2015/02/27

Notes and Quotes from Day 4 of the 2015 Australian Open

VenusWilliamsFedCup

(January 22, 2015) A few of the more off-beat questions and answers from Day 4 news conferences at the Australian Open.

 

Q. After some of the results here, how good to be back in the third round?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. Always good to advance. That’s pretty much the goal when you step on the courts, it’s like, Come on. Let’s get to the next round. Met the goal today.

 

Q. Helped playing her in your last tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think it definitely helped because I never played her before. She actually hits the ball quite powerfully and she’s very aggressive. I think she played even more aggressive than when we played in Auckland. I think maybe her strategy was maybe to try to take control of the point. So I had to play some defense there as well as offense today.

 

Q. How do you feel about your game in general right now? Feel like you’re playing well?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. I’m hitting the ball a lot like how I want to. Yeah, some points you play well and some not as well. I’m just continually trying to be as consistent as I can on the court and still play consistent while taking risk as well. Find that balance.

 

Q. You seem so relaxed, pretty happy — very happy. Is this the happiest period in your career? How are you feeling about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I’m always pretty happy, actually, so… I’ve had a lot of great times and I had losses, just like everyone else, but I’m always pretty happy. I haven’t let tennis affect the rest of my life, whether it was good or bad. Also you can play so well and be on top of the world and that can affect you and make you not so fun to be around, too. I try not to let any of that stuff happen to me.

 

Q. The other day you said with a smile, Hey, I’m still a big kid. Talk about that. Do you feel just a certain joy?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think just my attitude toward life is just very nonchalant. I’m a hard worker and I definitely work toward goals and I have a serious side. More than anything I’m a big joker. You don’t see that on the court because that’s when you’re most intense. I think people who may know me and don’t know much about tennis, when they see me on the court they’re like, Oh, I’m scared of you are now. Someone told me that recently. So definitely have two sides. You know.

 

Q. All this about the struggle you’ve had with injuries. Is this part of your career a rejuvenation, a second coming?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think sometimes in life you just have to learn to deal with the cards you been dealt. I’ve just been trying to get used to my new life, I guess. I think it’s just an adjustment to getting used to how I need to live now. Just hanging in there I think a lot of it, too. The good part is I know how to play tennis and I have a lot of experience, so that helps me a lot on the court.

 

Q. Are you driving in Melbourne again?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven’t been driving. There were times I went on adventures. I think Melbourne is one of the cities I know best because I’ve gone so many different places here on my own actually in a car. Pretty scary. I drive really slow. You always think in the back of your head, I don’t want to get on the wrong side of the road. So you drive real slow and always get a car I can follow, especially on those turns, so I make sure I’m following someone. Just to make sure nothing goes wrong. But it’s definitely an adventure.

 

Q. Do you remember driving when your dad told you to take over the VW bus when you were going around the neighborhood after the first tournament you won?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know how dads are though. They’re usually a little more lenient than moms. Usually, I thought. My dad would let us behind the wheel. Not too crazy. Like in parking lots and things like that. We obviously weren’t on the 405.

 

Q. You made it to a bunch of third rounds during this phase of your career. Haven’t gotten past this stage in a few years. What do you think it’s going to take to that next step into the second week?

VENUS WILLIAMS: For me, I’ve won in my life. I’ve won a lot of things. For me it’s about titles, so no matter what the title is for me, to the finals is the same thing as the third round if I didn’t win. For me, it’s about hopefully trying to take titles home. You know, last year I got in the circle to hopefully take titles quite a few times, and sometimes came up short. That’s pretty much where I want to be. That’s my focus really is, how close can I get myself to be in that winner’s circle.

 

Q. Why did you and Serena pull out of doubles?

VENUS WILLIAMS: According to the rules you don’t have to give a reason. I think we’ll stick with that.

 

Q. Nothing to do with the heat?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was warm. I don’t think it was as warm as it could have been. But, no, that wasn’t it.

 

Q. That wasn’t the reason?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uh-uh.

 

Q. Were doctors consulted as part of the reasoning?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No further questions on that. I object. Sustained. Thank you.

 

Q. You play Camila Giorgi next. What do you know about her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not sure if I played her before, but she definitely raises her game depending on the caliber player that she plays. I think it’s just important to remain consistent and aggressive, just as I’ve been this whole year. That’s my goal.

 

Q. With your interest in the Dolphins, wondering if you had any thoughts on the Patriots and the “deflate gate” controversy. What affect in tennis do the balls have as the matches go on? They change your play at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I’ve been so focused on my own match that I’ve lost focus on football, especially since the Dolphins aren’t in the playoffs. I have no idea what “deflate gate” is.

 

Q. What affect do the balls have? Do they change much?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I’ve never been a sensitive player, so I just keep hitting whether the balls are heavy or light or whatever ball it is. I just go. So there are other players who are much more sensitive. And I’m happy that I don’t notice or it doesn’t affect me. I’m not the player to ask about that.

 

Q. Pretty intense situation to have to deal with all your health situations as a young woman. What are the one or two things that you’ve taken away from this experience in terms of lessons and how has it affected you as a person?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think more than anything I’m appreciative of all the opportunities I’ve had in my life. I’m appreciative for good health, because there was a period where I couldn’t even play professional tennis, so I had to not be on tour. So I’m appreciative for good health and just to be able to feel good every day. You know, there was a point where I didn’t just in regular life. So to overcome that, I’m grateful. And also I think when things are out of your control, it’s easy to be afraid and fear can really hold you back. So I think you have to just conquer that fear. That’s I think something I’ve learned as well, just to not be afraid. If you are, you have to learn how to deal with it.

 

Q. Is it fair to call this a rejuvenated version of you or is that something we projected on to you and you don’t feel that way?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I’m just doing the best I can. (Laughing.) I always was, even when it wasn’t what I wanted. So whatever that is, I’m doing absolutely the best I can. I think as long as I’m doing my best, something good will come out of it. There is a Scripture that says faith without works is dead. So you have to have faith, but you have work too. So I’m doing both.

 

Q. So the same old Venus, just back to where you were sort of thing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I’m in a lot of places. (Laughter.) Which one we talking about?

 

Q. Level of tennis, I suppose.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. Honestly, I think I understand the game a lot more. Even when I’m not playing as well, I think I’m able tactically to be more strategic than even, let’s say, Venus of 2000. So I think there is a big difference. I watched some old matches, and I’m like, Wow, if I could have been more strategic I could have won this match a lot easier. So I think strategically it’s more helpful, even if I am not on top of my game. I understand things a lot more. So that’s one of the beauties of continuing to play as you get a lot of the years under your belt.

 

Q. You mentioned work. What have you learned the most from doing your whole EleVen project? Has it impacted your tennis in any way?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You have to make a lot of hard decisions, and sometimes the hardest decision is the right one but not the easiest to make. I think that’s what I’ve learned. It’s important to know everything about the business that you’re in and not just specialize in one part. Oh, I’m going to do the design. It’s great. It’s pretty. I love colors. You have to know the whole business. Am I liking this to tennis? I don’t know. I don’t even remember the question. I learned a ton, a lot of which I would like to not get into because some of the lessons are also failures as well.

 

Q. Is business tougher than tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. (Laughter.) It’s always hard. If tennis was easy, everyone would be doing it. There are a lot of people that would love to do this. It’s not easy, whether you don’t have the physical talent or the mental endurance to put up with all this. It’s definitely a roll of the dice if you’re going to play pro tennis or any professional sport.

 

Q. Learning more about the game and learning how to play it – said you were watching little videos of yourself or however you’re doing it – how much of that is net play for you and understanding how to use the net and your strengths up there, and do you wish you maybe had done it differently over the years?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I think I’ve always been a player that likes to come to the net. I think I may have even come to the net more in the past actually. But I think you have to be a little bit more strategic when you come to the net now. The courts are a little bit slower so the ball will stand up a little bit more, so you have to be a little bit more strategic to make sure you don’t get killed when you get to the net. So things change in the game, and you have to be willing and ready to adjust. The best players are the ones that can transition. Typically it’s always has been that way.

 

Q. What’s a lasting memory, if you think back to playing Serena here 15, 16 years ago?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just remember what a tough match. It was just relentless. I think it finally ended with a break in the third. That’s all I can remember. It was very tough I think for both of us. Neither one of us could get the upper edge. It was just a marathon. That’s mostly what I remember.

 

Q. Maybe I missed it, but seems like it’s been a long time since we’ve seen your wonderful dad. How is he doing? How is his health? How is he doing as a new dad?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, dad is good. Everybody is happy. He’s really done his time since the ’80s, so… He’s done so much tennis there is a point like, All right, kids, go ahead and do it or not do it, but I’m proud of you anyway. So I think he’s at that point.

 

Q. Going back to another match, what do you remember about the time you played Karsten Braasch.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, that was a long time ago. I remember that I didn’t win. I was a kid; I was 17. Let me tell you, his strategy was a thousand times better than mine could have been. Yeah, it was one set though, not a full match.

 

Q. You do a little better today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, he’s older and I’m smart now. But it was really just for fun really.

 

 

Q. Things really clicked halfway through?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, things really clicked. I had no other option but for things to click. Yeah, I just had to start playing better.

 

Q. How important is luck of the draw for you, even as No. 1 seed? You can get somebody who hasn’t done much in their career for the first few rounds and get somebody like her.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, it depends. That’s one thing about the Grand Slams. You have to be ready for anyone at any stage. Playing Vera is like, I had to get my mind like, Serena, this girl has been ranked as high as No. 2 in the world, she’s been on the tour and she’s a very quality player, she knows what to do. She knows how to win. I had to kind of snap into that.

 

Q. When you look at your sister at this point in her career, what do you see from her?

SERENA WILLIAMS: She is really motivating. She is playing so well, she’s doing so good right now. Yeah, it’s like makes me look behind my shoulders and like I have to play better and I want to do better. I always want to be able to stay ahead as much as I can. So I think that’s been, for our whole careers, we’ve kind of motivated each other. We hopefully continue to do that.

 

Q. She also seems just really happy.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah.

 

Q. And in a good place.

SERENA WILLIAMS: She’s in a good place. She talks about how she feels and like, Wow, it was a good match today. She’s like, Yeah, if I win it’ll be great. If not, I’m not going to worry about it. I think that’s a great attitude because it takes a lot of pressure off of you. She’s done so much in her career. She doesn’t have to win another match. The same thing for me. As long as we can kind of look at it that way, then we both will do really well.

 

Q. When she came in and things were pretty intense; wasn’t easy to have success on the tour. She’s gone through all these different phases. Talk about how she’s grown from basically a girl to an incredibly mature woman.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she came in as a new face, a black woman that was shaking up the world. She had all the pressure on her shoulders. I kind of came in behind her. You know, just snuck in there. There was no pressure on me at all. She dealt with it so amazing. She had a lot of confidence and she had so much class and still does throughout everything. You can see that her personality is pretty much the same. She’s definitely grown but she’s always been very mature and very regal.

 

Q. Was there a public moment in public when you were most proud of your sister?

SERENA WILLIAMS: So many things. I mean, her sticking up for equal rights in Dubai when they wouldn’t let certain players play, her sticking up for equal prize money for the WTA in Wimbledon. So many different things that she’s done for the tour that’s made it a better place not just for me but for all the female players.

 

Q. What was the thinking behind pulling out of doubles this year?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think we were just here. I don’t think we have to give a reason. I think Venus answered that already.

 

Q. Just affects on singles for both of you.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Sure.

 

Q. Speaking of luck of the draw, what do you make of Victoria and Caroline having to play each other second round? You know both of them pretty well.

SERENA WILLIAMS: That is not good luck. Those girls are really sweet to me and I really like them both obviously. So it’s definitely a tough draw, but I think no matter what, just got to go out there and play.

 

Q. I don’t know if you saw any of Nadal’s match last night. He had 6-5 in the fifth.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, wow.

 

Q. You didn’t know about that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No.

 

Q. Smyczek let Rafa rehit a first serve after a fan shouted out. What do you think of those gestures, especially with what happened at the French Open with Henin and the hand and everything?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn’t see that, so I can’t comment on that. I was proud to see another American player do so well. I went to sleep at the start of the fifth set, and — actually, the fourth. After Smyczek won the fourth I thought, Wow, this is crazy. I went to sleep. I’m a big Rafa fan, but obviously anyone that’s American, especially on the men’s side, I’m always proud of and always rooting for. So it was good to see both.

 

Q. How are you feeling generally? Energy levels and general health?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I’m feeling better every day. I think in the beginning of the tournament every player feels a little sluggish; at least I do. Now I’m feeling like I’m starting to hopefully feel better.

 

Q. Last night, I don’t know if you saw this as well, Bouchard was asked to do a twirl. There was a bit of a reaction on social media about that saying it’s sexist. What are your thoughts on that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I twirl all the time in dance class. It’s called a Chaines Spin. I’ve been working on it. I have to really work on my spotting. My coach tells me to whip my head around. As a dancer, we do lots of turns and have soft of hands.

 

Q. I guess the reaction has been you wouldn’t ask a male athlete after a match to twirl. Do you think it’s sexist for a commentator to ask her to twirl?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, a commentator asked me to twirl. I wouldn’t ask Rafa or Roger to twirl. Whether it’s sexist or not, I don’t know. I don’t know. I can’t answer that.

 

Q. Were you bothered when you were asked to do it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn’t really want to twirl because I was just like, you know, I don’t need all the extra attention. But, yeah, it was fine. I don’t think and look that deep into it. Life is far too short to focus on that. We have so many other problems we want to deal with that we should focus on. Whether I twirl or not, it’s not the end of the world. It’s about being positive and just moving forward.

 

Q. In general though, you obviously do a lot of press and you’ve seen what Roger and Rafa get asked. Do you feel like the women get asked different categories of questions because they’re women?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Contrary to that, I don’t watch press conferences, so I don’t know what the men get asked. I do know that I’m often asked about my age. Maybe Roger is too, I’m not sure. So I can’t answer that fairly. Sorry.

 

Q. It’s one thing to talk about sort of fashion dustups, but you’re also a pretty serious person. You sent out a pretty serious or interesting tweet after the situation in Ferguson where I think you said it’s shameful; what will it take. Long way from home, but could you reflect on what your thoughts were.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think a lot of Americans were affected by the decision. You have to look at both sides of the picture. I wasn’t in that jury room. I wasn’t in the area. But we just all come a long way. In retrospect, my shoes are Black History Month shoes, so I’m starting Black History Month a little bit earlier. It’s been a great opportunity with Martin Luther King’s birthday just passing and all the stuff that’s going on with that over in the States as well. I’m really honored and proud to represent Black History Month by wearing my special Black History Month shoes that Nike made for me. And also just to support African Americans in the United States. I always try to have a voice of reason and be positive and try to look at both sides of everything. You know, things definitely, you know, may or may not be a good decision, but it’s hard to say when you’re not there and you’re not experiencing it.

 

Q. When you use the phrase, What will it take? What are your thoughts on that? Do you think it’s a long process?

SERENA WILLIAMS: What will it take? That’s just the question. What will it take?

 

Q. A lot of news back home is on Deflate Gate with the Patriots.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Deflate Gate?

 

Q. The Patriots supposedly deflated the football for their game, the AFC Championship, which is apparently easier to use.

SERENA WILLIAMS: No way.

 

Q. It’s true.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Allegedly or for real?

 

Q. I think it’s pretty close to for real.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, we at the Dolphins, we don’t do that, so…

 

Q. What was reaction in Madrid when Medina Garrigues was fluffing the ball in your match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I didn’t realize it. I was just trying to play and get out of that match and get a win. At the end of the day, whether the ball was fluffy or slow or fast, I think really depended on what I was able to do and how I was able to play. I don’t know about football. That’s a totally different sport. I don’t play it. I can throw the ball well. You can ask Peyton. I threw it really, really well. But I don’t know anything about deflating or anything.

 

Q. How much does the ball affect your play?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Ask Caroline tonight when she comes in here. She’s asking me, How are the court? I don’t know. How are the balls? I don’t know. She has to ask Aggie. She’s like, I can’t ask you. I grew up in Compton. This is amazing situations for me. The ball is great, you know. Wow. We used to hit with dead balls. What am I going to complain about?

 

Q. Patriots or Seahawks?

SERENA WILLIAMS: That’s a tough one. I mean, I do love Tom Brady. I do love Russell Wilson. It’s gonna be a great match to match. Flip a coin.

 

Q. Maria Sharapova said she loves her own outfit yesterday. She didn’t say much about others. Just wondering, do you like her design for her outfit? I’m sure you love yours, but how about hers?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think it’s great. I think it’s kind of cool we’re both wearing a little cutout in the back. It’s amazing. It’s cool. I think the whole — Nike did a wonderful job making the bright colors. All the Nike athletes look unified. I really love that about it. Everyone looks great in their outfits. It’s amazing. So I think it’s the first time all Nike athletes can take one big picture together and all look really great.

 

 

Q. How far away are you from playing your very best tennis?

KEI NISHIKORI: I think getting close. Maybe these couple matches didn’t play 100%, but still winning good three set and four set. I think it’s getting there. I’m playing good. For sure this match will help for next match. You know, try to be 100% little by little.

 

Q. I don’t know if you saw last night when Rafa was playing Tim, do you know what happened in the end?

STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, I saw the end of the match. It was quite interesting match. (Laughter.)

 

Q. The fact that he gave Rafa another serve at that point in a match, is that a smart thing to do? Is that something you think…

STAN WAWRINKA: I think it’s great. I don’t know when I saw the match. I think it’s tough a little bit to serve also. I think it was great for him to give back the point. You don’t see it so many times and it’s great sportsmanship.

 

Q. Would you do that?

STAN WAWRINKA: I don’t know. Let’s see. Yeah, I don’t know. You cannot answer that. After four hours of match you don’t know what’s in your mind. Sometimes you react just like that. So it’s not like you don’t ask you that question when it’s happening. You just do it. Hope so I will do it.

 

Q. What did you think in general when you watched the match?

STAN WAWRINKA: In general? I think Tim was playing really great tennis. I think that’s what you can expect from Rafa, especially at the beginning of the tournament after few months out of tournament, so many tough battle, big up and down. I don’t know what’s happen with him physically. But, yeah, I think, like I said before the tournament, if you get through the first week he’s going to be really, really dangerous to win the title. Let’s see what’s going to happen now.

 

Q. The first two matches, how are you feeling within your own game? Happy with where you are?

STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, I’m happy with my game in general. To win two first matches in three sets, it’s great. I’m playing great tennis. I’m practicing well, feeling well the ball. As I say, if you want to get far in the tournament, it can be two long weeks. So you need to be ready to have some up and down. So far it’s been good tennis. I’m happy.

 

Q. How is it compared to your experiences of last year?

STAN WAWRINKA: What?

 

Q. How do you feel compared to this time last year?

STAN WAWRINKA: I don’t know. I don’t compare from last year to this year. Just a new Grand Slam. It’s been two matches now. Going to be ready now for the next one, Jarkko. I have one day off tomorrow where I can practice like I always do with my coach. That’s it. Nothing compared to last year.

 

Q. The feeling of coming into the tournament as defending champion hasn’t changed anything about your preparation at all?

STAN WAWRINKA: No. We already middle of the week, so it’s too late to change something or to think about anything. As I say, when you start the tournament you focus on the new — on this tournament this year. Again, all my focus are on what I’m doing and that’s it.

 

Q. You go to the same tournaments and same places every year. Is there anything in particular that you always have to do when you come to Melbourne?

STAN WAWRINKA: Not really. Win matches. (Laughter.). that’s it. I’m happy to come back. There’s many things I love to do every year, but there is not one thing that I have to do it.

 

Q. Were you surprised to see Rafa in such a physical state of distress last night?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I watched a little bit of the last few games of the fifth set only. I haven’t seen the whole match. He knows to answer the best how he feels on the court. I don’t know. From what I have seen, he was out there fighting, you know, deserved to win because he fighted his way through. Now it happens that you have opposite the net an opponent that plays as well as Smyczek played, has nothing to lose. I don’t know about his health issues or physical state. Definitely was not expected to see him playing four and a half hours against Smyczek. People expect him and top players to dominate most of the matches that they play on, especially in the opening rounds of a Grand Slam. This is tennis. This is sport. People need to realize that other players are playing as well as the top players do. In the Grand Slams, you have motivation more. If you have a fight like they had last night, you just have to congratulate the better player. I’m sure Rafa spoke nicely and praised his opponent. I’ve seen actually the great gentleman gesture and sportsmanship from Smyczek in the last game. I think that’s something that people should talk about. This is something that is not very common in the sport today, you know, where media and people generally emphasize on the rivalries, feisty, aggressive kind of approach to matches. It’s nice to have something that is greater than sport itself, you know, the sportsmanship and fair play.

 

Q. Kuznetsov said he’s going to get a tape of today’s game and watch it to see where he has to go as a player. How well do you feel you played in the first two sets?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: First two sets definitely have been great. Overall I executed the game plan. Everything I intended to do, almost 100%, from every second in my game, serve, baseline play, aggressive shots and aggressive returns. He dropped his first-serve percentage a lot in the second set and obviously allowed me to have a lot of looks at the second serves. That, as well, gave me an opportunity to step in and just swing through the ball.

 

Q. Viktor was talking about how much you helped him. How happy are you that he is at the stage he is at?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think it’s fair to say that he did a fantastic job reaching top 50 of the world, and he can go even further, with playing only six months, maybe even less, after more than a year of absence from the tour. As his great friend, I’m very proud of him. I’m very happy to see him win, to see him feel good on the court. We talk a lot, of course. He won now 10 matches in a row. He’s going to play now a top-10 player. Tomas, he doesn’t have a great record against him. Again, I think Viktor is a different player than what he was two years ago. This experience that he had in some way helped him to get stronger and change his approach maybe to the court and allows him to do things that he didn’t have a chance to do before. Sometimes a few months’ rest from tennis, from sport, from kind of a lifestyle that you’re basically following on a daily basis for many, many years sometimes is useful to kind of refresh, regroup, and get a different kind of philosophy and approach. So I wish him all the best. I think if he’s playing as well as he did in last two weeks, he has a fair chance.

 

Q. You’ve had the question before, but your coach is Becker. His biggest rival in his playing days was Edberg. Yet you name your son Stefan. What do you have to say about it?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I have nothing to say about it. I didn’t name my son by Stefan Edberg, if you refer to that. Well, generally it’s good to see the legends of our sport being in an active tennis right now as a coaches, you know, having this role. Stefan with Roger, Boris with me, Cilic has Goran, Michael Chang with Kei Nishikori, Magnus Norman with Stan Wawrinka. It’s good for sport. They get a lot of attention, fairly so, because they have incredibly successful careers and did a lot for this sport on and off the court. I’m glad we have them again back on the tour.

 

Q. Last night I watched your Jacob’s Creek commercial. Is it the best commercial so far from you?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s definitely one of the best that I’ve done so far in my career because it’s different in a way. We did three short films that allow people to see a different side of me. Yes, I’ve said many times about my childhood, growing up, so forth, how it was in these circumstances of war and so forth. But to put it on the screen, make it alive in a way, was very nice. Was very emotional for me to go through that, to create such story with people from Jacob’s Creek. I’m very proud of what they’ve done. Hopefully the people can enjoy the films, as well.

 

Q. Since 2007 you’ve only lost a total of two sets in your first and second round matches here. You’re playing lesser-ranked opponents in these matches. What is it that you find so comfortable in this tournament in the early stages?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, generally this is my most successful Grand Slam and the tournament where over the years I’ve performed my best tennis. Reason? I think there is not one reason. A few reasons together. Probably the fact that I enjoy the conditions of play. Even though last two years the courts have played faster, significantly faster than they were before, still I do enjoy being here in Australia. Some nice, positive, easygoing, sport-oriented energy going around. People appreciate the sport and make you feel good. Of course, it’s the beginning of the year. It’s the first big tournament. Everybody comes fresh and motivated. I guess in this kind of package it’s a combination of things that make me feel comfortable on the court here.

 

Q. You had such an epic battle with Venus at Wimbledon last year. What makes her so tough as an opponent at her age still?

PETRA KVITOVA: You know, I think that she’s playing still because she really love it. I think that she’s really true champion, otherwise she’s not playing probably. She’s still coming up. She’s very dangerous player, I have to say. Of course, she has a big serve. She has a very good confidence still. I think she really believe that she can play good tennis, what she is doing actually. So that’s why.

 

Q. How pleased are you with finding your range back again?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it was a very good match, very high quality. I’m happy with the way I stayed consistent throughout the whole match. I think there’s always things you can improve, but it’s a great progress from one match to another. I just want to keep trying to stay in that path and continue to grow, continue to improve. But I missed you so much. You didn’t come to my last press conference. I have a question for you.

 

Q. You have a question for me?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yes. Over the last couple years you had a lot of comments on fashion. I wanted to hear your thoughts because you haven’t tweeted about it.

 

Q. About your outfit?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Everybody’s. You have fashion sense, so I’m curious.

 

Q. I like Serena’s the most this year. I think she won this tournament fashion-wise.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Perfect, okay.

 

Q. Maria is good. I like yours. The long sleeves I’m not so sure about.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: You think I should take off the long sleeves?

 

Q. It’s up to you.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: But fashion advice.

 

Q. It’s a lot of one color.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: A lot of yellow color. I appreciate it.

 

Q. You could have played anybody here, unseeded. Still it has to be tough to play a friend, a top-eight player. How was it going out there in the second round against her?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: You know, I think sometimes it doesn’t really matter on what stage you play. It’s probably tougher in the beginning of the tournament. But for me I knew that I’m unseeded so I can play anybody. I just accept whoever is on the opposite side. I just try to do my best. She had such an incredible end of last season so I knew I had to step up my game and really take my chances today. I think I did that pretty well.

 

Q. Do you sympathize with her at all?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I guess I’m very lucky with the draw. But I don’t know how I feel on that level of sympathy, you know. It’s kind of tricky. Like you have to play against somebody, but she’s still your friend. So I think when you are on the court you kind of have to forget about it. But we’ll have some fun after this tournament, so… No worries.

 

Q. Back to the outfit. You started with such intensity.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: That’s the key. That’s the whole point, the outfit, yeah (smiling). You answered my question.

 

Q. But then you continued playing with such intensity.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Don’t be nervous, it’s okay. Well, I didn’t take off my outfit, so the energy and intensity stayed there with the outfit. But really, that’s how I play. I try to imply that intensity. I play aggressive. I think that’s one of my trademarks. Not the outfit, but the intensity.

 

Q. Is there anything you’ve done today on court that you were searching for these past few months that finally clicked?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think my net game was pretty well today. I think I took those chances and really went for it. I’m mostly pleased about that today.

 

Q. How do you think this tough draw you’ve had sets you up for the rest of the tournament? Is that a good thing going forward?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: We’ll see. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. I just want to be able to control what I can. It’s my preparation towards the next match. That’s really what I’m going to do and not think about what’s going to happen. Just really be very well-prepared.

 

Q. The game was on a very high level. You played really well. Caroline played pretty decent as well. You’re on Twitter while the game was on. People very much agreed. Is that something you notice while you’re playing?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, you know, I think, as I mentioned before, when you play against a top player like Caroline, she’s capable of doing pretty much anything on the court. Really, she’s not going to give anything away. She’s really going to try to make you miss and go for bigger shots. I think the level of play is required to step up your game to play against a player like her. So I think we had a lot of long rallies, high quality of tennis. But I think when you face somebody who is that good, you have to raise your level, as well.

 

Q. You’ve had such success here. Is there anything about Australia that you don’t like? Maybe Vegemite or anything?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I actually don’t like Vegemite. It’s probably one of the things. But does it really relate to Australia, Vegemite?

 

Q. Yes. It’s Australian.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Does it? Well, you found one.

 

Q. What do you attribute your success here to?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I love the energy of people here. Really, I think the whole country is like sport nation. They really love sport. Really excited. Also it’s the first Grand Slam of the year. What the tournament has been doing to improve is very, very impressive. I think you feel very excited every time you come here to play. I don’t know, I guess like I’m going to adopt an Aussie kid or something like that.

 

Q. You were talking about fashion. Do you care at all about the image, what people are going to say about the way you behave or what you wear? Is that something you look at or you don’t care?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I got to wear what I have, so… But I think the importance is to stay true to who you are, what you believe in. As long as you’re being respectful to others, you know, to everybody. You can be the most ripest and beautiful peach there is, but you’ll still find somebody who hates peaches, so what are you going to do, right (smiling)?

 

Q. What was it like to be out there playing healthy, able to move without pain? I’m assuming that’s the case.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yes.

 

Q. What is that like and how much does that mean to you?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: That’s just fun. That’s really fun. Because I really enjoy playing. You know, sometimes there’s pressure, tough moments. But just to be able to go through all those emotions once again, it’s really fun, you know. For me, I enjoy it so much. I can’t wait to just keep working and keep playing, having more matches, more tournaments. Yeah, it’s the beginning of the year, so I’m looking forward to it.

 

Q. What caused the turnaround in the match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He definitely raised his level. The first two sets I felt like I was dictating play the whole time. Yeah, he obviously tightened up some of his errors start of the third set. He started serving a lot better as well. I couldn’t get into as many of his service games to build pressure on him. He served, and then, yeah, he played a good game to break me halfway through the third set. He seemed to really get confident after that.

 

Q. When you left the court, did you take an extra moment tonight at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, it sort of happens that quickly when you walk off. Obviously, a great reception. But you probably don’t take it in as much as you should.

 

Q. I had a look at your five-setters. You’ve lost five of your last six. Does that come into your thinking? Were you aware of that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It doesn’t come into my thinking when I’m out there. Obviously I’m aware, though. I lost to Seppi last year. Lost a tight one to Janowicz at Wimbledon. I think Simon at the French. Been decent players, though. Obviously frustrating tonight because I was playing so well for the first two sets.

 

Q. Were you expecting the game to change so suddenly in the third?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I never looked ahead, that’s for sure. I was focused. I was more trying to hold my service games through the third set, then trying to get that small opportunity to break. In the end, as I said, he played a really good game. He got aggressive, got hot on a couple of returns at 3-2 in the third set. Then after that he wasn’t missing as many easy balls as he was for the first two sets. His serve picked up.

 

Q. You said you didn’t look around when you left the court. The television replay showed at the last sit-down, changeover, you were looking around, taking everything in. What was going through your mind then?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know more than me then. If I looked at every TV changeover, I’m probably doing exactly the same thing. There was nothing different going through my mind. It was more just trying to work out the situation. I was trying to bust my guts to get the first couple points, put some kind of pressure on him. Nothing else entered my mind.

 

Q. 19 consecutive Australian Opens is an incredible record. 20 has a nice look to it. Is that a lure at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: For some people I’m sure it is. Yeah, I don’t know. As I said the whole time, I haven’t been kidding anyone, really I don’t know. I’ve just tried to focus on what I’ve wanted to do, to get the best out of myself this year. I’ll sit back and assess everything after this tournament.

 

 

 

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Coco Vandeweghe
Coco Vandeweghe bio
Transcribed Interview Transcribed Interview

Start of Transcribed Interview

Q. Did you get nervous at all? Didn’t appear to be.

COCO VANDEWEGHE: Last game I missed probably the easiest volley I had in the match. Yeah, I was a little bit nervous. But, you know, we were talking about the first match I played against Schiavone, I was super nervous the whole match. My coach was talking about, We don’t train for you to be nervous out on the court and to potentially lose a match because of nerves. So play like you can make every shot and play like you own this court out here. That’s what I was thinking when I was playing out there. I enjoyed my time. So I had a lot of fun.

 

Q. What is it like being out on that sort of stage in a Grand Slam?

COCO VANDEWEGHE: It’s pretty cool. I’ve played on Arthur Ashe twice. That stadium is humongous. I played against Jankovic on there and Serena Williams. But on here, different result, I won, so of course I enjoyed my time. It was fun to play against an Australian in Australia, just to have fans really engaged in a match. It was more of sort of an environment that I enjoy. Even though they were against me more so than with me, just the noise factor and the engagement, highs and lows with the fans, everything like that, that’s fun to play in.

 

Q. You’ve enjoyed WTT for that reason?

COCO VANDEWEGHE: I enjoy World TeamTennis. I didn’t start playing till I was 11. I still played basketball along with tennis until I was 15. So tennis was the last sport I played. I didn’t really enjoy it so much as opposed to basketball, which I grew up loving. Kind of basketball runs in my family a little bit. In an arena in sports, I was always kind of around my older brother, who played volleyball and basketball, ended up playing volleyball for his university. That’s the kind of environment I grew up in. It’s more weird for me to hear the quietness of a court than it is for me to hear the noise.

 

Q. What did you make of the Australian fans in general? They’ve received a fair amount of criticism this week for yelling after points from overseas players.

COCO VANDEWEGHE: It didn’t happen during my match. If it did, I didn’t notice it. It’s their right to cheer. It’s their right to not cheer. I can’t complain either way. Just have to play through it.

 

Q. Madison Brengle next. What do you make of how that draw shaped up for you?

COCO VANDEWEGHE: Yeah, I mean, I don’t look at draws too much. I just look at the opponent ahead of me. I heard that I could potentially play either Irina or Madison. I’m good friends with Irina. I was looking forward more to playing Stosur. Just out of the last half hour or so that I’ve been off the court to think about it. Madison has been on the challenger circuit for a while. It’s a very new experience for her to be in a third round or just in a Grand Slam, period, as opposed to I’ve played a couple Grand Slams. It’s also a new experience for me to be in a third round. You just go out there, try to play the best you can, enjoy your time out there, see what happens.

 

Q. Does the all-Americanness of that make it any different for you?

COCO VANDEWEGHE: I don’t really care. It’s cool that all Americans are there in the third round, because it means at least one American is going into the fourth round. If she’s American, Czech, whatever, it doesn’t matter, I have to go out there and compete and win the match because that’s what I go out there to do.

 

Q. You were talking a little basketball. In the past you’ve mentioned learning from Phil Jackson. Talk about what you learned from that.

COCO VANDEWEGHE: Well, currently Phil Jackson is coaching my favorite basketball team, the Knicks, not coaching, but somewhat coaching. They’re stinking it up real bad. Other than that, I mean, I like to read definitely mental books. I’m an avid reader. I read silly, dumb books. Right now I’m finishing up “Maze Runner.” Other than that, a friend gave me the hardest book I’ve ever read. I forget even the title. I’ve read the first page 10 times and I still have no idea what the heck is going on. I enjoy reading other people’s thoughts, especially great coaches like Phil Jackson who has not only been called the Zen master but also has shown that he can produce time and time again with different groups of players, different mindsets from each of them. Basketball is not a singular sport. There’s how many people on a roster, 15 or so on a roster, 12. Whatever. That’s 12 people you have to manage. To be able to do that for multiple seasons, to claim a championship out of that, that’s something that is hard to replicate.

 

Q. Watched you play Serena at the US Open.

COCO VANDEWEGHE: I got spanked, yeah.

 

Q. That spanking to tonight, different continent, but different sort of setting. What’s changed in your game?

COCO VANDEWEGHE: I think it’s more the confidence in myself and in the game. That was like three years, four years ago. Totally different person out there. It’s hard to compare. That person that played Serena back then just made the first final of her career at Stanford, and it was kind of like a fluke. I lost to Serena in the final of Stanford. So, you know, as opposed to this past year where I have a new coach, it’s a different mindset, different work that I’ve been putting in. So of course the matches have come with that, the match wins, the tournament win I had last year. So, of course, I’m going to have more confidence playing today as opposed to when I played Serena or even Jankovic at 16. I just turned 23. Hopefully maturity has come along with me at 23, but not too much.

 

Q. Stosur is well-known for her serve and forehand. Tonight you beat her with serve and forehand. Does that make you feel proud?

COCO VANDEWEGHE: Yeah, I mean, our games are quite similar. We like to dominate with the serve. For whatever reason today I just had somewhat of a beat on her serve. I was making her play a lot of balls. I may not have been close in every game, but I was making her keep hitting balls that I was giving her off the returns. I know as a big server I like to have the free points right away instead of having that ball coming back, even if it’s short, easy, doesn’t matter. It’s the repetitiveness of someone getting your serve back. That’s what I was focusing on doing. Keep making her play. I have utmost confidence in my forehand, that I could out-rally Stosur today. But even tomorrow or whatever, I have to have confidence in my forehand that I’m going to out-rally someone, even if it’s their strength. Even with the backhand. I can’t change my game because someone has a serve and a forehand. I have to know I can do that better than they can.

 

Q. Caroline Wozniacki, No. 8 in the world, lost in the second round as well. Had 11 seeds go out in the first round in women’s. Weird tournament. Do you think that’s showing the rankings don’t mean a lot?

SAMANTHA STOSUR: Look, again, it proves that almost anyone can beat anyone. Even though we’re in one of the biggest tournaments of the year where everyone is trying to peak and do everything right, you think the seeds are going to go through in the first couple of rounds, yeah, it shows there’s a lot of quality players who haven’t quite gotten to that ranking yet. Maybe they’re a bit younger and haven’t had the opportunities. But they’re very good players and on any given day, they can beat someone. I think it does show the depth in women’s tennis, especially at the moment. Yeah, no match is a given, that’s for sure.

 

 

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Serena and Venus Williams Reach Australian Open Third Round

(January 21, 2015) The Williams sisters have reached the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday. No. 1 ranked Serena rallied from set points down in the first set and won 10 straight games to beat Vera Zvonareva 7-5, 6-0. Venus defeated American countrywoman Lauren Davis 6-2, 6-3.

Five-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams said that her opponent started out aggressive and that she was too passive.

After have set points against Serena in the first set, Zvonareva could only win a total of eight points in the second set.

“Yeah, things really clicked,” Serena said. “I had no other option but for things to click. Yeah, I just had to start playing better.”

Venus Williams is happy to be in the third round.

“Always good to advance,” said the 7-time major winner. “That’s pretty much the goal when you step on the courts, it’s like, Come on. Let’s get to the next round. Met the goal today.”

“I’m hitting the ball a lot like how I want to. Yeah, some points you play well and some not as well. I’m just continually trying to be as consistent as I can on the court and still play consistent while taking risk as well. Find that balance.”

When Venus was asked about why she and her sister Serena withdrew from the doubles on Wednesday, she said: “According to the rules you don’t have to give a reason. I think we’ll stick with that.”

When further pressed by a reporter, Venus ended the line of questioning by politely saying: “No further questions on that. I object. Sustained. Thank you.”

Venuswill play Italy’s Camila Giorgi in the third round.

“Not sure if I played her before,” the 34-year-old 18th seed noted, “but she definitely raises her game depending on the caliber player that she plays. I think it’s just important to remain consistent and aggressive, just as I’ve been this whole year. That’s my goal.”

With her new coach Martina Navratilova in attendance, No. 6 Agnieszka Radwanska began the day on Rod Laver Arena with an easy 44-minute, 6-0, 6-1 win over Sweden’s Johanna Larsson.

“I think it was great match. I really start well. I play aggressive from the beginning to the end. And well, short, good match. So, you know, it’s better, especially that it’s really hot today. Be fresh for the next one.”

Also advancing were No. 4 Petra Kvitova, No. 11 Dominika Cibulkova the 2014 finalist, No. 19 Alize Cornet and No. 24 Garbine Muguruza and No. 30 Varvara Lepchenko. Seeds falling on Thursday included 8the seed Caroline Wozniacki who lost to two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, No. 20 Sam Stosur lost to young American Coco Vandeweghe.

 

On the men’s side top seed Novak Djokovic had an easy win to reach the third round 6-0, 6-1, 6-4 over No. 88 Andrey Kuznetsov. Defending champion Stan Wawrinka also advanced with a 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-3 win over Romanian qualifier Marius Copil.

No. 4 seed Kei Nishikori needed four sets to stop Ivan Dodig. No. 12 Feliciano Lopez was trailing 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (3), 4-0 when Adrian Mannarino retired from the match and No. 19 John Isner beat Andreas Haider-Maurer 6-4, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-4.

Steve Johnson upset No. 30 Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

 

 

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Notes and Quotes from Day 2 of the 2015 Australian Open

Serena Williams

(January 20, 2015) A few of the more off-beat questions and answers from Day 2 news conferences at the Australian Open.

You’ve been well-known to have a lot of off-court activities in your career. Do you think all of that has helped you with your success in tennis or is that a whole other part of your life?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It’s definitely a different part of my life. I’ve always been different and I’ve always liked to plan for my future. I’ve always enjoyed different things. Even when I was younger, I just did so many different things. Inevitably it helps me appreciate what I love to do most, which is play tennis.

 

Your outfit today was pretty awesome.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Thank you.

 

Did you want to do something more adventurous compared to when you were a teenager? Sort of a bold look?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I’ve been more focused on different parts of the body. Throughout the years we went for a more conservative look. This year we really wanted to bring out a powerful woman and a strong woman, like I said. You can be beautiful and powerful at the same time. So what we at Nike wanted to do was to focus on beautiful back. So kind of a lot of my outfits this year are really based on the beauty of and the shape of the back, which a lot of people don’t think about. But it’s so beautiful and powerful on ladies, so we just wanted to focus on that.

 

Do you feel different when you wear something on court more revealing?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely feel really different. First of all, I feel like I don’t want to eat too much (smiling). One peanut and I’m going to break the dress, so I try not to eat that much. Other than that, yeah, it depends. Sometimes I’m a little nervous. Yeah, but this one I think is really good. It’s really trendy and young, but at the same time it also has a great message and it’s also really nice. It goes really well. So, yeah.

 

Q. After having ordered the coffee, what are you allowed to order on court and what would you like to order beyond espresso?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Depends. If I’m down, I might want to call my buddy Jack. Maybe that wouldn’t be good (smiling). Yeah, no, I don’t know what’s allowed. A hamburger, French fries.

 

Q. Pizza?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I love eating pizza. I can’t have it this fortnight. I don’t want to break my dress (smiling).

 

Q. Do they ever instruct the players that these are the things you can do?

SERENA WILLIAMS: That’s why I asked. I want to be completely honest. Is it okay? I have no idea. I think that might be a new rule in the rule book. We’ll see.

 

Q. Did you watch any of the Kyrgios or Kokkinakis match yesterday?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s great opening matches that they both had, five-setters. The crowd. Could not ask for anything better. I was saying before that they both are very talented. Obviously they have a lot of reasons why they want to perform their best in Australian Open, their home soil. They have a huge support. They have a huge motivation to play their best. I congratulate them both. It’s not easy as an 18-year-old to overcome the challenges and pressure and expectations. Especially Kyrgios, with the amount of attention he got this week, prior to the beginning of the Australian Open. To be able to face that and win the way they both did, it shows the character. So I wish them both well in the rest of the tournament.

 

Q. What do you think of their flair on court?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, that’s what you need to have as a youngster, as a challenger, to all the players basically in the professional world coming up. It seems like, you know, sometimes you’re playing tennis without pressure or without really caring too much for what other people say or who is across the net. That’s what I felt like at that stage of my career. But, you know, there comes a time obviously when people start talking about you more, as they start talking about them. Obviously playing in Australia for them represents something more than playing anywhere else. Nick had a lot of attention in the media. Australia wants to have another big star, top player. I thought Kokkinakis did very well psychologically to win yesterday’s match, facing some match points and so forth. They both have the potential, no doubt about that. It’s still long road ahead of them. I’m sure they’re aware of it.

 

Q. Becoming a parent is a happy time for anybody. Can you share with us your best daddy story you can come up with?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I can say definitely that it’s the best, most joyful thing that ever has happened to me and my wife. We are so blessed and grateful to have a child. He’s a little angel. They’re not here with me, so I’m trying to stay in touch with them. The technology nowadays helps me to stay connected and see them and watch them on a daily basis. I can’t wait to be with them. Everything that you do as a father is very special. Everything that you see, all the facial expressions, changes on a weekly basis, daily basis, as a matter of fact, is quite remarkable. It’s inexplicable for somebody that hasn’t experienced it before. That is what people were telling me before I became a father. They said, When it happens, you will understand the feeling. I do now. I’m completely fulfilled in every aspect of my life. That gives a whole ‘nother meaning and purpose to my tennis as well. I’m trying to draw that energy and motivation and love that I have for my family and for my boy into the tennis court as well.

 

Q. How would you rate your eye-hand coordination when it comes to diaper changing?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: My wife says I’m pretty good. I can’t say more than that.

 

Q. It was several years ago here you played Roger, you were a young guy. You expressed an opinion you had a good chance to win. What do you think about that younger Novak Djokovic?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: As I said, I understand young players like Kyrgios and Kokkinakis that we’re talking about here, they have this I think necessary flair and energy that I think is directed in a positive way for them to get the crowd on their side, to get themselves rid of any kind of over-respect for the opponent and just be able to perform the best tennis, and then eventually get a big win, as they did, as Kokkinakis did against Gulbis, that is a top 15 player. So it’s a big part of the game and just an approach of a youngster, having that positive drive on the court. This is an ideal place for them to draw that energy and to explore that flair on the court.

 

Q. Serena got a lot of attention for ordering coffee on the court. What can you order on the court? Take-out Chinese? Could you order a beer?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I wasn’t thinking about that, honestly about the Chinese and a beer and the coffee, because I’m not a fan of those three things. But I guess, judging by what she did, it opens up a new chapter of rules I guess on the tennis court. Maybe we need to explore more and see what you’re able and what you’re not able to order. Maybe you can order some delivery service, as you mentioned. I don’t know. Something that comes to your mind. But it’s understandable. Some people can’t live without coffee in the morning. It keeps them going. I guess that helped her in that match. It wouldn’t help me because I’m not a fan of coffee.

 

Q. You would order something gluten free?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Gluten free coffee maybe (smiling).

 

Q. Nadal say he doesn’t feel ready to win. Do you think he’s trying to reduce the pressure on him by saying so?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I don’t know what his intentions are, how he feels. But he is definitely always one of the top favorites in every tournament that he plays. There is no question about it. We always talk prior to the big tournaments, during the first days of the Grand Slams, about who the potential players are for winning the trophy. You know, more or less the same names have been going around for the last seven or eight years. So I don’t think there is any difference in terms of main favorites for this tournament even this year in the Australian Open. There are a few other players that are able to challenge the best.

 

 

Q. Busy with EleVen stuff?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was busy with EleVen and V Starr and I was in school, so it was a lot, yeah. I’m glad that’s over.

 

Q. Is that something that has sort of continued to drive you, your off-court interests? Does that help you in your tennis to have those other things in your life?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Does it help me with my tennis? I don’t know. I think it maybe makes me more appreciative of tennis because I’ve had to start at the bottom with both of those. Obviously people know your name, but it doesn’t mean that it’s a given. You have to work hard. So I work really hard at both of those businesses. I’m in school because I guess I’m a geek. And other than that, yeah, I love tennis, so it’s always number one.

 

Q. You said a while ago that accounting kind of drove you crazy. What was so hard about accounting?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It’s hard because when you go to school on distance education, you have a ton of tools, but you have to be very disciplined and you have a ton more work. I literally mean an actual ton. It’s very challenging. I don’t like bad grades, so I have to have really good grades. So I put a lot of pressure on myself. It is so much work. It’s a lot of work. So I’m through accounting now, so I feel anything else is going to be a breeze.

 

Q. How are you at school? Is it tougher than tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I love the information. I don’t like to do the work, so… I don’t know. I guess that’s the same thing. Yes, I like matches. Does anyone love practice? Probably not. So it’s probably the same concept.

 

Q. It’s been well-documented you’ve had a few health issues the last couple of years. You seem to have got back into the higher echelons of the game a bit under the radar. Are you feeling very healthy, very good in yourself right now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I got issues, but so do a lot of people. Everyone has different kind of issues. I deal with my own the best way that I can. I’m creeping closer. I did enter the top 20. But I had some issues. Now I’m back again. I’d like to think that moving forward I have a lot of good days ahead of me in terms of health. I think also learning to manage things, because it’s a mental challenge when you don’t feel well and I think I’m learning to manage that a lot better.

 

Q. Li Na announced her pregnancy. I’m wondering if motherhood is something that you ever think of?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, that’s so sweet. I didn’t know that. Maybe there will be twins and a doubles team. I hope I’m still not playing when they’re out (laughter). In any case, I don’t know, I’m still a big kid. I’m still growing up. She’s definitely made the right decision, I think, starting a family. I hope that one day I can get to that level. We’ll see. It’s a big job. It’s like the biggest job in the world. As much responsibility as I’ve taken on in my life, that still seems daunting.

 

Q. 19 Australian Opens now. It’s unprecedented. Are you still having fun? Is it still the same?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, the motivation, the buzz is still there, absolutely. You know, I love walking through the corridors, the practice sessions on Rod Laver Arena, the week leading up to the slam. The start of the Australian Open, there’s always a real buzz around anyway. But this is one of the things I really miss when I do eventually retire.

 

Q. This isn’t a farewell tour?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I get asked that every day, so…

 

 

Q. Is it weird being here and not being seeded? I think it’s the first time since ’07 or something like that.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, it would be weird if I was playing the whole last year and I wasn’t seeded this year. But since I missed so much, I think it’s kind of what it is. As I said, you just accept that and you just try to do the best as possible. So, you know, if you play against seed or unseeded player, it’s going to be tough. The depth in women’s game I think is really strong right now. You could see from the results from yesterday that it doesn’t really matter. You got to be ready 100% every day no matter who you’re facing.

 

Q. Li Na just said you will definitely win a Master in your career. How encouraging is that to hear from her?

KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, that’s a good thing to hear from her. It was very sad to see she’s retiring, because I was — she was big, big leadership for especially Asian tennis. I think I’m getting close to — not really — but getting close to her. Hopefully I can win a Masters. For sure that’s going to be my next goal. Hopefully I can come back Grand Slam final again.

 

Q. How long had you been thinking about starting a family with Dennis? In interviews you often talked about wanting to be a housewife. That was on your mind for how long before retirement?

LI NA: I think for my dream is be a housewife. I think every child they learn from the family. I was learn from my mom, so I was feeling the woman has to be like housewife. But I guess I’m not bad to play tennis. So I was feeling, okay, because tennis was take care a lot. I think now is the time to turn back. Yeah.

 

Q. How are you feeling? Do you have any morning sickness or any food cravings?

LI NA: Yes, I do. Until now I still have morning sick. Yeah.

 

Q. Any particular cravings or things you don’t want to eat anymore?

LI NA: No, no. I think I was pretty fine. I was ask my mom what I should care about. She was like, Do whatever you want to do. Don’t care about. She’s strong. So I was, Okay, okay.

 

Q. She’s a she?

LI NA: She or him. I prefer she. (Laughter.)

 

Q. Are you going to teach your kids tennis?

LI NA: I will see if they are interested about tennis or not. Yeah, yeah.

 

Q. If you could have changed one thing in your career, what would that have been?

LI NA: I think I’m perfect for the life. I wouldn’t change anything.

 

Q. Have you heard from any other tennis moms, someone who has reached out to you to congratulate you or give you advice?

LI NA: I got a lot message yesterday, yeah. I got a lot of congrats. So thanks for them.

 

Q. Why did you decide to make the announcement on Rod Laver Arena?

LI NA: I think we decide end of November. Yeah, because I know this is — Melbourne for me is very special area. So I know after that this is big moment for me. So I want to speak to all my fans, my friend. Yeah.

 

Q. Of all the qualities in you that helped you reach and achieve everything you did, what do you want your child to take from you?

LI NA: I try don’t to tell them I was the tennis player, you know. It’s pretty simple. Just like I wish them happy and healthy. That’s it. Yeah.

 

Q. What’s it like to be retired? You once said that you had sort of a lot of beasts within you that you got out on the tennis court and you felt all this pressure to win. What has it been like to leave tennis behind? Are you a different person now?

LI NA: I’m still the same. (Smiling.) Only not with tennis racquet anymore. It’s for me I decide because I cannot play anymore. I still love tennis, so that’s why I always doing the job. Yeah, of course right now I don’t have to worry about win or lose every day. Yeah, it’s less pressure. Yeah.

 

Q. If you could choose, would you still choose tennis as your career?

LI NA: If I have next life, I will still choose tennis, I will still choose the famous Asian as well.

 

Q. Why will you not immediately tell your child that you were a tennis player?

LI NA: I think tennis is my job, it’s not their job, you know. I think everyone has personality. Yeah.

 

Q. You have been the top Asian player for a long time, and in the men’s side, Kei Nishikori got very close to win Grand Slam last year. After you announced your retirement, he said he got a lot of motivation or confidence from you. So you give him any advices like Asian player, what kind of advice would you give him?

LI NA: I saw him play final on TV, of course. I think he’s amazing player. It’s not easy to be in the top. I know how hard working he has. So I will believe he can win Grand Slam. Seriously. Yeah.

 

Q. Will Dennis be changing diapers with you?

LI NA: No, no. The guys, it’s strange, I know how is another guy, but he never change, you know. Yeah.

 

Q. Just your thoughts on the players from China in the draw at the moment. Obviously a few defeats today. What are your thoughts?

LI NA: I even didn’t saw the match. Sorry about that, because I was like make me super busy. Yeah.

 

 

Q. Do you have a special place for your trophy at home?

STAN WAWRINKA: I already said it’s in a safe. It’s not at home yet.

 

Q. So you can’t watch it?

STAN WAWRINKA: No, I’m traveling all the year, so I don’t have time for that. (Smiling.)

 

Q. I have a question about your favorite football team. Where do you stand on Liverpool letting Stevie Gerrard go?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I’m obviously sad. I think Stevie has done so much for the team over the years. He’s a legend. I think if that’s what he thinks is the right time, I have to support that.

 

Q. But you want him to stay?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah. But at the same time he had a talk with the manager and said that maybe he wasn’t going to be playing as much. Yeah, I’m a little sad. I don’t know. I’m going to have my Stevie G jerseys hanging somewhere. Unfortunately he won’t be playing there anymore. I’ll have to make a trip probably to L.A. to have a look again. But, yeah, 17 seasons, 17 years, it’s a long time.

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Top Seeds Williams and Djokovic Lead Charge into Australian Open Second Round

Djokovic melbourne

(January 20, 2015) World No. 1s Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic lead the charge on Tuesday in Melbourne, easily advancing to the second round of the Australian Open.

Serena Williams had an easy 6-0, 6-4 win over Alison Van Uytvanck in the night session. Despite a dominant win, the 18-time major winner admitted to nerves in the early rounds of majors.

“I just focus on holding serve in general, and I focus on breaking,” Williams said. “So I don’t focus on necessarily my nerves. I just think, Okay, I want to hold serve and I want to break. That’s all I do. That kind of helps me to get over it.”

She said the pressure is different in a final versus a first round. “Yeah, usually when you get to a final, you want to win. I just want to do the best I can. Yeah, I think it’s different because at least when you’re in a final, you have a little momentum. When you’re in a first round, you don’t have momentum. Usually the nerves aren’t as bad in general for me in a final. There’s been finals where I’ve been really, really tight.”

“If I could get to 19(th major) in Australia that would be amazing,” said the five –time Australian Open champion.

Meanwhile, four-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic had an easy time with No. 116 Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in his first-round match. Djokovic had been under-the-weather over the past two weeks.

“Just glad to be back competing on the highest level in tennis,” said the Serb. “Australian Open has been very dear to me. My most successful Grand Slam. I’ve been playing some of my best tennis throughout career on these courts. Trying to soak up every joyful moment on the court. Obviously the start was a bit slower performance, weaker performance, from my side. He had a couple of breakpoints. The match could have gone a different way in the first set. Never played him. Watched him only once. He did surprise me. I had a difficult time to read his serve. The courts are playing a little bit faster than they were the last two years than they were in previous years. So if you have a big serve, know how to use it, it’s a big advantage on these courts. He’s a good player obviously. He qualified. Reached the finals in Chennai. Qualified again here. He felt confident. He had nothing to lose. On the other hand, I managed to stay tough, overcome some kind of challenges that I faced in the beginning of the match. I played much more comfortably in the rest of the match.”

Defending Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka began his quest to with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win over No. 100-ranked Marsel Ilhan, in less than 90 minutes.

“It’s great, bringing me a lot of memories from last year,” Wawrinka said of his return. “It was great to come back here feeling happy, happy with my game.”

“Happy. First Grand Slam never easy, but happy the way I played today. I feel great to come in the court. I play some good tennis and I have confidence with my game in general. That’s what I did today. It was not so hot. A little bit humid, a little bit windy. But, yeah, it was a good match.”

 

Other men advancing on Tuesday were No. 5 Kei Nishikori, No. 8 Milos Raonic, No. 9 David Ferrer, No. 12 Feliciano Lopez saved 3 match points in defeating Denis Kudla 3-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 10-8, while No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut, No. 18 Gilles Simon and No. 19 John Isner also advanced. Upsets on the day included No. 16 Fabio Fognini, No. 21 Alexandr Dolgopolov, No. 25 Julien Benneteau and No. 27 Pablo Cuevas.

Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka making a comeback after injuries sidelined her for most of 2014, defeated Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-2.

Seeded winners included No. 4 Petra Kvitova, No. 6 Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 8 Caroline Wozniacki, No. 11 Dominika Cibulkova and No. 18 Venus Williams. Upsets on the day included No. 12 Flavia Pennetta, No. 13 Andrea Petkovic and No. 15 Jelena Jankovic. Monday saw 8 women’s seeds bite the dust.

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2015 Australian Open Women’s Contender Profiles

(January 17, 2015) Profiles of the top Women’s Singles contenders for the 2015 Australian Open. Note: Grand Slam records for main draw matches only.  – by Jack Cunniff     http://twitter.com/jrcunniff

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

2014 Record: 52-8

Grand Slam Record: 259-39

Australian Open Record: 61-9

Australian Open Best Result: Won (2003, ’05, ’07. ’09, ‘10)

Fast Fact: At the Australian Open, Serena has only lost twice to a Top Ten player (2001 to Hingis, 2008 to Jankovic).

 

Maria Sharapova

2014 Record: 49-13

Grand Slam Record: 165-40

Australian Open Record: 42-10

Australian Open Best Result: Won (2008)

Fast Fact: With her win last week in Brisbane, Sharapova has won a title in each of the last 13 years, placing her 4th in the Open Era behind Navratilova (21), Evert (18), and Graf (14).

 

Simona Halep

2014 Record: 46-16

Grand Slam Record: 27-18

Australian Open Record: 6-4

Australian Open Best Result: QF (2014)

Fast Fact: Halep celebrated 50 consecutive weeks in the Top Ten, and will mark her one year anniversary during the Australian Open (reached No. 10 on Jan 27, 2014).

 

Petra Kvitova

2014 Record: 43-16

Grand Slam Record: 64-24

Australian Open Record: 11-6

Australian Open Best Result: SF (2012)

Fast Fact: Kvitova will play her 500th career match in the first round of the Australian Open.

 

Ana Ivanovic

2014 Record: 58-17

Grand Slam Record: 97-39

Australian Open Record: 24-10

Australian Open Best Result: RU (2008)

Fast Fact: Despite having her best season since 2008, Ivanovic lost to lower-ranked players at all of the Grand Slams in 2014.

 

Agnieszka Radwanska

2014 Record: 47-22

Grand Slam Record: 90-34

Australian Open Record: 24-8

Australian Open Best Result: SF (2014)

Fast Fact: Since beating Venus Williams to win 2014 Canadian Open (Montreal), Radwanska has a losing record, 8-9.

 

Eugenie Bouchard

2014 Record: 43-22

Grand Slam Record: 23-7

Australian Open Record: 5-1

Australian Open Best Result: SF (2014)

Fast Fact: Bouchard won more Grand Slam matches in 2014 than any other woman (19).

 

Caroline Wozniacki

2014 Record: 49-19

Grand Slam Record: 79-31

Australian Open Record: 22-7

Australian Open Best Result: SF (2011)

Fast Fact: Wozniacki has a 7-0 record in opening round matches at the Australian Open, the only Grand Slam event that she has not lost in the first round.

 

Angelique Kerber

2014 Record: 47-24

Grand Slam Record: 48-28

Australian Open Record: 11-7

Australian Open Best Result: 4R (2013, ‘14)

Fast Fact: Kerber has a 1-7 record against Top 50 players at the Australian Open.

 

Ekaterina Makarova

2014 Record: 41-21

Grand Slam Record: 48-29

Australian Open Record: 18-7

Australian Open Best Result: QF (2012, ‘13)

Fast Fact: In her last four Australian Open appearances, Makarova has defeated four Grand Slam champions (Ivanovic, S. Williams, Bartoli, V. Williams).

 

Dominika Cibulkova

2014 Record: 32-24

Grand Slam Record: 53-29

Australian Open Record: 13-7

Australian Open Best Result: RU (2014)

Fast Fact: Cibulkova has won only six matches since Wimbledon, as many matches as she won en route to the Australian Open final in 2014.

 

Flavia Pennetta

2014 Record: 33-20

Grand Slam Record: 69-45

Australian Open Record: 13-11

Australian Open Best Result: QF (2014)

Fast Fact: Pennetta had a losing record at the Australian Open until reaching the QF in 2014.

 

Andrea Petkovic

2014 Record: 41-23

Grand Slam Record: 31-20

Australian Open Record: 6-5

Australian Open Best Result: QF (2011)

Fast Fact: Petkovic hasn’t won a match at the Australian Open since 2011 (def. Sharapova 4R).

 

Venus Williams

2014 Record: 32-14

Grand Slam Record: 221-57

Australian Open Record: 41-14

Australian Open Best Result: RU (2003)

Fast Fact: With her 2014 Australian Open appearance, Venus moves into 3rd place in the Open Era with 65 Slam appearances, trailing only Frazier (71) and Navratilova (67).

 

Victoria Azarenka

2014 Record: 15-9

Grand Slam Record: 101-32

Australian Open Record: 32-7

Australian Open Best Result: Won (2012, ’13)

Fast Fact: Azarenka enters a Grand Slam event unseeded for the first time since 2007 U.S. Open, after 27 Slams where she was seeded.

 

 

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Notes and Quotes from the 2015 Australian Open Pre-Tournament News Conferences

(January 17, 2015) Ana Ivanovic, Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova, Rafael Nadal, Sam Stosur, Serena Williams, Grigor Dimitrov, Simona Halep, Andy Murray, Lleyton Hewitt and Petra Kvitova met the media on Saturday for Australian Open pre-tournament interviews at Melbourne Park.

A few “notes and quotes” from the Saturday media conferences:

 

Ivanovic in press2

Ana Ivanovic

Mentality coming into the tourney as a top-five player:
“To be honest, I try not to think too much about the rankings. I definitely thought about it towards the end of the last year. I really tried to make that push and finish in top five. At the moment I really want to focus on my game, what to do out there on the court, to enjoy every match because I know if I do that, the results take care of themselves, and rankings speak for themselves. This is my main focus for this season.”

Ivanovic spoke about what makes the Australian Open special:
“I think each Grand Slam, it’s very specific and very individual in the atmosphere and the feel about it. Here I really feel people get excited about tennis. You know, they love sport. They love to cheer. They get loud. That’s exciting. There’s lots of kids always out here that come and support us. Obviously it’s their summer holidays so people are a little bit more relaxed, I feel. But it is very exciting. Since I don’t have a tournament at home, this is like second home for me.”

“It takes time for certain things to fall into place. Last year I really felt I made big steps towards winning more matches, beating top players. These kinds of things you sort of have to have in place in order to do well at the big events. I feel like I’m ready for next step. Also I feel comfortable in my team. I feel I can communicate with them more. Last year at some points it was not the case. Then also US Open was just a fresh start with new team, with new coach. So it takes time to get used to. Now I feel I can communicate with them more and they can help me.”

Asked to pick the fittest woman on tour:
I mean, there is lots of girls who are getting fitter and fitter. Caroline (Wozniacki) ran a marathon. I don’t think I can do that, to be honest (laughter). Radwanska, she’s a type of player that does lot of running on court. It really depends what you consider, you know, because there are some girls who maybe hit harder, have more power, but then those girls that have very high endurance.

Federer in press

Roger Federer

Q. Novak Djokovic had a crack at the Aussie accent. Can you do anything?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I’m not very good at that. I’ll let him do that (laughter).
Q. No g’day, mate?
ROGER FEDERER: I can do that, but not on command.

How he feels coming into Melbourne this year compared to last year?
“Clearly things are more calm this year, I guess, coming in. Last year, you know, having the new racquet, having gotten through the back issues, having gone through the off-season, you know, feeling good but still not quite sure because I needed matches to see how it was going to cope. I came here also with Stefan Edberg helping me out. You know, there was many changes that took place in the six months leading into, I guess, the Australian Open, whereas this time around I’ve played so well. Also was able to win Brisbane last week. Makes me feel more secure, I guess, this year coming into the Aussie Open.

Asked about how close he is to his career-best form?
“Well, I mean, I would hope that over the years I’ve always improved. I think I’m serving more consistent and stronger than I ever have. That’s my opinion. I definitely think the racquet has helped me with that as well, a little bit. But, you know, my concentration I do believe is there, better than it’s ever been, at least I hope it is, because I feel over time you always want to improve. I think my backhand is working better than it has in the past as well. The question is confidence, forehand, movement. But clearly when I was winning almost everything, everything was so gold that nobody was even questioning anything. Maybe if there were different opponents, different times, it would have changed. But for that particular time, I was playing exactly the way I needed to. I had to adjust my game a little bit over the years. I feel I’m playing very well. If it’s the best ever, I’m not quite sure. But I’m definitely very pleased how things have gone now the last six months.”

Asked if fitness has become more of a priority moving forward in his career over the years?
“Hmm, I wouldn’t quite say that. It’s changed just because you’re more careful not to get injured. So sometimes less is more. Quality is more important than quantity. Whereas when you’re younger, you got to put in the hours, you got to put in the work. Doesn’t matter if you’re tired, all these things, you just got to get through it, you know, get match tough, go through the grind. Eventually you have experience, you know what you need to get ready for a tournament, in the off-season what you need to do. So clearly I’ve, you know, made mistakes and made right decisions over the years. You try to put them all together, assemble all those pieces, make it work for the off-season. I mean, I definitely work a bit different. But at the end of the day I really believe in good quality practices now rather than too much. Yeah, I mean, I am 33, so things are a bit different today than they were 10 years ago.”

On whether he will play Davis Cup this year:
“I probably also will decide that once the Australian Open is over. I’ve been talking, you know. Clearly it’s hard to get out from the chair after finally winning Davis Cup. It was always a goal of mine, for Swiss tennis, the guys on my team, for myself, after playing for 15 years. Yeah, I’m just talking to the captain right now, see what the plan is for him, for me, for everybody. After that, I guess I just need a little bit more time. Probably make a call after the Australian Open.”

Sharapova gets ready to serve

Maria Sharapova

Q. Do you consider yourself the woman to beat for the title here?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I’m sure I’m one of them, definitely. I mean, I’m No. 2 in the world. I’ve had a great season last year, winning a Grand Slam. I think there are a lot of players that have an opportunity to win this tournament, and I’m certainly one of them.

 

Q. You have a shot at the No. 1 position. Is it still a big motivation for you to be back as No. 1 in the world or is winning Grand Slams at this time of your career more important?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, that was a question that was nice not having to answer in December (smiling). Yeah, I mean, look, obviously No. 1 is a ranking that every single player wants to grab and works so hard for. There’s a lot of players that have an opportunity to get there, and I’m one of them. I am, of course, determined to do that. But by doing that you need to win more matches than the person that’s in the first place. So that’s the goal.

 

How much has fitness changed in the last 10 years compared to when you came up at Wimbledon? Has the tour grown in leaps and bounds as far as the physicality?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, definitely. I think you see a lot more people added to the team as far as a fitness coach. I mean, you didn’t see that 10 years ago as much. You know, I have a fitness coach. He doesn’t travel with me full schedule. It’s a pretty limited schedule. He’s always with me during the training weeks away from the tournaments. Never feel there’s too much you can do during a tournament week as far as really setting up a base. It’s more about recovery and getting ready. But the physical aspect of the sport has become, I think, very, very important. It’s always been, but I think it’s become more important than ever.

We’ve started to see on the women’s side these former champions coming in. What do you make from that, from your point of view?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I think from experience-wise, there’s no better person that can help you in certain situations as a coach, as a motivator, as someone that just has been there, done that. I think it’s great to see. I think it’s always nice when you’ve been through a career and you have the opportunity or you have the desire to share it with other players, to share your knowledge and experience. I think it’s great.

You were talking about being happy to be in one place.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: That was in November. I played two matches for IPTL in November. Actually had a great experience, a great time. For an event that had its first year, I thought it was very well-organized, very professional. I think it was great to see tennis being brought into markets which have never seen professional sport like that before, and stars. I think their excitement was unreal. I mean, I felt like a rockstar literally, to put my feet on the ground the day after. It was really fun to see the excitement that people had. The format was fun. It was fast. A lot of the players took it very seriously. I mean, I came in after not practicing for many weeks. I was like, Okay, I’m going to take it easy. Some of the doubles players were really into it, which was great to see. So, yeah, I think personally I would never do the whole tour. It’s quite long. But I think to the girls that did, and guys, you see some were injured at the end of it, which is quite unfortunate. But to go out and to play a few matches in a market that’s never seen high-quality tennis before, very open to it.

What is the best game you remember here in the Australian Open?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I’ve had a lot. My best game? Obviously, the one that sticks out is my victory. Winning a championships is a big moment, especially a Grand Slam. It was my third Grand Slam in my career. I thought throughout the two whole weeks, it was some of the best tennis that I played. I had one of the toughest draws in a Grand Slam. I actually thought the final wasn’t my best match throughout the tournament. But overall I came through a lot of challenges. Yeah, it’s tough to choose.

 

 

 

Nadal ao

Rafael Nadal

Is a question of everything to be ready, to feel yourself confident, to feel yourself that you are 100% competitive. Always you need to play more matches than four or five in seven months. That’s a thing that everybody knows. At the same time you feel in better shape physically when you are play matches, when you have confidence about your movements. Even if you practice a lot, then the competition is different. The stress of the competition is different than the practices, no? So is a question of time and work. I am working big-time.

I am doing lot of practice and doing the things that we believe we have to do to recover our level. Is true that having a Grand Slam that early in the season after injury like this not the ideal thing. But here we are. I worked a lot since 10th of December. I worked a lot last couple of weeks in Abu Dhabi and Doha, then here this week. I am with calm and happy the way I did the things. Then I need to play better than what I am doing. I think that thing is sure. But I know to play better, I need to win matches. I need to spend hours on court competing. The only way to make that happen is to be on the tour. So I am on the tour, and that’s the only way I can come back to my best level.

Every time is different. Every feeling is different. Every time you come back, you have the doubts, you have the feeling that you are far away from your best. But at the same time you know the only thing you can do is play with the right attitude and try to have the right schedule to play matches, to play weeks in a row. It’s the only way to find the positive feelings and the confidence back. When you have put all the things together, it make your game better again. That’s what I am doing. I am trying to do the calendar that will be better for me. Playing here, then playing on clay, that helps me physically, in terms of tennis, too. That’s all, no? Difficult to say more things. The only thing I can say is I need to play better, yes. But the only way to play better is to win matches.

In the end is difficult to say 50%, 55%, 20%. Doesn’t matter. This kind of thing is impossible. Is not mathematics. You never know when you are 100%. The only thing is I know I need to work, spend time on court, play matches. When that happens during few months, I know in terms of being competitive, in terms of rhythm, I will be ready again, no? But if I am able to win matches in a row before these few months, I’m going to be ready earlier, no? That’s what happened in 2013. But I started on clay, tournaments that give me the chance to play more matches, 250 tournaments. This time a little bit different. At the same time the only way is winning matches and spend time on court.

Q. You said Brazil is a lucky place for you. How do you feel about the Rio Open? Too much play, too many people with Carnival?
I hope not to have too much time for Carnival (smiling). Well, no. I have been in Brazil a couple of times. 2005 was the first tournament victory of a big season. 2013 was a special one, because after a lot of months without winning, without competing, I had a chance to win the title there. Helped me for the confidence for what happened later, no? Last year was important one, but was different situation. This year is a little bit like before, no? Going to be the first tournament on clay after a long time ago. I hope will be a good moment for me to have the full confidence back.

Q. Which aspect of your game are you happiest about as you’re returning to form? Which part is going well for you at the moment?
RAFAEL NADAL: Nothing (smiling). No, I am not serving bad. My serve is working more or less well. I need to be a little bit more dynamic on court with my movements. I am a player who find the confidence when I am able to defend well, when I am able to hit the ball knowing that the ball going to go in most of the times. So that’s when I feel myself strong. As I say before, no, to make that happen, you need to do that on the competition. For example, last week in Doha I did a very good thing in the first set, played very good first set. But then, you know, I lose the intensity on my game, I lose the rhythm, something that normally never happen to me when I am competing two weeks in a row. That is something you need when you didn’t play for a long time. I don’t know about in which part of my game I’m more happy. But I really know what I have to do to be happy with my game. My game is always good when my movements are good, when I am able to have control of the point with my forehand, and always hitting good backhands. But the forehand need to be aggressive, need to create space with my forehand. That’s the way that I need to play to have my chances back on being competitive against everybody.

Asked about who is the favorite for the tournament?
You know the same like me who is the favorite for the tournament. I think everybody thinks the same names. Novak finished the season great. He is a fantastic player. He’s in his favorite surface. Roger is the same story. Had a great season last year. He finished well. Plays in his favorite surface, or one of his favorites, grass and here. And Andy I think is playing well. We’ll see. The rest always are there. There is a few more players that always going to have the chances. But between these three names, it’s a big chance.
No, I don’t consider myself one of the favorites here. Last year, yes. This year is a different story. Would be lying if I say I feel that I am ready to win today. I don’t feel myself ready to win the tournament here today. If I am here in a press conference in one week, maybe I will say another thing because will have the feeling that I will play few matches, and if I’m able to win that couple of matches, then probably I will have little bit more rhythm, I will have more confidence. But in theory, playing four, five matches in seven months, you cannot be a favorite of a tournament that is not clay, is on hard. Is another thing. In terms of being favorites, the other names are more favorites than me at this time.

Sam Stosur

Sam Stosur

Sam Stosur

On playing in her home country.
“I guess it depends which way you want to look at it. It’s definitely different to playing outside of Australia, playing the other Grand Slams. But it’s not necessarily more difficult. It’s not easier. It’s just different. I think it’s a matter of, yeah, handling everything that’s going on. Obviously I know there’s probably more attention on me here than anywhere else. But, yeah, it’s okay. It’s just different.”

“I’ve been pretty pleased with the way my matches have gone. Obviously I would have liked to have won a couple more. But I think overall the way I’ve been playing in those matches has been pretty good. There’s always things to work on and improve. But I think considering it’s the first few matches of the year, I’ve been pretty happy with it. So I guess going into this first round on Tuesday, I got to be ready and do it all over again. I’ve got a couple more days to fine tune anything I want to get a little bit better before that match.”

Q. How do you feel about your first-round opponent and your part of the draw?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: To be honest, I don’t know much about my part of the draw. Playing Monica (Niculescu), she’s a very different player to a lot of different players on the tour. She likes to slice the ball a lot, slice the forehand even. She’ll serve and volley a little bit, she’ll come into the net. She’s very fast, moves well. She’s very creative and more crafty than maybe most of the other players out there. It’s certainly something that I need to know certain balls are going to come back a lot differently to playing anyone that I’ve played so far this year. I think it’s going to be a lot about concentrating hard and knowing that it’s going to be some funky stuff going on out there, and what I’m going to try to do to combat that.

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

On her Australian Open preparation:
“It’s okay. I’m not very happy with it, but I’m never really happy about my practice or preparation. So maybe that’s a good sign. Yeah, I’m just still every day going out there, working really hard.

I definitely feel better now than I did a couple weeks ago. But I still want to improve some things. I feel like I should be doing some things better. But every day I can see something coming through, so… There’s a little light at the end of the tunnel.
“I absolutely hate running, but I do it because I hate the way I look if I don’t run (smiling).”

Asked about the absence of her hitting partner Sascha Bajin:
I keep forgetting to tweet about it. He’s away on injury reserve right now. He texts me almost every day. Like, I wish I were better. What are you doing? Who is there? I’m like, Gosh, leave me alone already. He sends me videos. Yeah, he’s super bummed out. We all are, so…
Yeah, he just got injured. There’s been a lot of stories on how he hurt himself. I’m not sure which one I should tell today. I jumped on his back and broke it (laughter).

I’m working with Jonathan now, forgot his last name. We started together in Florida so I could get used to him, kind of get used to each other. So that has been good.

Asked about her first round opponent:
I don’t know who I play. I never look at the draw. I guess her name is Alison. I always try to keep really focused, yeah.
Well, on a first round, no one wants to lose. So I think a lot of the top players, that’s when they’re looked at the most. People are like, What are you doing? What are they doing? What’s new? Especially at the Australian Open, it’s the very first one of the year. Did they do anything different in the off-season? That’s when the pressure is on, cameras are on, everyone is looking. For me, I get really nervous every single match, especially first-round matches, so…

Q. For Alison (Van Uytvanck), it’s the first main draw here at the Australian Open. What do you remember from your first main draw here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was my first main draw and my first Grand Slam, was Australia. I just remember I knew I wanted to win. I wanted to keep doing well. I had to play Venus in the second round. I remember that was a real bummer for me.

Q. We’ve seen Lindsay Davenport and Martina Navratilova, great women champions, now coaching. What is your point of view on that? Would you ever consider bringing in a coach like them?
The only thing I know is I never say never. I never thought I would play this long. So who knows? Anything is possible. Any and everything is possible. I’m a big fan of Martina and especially Lindsay. I think it would be really good to see them on the tour, bringing their expertise and their knowledge back to tennis.
On attempting to win Australian Open title No. 6:
It would be really great. I’ve been going for number six for a number of years now. It would be really special for me. I would be really happy. I want it I think more than anyone else here. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to get it, so I’ll have to fight hard to get it.

Dimitrov waves

Grigor Dimitrov

You’ve been asked a lot about the changing of the guard. But does it feel this season with Nishikori, yourself and Raonic, you’re getting closer to the big guys? Or after your defeat against Roger last week, do you feel the gap is still a little bit there?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah, I mean, I’m not going to lie. It was a tough match that I lost last week. Definitely didn’t perform the way I wanted to. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m discouraged to keep trying and keep believing that any of us is going to make it through, so to speak. I think that’s pretty much it. But the other hand, the year just began. We have already the Australian Open, the first major. Anything can happen out here. It’s a good way to start the year. Hopefully everything goes in a positive note.

Have you set some specific goals for your game for the start of the season? Have you worked on something specific?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: I’ve worked a lot in the off-season. There’s nothing specific that I would like to say because obviously now I’ve had a pretty good 2014. Obviously we knew what was working for us and knew what we needed to focus on. That’s the one thing that we felt that was good. In the same time I’ve put a lot of work in the off-season on and off the court. I think that’s pretty much it. I never wanted to put too many tasks on my paper to say, Okay, in the off-season I need to work on this and that. Just the more you simplify it, the better it is, when you know what’s working for you.

 How important was your performance here last year?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: It was a major thing for me. Definitely gives you a lot of confidence. Gives you like a boost. Next time you come to any other tournament, you felt that you started on a good note. At the same time that confidence gives you, how do you say, to come and play every match better, feel that you can perform on a high level, beat better players. Eventually when I had to come up against better guys, I was able to win, and win quite a few tournaments. I think all that is a good factor. At the same time let’s not forget about the big picture.

Did you replay that tough loss to Rafa much?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: It took me awhile to get over it, especially having a set point in that third set, missing that shot by just like a few inches. Of course it’s something not to forget, but at the same time I think I took it really positive. I took that loss as a win even though it wasn’t the case. It gave me a good start. Eventually I think I was performing at a high level throughout the whole season. I think I finished it on a good note.

Halep fh

Simona Halep

Q. How were you feeling after having to withdraw from Sydney?
I’m feeling good now. I’m almost now like hundred percent recovered. I have two days. I slept very well. I ate very well. So I feel prepared to start this tournament. But still I have time, two days more, to feel like hundred percent.

Q. How different was your off-season? You changed coaches. Was there something you wanted to work on?
SIMONA HALEP: Just improve in my game more and more. I did in my serve very well in the off-season, and as well in my forehand. I’m moving better than last year. I’m working hard every day. I changed because I just wanted to change something, and I did. I think was a great idea for myself. Always I took my decisions and work very well. I think very good decision I had in the past.

Q. You made huge strides since a year ago. What surprised you most about your season, how successful you were?
SIMONA HALEP: I’m not surprised that I had big results last year because two years ago I just started to win some titles. I had more experience than before. I was improving a lot I think in my game. I’m much stronger now than before. My game is complete now, I think. I believe in my game. I think I was a little bit, I can say, surprised with the finals in French Open because I didn’t expect that I can play finals after just one quarterfinals in Grand Slam. But, you know, I had nothing to lose there. Was my favorite tournament, because I won in juniors, and I feel very well there. I was trying everything on court. Everything went in the right way at that tournament. I felt very well. Sometimes is very good to be close to your home because more people can come to watch you and can support you. So was a perfect tournament for me. That’s why I think I played the final. Then I had in Singapore the second big result. I played well, as well, there. I cannot say that I was surprised, but still I was very happy in the end of the year that I did few big results.

Q. After such a great year, do you feel more pressure coming into this year?
SIMONA HALEP: No. It’s better than last year. I can say now I feel no pressure. I have just to play my game during the matches and to see how good I can be, how many results I can do, how many matches I can win. So my goal is again to go to Singapore and to win matches with top players. Just I have no pressure.

Q. Do you feel this year’s Australian Open feels more wide open, like many different players could win?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I can say that all the players from here have a chance to do this. I was thinking a few days ago that even if I am third in the rankings, I have my chance, but is not like I have to be in the semifinals or in the finals. Everyone from top 20 I can say has their own chance to win this title. You saw Pliskova, last week she played very well. Kvitova as well. Everyone can win this title. The tournament is open I think for everyone.

Murray UnderArmour

Andy Murray

Q. Slightly different circumstances to last year coming in here. Talk about how the preparation has gone, how you’re feeling coming into Melbourne.
Yeah, I mean, obviously last year was tough because I prepared fairly well, but mentally it’s quite tough sort of going into your first slam and playing long five-set matches. You don’t necessarily know how your body’s going to respond, so mentally you’re kind of worrying a bit and you’d be apprehensive. That’s not the case this year, which is good. And, yeah, my preparation and training over in Miami and then in Dubai went very well. Practice this week’s been good. So, yeah, looking forward to getting started.

Q. Who do you see as your biggest threat in this tournament?
Well, I mean, there’s a lot of top players here. I mean, obviously Stan’s the defending champion, will be confident with that. A new experience, as well. It will be interesting to see how he handles that. But he’s obviously finished the end of last year with the Davis Cup and winning Chennai last week. So I’m sure he’ll be confident. And then, yeah, all of the obvious suspects, same names. Then if you add some of the younger guys that have been coming through the last year or so, you know, with Nishikori, Dimitrov, Raonic, these guys. Also you don’t know, a lot of guys can make big improvements in the off-season if they have five or six weeks’ training to work on things and get physically stronger. So it will be an interesting tournament. The Australian Open normally throws up a few surprises. It will be fun to watch.

Q. Is it easy to get used to the changes that have happened in your team during the off-season, being without Danny? Is it feeling weird for you or…
ANDY MURRAY: No, it hasn’t been weird. It’s been, in my opinion, positive. When things aren’t working well, there’s not a positive atmosphere, it’s not good for anybody. So when that changes and everyone’s working together, that makes things better. So the last two months for me so far have been very, very good.

Yeah, well, obviously very tough draw. Very difficult draw. It’s very hard to comment on it. If you have to play all of those players, obviously it’s going to be extremely difficult to come through that. I’m aware of that. That’s fine. But, yeah, often in these events, you know, there is upsets. And then, yeah, you just have to wait and see who you’re playing in each round because it doesn’t always work out as simply as that. You know, I’m sure Rafa just now, if you said to him, Give me a semifinal spot, he’d be very happy with that coming off a tough injury. But, yeah, it will be interesting to see how it goes. But definitely with the names you mentioned, it’s very challenging.

Q. What do you think of the young Aussie talent?
Yeah, a lot of very good young men. I don’t know on the women’s side. I haven’t seen as much of the young women. But I know on the men’s side, it’s very, very strong. There’s obviously Kyrgios and Kokkinakis, guys like Jordan Thompson, very good as well. They have a bunch of guys ranked between 100 and 200 in the world. Also the guy that Kyle Edmund played today I think is also pretty young from Australia, too. Yeah, they have a lot of talent, a lot of potential. I think the Aussies are going to have a good time the next 10 or so years watching all of them play.

Lleyton Hewitt

How do you rate your chances heading in, I suppose?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I just take it one match at a time obviously. Just try and focus on my first-round opponent, what I need to do to try to get through that match. Played him a couple times before in Davis Cup over five sets, so at least I’m well-prepared for what to expect out there. Obviously just try and get my body as close to 100% by Tuesday. Hopefully go out there and execute what I need to do.

 

Being a competitor, do you go into this thinking you have a genuine chance to win? Is that dream still alive?

LLEYTON HEWITT: When you start the tournament, that dream’s still there for everyone, the 128 of us that are in the draw. Nothing changes in that aspect. Over the years I think I pride myself on not looking too far ahead anyway. Even when I was No. 1 in the world, I always played every match on its merits, gave the utmost respect to my opponents, who I had to play. I’ve said it so many times: it’s a matter of trying to get through the first week of a Grand Slam. Doesn’t matter how you do it, but you have to try to find a way of getting through that, put yourself in a position in the second week. Yeah, anything can happen in Grand Slams. Over five sets, obviously, guys can get injured. There’s a lot of ups and downs over two weeks.

What do you think of the other young Aussie chances? Pretty good talent coming through.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, obviously Nick has a pretty good section of the draw I think that he’s in. Bernie is in a pretty good section, as well. Bernie has been playing well the last couple weeks. Obviously took someone like Nishikori to play extremely well – he’s a quality player – to beat him in Brisbane. Gilles Muller, 6-6, could have gone either way in Sydney in that match he lost. Obviously Nick would have liked some more matches under his belt coming in. If he can get his teeth into the tournament, I don’t think that’s a big worry for Nick. Thanasi has a tougher first round against Gulbis. He’s got a fighting chance in it, though, for sure Thanasi has improved a lot over the last year.

Is this the most excited you’ve been in your time of the youngsters coming through?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I guess it’s probably a few more in a group coming through than I’ve ever seen in my time. Probably happened a bit before I actually started. You had the guys, the Woodies, Stolz, Philippoussis, Rafter, Fromberg, so many guys coming through at that stage. For a while, I guess I was the only one and we didn’t have a lot of juniors, we sort of struggled to make that transition from really good junior players in the Grand Slams to making it onto the senior tour.

 

 Andy Murray was saying he thinks the tournament is wide open. There’s a lot of talk that the top four are more challenged than previous years. Do you feel that’s the case?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Possibly. It’s still hard. Obviously Andy Murray is not in the top four in the rankings at the moment. I think guys still see him as one of those big threats as the top four anyway. Obviously there’s Raonic, Dimitrov coming up, putting pressure on. Nishikori. Cilic won a Grand Slam now. These kind of guys. I still think the core is going to be those top three or four guys. Over five sets, it’s still extremely tough to beat two or three of those guys back-to-back at the end of these tournaments.

Petra Kvitova

You must be delighted with your preparations coming into the Australian Open with the win in Sydney?

PETRA KVITOVA: Yeah, for sure. I’m very glad how everything went. I’m glad to have a title in the beginning of this new year. Yeah, I’m glad that I have matches under my belt and I can be well-prepared for the Melbourne which is starting pretty soon and I’m excited.

How did your winter go? Anything you looked at or worked on? Are you feeling good about your game in general?

PETRA KVITOVA: I’m very happy that I have a new fitness coach and physiotherapist in the same person. It’s Alex. I’m just really glad that he’s part of my team. It’s something really special. I know that he’s experienced so well. He knew exactly what we have to do, so that’s great. I’m just glad that we did everything what we could in the off-season to prepare myself for the new season. I tried to be a little bit quicker, fitter, to be in the shots on the time. Normal routine, practicing, practicing, practicing.

Who do you see as the biggest threats in this tournament?

PETRA KVITOVA: I think it’s a lot of great players playing. I know Maria won Brisbane. Serena is always one of the favorites. Simona played really well in Shenzhen. It’s a lot of great players who really can play the best tennis here.

What were you most pleased with in Shenzhen and Sydney with your game?

PETRA KVITOVA: I think that my serve was work very well. I think it was one of the keys of the matches which I played. So that’s really nice because we work on that every day probably. I think that my fitness improved, as well, so I’m just glad for it. I just need to be used to everything what I did, show it on the court with the typical shots and with the rallies.

Having lost first round here, does that make you come back to this tournament thinking it’s exciting that you have no points to defend or remembering what happened last year and being worried about that?

PETRA KVITOVA: I would like to forget about the last year. Unfortunately it’s impossible. On the other side I know I can do only better. So that’s the good thing. I’m excited to play, of course. It’s a Grand Slam. It’s what I love to play. I just will do everything what I can to be just better than the last year because it was very disappointing. It wasn’t really nice time for me. So just will do everything what I can.

What do you like most about the Australian Open?

PETRA KVITOVA: I like the people here. I mean, it’s just beautiful to see the friendly faces, the smile. I mean, the weather, of course, when it’s not really hot, hot, that’s nice. The crowd is always amazing. I love hard courts, as well. So I’m just glad that everything is very nice here.

Anything different in the hard courts between here and the US Open?

PETRA KVITOVA: I think so. I never played well in the US Open, so I think that’s a little bit slower over there than here. Of course, the weather is different. There is more humid than here, what is better for me as well.

 Li Na said she thinks you’re the woman to beat this tournament. What do you say to that and how do you feel about that?

PETRA KVITOVA: It’s nice of her, of course. I don’t feel really favorite of the tournament. I’m just come here and try to be focusing on the match after match if it’s possible, of course. I think it’s a lot of great players, how I said. I don’t think really it’s like one big, big favorite of the tournament. So we’ll see.

 

 

 

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Serena Williams Loses in Hopman Cup

Serena Williams

(January 6, 2015) Just a day after an espresso perked her up to come back to win, Serena Williams lost 6-2, 6-1 to Eugenie Bouchard of Canada on Tuesday at Hopman Cup, a mixed team exhibition event in Perth. Team Canada clinched the match against team USA when John Isner lost his singles match to Vasek Pospisil 6-3, 7-6 (4) in the men’s singles.

“Miracle Coffee” Lifts Serena Williams at Hopman Cup

“Maybe she needed another coffee,” said Bouchard, who notched her first-ever win against the world No. 1 Williams. “I know she didn’t play her best. I’m happy I just stayed with it and held my nerve. It’s a good way to start the year….gives me some confidence.”

“It’s weird,” said Williams. “I can’t get my body to move. I feel like I’ve got no energy.

“It’s a little frustrating because I know I can play 2,000 times better.

“I’ve just got to get my feet moving. I have to figure it out.”

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“Miracle Coffee” Lifts Serena Williams at Hopman Cup

(January 5, 2015) Sluggish and apparently jetlagged, Serena Williams needed a coffee break after dropping the first set 6-0 to Flavia Pennetta at Hopman Cup on Monday.

“I am a coffee drinker. I didn’t have mine this morning and I was just feeling it, so I just had to get some coffee into me,” said the world No. 1.

“I just asked them to get me a shot of espresso. I asked them if it was legal, because I’ve never done it before.

“I needed to wake up – it’s just the jetlag. It gets you all the time.”

The coffee did the trick. Williams rebounded and went on to win the match 0-6, 6-3, 6-0.

“It’s miracle coffee,” Williams said jokingly after the match.

“I wanted coffee with my bagel and whatever coffee it was, it was really good.”

Team USA won the face-off against Italy 3-0 with John Isner beating Fabio Fognini 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (4) in men’s singles and Williams and Isner finished with a win in mixed doubles.

Next up for Team USA will be Team Canada.

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Safarova Leads Czechs to Victory in Hopman Cup Opener

Safarova

(January 4, 2015) Team Czech Republic defeated Canada 2-1 on day one of Hopman Cup on Sunday in Perth. Lucie Safarova lead the charge for the Czechs with a 6-0, 6-4 win over No. 7 in the world Eugenie Bouchard and later combined with Adam Pavlasek to win the mixed doubles.

“It’s the best way I could imagine and I started really strong and was pressuring her from the first point,” the 16th ranked Safarova told media.

Serena Williams and John Isner representing team USA will play their first match against Italy on Monday. Andy Murray, fresh off his Abu Dhabi exhibition tournament win, will lead Great Britain against France.

“If anything it’s going to help me for Melbourne,” Williams said of the 106 degree Fahrenheit temperature in the forecast for her Monday matches. “Perth is one of the hottest places I’ve ever played, so it will be really good for the preparation in Melbourne, which is always super-hot.”

 

Hopman Cup

Day 1 – Final results

Czech Republic d Canada 2-1

Lucie Safarova (CZE) d Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 6-0 6-4

Vasek Pospisil (CAN) d Adam Pavlasek (CZE) 7-6(5) 6-2

Lucie Safarova / Adam Pavlasek (CZE) d Eugenie Bouchard / Vasek Pospisil (CAN) 6-4 6-2

 

Poland d Australia 3-0

Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d Casey Dellacqua (AUS) 6-2 6-3

Jerzy Janowicz (POL) d Matt Ebden (AUS) 3-6 7-5 6-0

Agnieszka Radwanska / Jerzy Janowicz (POL) d Casey Dellacqua / Ben Mitchell (AUS) 8-6

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Tennis Channel Begins 2015 Hopman Cup Coverage January 4

Hopman_Cup

Serena Williams and John Isner to Represent United States in Mixed-Doubles Tournament

(December 30, 2014) LOS ANGELES, – Tennis Channel will bring viewers exclusive tournament coverage from the 2015 Hyundai Hopman Cup beginning Sunday, Jan. 4, at 8 p.m. ET. Serena Williams, World No. 1, will partner with top-ranked American man John Isner in the annual mixed-doubles tournament. The network’s telecast will include action from around the world as well as U.S. competitions. All Hopman Cup matches, which feature teams consisting of one man and one woman, will take place at the Perth Arena in Australia, Jan. 4-Jan. 10.

 

The United States leads all nations in Hopman Cup titles, claiming its sixth crown in 2011; when Isner played for the team. This year he won titles at Auckland and Atlanta, and helped the U.S. Davis Cup team beat Slovakia 5-0 in September. Williams captured her 18th Grand Slam singles title at this year’s US Open and has won four Olympic gold medals, including one in singles and three in doubles with her sister Venus. She also holds 13 Grand Slam doubles titles and two mixed doubles titles. Williams has contributed to two American Hopman Cup championships during her career.

 

Tennis Channel’s 2015 Hopman Cup coverage begins with Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard and Vasek Pospisil, who will face the Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova and Adam Pavlasek. Bouchard, World No. 7, made Canadian tennis history this year at Wimbledon when she defeated World No. 3 Simona Halep to become the nation’s first women’s singles finalist. In 2014, the Czech Republic’s Safarova advanced to her first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon before falling to fellow Czech and Fed Cup teammate Petra Kvitova.

 

Coverage from Perth, Australia (all times ET):

Sunday, Jan. 4:

8 p.m. – Canada v. Czech Republic

 

Monday, Jan. 5:

8 p.m. – Italy v. USA

 

Tuesday, Jan. 6:

8 p.m. – Canada v. USA

 

Sunday, Jan. 11:

10 a.m. – Championship

 

The Americans will take on Italy’s Flavia Pennetta and Fabio Fognini. Pennetta, World No. 12, reached to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and US Open in 2014 and won her 10th WTA title at Indian Wells. In doubles, Pennetta and partner Martina Hingis made it to the finals at the US Open before falling to Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina. Italy’s top-ranked male player, Fognini reached a career-high ranking this year of World No. 13, and won his third ATP title at Vina del Mar, while also advancing to the finals at Buenos Aires and Munich.

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