2014/08/22

Venus Williams Advances at Wimbledon: Talks ESPN Body Issue and Hunger to Win

 

(June 23, 2014) WMBLEDON – Venus Williams posted a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor of Spain on the first day of Wimbledon. For the five-time champion it was her first singles match win at Wimbledon since 2011. Williams lost in the first round in 2012 and missed 2013 due to a back injury.

The 30th seed said it was great to be back at Wimbledon after a missing last year.

“I think my opponent played amazing.  She just was playing so well, going for everything.  So it was definitely a challenge today against someone who is just playing such inspired tennis.

“It’s definitely a nice start.”

Williams closed out the match winning the last five games.

Williams will be one of the tennis players featured in ESPN the Magazine’s Body Issue. She was asked about the shoot.

“I just kept cracking jokes and that definitely made it fun,” she said.  “It was interesting, though.

“I think I’m in better shape now.  Hope we can do a reshoot,” she said with a big smile.

So what made her take part in this, “I think I did it because Serena did it, so…  I don’t know,” Venus said with a roar of laughter in the room.  “I think she was a big influence on me.”

On court after her win, Venus talked about the need to stay hungry.“I’m not looking for anyone to believe in me or anything like that.  You have to believe in yourself these days.”

“I have nothing to prove, nothing to hide, nothing to lose,” she continued. “So for me it’s about continually playing better and getting back up every single time when things might not go my way.  It’s not going to go the way of 127 people in this draw.  It’s going to go the way of one person.  So you just keep going.”

In the second round for Williams will be 41st-ranked Kurumi Nara of Japan.

 

Karen Pestaina at Wimbledon

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Quotes of the Day from the Pre-Wimbledon News Conferences

Serena in press 3

(June 21, 2014) WIMBLEDON – Players met the media on Saturday for pre-Wimbledon news conferences, days ahead of the The Championships, 2014.

 

Who says I was over it (smiling)?

-No. 1 seed Serena Williams  asked about how long it took for her to get over her stunning second round loss at the French Open to Garbine Muguruza.

 

-Simona Halep on her new found fame in her homeland of Romania

It was amazing feeling when I arrived home, because they stopped the plane just on the red carpet at the airport and everybody was waiting for me, about 300 fans.  I went to them and I said hello, many things there.  They ask me many things.

Yeah, was incredible.  For me was the best moment of my life.  Was incredible.  I will never forget that moment.

 

The big change is that everybody knows me now and a lot of people are speaking about me and are watching me.  In Romania all the press, every day they are watching me.  I don’t know why.

It’s a little bit difficult, but I want just to stay very far of this and just to keep focus my mental for the tennis.  I just want to think about tennis now and nothing else.

 

On looking at her ranking years ago:

A few years ago I was looking at the rankings on Internet, and I saw I was fourth page.  I said my dream is to be on first page.

So now I am there, and I am really happy.  I cannot be sad that I lose some matches.  I want just to enjoy this moment and to try to improve more in my game and to be maybe second or first.

 

Roger Federer on his second round loss at Wimbledon last year:

That was done a week after Wimbledon.  After that, I didn’t need to think about it a whole lot anymore.  It was just one of the big goals I set for myself.  I failed.  Back to work.  Get yourself in shape.

Rafael Nadal on Wimbledon:

I say before:  Is really the most dangerous tournament of the year.  When I arrive to Roland Garros I already played for one month on clay.  I played a lot of matches.  So more or less I can imagine how I am going to play.

 

 

 

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Serena and Venus Williams Upset at French Open

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

(May 28, 2014) For the first time since Wimbledon 2011, Serena and Venus Williams have been beaten in a major on the same day. At Roland Garros on Wednesday in the second round, defending champion Serena Williams was upset by world No. 35 Garbine Muguruza from Spain 6-2, 6-2, while 29th seed Venus Williams fell to Anna Schmiedlova of Slovakia 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Serena’s 64 minute loss marks her worst defeat at a major, winning only four games total. It’s also only the third time the 17-time major champion has lost before the third round of a major.

Coming into Paris, Muguruza, never had a top 5 win.

“It was one of those days. You can’t be on every day, and, gosh, I hate to be off during a Grand Slam,” Serena told media. “It happens, you know. It’s not the end of the world. It is what it is.”

“I was focused,” Muguruza said. “I knew what I had to do.”

“I have actually never seen her play like this,” Williams said. “Hopefully she can keep it up.”

“I haven’t gotten past the fourth round of a Grand Slam this year,” Serena continued. “I have a couple words to describe it, but I think that would be really inappropriate so I’m going to leave it at that.”

Venus Williams let a set and a break lead slip to the 19-year-old Schmiedlova. This is the eighth time in her last nine major tournaments played that sthe 29th seed has not won more than one match.

Had both sisters won, they would have been facing each other in the third round.

With second seed Li Na’s elimination on Tuesday, it marks the first time in the Open Era of tennis that the top two women’s seeds have been eliminated before the third round.

 

More to follow.

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“Kimye” and Mrs. Doubtfire in Notes and Quotes for Day 1 of the French Open

 

(May 25, 2014) Taking a quick look at some of the off-beat stories on Day 1 at Roland Garros.

Serena – Friend of Kimye

Serena Williams, a friend of reality television celebrity Kim Kardashian and recording artist Kanye West participated in in the pre-wedding celebration of the newly married couple.

Serena said, “went to a few of the festivities” in France including “dinner in Versailles and stuff,” which led up to the “Kimye” wedding.

“Always fun with Kim,” Serena said about the festivities.

The nuptials took place in a fortress in Florence, Italy on Saturday.

 

 

Tomas Berdych and his Hawaiian Shirt

World No. 6 Tomas Berdych is sporting an H&M floral shirt this fortnight in Paris. It rather resembles a Hawaiian shirt. When asked about it in press, Berdych said, “Everyone wears the same and everyone looks the same. So this is something different, which I like.”

Agnieszka Radwanska and Mrs. Doubtfire Separated-at-birth?

Radwanka won the first match at Roland Garros on Sunday, but her outfit garnered mixed reviews. Her floral dress drew comparisons to an outfit worn by Robin Williams in the movie ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’.

 

Hat tip to Matt Fitzgerald.  

“Selfie” of the Day

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Serena and Venus Williams Open with Straight Set Wins in Paris

 

 

(May 25, 2014) Defending champion Serena Williams and her older sister, No. 29 Venus, opened Roland Garros on Sunday with straight sets wins with possibility of a third-round meeting.

Despite the 6-2, 6-1 score over her opponent, friend and training partner at the Mouratoglou Academy in Paris, Alize Lim, Serena played an error-filled match against the wild card entrant from France ranked 130 in the world and the match was much closed than the score indicated. For Lim, she was making her debut at a major.
“In the beginning, a lot of the games went to 30-all, so I think we were pretty even,” Serena said in press. “It was an interesting start. I was a little nervous, like I always am in my first round. It’s kind of always hard for me to shake those nerves and go from there.

“I think it’s nice to have a little bit of nerves, because it means that you still have a passion for it. You still have this inside feeling that you want to do really well or else the nerves wouldn’t be there.”

The 32-year-old 17-time major champion is now 54-1 in first-round matches at majors. He only loss coming at the 2012 French Open to 11th ranked Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano.

Sister Venus Williams started off slowly but gathered herself to defeat 17-year-old Swiss Belinda Bencic 6-4, 6-1. The year Venus turned pro was two-and-a-half years before Bencic was born.

“I’m just trying to hopefully stay alive myself as an older player,” Venus said.

“It’s definitely good to get the first round out of the way and try to get some rhythm,” said the soon-to-be 34-year-old.  “I think I have started on Sunday before. In any case, we’re all ready to be called on Sunday and maybe this year it’s an opportunity, because I think the weather is not as good tomorrow. I was happy to play without any interruptions.”

Venus gave credit to Bencic who is the No. 1 junior player. “She’s played well,” Venus said. “I think she’s improved a lot since we played the first time, and she’s a great competitor.”

“She’s played well. I think she’s improved a lot since we played the first time, and she’s a great competitor.” – See more at: http://www.tennisnow.com/News/Venus-Bests-Bencic-in-Roland-Garros-Opening-Round.aspx#sthash.k3AIkVQ0.dpuf
bviously I have to give some credit to her, as well,” Williams said about Bencic’s efforts. “She’s played well. I think she’s improved a lot since we played the first time, and she’s a great competitor.” – See more at: http://www.tennisnow.com/News/Venus-Bests-Bencic-in-Roland-Garros-Opening-Round.aspx#sthash.k3AIkVQ0.dpuf
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Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams Capture Rome Titles

 

 

(May 18, 2014) Novak Djokovic stretched his win streak over No. 1 Rafael Nadal to four in a row when he came back to beat the seven-time Rome champion 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 to claim his third Italian Open on Sunday. Top women’s tennis player Serena Williams beat an injured Sara Errani in front of her home crowd 6-3, 6-0 to win her third Italian Open championship.

For No. 2 Djokovic who sat out last week’s Madrid Open due to a wrist injury, the Serbian had more than tennis on his mind during his battle with Nadal as dozens have died in the Balkans due to severe floods.

The 26-year-old, who drew a heart on the court in the clay with his racquet after his win, dedicated his victory to flood-hit Serbia.

“This heart on the court is for you,” Djokovic said on court. “It’s also a special dedication to my country, which is suffering a lot right now. My heart is with them.”

For Nadal who was pushed to three sets in all but one of his matches this week in Rome, he said: “It was a difficult week. Too many hours on the court.”

“I felt that Novak was pushing me and has a great talent to play inside the lines. I think this week is important for me. I have won 600 points. I was able to play in another final here. I was able to compete well against one of the best players of the moment. I arrive to Roland Garros now more encouraged that what I did a few weeks ago.”

The Spaniard hit 27 errors with only 15 winners against Djokovic. For the first time, 8-time Nadal enters Roland Garros, which begins next Sunday, with three losses on clay this season and just one European clay court title (Madrid). Nadal is 59-1 at the French Open.Djokovic is seeking his first French Open title. He was a finalist in 2012.

“It’s been a great week considering where I’ve been a few weeks ago with the wrist injury,” Djokovic said. Luckily for me, I played with no pain and increased the level of tennis as the week went on. I’ve had some tough matches. Four out of five matches were three-setters and I had to come back from one set down yesterday against Raonic and today again. That gives me a lot of confidence. Winning against Rafa in the final of a big tournament on clay, his preferred surface, is definitely a confidence booster.”

Djokovic takes home his 19th ATP Masters Series title.

Serena Williams Jumped out to a 3-0 lead and with a 5-3 lead, Errani sustained a left thigh injury and had to go off the court to get treatment. After Errani came back on the court, it was obvious that her movement was hampered. Williams who has been dealing a through injury herself last week when she pulled out of Madrid, reeled off the next 7 games for the title.

Speaking to the Rome crowd in Italian, Williams said, “I’m also sorry for Sara today. She really played great all week.”

“I’m sorry. You were unbelievable all week,” said Errani to the fans during the trophy presentation. “I tried to do my best and stayed on the court only for you.”

“It’s crazy for me that I got to the final this year,” Errani said through tears. “I never expected to manage to play such good tennis.”

“Sara played really well in the first set,” Williams added. “She was doing everything right and I could tell she had obviously improved since our last meeting in Paris last year,” Williams continued. It was unfortunate she got injured in the last game of the set, but overall I thought she was playing really well out there.”

For Williams it was her 60 title of the 32-year-old American veteran’s career. She now ranks 6th overall behind Martina Navratilova holds the record with 167 singles titles.

“My game gets better with age,” Williams said.

Williams will be going after her third French Open title when the Tournament begins next Sunday.

 

INTERNAZIONALI BNL D’ITALIA
Rome, Italy
May 12-18, 2014
Red Clay/Outdoors

Results – Sunday, May 18, 2014
WTA Singles – Final
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (10) Sara Errani (ITA) 63 60

WTA Doubles – Final
(4) Peschke/Srebotnik (CZE/SLO) d. (2) Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) 40 ret. (Errani: left hip muscle strain)

ATP Singles – Final
[2] N Djokovic (SRB) d [1] R Nadal (ESP) 46 63 63

ATP Doubles – Final

[6] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) d R Haase (NED) / F Lopez (ESP) 64 76(2)

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Serena Williams Pulls Out of Madrid Open

 

Serena in press 3

(May 9, 2014) Two-time defending Madrid Open champion Serena Williams has withdrawn from the tourney with a left thigh injury. All week the world No. 1 has had her thigh heavily taped. With her withdrawal, Petra Kvitova advances to the semifinals.

“I have a left thigh injury and, unfortunately, have to withdraw from this year’s Mutua Madrid Open,” Williams said in a statement. “It happened during my first round match. It started to get better, but most importantly right now, I just need some time to rest and recover. It’s beyond words. It’s so frustrating. We couldn’t ask for a better tournament and I love it here in Madrid. I love being a champion here. Manolo Santana and his team put on a great tournament. This is not the way I wanted this week to end.”

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Venus Williams Battles Back, While Sloane Stephens Falls in Charleston

Venus celebrates

(April 2, 2014) A day after the upset of her sister Serena, Venus Williams had to battle back in both sets of her 7-5, 7-5 win over Chanelle Scheepers to move into the third round of the Family Circle Cup in Charleston on Wednesday.

No. 28 Venus Williams who said that she is ill on Tuesday, said that she’s dealing with it.

“I’m still dealing with the bug, but my goal is just to hang in there until it hopefully goes away and then I can just continue to play my way into the tournament and play stronger,” she said to media “But it’s definitely a challenge.”

Venus Williams suffers from Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease.

No. 18 Sloane Stephens fell to teenager Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-4 earlier on Wednesday. For the Ukrainian who is ranked 35 in the world, it’s her fourth win over a top 20 player. The others include Svetlana Kuznetsova, Roberta Vinci and Eugenie Bouchard.

RESULTS – APRIL 02, 2014
Women’s
Singles – Second Round
[2] J Jankovic (SRB) d L Davis (USA) 60 63
[3] S Errani (ITA) d [Q] K Bertens (NED) 63 00 Retired
[4] S Lisicki (GER) d V King (USA) 75 46 63
E Svitolina (UKR) d [5] S Stephens (USA) 64 64
[11] V Williams (USA) d C Scheepers (RSA) 75 75
[12] D Hantuchova (SVK) d [Q] G Min (USA) 62 63
[13] E Vesnina (RUS) d P Cetkovska (CZE) 36 62 64
[14] A Petkovic (GER) d L Dominguez Lino (ESP) 60 60
S Peng (CHN) d [15] M Keys (USA) 61 67(3) 76(4)
A Tomljanovic (CRO) d [16] S Zhang (CHN) 46 76(4) 63
[Q] B Bencic (SUI) d M Erakovic (NZL) 62 61

Women’s
Doubles – First Round
[PR] H Chan (TPE) / Y Chan (TPE) d [2] K Peschke (CZE) / L Safarova (CZE) 64 64
[3] R Kops-Jones (USA) / A Spears (USA) d [Alt] J Gajdosova (AUS) / S Zheng (CHN) 63 36 11-9
A Medina Garrigues (ESP) / Y Shvedova (KAZ) d [WC] E Bouchard (CAN) / T Townsend (USA) 67(0) 63 10-7
A Kudryavtseva (RUS) / A Rodionova (AUS) d M Lucic-Baroni (CRO) / N Petrova (RUS) 62 26 10-3

ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, APRIL 03, 2014
BILLIE JEAN KING start 11:00 am
[3] S Errani (ITA) vs S Peng (CHN)

Not Before 1:00 pm
[6] E Bouchard (CAN) vs [11] V Williams (USA)
[14] A Petkovic (GER) vs [4] S Lisicki (GER)
A Tomljanovic (CRO) vs [2] J Jankovic (SRB)

Not Before 7:00 pm
[7] S Stosur (AUS) vs [9] L Safarova (CZE)
[WC] S Cirstea (ROU) / M Kirilenko (RUS) vs [PR] H Chan (TPE) / Y Chan (TPE)

ALTHEA GIBSON start 11:00 am
[12] D Hantuchova (SVK) vs T Pereira (BRA)
J Cepelova (SVK) vs [13] E Vesnina (RUS)
[Q] B Bencic (SUI) vs E Svitolina (UKR)
[1] S Hsieh (TPE) / S Peng (CHN) vs M Erakovic (NZL) / A Parra Santonja (ESP)
After Suitable Rest – [3] R Kops-Jones (USA) / A Spears (USA) vs [WC] J Jankovic (SRB) / A Petkovic (GER)

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Serena Williams Ousted in Charleston

Serena Williams

(April 1, 2014) Serena Williams, fresh from her Sony Open win on Saturday, fell in her opening match at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston on Tuesday night to world No. 78 Jana Cepelova 6-4, 6-4.

Serena told media after the match: “I’m really just dead. I need some weeks off where I don’t think about tennis and kind of regroup. I’ve had a long couple of years, and I’m really a little fatigued.”

I think Jana played really well for her today,” she said. “The good thing is I know I can play a lot better. So it’s always really positive for me.”

“It wasn’t my day. It wasn’t meant to be.”

Sister Venus Williams had to struggle, but made it past Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-3, 0-6, 7-5.

 

RESULTS – APRIL 01, 2014
Women’s
Singles – Second Round

J Cepelova (SVK) d [1] S Williams (USA) 64 64
[6] E Bouchard (CAN) d [Q] A Kudryavtseva (RUS) 62 60
[7] S Stosur (AUS) d Y Shvedova (KAZ) 63 57 61
T Pereira (BRA) d [8] S Cirstea (ROU) 36 63 76(0)
[9] L Safarova (CZE) d V Razzano (FRA) 26 64 64
First Round
[11] V Williams (USA) d B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 63 06 75
[12] D Hantuchova (SVK) d [WC] S Rogers (USA) 75 75
[13] E Vesnina (RUS) d A Schmiedlova (SVK) 62 61
[14] A Petkovic (GER) d [Q] L Tsurenko (UKR) 67(2) 64 61
[16] S Zhang (CHN) d S Hsieh (TPE) 36 76(5) 76(0)
S Peng (CHN) d C Garcia (FRA) 62 63
M Erakovic (NZL) d [WC] N Petrova (RUS) 46 63 64
L Dominguez Lino (ESP) d A Medina Garrigues (ESP) 63 62
V King (USA) d J Glushko (ISR) 46 75 63

Women’s
Doubles – First Round

[4] J Goerges (GER) / A Groenefeld (GER) d J Husarova (SVK) / V Lepchenko (USA) 62 67(3) 10-5
[WC] J Jankovic (SRB) / A Petkovic (GER) d L Huber (USA) / L Raymond (USA) 75 26 10-7
[WC] S Cirstea (ROU) / M Kirilenko (RUS) d A Rosolska (POL) / C Scheepers (RSA) 46 63 11-9

ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, APRIL 02, 2014
BILLIE JEAN KING start 10:00 am
E Svitolina (UKR) vs [5] S Stephens (USA)
V King (USA) vs [4] S Lisicki (GER)
[3] S Errani (ITA) vs [Q] K Bertens (NED)
C Scheepers (RSA) vs [11] V Williams (USA)

Not Before 7:00 pm
L Davis (USA) vs [2] J Jankovic (SRB)
[3] R Kops-Jones (USA) / A Spears (USA) vs [Alt] J Gajdosova (AUS) / S Zheng (CHN)

ALTHEA GIBSON start 10:00 am
P Cetkovska (CZE) vs [13] E Vesnina (RUS)
S Peng (CHN) vs [15] M Keys (USA)
[14] A Petkovic (GER) vs L Dominguez Lino (ESP)
[16] S Zhang (CHN) vs A Tomljanovic (CRO)
M Lucic-Baroni (CRO) / N Petrova (RUS) vs A Kudryavtseva (RUS) / A Rodionova (AUS)

COURT 3 start 11:00 am
[12] D Hantuchova (SVK) vs [Q] G Min (USA)

Not Before 12:30 pm
[Q] B Bencic (SUI) vs M Erakovic (NZL)
A Medina Garrigues (ESP) / Y Shvedova (KAZ) vs [WC] E Bouchard (CAN) / T Townsend (USA)
[PR] H Chan (TPE) / Y Chan (TPE) vs [2] K Peschke (CZE) / L Safarova (CZE)

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Serena Williams Wins A Record-Setting Seventh Miami Title at the Sony Open

By Kevin Ware

(March 29, 2014) MIAMI – Serena Williams won her seventh Sony Open title over Li Na in straight sets, 7-5, 6-1.

With this win, Williams becomes the winningest player in the tournament’s history. Competing in her ninth final, Williams’ seven titles now eclipses the six won by Andre Agassi. She has the most main draw match wins in tournament history (67), and joins Chris Evert, Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova as the fourth player in the Open Era to win the same tournament seven or more times.

None of this would have come to pass, however, if Williams hadn’t willed herself into yet another brilliant comeback after an error-filled start to the women’s final. In her semi against Maria Sharapova, Williams found herself in a deep hole, down 1-4. In her final against Li Na, the reigning Australian Open champion, she once again found herself behind the eight ball.

The statistics tell the story of Williams struggles, with a first-serve percentage at 42%, 3 double faults, and 21 unforced errors against only 15 winners. While it’s true that Li Na got off to a great start with her own game, Williams was her own worst enemy. And then, two breaks down and fighting to stay in the set at 2-5, Williams rediscovered her championship mettle.

Forehands that had previously found the bottom of the net were hitting their mark deep in the corners or on the back of the baseline, her “down the line” backhand became untouchable, and her serve became the weapon that we’ve all come to expect from World No. 1.

The rest is history. Williams went on to win 11 of the next 12 games, fighting off one set point at 4-5 before winning a closely-fought first set, and rolling through the second. It was a vintage performance from a player who seems to play her best when facing defeat.

When asked about this particular trend in her post-match news conference, Williams was quick to say, “I definitely don’t do it on purpose.”

“I think for the most part, I try to do the best I can, and sometimes, you know, things I’m doing don’t work out, but they are the right things and eventually they start to work.”

Li Na had her chances to close out the set, but was broken twice in the process. The second of those breaks, lasting 6 deuces, handed the first set to Williams. After relinquishing such a big lead, one might expect a certain amount of frustration or disappointment. But Li Na, who’s gained a newfound sense of calm since beginning her work with coach Carlos Rodriguez, was pragmatic about the lead that slipped away.

“I don’t have to see how was the score, because even the match didn’t finish yet.  Still everyone has a chance.” She went on to add, “I think this is tennis, because if I was play more aggressive, for sure she will going back a little bit.  If she play a little bit forward, I have to going back a little bit. So this is tennis.”

In spite of the loss, Li was happy with her game. “I mean, really nothing to say.  I don’t think today I was doing like a wrong game plan or I was play totally wrong. I think it was pretty good match.”

The second set was a cleaner affair for Williams. Though her first serve percentage remained low at 43%, she managed to win 90% of first serve points and 61% of second serve points. More importantly, she didn’t allow her serving woes to bring down the rest of her game as it has in past matches.

“I think now if my serve isn’t great, it’s okay because I have a great forehand, I have a great backhand, I have great speed.”

“You know, I have so many things that I want to have a backup plan, because today I only served at 40%.  I still have to figure out a way to win doing that.” Her backup plan was clearly more than enough to overcome on this day.

With 59 titles under her belt, and a slew WTA records, Williams could justifiably retire tomorrow as one of the all-time greats. I was curious to know just how this future Hall of Famer continues to challenge herself when there’s so little left to prove.

“I think I love the challenge, and I feel like if I feel like I can be the best right now, then why not continue to be the best and do the best that I can?”

Spoken like a true champion.

Kevin Ware is in Key Biscayne covering the Sony Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his live updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN.  Follow his personal twitter @SFTennisFreak.

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