February 24, 2017

Novak Djokovic First to Qualify for ATP World Tour Finals Semis

Novak Djokovic

(November 15, 2016) Novak Djokovic earned the first semifinal spot at the ATP World Tour Finals on Tuesday, when he defeated Milos Raonic 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5) to go 2-0 in group play at London’s O2 Arena.

“Two tiebreaks against a big server is a great win and great confidence boost,” said the world No. 2.

“Well, it was a very close match. I think very few points separated us tonight. It really could have gone either way.

“I was fortunate to get through the first set tiebreaker. I was down very early in both tiebreaks tonight. But I just managed to stay committed and put pressure on his second serves. I had couple looks on his second serves midway through, towards the end of both tiebreaks, which helped obviously to get into the rally. I knew once I get into the rally, I have a better chance to win the point.

“But I should have done my job earlier, to be honest. I’m not very pleased to drop my serve twice against Milos, especially the second time. I was 4-3, 30-Love, then just four pretty bad unforced errors.

“Credit to him for really hanging in there, putting pressure, being aggressive, especially from the forehand. But, you know, I think I should have done better there.”

88 Raonic

“I believe all the breakpoints, except for maybe the set point at the end, he put in a first serve every single time,” Raonic said of his night session match. “I believe when he had his breakpoints, I didn’t put in one.

“I think it’s those little things that make a difference. I think he’s probably winning over 75% of his first serve points and I’m probably doing the same. Those moments he stepped up and played well. I just maybe hesitated a little bit too much.”

Raonic is now 1-1 in round robin play. He’ll face Dominic Thiem on Thursday.

 

Dominic Thiem

Dominic Thiem

The Austrian Thiem, seeded eighth pulled off a three-set win over France’s Gael Monfils 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 to go 1-1 in the group. The Frenchman double faulted three times in the final game of the match.

 

“Today I had a good start,” Thiem said. “I tried to avoid the mistake I did in the first match: to drop a little bit. Didn’t really happen that good.

“But I was trying to stay tough in the third set. At the end, of course, he helped me a little bit with the three double-faults.

“But I’m very happy with the win.”

Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils

Monfils, dealing a rib injury said: “It was a tough one. I think today was tough one. Dominic was better than me. I think I didn’t play a great match, but I gave everything I had.”

Monfils is still debating whether to play his final round robin match against Novak Djokovic on Thursday.

 

Order of Play – WEDNESDAY, 16 November
Afternoon Session 12:00 PM Group John McEnroe & Group Fleming/McEnroe

[5] H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS)

[7] R Klaasen (RSA) / R Ram (USA)

ANDY
MURRAY

[1] (GBR)

KEI
NISHIKORI

[5] (JPN)

Evening Session 6:00 PM Group John McEnroe & Group Fleming/McEnroe

[1] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA)

[4] F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP)

STAN
WAWRINKA

[3] (SUI)

MARIN
CILIC

[7] (CRO)

ATP World Tour Results
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Novak Djokovic Rallies To Win Opening Match at ATP World Tour Finals

05-Djokovic yell

(November 13, 2016) Still in the hunt for the year-end top ranking, No. 2 Novak Djokovic was forced to rally to win his won his opening match at the ATP World Tour Finals beating Dominic Thiem 6-7 (10), 6-0, 6-2 on Sunday in London’s O2 arena.

Djokovic had a set point chance in the topsy-turvy first set tiebreak at 9-8. The Austrian Thiem, making his year-end final debut served for the set at 6-3 in the tiebreak, double faulted twice in a row, hit a backhand error to make it 6-6. Four set points later Thiem finally closed out the set 12-10.

The entire match changed after the first set. The 12-time major champion won twelve of the next fourteen games to close the match.

“It felt very good,” Djokovic said of the win. “Even though I lost the first set, I thought I didn’t do too many things wrong. It was just the very high quality of his game that prevailed in the first set.

“Yeah, a thrilling tiebreaker. He was 6-3 up, two double-faults. I had I think only one set point. He just played a good point. I was in the rally, but he just was going for his shots. In the end he managed to win that very long first set.

“I knew after that, the first opening couple games of the second set would be crucial for me to start with a break up, which I did. I felt more comfortable. I started swinging more freely in the second set. Obviously made him play an extra shot. He started making more errors, which I used.

“I was on top of his second serves, putting a lot of pressure. I thought I played very well in the second set especially, but the third as well.”

Dominic Thiem

Dominic Thiem

“It was a very good and very intense first set,” said the 23-year-old Thiem. After that, I lost a little bit of energy, which is required against a guy like Novak to play close and good sets.

“I came back obviously. I had the energy. But the beginning of the third set, I was trying again to get that match. He was playing well. I couldn’t quite keep the level up from the first set. Yeah, that’s why I lost in three.”

“There are so many things to improve,” said the Austrian who is the eighth seed in London. “I think there were too many unforced errors in the first few shots, in the rallies. Yeah, other things were good, other things were bad. There are many things what I’m looking to improve.”

“Of course, I want to play two more good matches, then I will see what the outcome is. But first of all, it’s a very good experience for me to play three matches against top-10 players. Compared to the last few tournaments, it was a very good match for me today.

I just look to keep that up, and I will see what happens in the next matches.”

Djokovic lost his No. 1 ranking to Andy Murray last week and has a chance to get it back this week. The Serb is seeking to earn the year-end top spot for the fifth time in six years, while Murray is trying to earn the top spot for the year for the first time.

Milos Raonic and Gael Monfils

Milos Raonic and Gael Monfils

In the evening match, fourth seed Milos Raonic defeated sixth seed Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-4. The Canadian fired 10 aces past the Frenchman in his first ever round robin victory at the ATP World Tour Finals.

“I came here with not even a week of practice,” Monfils said. “I came here with three, four days for real practice. Even when you’re 100%, it’s tough to beat those guys. He’s 4 in the world. With three, four days’ practice, it’s really tough.

“I was really happy to lost with just a break in each set.”

“This guy (Raonic), he played very good today, like, with confidence. When you hurt for more than two, three weeks, you not play like that, guarantee you.”

“I didn’t feel any pain to the injury I had,” said the Canadian. “I think other muscles might be overworking to maybe compensate for that. I can feel them a little bit more fatigued and sore than they normally would be.

“But the injury is good. I feel like this is an ideal way to start considering the doubts that I was having. Some of the things I heard in the diagnosis were not the most positive, so this was a great way to turn around.”

Next up for Raonic is Djokovic.

“It’s going to be a difficult task that I have ahead of me,” Raonic said. “I feel like I’m doing some things well. I feel like I can do some things better.

“I was quite proficient on returning today. I took care of my serve like I hoped to. That’s what my game depends on. I hope I can keep moving forward.”

In doubles action, the third seeded Bryan Brothers defeated sixth seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo 7-6(3), 6-0 in the day session.

In the night session second seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares stopped eighth seeds Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi 6-4, 7-5.

Jamie Murray and Soares are just 375 points behind No. 1 Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

“Our goal is just to try to win when we step on the court this week,” Murray said. “If it ends up that we’re the No. 1 team, that will be a huge achievement for us. If it doesn’t work out that way, we’ll still have had a great year, lots to be proud of, lots to look forward to going into 2017.”

 

Next up for the No. 2 is the Bryan Brothers.

 

“Yeah, it’s always exciting to play against them,” said the older brother of Andy Murray. “I mean, they’re clearly the best team in history with the amount of titles they won. They always bring a great energy to the court. You know, we all look up to them. We all aspire to kind of get to their level.

“Of course, probably they’re starting to kind of decline a little bit. But, I mean, that’s always going to happen when you’ve won so much, and time has taken on.

We’re really fired up to play against them. Should be a great match, I think. Well, I’m looking forward to it. I hope Bruno is, as well.”

“I am,” said a smiling Soares.

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ATP World Tour Finals: Djokovic Headlines Day 1, Murray Day 2

 

Barclays ATP World Tour Finals - Buy Tickets Today!
Home News Standings Photos Video FanZone
Groups
Singles – Group John McEnroe 
[1] A Murray (GBR)
[3] S Wawrinka (SUI)
[5] K Nishikori (JPN)
[7] M Cilic (CRO)
Singles – Group Ivan Lendl 
[2] N Djokovic (SRB)
[4] M Raonic (CAN)
[6] G Monfils (FRA)
[8] D Thiem (AUT)
Doubles – Group Fleming/McEnroe 
[1] P Herbert (FRA) / N Mahut (FRA)
[4] M Lopez (ESP) / F Lopez (ESP)
[5] H Kontinen (FIN) / J Peers (AUS)
[7] R Klaasen (RSA) / R Ram (USA)
Doubles – Group Edberg/Jarryd
[2] J Murray (GBR) / B Soares (BRA)
[3] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA)
[6] I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA)
[8] T Huey (PHI) / M Mirnyi (BLR)

ATP World Tour Results
Order of Play – Sunday, 13 November
Afternoon Session 12:00 PM Groups Ivan Lendl & Edberg/Jarryd

[3] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA)

[6] I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA)


NOVAK
DJOKOVIC

[2] (SRB)

DOMINIC
THIEM

[8] (AUT)

Evening Session 6:00 PM Groups Ivan Lendl & Edberg/Jarryd

[2] J Murray (GBR) / B Soares (BRA)

[8] T Huey (PHI) / M Mirnyi (BLR)

MILOS
RAONIC

[4] (CAN)

GAEL
MONFILS

[6] (FRA)

ATP World Tour Results
Order of Play – Monday, 14 November
Afternoon Session 12:00 PM Groups John McEnroe & Fleming/McEnroe

[1] P Herbert (FRA) / N Mahut (FRA)

[7] R Klaasen (RSA) / R Ram (USA)

STAN
WAWRINKA

[3] (SUI)

KEI
NISHIKORI

[5] (JPN)

Evening Session 6:00 PM Groups John McEnroe & Fleming/McEnroe

[4] F Lopez (ESP) / M Lopez (ESP)

[5] H Kontinen (FIN) / J Peers (AUS)

ANDY
MURRAY

[1] (GBR)

MARIN
CILIC

[7] (CRO)

ATP World Tour Results
 
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In Their Own Words – Stan Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

 

(September 11, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Posting player interviews from day 14 of the US Open.

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

Transcripts of player interviews cannot be posted until one (1) hour after the interview has ended. Player transcripts can only be posted on the website of the publication that was accredited.

Stan Wawrinka

Press Conference

S. WAWRINKA/N. Djokovic

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

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You look like a happy man.
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, hopefully I’m happy after a win like that. Thank you.

Q. Congratulations. What does this victory mean, especially against an opponent like Novak who you attributed your success to?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, this is amazing, for sure, amazing two weeks. I spend so much time on the court. Today I knew it will be a really tough battle again playing the No. 1 player, Novak Djokovic, who always push you to play your best tennis if you want to beat him.

That’s why I start to do, and I try to do. Was not only in the tennis side but physically and mentally was really tough, again. Honestly after the match I was completely empty. I put everything on the court. Not only today, but the past two weeks.

Today I was trying to stay with him. I was trying to be tough with myself. Trying not to show anything. Not to show any pain. Not to show any cramp. Not to show anything. I was suffering on the court, but I’m happy and proud with what I have achieved today.

Q. He called you the more courageous player. How much did courage come into play?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, for sure. But there is no secret. If you want to beat the No. 1 player in the world, you have to give everything.

As I said the other day, you have to accept to suffer and you have almost to enjoy to suffer. Because I think this Grand Slam was the most painful, physically and mentally, Grand Slam that I ever played.

As I said, I was feeling tired already at the beginning of the match. I was feeling the cramp coming in the third set. In the fourth set I had some pain, but most important was what was clear with Magnus before was not to show anything. Not to show anything. Give everything and keep fighting and go try to win it.

Q. Every player has dreamed of winning a Grand Slam, but I think your dream is going a little bit further down. Maybe a career Grand Slam. Is it a coincidence in the last two years to collect these three Grand Slams or there is any, can I say a systemic plan with Magnus, focus on Grand Slam?
STAN WAWRINKA: So what? Are you saying next year I focus only on Wimbledon? (Smiling.) There is no plan. The only plan is trying to push myself the maximum to be the best player I can. I’m not good enough to start and say, Okay, I’m going to win a Grand Slam this year. No.

I’m trying every day, day by day, practicing hard, trying every match to win. And, again, I think the result will come because I’m doing that every day, because I’m fighting with myself to improve, to be a better tennis player, because I have a great team behind me pushing me every day to try to be a better tennis player.

I think this year I’m playing way better than last year. As you said, at the beginning, for me, I never dreamed to win a Grand Slam until I won the Australian Open. It was never a dream because for me it was way too far.

And, again here, I arrive here without putting goal to win it. Arrive here, take match after match. Every time I step on the court I know I can beat my opponent. Even today.

But when I start the tournament, I’m not seeing the draw and say, Okay, my goal is to win the tournament.

Q. You have had so much success now against No. 1 players in these finals at Grand Slams. What is it you’re able to do here and why hasn’t it so far translated — obviously these are the biggest matches, biggest wins. What is it that needs to happen to transcend to other matches?
STAN WAWRINKA: Well, I think I take confidence every time I win a match. In Grand Slam you play every two days five-set match. You have a little bit more time to make mistake. That’s what happen with me. I always try to be at my top in every Grand Slam.

As you can see, I don’t play my best tennis in the first round, but I’m trying to find a way to improve each match. Every match I won in a Grand Slam I take confidence of that, and when I arrive in the final I know that my game is there.

Today, before the final, I was really nervous like never before. I was shaking in the locker. When we start five minutes before the match talking, last few things with Magnus, I start to cry. I was completely shaking.

But the only thing I was convinced with myself that my game was there. Physically I was there. My game was there. Put the fight on the court and you will have a chance to win.

And that’s what happen after few games when I start to believe in myself, start to be in the match. I was only focus on the match, not what can happen if I win the match. Is it the final of the U.S.? No, I’m just focused what I’m doing in the court.

Q. You described the physical pain you endured and how you did not want to show it. What was going through your mind when your opponent called for an injury timeout in the fourth set?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, I saw he was struggling. I saw he was struggling physically. I knew also before the match that when I play against him I have to push the limit. When he took the timeout for injury I was just trying to stay calm, trying to stay warm. I didn’t want to get cold because I was also struggling a lot physically. I was cramping few times.

So I just wanted to make sure my body will be ready when we start again. Because sometimes we’re sweating. If you stop for five or seven minutes, then your body can react differently.

So I was really focused on my body.

Q. But what about the fairness of the timeout and the timing of the timeout? What were your thoughts about that?
STAN WAWRINKA: For me, I just ask the umpire because he asked the physio when he was serving and we played maybe seven more points and everything. I just wanted to know exactly what was the rule.

That’s it. If your opponent is struggling, if he has blood coming out, you have to stop. So when the umpire and the referee came to me saying, It’s like that. It’s just happening. We have to stop for him because there is blood coming out. We have to make sure he’s going to be okay.

For me I was fine. It was just have to focus on my body and make sure that I was going to be ready for the first point we play after that.

Q. Maybe you don’t remember eight years ago you were down two sets to love to somebody called Cipolla.
STAN WAWRINKA: I do remember. He never shake my hand. He’s Italian. He never shake my hand. I do remember on Court 11 or 14. Yeah, of course I remember. (Smiling.)

Q. Okay. I remember too. (Laughter.)
STAN WAWRINKA: Good.

Q. What were your goals at that time? What were you thinking that you could have become as a player? Were you thinking, Well, I’d be top 10, top 20 or whatever? That was one question. And the second one is very brief. Won three slams and only one Masters 1000. How?
STAN WAWRINKA: I don’t care. I’m happy. But I agree. I agree.

First question, my career was always the same. Always been step by step. First I wanted to be a professional tennis player. That’s mean living with your passion, with your sport. Then was to be top 100, then top 50. It’s always been like that.

That’s always how I deal with my goal. I never start anything I want to be No. 1. I want to win Grand Slam. For me, no. It’s always step by step. The only thing I want to do it’s to push the limit. That’s mean when I stop playing tennis I have no regrets. I cannot come back and say, Why you didn’t practice more? Why you didn’t did that or that?

No. I just want to push myself to the limit and see where I can go.

For the other question, there is no answer. I cannot tell you why do I have three Grand Slam and only one Masters 1000. I can only say I’m happy with that trophy tonight.

Q. Tomorrow in a few hours the people will wake up in Switzerland, home country, and they will be very proud and say, Stan is our man and very convinced about this. What I want to ask you, you’re very often struggling against players ranked 64 in this tournament. For example, Evans. Then when the tournament continues and you face the really tough opponent like Nishikori and of course today, Novak you getting better and better. So you have won out of the three Grand Slams two against Novak. What’s the secret that you can beat obviously the No. 1 player in the world easier than a player ranked No. so-and-so?
STAN WAWRINKA: Ah, as I say, before the tournament I tried to do everything to be ready. Before we started the tournament I was feeling good physically, mentally. My tennis was there. I was playing one of my best practice weeks so I was confident with myself.

But then when you start the tournament, you know you’re not gonna play your best tennis. You know you’re not gonna play your best game at the beginning. Also, you have to see that playing on Armstrong, on center, and now it’s completely different.

The day I play, the three match I play there was quite windy. I was struggling with my game. I was hesitating.

In general, the only pressure that I feel in a Grand Slam is the pressure I put on myself. When I play player like Evans, for example, I put too much pressure on myself. I don’t want to lose. I want to win. I want to keep advancing in the tournament.

So I’m not relaxed enough to play my best tennis, and that day was playing really well. I think you need to also understand that there is no easy match. Doesn’t matter the ranking. Evans was playing really well. He was making me play not my best game. I had to fight. I had to stay positive. I had to find solution. I did. I save match point.

For sure you get a little bit lucky when you save match point, but that’s tennis. The more I win in a Grand Slam, the better I feel. As I said yesterday, I practiced. I was feeling the ball. I could close my eyes. I was feeling the best tennis I ever played.

So I was sure that in the final I would be ready for that.

Q. You remember the last year Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer in the final of this tournament. How did you face him today? Any chance to chat Roger about how to, you know —
STAN WAWRINKA: To lose?

Q. — to face Novak today?
STAN WAWRINKA: (Smiling.) No, I didn’t have a chance to chat with Roger. I think Roger is one of my closest friends on the tour. It’s not the first time I play Novak. It’s not the first time that I play Novak in the big final or important match.

In the past we talked many times with Roger. He ask me advice. I ask him advice. But, no, I didn’t ask him anything. I think I know exactly what I have to do when I play Novak, especially in final of Grand Slam. I need to be ready. I need to be focused and go for it.

Q. In your career we have seen a lot of determination, a lot of perseverance, and we saw a lot of that tonight. You hung in there and came back after losing the first set. Talk about perseverance and determination. Is that an important part of your game and was it important tonight?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, it’s important in my career in general. For sure tonight was important, but if you look, I have to be always like that. That’s why I saved match point against Evans. I wasn’t playing my best tennis, but I keep trying, keep fighting. Do the right thing.

If I go on court and I do the right thing, the things that I think can help me to win and I lose, then I say congrats to my opponent. I push myself.

Tonight, for sure, when you play Novak he’s a beast mentally. He’s gonna stay there. He’s gonna push you. Normally he always find solution. He’s No. 1 player. He won so many title, so many trophy, and it’s always the biggest challenge to play against him.

Q. Congratulations, Stan. I want to ask you, after your match against Evans on Armstrong, underneath there was a great moment when you were walking off and applauded by the ball boys and girls. I want to ask you what that sort of love and affection you get from the people and the fans, how that impacts you?
STAN WAWRINKA: I love it. I love the fans, but especially also the person working the tournament every day. Every day you arrive you see them. I love the ball kids. They always there. It was great to see them being happy for me after the match on the Armstrong against Evans.

If I can sign or give picture or anything, I’m always happy. I think all the person, I see them every day. Every day I come here. Every day I’m leaving. They always take care of me, my team, of everybody.

So I really enjoy spend time with them.

Q. You had mentioned Roger just before. Have you heard from him at all across the tournament or even…
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, a few message, yeah. Congrats, good luck. Things like that. Yeah.

Q. Was it encouraging…
STAN WAWRINKA: What I just said. (Laughter.) Few message.

Q. You mentioned before that you wouldn’t focus on trying to win Wimbledon. What do you think your chances are of winning there eventually?
STAN WAWRINKA: It’s too far. Too far to think about Wimbledon. I think I can play my best tennis on grass also, but so far I didn’t pass the quarterfinals. There is way better tennis player than me on grass.

I’m trying. I’m trying every year to improve. I’m trying every year to find solution. This year I had someone in my team to help me to understand a little bit better the game, but I didn’t play my best tennis yet there. Hopefully it will come.

Q. You mentioned earlier being so nervous tonight that you shook and cried in the locker room. Is this the most nervous you have ever been before a match? If so, why more tonight than, say, the French or Australian?
STAN WAWRINKA: I think the most close to that was the French Open final. I was also — because I don’t want to lose the final in a Grand Slam. That simple. That’s the only reason.

The pressure, I was feeling amazing after the semifinal. I was feeling great yesterday. Really happy. But this morning it start to be there, the feeling of you don’t want to lose. I don’t want to come to the court and lose a final. So close, so far.

So maybe it’s the reason why I was feeling so nervous.

Q. What did you do to quell your nerves?
STAN WAWRINKA: I had to put my shit together. (Smiling.) Sorry. That’s how I say it.

Q. You have always declined to say that you felt you were one of the Big 4.
STAN WAWRINKA: But I’m not.

Q. In his press conference, Novak was asked about whether it should now be a big 5 and he said you deserve consideration. What is your feeling on that? Are you saying you’re not?
STAN WAWRINKA: Okay, let’s — Novak is always so nice with me. I love him. He’s a good friend. He always say a lot of nice thing about me.

The Big 4, I’m really far from them. Just look the tournament they won, how many years they been there. If you look, yes, I have three Grand Slams. How many Masters 1000 have Murray? They have been there since ten years.

They have not only been winning, but being in semifinal, final every time. That’s why I’m not there. I don’t want to be there. For me, there is no question about that. But I’m trying the best I can with my career.

I’m really, really happy with what I’m doing so far. I’m proud of myself by winning three Grand Slam. This is something I never expect and dream about it, but I have them and I’m happy to take the trophy back home.

Q. Is the No. 1 ranking a goal for you at all?
STAN WAWRINKA: No.

Q. What do you think you have to do to achieve it?
STAN WAWRINKA: That question come every time I won a Grand Slam. But my best ranking was No. 3 in the world. It’s simple. I’m way too far to even think about being No. 1. Look at Novak is No. 1. He’s winning two or three Grand Slam a year. He’s winning five Masters 1000 minimum. He’s winning everything or being in the final.

I’m winning four tournaments a year. I’m happy with that. I’m really happy with that. Four tournaments, one Grand Slam. It’s amazing. It’s huge. It’s big. But I’m way too far to be No. 1.

Q. You were saying that the only pressure what you put yourself. Do you think that pressure is gonna diminish or decrease? You like be expected to do better every time?
STAN WAWRINKA: I think my first Grand Slam final I was winning really well. I was not feeling nervous; I was feeling good. I was basically already happy with the final. I came on the court to win it, but I knew it will be okay to lose it, also.

But then… Then… Then I’m not that young anymore. Then you start. You’re in another final of a Grand Slam. You don’t want to lose it. You don’t want to lose the opportunity to win that trophy there, especially a Grand Slam.

So I think for sure the pressure in general during the year go down, but when I play final the pressure go up. Because the trophy of winner finalist is not the same.

 

 

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

 

Novak Djokovic

Press Conference

S. WAWRINKA/N. Djokovic

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

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Does this match mean that tennis officially now has a big 5?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I mean, he deserves to be in the mix, no doubt about it. Stan won three Grand Slams now and three different ones; Olympic medal. Been around for so many years, and he plays best in the big matches.

I mean, he definitely deserves to be mentioned in the mix of top players.

Q. You called him a big match player just now and said it the other day. You said today he was the more courageous player out there tonight. What did Stan bring to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Simple as that, you know. I just didn’t capitalize at all on my opportunities. I had plenty of them, break points. It was a terrible conversion of the break points. Just terrible from my side.

You know, in the matches like this, if you don’t use the opportunities, the other guy comes and takes it. And that’s what he did. That’s why I said he was more courageous, because he stepped in and played aggressive where I was kind of more waiting for things to happen.

And that’s it.

Q. You sometimes had matches where you’re the one saving lots of break points, including the final here last year. Do you remember a match like this for you before where you weren’t able to capitalize?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: To be honest, I don’t know. I’m not sure. You know, obviously Grand Slam finals are different than any other match. I have lost a few Grand Slam finals, some close matches.

You know, this has been one of the worst stat on the break point conversion for me, that’s for sure.

Q. What exactly was your fourth-set injury? What effect was it having on you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Just the toenails were off and bleeding. Yeah, it was quite painful to move around.

You know, I tried.

Q. The past few years we have been used to you being focused and keeping your cool under pressure. After the first set it seemed like there was a lot of anger towards your box. Can you explain?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, you know, I lost my nerves in the important moments. He kept his cool. I think that’s what decided the match.

I guess sometimes it happens, even though you have the experience and know what to do. Just the heat of the moment and importance of the match, I guess, you know, was too strong for me at certain periods of the match. Just if you lose your cool, the match can go away.

Q. You mentioned on court that you considered not playing in the Open I guess after Rio. How seriously did you consider that, and was the toe injury something that bothered you at all before today? Was that more the wrist?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, no, it wasn’t the toe. The toe just happened today. Some other injury that was, you know, very serious at the time. I really didn’t know whether or not I’m going to come, to be honest. Decided like eight, nine days before the start of the Open just to try.

To play finals, it’s quite amazing.

Q. You lost two Grand Slam finals now against Stan. What makes it so difficult for you especially to beat him in strong moments like Grand Slam title?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, he just steps in. He loves to play in the big matches. He comes up with his best game. He’s so solid from both corners. He’s got a good slice and amazing one-handed backhand, all corners. Big serve. Moves well.

He’s a very complete player. Sometimes if he feels right he doesn’t miss much and makes a lot of winners and it’s hard to play him. That’s what happened today.

Q. Was there any cramping going on in the last set from you or just the toe?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No.

Q. And what was the effect of the toe having on your game?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don’t think it’s necessary for me to talk about that now, you know. He won the match. He deserved to win this trophy, and that’s it.

I don’t want to talk about this and you guys think I’m finding excuses. It’s just not necessary.

Q. Can you talk about the weight of his shot? Seems like he hits just a really heavy ball, heavier than others, compared to, say, a Rafa and Roger and Andy.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, he hits a very heavy ball, especially from the backhand corner. Forehand is very flat. You know, he goes for his shots from the forehand side. Backhand, you know, great chip, great slice. He uses that when he’s defending and then he comes up, you know, and can get you off the court with a backhand crosscourt.

That’s probably one of his best shots in the game. Physically he’s very strong, so he can endure a lot.

Q. Were you surprised that you were allowed to take a timeout before Stan’s serve? Do you think that was fair?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I was allowed, so I took it.

Q. Were you surprised that you…
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Why would I be surprised if I was allowed?

Q. Because the rules say it should be a key medical condition.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was.

Q. Of course in a match that lasted for almost four hours there are many moments which could be decisive. Do you think there is one more than the others or some more than the others? I remember, for instance, when you were up — when Wawrinka was 2-1 in the second set, long time ago, you made two double faults. I don’t know if you were nervous, but two doubles in the same set is not usual for you.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I made a lot of double faults throughout this tournament. I was struggling with that shot and with, you know, with the motion, with the movement and on the serve, with the technique because of what I carried into this tournament.

So, you know, I was working a lot on it and trying to find that rhythm, but my body has kind of compensated and, you know, made some different things to protect the problem I had with the arm.

You know, unfortunately it wasn’t — the serve wasn’t there. When it was needed it wasn’t there, and in the big matches like this you need the serve. I lost decisive games in second and third set. Just handed him over with some unforced errors and bad serves.

But, you know, I guess I was trying to protect the serve, I guess, with other shots, but it wasn’t to be today.

Q. I guess your schedule means that you next play or are due to play in Asia. Are you concerned these injuries you have been worried about before the tournament and the injuries you suffered during the tournament, they have an impact on you maybe not playing there?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I sincerely doubt that this is going to prevent me from playing there. I think I’m going to be ready.

Q. Obviously just stepped off the court after a tough loss, but it is the end of the Grand Slam year; there are still major tournaments. You had that great triumph in Paris. (Indiscernible) What’s your assessment?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, winning four Grand Slams in a row for me was an incredible achievement. I’m very proud of it, so this loss today cannot overshadow the great moments I have had in Australia and especially in Paris.

So winning two out of four Grand Slams is pretty good year, and playing another final. I have no complaints. Obviously I wish that I could win another title, but this is what it is. You have to shake hands and accept the loss from a better player and move on, you know.

It’s not the first time. It’s not the last time I’m going to lose a match, big match. Hopefully I can learn from it. Hopefully I can get better, because, you know, that’s the cycle of life, I guess, for us athletes.

Q. Not just tonight, but this whole tournament there has been a lot of debate about injury timeouts, toilet breaks, whatever. You’re obviously a big guy now on the player council. Do you think tennis needs to look again at the rules? Do you think the game needs to look at trying to clarify what’s allowed and what isn’t?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: We’ll talk about it, sure. If players bring that up to the table, you know. You know, I didn’t have any I guess major complaints about that against me or me against any other player.

If there are — if this is a debate and players think there should be something changed in the rules, of course we are there to discuss. Will bring this up to the council soon I guess if this is a big deal.

Q. When you’re talking about your mindset coming into the tournament on court, another thing you added is if anyone would say you’d play finals you’d take it. Now you have played the finals and obviously disappointed in…
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: In this moment I don’t take it, but…(Smiling.)

Q. That’s my point.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, sure. Of course. Just coming off the court, it’s never easy to lose Grand Slam finals, big matches, playing four hours, of course.

Of course everybody wants to be victorious, but at the end of the day, sometimes you win, you lose, and you’ve got to accept it, gotta accept it and gotta let it go. From a larger perspective, why I said I’ll take it because it was really, you know, in doubt whether or not I’m going to come here and up to really last day.

So I came in here, you know, struggled first couple of days with practice and first match and so forth, and then to get the finals, I mean, it’s a big result. Of course I set up a high standard for myself with great results I have had in last couple of years. I’m really successful and I’m grateful for that.

But, you know, again, I have to try tomorrow to look from this different perspective and say, Wow, I played finals. I mean, that’s not too bad.

Q. You sound pleased to get to the final, but I’m just wondering if you feel like the lack of match play on the way through the tournament took its toll.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not really. You know, I don’t feel like the lack of match play affected my performance today. I just felt all right. You know, I was hitting the ball well in quarters, fourth round, quarters, semis I was playing good. Today I started off well, but down the stretch he was the better player. As simple as that.

You know, sometimes in sport these things happen.

Q. Sorry to come to the question of medical timeouts, but I just wanted to clarify. You said if other players are concerned it’s something you would talk about on the player council. Can I clarify what your personal opinion is? Do you feel the present rules are okay?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I’ve gotta check the rules even better, I guess, after you guys brought it up. Obviously there is a bit of a concern from, I don’t know, media or players. You know, there is speculations whether the rules are accurate or not.

So I’ve got to first check all the rules, because I don’t know every single rule to, you know, perfection. First I have to inform myself before I make any kind of statements.

For now, I know we out the inability for a player to ask for a medical timeout of he has cramps, for example. That was a big debate couple years ago. That’s effective right now.

Other than that, I didn’t hear too many complaints, to be honest. But again, maybe I just haven’t heard. Now I have to speak with other players and get myself informed and see what it takes.

Q. In light of your doubts about coming to the tournament, thank you for your dedication to this hard-working city and those around the world who respect such courage as well as entertainment. Why and how do you give so much of yourself in defeat as well as in victory in the sport of no substitutes or penalty serves after 235 minutes? Is it the way you grew up or have you evolved into such a champion in all outcomes?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, thank you for your nice words and compliments. I have to speak on my own behalf because obviously everybody is different. But the way I see things in life, you know, my kind of mindset and ideology I guess is that whether or not you win or lose, you know, in the end of the day you have to be very respectful towards the opponent, towards the sport, towards the occasion, to those people who come to see you.

Of course in the heat of the moment your emotions are here or there. You’re tense. You’re trying your best to win. Of course everybody is playing the sport because you want to make some kind of success in life. You know, what defines success now, that’s different for each one of us.

For me, success is not just winning tennis matches and winning trophies, you know. It’s more than that. I guess my main source of playing tennis, main source of motivation for playing the sport, is because I really like it. It’s my choice to do it.

But, you know, once you get to the top and you have that privilege, status, and position, then I guess the importance of what you say, how you behave, what you do, is much larger. Just not comparable to any other position in the rankings or so forth.

So I guess that kind of privilege, status, taught me a lot of lessons in life, and I got experience. I learned a lot about myself, about who I should be, who I should become, and it’s an everyday evolution for me and for everybody else.

That’s the way I take it.

Q. You have had moments on this court, including today and in some of the big semifinals against Roger, where you kind of call for the crowd to get behind you. Do you feel like that could have helped you in the fourth set? I mean, you were injured, but also had your chances to have break points against him. Did you want that support from the crowd?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I heard crowd chanting my name many times, so I’m very thankful. I don’t feel that that lacked on my side.

Of course Stan was getting support. I was getting support. The crowd was really enjoying the match and was really into it. I saw a full stadium for four hours. It was amazing. Amazing atmosphere.

Q. A key stat was the break point stat. Why do you think you had such troubles specifically on break points today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I was saying before, you know, I didn’t take my chances. I had many break points where I was in the rally, where I had a second shot, where I just missed some easy balls. That’s it.

Sometimes you get that kind of uncomfortable feeling and you’re not able to, you know, let everything flow as you want it. You know, you don’t have things working the way you want them. That’s it.

Q. Being a protagonist of this match, can you compare the quality of this match with the one in Paris? In Paris you were strong favorite before. This time a little bit probably less because of your condition, situation, and so on. At the end, what do you think you played better? What do you think he played better?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Similar matches. You know, I started well and won the first set in both finals, and then, you know, close second set.

Then he managed to kind of make this breakthrough, you know, in the second and third. Then just both matches I think in the fourth set he was just playing his best where he was just swinging from every shot and every corner, going through the ball and being aggressive, taking his chances.

That’s how I can, I guess, explain and maybe compare the same.

Q. Quality?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Quality, I mean, quality was there I think from both of us. We both tried. When you have top two players — I mean, two top players playing against each other in a Grand Slam final, you expect good quality, of course. We played four hours here and Roland Garros was almost the same, so I thought the tennis was good.

Q. Given the high standard you set for yourself and the great start that you had for this year, how are you going to look back on this summer from a physical and a psychological standpoint?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, there is a lot to learn. You know, life is a big lesson. It’s a big book. You know, we keep writing the stories. There is another story to be written.

Of course, the end of this story for US Open. I wish that it was a bit different, but again, I think — and I will mention it again: we learn much more from the losses like this than from wins. Because when you’re winning, everything is fine and you maybe, I guess, shadow certain things that are relevant for you to face and to tackle and to work on.

But when you lose, then all of a sudden, you know, you just start questioning yourself whether, you know, you have done things right or not and what can you do to be better as a person, as a player.

So that’s where I’m at right now, and that’s what I will think about for the rest of this season and next year.

 

 

Felix Auger Aliassime

Press Conference

F. AUGER-ALIASSIME/M. Kecmanovic

6-3, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You’re out there, have two of the best players in the game right now playing on the stadium. Kind of a short dropshot away from you. Emotions there with you with them? What’s it feel like here and what’s going on there and you’re finishing up your match?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, it was kind of funny. It was not the same atmosphere as yesterday, I would say. Yesterday was pretty packed up and it was good atmosphere on the court.

Today was a bit dead because at the same time they had the men’s final. I really had to push myself. You know, sometimes you’ve got to play by yourself. I look around and find solutions outside. It can help, but I really try to focus and win my match, yeah.

Q. After what happened in Paris, how satisfying is this for you to win this?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, it’s obviously really great. Yeah, obviously I’m not gonna lie. I had some nightmares about this heartbreaking final. You don’t really want it to happen again.

So I was really focused on going into this match. I really wanted that win. Yeah, it’s obviously a great feeling. Yeah.

Q. Your opponent said you just played too good. How do you rank your performance today in all the performances you’ve had in your career?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, I think it was one of the best performance I have had. And also in the final you never know what can happen. You know, you don’t always play your best level because you’re a bit nervous and there is something big to go get.

But, yeah, I just stayed really steady. My serve, first-serve percentage, was really high today. I had a few aces, so of course it helps.

And in the second set I think I was really going through him and putting a lot of pressure on him, yeah.

Q. I think you were serving at 4-2 in the first set and you were down 15-40, I think. I think that might have been the only break points that he had.
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah.

Q. How important do you think it was for your confidence and for maybe his, you know, for you to get back in that there?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, I think there was a pretty good, pretty big game to go get. After, you never know what’s gonna happen. Maybe he gets back in the match and he gets more pumped.

Anyway, I would have been on the — on the next game would have been mentally prepared, so I didn’t put too much importance on that game. Because you didn’t want to get nervous at 4-2 in the first set because you’re down a break point.

Yeah, it was great to fight and get that game.

Q. And it was your serve that kind of bailed you out of that, would you say?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah. I had two good first serves, if I remember well.

Yeah, of course the serve was there today. I didn’t really hesitate. I didn’t look at the score that was down. I just went for my shots, and that’s what I do best, yeah.

Q. In theory, you’ve got another two years of junior career ahead of you.
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah.

Q. Is this win gonna change anything in your future plans?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, it might. It might, because I have already had some good wins at the pro level. I know I can compete with these guys.

And now being able to win a slam, make a final on two different surface, I think it might be time to go to the next level. But you never know what’s gonna happen next year. If I want to go back and play the junior Grand Slams, I will. Yeah, we’ll see how it goes, yeah.

Q. How exciting a time is it for Canadian tennis? Obviously Denis had a good win a couple months ago, and now you. What’s the general fight like at the moment?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, it’s pretty cool for the Canadian tennis. I’m happy for all of us. I’m happy for the people that work with us. They have put in so much work.

Obviously I was very proud of Denis’ win. I’m sure he probably texted me already to congratulate me because he’s one of my good friends.

But, yeah, it’s great to see us having success like this. I hope we can reach the highest stage.

Q. When you’re looking at turning pro, how much do you follow what other guys, other teenagers, have been able to do at the next level? Casper Ruud just won a challenger today. Do those sort of things influence you or you think differently about yourself, or is it all just about you?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I mean, I think everyone has his own path. Some guys, they win early in juniors but it doesn’t go as well in the pros.

A guy like Taylor won the US Open last year and was top 100 the year after. No, everyone is kind of different. We’ll see how my body feels after this year. We’ll make the adjustments that we need to do, yeah.

Q. Is being No. 1 junior, does that have any significance for you?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Not so much, I would say, honestly. I think the junior level is really great to play the Grand Slams. You know, you kind of get the feeling of the environment and you see the big guys next to you and you have the chance to see these unbelievable tournaments.

But after all, it’s really in the pro circuit that that is really important. Obviously I would want to be No. 1 in the world. It would be a big bonus, but that’s not what we are aiming for here.

Q. After the French Open you said you had to go back to school. Is that the same thing now?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, same thing. Not quite, because I’m leaving for junior Davis Cup in a few days in Hungary. Yeah, obviously school’s gotta keep going. Yeah.

Q. Can you explain to us what you have experienced during the week leading up till today, till your win?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, it wasn’t an easy week. I have had some tough matches in the first rounds. It’s never easy to come to a Grand Slam. You know, you’ve reach a final before, but every opponents are still going to be tough. You still have to go win and win every match. There is no free rounds.

Yeah, it was tough. Also with the heat and my health it was kind of difficult at some points, but that’s where you have to mentally stay calm, stay on your feet, and just take it one day at a time. Yeah.

Q. Can you tell us how tall you are?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: 1 meter 88, so 6’2″, 6’2.5″. Not 6’3″ yet.

Q. Have you been growing lately?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I haven’t looked at it so much, but yeah, obviously I have been growing. Yeah, I feel it in my game, I feel it in everything.

But, yeah, I have been growth a few inches in the last year, yeah.

Q. You have played a whole week with the serve clock. Do you have any impressions on that, whether that’s good for the game or whether it made any difference to you?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I don’t know. Maybe I’m not the right person to ask because I don’t really look at it. It’s kind of — I try really not to look at it, because it’s kind of in weird places. Sometimes you have to look up, so I’m not really comfortable with that.

It’s good. I think it helps everyone around and I think it helps the umpire to make the calls. Yeah, it’s not bad.

 

Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Lucie Safarova

Press Conference

MATTEK SANDS-SAFAROVA/Garcia-Mladenovic

2-6, 7-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You like that?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: We were just looking at the names.

LUCIE SAFAROVA: Pretty good company.

Q. Your names will join those names. How does that feel?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: That’s pretty cool.

LUCIE SAFAROVA: Amazing.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Some greats on there. I just noticed that Martina Hingis won it in ’98. That’s pretty impressive for her to be No. 1 right now, or 2.

Q. So talk about, first of all, you guys were down. What a turnaround in the second set; obviously carried it right into the third. Talk about the match.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Yeah, you know what? It was a little bit of a slow start, but I’ve gotta give credit to our opponents. They came out playing big, serving big, making all their rolls, ripping returns.

You know, I think one of the things that we do really well is we don’t get too down no matter what the score is. We’re really positive.

It was funny. I think Lucie had more energy than me. She was carrying me on her back and getting me pumped up.

LUCIE SAFAROVA: Any time.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: But that’s what good friends and partner do. It happens sometimes. You play a team that’s playing good or you might not be making all the shots, but any match can turn around in a couple of points.

That’s just a matter of sticking to it.

Q. You guys seem like you’re genuinely good friends.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Or we’re really good at faking it. I don’t think we’re that good of actors, otherwise I might have to consider a career switch.

Q. Talk about the chemistry between the two of you. How much does that contribute now, just your third Grand Slam title?
LUCIE SAFAROVA: It’s amazing. Third.

No, I think the chemistry is great. We complement each other so well. Our games just fit. We have done so well in all the tournaments, and now this year has been tough year for us because I have been out for half a year with my sickness and missed Australia.

Then Bethanie broke her finger just before French Open, so that kind of like…

But we both stick together and believed that once we are again strong, healthy —

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Feeling good.

LUCIE SAFAROVA: — and feeling that we can do this, and we did, so it’s amazing.

Q. Going forward, are you sniffing a career Grand Slam?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: We actually just got asked that on the court now. They were talking about Wimbledon. I was like, We have so many tournaments before Wimbledon. I don’t even know if we can start to think about it.

I mean, really, we’re enjoying the moment. I mean, this is a huge win. I mean, we both looked at each other and we said, We have a US Open trophy right now. I think especially being 9/11, it’s really a big thing to enjoy the people you’re with, enjoy the moment. I get a little emotional.

LUCIE SAFAROVA: No, our thoughts and prayers are with the families. I know it’s a tough day for everyone.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: So it was really special to win it today, I think.

Q. Can you talk about how you first got together?
LUCIE SAFAROVA: My coach Rob.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Yeah, it was a blind date, actually. We both didn’t have partners for Australia.

LUCIE SAFAROVA: You were coming back after injury.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I hadn’t actually played a lot of doubles. I actually didn’t have a ranking. Lucie took a chance on me. (Smiling.)

It was like, all right, come on.

LUCIE SAFAROVA: Knew here before but not so well and never played obviously together. Then I asked her if we should do like Sydney before the Australian Open. She’s like, No, I’m playing with Sania already.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I was like, We’ll be good. We’ll just roll with it in Australia. All good.

LUCIE SAFAROVA: And then we won the Grand Slam.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: That’s pretty good.

Q. It’s an Olympic year and so any teams that are like different countries, I’m sure you maybe would have thought, maybe I should play, like, Bethanie, full time with Coco theoretically or Lucie practiced with Barbora, and even with injuries and everything, you stuck together as a tour team. Can you talk through that decision? Was it ever tenuous at all?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I don’t think so. I mean, I played with Coco at Indian Wells. I think just kind of with my track record, I feel, you know, either I mesh with a partner or I don’t.

I don’t feel like I need, you know, 50 tournaments to get used to. I was really confident going into the Olympics with Coco. And if something happened to Lucie where she couldn’t play, you know, playing with Coco was fun.

Me and Lucie talked about our schedule and we really stuck to that, because that’s what we had talked about. It wasn’t — I didn’t feel like I needed to kind of play a guessing game, you know, whether it was with Coco or with Lucie.

I felt confident with both of them by me. Me and Lucie, had a lot of fun here. (Giving dap.)

Q. As an American, 9/11 has touched people from all nationalities around the world. As an American, to be playing on this very heavy, significant day, winning a Grand Slam in your home country, I mean, I can only imagine the emotions that you must have felt.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Yeah, and actually when we got to the locker room the news was on when they were reading all the names. You know, it kind of put things in perspective. As much fun as we’re having and as much joy as we get out of competing and all of the glitz and glamour of, you know, playing the finals of the US Open, it’s humbling to know that you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future.

You know, it’s something where I just — I really appreciate the moment, my family, and my friends, because you don’t know what’s going to happen.

You know, I really — it is an emotional day. And it was funny. I was going to retire my American flag socks after the gold medal match. I said, You know what? For the final of the US Open, 9/11, have to bring them out. Had a great crowd and great support. It was really special for me to win it here today in New York.

 

Kayla Day

Press Conference

K. DAY/V. Kuzmova

6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It was tough for you after last night to come back. Got off to a really good start. How did you do that? How were you able to recover after that late night last night?
KAYLA DAY: I think I was really able to mentally set aside what had happened last night and just move on, because I knew I had a really important match today.

I knew I had to forget about it, and that’s what I did.

Q. Is that something you have had success with to this stage in your career, or is this like something that you really summoned the focus to do it?
KAYLA DAY: No, I think I’m pretty good about, you know, leaving the past behind me and just focusing on being in the moment. And, yeah.

Q. Congratulations. You played in the main draw in the women’s event and the juniors. What’s the transition like going back and forth mentally? Or is it the same?
KAYLA DAY: Well, I think mentally it was a little bit hard just because it’s such a long time being here. I have been here for I think over three weeks.

But my coach told me I needed to separate the two tournaments, like to really make sure when I come back to play juniors like I’m coming to play a new tournament.

Q. You missed a chance to go up 5-1, I think it was in the first set, and then you got down Love-40 on your serve. Holding on in that game must have been a huge confidence boost for you.
KAYLA DAY: Yeah, that was a huge game. I got down Love-40 and then I served some really good serves. I was a little bit — getting a little bit nervous at that point, but after that game I felt really confident.

Q. You had a tough semifinal against Bianca and you kind of turned that around. What enabled you to turn that around? And then after the break for the heat, I know this is a few days ago, after the break for the heat you came out storming. Why do you think that was?
KAYLA DAY: I think I was definitely nervous in the first set and I didn’t fully believe in myself. Then at the beginning of the second and after like the heat break, I really believed in myself that I could do it.

I was really confident and going for my shots more and being more aggressive.

Q. You had a tough match against Madison earlier in the main draw. Have you spoke to her or any of the American women on tour since then? Any words of wisdom?
KAYLA DAY: No, I haven’t talked to any of them since.

Q. What does the rest of the year look like for you?
KAYLA DAY: I think I’m going to play a lot of pro circuit tournaments in the U.S. I haven’t decided if I’m going to play the junior tournaments at the end of the year, but definitely a lot of pro circuits to build up my ranking to be able to make the Grand Slam quallies next year.

Q. Where does school fit in?
KAYLA DAY: Um, I find a way to fit it in. I haven’t started school yet this year, so that’s nice. I start a little bit later than normally like other people do, I guess.

But whenever I have like a free day or like a weekend when I don’t have anything I do it then and try and get — either catch up before — get ahead before a trip or, you know, catch up after. (Smiling.)

It’s hard, but I manage to do it.

Q. What does it mean to you to sort of add your name to the illustrious list of Grand Slam junior champions?
KAYLA DAY: It means so much. It’s really great. I knew that coming into the match like an American or like somebody from outside of Europe hadn’t won — a girl hadn’t won a junior slam in like four years, so it means so much to me to be able to play for America and win.

Q. The ITF tells me you’re the No. 1 junior player in the world now after winning today. Did you know that?
KAYLA DAY: No, I didn’t know that.

Q. How important would that be, you know, to finish the year? Will that change your schedule to make sure that you finish No. 1?
KAYLA DAY: No. I haven’t really thought about that. I know that there is some type of rule that if you finish a certain ranking or if you get to the finals of a slam you get more tournaments.

I think that would be the most beneficial thing for me since I’m still quite young and I can’t play a full pro schedule.

Q. Where does this win rank obviously in your young career? And when you look back on all the different things that have happened these past few weeks, how do you see these two weeks how they unfolded?
KAYLA DAY: These were like the best two weeks of my life. Every day was great.

I had so much fun every single day, and it was just a great experience overall.

Q. How will you celebrate? Do you have any plans for that?
KAYLA DAY: No, not yet. (Smiling.) I’m sure I’ll think of something.

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Stan Wawrinka Beats Novak Djokovic to Win US Open Title for Third Major Championship

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

(September 11, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Stan Wawrinka stands just a Wimbledon title away from a career Grand Slam. The Swiss, ranked No. 3 beat 12-time major champion and No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-7(1), 6-4, 7-5, to win the US Open on Sunday evening for this third major championship.

Wawrinka, coming into the match was 4-19 against Djokovic, but last beat the Serb in last year’s French Open final. The Swiss is now 3-0 in major finals.

Djokovic took a 3-0 lead to begin the match, but Wawrinka broke back in the ninth game when Djokovic was serving for the set at 5-3. The set went to a tiebreaker in which Djokovic destroyed his opponent 7-1.

The next set saw the Swiss go up a break first and take a 4-1 lead, but the Serb fought back to get even on serve to get to 3-4. Serving at 4-5, the two-time US Open winner double faulted to give back the break and lose the set to Wawrinka 6-4.

In the third set Wawrinka broke serve at 5-6 from 30-0 down to win the set.

Wawrinka struck early in the fourth set breaking Djokovic in the second game and holding for 3-0. Djokovic fought valiantly in the fourth game to gold his serve for 1-3. Djokovic took a medidal time out to have the trainer look at his feet. Wawrinka was very upset by this, saying that Djokovic should have done this on his own serve. Djokovic apologized to Wawrinka as he was getting treatment saying that he couldn’t stand. It was a six minute delay in play due to the mediacal time out.

Djokovic had three break points to draw even, but Wawrinka fought off the world No. 1 to hold for 4-1. Djokovic had an easy service game holding at love for 2-4. Wawrinka held on to win the set and the match 6-7(1), 6-4, 7-5, 6-3.

During the trophy ceremony, Wawrinka made note of Sunday being the anniversary of 9/11: “It’s been a big battle on the court … four hours,” Wawrinka said. “But I just want to remember what happened 15 years ago.”

“Yeah, this is amazing, for sure, amazing two weeks,” 31-year-old Wawrinka said in his news conference. “I spend so much time on the court. Today I knew it will be a really tough battle again playing the No. 1 player, Novak Djokovic, who always push you to play your best tennis if you want to beat him.

“That’s why I start to do, and I try to do. Was not only in the tennis side but physically and mentally was really tough, again. Honestly after the match I was completely empty. I put everything on the court. Not only today, but the past two weeks.

“Today I was trying to stay with him. I was trying to be tough with myself. Trying not to show anything. Not to show any pain. Not to show any cramp. Not to show anything. I was suffering on the court, but I’m happy and proud with what I have achieved today.”

“If you want to beat the No. 1 player in the world, you have to give everything,” he admitted.

“As I said the other day, you have to accept to suffer and you have almost to enjoy to suffer. Because I think this Grand Slam was the most painful, physically and mentally, Grand Slam that I ever played.

“As I said, I was feeling tired already at the beginning of the match. I was feeling the cramp coming in the third set. In the fourth set I had some pain, but most important was what was clear with Magnus before was not to show anything. Not to show anything. Give everything and keep fighting and go try to win it.”

Asked in press if Wif should be the “big 5″ instead of the” big 4″, Djokovic said,”Well, I mean, he deserves to be in the mix, no doubt about it. Stan won three Grand Slams now and three different ones; Olympic medal. Been around for so many years, and he plays best in the big matches.

“I mean, he definitely deserves to be mentioned in the mix of top players.”

When Wawrinka was asked about he said: “The Big 4, I’m really far from them. Just look the tournament they won, how many years they been there. If you look, yes, I have three Grand Slams. How many Masters 1000 have Murray? They have been there since ten years.

“They have not only been winning, but being in semifinal, final every time. That’s why I’m not there. I don’t want to be there. For me, there is no question about that. But I’m trying the best I can with my career.

“I’m really, really happy with what I’m doing so far. I’m proud of myself by winning three Grand Slam. This is something I never expect and dream about it, but I have them and I’m happy to take the trophy back home.”

Wawrinka has won his last 11 straight finals.

Wawrinka has now beaten Djokovic  from a set down on three occasions in majors – the 2014 Australian Open quarterfinals, the 2015 French Open  final and this year’s US Open final. Djokovic holds a 19-5 lead in their head-to-head records.

Looking at the match statistics, Wawrinka hit 46 winners to 51 unforced errors, while Djokovic hit 30 winners to 46 unforced errors. The Swiss was 6 for 10 on break points and the Serb was only three for 17.

“I just didn’t capitalize at all on my opportunities, said the 28-year-old Djokovic. “I had plenty of them, break points. It was a terrible conversion of the break points. Just terrible from my side.

“You know, in the matches like this, if you don’t use the opportunities, the other guy comes and takes it. And that’s what he did. That’s why I said he was more courageous, because he stepped in and played aggressive where I was kind of more waiting for things to happen.

“And that’s it.”

 

More to follow….

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Djokovic Beats Monfils to Reach Seventh US Open Final; Wawrinka Defeats Nishikori to Advance

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

(September 9, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – In what was characterized by most as a “bizarre” match, Novak Djokovic moved into his seventh US Open final, beating 10th seed Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 on Friday.

In the first set, Djokovic dashed out to a 5-0 lead. The world No. 1 had three set points serving at 5-1, Monfils won the next two games but Djokovic closed the set at 6-3.
ESPN commentator and tennis Hall of Famer John McEnroe criticized Monfils’ “lack of effort” on the air.

Monfils was asked about this in his news conference:
“I like John. I think he’s a great person. I mean, I have nothing personal to him, so I’m very sad to heard that. I’m very sad to learn that such a legend criticize me, because at the end what I can say to John is, you know, John, I want to be the best. It’s tough, you know. And I try my best.

“I’m sorry if you think I’m unprofessional, but I guess I’m working, I’m learning, you know. I think I’m failing, for sure, a lot, but I try to stand up. You know, it’s tough, because when he call me unprofessional he calls my coach unprofessional, calls my physio unprofessional, calls my physic — all my team, actually, unprofessional. Is a bit tough, you know.

“And he knows what it is. I’m more than happy to talk with him, you know. For sure, you know, it’s easy to punish me because I not win anything, you know. Such an easy thing. I do different stuff. I’m happy. I’m always with a smile.

“I make it easy. But I think John knows that if I want to be in the semifinal of the slam, anything he can say, if I not play top seed or whatever, you know, I won couple matches and I have been trained hard, you know.

“So I just very sorry bring that, and tell to John that I’m more than happy to talk with him. You know, is someone that I always care about what he is saying, but I’m just sad that he criticize me that easy.”

Djokovic was also asked about Monfils’ effort.
“I thought at times that he was, you know, maybe behaving a little bit –you know, for some terms and judgments unacceptable — but, again, I guess that was part of his tactics,” he said. “If he said that you have to believe him, I guess.

“He was 5-Love down with his game and he mixed it up. It seemed like it was a bit of a lack of effort, but then he started playing great. He started playing aggressive. He took chances. He came to the net.

“In the end of the day, I thought it was a good match. We played a four-set match. I think the crowd enjoyed it in the end.”

Monfils came back to life in the third set, rallying from 0-2 in the third set to win the set 6-3.

Djokovic fully controlled the fourth set breaking Monfils three times to complete the victory.

Well, it was a strange match,” said Djokovic “as it always is, I guess, when you play Gael, who is very unpredictable player.”

Monfils was also questioned by media about his “competing.”
“Because first question is like you’re not competing. F*ck, yes, I’m competing, you know. Even I’m like at my best actually. The guy is too good. I just have to change, you know, Monfils explained.

“As I always say, the change is guts, you know. It’s like people told me, Ah… No, I think I’m gutsy to try that, you know, against the world No. 1 of the world, you know. 5-0, okay, I show you that I play none academic way.

“And then I won’t win a match like that, but I can win maybe 15 minutes, maybe two more games, one more games. I can push him a little bit to defend also myself, more confidence, and put him out his balance.”
After all of that, Djokovic will play Sunday for his third Grand Slam championship of the season, after those at the Australian Open in January, and the French Open in June — when the theatrics were at a relative minimum by Friday’s standards.
On Sunday, Djokovic will play for his third US Open title against Stan Wawrinka.

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

The two-time major winner beat 2014 US Open finalist Kei Nishikori 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 to advance to his first final in Flushing Meadows. It will be a rematch of the 2015 French Open final, when the Swiss up set the Serb.

 

“I’m really excited,” Wawrinka said. “Really happy to make the final. Something amazing for me.

“To play Novak, the No. 1 player, it’s always really challenging. But we had some many big memories together, especially in Grand Slams, so it’s going to be an excited match.”

“Was some amazing match, for sure,”said the world No. 3 about his French Open win. “The secret is simple: I have to play my best tennis, my best game. He’s the No. 1 player, amazing fighter, amazing player, but I have enough confidence in myself that when I play my best level I can beat him.

“Hopefully I can bring that Sunday. But it’s the biggest challenge. When you play Novak, the No. 1 player in the final of Grand Slam, it’s the biggest challenge you can have.”

Wawrinka id 10 for 10 in his last 10 finals, but Djokovic is 20-4 against the Swiss.

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Day 12 of the US Open – In Their Own Words

Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils

(September 9, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Posting player interviews throughout the day as allowed.

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

Transcripts of player interviews cannot be posted until one (1) hour after the interview has ended. Player transcripts can only be posted on the website of the publication that was accredited.

U.S. OPEN

Friday, September 9, 2016

Gael Monfils

Press Conference

N. DJOKOVIC/G. Monfils

6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Strange match out there in that it seemed like you were both kind of fighting your bodies at times. Talk a little bit about the elements out there and how you were feeling.
GAEL MONFILS: Strange match why?

Q. It looked like physically you guys were both laboring at times. Was the heat getting to you?
GAEL MONFILS: I think it was hot and humid, but somehow I think also at one moment of the game it was very physical; was good rallies. Whenever it’s like that it’s never easy to recover quick, like 25 seconds. For sure, the heat help, I mean, not really help us, but I think also that was the way the match goes.

Q. Starting early in this match it seemed at times you were having problems competing. What was going on for you physically and psychologically?
GAEL MONFILS: What do you mean, competing?

Q. You didn’t seem to be able to give it your full effort.
GAEL MONFILS: No, at the beginning I think, you know, Novak was playing good. I didn’t serve great, you know. It was very quick 5-0. I get to change a little bit, you know. I get to change. That’s a little bit tough, because for sure people are not really ready to see that. You know, because, you know, why I will stay and lose 6-0 and not change anything?

So, yeah, definitely I try to get in his head. You know, try to create something new for him, you know, to see. And that was it. When the guy is too good, you know, playing clean and you’re playing very bad, I mean, not that good, you know, you need to change.

At the end, that’s why I think it was necessary, and I almost get back to the first set.

Q. Were there any times that you were not able to try your best?
GAEL MONFILS: I think I try my best every time. He was just too good.

Q. Do you think that strategy of trying to upset Novak didn’t work, probably? Obviously in the first set, and yet later on you competed very well. The third set, for instance, seemed far more successful.
GAEL MONFILS: I think it work, you know. You just don’t want to see it. If no one is doing that, you know, everybody is like, Play tennis like this. You have to do like this.

It’s okay, you know. We can change a little bit. We can, you know — it’s not only one way to play tennis, you know. When the guy is hitting clean and you’re not serving good — and actually, I wasn’t returning good — yeah, you just show him. You stand in the middle of the court. Start to double fault a little bit.

Then you give him very slow ball, but could I run, you know. And then he come to the net. I pass him. Was great strategy. What do you mean? I think I started 5-0 and then I was like 5-3, 15-40, and was bad. I think I guess. When I try a little bit to play “original” tennis is where he kill me.

Q. Have you had opponents do that to you, as well, change up the tactics?
GAEL MONFILS: No, because everyone not doing it because of all the question they gonna receive and all the — is not natural, and I know it is not natural. Because first question is like you’re not competing. Fuck, yes, I’m competing, you know. Even I’m like at my best actually. The guy is too good. I just have to change, you know.

As I always say, the change is guts, you know. It’s like people told me, Ah… No, I think I’m gutsy to try that, you know, against the world No. 1 of the world, you know. 5-0, okay, I show you that I play none academic way.

And then I won’t win a match like that, but I can win maybe 15 minutes, maybe two more games, one more games. I can push him a little bit to defend also myself, more confidence, and put him out his balance.

You know, it was a great strategy, I think.

Q. Good US Open. Congratulations.
GAEL MONFILS: Thank you.

Q. You once said that my culture is to be very fun and to enjoy life. In the big picture of your career, how important is it to have fun and to be creative for you?
GAEL MONFILS: I think it’s natural, you know. It’s not how important I think is like this. I think everything I do in my life I try to have fun, and I try to be creative on the tennis court, outside the tennis court.

So for me it’s just myself on the court.

Q. How are you creative outside the court?
GAEL MONFILS: I create music; I create painting; I create whatever I want to create. I create, what you say, clothes. I create, I don’t know, dance move. I create anything.

Q. It sounds like you were prepared for this question about the competition and your strategy and everything else. Did anybody say anything to you when you came off the court to make you aware that so many people, including John McEnroe, including some of the commentators, were kind of angry and really disappointed about this whole issue?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, for sure. When I decide to play like that for half a set I knew it is gonna be different. But at the end I’m not playing for those people. I play for myself. I try to win, you know.

At the end, you know, everybody have an opinion of something that not in my body, not in my mind. They not see what I’m saying at that moment, you know.

They will tell me, Oh, he’s so talented, so physical. Look, he’s playing like this in the third set and he won it, blah, blah, blah, blah. But at the time and at 5-0, it wasn’t that. I tell you. I just change something, you know.

Is not academic, but I try to win. I’m sorry, every time, you know, to hear that I get destroyed. For what? At the end, for what? To tell me I’m so talented I waste my time.

Sorry, I’m not wasting my time. I think I know how to try to play the best, and to play the best sometime is to improve.

And when the guy is too good, you know, you change. Not academic, but I try to be better.

If those people talking, talking, come help me. You know, I’m more than happy to have them help.

But I feel that, you know, they want to help me, he’s still Novak. He’s still Novak to play.

Q. Is there anything personal between you and John McEnroe? He’s been criticizing you all tournament, and today he was pretty tough on you in the first two sets. Called you unprofessional and said he never saw anyone lacking effort. Is there something in the past between you two? Are you surprised he’s so hard on you?
GAEL MONFILS: Well, I just know — I don’t know. You know, I like John. I think he’s a great person. I mean, I have nothing personal to him, so I’m very sad to heard that. I’m very sad to learn that such a legend criticize me, because at the end what I can say to John is, you know, John, I want to be the best. It’s tough, you know. And I try my best.

I’m sorry if you think I’m unprofessional, but I guess I’m working, I’m learning, you know. I think I’m failing, for sure, a lot, but I try to stand up. You know, it’s tough, because when he call me unprofessional he calls my coach unprofessional, calls my physio unprofessional, calls my physic — all my team, actually, unprofessional. Is a bit tough, you know.

And he knows what it is. I’m more than happy to talk with him, you know. For sure, you know, it’s easy to punish me because I not win anything, you know. Such an easy thing. I do different stuff. I’m happy. I’m always with a smile.

I make it easy. But I think John knows that if I want to be in the semifinal of the slam, anything he can say, if I not play top seed or whatever, you know, I won couple matches and I have been trained hard, you know.

So I just very sorry bring that, and tell to John that I’m more than happy to talk with him. You know, is someone that I always care about what he is saying, but I’m just sad that he criticize me that easy.

Q. Was it a spontaneous decision to change in the first set, or do you think that comment about Djokovic knowing how your match is going to go against him that would be something you could do?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, I knew definitely before the match is something I could do.

Actually, you know, I know it’s not good, but I made a sign to my coach and say, Okay, I’m going to Plan B, actually. (Laughter.)

I made it pretty clear, you know. And I knew it, because I have done that in the past against him, against Novak. You know, I played him, and actually, all the time I get little grip on him, you know, a little bit to get back in the game. Is always to play like that.

So, yeah, I was aware that if he was doing that in my way I have to play a little bit like that.

Q. How did you feel about being booed in the first game of the third set when you double-faulted?
GAEL MONFILS: It’s part of the sport, you know. I think for sure people was expecting a tougher battle, you know. And then, you know, it was strange, because as you say, maybe they will listen to commentary and say I’m unprofessional, I’m poor, whatever. So it gets very quick to people.

And then it’s tough, you know, tweeting during the match saying, and maybe John McEnroe say, Such a disgrace.

At the end, you know, if I have a mic, I would say to the audience that stop saying that, you know, I’m unprofessional. The guy is killing me, you know.

I’m just embracing the fact the guy is too good for me, and I try to switch strategy. Then somehow, you know, I had this small opportunity and I get it, and then I think the crowd was much better.

Q. You talked about changing things up. There were a few times late in the first set where on your return you came really far in. Was there anything that you saw in his serve that made you think, that would work, or was it just, you were trying anything?
GAEL MONFILS: When?

Q. On your returns, a few times late in the first you were coming — were really shallow halfway to the service line almost. Was that preplanned? Anything in his serve that made you think that would work, or was it just a random…
GAEL MONFILS: Because I know Novak somehow is not too confident with his serve now. I think closer you get, bigger the target, and it will force a little bit. And I think that’s why I have done it.

Q. Have there been other matches in the past where someone has tried a very different strategy and thrown off their opponent? Do you know about any of these matches? Does that inspire you? Arthur Ashe against Jimmy Connors.
GAEL MONFILS: And John McEnroe telling me it wasn’t professional? I don’t know. I haven’t seen it. I wish I could, you know.

As I say, I have done it because I want to win, you know. I just want to find a solution. Sorry if it wasn’t, I mean, academic, but at the end, you know, when you change, you change with what you got. What I got is my speed.

I got a little bit my instinct and flair and to show down the game, to make him play, to make him come in. That was my flair, and I hit the shot. You know, at the end it was just too good.

 

 

Novak Djokovic

Press Conference

N. DJOKOVIC/G. Monfils

6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Gaël just said he tried to get into your brain because he couldn’t get into your game, basically, and that he thought it was starting to work but in the end you were still too good. How did you see these first two sets and how did you win that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it was a strange match, as it always is, I guess, when you play Gaël, who is very unpredictable player. I could expect that in a way. I was 5-Love up in less than 20 minutes, and everything felt great; couple of close games there.

And then just that service game on 5-1, that’s when it started. I was completely caught off guard when he just stood there and chipped the ball back and didn’t do much. If I would get to the net he would go for the passing shot and hit some impossible gets and balls.

But that’s Gaël. That’s the way he plays now. That’s the way he played always. He loves to come up with a variety in his game, and the defense shots. He loves long rallies.

So, yeah, I think I should not have allowed him to come back to the match after two sets to love up and 2-love in the third. That was the momentum shift when I lost my service game. He started believing in himself, and I think the crowd disliked his efforts, I think, towards the end of the second set.

I think he felt like he needs to step it up and start to play better, which he did, and then crowd was behind him. They wanted to see, you know, the long match.

I think we both physically struggled a little bit towards the end of the third and fourth set, beginning of the fourth especially. Long rallies; tense moments, obviously.

But he did try many things. You know, second serve, serve and volley. You know, just a very slow chipped ball in the middle of the court, and then, you know, invites me to the net basically and comes up with some good passing shots.

Sometimes you don’t understand the game, but that’s who he is. I think he actually played best tennis of his life on hard courts this season and the results are showing that.

So it was a good win for me today.

Q. You called him unpredictable and that’s how he always plays. Do you think that’s deliberate and effective strategy or just a personal preference? Is it a compliment to your game that he feels he needs to change it up to throw you off?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Compliment or not, I mean, that’s who he is. As I said, it’s not the first time that he comes out and just tries different shots and different splits and, you know, puts himself in a position to defend and come up with some intriguing points and entertaining points for the crowd.

You know, he loves that entertainment part. He loves to go left and right and jump and slide and all these things. He’s very athletic. I think he’s basically putting everything on the display on the tennis court.

But that’s the way it has been for so many years.

Q. John McEnroe was very critical through a lot of the match about Monfils as being unprofessional, lack of effort. Would you ever characterize a tactic like he used in that sort of way?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I mean, again, it’s a question for him, really. I thought at times that he was, you know, maybe behaving a little bit –you know, for some terms and judgments unacceptable — but, again, I guess that was part of his tactics. If he said that you have to believe him, I guess.

He was 5-Love down with his game and he mixed it up. It seemed like it was a bit of a lack of effort, but then he started playing great. He started playing aggressive. He took chances. He came to the net.

In the end of the day, I thought it was a good match. We played a four-set match. I think the crowd enjoyed it in the end.

Q. How exactly does it feel to be serving at 5-1 in a slam semifinal and then to see your opponent returning your first serve from inside the baseline, slicing everything?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, as I said, you know, again, it was my fault for really — that game was 40-Love — and allowing him really to, you know, just disturb me, you know, with that kind of movement and just a different approach, I guess.

I don’t know how to call that. But, again, I made some double faults and just some — just really wasn’t myself at that game and the next game. I put myself in a really awkward position, you know, to allow him — from 5-Love up to allow him to come back to the set.

But I managed to hold my nerves in 5-3, close the set out; second set was good. Served I think 88, 89% first serves in. Everything was working. Started off the third well.

Then the momentum shifted. He felt his chance was there. He got it. Crowd got into it. Physically we both felt, you know, the humidity and the tough conditions today. So it was a tough one to be part of, especially in the third and midway through the fourth set.

But it’s semifinals. Again, you can’t expect just somebody to hand you the win. Just very glad to overcome that.

Q. Do you think he got inside your head at all during that set?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, that one or two games I allowed, yeah. But, again, it happens, I guess, because it was just so uncharacteristic and very unusual to see a player in the semifinals of a Grand Slam at the beginning, basically first set, just start to, you know, move around and play like that or behave like that.

But, again, it shouldn’t be my concern. What my concern is, you know, is my side and what I need to do. I allowed myself to drop the concentration and to lose the momentum for a little bit, but luckily I got back.

Q. We’re talking about Gaël’s play. Talking about your own, how do you assess the way that you played the match today? Thoughts going into the final?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: As I said, I thought I played a very solid, very sturdy, 2-love in the third. And then, five games lost, two service games lost. Just all of a sudden wasn’t, you know, as effective from the baseline. He stepped it up, I think. That was the difference, that he started going for his shots rather than just putting the ball back in play.

And, yeah, that’s when the momentum shifted. But, again, in the fourth I just managed to hold my nerves and be patient and close out the match in good fashion.

So, you know, I have an extra day now to recover and get ready for the finals, which is, you know, where definitely I desire to be whenever I come to the Grand Slam. You know, I want to be able to put myself in position to fight for the trophy, and everything that has happened in the tournament so far is behind me now.

My thoughts are only on Sunday’s match.

Q. You’re an imaginative, free-form kind of guy, but he’s something else. You have known him since you were kids. He brings a lot of joy to people. What makes him special? Dances to his own drummer, talk about him as a guy, a free-form spirit.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: As I said, you know, he’s one of the most charismatic guys on the tour. You know, he brings a full display of athleticism. Just different variety in the game. He’s an all-round player.

In the end of the day, he enjoys playing in the big stage. Enjoys playing tennis. And you can see that. That’s why the fans love him. That’s why he gets the crowd involved. You know, sometimes, as his opponent it’s not easy to handle his up and downs, but, you know, he’s very important asset to our sport. He brings that joy, as you said.

Q. Do you ever say to yourself, What do I do now? Get a little frustrated?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I have played him 13 times, I think, in our professional careers, so I know him well. I know what to expect. But again, even having that kind of awareness and coming into a match, it still happens that, you know, these kind of things that he does don’t go away unnoticed, you know.

Sometimes it can disturb you; sometimes it can bring a smile to your face. It really depends on you, how you react to that.

Q. Obviously as the first into the final we don’t know who you’ll face next. First with Stan, when you go against him, what is the biggest challenge for you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I haven’t played Stan in some time now. He’s a big match player. He loves to play in the big stage against big players, because that’s when he, I think, elevates his level of performance in his game. Just gets much better.

I think he was very close to lose in second or third round in this tournament some match points and he was struggling with his form.

But the last couple of matches he’s getting in that shape that is, you know, winning him big matches. I lost to him in finals of French Open and I lost to him in quarterfinals of Australia when he won, as well.

So both of these Grand Slam trophies that he has he won against me on the way. So I know right now, having two Grand Slam titles and Olympic medal and Davis Cup under his belt, he believes in himself more. He doesn’t get, I think, too stressed by the bigger occasion. He actually likes playing in big matches.

So, yeah, he’s very powerful, powerful player. Big serve. Probably the best, most effective one-handed backhand in the world now. You know, he can play it all. You know, he has that variety in his game. He can be very dangerous for everybody.

Q. And if you do face Kei, how would you assess his game and the challenge it poses for you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, Kei is in form, and winning bronze in Rio, playing finals in Toronto, and winning here against Andy Murray who was in tremendous form for last couple of months.

Kei is now very established, top 5, top 7 player in the world for last couple of years. He’s always there. He played in US Open finals; he won against me in semis that year. He also doesn’t really get too frightened by the big occasion. He’s actually looking forward to play the big matches. He’s very committed daily.

You can always see him in the gym or the practice courts. Michael Chang is there. He’s got a full squad of experts around him to, you know, to perfect his game.

It’s good to see that. He’s the best Asian tennis player in history of Asia. He’s got a lot of support. Yeah, he’s hungry for success, no doubt. He’s never won a Grand Slam but he’s always there. You know, he’s very close. I’m sure that, you know, he would be very, very motivated to play in the finals if I get to play him.

Q. Given what you said about Gaël, did he piss you off today or were you aggravated at your inability to see what you had to do to solve the riddle?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I had different phases, I must admit. (Smiling.) I had phases when I was pissed off, phases when I was entertained by what he’s doing, and phases where I was upset with myself for allowing him to — you know, whatever he does to disturb my game and my rhythm.

So I went through it all. It was a great theater experience today.

Q. Could you ever see yourself doing that to an opponent?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, we’re all different. You know, it’s hard to speak about — I don’t think that — I know Gaël for a long time so I don’t take things in a bad way from him. He’s a good guy, and just probably tactically tried a few things. That’s all.

Q. You said on court immediately after the match that the description was humid, but I’m wondering, how would you characterize or describe this trip to your seventh US Open final.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I obviously — I always wish to get to this match, the final match, whenever, as I said, come to a Grand Slam. I have those kind of ambitions. But specifically, before this Grand Slam there were things that were happening, you know, with my health and physical state that were, you know, making me a little bit skeptical about how the thing is going to go during the tournament.

I just wished for myself to be able to play on the level that I can. I hoped and I believed that as I progressed in the tournament that things would get better, in which they did.

So I was, of course, blessed to have more days off with no match so I could focus on the recovery and work things in my game and take things easily and to get to this phase.

You know, I’m very, very pleased to have achieved this result.

Q. How would you characterize this journey to the final?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I just characterized it, but not in one word. It’s hard for me to find a headline. I think you have to pick up from the transcript. Yeah, this time I don’t really have that word. I’m sorry.

Q. 42 years ago, Muhammad Ali invented the rope-a-dope strategy against Foreman; the famous Rumble in the Jungle. Were you familiar with that? Did you recognize possible tactic? Did you have any concern about possibly punching yourself out in the fourth set? Early in the fourth looked like both of you were leaning on the ropes a couple of times. Secondly, and again, speaking of Muhammad Ali, what are your views and thoughts about the role of athlete as entertainer, as well?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Wow. Okay. Thank you for your questions. Trying to make them as short as possible. Very interesting questions.

Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest athletes that ever lived. He was one of the most appreciated athletes that ever lived. Not just because of his achievements, but because of who he was and what he stood for and, you know, the values that he shared with people. He was a people’s champion. That’s what they called him.

So of course it makes me no different than other people towards, you know, the respect of the legacy that he left behind.

But it’s not really I think comparable, boxing and tennis. I mean, it’s one on one, but I wouldn’t like to be in the ring with Muhammad Ali and going with the punches.

But today there was a lot of punches on the tennis ball back and forth. It was really exhausting because, you know, the opponent today I played with loves to stay in the back of the court and always bring another ball back.

Physically we were taking each other to the limit. And, you’re right, that at times it looked like we were really in a tough battle. And The role of athletes as entertainer, yes. I mean, I think, you know, not just entertainment, but the whole picture, you know.

I think athletes have such a privilege to be always in the spotlight. Today’s world of media, you have a lot of attention. You know, you need to use that in a positive way, try to take that as a responsibility to kind of do something valuable with that rather than just spreading that kind of awareness about yourself being a champion and wanting to achieve.

Sure, people want to see you perform at your highest and fight for trophies, but you also can use this platform as an opportunity to share something different, something valuable, something that young kids around the world can use as a great example.

So I think it all fits in, right? Entertainment, the responsibility, human responsibility, the things that I guess have the same direction and same issue.

Q. You mentioned the physical concerns you had coming into the tournament cast against you. Do you have any concerns going into the final, or do you feel like that’s behind you as far as injuries?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Thankfully it’s behind me, so I don’t have any concerns. I have lots of excitement for the finals.

Q. The ripped shirt, how much did that surprise you and how much did it give you an opportunity to kind of forget about tennis for a while?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I can’t blame Uniqlo for that shirt. The quality is very good, by the way. I did rip it once, and then the second time just got out of hand, I guess, in heat of the moment.

But, you know, it felt nice, because my body could breathe a little bit more. (Smiling.)

But, yeah, I guess, you know, these things happen. Sometimes you’ll seen a thrown racquet here and there, a ripped shirt. It’s all in the heat of the battle.

Q. Is it in the garbage?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I guess so. I haven’t seen it ever since.

 

Kei Nishikori

Press Conference

S. WAWRINKA/K. Nishikori

4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How much did the match the other day take out of you?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, I mean, definitely I was a little bit tired, especially in the end. Last two set was really tough.

But I think also he was stepping up a little more from the second set. I think he was missing a lot the first set and also I was playing good tennis, but I think he made some changes and he was start playing better.

I mean, yeah, it’s not easy after playing Andy five sets, but I’m physically — I was almost there. Yeah, I’m disappointed, but I’m really proud of myself, you know, playing four sets again with this condition.

Q. Novak described him as a big match player. He’s come up obviously winning a couple Grand Slams and playing big matches. Talk about facing him today and assessing his performance.
KEI NISHIKORI: You mean Stan?

Q. Yeah.
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, yeah, like I said, he was playing much better last couple sets. Well, yeah, I stop moving a little bit. Also, you know, he was playing much powerful tennis.

You know, he start using his backhand a little bit more down the line and angles. I think that was really working for him. For me, I think I was hitting too short and wasn’t making enough first serve.

Yeah, he step up, you know, really in the end. You know, there is reason, you know, he’s been top 5 for a long time now. Yeah, he played some good tennis today.

Q. I have heard quite a few big-named players, including Novak, when we were talking to him earlier, talk about you as a player that really can be a Grand Slam winner. You came close; went to the final. How much does getting this close make you want to go that extra mile to do whatever it takes to win? How hungry are you to get back in the finals?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, yeah, there was only two more matches to go, so I felt really close and playing good level I think these two weeks. Especially beating Andy, you know, this big tournament I think gives me a lot of confidence.

I mean, it’s not easy when you have to play No. 2, No. 3, and, you know, Novak was waiting in the finals. It wasn’t easy job, but, you know, if I could win little easier last few matches I could have little more chance today and maybe in the final.

I think, you know, playing really good, especially big tournaments, the final in Toronto and good in Olympics and semis here, it was good summer.

Q. You mentioned Stan’s backhand and how he used that tonight. Can you describe what it’s like to face Stan’s backhand, which is known as being one of the best shots in tennis.
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, yeah. I think I went too much, little too much to his backhand. He was start using backhand down the line. He can hit angle really well with topspin.

Yeah, definitely I was a little bit struggling with his backhand.

Q. How difficult were the conditions? How grateful were you when they closed the roof?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, yeah, today was really humid. That made me really tough first few sets. Won in second set, but after I think temperature little down and it was little easier.

But still, yeah, it was tough conditions today.

Q. In the second set you have many chances to grab it but end up giving away. How did that affect you emotionally, mentally?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, definitely I had to win the second set if I wanted to win today. I had so many chance with my serve and with his serve games, too.

Yeah, that’s really disappointing, especially second set, I think that was the biggest mistake I did. Yeah, after that he was playing better, so I think gave him little confidence.

But even though, you know, if I win two sets, I had to still win one more set. So with this condition and my condition, it was really tough.

Q. How do you see the final?
KEI NISHIKORI: I don’t know. I think, yeah, Stan is playing good again, but still Novak is No. 1. I mean, yeah, we’ll see.

 

Stan Wawrinka

Press Conference

S. WAWRINKA/K. Nishikori

4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. First US Open final against an opponent you have had some epic battles with. How excited are you?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, I’m really excited. Really happy to make the final. Something amazing for me.

To play Novak, the No. 1 player, it’s always really challenging. But we had some many big memories together, especially in Grand Slams, so it’s going to be an excited match.

Q. You have the beautiful words of Samuel Beckett inscribed on your left forearm. That seems to match your philosophy and inspire you. Now that you’re one match away from being one Wimbledon away from a career Grand Slam…
STAN WAWRINKA: I am too far though. Why we should…

Q. Perhaps the poet Kipling’s words, If you can meet with triumph as well as disaster; and treat those two imposters are just the same…
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, it’s good, but you’re going too far with if I win and if I play Wimbledon well one time. No, so far I’m just really happy. I’m enjoying the moment right now after a tough match today. It’s something very special.

The feeling is amazing for me to tell myself that I’m going to play a US Open final. I watched it almost every year, so it’s going to be excited.

Q. When Novak was here before he said that you play your best tennis in the biggest of matches. How are you able to do that?
STAN WAWRINKA: Because the biggest matches, it’s the end of the tournament. Final, semifinal, and I had matches to get confidence to play well match after match.

Yes, I know I have some up and down during the year. I’m not playing my best tennis in every tournament, but I’m trying to work as hard as I can to give me the chance to play well every time I step on the court.

And in Grand Slam is where I want to play my best tennis. Is where I want to be the better player. Always find a way to find my game and to put everything together.

Q. When you’ve won majors you’ve had to go through Novak. What has been the secret to how well you’ve done against him in those situations?
STAN WAWRINKA: Was some amazing match, for sure. The secret is simple: I have to play my best tennis, my best game. He’s the No. 1 player, amazing fighter, amazing player, but I have enough confidence in myself that when I play my best level I can beat him.

Hopefully I can bring that Sunday. But it’s the biggest challenge. When you play Novak, the No. 1 player in the final of Grand Slam, it’s the biggest challenge you can have.

Q. About today’s match, from beginning until beginning of second set Kei seemed dominating, and then you made everything a turnaround. How did you make it? Could you talk about your backhand? How much are you confident and comfortable with your backhand?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, I think Kei start really well the match. I think he was moving really well. He was playing really aggressive. I didn’t find any solution to put my game. He was always dictating. I was feeling uncomfortable on the court. He was coming at the net. He was changing a lot.

I just tried to little by little play a little bit better, a little bit faster, a little bit heavier. I tried to make him run. I think in the middle of the second, that’s when I start to change a little bit who’s the player on the court. He was already inside the court at the beginning, but I turned that little by little.

I saw in the first set that he could also struggle with the heat and humidity today. It was a tough battle physically, and I know if I’m make him tired he’s not going to be as fast or aggressive as he was at the beginning. That was my goal, to play a little bit more aggressive.

Q. You mentioned humidity. We saw the racquet come right out of your hands at one point. Wet, was it, out there?
STAN WAWRINKA: It was really wet. It was tough conditions. I think the four players today, we suffer a lot on the court, that’s for sure.

I was struggling. I was suffering on the court first set, second set, and all the match.

But I just knew that it was important not to show it, to stay there, because I also know that in a five-set match there is some up and down. It’s important to not spend energy by being negative and show the opponent that you’re struggling.

I think today it make a big difference for myself.

Q. Novak lost one final in the last couple years, and that was to you. Will you think about it before the match?
STAN WAWRINKA: Not the match, but the victory. I think for sure he’s gonna give me confidence to tell myself that I know I can do it, because I did it at the French Open final. He knows also that I can play my best tennis in the final of Grand Slam.

But it’s gonna be completely different match. Also the way I arrive in the final, the way I arrive, hopefully we can both play great tennis and make a big final.

Q. You were already 28 years old when you lost 12-10 the Australian Open to Djokovic. Is that the moment when you realized that you were competitive with the top players? Are you surprised that you were the only one who won outside of the Fab Four two slams already, and you could win three?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, for sure that match was something special in my career, especially in the month outside. That’s when I start to believe and realize myself that, yeah, maybe I can beat top player in Grand Slam.

It took me little time, and step by step, I did it step by step by coming back into the top 10, by making first quarter, French, first semifinal.

But for sure this match was important for my career. Then if I’m surprised, yes and no. I’m surprised for sure with what I did winning two Grand Slam. For me it’s… (Discussion about Evian bottle of water.)

Yeah, I’m surprised what I have achieved, for sure, by winning two Grand Slam and being in final again. If I’m surprised? I’m not really surprised to see that the big four have won everything, because it’s been more than ten years.

So if you take out two years it’s still eight years. So during eight years I was looking at them, semifinal, final, every year. So I’m not surprised, because they just — they have been in different level than every other player.

Q. After the match against Del Potro you mentioned that you were a bit tight in your adductor. How was that tonight? Because, if I’m right, I think you have been on the court double the time in this tournament.
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, no, I feel good. I feel good. I was quite tired after Del Potro match. I had some, yeah, normal — I was tired the next day, but I didn’t practice. I did just some fitness. I did what I do when I spend too much time on the court. That mean no tennis and just focus on recovery.

But today I was feeling good. I had no pain so far. I’m quite happy with my body where I am, and we will see now in two days. It’s always gonna come later. Hopefully I’m going to be fresh enough with Novak who didn’t have too much time on the court.

Q. You played twice as long as Novak, but today he was compromised by the weather situation; physically was troubled by it. Do you think that stamina will have anything to do with Sunday’s final?
STAN WAWRINKA: Let’s see. I think the fact he didn’t spend too much time on the court compared to myself, I don’t think it’s gonna change much for what I’m going to do and who I’m going to be.

Was struggling with some injury problem before the tournament, so it helped him to be a little bit better. Also didn’t give him in so much time on the court, match time. You can practice as much as you want. Match is not the same.

And we saw today, it was interesting match to see, but Novak is a strong guy. He’s mentally a beast. Is not easy to play him. I’m sure he’s gonna bring him best tennis for the final.

Q. In recent years you and Djokovic are the most exciting matchup in tennis. Why do you think is it? Styles of play match or do your personalities match?
STAN WAWRINKA: Well, I think a little bit of the style of how we play. I think the matchup always been interesting to see because the way we are playing. I’m trying to be aggressive. I can play really hard.

He is amazing defender. And also, where we start. We started with five-set match in Australia a few years ago, 10-8. I was maybe one of the only player who start dominate in two sets and didn’t finish it. I was dominating the match.

And then if you look, then I played my first semifinal in Grand Slam against him here and again five sets. So for sure the fact that we play some long match and some crazy battle puts something different.

Q. Your matchup is not only a particular matchup, but matchup for life. He made you better and you make him better. (Indiscernible.)
STAN WAWRINKA: I’m not sure if I made him better. I think he only lost against me in French Open. I think he’s so good that he always find a way to be better. For sure he made me better. That’s for sure.

Him, because that’s the player I played that well in crazy match in the Grand Slam the first time. And not only him, but the big four, for sure. They made me better. The fact that I tried practice always with them, tried to see what they are doing.

My goal is to push myself until the limit where I can go to be the better player I want. I can. With them, every time I step on the court, even if they are way better in their career, I always have something I need to tell myself. Maybe I can beat them. You need to find a way. If you lose, it’s okay. You go back to practice.

That’s what happened with them. I saw so many players not even thinking they can beat them when they step on the court. I always try to believe in something, that maybe one day I can beat them, and that’s what happen in the past few years.

Q. When you play in a big match at a Grand Slam like today or Sunday against Novak, how important is it for you to be able to rely on your backhand?
STAN WAWRINKA: I don’t see that way. I feel it when I step on the court, how I feel, how I’m going to play, is my backhand going to be there.

But for sure when I play my best tennis my backhand is there, because that’s where I put a lot on my game, on it. But it can happen that sometimes at the beginning of the match my backhand is not there and I need to find other solution.

So I don’t expect my backhand to be at the top since — from the beginning.

Q. You won ten finals in a row.
STAN WAWRINKA: That’s good.

Q. What that means? Is that you’re so confident? And also, you’re so concentrated that every time you play an important match, not just because you put your finger in your head, that you’re concentrated. You do well. Is that the reason, or… Coincidence? Confidence?
STAN WAWRINKA: I won 10 in a row the last two years, and before that I lost many.

So I think it’s part of my career, the way I became a better player. I start to believe better in myself and take more confidence.

Again, as I say, normally when I arrive in the final, I’m full of confidence with myself and what I do during one week or two weeks in that tournament. I know that I can play my best tennis.

Again, I can lose Sunday. It’s still gonna be good to be ten and lose the eleventh one. But in general I know when I arrive in final I’m ready to play my best tennis, and that’s what I’m looking for. That’s what I’m trying to do.

But, again, now, when you play Novak, even playing your best tennis you can also lose. So it’s gonna be, I hope, a big match, and hopefully I can keep winning.

 

 

 

 

Laura Siegemund

Mate Pavic

Press Conference

SIEGEMUND-PAVIC/Vandeweghe-Ram

6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations. I have heard it described as a blind date. I don’t know if you know what that term means, but start out first, can you each tell me what it means to be a Grand Slam champion?
LAURA SIEGEMUND: Well, at this point, yeah, me personally I can’t really believe it yet. It hasn’t really hit me.

I mean, I’m just stunned a little bit at this point. I’m very happy. I think we played a great match today. We did play a great tournament. All the other matches were, yeah, very solid also in the important situations, although we never played together.

So it’s just amazing that even in the finals we could just play the same, you know, stay focused and stick to the system that was working the whole week.

He was, as the British say, cool as a cucumber. He was cooler than me maybe at times. (Smiling.) I was very glad about that.

Q. And your thoughts on being a Grand Slam champion?
MATE PAVIC: Well, it still has to settle down a little bit. I’m still kind of not feeling it at the moment. But, no, I mean, like she said, it was a great week for us. Maybe the story how we ended up playing together, you know, maybe that helped a little bit, because we had no expectations at all, you know.

We just kind of not sure we were gonna play or not. Maybe that helped a little bit.

Yeah, we played all the matches very solid, very good. It was a fun week. It was great.

Q. Can you talk about how you guys came together? I have heard the story, but I’d like to hear it from you guys. Like I say, it’s almost like the perfect blind date.
LAURA SIEGEMUND: Yeah, it’s really kind of a blind date. Honestly, I didn’t know him before. We don’t have too many combined events and I’m just starting to play the big ones, combined events. I have never seen him or heard his name.

I was not sure if I was gonna play because I wasn’t feeling very well at that point. But I still — I mean, I love the game of mixed, so I really wanted to play.

It was still a week till the first match of mixed, so I was hoping that someone would, you know, trust me that I would maybe get better. He was the only one that was very relaxed about the situation and also didn’t have a partner yet. So he didn’t have a lot of options. The cut is kind of high. Weren’t really a lot of girls around that were looking, so… (Smiling.)

MATE PAVIC: I was stuck with her.

LAURA SIEGEMUND: It turned out quite well in the end. So, yeah, that was the situation. And then even when I played my other matches — I had to retire from doubles. It was a day I couldn’t move.

And then singles was hard on me. And even after the singles he thought, I think, that I was maybe just gonna retire and just go home to get better.

MATE PAVIC: Yeah.

LAURA SIEGEMUND: I remember the text like the next — or after my singles. He’s like, So, are we gonna play tomorrow? I was like, Yeah, let’s do it. (Smiling.)

Q. Laura, until a year or two ago you were still juggling tennis and school. Now you are able to focus completely on tennis. How much has that helped your game?
LAURA SIEGEMUND: Honestly, I really think it always helped my game a lot if I had not only tennis on my mind. I kind of need some balance is what I found out for myself. So this season was a little bit tough for me because it was the first time after a couple of years where I had only tennis. Only thing I focused on.

So a great year, of course. Looking at the rankings, also and this title now.

But it is difficult for me. I feel like I need some time off, and if it’s not studying or coaching what I did before, I kind of, you know, make hobbies or whatever. I just take time for other things, which is really important for me.

But, yeah, the first season back full-time pro, it’s a good season.

Q. How do you celebrate winning a Grand Slam? What are both of your plans for tonight?
MATE PAVIC: I don’t know. I have a flight tomorrow evening, so I have the whole night to think about it. Probably go somewhere and celebrate. I don’t know. Don’t know yet.

LAURA SIEGEMUND: I trust his crew to have a good location. They said they have a good location; we just need to win. So we did it.

Q. Celebrating with strangers, right?
LAURA SIEGEMUND: Well, no. I mean, we kind of got to know the Croatian crew a little bit through the week.

Q. What do you think? Is this the beginning of something beautiful together?
LAURA SIEGEMUND: On my side, yes. I don’t know how you feel about it.

MATE PAVIC: Of course, yeah.

LAURA SIEGEMUND: Well, I think we should definitely play more together, and is also the matter of the cut.

MATE PAVIC: Hopefully we will get in Australia and maybe try there also to play.

Q. Just talk about the match today, also.
MATE PAVIC: I think it was a good match. It was very good. They are good. They are solid. They both serving good. Coco is also serving good for the girl. All the other matches the girls were not really serving that good or hitting the ball that good.

I think we were — like I said before, she’s returning very good for the girl, you know. So all the matches that we played, we broke the guy’s serve a lot of times. Like even today Rajeev was serving and we broke his serve twice.

Was putting the balls back, returning good, makes the guy feel pressure and he has to win those games and then it’s not easy to make the point. So I think that make a huge difference in all the matches that we played so far.

Q. Do you guys think the cut system needs to be changed? To me it sounds ridiculous that the US Open champions might not be able to play the Australian Open.
MATE PAVIC: Yeah. Yeah, maybe right. I don’t know if they should change it or not, but usually the cuts are very strong because they always look at the better rankings.

Also depends on a lot of singles guys and girls also, if they sign or not if they want to play.

LAURA SIEGEMUND: Me, personally, yeah, I think it’s hard. I had the situation for quite sometime that I really wanted to play mixed, but I was just out of the cut.

The group of people that have the ranking for that, they are kind of set with each other for a long time already. So if you’re coming from outside it’s very hard to get into that group unless you’re like pushing your own ranking up so much.

So, yeah, I really think it’s a little bit sad, yeah, that even we would have to see now if we get in in the Australian Open, for example. Yeah.

Q. Winning a Grand Slam, what does this do for your confidence moving over to men’s doubles tournaments going forward for the rest of the season?
MATE PAVIC: Well, I don’t know. We will see. It feels great. Of course it’s gonna give you confidence winning a Grand Slam. Even if it’s a mixed doubles, it’s still amazing feeling, you know.

So I had a good year so far. I won like four ATPs. So we’ll see. I hope to just continue like that. Get my ranking a little bit better. My goal is to get top 30 by end of the year to get to the majors of Masters 1000s and all these events. We will see how does it do.

Q. Laura, the same question. Just in terms of obviously being a Grand Slam champion now, what does this do for your confidence and also your goals going forward?
LAURA SIEGEMUND: Um, well, yeah, as he said, it’s always a push in the confidence winning a big thing like that. I think you learn — as a girl, I learn a lot about doubles playing the mixed. I mean, it’s just — everything is faster, even faster than if you play girls doubles, for example.

So you really learn to pick the spots and not be afraid at the net maybe. I mean, I learned a lot this week also where to move and all that, so I think I can use that in the women’s doubles.

Although it’s still a different game. I mean, it is different. But I definitely try to take that, you know, swing into the last tournaments of the year, yeah.

 

More to follow as the day progresses….

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Djokovic, Monfils, Wozniacki and Kerber Reach US Open Semifinals

20-Monfils split bh

 

(September 6, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – A focused Gael Monfils reached his first major semifinal in 8 years on Tuesday, when he beat French countryman Lucas Pouille 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.

Monfils, known for hitting some spectacular shots, took a shot at the media in questioning how he plays on court.

 

“If, today, you know, I drop my racquet and I do a slide you will say I will entertain people, you know, no matter what. Sometime I can hear that — someone told me that my shoe laces, you know, it was one point on perfect win, clean win against Baghdatis. You make it up. Oh, like he’s doing a show.

“Or if I do a trick shot, one, and still kill it, you will say, I’m a showman. So, you know, this one, with all the respect to everyone, is you guys to put me on the spot.

“Today I think I haven’t the chance to do it, but Lucas, hit two good tweeners. I don’t think you will tell him he tried to entertain.”

“I dive because I want to win the point,” the No. 10 seed said. “Definitely I want to win the point. When you make the show, honestly, it’s to entertain, but it’s (also) to win. So what’s the point to make the show and lose, actually?”

“That’s why people think, ‘Oh, he’s jumping, he’s sliding.’ In the end, you think I’m stupid?”

 

The 24th seed Pouille ran out of gas after three straight five-set matches.

“Of course I was a bit tired today,” he said. “I played four matches, one in four sets, and then all three in five.

“So, yeah, it would have been better if I played a bit less time on court. It’s okay. I did my best today. Gaël was playing very good. He’s physically very fit. He’s moving so well. And I think, as I said after Nadal’s match, he’s in very good form.

“Yeah, I think he was better than me today.”

Monfils will have a tough task ahead for his semifinal match. He’ll take on No. 1 Novak Djokovic, a man he has never beaten. He’s 0-12 against the Serb.

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

Djokovic beat another of Monfils’ countrymen, ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, when Tsonga retired with a left knee injury down 6-3, 6-2.

Djokovic has only played nine full sets this tournament, two full matches – his second round opponent withdrew, his third round opponent retired after six games and Tsonga retired after 2 sets in his quarterfinal match.

The 12-time major winner has now reched his 10th straight US Open semifinal.

 

Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki

Coming to the US Open, former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki was ranked No. 74 in the world, stemming from time off due to an injury combined with some bad results. She’s made a run to the semifinals beating an injured Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 6-0, 6-2. It’s the first time the Dane has reached the semis since 2014, fifth time overall.

Sevastova twisted her right ankle in the second game of the match, which left her hobbled for the rest of the match.

“It feels great,” the Dane said about reached the semifinals. “It’s a tournament that I love. I love being here. Life playing in this incredible stadium.”

“I think I was just extra focused, because I saw her fall in that second game,” she said. “She stood up, and I knew if she can still walk and still put weight on it and stuff then she’s going to go obviously more for her shots and stuff like that.

“But I thought, cool. I kept serving well and made her run. I’m pleased with how I managed to keep composed.”

 

“I’m not a person that likes to retire during a match, so I just tried my best,” said the Latvian.

“But the movement was different. It was harder to move. And also on serve it was harder to get out of the serve.”

“It’s tough to end like that, but, yeah, it’s tennis. I could have played amazing but still lost. It would hurt more, I think.

“But now, ankle, yeah. I have to stop and have to take time off. It was still great two weeks.”

Angelique Kerber photo courtesy of MiamiTennisNews.com

Angelique Kerber photo courtesy of MiamiTennisNews.com

Wozniacki will play No. 2 Angelique Kerber for a spot in the final. Kerber had a tough opening set, but then won the last nine games of the match to stop last year’s losing US Open finalist Roberta Vinci of Italy 7-5, 6-0 bothered by an injury.

“I think the key of the match was the first set,” Kerber said. “I mean, it was really close and tough. It’s always difficult to play against Roberta.

“I mean, she’s a tough opponent with her slice. Yeah, I was trying to staying in the match and not thinking that I’m the break down. Just going for it, yeah.

“Keeping my mind a little bit relaxed, and, yeah, staying in the moment. I think that was my key also like for the first set to being a little bit more relax and had not too negative, actually.”

 

Kerber, who has a chance to move past Serena Williams and become No. 1, will be playing her third major semifinal this year. She beat Williams in the final of the Australian Open.

 

“I’m not thinking about quarters, semis, or whatever,” Kerber said. “I’m just going there to playing a good match and to win the match.

“I know that I can beat everybody, and this is what gives me also a lot of confidence and motivation for going out there and playing with a lot of emotion.”

 

More to follow….

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Day 5 of the US Open – In Their Own Words

Jack Sock

Jack Sock

(September 2, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Posting player interviews throughout the day when allowed.

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

Transcripts of player interviews cannot be posted until one (1) hour after the interview has ended. Player transcripts can only be posted on the website of the publication that was accredited.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Caroline Wozniacki

Press Conference

C. WOZNIACKI/M. Niculescu

6-3, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How does it feel to be into the second week of a slam once again?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: It feels good. It’s been a good week so far. I’m excited to have gotten so many matches on Ashe. I’m happy to be here just being healthy and playing well.

Q. She has a pretty unique game style. Do you feel like her dropshots are an offensive weapon or sort of a defensive shot?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: To be honest, you’re just trying to focus on yourself, because once you start focusing on her your game will fall apart. You’ll feel really bad about yourself.

She’s a frustrating player to play. She plays very smart. It’s a complete different game style than what I or anyone is used to. I just tried to keep my head cool.

I mean, she had some good dropshots. That’s the way she kind of moves the opponent in. If you’re a little too late she will do a lob, and that’s even more frustrating because you feel like a little kid being schooled and running back and forth.

But I think I managed that pretty well today. I think I won quite a few of those dropshots.

Q. When you’re using your own dropshots offensive or —
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Oh, for sure. When you do a dropshot it’s because you have the time and because you want to win the point.

Q. How do you feel about your game right now? What are you most satisfied with?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think today I was just satisfied with how I just managed to focus the whole way through.

But I have been pretty pleased with the way I have been quite close to the baseline, just kind of moving the ball around.

Q. Is there something different when you come back here because you have had your best successes at this tournament? Do things feel a little bit different when you arrive here to start a tournament here?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Oh, 100%. It feels great to be back here. It feels like my back garden and everything feels so familiar and everybody is so friendly and so nice.

You know, all these things help you just play better, as well, when you feel welcome at a place.

I think everyone is so just respectful, as well. You see the same faces year in and year out, which is nice.

Q. How difficult has 2016 been for you? You’re still regarded as one of the marquee players of the women’s tour and yet your ranking at the moment doesn’t suggest that.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, to be honest with you, I’m not that worried about the ranking at this point. I’m just happy to be healthy and back playing.

It’s been a rough year because I haven’t been able to catch a break from injuries basically. Every time I have come back something else has been hurting. Knock on wood, right now I’m feeling good. Everything is feeling good.

I’m hoping I can keep this up for the end of the year and hopefully start fresh next year.

Q. Going back to your prior answer, the comfort level that you have here, is that largely because of the success you have had at this tournament, or is it just simply because you love New York so much?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think it’s a combination. I love New York, and that’s helped me play better here.

Knowing I have played better here and I can do it again. I think the court suits me well. The ball goes through the air very quickly, but the court kind of slows it down a little bit.

So it fits my game well. I can run a lot of balls down. But at the same time, I can get a lot out of my shots, as well.

Yeah, and then it’s always fun. I find it a lot more fun when I get to play on the big courts.

Q. Speaking of the big courts, players have voiced some concern about the noise level at Arthur Ashe. Was it disturbing at all for you?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No. I don’t think it’s disturbing. I played the other day on Ashe, as well, with a big crowd. I loved it.

Personally, I think it’s great when you have that buzz.

And also Grandstand was really noisy the other day and loud. People were getting into it. I think that’s what makes the US Open fun and different to the other tournaments, is that people are having a blast and love the tennis and love to cheer everyone on.

Q. In addition to feeling comfortable here, do you also think that you came into this tournament specifically a little bit more amped up compared to when you went into Wimbledon or French Open and the Aussie, and why?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Oh, for sure. Having to skip the whole clay season and still not feeling 100% going into grass, I mean, I think — I have to start somewhere, and I started on the grass thinking, I’m going to get some matches here and that’s going to get me really into the hard court season and I will be 100% ready for that.

So I went into the grass season just trying to get momentum going. Then hurting myself in Washington wasn’t really part of the plan. Then I only play New Haven basically as the US Open Series.

I was like, You know what? I’m just going to take it as it comes. I know that I’m going to get a tough opponent early on in the draw. If I play well, I know I can beat her and then it can open up for me a little bit.

You know, coming in here I have been hitting it well in practice, so it’s all about the mental now. My body feels good, so there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to play well here.

Q. Were you ever instructed not to use dropshots on this surface versus some other surfaces when you were coming up as a player?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: To use what?

Q. Dropshot on the hard court versus some other surface. Have you ever been told not to use them on hard court?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Everyone always tells me, Do not use your dropshot. (Laughter.) I will hit a good dropshot once in a while, but then I will do some horrible dropshots, too.

I think I get a little bit overconfident once I make one good dropshot and I start wanting to using it too much. I have just been told, Do not use your dropshot.

I will use it on a rare occasion when I feel really good or when I see there is a big opening. But, yeah, I think on a wet clay court where it doesn’t bounce or on grass it’s actually a very effective shot.

Here you really have to place it well because the ball bounces up.

Q. In regard to your article in Players’ Tribune, what was it like going back recollecting all those memories? How did you feel?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think it feels great. You go through the process of processing everything that’s happened to this day and in my career. I really wanted also to just thank everyone who has been there from the start.

I think it also — a lot of the players came up to me and, You know what? Thank you so much. You’re a big inspiration to us because we travel with parents and we can really relate to everything that you have written.

You know, I think a lot of people don’t realize that side of things. I think it’s also — you know, I think it’s nice for young kids having a dream to know, you know, what we have been going through, as well.

Q. No matter what happens out on the court now, either way your next opponent will be a fairly different player than what you just finished with. Give me your impressions.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Both are big hitters and big servers. Both have big forehands. It’s actually very similar game styles.

I’ll need to retrieve well and keep good depth on my shots and serve well. Yeah, I just need to fight for every point.

Q. You were saying that, yeah, it’s been a snake-bitten year in terms of injuries so you haven’t had the match play. But you have been spending time on the rehab circuit. In this point of the season, in September, do you feel like — it’s the September of the tennis season — do you feel you have more or less energy? Where is that all at?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think I’m definitely more fresh than the other players probably at this point. I think definitely going into Asia, usually that’s when you mentally start falling apart.

I think I will definitely be more fresh than everyone else. That’s why I have chosen to play a lot of tournaments at the end of the year.

It’s just like I’m feeling good. I just want to take advantage of that and kind of just play, have fun with it, and enjoy the rest of the year. No matter what happens, at this point I’m just gonna take it as momentum going into next year.

You know, as much as it’s been a rough year, it’s also been a great learning experience. I think it’s something I’ll definitely, you know, take with me into next year.

In the end of the day, whether I’m 70 or 30 in the world, it really doesn’t matter. If I’m not top 10 or seeded every tournament, it really doesn’t matter.

I can beat anyone on a good day and people can beat me if they play really well. But I just believe in myself right now, and hopefully I can do well here first.

Q. You’re obviously very familiar with Arthur Ashe Stadium. You said the noise didn’t bother you. Any other adjustments you had to make with the roof and all the changes?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think the only adjustment is the shade. We are not used to having the shade on that court, and it can be difficult to see because it’s really — it’s come down really strong. It’s the same for both players and you really just kind of adapt.

So but other than that, it’s kind of nice sometimes when it’s hot to be standing in the shot. I’m like, oh, it’s probably 15 degrees cooler here than it is on the other side, so I’ll just let her run a little bit more. (Laughter.)

Roberta Vinci

Press Conference

R. VINCI/C. Witthoeft

6-0, 5-7, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. The first set was 6-Love. The other sets were 5-7 and 6-3. Was there a discernible difference between the first set and the others?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, I played a great first set, 6-Love, but there was always tight.

The second set was 5-3-up, 5-4, 30-Love, and so many chance to win the match. I lost that game, and then a little bit confusion and a little bit nervous. I lost the second set.

On my mind I say, Okay. Forget the second set. Try to play like the first set. Yeah, I won. She’s a great player. I never play against her, so was first match between us.

She’s young, but I think she played a great match.

Q. Are you part of the U.S. Olympic team now? What’s with the shirt?
ROBERTA VINCI: You like it? (Smiling.)

Q. Yeah, as an American.
ROBERTA VINCI: I’m not American, eh?

Q. Where did you get the shirt? How did you get the shirt?
ROBERTA VINCI: In New Haven, I think.

Q. Did you trade with somebody?
ROBERTA VINCI: No, but I like. Is Nike. Is okay, okay?

Q. In Australia you were kind enough to tell us that your old uncle, your Italian uncle, Leonardo, had given you advice before the Australian Open. Did your Uncle Leonardo give you some advice before the US Open this tournament?
ROBERTA VINCI: Leonardo DaVinci. He’s my uncle. Still my uncle.

No. I’m joking, eh? (Laughter.)

Yes, he’s my uncle and also my second coach, okay? What do you think, better? Okay.

Q. What is your philosophy of dropshots?
ROBERTA VINCI: Is my style. I don’t know. I play like this for a long time when I was young, so I love to play this kind of tennis. I don’t have a two-hand backhand, so this is my tennis.

I love to play like this.

Q. Do you find it almost as effective on a hard court as clay or grass?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, I prefer to play on hard court, yes. On clay you have to run a lot, and also, when you play on hard court…

Q. I mean using the dropshot.
ROBERTA VINCI: It depends. It depends on the opponent and depends if I feeling good, if I’m in confidence, a lot of things. Doesn’t matter. On clay or hard court, the same.

Q. What’s your approach this year after having had such a high moment last year in the semifinal?
ROBERTA VINCI: A lot of pressure, of course, but I try to enjoy, to play match by match, don’t think that I have a lot of points to defend, just play my tennis, and play aggressive.

Right now I won three great matches, and stay focused for the next round. We will see. I know it’s tough to repeat the final like last year, but you never know.

Q. You said after your first-round match that you knew you had gotten 60 points for the win. How aware are you of the weekly rankings and how much each win earns new ranking points?
ROBERTA VINCI: I think a lot about the ranking, about the points. Right now I don’t know how many points I won today, really. I’m not joking, but I think a lot.

But I want to continue. I want to play another great match for the next round, and then we will see. I don’t want to think about the ranking right now.

Q. Now that you’re in the second week, is the feeling that you have right now relief or excitement or how do you feel about it?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, I’m so happy, of course, but I’m a little bit tired. I’m not so good with my foot. Of course happy but I’m so-and-so right now.

Tomorrow, like always, a little bit of rest, just a quick practice, and then match. But of course I’m happy.

Q. One of your countrymen said the US Open was the worst of the slams. How would you rank?
ROBERTA VINCI: Why worse? No, I like. For me it’s not the worst. I love to play here, of course. I had such a great moment from last year, but also I made quarterfinal against Sara one year. I won one title in doubles. I love to play here.

Q. Is it your favorite?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yes.

Q. You won your doubles title, as you mentioned, on Louis Armstrong. Is there anything special you like about that court?
ROBERTA VINCI: I like that court, yes. It’s a big court, of course, but when you stay on the court it’s small. I don’t know if you understand me.

But, yeah, we won there in the final. Yeah, the center court is the best, but I have great memory also from Armstrong. When I saw yesterday the schedule, I was happy that I play, yes, on Armstrong first match.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Press Conference

J. TSONGA/K. Anderson

6-3, 6-4, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you talk about the challenges of facing a player who is as tall as Kevin is and how you were so successful in winning the match and combatting those challenges?
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: Anyways, it’s never easy to play that kind of player. He’s serving well. He’s also moving well from his baseline for his height.

Yeah, today it was a good challenge for me to beat him. I did it well, for sure.

I am maybe also a good server, so was tough for him, too. Yeah, it’s always a big challenge because you never know what to expect. Sometimes they can serve and serve and serve and you never return, but anyway, today I did it well. It was a good match for me.

Johanna Konta

Press Conference

J. KONTA/B. Bencic

6-2, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Could you tell us how you recovered from other day and how satisfied you were with your performance today?
JOHANNA KONTA: I think I’m still constantly working on recovering. I think it’s a management process more than anything.

But I feel good. I feel well enough to play. I’m really happy with how I was able to just really focus on the match at hand and the work at hand and then put all else out of my mind.

Q. Did you practice much yesterday or completely rest?
JOHANNA KONTA: No, I did. I hit about 25 minutes or so. I warmed up one of the other players for their match.

Q. Can it be freeing in some way to be in a pressure situation in a match to come through it? I know some players feel that anything after that is a bonus.
JOHANNA KONTA: I didn’t really look at it like that for me. I actually tried to look at it as a great opportunity to manage the situation that I had. It was a slightly new situation, the aftermath of it, and even today and now obviously I have one more chance to come out and play.

Obviously I think I’m just looking at it as a chance to be grateful for the circumstance I have and the other chance just to improve.

Q. She didn’t really seem to do any of the sort of tricks and dropshots that we expect from her. I guess you didn’t give her time.
JOHANNA KONTA: I think, yeah, I felt I did a good job just, you know, staying focused on the things I want to execute and how I wanted to play. I definitely made it hard for her to get into the match, I felt.

But, yeah, I think for me it was just really about focusing on things on my end.

Q. How big was it is to get out of there in 52 minutes after what had happened yesterday?
JOHANNA KONTA: I didn’t really look at the time. I think, again – I know it sounds very repetitive – but my sole focus was just to focus on myself, focus on my breathing and focus on really simplifying the match into just each point being its own battle and trying to win as many of those as I could and really just simplify the game into giving my best and see where that took me.

Q. Presumably it’s better to do it in 52 minutes than an hour and 52 minutes.
JOHANNA KONTA: I think both scenarios have good and bad things.

Q. Can you be a bit more specific? When you say you’re recovering, did you mean physically or psychologically or in what way?
JOHANNA KONTA: In every way. I think it was quite a traumatic experience. You know, I’m just still, you know, working on getting better. I think the best I can do for myself is move on from it, and I felt I did that.

Yeah, I focused on the match that I had today, and now I feel very lucky that I have got another chance to focus on the match I will have on Sunday.

Q. You defended your ranking points for last year now. Was that something on your mind at all, or were you just simply taking it one match at a time?
JOHANNA KONTA: Definitely one match at a time. I wasn’t thinking about that. The ranking points, they come and go every week. I definitely can’t live on my results here last year.

I was really, I really am enjoying the tournament now this year for what it is.

Q. What do you know about your next opponent?
JOHANNA KONTA: I don’t know who it is.

Q. Sevastova.
JOHANNA KONTA: I have played her once before actually in my first Australian Open qualifying, so I do know her and I have been on court with her. That was a number of years ago. She’s obviously playing very good tennis. She is a very good player. I have a lot of respect for her.

Yeah, hopefully we’ll have a good match.

Q. This is still the first big tournament that you had a good result in last year. How special is it just in general not thinking about having to defend points?
JOHANNA KONTA: I do love the US Open. I do have a lot of firsts here. It was the first time I got to play — qualify, sorry, not play — first time I got to qualify into the main draw. It was the first slam I went deeper in, as well.

So, yeah, no, I definitely think the US Open has got its own vibe, its own organized chaos. I think there is a lot of enjoyments players take from that.

Q. Do you feel it kind of vibes with your personality? How do you approach the New York atmosphere?
JOHANNA KONTA: I think it’s always a great challenge. I think if you can stay focused and calm and, yeah, just really focused on the work at hand here, you can make it anywhere. (Laughter.)

Q. After the other day, did you go and do something fun to take your mind off of it, or was it a case of having to be full-on recovery?
JOHANNA KONTA: Yeah, number one was my health and number one was just taking care of that. So it was just eating and sleeping.

Q. Have the medics told you how long it will take you to recover fully from all of this?
JOHANNA KONTA: No, because it’s not — it’s not — it wasn’t something like that. I got checked in terms of my heart and everything and everything looked good. Everything’s fine.

I think it’s something that will obviously just be getting better. It will be absolutely fine hopefully by tomorrow or when I get the chance to have a little bit of a rest.

I mean, right now I really do feel good. Yeah, just moving on from it.

Q. Have you gotten a chance to follow some of the tournaments of your fellow UK players on the men’s side? Some of them have been having some pretty good runs here.
JOHANNA KONTA: Yeah, I saw three of them are in and Dan won. I saw three of them are still in. Yeah, that’s really exciting. Hopefully Kyle will have a good match today. I saw he’s playing.

But, yeah, that’s good.

Jack Sock

Press Conference

J. SOCK/M. Cilic

6-4, 6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. A couple of months ago you were running for president…
JACK SOCK: Still running for president.

Q. What kind of stock is raised here at the round of 16?
JACK SOCK: I think it can only help my campaign. It’s been a good year. I think I’m the only one running so I’m in good position now.

Yeah, no, it’s been good fun, and hopefully everyone helps.

Q. Are you a better player now than you were, say, a year ago? In what ways?
JACK SOCK: I’d like to think so, yeah. I mean, I think with every year, every tournament, I mean, every experience can only help. I think just all around I think I’m putting things together better and better. I definitely feel more confident out there in everything I’m doing.

Used to be some liabilities people would talk about in my game. I feel like I have cleaned those up pretty well. Returning was big for me. I think I’ve gotten a pretty good hold on that. Feeling comfortable. Getting in a lot of guys’ service games now.

Overall I feel my purpose out there. I’m executing it well and I feel like I know what I’m going to do on almost every point.

Q. I asked you the other day about the feeling of being in the third round. Same question, different round. Especially at this tournament – you have done it before – but to do it here, does it feel like more of an accomplishment? Do you still feel like you have that hunger to go further?
JACK SOCK: I mean, yeah, always. I made third round here a couple of times. For me to make the second week here and every slam going forward is my goal. I feel like if I’m playing good tennis and how I can, I feel like that’s kind of where I belong.

You know, I was able to piece it together today well and play a good match. Always happy to get through the next round, but definitely the hunger and excitement is that much and more. I think every round you make you want to keep going and keep playing good tennis, especially in front of your home fans here.

Not really a better feeling through the year than being an American at this tournament. So, yeah, obviously I want to keep playing and go as far as I can go.

Q. What did you take from your comeback against him the last time that you put into action so well today?
JACK SOCK: Yeah, I mean, obvious tactical stuff when I’m out there playing, but more so the confidence and everything. First tie of that rubber, or first rubber of that tie, and, you know, I got down two sets. To come back and get three there and get us off to a good start, it only gave me confidence, you know, going into the summer because it’s kind of the first — you know, it was the kickstart of the summer for me.

And obviously against, you know, that opponent. And then playing him today, took a lot of stuff away from that. Watched some video of it. And, yeah, used what I did well there in the last three sets again today and it worked out.

Q. How much of your success now at this Open is the more mature Jack Sock as opposed to past years?
JACK SOCK: I would contribute a lot of it to it. Yeah, maybe in the past years maybe I was — like he was saying, I was happy to make third round and, you know, kind of whatever happens, happens.

But I feel like definitely more, you know, on a mission this year, you know, like I have been at most tournaments. Going forward, like I said, I feel like where my tennis is and confidence, you know, how I can play, my goal is to be competing to win tournaments that I’m playing instead of, you know, just content with making a quarter or whatever tournament it is.

Yeah, definitely on a mission now to compete to try to be winning these tournaments I’m playing.

Q. First of all, what was that song you were playing?
JACK SOCK: That was Luke Combs, Hurricane. Great song.

Q. I will download that. The other one was can you describe the emotions at the end of that match and what were you doing there? Was that a Ickey Shuffle?
JACK SOCK: No, I was fencing with my racquet. I became good buddies in Rio with one of the fencers, Miles Chamley-Watson. He lives here in New York. I have been trying to get him to come out and watch a match. He was busy doing his stuff.

He was able to come out here today. Kind of on the spot I thought of turning the racquet into — I think it’s called a foil? Is that what they call it? Thought of turning the racquet into one of those and doing something for him for coming out. I think people were enjoying it. I have seen the video. It looks pretty funny, actually.

Yeah, so if he’s in the box on the next one and I’m able to win, you might see a cleaned up technique and better version of it.

Q. Obviously some good recent results against Cilic. Could you talk about the importance of matchups in tennis? Are they critical? What kind of players do you match up against well and who not so much?
JACK SOCK: That’s a tough question. I mean, I don’t know. It’s kind of circumstantial. I mean, you can say you match up well against a guy, but if they are having a great day and you are having a little bit of an off day — you’re at these tournaments and everyone is in the draw for a reason and everyone is a professional tennis player for a reason.

So I think anybody can beat anybody on any given day. And, yeah, you can say I really match up well against this guy, but if you’re a little bit off, these guys are too good at this level. They’ll take advantage and they can get you.

Yeah, I mean, today I feel like playing a guy like that he likes everything, you know, in the slot and he dictates really well if he’s on the baseline and moving the ball around. That’s how he won this tournament a couple years ago.

That’s why I tried to do. Today big for me was the variety. A lot of kick serves trying to get out of the strike zone and keep him on the move and throw on some slice. Was able to work well, especially with the windy conditions.

Yeah, that’s kind of my game style going up against anybody, and hopefully it works.

Q. I want to follow up on what you said earlier about improving your returns. You sort of made a passing reference to people talking about maybe that being a part of your game that wasn’t as good as other aspects. Wondering, first of all, is that something you sort of heard in the outside world or somebody close to you said, Hey, you’ve got to improve this? And how did you improve your return?
JACK SOCK: I mean, I think you can always improve every part of your game. I only say that because when I got to play a match or people like to talk about my tennis, they talk about serving and forehand is what I hear all the time.

So obviously, you know, when I’m playing guys the general public like to talk about maybe the weaker side being my backhand and all that. I think I have improved it tremendously. Serve big and maybe getting into a lot of breakers and not being able to get in guys’ service games.

I feel like that’s changed dramatically as well. Feel very comfortable returning. I think the doubles helped a lot. Even the week in Rio I was returning really, really well, and I’m taking that in, that confidence, and kind of just that flow and rhythm into all these matches. I think it’s showing.

Yeah, I think when you can hold comfortably and, you know, you’re in a lot of guys’ service games, it only makes it that much easier out there.

Q. Tsonga next. I think you played only once and on clay. Perhaps you wouldn’t pull anything from that. If you do, what do you take from that match and what’s an opponent like him offering?
JACK SOCK: Yeah, you know, he’s a very established player. Been in the top 10o for a long time and had great success at tournaments of all levels and I’m going to have to obviously bring out my best stuff again to have a chance.

But it’s sort of similar to today. I think he’s a guy who likes to lean on the ball. Likes to be attacking and dictating. If I can throw some variety in there, serve well again, and get into some return games, the chances go up for me.

Yeah, I mean, we play a similar style, I think. We both look for forehands to dictate points, and I think it will kind of be whoever can get that first attacking position with that side, and then serving will also a big part of it.

He serves well. We both look to get easy points on that.

Q. (Question regarding decision to stop playing doubles.)
JACK SOCK: Max told me I couldn’t play any more doubles. It was the team, collective decision within the team. It was personal experiences, you know, where I felt like it’s kind of hindered my play in singles.

But also, even playing with Vasek the last couple years, last year Wimbledon, played five sets against Troicki; down two sets to love. Same day we were down two sets to love in doubles; we came back and lost in five.

So we played ten sets in one day. Two days later played Murray in the quarters and kind of ran out of gas. Had opportunities in the quarters of a slam in singles. You know, had he not played five more sets that day and gotten the rest.

For me here last year, I got my first round win. Was here till 9:30, 10:00 playing doubles and put me on second the next morning. Obviously not getting the proper rest and everything you need going into those matches.

So tough decision on one end, but also easy decision on the other, where you get all your energy and rest and hydration and you just take all the necessary steps to do your best in singles. I think it’s showing. So far this year I think I’ll stick to this in the future.

Madison Keys

Press Conference

M. KEYS/N. Osaka

7-5, 4-6, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. A great win. After today and Monday, I’m starting to think you like to live on the edge. How were you able to remain calm and confident and collected down 1-5 in the final set?
MADISON KEYS: I mean, obviously those aren’t the most fun matches, but I just knew that, you know, if I stayed in the match that I could maybe have a chance to come back and get back in it.

No matter what the score was, it was always just trying to get back in the match. Once I was able to get a little bit of momentum I felt like I found my game a bit more. At that point I knew I had to kind of step up or else I was going to be going home.

Q. You were really struggling with your returns in the beginning of that third set. Just missing a few balls. It seemed like something clicked and you dug in and started hitting faster through the ball and everything. Was that intentional or adrenaline? Kind of a refuse to lose sort of thing? What do you think that is?
MADISON KEYS: I think it was a little bit of both. There was obviously not a ton of rhythm at the beginning of that set. I felt like I wasn’t returning very well. It got to a point where you’re either going to make them or you’re going to lose.

I think I kind of just took a step back and just wanted to make her play. Then I think once I did that I got a little bit of confidence back and started playing better.

Q. Moving forward, are you going to incorporate going to the net more often? I know you your game is power, but will you incorporate more going to the net and developing a net game?
MADISON KEYS: I’m definitely working on it and I’m trying to come to the net more. It obviously happens in less stressful times and when I’m feeling a little bit more relaxed.

But I’m definitely working on trying to improve that part of my game.

Q. Speaking of the net, 1-5, Love-15, you kind of stormed into the net and played those two volleys. At the time it seemed crazy but with hindsight it seemed like the moment it all changed and you started moving. What was going through your mind when you hit those shots?
MADISON KEYS: You know, I think she kind of just hit a shot that I felt like I was being pulled forward on. You know, then at that point it was just me trying to get the ball back over the net.

Once that moment kind of happened, I feel like I kind of got really fired up about it. That really helped me.

Q. When she was just a couple points from the win, what was going through your mind as your shot sailed over that net?
MADISON KEYS: I think the biggest thought was — I didn’t know if I should challenge the ball or not because I thought it was out. Then as soon as she went to hit the volley it was just kind of, Please, God, get to the ball or please go out.

Q. As you certainly know, tennis can be a very tough, brutal game. You have suffered many, many tough losses yourself. She’s just 18. By all accounts, a delightful young player. What would you say to her so this doesn’t throw her off, that she just go on?
MADISON KEYS: I think she played really well. I think at the end of the match it kind of came down to experience, being in that situation before, having lost some tough matches. It happens. You know, it just makes you stronger.

You kind of just put it in the back of your mind and use it to fuel yourself and get back out there and try to get better.

Q. Is it tough to put tough losses behind you to just go on and not bring yourself down after a tough defeat?
MADISON KEYS: Yeah, it can be. I think some losses are tougher than others. Some kind of stick around longer than others.

But at the end of the day, if you can learn something from it, then you can take it as a positive.

Q. You practiced with her. How much more did you see of her game in a match situation, and can you see playing her for years to come?
MADISON KEYS: Yeah, for sure. I practiced with her a little bit. It was probably an hour hit. So I didn’t know a ton about her, but seeing how she played today, she has a great serve and she has a great forehand. She is really aggressive, and I like how she plays.

So, for sure I think that we will see her around. I think she’s an amazing fighter, because she definitely could have given up after the middle of the second set and she didn’t.

Q. Talking about experience, how comfortable are you on Ashe right now? How do you feel like the crowd on center court has warmed up to you the more you have played on that court?
MADISON KEYS: I haven’t played many matches on Ashe, but always happy to be out there. The crowd today was amazing, and getting to play at your home slam on Ashe is a feeling like you can’t even describe.

So having that crowd support today was really incredible.

Q. Next you will probably have Wozniacki probably at night on center court. How do you think the crowd will be on that match?
MADISON KEYS: I think the crowd will be more divided seeing as she’s a finalist, but I think I will have plenty of support.

Q. Did you feel like you sort of put a little more weight or shape to your shots from that 1-5? It appears you were still hitting through the ball. Did you feel like you had your foot completely on the gas through that comeback, or did you sort of pull back a little bit and make her play?
MADISON KEYS: I think it was a little bit of a combination. I think I definitely backed off at the beginning of the third set. Wasn’t looking for forehands as much.

I knew I was going to have to play aggressive because she’s a great player and she was going to step up and try to win the match. So I knew I had to do the same.

And I think it was just a balancing act of knowing when to maybe take a little bit off of it and then when to really look for my forehand and step in.

Q. First round, two points from the loss; today, two points from the loss. You’re into the round of 16. What do you take away from the first week of kind of, yeah, giving everybody a heart attack?
MADISON KEYS: I think the biggest thing is just, you know, I’m never giving up and I’m fighting to the very end. That’s something to pat myself on the back for. But also definitely going to sit down later and work on some things for the next round because I don’t want to be two points from losing again.

Yeah, so really looking forward to trying to have straightforward matches.

Q. It will be your first meeting with Caroline Wozniacki. How do you see her as an opponent?
MADISON KEYS: I have known Caroline for a while. I don’t think we have ever really practiced or anything, but she’s obviously a great player. She loves playing at the US Open. She’s done well here. She’s going to be tough.

I think she’s playing well right now. You know, it’s always interesting once you get to the fourth round because everyone has won matches and they’re feeling very confident.

Q. You call it the best comeback of your career. Why?
MADISON KEYS: I think just because this is the biggest stage that I have done it on. I think I easily could have let a lot of emotions get in the way of, you know, being able to come back today.

Being able to kind of block out everything and just really fight through it and get back into the match, I was really proud of myself for that today.

Q. There was a week off or a couple of weeks between, but coming off of the Olympics and that experience, and I think a lot of the emotional energy that was spent in Rio and the actual energy of getting there, has it been more of a challenge than, say, coming off of a Cincinnati or a New Haven?
MADISON KEYS: I definitely think there is a difference between the Olympics and Cincinnati or New Haven. I know for me there was no chance I could have played Cincinnati. I was so emotionally tired after Rio. It was amazing. You know, it was one of the best weeks of my life, but it was definitely very draining.

So it’s been different to kind of have to come back from that and get yourself back on track after that.

Q. Your career is going beautifully. Do you feel in your gut you’re now ready to lift the trophy here on the final Saturday?
MADISON KEYS: I definitely think I have done a lot of work and that I’m here and I’m competing for that. But at the same time, it’s not really how I focus on things. I’m more concerned about fourth round against Caroline on Sunday.

So I’m not looking past that right now.

Q. You seem relatively calm despite what was going on. Did you have to make a conscious effort? If so, what did you tell yourself?
MADISON KEYS: I really just kept telling myself, Just try to stay in it. I just knew I was going to have to step up. It was one of those things where it was either step up or lose, so, you know, I knew I had to stay calm in that moment. I kind of just forced myself to.

Q. When asked about up and coming American talent, Serena Williams mentioned your name first. Many people think you’re the next superstar for American women. What do you think about that?
MADISON KEYS: I think that’s very nice of her to say (laughter). It always feels good to hear Serena say something like that. More than anything, it just makes me want to go out and keep working and trying to get better. Just because if someone who has been in her position where she’s been No. 1 for so long says that about me, you know, I really want to do my best to kind of live up to that and do everything I can to put myself in a good position.

Q. Regardless of what happens, you’ll finish the Grand Slam season having made all four second weeks this year. What about that makes you the most proud?
MADISON KEYS: Just that it was my goal to be more consistent and to make second weeks. I felt like I worked so hard at it and I was so close so many times.

So, you know, those mornings when I didn’t want to wake up at 6:15 to go to practice, those are the moments where I feel like getting through those and going out and having good practices have put me in this position.

As much as I hate it, I’m probably going to have to keep doing some of those.

Q. You have talked a lot during the summer about winning matches when you’re not playing well. Based on this week and also the whole past few months, do you feel like that’s something you’re now good at and you can now rely on that to get you through certain problems?
MADISON KEYS: Yeah, I think I have had a lot of matches where I have had to dig myself out of holes or, you know, figure out ways to win when I wasn’t playing my best.

I think I have done a really good job at that. I think that gives me a little bit of confidence when I am down, knowing that I can figure things out.

Q. What do you do to just have fun?
MADISON KEYS: Lately, I have just been taking lots of naps and watching movies. (Smiling.) Normally I like to hang out with my friends and family.

I really enjoy baking, which is tough on the road. Yeah, so whenever I’m home I feel like I’m constantly in the kitchen.

Q. What do you bake?
MADISON KEYS: I make all kinds of things.

Q. You do?
MADISON KEYS: Yes.

Q. Serena’s nice compliment about you, Serena told us about Naomi. She’s a very dangerous player. Do you think in the near or far future any rivalry between you and her?
MADISON KEYS: There definitely could be. I think she’s a great player and there are a lot of weapons that are going to get her very far. Yeah, I have no doubt she will be around and winning lots of matches.

Novak Djokovic

Press Conference

N. DJOKOVIC/M. Youzhny

4-2 (ret.)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You had perhaps a helpful rehab time, but you’re not getting matches. Which is more important?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, depends at how you look at it. This particular situation I never had in my Grand Slam career. But considering the stage of the season, you know, the amount of matches I’ve played, what I’ve been through with my body, I think it’s actually good to have some days off and then shorter matches from one side.

From the other side, sure, as you are approaching second week of the Grand Slam you want to have match play and you want to have time spent on the center court before you face one of the top players.

But, again, I’m not too concerned about my game itself. I’ve worked hard last couple days. Health-wise I feel much better than I did at the beginning of the tournament. You know, I’m confident that everything is going in the right direction.

Q. Is it a letdown emotionally to go out there? You’re all fired up to play and then all of a sudden you stop.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s not great for neither players nor the fans pay tickets to come and watch. Spent 20 minutes on the court. Of course, it’s not something you want considering, as well, the fact I haven’t played last match at all.

But it is what it is. I got an extra hour of practice on the center court. They were kind enough to allow me to practice. Got to focus on positives.

Q. Do you remember any other situation, similar situation, to this? I remember one in Rome, which is not a slam, where you played Almagro. Then Stepanek, Federer…
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was not a Grand Slam. That’s why I said, the Grand Slam career this never happened. I had very few. I remember one walkover that I had. It was quarters in French Open, Fognini.

But I haven’t had this particular circumstance where I have walkover and then I spend six games on the court next match.

But it is what it is. I’ll take it. I’m moving on and focusing on the next one.

Q. Were you able to practice normally the past couple of days?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, the arm is doing very well. Everything, as I said, is going in the right direction. I feel significantly better now than I have just at the beginning of the tournament.

I’m looking forward to compete.

Q. He used some dropshots before he got hurt. You use them quite frequently in your own game. What is your feeling about that shot in general?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s good to have that kind of shot in the variety. Obviously it disrupts the certain pattern movements and takes the player out of his comfort zone, especially somebody that stands far behind the baseline.

It’s a shot that is accurate in a different ways. Obviously sometimes I know that I don’t have as much of a success rate on the points where I play dropshot, but in the big picture it’s a tactical move as well to make the player thinking, What is the next shot? Kind of use the whole court.

Q. Were you ever taught not to use it on hard courts?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not really. You know, I was encouraged mostly by my coaches throughout my career to use the angles, to use that variety. I think that helps, definitely, in big matches.

Q. Do you find it mentally tiring to dominate the tennis like you’ve done and to be always the man to chase?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I don’t find it tiring. First of all, I really enjoy playing this sport. I have love and passion for it. In the end of the day, it’s my choice to do that. I’m very grateful to have this opportunity to play it, and to have people around me that really put in a lot of effort and energy, sacrifice, for me to, you know, play tennis and keep following this kind of lifestyle.

I’m blessed. Not many people in the world that can say, you know, they have managed to achieve their dreams, do the job that they really enjoy doing, working, and be very successful in it.

I’m aware of that. That’s what keeps me going, you know, that kind of initial emotion for the sport and for the game and for this lifestyle.

And, of course, I like competing. I like being out there and moving my own boundaries and seeing how far I can go. So as long as there is that kind of flair in me, I’ll keep going.

Q. The US Open is the only Grand Slam that uses adults as ball people, not ballkids.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I noticed.

Q. There are some of them that have been there for years and years. Do you recognize some of their faces? Does it bring any sort of comfort to you having the same people on court?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: They are very efficient, I must say. They are doing their job extremely well. Sometimes, you know, the line umpires, the ballkids, they take the beating from the players. Sometimes, you know, when you’re in the midst of the battle, things are going up or down, you get emotional on the court and they’re the ones that are around you.

Sometimes you take it for granted, you know, the work that they’re doing. I appreciate it very much. I think most of us tennis players, at the beginning of our careers, we were ballkids at some stage of our childhood. Maybe not on a Grand Slam. I was never on a Grand Slam, but on smaller tournaments in my city and in my country. So I know how that feels.

But, as you say, they are professionals here in US Open. I didn’t really look at each one of them, but I see many adults. I don’t know if all of them are adults, but they’re doing their job very well. They are very rained and experienced.

Q. For one year and a half every tournament we went and you were playing, you were the strong favorite. This is probably the first tournament where we see that somebody says, Murray is the favorite because Djokovic has this shoulder problem, personal problems, this and that. When you read that, if you know about that, do you laugh at it? You don’t care? What is your reaction? You say, It’s better; I have less pressure?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: That’s your job, to speculate and predict, to have the freedom to express your opinion about who can win or not.

In the end of the day I respect that, but I don’t pay too much attention on that, to be honest. There were stages in my career where I was very much into it, following who says what. That affected my mind.

Not anymore. You evolve. You rely on yourself. In the end of the day, I know what are my capabilities and I know what I am able to do, what I’m able to achieve. If I play the right tennis, I can win against anybody in any surface.

That’s where my primary and focus and attention goes to, you know, try to get myself in that optimal state of mind, body, spirit, and just perform the best that I can.

Q. You were just talking about competition. Why is it so compelling, so fascinating to us?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, as everybody else, you go through life and you evolve and you change. I’ve experienced that kind of evolution myself. Psychologically I perceive my tennis career and the purpose of playing tennis, life in general, differently five years ago than I do now.

I still have, as I mentioned before, that intrinsic satisfaction and passion when I play tennis, just when I hold the racquet in my hands. But, you know, over the years I had to find always ways of motivating myself.

To be honest, trophies are not enough, because that’s something that — that’s not sustainable. Surely you’re going to feel great if you’re No. 1 and you win Grand Slam trophies. Part of my inspiration is related to that surely.

But on the other hand, as you grow older, as you play more tennis, you’re on the tour at a high level, of course, you need to find new ways, find other meaning and purpose of why you’re playing it.

So becoming a father, a husband, having my own family, a foundation, many different things that happen along the way, have influenced that kind of perception of, you know, being part of this sport.

I find tennis as a way of using this as a platform, I would say, to maybe convey or share certain messages, passions that I have, or values. In the end of the day, I’m in a privileged position. As any other top athlete, you have this responsibility. You have such a blessing to be there. You have so much power to make a change in a good or bad way or influence somebody in a good or bad way.

Yeah, maybe I’m deep into philosophy now, but you understand hopefully my answer.

Q. I don’t know if you’ve been asked about the Laver Cup yet. Can you give your thoughts about it? Do you think it’s going to take off and have international significance?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I hope so. I think it’s a great idea. Well, discussing with my team about my participation, eventual participation in that competition next year. If it happens, I will be happy. If it doesn’t happen, again, I will be happy, because tennis needs to move on, needs to evolve, needs to get new events, new ideas, innovative, I would say, approach from everybody involved in tennis.

I think Laver Cup is a model that is used already in golf. I think there is the Ryder Cup that has been an example for the Laver Cup, as I understood. It’s great. Ryder Cup has been one of the most successful sports events throughout the history. Why not take that example and try to use it in our own sport? That’s what they’ve done.

I applaud all the people for coming up that idea, pursuing it, because it’s not easy to set up a big event. I think if it’s done in the right way, which I see it is already, Roger and Rafa headlining the event with Borg and McEnroe. Those are huge names in the history books of tennis.

I’m sure it’s going to get some worldwide exposure and significance.

Q. Is it in the right place in the schedule, though, late September, to have that event in the middle of the season?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, you know, schedule is another subject. You can always say there’s no space or there’s no right or wrong period.

But in the end of the day, schedule today is the same as it was so many decades ago. I was saying many times before, and I still strongly believe, that we really need to consider making some changes in the schedule, you know, working towards protecting and nurturing players’ wellness, well-being, health, and enduring careers.

You see more and more injuries. This is due to a very physical sport, a very demanding schedule, more events, more significance of course. More prize money, more everything. Players play more.

But in the end of the day, in the bigger picture, it’s not that great. You don’t want to see short careers, right? You want to see longer careers.

But this is maybe not a subject for this moment. I still think we all need to sit down and rethink about the future of the schedule of our sport.

Q. Do you tune out what’s happening amongst your competitors in the draw during this tournament? Do you focus exclusively on what you’re doing?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Surely I follow of course. Once you’re in a Grand Slam you watch a match or two when you’re back in your hotel room. Mostly when I’m training, days off, or when I’m here the day of my match, tennis is everywhere, on each TV. Not only in the tennis facility, but all over the city. You can feel that kind of vibe.

You are following what your main competitors especially are doing, how they’re playing. Of course, everybody does that.

But my main focus, of course, is on me only and my next opponent.

Petra Kvitova

Press Conference

P. KVITOVA/E. Svitolina

6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You haven’t lost a set through the first week.
PETRA KVITOVA: That’s true. What a surprise, right? (Laughter.)

Q. Are you surprised?
PETRA KVITOVA: Petra with a three, it’s not working so far, which is good. I’m saving some energy.

I think it’s doesn’t matter. The important is the win. Of course, with saving energy it’s always better.

I didn’t feel the hot today outside that was before, so it was really good.

Q. Have you noticed that, that it hasn’t been as hot in New York this times as it has in years past?
PETRA KVITOVA: The first day when I played on Monday, that was kind of difficult. But I played the first match, so it was okay. I was happy for that.

Yeah, I think so far is okay. I mean, the rain yesterday interrupt the game, unfortunately, but the roof was here.

Q. What happened in the second set and how were you able to turn that around?
PETRA KVITOVA: I think that she didn’t feel probably the pressure. She just came strong there. I just feel that she was a little bit, you know, playing more aggressive than before. I let her play her better game, I think, as well. I didn’t push her that much.

I was lucky then 4-3 came the new balls and I could serve well the 4-All, which was really helping to my confidence as well. So it was a little difficult at the end of the second set. It was a big fight, the last game.

Tough to say. Sometimes when the player’s down they just a little bit more relaxed and didn’t really have anything to lose. They just went, you know, more and better played.

Q. Is it confidence-building for you to know that you were able to right the ship quickly?
PETRA KVITOVA: Yeah, it was helping. Even when I was 4-Love up, then also tight, 4-4, and I was still able to serve well and play well after, which is always a good sign. So I’m happy for that.

Q. Aside from the heat, do you actually like this city and the tournament, the big crazy city, the traffic? Are you a fan of this place?
PETRA KVITOVA: I’m not really a fan of the traffic, but I starting to like it here last year when I played well and I made the quarterfinal. You know, in the day off I’m not going on-site, so I’m kind of out of the traffic. There’s many people up here and everything. I’m kind of saving the energy and everything, which I think is helping to my person as well, and mentally, too.

But I feel that the crowd, it’s always, you know, cheering. I think finally I find the way how I should take the energy from them as well.

Q. How different does it feel not to come to the site every other day?
PETRA KVITOVA: You know, it’s funny. I think that not many people can imagine or do that. It was funny. We were joking today that we were going to the site for the fourth time and I played three matches. I went here on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, which is really funny, I feel.

And last year I did the same. I played five matches and I spend six days here. I think not many people can do that.

I’m okay. I’m happy I’m not a person who has to practice every day.

Q. Does it feel strange to not have that routine?
PETRA KVITOVA: No. I have my own routine, so I’m good.

Q. Where do you practice off-site?
PETRA KVITOVA: I’m not practicing.

Q. You’re just taking the day as it goes? Do you do any training?
PETRA KVITOVA: Yeah, we are not setting everything, like nothing with the time. Whenever I wake up, go for breakfast. We do always fitness like for 45 minutes or something. So the body is still doing something, but not like anything with the racquet.

Q. So you’re playing every other day right now?
PETRA KVITOVA: Yes. Just a warmup and match.

Q. What are you doing on your day off? Are you exploring the city? Staying at the hotel?
PETRA KVITOVA: I’m start like trying to relax, to have a nap every day. The sleep, it’s always helping the body for everything.

I do a little bit of the shopping every time, or just walking in the city and the fitness. I feel that the day is flying so fast, so it’s always the dinnertime. Like, I didn’t do anything.

Q. If you sleep until 2:00 pm…
PETRA KVITOVA: It’s not. I’m waking up at 8:00, 8:30, but after lunch I have a movie or something.

Q. Do you have a favorite shop or a favorite stretch, like 5th Avenue?
PETRA KVITOVA: No. I didn’t even go to 5th Avenue. It’s terrible. I have to do it tomorrow. (Laughter.)

Q. You kind of have come through your career in different ways than most typical top players. Not a lot of juniors. You play a different style of game than most people. You have the ability to take these breaks, like last year in the spring. You’re going to sites every other day.
PETRA KVITOVA: I know I’m different. (Smiling.)

Q. This sport tends to be one where everybody does the same thing, what the other person is doing. Is it easy for you to kind of march to the beat of your own drummer?
PETRA KVITOVA: I think it’s not really easy. I think with the mature and everything, with the experiences, you just find the own way. I don’t feel the top players doing the same as the rest of the players.

It’s always about the personality, I think, and about what you can really find what is the best for you. I’m still in the process like trying to find what is the best. I think it’s never-ending story to find it.

Now I always know that I’m a little bit different with the practices, about tournaments, everything. When I’m really tired mentally I always know it’s impossible to play, so I have to be clear in my mind and enjoy the tennis. That’s the most important thing for me.

Because when I don’t have a passion and a fight in me it’s always difficult. It’s just be there and it’s nothing for me. I love the sport, so I really need to have the feelings to having the battle.

So I knew that. I’m glad that my fitness coach know I’m different, too. I think we are good combo, as well. We always trying to find the best way, yeah.

Q. When you were growing up, did you feel more pressure to conform to what other players were doing on the tour?
PETRA KVITOVA: Not at all. I was happy to have my coach, my father as my coach. I do remember when I was like 14, 15, like same-age players played twice a day, practicing every day four hours.

I was just going to the school, which was not really fun. I hit like hour, hour and a half every day after the school in the afternoon. And my father told me one day – I will remember forever – we are working on the techniques, and they have just more and more hours.

I think he did a great job for sure. I wasn’t that tired as my same-age girls were afterwards. They all retire after a while and went to school, and I was still continue. I think that was a good move.

Q. You said your team was understanding. How did they react when you told them you didn’t want to come but every other day?
PETRA KVITOVA: They’re really fine. I think it’s always about the player, and the player has to tell what is the best. I think that’s the important.

I am not a rebel. It’s something what I have to say. They should, of course, listen to me. Not every time we have the same opinion on all things, but sometimes we need to find a compromise.

But that’s how it is.

Q. Have you ever heard someone from the crowd scream something and then changed your tactic because they said? Hit to her forehand, something like that?
PETRA KVITOVA: No, not really. Sometimes I hear like, Make an ace. Not often it’s happening or doing that afterwards, but sometimes it’s funny to hear that. But not really, no.

Q. What kind of things have you heard?
PETRA KVITOVA: Something like that, Make the ace. The worst is just to listen, Four more balls, four more points and you get there. It’s something terrible, because we never can count. Then 30-Love, Two more. It’s not great. (Laughter.)

Naomi Osaka

Press Conference

M. KEYS/N. Osaka

7-5, 4-6, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Obviously wasn’t the result you were looking for, but what did you make of the experience, being out there on Arthur Ashe Stadium?
NAOMI OSAKA: I thought it was kind of fun. I know the crowd was against me. That was, like, a bit frustrating.

But, yeah, I grew up watching the players I liked play on this court. As an experience, it was very nice.

Q. Was it particularly loud?
NAOMI OSAKA: Not really. I mean, I expect people to be that loud when, like, the top American woman is playing, so…

Q. What went through your mind when you were leading 5-1 and she was coming back?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, at 5-1 I was just very nervous. I kind of wanted to close it out. I felt like I could, like, rely on my serve at that point, because I think she was serving at 5-1. It didn’t really bother me that she held serve at that time.

But it really started freaking me out when she was, like, going 5-2, 5-3, 5-4, those times. But yeah…

Q. Serving at 5-2 and 5-4, what was going through your mind that made you nervous?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I felt like she had a good service return, so I felt that sometimes when I hit hard serves she would use my power. It was bouncing in my mind between, like, going for a serve and just placing it.

So I felt like I couldn’t fully focus on what to do after my serve. I was just sort of reacting the whole time, so…

Q. Before that you played with so much poise in the second set. What was going through your mind in the second set?
NAOMI OSAKA: I’m just generally better when the other person’s leading. I don’t know. I feel like the pressure’s off me. If she’s leading I just have to focus on the things that I have to do and not worry too much about the outcome ’cause she’s, like, higher ranked than me and sort of expected to win, so…

In the second set I was just a bit free.

Q. Any particular points you regret that would make everything turn around?
NAOMI OSAKA: I think I hit a very ridiculous volley at 30-All, 5-4. Yikes. I think if I made that I would have gotten a match point. I don’t really regret anything, if you’re going to say that. Just I’m a bit disappointed.

Q. Young players come into the game optimistic and then tough things happen. Do you think this will set you back or bother you?
NAOMI OSAKA: Honestly, I actually feel this is a good, like, match for me because I haven’t really been playing that well for this whole hard court season. Like just to be able to get to the third round here is positive.

Like, as the match as a whole I feel like — honestly, I just played doubles right now, so I feel like if I didn’t play doubles maybe I would be more negative about the situation.

But I had so much fun out there, like, I just think tennis is a game, so I just have to enjoy everything and see how it goes, so…

Q. In Australia you said you actually like losing because you learn more from that.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah.

Q. Could you say what you think you will learn from today’s experience.
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I feel like if I had more set patterns or something to fall back on, because I feel like she was sort of commanding the whole match a little bit. I was just pushing it back, seeing what she would do, if she would hit it out or not.

Yeah, so I feel like if I had a better plan, then at 5-1 I wouldn’t have freaked out and been like, What do I do at this point?

Q. How much at this point in your career is about getting experience and getting those reps in?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, this is, like, my first full year on the tour. I was kind of injured throughout clay and grass. I mean, going to those tournaments for the first time, it’s like an experience, I guess.

I mean, I wouldn’t really say, like, it’s new, though, you know what I mean? ‘Cause a court is a court no matter where you go.

But, I mean — what am I even talking about? Sorry.

I mean to say, like, getting experience is good, but I feel like if you’re a really good player it wouldn’t really matter if the place is new or if you’re traveling or whatever.

I’m sorry. Oh, my God. Yeah, I’m sorry. That doesn’t make sense.

Okay, so, like, experience is good and whatever, right? But like not having experience, if you’re good enough, it shouldn’t really matter. Okay?

Q. You’re both power hitters. Moving on, are you going to increase your net game?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, honestly, I’m very comfortable on the baseline. Like moving in is a bit nerve-wracking for me. So I feel like, yeah, if I practice stepping in a bit more and being better at the net, then I think I would be more aggressive, so…

Q. You’re born in Japan, you’re Japanese, and I’m sure you feel that is wonderful. Your pop is Haitian. Do you ever say to yourself, I have a lot of American qualities; it would be nice if the American crowd were more supportive of me? Does that ever cross your mind?
NAOMI OSAKA: The last match I played before this match there was like quite a big crowd that were cheering for me. I mean, that was nice. But I don’t expect them to cheer for me, especially since I was playing Madison.

I mean, it’s nice if they cheer for me, but if they don’t I understand, so…

John Isner

Press Conference

K. EDMUND/J. Isner

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

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Got broken more than usual today. Was your serve feeling off at all?
JOHN ISNER: No, it wasn’t feeling off. I think the match swung a bit in the first game of the third set when I had Love-40. I played three really good points to get to Love-40, and then kind of wear myself out trying to finish that game off.

I didn’t break, and then the next game I didn’t make any first serves and got broken. That was a bit disappointing. But it was just a struggle out there a little bit. Kind of the whole tournament. Nothing really felt great the whole tournament.

But credit to Kyle. I thought he played well. Certainly played better than I did in the big moments, so hats off to him.

Q. When you talk about the tournament not feeling right, does that extend to the rest of the summer, too?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I mean, the whole year in general, I guess, so…

It’s all good, I guess, but it’s a little disappointing for sure. I’ll get back to the drawing board. Obviously – I don’t know what the right word is – disappointed for sure right now. Have to hit the ‘delete’ button, watch some football, and hopefully that will clear me up.

Q. Did you notice any difference between your match at Roland Garros and here in Kyle’s tennis?
JOHN ISNER: No, I’m bad at that. I can’t recall. I can barely remember the match we played in Roland Garros right now. I’m assuming he played better today than he did at the French Open.

Q. How much do you think maybe the first match against Tiafoe took something out of you?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, certainly you want to try to save your energy at a Grand Slam. That match took some out of me; my second-round match took something out of me. I played in the heat of the day both times, right around 1:00. It was pretty hot out there, too.

Maybe I came into this match at a little bit of a deficit, but that’s not why I lost. At a certain point adrenaline takes over, and it did in that match out there. I just wasn’t better than my opponent. Simple as that.

Q. Felt off-kilter, out of whack this summer, this tournament. Was that physical? Mental? The tape on your knee, is that preventive?
JOHN ISNER: I’ve been doing that all year. Always have a few things here or there kind of bothering me, but nothing too severe.

I mean, all in all, I feel pretty good. I can be thankful for that. Right now there’s nothing significant bothering me. There’s always a few things that linger here and there, but doesn’t keep me from going out on the court.

Q. Back to the drawing board, dumb question, but what do you plan on drawing? Do you see major changes coming?
JOHN ISNER: No, no. No changes, major changes. For me right now I got to try to get excited to play in the fall. To be honest, right now it doesn’t seem too exciting. We don’t have Davis Cup, unfortunately.

I’ll take some time off, regroup, get ready for that. See if I can finish the year strongly. We’ll see what happens.

Q. A couple younger guys left in the draw. Jack had a good win today. Jared. Do you think those guys can go far?
JOHN ISNER: Jack, Jared, and who else?

Q. I think it’s just the two of them.
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I think they can. Jack’s very good. I don’t know who Jared plays, but he’s a good player as well.

Q. Karlovic.
JOHN ISNER: Okay. That’s winnable for him. It’s good to see Jared doing some good things. He’s a really nice guy.

Jack, of course, I’ve known forever. Doesn’t surprise me. He’s very good.

Q. What do you think of Kyle generally? What do you think of his game, how far he can go?
JOHN ISNER: He’s a good player. The one thing he has on his side, I should say, is he’s still very young. He’s playing well. He’s playing pretty well here, I would think.

Yeah, I mean, he’s got a good future, for sure.

Q. What about the tennis in America as it is today?
JOHN ISNER: What do you mean?

Q. The growth of top players.
JOHN ISNER: After my match or what?

Q. In general, in America, tennis in the United States.
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I think it’s in good shape.

 

 

Rafael Nadal

Press Conference

R. NADAL/A. Kuznetsov

6-1, 6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Have you ever hit a lob like that before?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, actually yes. Not many times, but I remember one in Madrid against Djokovic.

Q. You won that point?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah. (Smiling.) If not, I didn’t count.

Q. Is this as confident as you’ve felt with your tennis in a long time? Did you feel like you could get to this point, say, when you had to pull out of the French Open?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I think I played well tonight. Very happy about the way I played. First set especially was very high level.

Then I think I played a good second set. But, you know, I lost the serve in the second for a couple of games. I was serving bad. When you play against a player like him, that he’s able to return quick, hit a lot of good shots, then you are in big trouble, no? That’s what happened.

So I don’t know in which kind of level I am. Is true that when I had to stop I was playing great. I felt myself ready for the French. I don’t know what could happen on the French Open if I was keep playing, but I felt ready.

I don’t know where I am today. Only thing I know is I am happy. I am excited to play the US Open. For me is a great news that I am on the tour again, and I am playing every day with less pain on the wrist. That’s most important thing.

Q. Aside from the pain, in terms of feeling more comfortable hitting your forehand, especially down the line, it seems like you’re in better shape than you had been. Does it feel to you like you can hit it the way you like to hit your forehand?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am improving with that shot. Everybody knows that is a very important shot for me. When I am able to play that shot well, then the court opens a lot, because then the cross-court forehand that I have a good ONE with topspin have a much better impact on the opponent.

I did that well for a moments today, and I need to doing — like I am having every day a little bit better, I need to keep doing that way, improving a little bit every day.

Q. You are playing Pouille. What do you think about his game?
RAFAEL NADAL: He is a great player. He is young. He has all the shots: good serve, good forehand, good backhand. He’s a tough opponent. I practice with him a couple of times and I played with him long time ago.

I know he’s able to play a very high level. I know going to be a very tough match. I need to be ready for the match. I need to be ready to play my best if I want to keep going.

Q. How much did the Games boost your confidence?
RAFAEL NADAL: Every victory helps for the confidence, no, especially when you feel that you played well. I feel that today I played great tennis for a long time, for a lot of moments on the match. That helps for the confidence, no?

Every day is a different story. Tomorrow is another chance to confirm that positive feeling, so keep practicing the thing I am trying to practice and try to be ready for tomorrow.

Q. A lot of seeds have lost in your section of the draw. That helps the confidence together with the game you’re playing? The least games you’ve lost at the US Open ever since you played in three rounds.
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t understand the last part.

Q. You never lost more games than this time.
RAFAEL NADAL: Ah. That’s only fact, no? That don’t going to make the big impact on what’s coming, no?

I play my game. I play my draw. I play against opponents that are better in that moment. Because, at the end of the day, if somebody lost, it’s because the opponent played better than the seeded, no?

The ranking is a number that says the highest level you have during the year. But, for example, I don’t know, which number I am, No. 5, today in the world? Sometimes I can play better than the No. 5; sometimes I can play much worse than the No. 5. And that happens the same with the other seededs, no?

We’ll see what’s coming the next couple of days. Playing against Pouille is a young and tough opponent. That’s the only thing that stays in my mind now.

Q. The day you pulled out at the French Open you were obviously very sad and disappointed you had to do that. Was there ever a sense of doom? Did you ever fear that injury to the wrist would be worse than something you’d ever experienced before?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no. I know was an accident. I know was a bad movement in Madrid. Was unlucky in a very bad moment of the season for different facts: because I was playing great, because was the tournament I have more success in in my career. But that’s it.

I know is an injury that is a little bit tricky. It’s dangerous because I had in the right wrist in 2012 maybe, or ’14. No, 2014 I could not come here, if I am not wrong.

So you need to be patient. You need to take your time, recover, work hard. That’s what I did. That’s all.

Q. You just opened what looked like a wonderful museum at your home. If you had to pick just one item from the museum, what would that item be?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I just can say thank you very much to the rest of the colleagues around the world, sportsmen and sportswomen, that send me thing, send me important things from them.

Is very difficult to choose one thing, no? I have things from Tiger Woods, from I don’t know, Usaine Bolt, Serena, Novak, Roger, from the best sportsmen. Michael Phelps. I cannot choose one thing. I feel very happy to have all these items in the museum.

In the end of the day is a museum that the people pays to come in and enjoy the experience, to watch these items. But at the same time is a very dynamic museum with a lot of activities inside. The profit of the museum is for my foundation. Is for a good cause, too. I’m very happy to have this.

Q. What did Usaine Bolt send to you?
RAFAEL NADAL: I have the shoes.

Q. You said every day there’s less pain in your wrist. Is there still something there or do you feel nothing when you’re on the court?
RAFAEL NADAL: Still something, no, but something that is not limiting my game now. That’s the most important thing.

Q. (Question regarding injuries.)
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t believe in coincidence, but is not my job to analyze that. That’s the thing. The people who run the sport has to analyze.

Is true that there is things that must be better. We cannot play in Olympic Games with one ball and the next day in Cincinnati with another ball.

I understand the people outside cannot understand the difference, but the difference is huge. You know, when we compete, we compete at our limits, and small differences makes a big impact in our body, no?

These kind of changes for our elbow, for the wrist, for the shoulder, is very bad. Is the same like changing surfaces very drastic is something that is bad. (Snapping fingers.) That’s why we have a schedule that we have different seasons.

When we play on clay, we keep playing on clay. When we play on hard, we keep playing on hard. It’s important to adapt your body to the next surfaces and to the changes, no?

The ball is a fight we the players have since a long time. We try to improve, but is always difficult.

 

 

 

 

Kyle Edmund

Press Conference

K. EDMUND/J. Isner

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

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Must be a challenge for you in some ways to keep your feet on the ground having such a great week and the prospect of playing Novak Djokovic.
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah, it’s been a great week so far, absolutely. Tonight was a really good win. I was pleased with my consistency throughout the match. Weren’t too many dips. On that stage, as well, in front of a good crowd, a big crowd, against John in his own country, I was pleased with the performance I put out there.

Yeah, very, very encouraging. Just happy I won at the minute, not much else. Just sort of taking it all in.

But, yeah, these are the situations you want to be in, what you dream about, reaching the fourth round of a slam now, getting the opportunity to play the world No. 1. Yeah, very positive.

Q. What was the difference between tonight and the French Open? You might have expected clay to favor you; quicker courts here to favor him.
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah, probably learning from my last match definitely helped me. Yeah, I mean, I play well on clay, but he’s also a top-20 player and he’s a good player. He beat me straight sets in the French.

I think I just learnt from it. I feel good about myself at the minute. I knew going into the match I had a good chance, a good opportunity, but just the nature of the match was a very different match than the last two matches.

Yeah, you’ve got to be able to play well against all different styles of players. That’s important. Today it was obviously about taking the chances when I had them, because they’re not going to come frequently.

I think last match I had like 16 breakpoints. I knew I wasn’t going to get that today. I had to be sharper when they came.

Yeah, it’s nice from the last performance. It obviously shows I’ve improved my match play. That’s obviously encouraging.

Q. What did you learn from the match against Novak in Miami? What did you do well there and what do you need to do better?
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah, he’s obviously a great player. What everyone sees, how you play against him, he’s tough to break down. Makes a lot of balls. You know, very quick around the court. He has lots of good abilities. He’s world No. 1. He’s good in all areas.

I feel I had some good success in that match. In the middle of the match I started taking it to him a bit more. That’s my game. That’s what I’ve been doing this tournament. I need to continue to do that.

What my game is is trying to be aggressive. It’s going to be no different when I play him on Sunday. That’s what’s been working. No point in changing it.

I just look forward to the experience, to be honest. I’m sure we’ll be on another nice court, like tonight. Being it’s my first fourth round in a Grand Slam, I’ll just embrace it, enjoy the moment, and obviously do my best, like tonight.

Q. What steps do you take to try to maintain your mental composure in a match like tonight where the crowd is behind John largely?
KYLE EDMUND: I don’t know. You’re just playing. It’s a long match, so you can’t be too up and down. It’s good atmosphere. Obviously more were supporting him, but I also had some good support. Some Brits out here and stuff.

I think it’s just normal. You embrace it more than anything. It’s US Open third round. It’s pretty much packed. It’s on a big court. It’s a great experience. It’s a good atmosphere.

I did find it a little more like a Davis Cup atmosphere. It was pretty loud. So I think that was nice.

Yeah, it’s such a long match, you just go about doing your own thing. You don’t try to get involved too much with other things. I was pleased with how I handled it.

It was how I expected: he’d get a little more support. It’s normal. We’re in America, so it was fine.

Q. You’ve already gone farther than you’ve ever gone in a slam. Do you go in the next match with absolutely nothing to lose?
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah, probably. That’s how I approached it tonight. I had nothing to lose really. But at the same time I know I’m in a good place. Yeah, just go out there and do my best. Nothing really more.

You know, I definitely don’t have anything to lose in this one. I’ll just go out there and do my best. Simple as that.

Q. Have you always been able to sort of maintain a calm composure on court? When you were younger, did you ever go through a phase of brattishness or anything like that?
KYLE EDMUND: No, I’ve always been pretty much like that. I haven’t had a dramatic behavior change or anything. I’ve always been quite calm. You obviously go through your moments. Everyone’s human. People get angry, annoyed. People have emotion. People play calm. Everyone’s different.

I like to keep things simple, keep in a steady bracket, not too high, not too low. I think that helps my tennis. So, yeah.

Q. Looking in your box during the match, they all seemed, outwardly at least, like they expected you to compete at that level. Did you feel that, too? Do you feel maybe not that you expected to win, but you had a really good chance going in?
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah, I obviously believe in myself that I can win, yeah. Any match I believe I can win. That’s the mentality you’ve got to have.

I think if you go on court unsure if you’re going to win, it’s probably only going to go one way, to be honest. I always believe I have the win. I back myself. Doesn’t always go like that, but it’s the right mentality to have.

But, yeah, you put in the hours. It’s no secret. You put in the hours, you put in the hard work, and then you have belief. Generally what you need to train is how you want to play on court. You don’t train one way and then turn up on the match court and play another way.

When I train, I train the way I want to play in the match, and that’s being aggressive and stuff. I know I can do it. It’s just getting out on court and doing it. You have to have belief, definitely, 100%.

Q. You mentioned the court you played on today. Chances are you’ll be on Ashe against Novak. Have you had a chance to spend any time in there? Have you practiced there? Have you got any practice lined up?
KYLE EDMUND: No, the only one hit I’ve ever had in there was on Sunday with Andy. We hit for like an hour and a quarter. That’s it really. It’s probably a good thing I got to do that because otherwise I wouldn’t have had any experience.

Yeah, it’s obviously a very big court. But, yeah, we’ll see. I mean, it’s great to play on all these different courts around the world. I’m getting more exposure on the tour level now. It will be very exciting. I guess it will be very loud, as well, if it’s anything to go by tonight.

Q. Do you have any view on the fact that Novak has played 32 minutes of tennis since the first round and you’ve played three good matches? Might he just be a little bit rusty?
KYLE EDMUND: I don’t know. I mean, you’ll have to ask him that, if he feels rusty. For me, if he played matches or not, he’s going to be tough to play, isn’t he? He’s a good player.

He consistently plays well. That’s one thing I’ve always noticed. He puts a good level consistently. You would expect that from him on Sunday.

So, you know, like you say, he hasn’t played two full matches now so he may be a bit fresher. He may have wanted to play more balls, but that’s only something he could answer.

Q. He was very complimentary about you in Miami. Have you had any sort of chats, verbal interactions, since then?
KYLE EDMUND: Not really. Obviously say hi and stuff just when we see each other. But we saw each other in Rio just as we were passing practice, and that was just after Davis Cup. He said he watched all the matches and he congratulated me on that.

Yeah, like I said, last time Boris Becker sent me a text saying, Well done. So they watched it and stuff. That’s something I’m obviously very grateful. It’s nice of them to do that. It’s good class from them.

Yeah, that’s all he really said. Yeah, I mean, I respect him massively. It will be a tough match, just like any other match really.

Q. Dan is obviously having a great week as well. Andy is having a fantastic summer. All three of you are having a great year. How much of it does rub off on each other? Do you feel you’re plowing your own furrow really?
KYLE EDMUND: I think it’s great. We’re all doing really well. It’s a really good thing, I think. We’re going up and up. Obviously Andy isn’t going up. He’s been there for ages. Yeah, me and Dan are going up now, which is great.

But it’s great to see other Brits doing well. Even Jo. She’s doing well consistently now. Her ranking reflects it. I think it’s a real positive.

It does rub off I think on each other. It’s great seeing other people do well. It has that positive vibe. It’s the same in Davis Cup. We all watch each other wanting them to win and do well. I think that just carries over into the events.

 

Catherine Bellis

Press Conference

A. KERBER/C. Bellis

6-1, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Ashe is a little different than the Broadway Tennis Center. As you walked out, what went through your mind?
CATHERINE BELLIS: So many things at once. I mean, it’s the most amazing court I ever played on. I had never played on it before, except actually I was lucky enough to get a little bit of a warmup on it right before the match.

Yeah, I mean, it’s the best court I’ve ever played on, and the best court in the world.

Q. Pretty overwhelming feeling? Did you look up? What did you say to yourself?
CATHERINE BELLIS: When I was walking in? I kind of expected what it was going to be since I hit it on it a little earlier. I was kind of aware of the seats and everything. I mean, nobody was watching my warmup, so there was a few more people in there.

I looked up and saw the people. It was really cool.

Q. You had two breakpoints right away. Were you not overwhelmed by the moment? Was it hard to settle down?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I think the first game I was a little bit overwhelmed. As my nerves settled down, I think hers did, too. She started playing a lot better also.

Yeah, I was a little bit in the first game, but not too bad.

Q. What will be your takeaway from your Open run here?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I think today was the best experience I’ve ever had in tennis, playing her today on Arthur Ashe Stadium. She’s one of the best, I mean the best player right now on the tour besides Serena.

Her groundstrokes are perfect. I hope to one day be able to play like her.

Q. What do you think you learned from the experience of playing someone like that?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I think we’re around the same height. She doesn’t have the biggest serve in women’s tennis. I definitely don’t either. I think she’s a really good person to model my game after.

I mean, her groundstrokes are so solid, so perfect. I’d love to see how many unforced errors she made in that match. Pretty sure it was close to zero.

Definitely an unbelievable match for me to be able to play, to play against.

Q. What are your immediate and long-term goals?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Immediate would be probably by the end of the year I’d love to keep getting my ranking up as much as possible, keep improving. I think the last year I’ve improved so much, improved my game so much. I want to keep doing that.

Long-term, just be the best tennis player I can be. Can’t really ask for more than have all my hard work pay off long-term in the long run.

Q. A young player like you, there’s everything to work on. If there were one or two things that you want to work on, what would they be?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I just want to keep improving my serve a lot, make my groundstrokes a little more solid. I think today on some of the long points we had I ended up missing some finishing shots.

Just keep working on those, keep working on playing long points. I mean, she could go for hours. She could play an hour-long point and wouldn’t be tired. Improving my fitness.

Yeah, everything, all around, always.

Q. Did this week tell you that you can do it, hang with top players?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yeah, I think so. Besides today, obviously I won all my previous matches. Yeah, I think I played pretty well in every single one of my matches in the past couple weeks. I’m really happy about the tournament. I think it’s definitely a good sign from me.

Q. Have you heard from LiLi (phonetic) before the match?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I heard from Frankie, the assistant coach before the match, but I haven’t had a chance to hear from him yet.

Q. And hanging out in a fairly swanky hotel suite in Manhattan is what?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Now is going to be the best part of my trip here because now I actually get to go shopping, kind of explore a little bit. Stay here a couple days extra.

Q. What shops do you think you’ll hit?
CATHERINE BELLIS: My friend just actually came in town yesterday. We’re just going to really go hit everything. I mean, just play it by ear, see what she wants to do, just figure it out from there. But we’re going to have a lot of fun.

Q. The other day you admitted you were waffling about Stanford. What is your mindset?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Right now I think it’s still definitely an option for me. I’m not going to make any quick decisions right now.

Q. If you do go to Stanford, opening day they say, What is the one word that captured your experience at the US Open 2016, what word would that be?
CATHERINE BELLIS: That word would be — I think any synonym to the word amazing or unbelievable. I mean, I’m just so grateful to have had this opportunity in the last two weeks. I’m playing really great tennis right now for me. Really excited. Really happy.

Q. If you went to school, it would be next fall, right?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Next fall.

Q. Biggest surprise of the week?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I like these questions. Biggest surprise of the week?

Actually probably my friend coming yesterday. We just planned it kind of quickly after my match against Shelby a couple nights ago. She ended up coming. We’ve had a blast so far. She’s from Louisiana but trains in Florida at the same place I do.

Q. Where do you train in Florida?
CATHERINE BELLIS: USTA.

Angelique Kerber

Press Conference

A. KERBER/C. Bellis

6-1, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What was it like down there on Ashe under the lights? How did you feel in the match?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It was a great atmosphere. I mean, the fans and the crowd, it’s just amazing. Of course, to playing against an American, it was really special.

Yeah, I was enjoying to play tonight out there.

Q. What did you think of her game?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think she has, for sure, a great tournament. She’s a great young, really talented player. For sure she will have a great future.

I mean, she’s a great player. She’s really young, so let’s see how her future will be. But I’m really sure it will be a good one.

Q. When you say she’s a good player, is there anything specific that she did that maybe you thought, Wow, that’s pretty good for a 17-year-old?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think she went out there and she tried to play her game. I mean, she tried to move good. She’s not making too many mistakes. So this is, yeah, a really great weapon from her.

Yeah, let’s see. I mean, I think she was a little bit nervous at the beginning of the match. I know the feeling, so I was trying to take my experience tonight for this match.

Q. How important were those first few games for you? Some got a little close. Just to get the lead on a young player.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Actually, I was thinking more on my game, to being aggressive, to going for it, trying to enjoy the match. Of course, it’s always important to go out and win the first few games, to have also a lot of confidence of your own game tonight.

This was actually also my goal for that match.

Q. Is that just part of your improvement, not worrying about the score, focusing on yourself?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I think I improved a lot of these things, you know, to going out there and not thinking too much about the score. Just playing point by point and being positive. So this is what I’m still trying to improve. I think I’m in a good way.

Q. You talked about your 2007 match against Serena. What do you remember about that match, how far you’ve come?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I remember the match really well. I mean, I was really young. I was really nervous. I went out there and I remember the atmosphere. It was amazing.

We played two sets. The second set was really close at the end. Yeah, I mean, this was my first match against Serena. I really played a good one. But, yeah, that time she was too strong for me. It was a great experience also for my next steps and for the next, yeah, tournaments and matches what I had after.

Q. You talk a lot about the importance of being aggressive. Sometimes when your opponent is being aggressive you’re able to make them make another aggressive shot, sometimes they miss. How important is that to your success? What effect do you think that has on them?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think it’s important to my game, being aggressive, but also being defensive. Your opponent’s playing sometimes really aggressive, so there are different ones. I mean, you have to playing your own game. This is what I’m trying.

I mean, of course, when there’s somebody who is just like hitting the balls, I’m trying to be like more playing from the defensive end.

At the end, for me it’s important to going out there with my weapon, going, playing in the middle of the court, and just going for it.

Q. Kvitova next. What do you expect?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It will be a good match, I think. We had great matches in the past. Yeah, it will be a good challenge. I’m looking forward.

I will try to, yeah, going out and win the match, of course. Try to enjoy the next match here in New York.

Q. At this point in the tournament, how hard is it to not look past that next match?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It’s easy not look ahead, because now it’s the next opponent and then we will see what’s happen. I mean, for me it’s always important to playing step by step, day by day.

The next one is Petra. Then we will see what’s happen after.

Q. Does this tournament feel any different to you with top seeds going out?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Actually for me, no, because I’m not looking to other players. I’m looking just on my games, on my days, what I have to do, and going my own way.

So this is actually nothing different. Yeah, it’s just the same.

Q. Obviously left-hander versus left-hander. Is playing a left-hander as weird to you as it would be for a right-hander to play you? Is it noticeably different for you when you play a lefty?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Of course, it’s a little bit different than to play against a right-hander. I played a lot of matches in the last few weeks against lefties, so it will be nothing special for me.

I mean, it’s just the ball spins a little bit different. But at the end I know how Petra is playing, so it’s nothing new for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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US Open – Sock Knocks Out 2014 Champ Cilic; Djokovic and Nadal Advance

(September 2, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – No. 26 seed Jack Sock kept his record against 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic perfect on Friday, when he upset the No. 7 seed 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 on Friday to reach the fourth round at Flushing Meadows. The 23-year-old Sock, the 26 seed felt confient about his game.

 

“I think just all around I think I’m putting things together better and better,” said Sock. “I definitely feel more confident out there in everything I’m doing.

“Used to be some liabilities people would talk about in my game. I feel like I have cleaned those up pretty well. Returning was big for me. I think I’ve gotten a pretty good hold on that. Feeling comfortable. Getting in a lot of guys’ service games now.

“Overall I feel my purpose out there. I’m executing it well and I feel like I know what I’m going to do on almost every point.”

Sock, reaching just his second fourth round at a major, will meet No. 9 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The Frenchman defeated No. 23 seed Keving Anderson in straight sets.

Sock’s American countryman, John Isner did not fare as well. The 20th seed Isner who fell to Great Britain’s Kyle Edmund 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (5). For the Brit ranked 84th in the world, this will be his first round of 16 at a major.

“It’s been a great week so far, absolutely,” the 21-year-old Edmund said to media. “Tonight was a really good win. I was pleased with my consistency throughout the match. Weren’t too many dips. On that stage, as well, in front of a good crowd, a big crowd, against John in his own country, I was pleased with the performance I put out there.”

“I think the match swung a bit in the first game of the third set when I had Love-40,” Isner explained. “I played three really good points to get to Love-40, and then kind of wear myself out trying to finish that game off.

“I didn’t break, and then the next game I didn’t make any first serves and got broken. That was a bit disappointing. But it was just a struggle out there a little bit. Kind of the whole tournament. Nothing really felt great the whole tournament.

“But credit to Kyle. I thought he played well. Certainly played better than I did in the big moments, so hats off to him.”

Edmund will have a tumultuous task ahead of him for the next match – No. 1 Novak Djokovic. Djokovic played only six games in the match on Friday when his opponent Mikhail Youzhny retired. Djokovic has only played one complete match at the tournament, in the first round. His second round opponent withdrew.

“It’s not great for neither players nor the fans pay tickets to come and watch,” noted the world No. 1.” Spent 20 minutes on the court. Of course, it’s not something you want considering, as well, the fact I haven’t played last match at all.

“But it is what it is. I got an extra hour of practice on the center court. They were kind enough to allow me to practice. Got to focus on positives.”

Rafael Nadal produced a spectacular between-the-legs lob shot during the night session in his 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win over Andrey Kuznetsov in a night session match.

Asked if he ever hit a long like that before, the 14-time major winner said: “Well, actually yes. Not many times, but I remember one in Madrid against Djokovic.”

Other men reaching the fourth round include: No. 10 Gael Monfils, No. 24 Lucas Pouille and Marcos Baghdatis.

In women’s action, the most dramatic match of the day saw eighth seeded American Madison Keys rally from 1-5 down in the third set to survive Japanese player Naomi Osaka 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (3). The 21-year-old American said it was her best comeback win. She said: “For sure. Hands down.”

“No matter what the score was, it was always just trying to get back in the match. Once I was able to get a little bit of momentum I felt like I found my game a bit more. At that point I knew I had to kind of step up or else I was going to be going home.”

Keys will play two-time US Open finalist and former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki for a place in the quarterfinals.

“It’s been a rough year because I haven’t been able to catch a break from injuries basically,” said the current No. 74 player in the world. “Every time I have come back something else has been hurting. Knock on wood, right now I’m feeling good. Everything is feeling good.

“I’m hoping I can keep this up for the end of the year and hopefully start fresh next year.”

Other women moving into the final 16 are No. 2 Angelique Kerber – Australian Open champion, No. 7 Roberta Vinci – who stopped Serena Williams bid for a Grand Slam last year, No. 13 Johanna Konta, Two-time Wimbledon champion No. 14 Petra Kvitova, Anastasija Sevastova and Lesia Tsurenko.

 

Related Articles:

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

Day 5 of the US Open – In Their Own Words

 

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