May 27, 2017

Maria Sharapova Wins First Match After Serving 15-Month Doping Ban

(April 26, 2017)Maria Sharapova returned to the court on Wednesday after a 15-month absence due to a doping ban. The five-time major winner defeated No. 34 Roberta Vinci 7-5, 6-3 to advance at the Porsche Grand Prix WTA event in Stuttgart.

Sharapova was suspended from the tour for testing positive for the drug meldonium. She had been taking the drug for many years. Her ban was reduced from two year to 15-months.

Maria Sharapova’s Ban Reduced to 15 Months

The 30-year-old was not allowed to set foot on the grounds of the tournament until Wednesday morning for practice, as her suspension ended at midnight.

This was the Russian’s first match since the 2016 quarterfinals of the Australian Open where she lost to Serena Williams.

Sharapova who was given a wildcard into Stuttgart, has also been given wildcards into Rome and Madrid.

“It’s the best feeling in the world,” Sharapova said on court after her “I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time.”

“It’s a journey, and it starts today and I’m looking forward to playing as many matches as I can.”

As for the match itself, Sharapova hit 11 aces, 39 winners and made 21 unforced errors. In her post-match news conference, Sharapova was asked about other people’s comments about her returning to the tour.

“It’s not my job” to think about other people’s comments, she said.

“Words and quotes and articles is not what matters in life, I have learned that very well over the past year.”

“Articles, they go away, that is not life. What matters is what happens on the court.”

“I’m not getting a wild card to receive a trophy. I still have to win the matches and that’s my job.”

Sharapova will face countrywoman Ekaterina Makarova next.


Maria Sharapova news conference, begins at the 7-minute mark:

Related Articles:

Maria Sharapova Set to Return From Doping Ban at Stuttgart Tourney

ITF Statement Regarding the Case of Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova Announces She Failed Drug Test at Australian Open


24 – 30 APRIL 2017

RESULTS – APRIL 26, 2017
Singles – Second Round

[4] S. Halep (ROU) d B. Strycova (CZE) 62 63
[Q] A. Kontaveit (EST) d [5] G. Muguruza (ESP) 26 76(1) 61
First Round
[6] [WC] J. Konta (GBR) d [Q] N. Osaka (JPN) 76(5) 36 61
K. Mladenovic (FRA) d M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO) 64 62
E. Vesnina (RUS) d D. Kasatkina (RUS) 76(2) 62
C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) d [Q] T. Korpatsch (GER) 62 64
[WC] M. Sharapova (RUS) d R. Vinci (ITA) 75 63
C. Vandeweghe (USA) d [Q] J. Ostapenko (LAT) 76(3) 76(3)

Doubles – First Round

[1] A. Spears (USA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) d E. Rodina (RUS) / A. Sevastova (LAT) 62 61
L. Kichenok (UKR) / L. Tsurenko (UKR) d R. Olaru (ROU) / O. Savchuk (UKR) 26 64 12-10

CENTRE COURT start 12:00 noon
[8] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) vs [WC] L. Siegemund (GER)
[6] [WC] J. Konta (GBR) vs A. Sevastova (LAT)
[WC] M. Sharapova (RUS) vs E. Makarova (RUS)

Not Before 6:30 pm
[1] A. Kerber (GER) vs K. Mladenovic (FRA)
C. Vandeweghe (USA) vs [2] K. Pliskova (CZE)
N. Broady (GBR) / A. Smith (GBR) vs [3] R. Atawo (USA) / J. Ostapenko (LAT)

COURT 1 start 1:00 pm
E. Vesnina (RUS) vs C. Suárez Navarro (ESP)
A. Hlavackova (CZE) / S. Stosur (AUS) vs S. Halep (ROU) / A. Rosolska (POL)
After suitable rest – [1] A. Spears (USA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) vs A. Muhammad (USA) / L. Siegemund (GER)

24 – 30 APRIL 2017

RESULTS – APRIL 26, 2017
Singles – Second Round

[3] I. Begu (ROU) d K. Flipkens (BEL) 61 16 63
[5] S. Cirstea (ROU) d M. Sakkari (GRE) 64 62
[WC] D. Yastremska (UKR) d [LL] A. Kalinskaya (RUS) 61 64
First Round
[1] E. Svitolina (UKR) d [Q] V. Kamenskaya (RUS) 64 06 61
[2] T. Babos (HUN) d [Q] C. Perrin (SUI) 63 62
[6] E. Mertens (BEL) d K. Kozlova (UKR) 64 61
[Q] A. Cadantu (ROU) d N. Hibino (JPN) 26 60 63
[WC] A. Aksu (TUR) d [Q] E. Kulichkova (RUS) 75 61
C. Buyukakcay (TUR) d M. Zanevska (BEL) 62 61

Doubles – First Round

D. Jakupovic (SLO) / N. Kichenok (UKR) d [1] S. Hsieh (TPE) / I. Soylu (TUR) 76(5) 62
E. Bouchard (CAN) / K. Flipkens (BEL) d A. Kalinskaya (RUS) / L. Marozava (BLR) 61 63
N. Dzalamidze (RUS) / V. Kudermetova (RUS) d A. Omae (JPN) / R. Voracova (CZE) 62 67(5) 10-6

GARANTI KOZA ARENA start 12:30 pm
[6] E. Mertens (BEL) vs S. Errani (ITA)
[Q] B. Eraydin (TUR) vs [WC] A. Aksu (TUR)

Not Before 5:00 pm
C. Buyukakcay (TUR) vs [2] T. Babos (HUN)

Not Before 7:00 pm
[1] E. Svitolina (UKR) vs [Q] A. Cadantu (ROU)
After Due Rest – T. Babos (HUN) / C. Buyukakcay (TUR) vs M. Duque-Mariño (COL) / A. Mitu (ROU)

COURT 1 start 1:00 pm
J. Cepelova (SVK) vs S. Sorribes Tormo (ESP)
After Due Rest – [WC] A. Aksu (TUR) / D. Yastremska (UKR) vs [4] N. Melichar (USA) / E. Mertens (BEL)


Day 9 of the US Open – In Their Own Words

Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils


(September 5, 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.

Gael Monfils

Press Conference

G. MONFILS/L. Pouille

6-4, 6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How happy are you with the way you won today? Are you content with the way you played? Straight sets is always good.
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, I’m happy with my performance. I think it is never easy to play quarterfinal against a French guy, you know. I think I handled it pretty good mentally and tennistically.

I’m happy with that and where my game is. I see new or good stuff today. Serve was a bit better. I have been saying I think to the French press that I could serve faster. I think I did it great today.

Still moving good. I’m very happy.

Q. To get to this point of the tournament – first time in semifinals of the US Open – you have had electric and great matches here, but to be able to play in the semis, how happy are you with that?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, I think I missed a good chance two years ago against Roger, but, you know, I just live now, and now I’m happy. I played great tennis so far.

You know, I have two days to recover to play my first semis here. I’m more than happy. I’m happy where I am now, so I gonna prepare great my match.

Q. Sometimes it seemed like to us that you play just as much to entertain the crowd; spectacular shots. Today it seemed like you were, very focused, playing a sharp, intelligent match, and controlled. Is that accurate, or what’s your feeling about that?
GAEL MONFILS: You know, about that is somehow — you know, those match, you never get, you know, those ball to entertain, how you say.

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.

Q. You’re 30 years old now. Has your philosophy changed about these things? Are you trying to be more conservative with your body or anything like this?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, not really. I think I’m very blessed genetically, you know. I guess the only thing is a bit different the recovery. I think it’s a bit tougher.

But if not, I’m even stronger than before, I think.

Q. If you were to face Novak Djokovic, how would you describe what that match will mean to you and what it will depend on?
GAEL MONFILS: I have a second opportunity to get to my first slam final, and the opportunity to maybe beat him for the first time in the main tour, to beat the world No. 1. That’s it.

Q. What do you think the outcome will depend on? What is most important for you to do to give yourself the best chance to win?
GAEL MONFILS: I have today to think about it. (Smiling.)

Q. Are you having fun?
GAEL MONFILS: Always. You know, always. No matter what, looks maybe a bit more serious, like everyone mention it this year, but I play tennis because I have fun. I play tennis because I love the sport.

If not, I won’t wake up every morning, train, because most of people think that jumping or do trick shot is gifted. Yes, it’s gifted, but is a lot of work. I won’t say I work on the trick shot, but it’s like I think physically I’m one of the best.

And to do that is because you’re in a great shape, you know. If I don’t have funny I stop playing tennis, for sure.

Q. Doesn’t matter whether you’re entertaining or whatever, you’re having fun?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, have fun.

Q. Does it frustrate you when people talk about trick shots and entertaining?
GAEL MONFILS: Make me laugh. You know, make me laugh, because honestly, if I can do it today, let’s say today if I have a 360 smash, definitely I do it, but I don’t have the ball.

Sometime I have it and I do it, and then the first thing is gonna be talk about is all match it was an exhibition and maybe I hit one shot.

So it’s funny. Now, you know, I get to be more consistent with the winning, you know. Because, I mean, now it’s easier to say, Oh, because I’m winning more, you know, more matches, so it’s tougher for some people to say that I’m just a showman.

Now I’m winning and faire le show.

Q. Do you ever want people to understand that you’re…
GAEL MONFILS: No, you know, I always say if I have the ball I do it because I love it. I think when I dive on the court I not dive for people. Come on. To be honest, I gonna hurt myself for people? No.

I dive because I want to win the point. Definitely I want to win the point. You know, when you make the show, honestly, it’s to entertain, but it’s 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? (Laughter.)

Q. Novak could have a tough match, perhaps will have a tough match with Jo tonight, but he’s had a rather easy US Open so far. Is it important for top players to be challenged early on to get things going later in a tournament, or if you are winning well and things are going well it doesn’t matter for you?
GAEL MONFILS: I mean, for him is different, you know. He’s super confident for years. I think doesn’t need many matches to feel his best tennis.

So I think everybody is different. I’m guy I don’t need much tennis to feel confident. Me, myself, it’s more about if I feel 100% physically is good enough to play tough tennis.

Q. You mentioned that match two years ago against Roger and how you had a chance. Did that one stick with you? Did you think about that a lot afterwards?
GAEL MONFILS: Not really, you know. What stays I had a wonderful time. It was one of the greatest match I play, you know. It’s always great to play against Roger, you know. Even if you have match points, it happen in sport.

I gave the best I had. You know, when you have opportunities you try to get it, and I think I got it back today to be in semis.

So I have been waiting for two years.

Q. You’re quite a sports fan. Do you ever learn anything from watching other sports like football or basketball that can help you on the tennis court?
GAEL MONFILS: Definitely. I mean, this year, you know, with the — I mean, I have been respecting a lot what LeBron James — I mean, what he done this year was unreal. His mindset and the work he put in to win this final, I think this is big inspiration for me.

Q. You were asked earlier about the possibility of facing Novak. I wanted to ask you to talk about the possibility of facing Jo in the semis, and both maybe what you think would be the key to that match, but also if you could speak a little bit about how long you have known each other and what it might mean to face Jo in a Grand Slam semifinal.
GAEL MONFILS: Oh, it would be a huge dream, I think. A dream. Definitely we will choose the final, but semis would be good enough.

You know, it’s not a good friend. He’s one of my best friends. He’s a brother. He’s someone I grew up with. He’s someone I look at when I was younger because he was a bit older than me.

You know, we have been through this Federation center. He was stronger than us and playing earlier, you know, the futures and everything. We always, you know, put the work to play with him, to be with Jo, you know.

So we found out, you know, ourself on the tour together, playing Davis Cup together. Go to Rio together. Share a room together in Rio. Do some fun stuff together, you know, since actually we have been 10, 11. It’s been great.

I mean, if you can have a reward and play, I mean, the semifinal in two days, it would be amazing.

Q. (Regarding five-set match with Djokovic.)
GAEL MONFILS: I mean, I remember, yeah, that was a tricky match actually. With the roof will be different, because it was taking a long time and I lost this one 7-5 in the fifth.

It was long time ago I think now. Novak is the best player ever, and that time he wasn’t. So I think it was just a good memory.

Q. But now you’re saying he is the best player ever.
GAEL MONFILS: He is. Yeah, he is. I mean, so far — when I say “ever,” not yet, because it’s still Roger. But so far what he’s doing is amazing. He’s better player than me, definitely. I think I have no shame to say it. He is better than me.

You can be the best, but one match is enough, you know. If I face him, I will take the one match as enough.

Q. You have been really consistent this year. I’m just wondering, what do you think is the key? Like you’re healthy? Maybe the confidence just keeps like helping you?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, my health has been big trouble I think all my career, and now it is somehow stabilized. I think I work differently. I think I understand different stuff.

I think it helps me a lot to be stronger.

Q. What’s the secret of success of the French players? This tournament especially, but generally speaking. You always have new talent and you have always a group of players in last few players, in the last eight, which no country has. What do you think is the secret?
GAEL MONFILS: I don’t know if secret, but I think it’s good. I think it’s good for sure for our country.

But I think it’s — I’m not sure it’s a secret. I think we all work hard, and somehow we know we make it in the same moment.

Obviously, you know, sometime it was I think the States, was Spain, you know, other countries. At the end it happen here, you know. I think I have no words to say what to say about that, but the only thing I hope is maybe next year we’re gonna have maybe even one or two more.

Q. You said you feel Novak is one of the greatest players ever, possibly the greatest player ever. What do you admire most about him?
GAEL MONFILS: His consistency, his game, the way he hit the ball clean.

I mean, so far, you know, it’s very hard to remember a match where. You know, he wasn’t hitting the ball clean. You know, maybe one or two a year. It’s amazing. The way tactically he handle, you know, every tactic, like we try to made against him.

And I think, yeah, so far he’s the best. I think he’s a great champion.

Q. How important is it for you to have a coach? How is your relationship with your trainer? What’s it like?
GAEL MONFILS: I think it’s important, for sure, for me because I need to have someone that can tell me, you know, drive me, I would say, drive me a little bit.

I got a lots going on with my tennis, which mean sometime I want to defend, I want to attack, I want to go to the net.

I think I can actually make all those shots myself, but it’s easier when someone drive you and help you to find your way, you know.

I think Mikael do it pretty good.

Q. You earlier mentioned LeBron James. Have you ever had a chance to meet him? And if you did, what would you want to ask him?
GAEL MONFILS: No, I never have this chance, but, you know, if I met him first time, first thing I would tell you is I want to dunk on you. (Laughter.)

No, I might ask him, I don’t know, so many questions. You know, I watch a lot of the commentary on him. Got many question about how he is, how he feels, how it is to be the leader, like a great champion playing with him. How do you think about everything. You know, I think I’d be a great day if I can.

Q. You mentioned your health being good and working differently now. What are you doing differently? Maybe some examples. Is it a new diet? More time in the gym?
GAEL MONFILS: I working better. I working better. Differently.

I’m not always talk about how I do it, but — what I can say I find a way to take care of my knee, take care of my body, you know, take care of everything. So far it’s good.

Angelique Kerber

Press Conference

A. KERBER/R. Vinci

7-5, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you tell us the first set, which you were behind three times and you were able to recover. How was difficult? Were you tense? You started to play much better later.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I think the key of the match was the first set. 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.

Q. You were not so much relaxed in the first set, correct?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, no, because it was tough and I knew that it’s really close now. So that’s why I talked to myself, Okay, stay positive. Think about the good things you did in the first set.

And that’s it. After I won the first set I was more relaxed at the end. I think in the second set what I did good that I played the first few games really tough so that I was up 3-0 very fast.

Then I could continue my good play, yeah, in the next few games.

Q. In the first set especially she used the dropshot a lot and you went to the net. Sometimes it worked; sometimes is didn’t. How do you feel you did against that? Do you think other players are going to use that going forward?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I know that she’s playing like this. I know how she play and I was actually prepared for that. So, yeah, it works sometimes, but I think a lot of players are playing like that already. Also me.

So I was not surprised that she was playing so many dropshots.

Q. Against a player like Roberta who hits so much variety and slices, is it especially important to stay patient and calm?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I think it was also important to have patience against her and wait for your shots, because she is actually a good mover and she brings a lot of balls back with her slice, as well.

So I was trying to moving good, and, yeah, keeping my eyes on the balls and going for it. Because the spin is a little bit different than when you play against others. They are just hitting the balls really strong.

Q. Did you watch her match against Serena last year? What did you make of her performance in that one?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: No. I just saw the final. I didn’t saw the semis. I saw a lot of matches after. She is a great player and she played very good in the last few months, so I was trying to, yeah, watch the match.

And also, I talked with my coach a little bit because he saw the match before. And, yeah, my plan was playing with patience and when I have the chance to going for it.

Q. This is becoming common for you now to get to this stage in a major. How would you describe the transformation in your game and your thinking to get to where it is becoming common for you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I think it’s changed a little bit. For me, I’m going out on Arthur Ashe, on the stadium, and playing against top player, as well. I have I think right now more confidence to going out there.

I’m not thinking about quarters, semis, or whatever. 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.

Q. So how different is your sense of belief in yourself right now than it was before this year?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It’s bigger, for sure. It’s one of my best years now, so that’s why my belief in myself is growing for sure. That’s why I think I’m playing like I’m playing right now, that I really going for it with a lot of belief in my game and myself.

Yeah, it’s changed a lot in the last few months.

Q. You just hit on this in terms of thinking your way through a match. Two years ago, three years ago, how different would this match have played out? Do you think you would have been as mentally strong against an opponent who really throws you off?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I don’t know. I think this is a good question. I don’t know. Maybe not, because I think I grow a lot in the last few years.

And also with my mentality, that I’m, yeah, staying more positive and believing in my game. I think that, yeah, that right now I can win matches like that.

Also, the match before I played, just staying positive and believe in my shots. That gives me a lot of confidence.

So I think I learned a lot from the last years.

Q. You were saying that you kept telling yourself today to stay in the moment and focus on right now, not look ahead. How does that help you and how does that get more difficult and certainly facing your next round?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Today, that was I think the key for the match, to staying in the moment and not thinking ahead or like what’s happen or whatever.

And I think this is also what I have learned in the last few months also, to not thinking ahead against who I’m playing or if it’s the same as other final or first round actually.

I’m just trying to, yeah, believe and having fun out there, enjoying what I’m doing right now. I think this is the best way for me to playing my best tennis.

Q. It’s been five years since you were in the semifinals here. It must be very, very good to be back at this stage. How different is it going in now with the accomplishments that you have, the Grand Slams and great results you have had lately and the mental maturity than it was for the 23 year old who did it five years ago?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, it’s completely different. I mean, I remember the semis here like years ago when I reached it for my first time. That was maybe also a little bit surprise.

I had nothing to lose. I came here. I just played great tennis. I think a lot of things, yeah, happened since then.

Now I’m a completely different player, I think. I’m going out. I have a lot of confidence. I know how to win big matches. I know how it feels playing on the stadium.

I’m also enjoying it more than years ago. I’m trying to, you know, going there and enjoying the atmosphere and also win the matches.

I mean, years ago I came here and I had nothing to lose and my goal was playing good, and now my goal is winning the matches and this is a little bit different.

Q. When you had your quarterfinal press conference, when you were doing this five years ago, do you remember feeling a bit differently, maybe a bit more nervous or apprehensive, do I really belong here, as opposed to where you are right now sitting there talking to us?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think so. Five years ago I was a little bit nervous. I was sitting here and I had no idea what to answer, I think. I was like, Okay, let’s see.

But right now I think for me it comes normal to came here in front of you guys, speaking with you. So it’s like after every match it’s the same rhythm.

Q. You’re speaking in terms of positiveness and all mental, but of course the physical part, is your practice different now? It’s awesome what you’re saying in regards to all the positive thinking and that is fantastic, but is your practice different now as opposed to how it was several years ago or a year ago or whatever? What has changed? And is there one strength in your game that has really made a significant difference in the past several months or so of this year?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think my practice change a little bit. I’m trying to focusing just on one or two things during the practice and really trying to focusing on this and improving few things and not making things also too complicated. To going out there and practicing like not maybe two hours, but just one hour, and full intensity. I think this is what I change.

Yeah, my game, I think my serve improved a little bit more than like few months ago. Of course that helps me a little bit more on my game style when my first serve, yeah, cames more.

Q. Question regarding Wozniacki.)
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Caroline is always a tough opponent. I know this. We know each other very well.

So let’s see who will win the quarterfinal tonight, but for me, it’s — I will watch it a little bit for sure, but for me it’s actually doesn’t matter against who I’m playing.

I’m now in the semifinals, and if it’s Caroline, yeah, it will be great match for sure. I know how she is playing; she is strong again; she had great wins here.

So it will be a good semis.

Q. What do you remember about the matches against Caroline in the past particularly? You obviously had some long ones; some insane long rallies in Indian Wells.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I remember long matches with her. I remember we have tough rallies and always really tough ones.

So for sure it will be – if it’s her again – really tough battle.

But, yeah, I’m looking forward to take the chance again with her to play and to take the challenge. It’s the semis, so it doesn’t matter against who I’m playing. I mean, it will be tough one. I’m looking forward if it’s Caroline.

Q. You’re known for working so hard on your game, and your game has gotten better and better each year. You still have a ways to go. What would it mean to you to finally become the best player in the world? What would that mean to you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Um, this would mean a lot to me. I mean, when I was a kid I was always dreaming to being the No. 1. Let’s see. I mean, there are still matches to go.

Also, Serena has to play as well very good. I mean, let’s see. I mean, I’m looking forward to play, first of all, my next match. If the day will come, it will be amazing.

Q. As you mentioned, we don’t know the name of your next opponent. I’d just like to ask you about the specific challenge of each one, starting with Caroline. When you face her, what do you consider to be the greatest challenge in her game for you? And then the same with Anastaija?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: With Caroline, I mean, I know she’s moving very well and she brings a lot of balls back, so I have to be really patient, like today, and waiting for the shots and being aggressive. That will be for sure the challenge with her.

And against Sevastova, I think I never played against her yet, so… But this is also — I mean, she has nothing to lose. She plays now also one of her best tennis. She reach the quarters here, so she will give everything. Yeah, actually, I don’t know exactly how she’s playing right now.

Roberta Vinci

Press Conference

A. KERBER/R. Vinci

7-5, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Obviously disappointing. You had a rough break and then all of a sudden she broke back and kind of seemed like a different match. Talk about what happened.
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, was of course a tough match. Bad luck for the first set. I had so many chance. Probably I was playing better than her the first set.

But she’s a great player. She miss maybe two or three balls and she run a lot. She’s in confidence. So I lost the first set, and then the second set she started to play better than the first set. I was a little bit down.

But anyway, of course I’m so sad about today. In general I played a great tournament. Now just will go home and take some days off; see what I have for my injury, and then we will see.

Q. You felt that she became a significantly better player?

Q. Because she had said she sort of learned to relax; she had nerves coming in and you are a tricky player. It wasn’t so much that your game fell, it’s that she was able to raise the level of her game?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, I have different kind of tennis, of course. Yeah, she was a little bit nervous probably because she knew that I am different player. Probably she prefer to play with some opponent that play flat.

But I have a different game, and, well, to beat her, she’s tough. You have to play great tennis, high level. I played high level for just one set.

But that was the best that I can do today.

Q. Last year you were coming in and facing Serena, clearly the hottest player on tour. Right now you can say Angie is the hottest player on tour right now. Two years in a row. Did you draw upon last year, what you were able to do against Serena?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, this morning in my mind I said, of course, Okay, try your best; tough opponent like Serena last year. You have nothing to lose. Play your game. Try to enjoy. I knew that I was in the quarterfinal after a lot of problems, but I was fighting also today.

But, yeah, she’s No. 2 in the world. Maybe No. 1. So she’s in confidence. For me was tough, but I play good game today. I knew it was tough, tough to win against her.

But, yeah, she’s a great player. She won, so she played better than me. And that’s it.

Q. From what you remember of her a couple years ago, what is different about the level of her game today? Is it mental…
ROBERTA VINCI: My game or her game?

Q. Her game. What has raised?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, she’s a great player. Yeah, probably different is mentality, from the mentality. She’s confident. She miss not so many balls, and she say always focus every single point. She run a lot, so you have to push a lot to win a point. You have to run a lot.

Yeah, she’s No. 2 in the world, so now she’s probably better mental, and also tennis. Both.

Q. It appears that you’re saying that the mental toughness has been a significant factor that has transformed her game.
ROBERTA VINCI: Okay, okay. Sorry.

Q. So if that is the situation, so her game has been basically the same —

Q. — in the past several years. It’s just now she’s mentally tough and says, I can beat you; Vinci, I can beat you?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah. She won a lot of matches this year. She won one Grand Slam. She won a lot of match. So when the moments is tough, probably she’s…

Q. So does that create a fear within you now, her mental toughness? Because I’m hearing something here that’s mental, mental, mental, so perhaps it’s creating fear in you and some of the other girls that she’s…
ROBERTA VINCI: She’s on fire. She won a lot of matches. She’s in confidence. When the moment is tough and both are so close, she’s focused. She’s in good shape. She’s No. 2. So probably this is the difference between us.

Lucas Pouille

Press Conference

G. MONFILS/L. Pouille

6-4, 6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Obviously disappointing result, but it’s been a great run for you. Obviously you came in off those five-setters and the rough one against Rafa. Talk about how that contributed to some fatigue, if that was the case. Talk about the match.
LUCAS POUILLE: Of course I was a bit tired today. 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.

Q. What are the takeaways from the tournament? Obviously the win against Rafa, the hard-fought battles, but that one in particular?
LUCAS POUILLE: Yeah, the one against Rafa, of course. It’s the best win of my career so far.

It’s a lot of confidence. Even if I lose today, I will leave New York with a lot of confidence for the rest of the year and the next season. Now I know I can be in quarterfinal again and maybe more.

Yeah, give me power to work harder and to be, yeah, next time in quarter. I want to be stronger physically and, yeah, to be more fresh.

Q. Here and Wimbledon, are you at a point now where you have higher expectations coming into Grand Slams?
LUCAS POUILLE: Yeah, of course. Now the next one gonna be in Australia. It’s going to be a new year.

But I won’t go there to win only one match. I want to do second week and more. That’s gonna be my goal next year.

Q. How much did it bother you that several times you were at the net, seemingly good position to win the point, and he was able to lob you, get to a tough ball and then lob you?
LUCAS POUILLE: Ah, a lot. He’s moving — as I say, he’s moving so well. When you come to the net he always push you to the limit. He always put one more ball in the court.

So if you want to make a winner you have to make the perfect shot. Maybe I was a little bit tired. I was not so close to the net or I was not fast enough to come.

So, yeah, gave him a lot of space to pass me. Yeah, it was difficult.

Anastasija Sevastova

Press Conference

C. WOZNIACKI/A. Sevastova

6-0, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How much was your ankle injury affecting your play?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: For sure it was affecting my play, but I’m not a person that likes to retire during a match, so I just tried my best.

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

Q. The second time the trainer came out, what was that discussion about?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: It was a discussion like she wanted to do something else. I was asking her what she can do maybe to help me, because I don’t like tapes normally on my ankle, because it’s different feeling plus it’s so tight, so I was just asking her. And, yeah…

Q. How tough was that just to be out there knowing that you couldn’t play the tennis that you wanted to play on Ashe Stadium, night session?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: For sure it was tough, but what can I do? I tried my best. I don’t like to retire, as I mentioned, but Caroline played great tennis. I think she made no mistakes. She did what she could best. She was a better player anyway. Yeah, even I think if I had no injury it would tough to beat her, yeah.

Q. How did you hurt it? Did you just twist it while…
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t know. I think I stopped on the serve. I didn’t follow through. I fell over. And, yeah, I heard some sounds there, but it happened to me couple of months ago as well on clay.

So it’s pretty much the same injury, same ankle, twice in six months. (Smiling.)

Q. Obviously an incredible two weeks for you and everything, but does the way it all ends kind of change what you take away from it, or is it still…
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t think it takes away. I still won two games. (Laughter.)

Yeah, 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.

I mean, if somebody asks me like before, Would you take a quarterfinal, lose 0 and 2, or would you take a first round and lose 7-6 in the third, for sure I would take quarterfinals.

Q. How much did it mean to you getting to play three matches on Ashe? Not all quarterfinalists get to…
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t know why they put me on Ashe three times. I’m like playing more often than some other players who are like top 10. It’s a great feeling. It’s a great stadium. It’s the biggest one. It’s unbelievable.

I feel very welcomed here.

Q. Does it mean much to you to join the Last Eight Club? Do you know about that?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t know about that. I heard about that. What does it mean? Do I get something special?

Q. Last Eight Club means basically you get free credential and tickets for rest of your life.
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Cool. Do I get also to practice alone on the court? Because before the tournament we were always sharing.

Q. Can you tell us how some things have changed in your life over the last ten days? Have you gotten new endorsements? What kind of benefits have you gotten over the last ten days?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Not really. Latvia is a poor country. No, not really.

Q. Nothing?

Q. Have you heard from any special people that you didn’t expect?

Q. Nothing?

Q. Did you get that hat recently?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: No. It’s my hometown in Latvia.

Q. Kristaps is from the same…

Q. How far away did you grow up from his family?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t know his family, no. I’m not into basketball that much.

Q. But that was…
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: It’s the same town. We are from the same town, yeah.

Q. Did you hear from the Olympic hockey —
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: They lost. I heard about that.

Q. Do you feel you were able to cheer them up a little bit?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t follow hockey that much actually. (Laughter.)

I mean, I heard about that. This is qualifying. But, yeah. We still won — they still won against Austria 8-1.

Q. Did you brag to your boyfriend?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: That’s what I can brag about all the time.

Q. So do you leave New York the same as when you got here, or has the last 10 days changed you a bit?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: For sure. I have more confidence in my tennis. I think on a good day I could beat good players, top players.

And, yeah, the season is long. I mean, there is still some tournaments I can play, and it’s a good position to start the next year where I am now. So we’ll see. I have to just keep working.

It cannot happen like this today maybe. I have to start better. But for sure I’m more confident, and I’m more happy with my tennis, yeah.

Q. Did you feel that the crowd was particularly noisy tonight, more so than your other matches on Ashe?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Like a pro on Ashe. (Smiling.)

Q. Was it distracting at all?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Actually tonight it was not that distracting personally for me. They were loud, yeah, for sure, but I expected that from the first match during the night against Garbiñe.

So tonight it was okay. The problem I couldn’t hear the referee saying time, or chair umpire. I couldn’t hear.

Q. We couldn’t either.

Q. Do you know what your schedule is for the fall? You’re right around where could you get seeded for the Australian Open.
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Tokyo, not International —

Q. Little Tokyo or big Tokyo?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I just withdraw because of my ankle. I’m playing the second one, then Wuhan and Beijing, and probably Moscow. Maybe Linz. Depends on the results from before. After Moscow, I’m done.

Q. You probably haven’t had an opportunity to really, really celebrate everything that’s happened this week.

Q. How do you celebrate now that you don’t have to play a match for a while?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I’m quite tired now actually. My ankle hurts. Maybe on the flight home. I don’t know.

No, no idea. No. Really, maybe we will go out tonight. If we are not sleeping. But probably at home we would go somewhere for dinner or to nice drink. Yeah.



Caroline Wozniacki

Press Conference

C. WOZNIACKI/A. Sevastova

6-0, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How does it feel to be back in the semifinals of New York?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: It feels great. It’s a tournament that I love. I love being here. Life playing in this incredible stadium.

So it’s a great.

Q. It’s always hard to keep your focus when maybe the opponent is injured or something happens. You seemed to do that very well tonight.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think I was just extra focused, because I saw her fall in that second game. 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.

Q. Do you feel like you have home court advantage here being that you have your apartment sleeping in your apartment?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I definitely do feel like I have an advantage there. I sleep at home in my own bed, have home-cooked food, and have my friends and family here.

I also feel like I have a bit of a home court advantage when I step out on court. The crowd is always supporting me and is sweet to me. I think it helps I played so well here in the past. It’s just a great combination.

Q. What have been your observations of Angie’s improvement both in a physical way and mental way to get to the stage where she is now in late stages of nearly all the majors this season?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: To be honest, you know, obviously I have seen the results and she’s been doing great. I’m really happy for her. She’s a hard worker.

But to be honest, when I was injured I didn’t watch one match. I don’t know. I have to watch tapes. Obviously I have had tough matches against her in the past. She’s a great competitor. She looks fit, so it’s going to be a tough one.

Yeah, I haven’t really thought about it yet. I just kind of want to enjoy this moment first.

Q. How inspirational is that for you with all the Polish folks behind you?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, there is a lot of Polish people living here. Obviously there is a big fan base from Poland here.

Obviously I was born in Denmark and feel Danish, but I have some Polish blood in me. It’s nice I can take the best of both worlds. Also I have a big part of the New York crowd with me. It’s a great combination here.

Q. Cook any Polish food?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I haven’t this week, actually. After the tournament. (Smiling.)

Q. You have known Angie for a very long time and you hung out when you were younger, et cetera. Does it surprise you she finds herself in world No. 2, Grand Slam champion, based off how you were when you were younger?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No, I don’t think so. We are similar in that we are both hard working. I think that, you know, hard work pays off. She’s obviously very passionate. She loves what she’s doing and it shows.

She’s had a great year and I’m happy for her.

Q. This isn’t a position you have been in quite often the last couple years. Does it make easier playing Angie, someone you know so well?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I don’t think it makes it easier. We will have to wait and she. She’s had a great year so she will be tough to beat, but I’m going to do my best. That’s all can I ask for myself.

Q. You said you didn’t really want to look ahead and go on to the next match right away. You really wanted to enjoy the moment and looked very happy at that time. How does being able to stay in the moment and not go out of yourself, how has that helped you?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think it’s really helped me. You know, there is always going to be uphill battles, and sometimes it’s not going to go your way.

But I always believe if you work hard and you have the belief, and obviously you give it your all, eventually it will turn. It’s been a great week or ten days for me. I’m really pleased.

I think the fact that I have friends and family here and I can just go home and relax and kind of unwind, it’s really helped me to kind of just enjoy it and not look ahead and not stress and just show up. I’m like, Well, I get another day; I get another chance.

It’s great.

Q. I think your father was talking to the Danish press. Thinking about retiring? Have you given much thought to that, plans on that sort of front?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I kind of — I think I don’t want to really talk about that now. When I feel ready to open up and say something then I will, but for now I’m just here to play this tournament.

Hopefully I have two more matches here. Yeah, it’s really all I’m focused on right now.

Q. You have had to answer a number of questions about No. 1 or the No. 1 ranking. What is it about ranking? Angie is in a race for it. Is it something coveted on tour? You talked about ranking is just a number. Where does No. 1 fit into it?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think when you’re a little kid and you don’t know what anything really means, everybody knows what it means to be the best in the world and everybody knows what it means to be No. 1.

So I think getting the No. 1 ranking is extremely special and it’s something that everyone can kind of relate to and every little kid understands.

So obviously being No. 1 in the world is extremely special, and I’m sure Angie is feeling it, too. I’m sure that she is going to do everything to get that ranking. She’s been playing really well this year.

It’s something that very few people in the world has ever achieved. I mean, how crazy is it to say that you’re the best in the world at something? Doesn’t matter if tennis, football, being a lawyer, whatever it is. It’s really special.

You know, for me, when I’m saying ranking is just a number, I have been No. 1. I have been there for two year years. That is something I’m extremely proud of.

But right now, for me, being 70-something, it’s not really — you know, it doesn’t really mean much to me. I still believe and feel like I’m one of the top players and grinding my way back, so that’s why I’m saying for me right now the ranking is just a number: because I’m not No. 1 and there is a long way for me right now to get back to No. 1.

But I’m doing my best to just play my best tennis and have fun with it. It’s really all that I can do right now.

Q. Would it be strange to see that number with not Serena Williams’ name next to it?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah. I mean, she’s held that ranking for so long. Obviously, I think, it’s sad she’s only played eight tournaments from this time last year. She’s such an unbelievable and inspiring player. Obviously being so close with her, just it’s special. She’s just a special athlete. You know, it’s incredible what she’s achieved. It’s something that probably very few – or it will take a long time before someone else gets to that level.

Q. How many weeks a year do you spend at your Manhattan place and where you train?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I don’t know. I mean, we travel so much, so I don’t get to spend as much time here as I want.

But when I’m here lately I have been training at the McEnroe Academy on Randall’s Island. Sometimes I go to the Westside Highway; it’s public courts. They usually let me in and let me in and train for as long as I want. I kind of like being there, because I feel like a proper New Yorker.

Q. There is a queue to get on to those courts. Have you waited?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I actually haven’t waited because people have been so sweet that they’ve let me in.

Q. That’s fair.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: But if I had to wait, I would. What can I do? I have to follow the rules, right?

Q. Your serve has been particularly reliable for you over the course of the tournament. That hasn’t always been the case in the past. Can you talk about the evolution of that shot? What is kind of the specific work that you have put into it to make it a shot that you can rely on here?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: It’s been something that I have worked on for the last 20 years. It’s something that I have spent a lot of time on, and it’s something that maybe doesn’t come — the return comes more natural than the serve, but I have been working really hard on it.

It’s been great at periods in my career and then it’s been really bad in periods where I am like, I don’t know why the timing isn’t there. It’s been good again, so it’s kind of on and off.

When it’s on, I’m just praying that it’s going to stay on for a while. I don’t know.

Q. Has it been on here? Would you consider this on?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, I think it’s been a good two weeks. Hopefully I can keep it up.

Q. You spoke a moment ago about belief and enjoyment and about your two weeks as No. 1 player in the world. How do those things compare now with the belief and enjoyment when you were the No. 1 player?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think it’s much different. I’m older. I have been through everything. Right now I’m happy every time I get to play on a big court.

It’s special, you know. Like obviously being injured and being away from the game you kind of put things in perspective. You’re like, I could get injured again tomorrow and maybe I won’t have another shot out there.

I think I’m enjoying it much more now than back I was then. Back then I was just trying and grinding for staying at the top of the rankings for as long as possible, and obviously just winning every match.

Now obviously I want to win every match, but it’s different. I’m not the favorite in most of my matches anymore, or on paper at least. I’m just going in there as the underdog and going out doing my thing.

Q. How does that increased enjoyment affect your belief as a player?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think I have always had the belief. The belief hasn’t changed. I just think I’m enjoying it now more than I was in the past.

I think it’s less stressful. It’s more going out and having fun.

Q. There was a picture on Twitter of the vacation you took with Angie and the Radwanskas, like, years ago.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I look pretty round in that picture, actually. I think we all did.

Q. You were at a different stage in your lives. But everybody grows up, and on the tour everybody becomes more professional, has their own teams. Can you look back on that kind of time and how different it was and maybe if you have any stories to share about that vacation with Angie?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Actually, I don’t think it’s that different. We would still go on vacations, but the problem is like, you know, Aga is getting married, so then all of a sudden we’re like, We just want a girls trip, but it’s tough when everyone has their own thing.

But even last year Angie and I were talking. I was like, Part of my offseason I will be in New York. I’ll be somewhere else. If you want to join, you’re more than welcome.

So it’s not like we are separated, but it’s like sometimes like we have different priorities or there is just a little bit more busy now. But, yeah, I think still we hang out and we have coffees and sit and talk and have a good time.

I think the great thing about our little group of people is that we have kind of hung out together for years and years now, and doesn’t matter who is No. 1 or who is lower ranked or who is beating who, we always have that little clique, and it’s nice to be able to just hang out and have a nice little conversation and a good laugh.



Novak Djokovic

Press Conference


6-3, 6-2, (ret.)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How would you describe your road to the semifinals?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I’m in the semifinals, so that’s what matters for me the most; to be able to play as well as I did in fourth round and today in the quarterfinals for at least a couple of sets.

I thought that I came out with the right intensity. The quality of my game and level of performance has raised in last couple of days, which obviously encourages me prior to the last four.

I put myself in a position again to be one match away from the finals. As tournament progresses, I feel like I’m getting better. Of course that this Grand Slam is very unique for me. I never experienced something like this to have three retirements on the road to the semifinals.

I can only wish all of my opponents a speedy recovery. That’s all I can do on my end. I obviously try to focus on things that I need to do; stick to the game plan. I notice Jo already midway through the second set was upholding his first serve and you could sense that something is going on.

So I’m sure it’s not an easy situation for him to handle, playing quarterfinals and having to retire night session. But, again, it’s sport.

Q. Did you sense that you broke him mentally as much as physically with just how sharp you were?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, that’s I guess a question for him. On my side I said I tried to come in with high intensity, concentration, and trying to execute the game plan I prepared with my team.

I played Jo many times on the big stage. First Grand Slam final for both of us was back in 2008 in Melbourne. Yeah, played over 20 times against each other, so I know Jo very well. I know his pros and cons.

So I tried to analyze the matches that we had before, and as I said, get myself, you know, prepared the best way I could. I thought I did well on the return; put a lot of pressure on his second serve. First serve is sometimes a gamble because it’s a big serve. Just tried to get as many balls back in play, move him around the court, and I thought at least that I have done well.

Q. Does the lack of match competition concern you at all going forward?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not really. Actually, in this stage of the season, considering some physical issues I have had in the last month, month and a half, this was the scenario that I needed and I wished for. I got a lot of days off and recovered my body. Right now I’m feeling very close to the peak. That’s the position where I want to be.

Q. But would a fourth or a fifth set maybe be a bit of uncharted territory for you in the current sense?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not really. I mean, I have played so many times. I was so many times in this particular situation where I had long matches on the road to the semis of a Grand Slam. Also had some Grand Slams where didn’t spend too much time on the court.

It really just depends how you feel, how your season has been, how many matches you have played throughout the year.

As I said, this scenario with easy was ideal at this stage.

Q. You played Del Potro in Rio and now he’s in the quarterfinal here. How well do you think he’s playing right now? How close is he to his form?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think he’s playing very well. His forehand and his serve are two huge weapons. For somebody of his height he’s moving very well. His anticipation is great.

At the end of the day he is very, very motivated, you can see that, to perform his best. He hasn’t played for, you know, couple of years on the tour with those wrist injuries and surgeries and everything was happening.

I know him very well. Very pleasant, very nice person. He deserves what he’s getting at the moment.

It will be interesting to see how he goes around in the big matches, you know, from quarterfinals, from tomorrow onwards.

Q. With sort of the lack of match play here, do you treat the next couple of days differently than you might at a different slam? Will you guys sort of talk through or walk through different scenarios that you might face, say, in a fourth or fifth set since you haven’t been there now in a couple of months?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I’m not going to practice for three or four hours just to feel that kind of potential for the fifth set scenario. Just keeping the routine as it is. I’m glad, you know, I have another two days now to work on things. You know, at this stage of the tournament and season, I think one of the most important things for a player is this freshness of the mind, of the body, and just having that right supply of substance in your body and the enduring strength that you need, the speed, the alertness.

All these things come with, you know, some time that you have around. Time management, most of all. You know, I’m really looking forward to come out on the court on Friday in semifinals.

Q. You go way back with Monfils. He’s a player that a lot of fans like to watch. They think he’s very entertaining. Obviously you have had the better of him in the record, but as a player, do you enjoy watching him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I love watching Gaël. He’s one of the few players that I will definitely pay a ticket to watch.

He’s very charismatic. Plays with a smile. Enjoys tennis. Enjoys life.

I mean, this is – well, in my eyes – what everybody is supposed to be like, whether you’re a sportsman or whatever. Bring that smile; bring that good energy. That’s why people like him.

But also, he seems more focused at this time of his career. Especially on the hard court this year maybe he’s playing the best tennis he ever played. He’s very consistent. He hasn’t dropped a set till semis. That says a lot about the level he’s on.

Definitely expecting a tough battle.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Again, it’s a question for him. I don’t know Gaël that well to understand what’s happening, what was happening throughout his life and career. Because, you know, sometimes the circumstances in your private life affect your profession. In this case, tennis career.

But he was always enjoying playing tennis, you know. In the end of the day, it all comes down to that, whether you’re happy doing something. If you’re successful or not, that’s something that’s is on the priority list of the society we are living on. Trophies, fame, money, influence, all these kind of things that I don’t believe they are the best values that we all should share.

I think happiness intrinsic, really belonging to something and really being fulfilled doing something. That’s what Gaël is bringing to this sport. I think he’s a very valuable asset to tennis, so I’m really glad that a player like him is doing well. He’s, you know, obviously bringing that energy to the court.

Q. When you say you’re reaching your peak, do you mean in terms of your physical problems or in terms of form?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I’m reaching my peak in terms of my form. I don’t know how you understood that.

Q. Do you feel like 100% here?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, that’s what I said, yes.



Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Press Conference


6-3, 6-2, (ret.)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Why did you make the decision to retire after the second set?
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: Just because I have a pain on my left knee. It’s something I had already in the past, so I know exactly what’s happen.

So, yeah, I knew it was over for me straightaway, because when I have my knee, of course, it’s already tough to play against one of the best tennis player.

But when I don’t have my knee, I have no chance to come back from two sets to love. So for me, it’s important to save what I can save. And that’s it.



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

Angelique Kerber photo courtesy of

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….


Caroline Wozniacki Beats Eighth Seed Madison Keys to Reach US Open Quarterfinals

Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki

(September 4, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Caroline Wozniacki took down No. 8 seed Madison Keys 6-3, 6-4 to reach her first quarterfinals of a major, since she reached the US Open final where she lost to Serena Williams in 2014. The Dane once ranked No. 1, has fallen on hard times coming back from an injury, seeing her ranking fall to No. 74 entering the US Open.

“This is crazy,” two-time US Open finalist Wozniacki said on court after the match. “After such a tough year to be here and into the quarterfinals is amazing.”

The 21-year-old American Keys hit 33 unforced errors and her serve was broken three times. Wozniacki won nine of ten of her service games.


Madison Keys

Madison Keys

Keys talked about the loss in her news conference: “I think it was nerves a little bit. I definitely felt like I got off to a bad start, and then I felt like I was trying to catch up from there.

“I definitely don’t think I was playing my best. I mean, I think she played really, really well today. I think it was just a combination of me not playing my best and not playing super smart and her playing really well.

“I feel like the match just got away from me.”

“It’s been a good week,” said the 26-year-old veteran Wozniacki. “I’m really happy about the way I played. Obviously Madison is a strong player. She hits the ball really hard.

“But I managed to really, you know, play well, get a lot of returns in. I served well, which I was pleased with.

“Yeah, I’m just happy that I got another win.”

She’ll play Anastasija Sevastova for a spot in the semifinals.

Wozniacki talked about her next opponent: “I had some tough matches against her in the past. I think we played Fed Cup a couple of times, but also we played the Australian Open.

“She’s a tough player. She’s a tough opponent. She has a lot of grit and good hands. It’s not going to be an easy one, but I’m excited just to have another shot.”

Anastasija Sevastova became the first Latvian woman to make a major quarterfinal since Larisa Savchenko at 1994 Wimbledon when she knocked out 13th seed Johanna Konta 6-4, 7-5 in the opening match on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

For the 48th-ranked Sevastova, it’s just her sixth win over Top 20 opponents. She retired from the sport due to back injuries in 2013, but came back to the tour last year.

“I still cannot believe it,” Sevestova expresasing her feelings about reaching the final eight after coming out of retirement last year. “Mentally I’m spent. Totally spent. But it’s amazing.”

“I think I’m playing better in my second career right now,” she added. “I’m handling pressure sometimes better than before. Playing now these match points it’s tough. It’s always tough to finish the match, but I think I’m handling it better now.

“And, yeah, I think this was a quality match today. 30 winners, 26 unforced errors. I mean, it’s a good quality, I think. We played okay.”

Advancing to the semifinals will push her ranking up into the top 35.



Seventh seed Roberta Vinci of Italy has reached the US Open quarterfinals again, defeating No. 99 Lesia Tsurenko of the Ukraine 7-6(5), 6-2.

The Italian admitted that she’s playing with an injury:”I have some problem with my tendon, left leg. That’s it. A little bit pain on my back. A lot of pain, but I don’t want to think about this injury.”

“I fight a lot, and important thing was to try something and stay positive, stay focused for the match.”

The Italian stopped Serena Williams’ bid for a Grand Slam last year, when she upset the world No. 1 in the semifinals of the US Open. This is the Italian’s 14th main draw appearance in Flushing Meadows.

In the last women’s match f the day, 14th seed Petra Kvitova lost to No. 2 Angelique Kerber in the night session 6-3, 7-5.


No. 53 Federico Delbonis Surprises No. 2 Andy Murray in Third Round of BNP Paribas Open

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

(March 14, 2016)  INDIAN WELLS, California – No. 2 Andy Murray lost to No. 53 Federico Delbonis 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (3) in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open on Monday in a two-hours and 46 minutes.

The southpaw from Argentina trailed 1-4 to the Brit in the third set, won five of the next six games to serve for the match at 6-5. Murray broke Delbonis’ serve to get to a tiebreak which Delbonis won 7-3 to get the biggest victory of his career. Murray’s loss is the biggest upset of the men’s tournament so far.

“Obviously a tough one to lose in the end, having, you know, kind of fought hard to get myself in a winning position you know, 4-1-up,” Murray said.

“The 4-2 game that I got broken was a tough one in the third set. I was up 30-Love in the game and had a few volleys in that game. You know, he came out with some good passing shots. I could have done a bit more with the volleys maybe.

“But, yeah, I didn’t play a great tiebreak. That was disappointing. Obviously he had the chance to serve it out, and then I got back in there and didn’t play a great breaker.”

Murray has not had a great history at Indian Wells, with his best result coming in 2009 when reached the final. “I think it’s just the conditions here I have just struggled with throughout my career. I have never really felt that I played my best tennis here.

“I have tried and had many different preparations where I’ve got here early and spent a lot of time on the courts, and sometimes I arrive later, like this time from Davis Cup. You know, obviously it takes time to get used to new conditions regardless of where it is, but I have just never really found a way to get comfortable here throughout my career.

“It’s a shame.”


Asked if this was his biggest win, Delbonis said: “No, I have like a couple of big wins, but in situation was special, you know. For that tournament, for that surface, for me is the best win.

“And, well, I have — I was like quiet all the match that I know he wants to be aggressive in that third set. I don’t do it my job until the 4-1. I have to play it more to his forehand.

“That, when I do that, I can break. I can play from the 4-2 to the tiebreak and I get a big win for that, you know.

“I have another one (win). The title in Sao Paulo I think is the best one.”

Delbonis did beat Roger Federer when he was No. 5 in the world three years ago in Hamburg.

Asked about his strategy to hit to Murray’s forehand, the Argentine commented: I know that his backhand is pretty good when he’s quiet, you know, in one side. I know that I have to play, hit harder in his forehand to get a good hit or a good position the court, to be aggressive or to move it to him, because this is one of the keys to get a good point.”

“I feel good the surface because it’s not too fast,” he said. “For me, I can slice in that kind of court. I like it. Also, I like it in Australia. Every tournament I come this year I like it so much. I like to play in that kind of court, in that hard courts not so fast.

“For me it’s a good court to be aggressive.”

For Murray, this is the first tournament he has played as a father. February 7, his wife Kim gave birth to a baby girl named Sophia.

A couple of surprises on the women’s side of the draw included former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic, seeded 14 lost to 18th seed Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-0 and No. 7 Belinda Bencic was on the short end of a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 score to unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova. With all of the upsets on the women’s side, No. 9 seed Roberta Vinci, who beat 17th seed Elina Svitolina, remains the highest seed in the bottom half of the draw.

On the men’s side of the draw, No. 8 seed Richard Gasquet won 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 over Alexandr Dolgopolov. No. 12 seed Milos Raonic advanced when 17th seed Bernard Tomic retired with a right wrist injury down. 6-2, 3-0. Tomic’s injury puts a question mark on his participation at the Miami Open.


Roberta Vinci Victorious in St. Petersburg


(February 14, 2016) Roberta Vinci surprised No. seed Belinda Bencic 6-4, 6-3 to win the inaugural St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy on Sunday.

For the 16th-ranked Italian, this is her 10th career win snapping a four match losing streak in finals going back to 2013.

Although falling short of a win, finalist Benic will move into the top 10 on Monday.

In doubles, Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza won the doubles final, defeating Vera Dushevina and Barbora Krejcikova 6-3, 6-1. The No. 1 pair has now won 40 matches in a row.


Venus Williams Wins Wuhan Open After Muguruza Retires


Venus wins Auckland

(October 3, 2015) Venus Williams won the Wuhan Open on Saturday when her opponent Garbine Muguruza retired with a left ankle injury while trailing 6-3, 3-0. For the 35-year-old American, this was her 47th career WTA singles trophy.

“I had pain the ankle since yesterday,” said the fifth-seeded Spaniard. “I’ve played a lot of matches and today my body had pain everywhere. I didn’t have much time to recover from yesterday. There is nothing you can do when it’s like this. I guess I didn’t recover.

“I was feeling very tired but I said that I am going to the court even if my leg is, like broken. I woke up saying, “come on, I’m going to play,” but during the match I was like, ‘oh shit, I’m getting tired, my leg is hurting, my ankle is hurting.’ In the first set I had my chances but with Venus it’s hard. If you’re not 100% percent fit you can’t find a way to play against her. “

For the unseeded Williams, this WTA Premier 5 event is her biggest title in five years, since Dubai 2010 and her second tournament victory in 2015. She also won the event in Auckland.

“I feel like everyone else on tour, I work hard, I do my best and as long as you continue to work hard and believe in yourself then you can have the results you want,: Williams said. “That’s exactly what I’ve done and it hasn’t been the easiest road but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a road worth traveling.

“I didn’t think of quitting but it’s definitely a lot of stress to play when you’re in pain. But for me I focus on everything that I can accomplish and not on what’s bothering me. My opponent wasn’t so lucky today. The pain was just too much for her and I was really sorry to hear that.

“Today, we both play really similar. Maybe experience helped me today. I know today she couldn’t do everything that she wanted to do. She couldn’t feel free and comfortable on the court. Of course it’s not always as exciting playing an opponent who doesn’t feel their best so I hope that she gets better.”

Williams, who is ranked 24th in the world will move up to 14 when the rankings come out on Monday. Muguruza will move to a career high ranking of No. 5.

Next stop for both women will be Beijing.


After Battling Past Vinci, Venus Williams to Face Muguruza in Wuhan Open Final

Venus Williams

(October 2, 2015) Venus Williams saved a match point to defeat Roberta Vinci to reach Saturday’s Wuhan Open final. Williams’ 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(4) win set up the WTA Premier 5 title against Garbine Muguruza after the Spaniard survived a late foot injury scare to defeat Angelique Kerber 6-4 7-6(5).

“It had a lot of ups and downs, said Williams, who saved a match point when Vinci served for the match at 6-5. “I hope that on a day when I’m playing how I’d like, it’s a more straightforward match. She’s definitely tricky.  She finds a way to hang in there.”

Williams came back from 3-5 down against Johanna Konta in the previous round. “It’s the semifinals. It’s not time to get down.  It’s time to figure it out,” said the seven-time grand slam champion.  “Even down match point, I don’t remember what happened on that point.  I do know she had a match point.  It’s not over.  Just like when I was up and she didn’t give up, I felt the same way.”

The 35-year-old Williams, who notched up her 700th career WTA match win earlier in the week, should return to the WTA Top 20 in reaching the semi-finals, and could go as high as 15 should she win on Saturday. She shows no desire to retire just yet. “I always want to be in finals,” she said. “Even if it was the last tournament of my career, I would still want to be in that final,” she said. “I don’t think that ever changes.  It just never gets old and it’s never something that is a given.  You have to fight for it.  So I appreciate it.  It’s not over yet.  I still have matches to play.  Definitely not satisfied with just making the final.  I’d like to take the title and take it a step further.”

Muguruza’s win over Kerber also had plenty of drama, notably at 3-3 in the second set tiebreaker when the Spaniard took an injury time-out after feeling pain in her left foot earlier in the set. Despite this, she managed to  reach her first final since she was runner-up to Serena Williams at Wimbledon in July.

“I felt it at 4 something in the second set.  Then in the tiebreak I felt something stronger.  So I said, No, no, I cannot wait to get worse.  So I just called the trainer,” sheexplained . “At that moment I said, Okay, Garbine, play.  Be aggressive and see what happens. You know, I was very, like, kind of brave.  I was like, Okay, come on, let’s do it.  Let’s see these couple of points and see if you can close the match. I had a lot of chances to close the match before.  I’m like, no way I’m going to lose this set. I did it and it was good.”

Williams and Muguruza have played twice before, in Florianopolis in 2013 and in Auckland in 2014, both on hard courts. “I think it’s a good final,” said Muguruza. “I face her sister in the last final, so is it good to have her again. Williams sisters everywhere,” she said, smiling. “It’s good.  She’s playing good also.  She had a very tough match also today.  So I think it’s a good final.”


V. Williams (USA) d [15] R. Vinci (ITA) 57 62 76(4)
[5] G. Muguruza (ESP) d [6] A Kerber (GER) 64 76(5)

Irina-Camelia Begu (ROM) / Monica Niculescu (ROM) d [6] Andrea Hlavackova (CZE) / Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 64 16 10-8 (MTB)
[1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) d [4] H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Chan (TPE) 62 61


Not before 12.30pm
[1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) vs Irina-Camelia Begu (ROM) / Monica Niculescu (ROM)

Not Before 3:00 pm
SINGLES FINAL – V. Williams (USA) vs [5] G. Muguruza (ESP)

Venus Williams Joins 700 (Win) Club

Venus Williams Joins 700 (Win) Club



In Their Own Words – Flavia Pennetta and Roberta Vinci



Saturday, September 12, 2015

Flavia Pennetta

Press Conference


7-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Did it come a little more easily than you may have thought it was, today’s match?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Not really. I mean, the first set was a little bit of drama. Both of us were starting really tight from the beginning. I mean, was not easy to play today with one of your best friends in the tour, with one you know since long time.

A lot of emotion coming together since yesterday. It’s not easy to handle everything. But I’m really happy, because the first set was really tough.

In the second one I started to play a little bit better, so I’m really proud of everything this week.

Q. What do you think you and Roberta proved to yourselves and proved to everybody?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I think in woman’s Italian tennis now since already few years it’s really big, big moment for us in Italy and around the world.

So we just — I think we didn’t prove too much. I mean, we already proved during this year how we are, how good we are in what we are doing, how much heart we put all the time when we get in the court.

So it’s amazing to have the chance to play with one of your friends. Anyway, like before, like before the match we say doesn’t matter. We’re gonna win. It’s going to be a big win for both of us. It’s going to be a really big win for both of us.

It’s something amazing, something — I didn’t think to be here. She didn’t think neither to be here today. So it’s amazing for our country. Is amazing for everyone.

Q. Could you elaborate for us or explain that you are retired as of right now or you will play till the end of the year?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: No, no, I will play until the end of year, but was my last match here in New York.

Q. So what will you play now until the end of the year? You will not play the Olympics?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: For the moment it’s not on my goals.

Q. What will you play between now and the end of the year?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I’m supposed to play Wuhan, Beijing. That’s the only two I supposed to play.

I think is gonna be the schedule the same. I don’t gonna change too much.

Q. Do you have a wedding date set?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: No. (Smiling.) Not yet.

Q. You’re playing so well. Why are you retiring?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Ah, why? Because sometimes it’s getting hard for me to compete. This is the important point. When you are in the court, when you have to play 24 weeks in the year, you have to fight every week.

And if you don’t fight every week in the same way I did today, it’s gonna be like bad. For me, also. And I don’t feel to have this power anymore sometimes.

So this is the perfect moment, I think. Was a really hard decision to make, but I’m really happy that I did it. I’m really happy and proud of myself.

Q. You’re No. 6 now in the race to Singapore. Would you ever try to add maybe one more event if you needed to?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Well, of course. If I have a chance, of course.

Q. When the Olympics came up, you kind of hedged a little. Is there room for you to change your mind and maybe…
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Not really. I mean, for the moment I’m so happy that I take this decision. I don’t feel — I don’t want to change nothing. I mean, I really think it’s the good way. You never know.

But for sure this one was the last New York for me. For sure.

Q. Does winning the US Open make it tougher to walk away from tennis or does it make it easier because you’re kind of going out on top?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, it will be the same. Winning or lose today, it was nothing going to change. The decision was already there. I think this is the best way that someone have — if I have to dream about how I want to finish, I want to stop playing, this is the perfect way.

Q. You told ESPN that you made your decision in Toronto.

Q. Why was that the time that it was clear in your mind?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Um, because I was doing — I had a bad moment also in Roland Garros where I was almost — three days before I was thinking to withdraw myself from the tournament.

And then I keep just trying and fight and everything was going pretty good. But when you starting to think too much, it’s the time like where you have to take like a decision, going or stop. You have to do that.

And sometimes we are more scared to take the decision because we don’t know what we like or we’re going to do after, how is going to be the life after.

But I think it’s going to be a pretty good life. I mean, I’m really proud of myself. I think I did everything that I expect. More. Much more. Much more, I can say.

I mean, it’s great to do that for me.

Q. So when you made your decision to retire, how many people did you tell?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: My team, my coach, my physio, my physical coach, my family, and Fabio.

Q. Next year now when you’re retired and back in Italy, when you will think back on this year’s US Open, what is the one word or the one phrase that would best capture this US Open?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I think it’s today I have all the — not the problems, but, you know, you starting when you are really young and you make a lot of decision, hard decision to make. You lose so many things when you’re young.

I mean, with this, winning today, it’s — my life is perfect. (Smiling.) So I cannot say something different. Perfect.

Q. Why did you win today?

Q. Why.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Ah, because I was really consistent from the beginning of the match. I didn’t play my best tennis today. I have to say I was scared and tight from the beginning.

Was not easy for me to hit the ball in the same way that I did yesterday. Roberta was playing unbelievable. I mean, she was moving good and doing perfect things all the time, but in the second set she start to be a little bit tired.

So I was focused and try to push myself to do something more, to going for the match; the match point was perfect. I mean, I push, and I make it.

Q. What did the prime minister say to you after the match?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I was so happy, so happy for us. He say, You don’t gonna understand what happen now in Italy. I mean, it’s good that you are here. He was talking with me and Roberta, because we was together. Because in Italy now is going to be crazy. It’s good to stay here a few days, just relax a little bit, and then go back home.

Q. What effect do you think your decision to retire had on the way you played and the way you were thinking, the way you were doing everything during this tournament?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Sometime is getting in my mind, but I didn’t think too much about that. I was just focused on my game. I didn’t think, Oh, this is my last one, oh, this is my last one, oh, this is my last one.

No. I didn’t think at all like this. I just try to play every match, just play tennis. I don’t want to think what I gonna do after if I win or lose. Just play tennis. Go on court and play tennis. That’s was my goal in the last two weeks.

Q. So what do you think the biggest reason you were able to do all this is?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Oh, well, I didn’t start really well the tournament. I have to say the first match was tough, the second one was easy, the score, but I was shaking so much. And when I have to go to the match with Niculescu, Cetkovska, I play so bad the first time I was in panic completely. I was panic attack. I cannot move. I cannot breathe. I cannot do nothing.

So maybe I’m here just because I’m trying. I was fighting a lot. Every point. Just point by point try to do my best all the time and suddenly it’s coming. I mean, yesterday was a perfect day, because I play really well.

And today I didn’t play so well, but enough to win. So I’m happy.

Q. You talked yesterday about getting very little sleep the night before my semifinals.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Yeah, tonight I did not sleep at all.

Q. Not at all?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: No, a little bit, yes. From 1:00 to 8:00. That was good. Not bad.

Q. We’d like to have seven hours of sleep.

Q. When did you tell Roberta? Was it when you were hugging at the net or sitting on the chairs?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Sitting on the chairs.

Q. Is that when she hit you on the arm?

Q. Because she couldn’t believe? What exactly did you say and what was her reaction?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I told her, Roberta, this is my last New York. And she say, che? Che? Huh? I say, Yes. No way. (In Italian.) It’s perfect. Go. Go.

Q. You said on ESPN your night against Stosur was the one that maybe gave you the belief you could win the whole tournament.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Well, not to believe that I can win the tournament, but at least I play my good tennis in that match, and so I starting to feel better and better.

Q. Did you receive any congratulations from Francesca Schiavone?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Yes, of course.

Q. She’s a little bit part of your success because she was the first to win a Grand Slam.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Of course. She send a messages to both of us, because we have chat with four of us. You cannot see this chat because it’s crazy. (Laughter.)

And then she send me like a voice message yesterday, and she starting to laugh, Ha ha, now it’s your turn. Breathe. You have to go to the toilet, eh, so many times? (Laughter.)

Francesca, she’s always like this. I didn’t talk to her now because I didn’t have the chance to take a phone — I just called my mom and my dad.

Q. A lot of people wouldn’t understand how the world 26 could play the 43rd ranked player in a Grand Slam final. I’m just curious what that says about the depth of women’s tennis, and do you think it gives belief to lower ranked players they can climb to the top?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, it’s happen because now I think the woman tennis, it’s a little bit — it’s not like 10 years ago where the top 10 was really high level.

I mean, it’s not that they are not more high level. It’s the one behind them they are coming stronger.

So now everything can happen. Yesterday, I mean, everyone knows Serena, she’s the best player. She’s supposed to win this tournament.

But sometimes also she can have a bad day. Yesterday for her was not a good day at all. Was a really good day for Robi, and she deserved to be here today. Was perfect for both of us.

Q. How much higher do I think that level is from, say, 10 years ago, from 1 to 50?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Now from 11 to 100, it’s much harder than before, I think.

Q. You and Roberta go way back as friends. Did you actually live together when you were kids?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Yeah, yeah. We spend four years or three years in a house together in the same room in Rome in the Italian Federation.

So we know each other really well. I mean, we have so many things in our life happening together. It’s funny to be here today, because we play the first match when we were nine years old in Brindisi, in my country club. So today was a really big day for both of us.

Q. How is she as a roommate? Neat? Clean?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: She’s perfect. (Laughter).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports



Saturday, September 12, 2015

Roberta Vinci

Press Conference


7-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you just tell us, what are your first memories of Flavia, your earliest memories of meeting her?
ROBERTA VINCI: That she beat me. (Smiling.) No, I’m joking.

I don’t know. We know each other for long time, so maybe when I saw her in my mind I remember all the moments that we spend together when I was young. But one thing, I don’t know.

Q. Was it on a tennis court, the first time you saw her, or…
ROBERTA VINCI: No, no, in the tennis court. In the tennis court, yes, yes.

Q. Do you remember where or what?
ROBERTA VINCI: Where, I don’t remember. Long time no.

Q. Can you share about the hug at the net, what she said to you…
ROBERTA VINCI: I cannot tell you.

Q. You have no idea?

Q. And also courtside what…
ROBERTA VINCI: No, I said to her, Congratulation, Well done, enjoy. You played better than me today, so.

That’s it. And she said, This is my last match on the US Open, so now I have to speak and tell to everyone that this is my last match.

I say, No. That’s it.

Q. What did you think at that moment? You must have been very shocked, I would imagine.
ROBERTA VINCI: When she said me that? Yeah. Was incredible. I didn’t expect that.

But just her choice, so it’s okay.

Q. What do you think the difference was today?
ROBERTA VINCI: I was tired. I was tired especially the first set.

I think she played better. She was more solid than me and she play much better backhand, long line, and she served better than me today.

She play better, yeah.

Q. What do you think this weekend means for the sport with all that has happened?
ROBERTA VINCI: I think it’s an incredible moment for all Italian people. So now when I come back at home, I can realize what we made, because now for me not is normal, no. But I’m in New York, okay, I’m in the hotel, just have fun, but I would like to come back and try to understood what I did.

Q. Do you still plan to make that 10:00 flight tonight or…
ROBERTA VINCI: (Laughter.) I have a private jet.

No, no, no, I don’t know. No, no, I don’t take 10:00.

Q. Will you celebrate with Flavia tonight?
ROBERTA VINCI: Maybe not. No, no, I don’t know. No, I don’t think so. Maybe. Maybe. I will ask, but I don’t know. I don’t know her program.

Q. You played the week before this event in New Haven, didn’t you?

Q. Was that an advantage, to make a tournament before the US Open? Because I know a lot of players don’t play the week before.
ROBERTA VINCI: I like to play the week before the slam because I prefer to play — I prefer to play matches because I don’t like to practice one hour in the morning, okay, one hour in the afternoon. I prefer to play one match.

So, yeah, some players doesn’t like. They prefer to rest and practice, but I like to play. So it’s a good choice for me.

Q. Why the Italian women are much more successful than the men, Italian men?
ROBERTA VINCI: Aye. (Laughter) I don’t know. I don’t know. It’s a cycle. You know, sometimes the womens are better than the men, but now in Italy there are good men, good men Italian player.

Fognini, Seppi, they are good. Step by step. Now probably they will come better.

Q. What was it like playing in your first final, first slam final? What was the experience like being out there?
ROBERTA VINCI: I don’t know now. I don’t know. Maybe if you tell me this question in about more days, I can tell you.

But now it’s strange. I didn’t expect this. I’m so happy that I reach the final. Against Flavia is strange, but I’m really happy, yeah, even when I lost.

Q. Did you feel the raindrops? Were you hoping it would start raining and maybe you would get a break?
ROBERTA VINCI: When starts rain, I was 5-2 down and Love-30, so I say, two more points. (Laughter.)

So I say — No, no, I didn’t think nothing. No.

Q. What do you think the two of you proved to yourselves and proved to everybody else this weekend?
ROBERTA VINCI: (Speaking in Italian.) Miracles can happen.

Q. How about in English?
ROBERTA VINCI: What? Miracles can happen. Because I beat Serena, miracle. (Laughter.)

And then two Italian can reach the Grand Slam final, a miracle. Cycle miracle. And, bo…

One Italian player can win a Grand Slam.

Q. There is a famous fellow from your country, I think his name is Leonardo Da Vinci. Any connection?
ROBERTA VINCI: No. (Laughter.)

Q. How was his forehand?
ROBERTA VINCI: No, no, no. No, my uncle. No. (Laughter).

Non scrivere!

Q. Did you and Flavia talk before the match?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yes, yes, yes.

Q. As normal?
ROBERTA VINCI: In the gym, and about the time that we play maybe a little bit late. Normal thing.

Q. If you had played another opponent would your feeling be different? Not that you ever like to lose, but is it easier that you lost to your countrywoman and it was a great day for Italian tennis?
ROBERTA VINCI: (Through translation.) If you lost against Flavia, if you lost against Wozniacki, if you lost against Serena, always the same. You lost, no?

So now I’m happy that one Italian player won a Grand Slam. That’s for sure. But it’s normal. Nothing special.

Q. You said you had nerves yesterday against Serena.

Q. Any today?
ROBERTA VINCI: Also today. Yeah, you know, it’s a final. I try my best. The beginning I was nervous, but also her. Was normal.

I try to, yeah, to play aggressive, but she play better. For me was tough. I was a little bit also tired and long point. I had such…

Q. It didn’t make it easier that it was a friend who you were playing?
ROBERTA VINCI: No. Is tough to play against one friend. I know Flavia for long time, so it’s difficult, especially mentally, mental.

Was difficult for both, I think. Not only for me.

Q. In the last day, what are the best reactions that you have received to what you did yesterday, both the match and your interview after?
ROBERTA VINCI: I receive a lot of congratulations about my interview, but my English is so bad. The press say, Congratulations, Good job. Because I beat Serena? No, for your interview. Grazie. Thank you.

I’m not joking. Is true. Thank you. I need to improve my English, eh?

Q. It was very good.
ROBERTA VINCI: No, no, no, not very good. But I can do it.

Q. How was the crowd different today than yesterday?
ROBERTA VINCI: No, the same. It was amazing. It was a lot of supports, a lot of people. The court is incredible. Is the best court I think in the Grand Slam. Center court is so nice.

Q. What did the it mean that the prime minister was there?
ROBERTA VINCI: It’s a good thing for us and also for I think Italian people is nice to see Renzi, Malagò, and Binaghi all there to support us.

Q. It’s been a great tournament for you. Why do you think you were able to do this at this point in your career?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, maybe because I’m, yeah, I have a lot of experience. I had such result in the past; I had nothing to prove.

I’m almost at the end of my career, so I think I enjoy more the tennis and the practice and this life.

Q. Just to be clear, you’re not retiring?
ROBERTA VINCI: Maybe. No, no, no, no. Not yet (Smiling.) (In Italian.) Almost.

Q. Have you thought actively about retiring?
ROBERTA VINCI: Si. No, really. A lot of time during these years.

But, you know, I like to play tennis, so I have a passion and I work in art. Now I reach one final slam, so I’m happy.

Q. What are your emotions about all of this right now?

Q. About everything. What are your emotions?
ROBERTA VINCI: I love New York. (Smiling.) Today probably this is my last cheeseburger, and then tomorrow pasta, real pasta at home.

But, no, I enjoy all the season, all the US Open season. I play so good. Yeah, my emotion are difficult to say, especially in English.


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


Serena Williams

Serena Williams


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Serena Williams

Press Conference

S. WILLIAMS/V. Williams

6-2, 1-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Venus in Press


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Venus Williams

Press Conference

S. WILLIAMS/V. Williams

6-2, 1-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe she’ll remember.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think that’s the best part.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Djokovic celebrates win-001


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Novak Djokovic

Press Conference


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

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Marin Cilic

Press Conference

M. CILIC/J. Tsonga

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

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You know, just enjoying to play here.

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

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

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

So it’s, you know, open field.

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

Yeah, I think it’s going to be okay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, you know, it goes around.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports






Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Roberta Vinci

Press Conference

R. VINCI/K. Mladenovic

6-3, 5-7, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have nothing to lose. We will see.

Q. You said you didn’t — I think you said you didn’t expect to be in the semifinals right now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And also, I think also against Venus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think the doubles help a lot. Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports