be able to accomplish by playing?
MARIN CILIC: Well, I knew that, you know, I’m not 100%, obviously. And even the last match against Jo I wasn’t feeling 100%. You know, the foot was causing me obviously some trouble with the movement, but, you know, Novak was able to expose me much more today.

Even coming before the match and thinking, you know, if I’m going to play or not, I decide to play, as it’s a Grand Slam tournament, it’s deep in the tournament. You know, I decide to go on the court and give my best.

You know, if it would be some other tournament, doesn’t matter which one, I would probably pull out and not, you know, get myself in the position to aggravate it much more.

But also, you know, today, even though with the foot, it was — even though it was causing me trouble, I didn’t play so well today. You know, a lot of mishits and a lot of missed balls that, you know, I shouldn’t have missed in some situations.

But that was in my head already from the beginning and the score went in that way. The score was going pretty quickly in the beginning, so, you know, it didn’t give me time to get in the match.

Q. How do you think you’ll look back on this?
MARIN CILIC: Well, I will look back very positively to the tournament. Extremely great tournament. Obviously very unlucky that I twisted the ankle, but still with that, you know, in the match against Novak, anyway it’s very difficult.

I went to the match obviously to play. You know, I cannot pull myself out of it with injury. That’s the reality.

You know, Novak was extremely focused today. He played great. But I have to also take myself as, you know, that I was fighting pretty well during the full tournament. Considering the first time experience having to defend a Grand Slam title, I feel that I accomplished well.

So I’m very, very positive coming out of the tournament.

Q. You enjoyed a little bit being out there, or was it just frustrating from one point to the next?
MARIN CILIC: You know, was not frustrating. I was just hoping that I’m going to be able to get into the match more. And, you know, for the crowd as well as it would be obviously also pretty disappointing that I have pulled out before the match. That’s always the situation.

But, yeah, I was able to enjoy it a little bit, even though it wasn’t fun.

Q. Talk more about Novak, top player of the world, No 1. Talk about him a little bit more.
MARIN CILIC: You know, not much new to say about Novak. Novak is playing really good this season. He’s played great this tournament. Played also great today.

Q. When you finished playing, Novak said it was because of ankle injury. Do you think it was also the fact that you are playing against Novak Djokovic or it would be same if it was another person?
MARIN CILIC: No, I know Novak knows me really well, and, you know, just his game doesn’t suit me so well. And also the fact that he’s returning extremely well, getting a lot of balls back, you know, it’s already from there very difficult situation for me from.

If I would be even completely healthy and, you know, just having a small part in my game that doesn’t work well with him, obviously he exposes it to extreme conditions.

So it’s, you know, very difficult. But I went to that match to give my best, which I did. You know, I’m proud of myself. Obviously a lot of people are going to say it’s a little bit of embarrassment to lose like that, but I’m clear in my mind that I went to the match, it’s a semifinals, saying if I’m going to take ever a chance, it’s going to be this time.

Q. What was your reaction to the Serena Williams match before you came on?
MARIN CILIC: Well, I mean, obviously pretty disappointing for her, for I guess all her fans.

Yeah, I didn’t actually follow too much. I was trying to focus as much as I could, but obviously, you know, not easy with all the attention she’s got and constantly, day after day, everybody is talking about it.

Very unfortunate for her, yeah.

Q. As someone who won a Grand Slam here, and it was a bit of a surprise to people, what are your thoughts for Vinci today?
MARIN CILIC: You know, great. She held her nerves pretty well, I guess. She got to the semis anyway. She beat several for sure great players on the route to the semis, and obviously took her chance today.

Obviously Serena wasn’t playing so well and the way she could. And considering the attention, the pressure, I guess that helps Vinci to play pretty loose.

Q. Is it a serious foot injury or just…
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I twisted the ankle. It was pretty swollen a few days ago. Still is.

But hopefully it won’t take too long to be 100%.

Q. Last year you were in finals, so I’m interested if you’re going to stay and watch the final here. How is it watching the final when you know last year you are the winner?
MARIN CILIC: Well, we’ll see this year. I’m still gonna decide. I mean, I have Davis Cup next week. Scheduled to play in Brazil.

So I’m probably going to go there as soon as I can. We will see.

 

 

Wawrinka in press

U.S. OPEN

Friday, September 11, 2015

Stan Wawrinka

Press Conference

R. FEDERER/S. Wawrinka

6-4, 6-3, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What made it so difficult for you tonight?
STAN WAWRINKA: Him, the way he’s playing. Condition a little bit different than when I play my match here on Ashe? It’s a little bit more flying in the night. It’s playing really fast. Didn’t play my best game. Didn’t serve well and everything.

But basically it’s him, the way he’s playing.

Q. You think if Roger plays this aggressive attacking style against Novak that will give him the best chance to win?
STAN WAWRINKA: I don’t know. Maybe.

Q. You have known him a long time. Can you just talk about how he’s moving right now.
STAN WAWRINKA: He’s moving really well, for sure. As I said before playing him, I saw him in Cincinnati, I think he’s quite fast on the court. He’s reading well the game, and so he’s trying really to stay on the line, not to go back. Stay really aggressive. He’s serving really well, also. He’s serving better than I never see him serve.

For me tonight he’s getting more angles. It’s more tough to really serve and to make something from.

Q. Do you think the partial roof and speed of the court are contributing to how he’s playing on that particular court?
STAN WAWRINKA: I don’t know. Always been quite medium fast here at US Open central court.

For sure now there is almost no wind on the court, so it’s quite nice to play. He always played well here, always love to play here, and, yeah, so far he’s been too good.

Q. You had a couple chances in the first set. Do you think if you might have gotten a break then it…
STAN WAWRINKA: Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know.

For sure it doesn’t help when you play Roger and he’s trying to play really aggressive, really fast. When he get the lead, when he get the break, then he’s relaxed. The way he’s playing he’s reading better, moving better, so everything going faster, that’s for sure.

I tried everything with what I had today, for sure. I wasn’t serving well at all. That doesn’t help because I don’t get free point. I cannot really start the point from the baseline being aggressive.

Yeah, was tough. Didn’t get my — I would say my heavy ball from baseline was tough to put some topspin. Was flying a little bit more than what I expect, but he was simply too good.

Q. Obviously your tournament ended before you’d like it to, but how would you assess your play over the course of the tournament?
STAN WAWRINKA: Well, I need to see the whole picture. I think it’s still a great result, amazing result from me, making semifinal again.

I didn’t play really my best tennis. I didn’t play the way I wanted all the tournament, but I still in semifinals.

So if I look my result in Grand Slam this year I couldn’t ask for more. Make two semifinal, one quarterfinal, and one time winner. It’s something amazing for me.

Q. You talked about Roger’s speed. What surprised you most about his game tonight? Did you feel like he was almost a different player than the Roger you played in the past?
STAN WAWRINKA: Not a different player, but he’s being more aggressive, that’s for sure.

As I say, he’s really staying on the line. It’s tough to compare because you need to find also the good match. You cannot take a match from clay court or grass, for example. For example, London Masters last year indoor, is quite similar, but he was more playing from the baseline.

Today he’s trying to be really, really aggressive, trying to come to the net every time he can and trying to stay on the line.

Even when he’s in defense you can see he’s not going back. He’s staying on the line, trying to make half-volley passing.

Q. You probably know Roger better than anyone else in the circuit. Do you think this is his best level ever?
STAN WAWRINKA: Ah, it’s tough to say. He’s been winning so many Grand Slams, so many tournaments. We’ll see. For sure it’s close from his best.

Also the game now is a different level than few years ago, so everybody is improving from few years ago. But is the best that I saw him play since few years, that’s for sure.

Q. Do you feel like the sport in general, talking about how to play him this year, do you feel like it’s more of an outdoor court or does it feel more indoor?
STAN WAWRINKA: It’s between, but it’s getting closer for more indoor court, that’s for sure, without wind. Now you cannot even compare the center court with Armstrong, for example. It’s completely two different condition.

Armstrong it gets windy, even feels a little bit of wind. Now you have nothing on center court. Yeah, it’s getting faster, but it’s still a good court to play. That’s for sure.

Q. You have said a moment ago that everyone is changing and evolving. Obviously Roger’s made a lot of changes during all his career, but do you feel like he’s accelerated the pace of those changes, training, tactics, all those things in the last year or two that in other periods of his career?
STAN WAWRINKA: I think for sure he’s always trying to improve, trying to change. He change his racquet last year, and it takes time to get used to the racquet and get what you want with the racquet.

But if you look at him — I think the second part from the year, after Wimbledon, he is starting already at the different level. He came back Cincinnati at a completely different level. Here also. If you look at the first part he was playing good, make final Wimbledon, but the rest was amazing.

If you look now, if you keep this level, he’s going to be tough to beat.

 

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No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Roger Federer to Meet in US Open Final

228 Federer Djokovic-001

(September 11, 2015) It will be No. 1 Novak Djokovic versus No. 2 Roger Federer for the 2015 US Open title on Sunday afternoon in Flushing Meadows. Both men had straight set victories over opponents on Friday night.

Djokovic moved into his sixth US Open final with a 6-0, 6-1, 6-2 win over last year’s champion, Croatia’s Marin Cilic in 85 minutes. Djokovic was the champion in 2011. The match was most the lopsided US Open semifinal in the Open Era. Cilic has been dealing with a right ankle/foot injury since his quarterfinal match with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

“I’m not 100%, obviously,” Cilic said.” And even the last match against Jo I wasn’t feeling 100%. You know, the foot was causing me obviously some trouble with the movement, but, you know, Novak was able to expose me much more today.

“Even coming before the match and thinking, you know, if I’m going to play or not, I decide to play, as it’s a Grand Slam tournament, it’s deep in the tournament. You know, I decide to go on the court and give my best.

“You know, if it would be some other tournament, doesn’t matter which one, I would probably pull out and not, you know, get myself in the position to aggravate it much more.”

“It felt great to be able to perform as well as I did today at this stage of a tournament, again, knowing that Marin carried that injury for last couple of matches,” Djokovic said in press. “I didn’t allow that fact to distract me too much.

“I just wanted to concentrate on what I needed to do on the court and come out with the right intensity, make him move, get as many, you know, returns back in play.

“All in all, it was from my side a very solid match, and I take that as a confidence booster for the final.”

The Serb extended his perfect record against Cilic to 14-0.

Thirty-four-year-old Roger Federer won the battle of Swtizerland, taking down his Olympic doubles and Davis Cup teammate and friend No. 5 Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 to reach his first US Open final since 2009, when he lost to Juan Martin del Potro.

“Tried very hard in the last six years to get back in another final,” Federer said in an on-court interview. “Came close a few times.”

Asked about the quality of his play over the fortnight, he said: “It’s definitely very good, maybe my best, I’m not sure. I’m serving very well. I’m playing positive tennis. I’m going for my shots, and it seems to work. I’d love it to work just one more time.”

“For sure it doesn’t help when you play Roger and he’s trying to play really aggressive, really fast,” Wawrinka said in his post-match interview. “When he get the lead, when he get the break, then he’s relaxed. The way he’s playing he’s reading better, moving better, so everything going faster, that’s for sure.

“I tried everything with what I had today, for sure. I wasn’t serving well at all. That doesn’t help because I don’t get free point. I cannot really start the point from the baseline being aggressive.

“Yeah, was tough. Didn’t get my — I would say my heavy ball from baseline was tough to put some topspin. Was flying a little bit more than what I expect, but he was simply too good.”

“I didn’t play really my best tennis,” said the No. 5 player in the world. “I didn’t play the way I wanted all the tournament, but I still in semifinals.

“So if I look my result in Grand Slam this year I couldn’t ask for more. Make two semifinal, one quarterfinal, and one time winner. It’s something amazing for me.”

This will be Federer’s seventh trip to the US Open final, he won five straight titles from 2004-2008.

“I’ll get ready for either crowd, you know, I must say, because there is never a guarantee who the crowd are going to cheering for, Federer said. “I hope the crowd’s going to be happy to see me in the finals as well again after, what’s it been now, six years I haven’t been in the finals. Sounds like a big deal. Not that long ago, my opinion.

“I still remember the six finals I played ’04 to ’09. I had many great ones, one very tough one against Agassi where the crowd was totally lopsided on his side.

“I think it’s important to prepare for both. I definitely think if there would be more on my side that will give me a lift and extra energy and momentum possibly.

“That could swing the match a little bit. But other than that, you know, obviously Novak is a great player. Both of us have played in all tough conditions, and you’ve got to play well to beat him. There is no question about that.”

This will be the 42nd overall meeting between Federer and Djokovic, sixth this year. The Swiss leads 21-20 with his last victory coming in the Cincinnati Masters final. Djokovic has beaten Federer three times, including the Wimbledon final.

Djokovic has been in all four major finals this year, winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles and losing the French Open.

On reaching all four Grand Slam finals, Djokovic said: “It definitely is an achievement. I don’t want to even think about the opposite to that, you know, that I’m not happy with four finals. Win or lose on Sunday, it still has been so far a great year, best year alongside of 2011.

“But, you know, obviously I’m only thinking about winning and winning that US Open trophy. It’s why I’m here, and I will try to make it.”

“If I have to play Roger (Federer), obviously we all know how consistent he is and how good he is in the latter stages of a Grand Slams and any other big tournament,” said the world No. 1. “He’s always going to perform on a high level. Rarely he drops his level. He always makes you play your best.

“I know that he’s also lately being very aggressive coming to the net, mixing up, and trying to shorten out the points. I think also he improved his speed. His defensive game is better than it was. Maybe healthier. Everybody is working hard to improve their game and give themselves highest level possible.

“So in order to win a Grand Slam title I have to be on top of my game, as well. So knowing that, coming to the court, of course it’s going to be incentive to try hard.”

“What I like about the rivalry, ” Federer said, “I don’t know how it is for him, but I feel like he doesn’t need to adjust his game as much, either. I think it’s just a straight shootout, and I think that’s the cool thing about our rivalry. It’s very athletic.

“We both can handle each other’s — whatever we present to one another, and I think our matches, it’s very even. That’s it, I think. I don’t need to add more here.”

 

 

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In Their Own Words – Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Novak Djokovic, Marin Cilic and Roberta Vinci

 

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

U.S. OPEN

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Serena Williams

Press Conference

S. WILLIAMS/V. Williams

6-2, 1-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You and your sister have played each other a number of times in the past, but never before with the calendar Grand Slam on the line. In terms of mental preparation, did you do anything different this time compared to the last times that you played each other?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, there’s nothing that I did different. I just was out there to play a really tough opponent today.

Q. What did that embrace with Venus at the end mean to you and how do you think you’ll look back on it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think I will look back on it fondly. It means a lot to me. Obviously we are very, very tough competitors on the court, but once the match is over and the second it’s done, you know, we’re sisters, we’re roommates, and we’re all that.

Q. Venus came up with some incredible level of play tonight. People kept talking about she’s the older sister looking out for you, but she’s gone through a lot. What does it mean for you that she’s back to this level again and you were able to go out there tonight and do that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It’s really great to see her do so well. She was at an unbelievable level today. Down to the match point it just was not easy. It’s probably the toughest match I have played in a really, really, really long time where I wasn’t actually beating myself. I was out there facing an incredibly tough opponent.

Yeah, so it was just seeing and knowing that she has that level is so good and inspiring, as well, and hopefully it’s encouraging for her, too. I think against any other player she for sure would have won.

Q. Was there a point in the match early on when you thought or you can tell Venus has her A game and this is going to be trouble?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, just in the very first game I knew she was playing well. But she played really well in her last match and she’s been playing really well all tournament.

She’s been going through this tournament really sneaky and on the low, and that was, I think, also really good for her.

Q. She knows your game very well. How do you play against that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Because I know her game well, so I think it actually evens out.

Q. Is there any other opponent across your career that has consistently given you as much trouble as your sister?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. No, I mean, she’s still playing, as well. I have played a lot of great players like Lindsay and Jennifer and Martina and Kim and Justine. I have had a lot of losses against those players, as well. They just didn’t have, I think, what the pressure — they didn’t know my game and they just didn’t beat me as many times as Venus has.

Q. One of the great players you faced very early in your career a couple of times was Steffi. Could you take a minute and just talk about her game, break down her game a bit and what made her so tough?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, she was Steffi Graf. I think that’s what made her really tough. You know, when you’re young and going against Steffi Graf, I mean, that, I think, pretty much sums it up.

Q. Her forehand, how does that compare with some of the other strokes you faced in your career?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, honestly it’s been a really long time since I have played her, but I just do remember her having an unbelievable forehand. I think her backhand was amazing, too, because she had that really good slice.

She was very athletic and very fast. She did a lot of things really well.

Q. When you split sets and you are sitting there in changeover chair and your sister is a few feet away from you, what’s the narrative going through your head going into that the final set with so much on the line? What’s the talk?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I’m thinking, at that point I was glad to be starting out serving. Just thought, Okay, I want to hold serve early on and see what happens. Just, What am I not doing? What am I not doing? What can I do better?

Nothing different goes in my mind as when I’m playing anyone else.

Q. That pragmatic? Nothing else swirling around?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, there is a lot of things going on in my mind, but nothing different from when I’m playing anyone else.

Q. These matches really intrigue the tennis public when you play your sister, and nontennis fans, too. Most important part of this is winning the match, but can you enjoy that at all in terms of what it means for the sport, or is the feeling, we’re going through this again and we will hear a lot of the same? Everybody will talk about me playing my sister again, and you just kind of want to be done with it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I didn’t really listen to a lot of the press and read anything about it, so I kind of was in a hole and I didn’t turn on my TV and didn’t watch any of the matches yesterday, men or women. I didn’t really live in that world.

But, yeah, it’s a big topic because I think it’s the greatest story in tennis because we really — you know, with our how we started and how we grew up and how we were able to win Championships and be, you know, such inspirations for so many women across the globe, I mean, it doesn’t get better than that.

Q. You just won a match. Normally you smile when you win you come here, you laugh. What happens tonight? Is just because you beat Venus or because you’re thinking about what is going next? What’s wrong?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It’s 11:30. To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t want to be here. (Laughter.) I just want to be in bed right now. I have to wake up early to practice.

I don’t want to answer any of these questions and you keep asking me the same questions.

It’s not really — you’re not making it super enjoyable. (Laughter.)

Q. At least I made you laugh.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I’m just being honest.

Q. At least I made you smile. Can I just ask you…
SERENA WILLIAMS: Is it about Venus again?

Q. About Roberta Vinci, of course. Even in Italy we think that she has no chance, but what is your opinion about it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think it’s good. I played her in Canada. She played me really tough, and I didn’t really expect that. That’s how I sprained my finger actually, was playing against her.

Thankfully my finger is a little better now. But, yeah, so I’m not going to underestimate her. She played really well. She’s not in the semifinals of a Grand Slam for no reason. She knows what to do and she knows what to play.

I think it was really good. Again, I just think it was great that I played her because I kind of know what to expect, and I’ll be more ready for it this time.

Q. Venus said that one of the best things even about losing was taking pride in you and watching you go on in your quest for the calendar year slam and how that was very important to your family. How does your success and your family’s success all blend together?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think my success is our success. You know, we all started together and we all are still together. So I think, yeah, I didn’t know it was important to my family, actually, but…

It is important to me, but at the same time, you know, it is what it is. I’ll do what I can.

Q. Do you get more drained emotionally, physically, mentally playing against Venus than anybody else? When you’re done, are you more tapped out than when you play anybody else?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It depends. Today was a very tough match today. It wasn’t an easy match.

So just thinking what I could do better. Yeah, so it just really depends.

Q. You said you were an inspiration to women around the world. I know it’s late, but can you give us some feedback on how you’ve gotten feedback about that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, just nowadays with social media you can get a lot of feedback. It’s kind of cool. You can sometimes see people say things that are just so positive or people post things like how inspiring my family is or Venus and I are and how they want to do it, they want to be like us, and how they started school or they started tennis.

It’s not always tennis. It’s just about how they started their lives and how we were able to inspire them. So I think that’s really kind of cool. You know, every time I read one it’s almost surreal like knowing that I and my sister have been able to inspire so many people and so many women.

It’s definitely something that when you’re growing up you don’t think, like, you know, I want to inspire people to do this. I just want to win some Grand Slams.

There is so much more to it that you don’t realize at the time.

Q. Venus said at the net when she hugged you she said, I’m just so happy for you.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, everyone in this room knows that Venus is probably one of the greatest people on the tour. She’s really great. She’s super professional. Complete opposite of me. (Laughter.)

Which actually that’s not true, but I’m just making a joke since you said I’m not laughing.

Q. Thanks. Did she saying else, and what did you say back to her at the net?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Just, Thanks. I don’t remember, to be honest, actually. Usually I do, but I don’t remember.

Q. Would you say that Vinci is a vintage tennis player? She plays one-hand backhand? Nobody else does it after Justine Henin.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I played someone first round at Wimbledon who hit some rocket one-handed backhand. Yeah, they are very few and far between. I don’t know if she’s a vintage because she’s such a good one-handed backhand.

Yeah, she’s definitely — she has that mean slice on that backhand, too.

Q. Coming to the net a little bit more?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. Definitely a little bit more old school, but also a really great matchup, because it’s fun to see people that can still come to the net and still hit slice and still hit one-handers. It’s different. It’s good for tennis.

Q. You’re very demonstrative tonight in a way you haven’t against Venus. Clearly you obviously wanted this match. After all that, how gratifying was it to walk to the net and get that hug from Venus? It was a nice moment.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was gratifying because you’re out there and you want to win so bad in that moment, and then when the moment is over — because every single match I root for her every time, and so it’s interesting to be in a position to what you’re trying to win.

Q. What was the most satisfying part of the experience for you tonight?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Walking off the court and it being over with.

 

 

Venus in Press

U.S. OPEN

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Venus Williams

Press Conference

S. WILLIAMS/V. Williams

6-2, 1-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. The embrace at the end of the match, what did you say to your sister after an amazing match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just said I’m so happy for you. I don’t remember what else I said after that. Just moments. Just the moment.

Q. You and Serena played on the big stage tonight, but obviously as sisters you grew up playing against each other. What advice do you have for other sibling sets who are coming up in the sport and have to face off?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Just enjoy the moment and try your best and keep practicing. I don’t know.

Q. Can you walk us through what was going through your head after the second set? You were sitting there in your chair, one set to go. What’s in your head?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, the first set was close. Lost serve a couple times, but I was still leading in both of those games.

Knew I had opportunities and just tried to capitalize on them.

Q. Do you remember the early days when you and Serena would play in the (indiscernible) foundation, playing the Jensens in doubles and playing one another in singles?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, I remember that.

Q. Yeah. Good memories back then of that fun stuff?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. Anything for charity.

Q. What’s the toughest part about playing Serena both in terms of strokes and in terms of mindset?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she has of course a wonderful mental game, but she also has ability to come up with a great shot when she needs it. That’s just been the hallmark of her game.

Q. This match more important than any of the others you have played in terms of the gravity at the moment?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was more unique, definitely.

Q. What makes it more unique?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, obviously because Serena is going for the Grand Slam and I think everybody is interested because she has to play her sister to get to that.

People want to see, you know, how that’s going to come out. So it was definitely a different moment.

Q. Did that play on your mind at all during the match? I mean, it seems like you’re conscious about it, obviously, but once you get into the match you’re focused.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, you have to be focused or else you’re going to lose serve. Just try to hold.

Q. What you and Serena did tonight probably promoted tennis as much as the Billie Jean King/Bobby Riggs as far as interest and enthusiasm. What’s that make you feel like? How much gratification is there for you in that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I’m not sure anything can top Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.

Q. It was very close.
VENUS WILLIAMS: But it definitely was intriguing.

Q. How do you think you played tonight? And second to that, what did you say to Serena at the net at the end?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I thought I played pretty well tonight and served well. Just tried to play aggressively. That’s always how I want to play.

I just told her I was really happy for her, and like I said earlier, I don’t remember what I said after that.

Maybe she’ll remember.

Q. What is the emotional challenge when you play Serena?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I thought I answered that last time. (Laughter.) You know, when you get in the tournament, you want to win the match, you want to win the tournament, so that’s both of our focus when we get out there, is to try to be our best.

Q. You said the other day that when you were kids you both dreamed of duking it out on the biggest of stages. What do you think you showed tonight with the way you conducted yourself on the court and after?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I wasn’t trying to show anything. I’m just being myself when I’m out there, so whatever that is, that is.

Q. Is it any different when you played now as opposed to five, ten years ago in terms of all of this? Has it changed at all? And if so, how so?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don’t think it’s changed. Not for me, no.

Q. When you were young you were very much the caretaker of your little sister, giving her a trophy once, and when she lost, giving her a bunch of money and so forth. Do you still feel like you’re the older sister taking care of her and so forth? Can you talk about that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I will always be the older sister. That’s never going to change. (Smiling.)

Q. But aside from chronologically, how do you feel in terms of the dynamics between you and your sister?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We have always taken care of each other, but also that goes for the rest of my family and other sisters. We have always taken care of each other no matter what.

So it’s just that you see Serena and I a little more often, but it’s a family thing.

Q. You both obviously have done something very special over the years and played a lot of special matches. We don’t know if you’ll ever meet in a stage like this again. Was there any part at the end or in breaks or anything where you looked around and just took it in a little bit?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually, no. Sorry. (Smiling.)

Q. Too intense?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don’t think like that. I feel that, you know, luck and chance and blessings from God and we stay healthy, we’ll play again.

Q. What was most gratifying and what was most dissatisfying about the experience for you tonight?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, losing isn’t fun. I mentioned that part.

And then gratifying, I don’t know if I thought about that yet, but probably the most gratifying is I’m still very excited to see Serena have an opportunity to win the four majors.

I think that’s the best part.

Q. You made the quarterfinals at the US Open; got a set off the No. 1 player in the world. At age 35, what do you think of what you still have left in the tank?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I try my best every match, and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.

I generally play against a lot of inspired opponents. No easy matches for me ever. So I think when I play people they come out swinging because they feel like either they have to or that they have — that they have to.

It’s wonderful to play and win against opponents that are playing well and to be able to move on and continue to do so.

Q. Is it emotional to still to face your sister? What’s it like playing her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Is that the question?

Q. Is it still emotional? I mean, was it emotional for you out there tonight facing your sister, even though you have talked about so many times?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, my main goal when I go out there is to hold serve. I think that’s her main goal, too. Then you have to look at a break. That’s a lot of what I’m looking at when I’m out there. That’s kind of a peek into my mind.

Q. You mentioned a couple times holding serve. Does that pressure feel different against Serena because you know she has such a good serve to hold on to?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she has great returns, as well. How she ends up returning my serve is unlike any of the other players that I have played.

So on my first serve in my other matches I’m definitely getting easier points, but I think the trick is not to go for too much. She’s a good shot. Hey, what can you do? Try to put another first serve in.

Q. Serena said after the match that when she’s playing against you she doesn’t think of you as her sister. What do you think of Serena during the match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I still think of her as Serena still, but I don’t — I don’t separate it.

Q. You were playing your sister out there on Arthur Ashe Stadium in front of a packed stadium. Presidential candidate, Oprah, and other dignitaries. If Arthur Ashe was there, what do you think he might have to say?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I have no idea. That’s a good question. I never knew him so well. You might have to ask someone who knew him well. I imagine he would enjoy the moment.

His exact words, that’s a mystery right now.

Q. Serena said that you helped create her in a way and made her the player that she is. What would it mean to you if she doesn’t go on and go for the Grand Slam and actually succeed?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that would be a huge, not just for me, but for my family just for what it represents and how hard we have worked and where we come from. So it would be a moment for our family.

But at the same time, if it doesn’t happen it’s not going to make or break you. We don’t have anything to prove. She has nothing to prove.

She’s really the best ever, so what are you going to do? Just try to make it. If you don’t, then that’s that and go to the next one.

Q. How do you feel when you say that she’s the best ever? What feeling does that give you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think she is the best ever because of the level of competition that she’s faced. There have been some unbelievable players in the past, but I have played in this, you know, seems like multiple eras at this point.

I have played the best from different eras, as well. I have seen the level of competitiveness go up, and I have seen players who are ranked 100 who didn’t believe they could win a match against you to this point fight you tooth and nail and try to take you down.

So that didn’t happen when I started. So just to be able to win at this level, I think that’s what makes her the best.

Q. If you have the chance to win your sister, will you take this chance?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I tried. Were you there? (Laughter.)

Q. What do you still want from tennis?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, of course I want to win majors and I want to feel good when I’m on the court and just feel confident that I can practice there the way I want, prepare the way I want, and be able to do what I need to do on the court.

So that’s what I want. I want to be happy with my results personally. As long as that happens, then that’s good for me.

Q. She’s obviously going after Steffi’s record. Can you be a bit more specific and compare and contrast Serena’s game and Steffi’s game?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, yeah. I played both.

Well, if you compare the serve then you probably give it to Serena. If you compare the speed, they both are very fast, but probably Serena. She’s dangerous on the run.

Mental toughness, you probably have to give that to both of them. But it’s a different time. It’s a different time. You have to expect that perhaps 10, 20 years later that the next generation is going to be even at a higher level.

So let’s say Steffi played at this time. Then she would be even at a better level than she played at then.

Q. Pretty good forehand?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, huge forehand. Serena has a huge one, too. I don’t think anyone would want to face either one.

Q. Some people may think because you have taken care of Serena that you’d be conflicted tonight, that there is a part of you that doesn’t want to get in the way of her achieving a Grand Slam, but then there is a part of you that obviously wants to win and beat her. Is that a silly notion, or is there something to it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I feel like if I cared deeply about what people thought of me, I probably would have never made it out of Compton, California.

So my whole thing is to live up to hopefully my own expectations, which is the hardest thing to live up, anyway, probably to your own expectations than to other people’s.

So if I can live up to that, then I’ll be all right.

 

 

Djokovic celebrates win-001

U.S. OPEN

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Novak Djokovic

Press Conference

N. DJOKOVIC/F. Lopez

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

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You seemed really frustrated after the second set. What went wrong and how did you fix it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Just frustrating when you drop — you play one sloppy service game in the beginning. Was 30-Love in that game and I allowed him to break me and the set was gone.

I thought I played a pretty good first set, and then after that, you know, I was just trying to hang in there and wait for the opportunities. I played good beginning of the third. Fourth was anybody’s game, really. Didn’t have many chances on his service games.

Played a very good tiebreak. That’s a positive.

Q. The fourth set obviously was 6-6 and goes to a tiebreak. It seemed like the tiebreak was almost over before it started. What was the difference between the fourth set and the tiebreak?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I started to feel the end of the fourth like my serve, finding the range on my serve, which wasn’t working at all in the first part of the match. Obviously when you start serving better, more accurate, higher percent of first serves in, you feel more confident.

So that allowed me to kind of relax on the returns. Return points I managed to anticipate well. On 2-1 and 3-1, both of his first serves I anticipated well. Returned pretty good and, you know, allowed myself to make two mini breaks, which is a big advantage in the tiebreak.

Q. How happy are you with just your consistency tonight? Only 17 unforced errors.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, in a match like this against a player who comes in a lot, chips and charges and has a huge first serve, you need to be able to try to reduce your unforced error ratios as much as you can.

That’s why I was trying to do. Obviously always things you could have done better, but it’s a win in four sets against a player who is in form, playing well in Cincinnati, playing with the confidence, and winning against some top players.

All in all, I’m in the semifinals. I have two days off, and hopefully will be able to get ready for the next one.

Q. You have a perfect record against Cilic, but he’s the defending champion here. Do you think he takes a little more confidence into it than he normally would?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I would think so because of the fact that he won his first Grand Slam title last year in New York. He hasn’t lost a match, you know, 12, 13 matches in a row, so I’m sure that he feels confident. He won today a really close match. A couple of five-setters he had already in this tournament.

But he has a big serve. I think around 30 aces he had today, so the serve gets him out of trouble. I know him very well. I have played with him many, many times. We are great friends. Great guy.

I know what to do, and I’m opening I can execute the game plan obviously and play my best.

Q. When you face a player that you have had that much success against, do you anticipate him trying something new? Do you sort of then try to think ahead to how you would react to that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, there are different scenarios that you can predict. Obviously when the moments are kind of tight and important during the match, most of the players have certain patterns of the serve and of the game.

So you try to analyze that, try and go back to those matches that I have played against him this year and other years and get myself ready.

Of course I’m sure he’s not going to start coming to the net after every ball, but I’m sure he’s gonna try to be aggressive, going to try to take his chances. That’s how he won last year US Open. I watched him play. He played great. Best tennis of his life.

This is where he loves playing. He loves the conditions on Arthur Ashe. As I said, I’m going to try to use that advantage and having success against him in the past and to my favor.

Q. Second straight match where you lost the second set and then played very good tennis afterwards. Is there a correlation? Do you just kind of make it more focused?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, well, again, I was focusing today on the beginning of the second. Just didn’t want to lose the concentration, and unfortunately it happened. I had a couple of break points in the first game of the second set, and obviously maybe the story would be different if I broke him there.

Started off with a break up, but I was break down and 3-Love down and he started swinging freely. I kind of backed up a little bit and the game changed. Sport of small margins, especially on the high level, one or two points can really change the course of the match.

 

314MarinCilic-001

 

U.S. OPEN

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Marin Cilic

Press Conference

M. CILIC/J. Tsonga

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

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When you see yourself in the fifth set after three match points in the fourth, what’s going your mind? How do you regroup?
MARIN CILIC: Well, at the tiebreak when I was going down a bit with the score I was, you know, obviously disappointed with that.

At that point I was mentally on a scale either left or right. I’m going to break or, you know, either — I was asking myself, Am I going to change anything for the fifth set if it comes, or then I’m going to keep going with the same game plan?

Then I decided to, you know, stay mentally tough. You know, I was looking, thinking about third and fourth set. I didn’t play poorly. You know, Jo came up with amazing shots in the critical points, especially on all three match points that I had he played great points.

I, you know, could have done of course something differently. Could have played some shots differently and pick different spots. But the way I was playing them, I didn’t choose any bad shots or that I played bad points.

Just kept going with it. Sticked with my plan and stayed mentally tough and was very difficult day. Very demanding. Very, very hot, and of course a lot on the line for the match. Obviously with emotions and mentally was very exhausting.

So at the fifth set I was, you know, of course feeling a bit tired, but I was able to go through it.

Q. People who win Grand Slams say the hardest thing to do is come back and defend a Grand Slam. You’re deep in the tournament now, so you must feel a certain amount of pride and relief to come this far even as a defending champion.
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I would say the word “pride.” I wouldn’t pick the word “relief” in there. I came to the tournament knowing that I can play well here, that I, you know, just need few matches to get into the rhythm, and that’s what happened.

I was feeling that, you know, I was starting to hit the ball much better. In the previous match with Chardy I finished with the third and fourth set really strongly. I was playing really good tennis.

Today, to beat Jo with, you know, a demanding day like this, it’s of course a huge accomplishment.

Q. Also he’s a very popular guy. How did you manage to steal the crowd away from him?
MARIN CILIC: Well, I don’t think I stole the crowd. As, you know, they were of course forcing — they want to see longer match obviously. That’s always like it is.

I didn’t mind, actually, them cheering for Jo. In the third set, when he won the third and especially when he held his serve to stay in the match when I had some match points, I just kept my coolness.

You know, at the end I used a little bit of emotions to pump the crowd at, you know, critical points. But I was, again, you know, in front and they were cheering again for Jo, but that’s absolutely normal. It was great, great atmosphere. I really enjoyed the match.

Q. How would you describe the respect that you have had coming back as a defending champion? Is it maybe less because we still have those named players: Federer and Nadal and Djokovic back, and you’re still somebody who isn’t as well known?
MARIN CILIC: Well, I felt that it was huge respect from even the tournament and people around and players around. I really felt that, you know, I’m coming differently to the tournament and I’m feeling differently.

You know, the things are set up completely different. I played several matches on the stadium, Arthur Ashe Stadium, and that, I think, there is no bad points, anything about it.

You know, just enjoying to play here.

Q. How does the absence at this stage of the tournament of Rafa and Andy Murray affect your chances, do you think?
MARIN CILIC: I don’t think that matters much. Of course they are great players, but, still, you’ve got in the draw the guys who play the best these last 10 days. Obviously all of them have deserved their spot to be here.

You know, the names that are most of the time circling around. They are of course the best players. You know that they can play the best at most consistent time.

But, you know, these guys that are left in the tournament, they are very dangerous, can. They play well. There is Stan, there is Roger still in, Novak; even Anderson is playing great tennis.

So it’s, you know, open field.

Q. Five sets. The ankle is doing okay?
MARIN CILIC: Yeah. Yeah, the ankle is doing okay. I was a bit scared after the match with Chardy, but it’s all right. It’s great to have also two more days until semis, actually three days.

Yeah, I think it’s going to be okay.

Q. You sliced some dropshots at some critical moments. Were you trying to get him to move a lot because of his knee?
MARIN CILIC: I actually didn’t plan that before the points or, you know, that I had that in the game. With Jo it’s tough to get opportunities to, you know, play some dropshots.

I actually played a couple that were very critical at the end of the match, and obviously he had some problems with his knee. I felt his serve in the third set went down a bit with the speed.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to break him, but afterwards he was serving big, and I didn’t see, you know, that it was causing too much trouble for him. Of course he wasn’t at the best shape, but, you know, I was trying to think about myself more.

Q. Today was one of the hottest days of the tournament, maybe the hottest day. How did you deal with that out on the court for a long match, five sets? Did you feel okay physically in that way?
MARIN CILIC: It was very demanding. As I mentioned, very difficult match psychologically, as well. Two sets to up — two sets to zero — I lost my words. I don’t know what I’m talking anymore. (Smiling.)

To lose the fourth set like that after three-and-a-half hours, whatever, it was very, very difficult. Extremely tough conditions today.

Q. Speaking of psychologically demanding, I know you have a younger brother who plays tennis. Can you imagine one day playing him on a stadium like this the way Venus and Serena are doing now?
MARIN CILIC: Actually, I was mentioning that to my team in the locker room. We saw the girls coming out on the court, and I said, I can’t imagine myself playing against my brother. That would be very difficult.

But, you know, it would be absolutely nice with me that he would be on the tour. You know, I would be more proud about him than myself.

Q. You’re a quiet, introverted guy; Jo is a showman. Do you really care how involved the crowd is or how they support you? Do you think about this during the match? Do you think, Gee, they aren’t really behind me or they are behind me, for the other guy, not for the other guy? What goes through your mind about that?
MARIN CILIC: It doesn’t really affect me. At most times when player is affected about these things is when he’s nervous or under stress or he’s down with the score or, you know, when things are not going his way.

And for me, I really don’t mind. Of course, I can have some tough days during the year that it would, you know, cause some provocation to me, but most of the time, 99% of the time, I really don’t mind.

I’m just focused on myself and trying to play.

Q. It didn’t affect you during the third or fourth set, for instance, when you were under stress?
MARIN CILIC: No. No, I mean, I’m aware that, you know, the crowd wants to see more tennis. I was, you know, in a similar situation several years ago when I played here. I played Novak and, you know, I was down with the score and then, you know, the crowd was cheering for me.

So, you know, it goes around.

Q. You mentioned thinking it would be difficult to play your brother. What do you think is so difficult about that, Serena and Venus? What’s difficult about that? And the second part of the question is: What’s been your perspective of Serena Williams over the past, five, ten years since you have been involved in the sport?
MARIN CILIC: Well, the most difficult part when you’re playing somebody that close is your emotions on the court. Everything is great, you know, when the score is going great in your favor. You’re keeping your coolness.

You know, the tough part is when the score is not going in your favor and you need to do something. It’s difficult, you know, to be angry, to show emotions, to be either overjoyed or show, like, bad emotions, you know, when you are playing somebody that close.

That’s I think the biggest difficulty there is. You have to sort of be like more quiet. You’re not gonna celebrate the points as much and you’re not going to go fist pumping to somebody from your family.

And for the other question, you know, as everybody knows that, they have changed the tennis, and especially Serena in last several years. She’s showing that she can change history, and then I think she can also, by achieving — you know, if she wins this year, by achieving the Grand Slam, she can help the next generations to be more motivated and to try to hunt her with the Grand Slam titles.

Q. The handshake with Jo wasn’t quite warm. I was wondering if you knew why. And if so, how do you see the next match? Could be Novak again.
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I was surprised, actually. I don’t know. I really don’t know why.

But, you know, Jo shook my hand, and said, Congratulations. But that was it. I don’t know for the rest. If I provoke him or not I have no idea. I hope not.

And for Novak, if it’s gonna be him in the semis, definitely toughest match for me, toughest matchup, I would say. I haven’t beaten him ever in my career. I had close matches last few years, but I haven’t found the right formula to be able to win a match.

We will see. Trying to approach every match as a new one. You know, of course when you look at the statistic that he won that many matches against me, doesn’t, you know, go in my favor, absolutely.

But when you’re coming to the match it’s always going from zero, so it’s a new match. It’s different stage, and I’m feeling good here on the court.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

 

Roberta-Vinci

 

 

U.S. OPEN

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Roberta Vinci

Press Conference

R. VINCI/K. Mladenovic

6-3, 5-7, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Tough battle out there today. Through to your first Grand Slam semifinal as a result of some fierce play. Talk about the match and how you feel you played.
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, of course I’m feeling good right now. It was a tough match, of course, quarterfinal. At the beginning I started to play good, much better than her, and then I won the first set.

Then 2-1 for me and break I lost my serve in 35 seconds, I think. And then starting to — she’s starting to play much better than the first set, but I think at the end, 3-All in the third set, long, long game, advantage for her, advantage for me, double fault, ace, everything, and when I won that game probably she’s going a little bit down or upset.

But of course it’s my semifinal in my career, so I’m really happy.

Q. A semifinal you’ll play against somebody with the name Williams. We don’t know which one.
ROBERTA VINCI: Doesn’t matter. I am in the semifinal. (Laughter.)

Q. How do you feel? Are you looking forward to playing your first semifinal? Maybe it doesn’t matter, but certainly going to be a lot of attention in that match.
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, yeah. Of course. But doesn’t matter if Serena or Venus.

I’m so happy. I would like to enjoy my semifinal on Thursday. I did not expect one semifinal at the US Open, so I’m really happy. Now I enjoy my day. Tomorrow rest and play my game on Thursday.

I have nothing to lose. We will see.

Q. You said you didn’t — I think you said you didn’t expect to be in the semifinals right now.
ROBERTA VINCI: No.

Q. I know you haven’t been in one before. But is it fair to say that you have exceeded your expectations in this tournament thus far?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, I played good in Toronto; Cincinnati started to play much better.

But when you play the Grand Slams, always tough and you have a lot of pressure because there are so many points and so you can reach — you can improve your ranking.

But I think I have also good draw, because Suarez lost, Jankovic the same, Bouchard.

So maybe this was my tournament. I don’t know. Sometimes it can happen. Yeah.

Q. You’re one of six players in the top 40 for Italy. Today you made a major contribution. How proud are you of that contribution? How proud do you feel your country is of you right now, being the first into the semifinals? You won the race. You’re the first one in there.
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, yeah I’m happy. In Italy there are so many good players. Maybe see. Maybe tomorrow Flavia, she has to play, so probably she can reach also the semifinals, too.

I’m proud. Of course I’m really happy one Italian girl goes to the semifinal. Of course.

Q. Some players, you know, they make it to the semifinals, make the slam breakthrough early in their career; you’re making yours later in your career. I am curious as to what you think it means for you? What does it mean for you to make a slam semi now?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, it’s nice. I’m 32. I’m not young. So probably my experience today help me a lot. Kristina is a young player, so probably she find a little bit tension or something.

Of course I think I’m at the end of my career, so my semifinal, first semifinal, it’s incredible. You know, when you work hard for a long time and every single day, sometimes you have some periods down and try to come back. It’s not always easy.

But it’s nice. I’m very proud of myself.

Q. Could you break down playing either Serena or Venus with what you expect from each matchup.
ROBERTA VINCI: When they play tonight? For me?

Q. When you play.
ROBERTA VINCI: Against Serena or Venus?

Q. Yes. Talk about each of them.
ROBERTA VINCI: Wow. Tough match for both. Yeah, Serena is Serena, but Venus is still playing so good. But what I said, I have nothing to lose. Just play my game. Enjoy my match. We will see.

But of course I’m really happy now to go to the semifinal.

Q. Talk about how your experience might have helped you today. From your experiences against both of them, if memory serves me, seven matches you have played against Venus and Serena. What do you think you can take from any of those matches that would help you in the semifinal?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, I know that I have a lot of experience, but when you play against Serena doesn’t matter. (Smiling.) You have to play better then better then better.

And also, I think also against Venus.

Well, I have to play. I have to play my game, aggressive, nothing special. Yeah, I know I have a lot of experience, but maybe against them I don’t need this experience.

Q. What are your thoughts about the way your game has evolved during this tournament? How does that compare with what you were thinking when the tournament began?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, now I’m starting to play much better, more aggressive. I feel good. Also my body is okay. I don’t have injury. Maybe now I’m more solid and more in confidence.

You know, when you won a lot of matches you are a little bit of, yeah, in confidence.

So now I’m good. I’m feeling good. I mean, yeah. Is nice when you have this sensation. You know, when you go on the court, okay, let’s play.

When you don’t feel the balls or something goes wrong it’s tough, but now the things goes in a good way.

Q. What has given you that much confidence playing on the hard courts during this tournament?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, they are hard court. The balls, the balance, the surface, everything. I like to play in the States. I like to play here. It’s nice. (Smiling.)

Q. You’re a great doubles player. How much of that doubles success has rounded out your game to an all-court player? You’re starting to use your shots a bit more in your singles, it looks like.
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, yeah, with Sara we won a lot of Grand Slams, so maybe I have a lot of experience, and then in doubles you can try some shot or something different, and you can also try to in singles.

I think the doubles help a lot. Yeah.

Q. How did this confidence help you in that marathon game in the third set? How did you stay focused? Did you know how important that game was?
ROBERTA VINCI: Was tough to stay focused, was tired at the end, but also her. Three whole long game. That was I think the key, because, yeah, she was also tired.

But on my mind I say, Play every single point. Don’t think about the results. Don’t think about the quarterfinal. Oh, maybe I go to the semis. Don’t think about that.

Play aggressive. That’s it. Try to stay calm. It was tough, but it’s okay.

Q. You were speaking before about the Williams sisters. With Serena specifically, when you watch her play, what goes through your mind?
ROBERTA VINCI: She’s the No. 1. She’s incredible player. I played against her in Toronto three weeks ago. The serve, it’s incredible. It’s tough to return. She’s the No. 1.

Q. How about her mental strength? How would you describe that?
ROBERTA VINCI: It’s not easy. You have sometimes you have to try to return and try to put the ball on the court. It’s not easy to do, but we will see. Maybe Thursday I can do it. (Smiling.)

Q. Is there a match or a win over the last summer that you point to and say that was the match where you got the most confidence?
ROBERTA VINCI: In the past?

Q. Just this summer. You had a very good hard court summer and you had some good wins. I’m just wondering if there is one match that you can point to as being…
ROBERTA VINCI: One match? Well, maybe the match against Bouchard that I play — I play so good. She play so-and-so, but I was tough, tough player. (Smiling.)

Q. Speaking of Bouchard, how fresh do you feel today? You didn’t have to play a fourth-round match?
ROBERTA VINCI: I was tired. I was tired. I didn’t play, but, you know, a lot of pressure in your mind and a lot of energy that you lost about this match.

I’m joking, of course. I didn’t play so I had one day off. It was good for my body.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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Serena Williams Moves into US Open Semifinals with Three-set Win over Sister Venus

(September 8, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – It was Serena Williams versus Venus Williams part 27 as the sisters battled it out on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Tuesday night at the US Open.

Serena kept her hopes for the Grand Slam alive with a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 win over Venus.

In the first set Serena broke Venus’ serve twice to capture the set 6-2.

In the second set, errors crept into Serena’s game and the 23rd seed Venus ran up a 5-1 score. Serena hit 3 double faults of her total of five in the match, while Venus continued to hit powerful groundstrokes, shot for shot with her sister. Serena saved two set points, but could not save a third, set to Venus 6-1.

In the third set Serena broke in the second a game and held the rest of the way for 6-3.

At the net, the two sisters embraced and Venus said “I’m so happy for you,” to Serena.

“I think I will look back on it fondly,” Serena said of the hug at the net. “It means a lot to me. Obviously we are very, very tough competitors on the court, but once the match is over and the second it’s done, you know, we’re sisters, we’re roommates, and we’re all that.”

“It’s really great to see her do so well,” Serena continued. “She was at an unbelievable level today. Down to the match point it just was not easy. It’s probably the toughest match I have played in a really, really, really long time where I wasn’t actually beating myself. I was out there facing an incredibly tough opponent.

“Yeah, so it was just seeing and knowing that she has that level is so good and inspiring, as well, and hopefully it’s encouraging for her, too. I think against any other player she for sure would have won.”

“I think she is the best ever because of the level of competition that she’s faced,” Venus said of her sister. “There have been some unbelievable players in the past, but I have played in this, you know, seems like multiple eras at this point.

“I have played the best from different eras, as well. I have seen the level of competitiveness go up, and I have seen players who are ranked 100 who didn’t believe they could win a match against you to this point fight you tooth and nail and try to take you down.

“So that didn’t happen when I started. So just to be able to win at this level, I think that’s what makes her the best.”

Serena is now 16-11 against Venus, 9-5 in majors.

Serena is on a 33-match winning streak in majors, a 26-match winning streak at the US Open.

Serena hit 35 winners to 35 unforced errors. She won 9 of 11 points at the net and was 3 for 6 in break point chances.

Serena will play Roberta Vinci for a spot in the final.

Defending US Open champion Marin Cilic was pushed to five sets by 19th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (3), 6-4 in his quarterfinal match which lasted almost four hours on Tuesday.

“He just hit the ball a little bit more properly than me at the right moment, and that was a huge difference at the end, because he just made it,” Tsonga said. “He just made it.”

“A big mental fight,” Cilic said after the match, “especially after losing that fourth set.”

Cilic talked about regrouping after failing to close out the match  in the fourth set: “Well, at the tiebreak when I was going down a bit with the score I was, you know, obviously disappointed with that.

“At that point I was mentally on a scale either left or right. I’m going to break or, you know, either — I was asking myself, Am I going to change anything for the fifth set if it comes, or then I’m going to keep going with the same game plan?

“Then I decided to, you know, stay mentally tough. You know, I was looking, thinking about third and fourth set. I didn’t play poorly. You know, Jo came up with amazing shots in the critical points, especially on all three match points that I had he played great points.

“I, you know, could have done of course something differently. Could have played some shots differently and pick different spots. But the way I was playing them, I didn’t choose any bad shots or that I played bad points.

“Just kept going with it. Sticked with my plan and stayed mentally tough and was very difficult day. Very demanding. Very, very hot, and of course a lot on the line for the match. Obviously with emotions and mentally was very exhausting.

“So at the fifth set I was, you know, of course feeling a bit tired, but I was able to go through it.”

“Jo just came up with amazing shots,” Cilic said.

The Croatian will face  No. 1 Novak Djokovic. Djokovic reached his ninth US Open semifinal in a row defeating 18th seed Feliciano Lopez of Spain 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2).

“I thought I played a pretty good first set, and then after that, you know, I was just trying to hang in there and wait for the opportunities,” Djokovic said. “I played good beginning of the third. Fourth was anybody’s game, really. Didn’t have many chances on his service games.”

“I started to feel the end of the fourth like my serve, finding the range on my serve, which wasn’t working at all in the first part of the match. Obviously when you start serving better, more accurate, higher percent of first serves in, you feel more confident.

“So that allowed me to kind of relax on the returns. Return points I managed to anticipate well. On 2-1 and 3-1, both of his first serves I anticipated well. Returned pretty good and, you know, allowed myself to make two mini breaks, which is a big advantage in the tiebreak.”

Djokovic has never lost to Cilic and was asked about Cilic’s confidence.

 “Because of the fact that he won his first Grand Slam title last year in New York. He hasn’t lost a match, you know, 12, 13 matches in a row, so I’m sure that he feels confident. He won today a really close match. A couple of five-setters he had already in this tournament.

“But he has a big serve. I think around 30 aces he had today, so the serve gets him out of trouble. I know him very well. I have played with him many, many times. We are great friends. Great guy.

“I know what to do, and I’m opening I can execute the game plan obviously and play my best.”

“Well, there are different scenarios that you can predict. Obviously when the moments are kind of tight and important during the match, most of the players have certain patterns of the serve and of the game.

“So you try to analyze that, try and go back to those matches that I have played against him this year and other years and get myself ready.

“Of course I’m sure he’s not going to start coming to the net after every ball, but I’m sure he’s gonna try to be aggressive, going to try to take his chances. That’s how he won last year US Open. I watched him play. He played great. Best tennis of his life.

“This is where he loves playing. He loves the conditions on Arthur Ashe. As I said, I’m going to try to use that advantage and having success against him in the past and to my favor.”

The two other men’s quarterfinals matches on the other half of the men’s draw are on Wednesday. They will feature No. 2 Roger Federer vs. No. 12 Richard Gasquet of France, and No. 5 Stan Wawrinka vs. No. 15 Kevin Anderson of South Africa.

Williams will play Roberta Vinci in her semifinal. At age 32, this will be the Italian’s first major semifinal. Vinci survived an ailing Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.

Vinci, ranked at No. 43 is playing her 44th major. Only Elena Likhovtseva had played in more majors, 46 before reaching the 2005 French Open semifinal.

“I’m so happy, Vinci said. “I would like to enjoy my semifinal on Thursday. I did not expect one semifinal at the US Open, so I’m really happy. Now I enjoy my day. Tomorrow rest and play my game on Thursday.

“I have nothing to lose. We will see.”

“Definitely a little bit more old school, but also a really great matchup, because it’s fun to see people that can still come to the net and still hit slice and still hit one-handers,” Serena said about her next challenger. “It’s different. It’s good for tennis.”

Serena stands just two victories away from winning the Grand Slam and her 22nd major, tying her with Steffi Graf for second on the all-time major list, two behind Margaret Court.

 

 

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Serena Williams Advances Easily While Fourth Seed Nishikori Falls on Day 1 of US Open

SerenaWilliamsFaceoff6

(August 31, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Last year’s US Open men’s finalist and fourth seed Kei Nishikori lost in the first round on Monday while several women’s seeds tumbled out on the first day of Flushing Meadows.

No such drama for the No. 1 seed Serena Williams seeking the US Open to complete a calendar Grand Slam. She moved a step closer to history with an easy win over 86th ranked Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia who retired from the match trailing 6-0, 2-0. She said that she felt a sharp pain hitting a backhand during a point.

“It was definitely different and bizarre,” the 33-year-old Williams said. “But at the same time, I was still focused. I kept thinking: Just stay focused; don’t lose it. You never know what can happen.”

Williams march to completing the first Grand Slam since 1988 seems to have been made easier when a deluge of seeds from her half of the draw lost. They included: No. 3 Maria Sharapova who withdrew on Sunday with an injured right leg, No. 7 Ana Ivanovic, No. 8 Karolina Pliskova and No. 10 Carla Suarez Navarro, No. 21 Jelena Jankovic, No. 29 Sloane Stephens (who beat Williams in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in 2013) and No. 30 Svetlana Kuznetsova.

The 21-time major champion will play the Netherlands Kiki Bertens. “I think she’s playing well, Williams said. “She does a lot of things well. She has a big serve. It’s definitely something that I look forward to. See what happens.”

“I’m not a person that usually looks at the draws,” Williams said. “I just take it as it comes and as it goes.”

Kei Nishikori was the only shock on the men’s side when the fourth seed fell to France’s Benoit Paire Nishikori’s 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4 despite having two match points in the fourth set tiebreak.

“It’s very sad to lose always first round, but I think he was playing good tennis,” Nishikori said. “So, I mean, I don’t think I played bad. Didn’t play great, but still, it’s never easy first match. He’s a good player.

“You know, try to think about next one, and I hope I can come back strong next year.”

“Today for me, when I come on court I know I can beat Nishikori,” Paire said. “I place twice time; I lost two time, but very tough match.

“So when I come on the court, I say, come on. You can beat Kei. He has a game — it’s not like if I play against Roger Federer. For me it’s different because he has good serve.

“Against Kei I know I can play, and for sure some volleys. For me it’s important because I know I don’t put a lot of pressure on myself. I say, Okay, for sure you can break him.

“So the most important thing is to feel good and to have fun. I think today that’s the most important thing.”

The man Nishikori lost to in last year’s final had few problems in his 6-3, 7-6, 7-6 win.

“I think this tournament is giving me the best chance to play the best over here,” Marin Cilic said. Even before last year, in the past years I was always playing pretty well and reached few times quarterfinals. Even in those matches had some chances. Close to making it to the semis.

“Coming this year again is definitely very special moment for me in my whole career. This experience of, you know, defending the Grand Slam title for the first time is something that I’m going to learn for sure a lot from.”

No. 1 Novak Djokovic destroyed  Brazil’s Joao Souza 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 in 71 minutes.

“I couldn’t ask for a better opening of this year’s US Open,” Djokovic said.” Hopefully I can continue in that rhythm.”

Sixteenth seed Gael Monfils retired from his match with a back against Illya Marchenko while trailing 2-6, 6-4, 5-0, 30-0.

Eighth seed Rafael Nadal, playing in the Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2013, beat teenager Borna Coric 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in second night match on Arthur Ashe Stadium. “Very happy to be back,” Nadal said, “and to be through.”

“I think I played great. The first two sets I played a very high level of tennis. Seriously, then I get a little bit tired. I had some problems. I was sweating a lot. I lost little bit — you know, I don’t feel enough strong after that, no?

“I had little bit of stomach problem so I felt not perfect, physically perfect then.

“But then in the fourth I recovered little bit. I played again more aggressive. Finally was important victory for me. Happy the way that I played when I was, you know, physically good.”

RESULTS – AUGUST 31, 2015
Women’s
Singles – First Round

(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS) 60 20 retired (Left ankle injury)
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. (7) Ana Ivanovic 63 36 63
(Q) Anna Tatishvili (USA) d. (8) Karolina Pliskova 62 61
Denisa Allertova (CZE) d. Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) 61 76(5)
(12) Belinda Bencic (SUI) d. Sesil Karatantcheva (BUL) 61 62
(13) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. Teliana Pereira (BRA) 63 63
(15) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 62 63
(17) Elina Svitolina (UKR) d. (Q) Elizaveta Kulichkova (RUS) 61 64
(18) Madison Keys (USA) d. Klara Koukalova (CZE) 62 64
(WC) Oceane Dodin (FRA) d. (21) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 26 75 63
(23) Venus Williams (USA) d. Monica Puig (PUR) 64 67(7) 63
(25) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) d. Alison Riske (USA) 64 63
CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) d. (29) Sloane Stephens (USA) 64 63
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. (30) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 63 75
(31) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 64 75
(Q) Kiki Bertens (NED) d. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO) 36 64 62
(WC) Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) d. (Q) Kateryna Kozlova (UKR) 64 63
Tereza Smitkova (CZE) d. Andreea Mitu (ROU) 76(4) 62
Magda Linette (POL) d. Urszula Radwanska (POL) 76(3) 61
Misaki Doi (JPN) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 63 63
Irina Falconi (USA) d. (WC) Samantha Crawford (USA) 64 62
(Q) Anett Kontaveit (EST) d. Casey Dellacqua (AUS) 75 62
Madison Brengle (USA) d. Saisai Zheng 62 57 75
(LL) Daria Kasatkina (RUS) d. Daria Gavrilova (AUS) 62 46 75
Ana Konjuh (CRO) d. Tatjana Maria (GER) 64 64
Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) d. Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) 62 62
Kaia Kanepi (EST) d. Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) 61 61
Lauren Davis (USA) d. Heather Watson (GBR) 76(3) 76(0)
Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. Vania King (USA) 64 64
Mariana Duque-Marino (COL) d. (WC) Sofia Kenin (USA) 63 61
Polona Hercog (SLO) d. Zarina Diyas (KAZ) 62 75
(Q) Jessica Pegula (USA) d. Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 75 63

Men’s singles

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] d. Joao Souza (BRA) 61 61 61
Benoit Paire (FRA) d. Kei Nishikori (JPN) [4] 64 36 46 76(6) 64 – saved 2 MP
Marin Cilic (CRO) [9] d. Guido Pella (ARG) 63 76(3) 76(3)
Milos Raonic (CAN) [10] d. Tim Smyczek (USA) 64 76(8) 61
David Goffin (BEL) [14] d. Simone Bolelli (ITA) 64 61 62
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) [17] d. Matthew Ebden (AUS) 64 62 64
Feliciano Lopez (ESP) [18] d. Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 76(5) 61 63
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) [19] d. Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) 63 61 61
Andreas Seppi (ITA) [25] d. Tommy Paul (USA) 64 60 75
Tommy Robredo (ESP) [26] d. Michael Berrer (GER) 62 62 64
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) [27] d. Ryan Shane (USA) 62 61 67(6) 62
Mardy Fish (USA) d. Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 67(5) 63 61 63
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) d. Tommy Haas (GER) 36 61 67(3) 63 61
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) d. Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) 63 63 30 ret.
Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) d. John Millman (AUS) 61 36 76(3) 64
Marcel Granollers (ESP) d. Lukas Lacko (SVK) 62 63 61
Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) d. Lucas Pouille (FRA) 62 67(3) 62 64
Marsel Ilhan (TUR) d. Radek Stepanek (CZE) 60 26 64 32 ret,
Ricardas Berankis (LTU) d. Joao Sousa (POR) 62 62 46 26 76(4)

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News at the US Open

 

 

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Djokovic, Federer and Murray Advance to Wimbledon Semis, Wawrinka Knocked out in Five Sets by Gasquet

 

(June 8, 2015) Top three seeds Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray reach the semifinals of Wimbledon easily on Wednesday with straight set wins. Richard Gasquet spoiled a potential “top four” party in the last four, when he upset No. 4 Stan Wawrinka in five sets 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 11-9.

For the Frenchman, this will be his third major semifinal. “I’m the worst,” Gasquet said with a grin, “when you see Federer, Djokovic and Murray and me. There is something, I want to enjoy it.”

Gasquet will face off against Djokovic, who reached his 27 Grand Slam semifinal, defeating U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. It was the world No. 1’s 650th win on tour and 50th at Wimbledon.

“I came out with the right intensity, moved well all over the court, tried to get as many returns back in play,” said Djokovic. “I didn’t allow Marin to come back to the match. It was a close game when I was serving for the set. I think that helped my confidence to feel better afterwards.”

“It was great to watch them go backhand-to-backhand today,” said Djokovic about the Wawrinka – Gasquet match. “Some great points, great exchanges.”

Djokovic discussing his match-up against Gasquet said, “the experience of being in these final stages of Wimbledon many times is going to help me.” The Serb is 11-1 against Gasquet.

Andy Murray reached his 150th match won at a Grand Slam on Wednesday when he stopped Canadian Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 7-5, 6-4. For the Canadian Posposil, it was his first appearance in a major quarterfinal.

Murray said of the win: “I needed to (step up) because at times, (he) was serving really well, (which) made it very difficult for me. Then I just managed to, at a few key moments, come up with some good shots. Third set was tricky, as well, because I had a bunch of break points. When you don’t take them, obviously you start to think about that a little bit. Overall, it was a good match.”

 

Murray will face Roger Federer for place in the final. Federer bested Gilles Simon, the 12th seed 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 to reach his 10th Wimbledon semifinal and 37th major semifinal overall, to keep his hopes of winning a record eighth title at the All-England Club alive.

Federer won his last major at Wimbledon in 2012 when he defeated Murray, but then about a month later, Murray defeated Federer for the gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics.

“We both like to look back at that summer,” said Federer. “Me, not so much at the Olympics; him, probably not so much at Wimbledon.”

Federer is 12-11 against Murray and is 9-0 in Wimbledon semifinals.

“I’m very happy to be in the semis again,” said Federer. “The road is long getting here. But still I feel like I’m fresh and I’ve got energy left in the tank for hopefully a great match with Andy and then we’ll see. But I’m looking forward to it.

“It’s been good so far. I felt like I played a very solid last year or so, especially on the grass I’ve done very well. I’m happy to keep it up here now. This is obviously now crunch time when you want to show if your game’s really up to par.”

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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.

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Wawrinka pushed after early qualification

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

Chalkdust Chronicles: Wawrinka pushed after early qualification

 

(November 14, 2014) LONDON – Stan Wawrinka qualified for the finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, but then had to battle past Marin Cilic in three sets.

 

For many it was maybe a foregone conclusion that there would be an all-Swiss semi-final as Roger Federer qualified at the top of his group on Thursday. But the US Open champion also had an agenda to try and finish his season strongly, as he leveled the match and even kept the momentum at the start of the second going up a break.

 

Maybe Wawrinka’s experience shone through, as he fought back to reclaim the deficit before going on to seal the victory 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Cilic, who had not really shown the style and consistency he proved he was capable of can feel happier with a win on his debut in London.

 

“I was eager to play better. That’s what I was focused on, to finish the season with a good matches, a good match. So it happened like that. So happy with my performance today.”

 

More importantly, it sets up Cilic for the forthcoming season, now just a few weeks away.

 

“To finish the year over here, it’s I think extremely important for me for next year, too. I am extremely satisfied, of course, where my game has developed. I feel that for next year it’s going to be also a bit easier considering the draws I’m going to be getting with the status of being seeded.”

 

Wawrinka faces an uphill task when he faces Federer on Saturday. He has beaten his Davis Cup team-mate just twice, both times on clay in Monte Carlo. Although he has more recently taken Federer to three sets on hard courts, playing him indoors is another matter entirely.

 

“It’s going to be a tough match for me, for sure. But I will have to play my best game if I have a chance to beat him. I know I can do it. I know it’s going to be very difficult.

 

“I have seen him play the first three match. It’s always the same. Indoor, if you don’t stay with him at the beginning, then it start to be really tough. He goes quick, putting so much pressure, serving well. The beginning of the match will be really important for me.”

 

Federer and Wawrinka will play in the night session on Saturday, as the crowds hope that the tournament is about to really catch light.

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