August 30, 2015

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.

 

 

 

Start of Player Photo

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.

 

 

Share

Notes and Quotes from Day 3 of the 2015 Australian Open

 

Nadal fingers

(January 21, 2015) A few of the more off-beat questions and answers from Day 3 news conferences at the Australian Open.

 

Lots has been made about some of the hairstyles of the guys on tour. Have you noticed any of those on court?

TOMAS BERDYCH: Actually, no. I mean, there has been talk that I’m not going to play in the cap anymore. But in the conditions like that I just have to. It’s important to keep yourself fresh and just try to go through the heat and the sun and not playing with your hair. Let’s leave it for the football players.

 

For the soccer players?

TOMAS BERDYCH: Yeah, soccer players.

 

Congratulations on your engagement, even if it’s old.

TOMAS BERDYCH: Thank you.

 

Can I ask how you popped the question, proposed?

TOMAS BERDYCH: Well, it was simple, as you normally do. We had a good time. It was in holidays after the season. Actually, it was funny. I had some plan how to do it, but like three days we get pretty bad weather, so it’s almost impossible to do that. Then it was nice, and they help us to make a nice setup. It was like after the dinner on the beach.

 

Obviously this is a big step for you in your personal life. A guy like Novak has had big changes in his life, too. How important is it for you to maintain that balance, having the strong personal lives off the court? How much does that help you on the court?

TOMAS BERDYCH: Well, I think both things goes quite well together. I feel good about it to have a good personal life, and then combine it with my tennis life as well. Because I know that whatever is happening in tennis or around my career, and then I can come back home or wherever I am, I can talk with my partner about basically everything. We can talk about the other things, which is great, that I can just completely switch off from the tennis. That’s basically the best way how you can relax. Like everybody is asking, What do you do for relax? You don’t have to go anywhere or do any special things. It’s just that you don’t have to think about again, forehand, backhand and stuff like that. So you just talk about different stuff. That’s the best thing. Then once you step back on the tennis side, then you are absolutely focus for whatever you do. That’s it. So for me, I think it’s a great combination.

 

Does your fiancee have any input on your outfits?

TOMAS BERDYCH: No, no, no. Honestly, no, because the designer team is quite big and strong and they are already coming up with the ideas. Basically the whole line or the whole year is already almost preset, so I already knew what’s going to be going on through the whole year. Well, it’s going to be interesting. There is going to be — or even me and my input is just like slightly. It’s good about small details and most likely how is the fit and fabric and stuff like that. That’s how it works so far.

 

It was hot out there today. Think you were the only person without any head gear on. Does the heat bother you at all?

RICHARD GASQUET: Yeah, it was hot on the court, but the Aussie fan was nice with me, so it was a great atmosphere on the court. So even if it was hot, the court is great. So it was a lot of fun to play today on the court.

 

 

You talked about how coming back feels like a second career. Do you feel after today you’re making the most of this chance?

VIKTOR TROICKI: Trying to. I would use any chance that I get. I’m enjoying playing tennis and having fun on the court. I missed it a lot and that gives me a lot of joy on the court and a lot of motivation. Trying to use any chance, any match, any tournament. It’s going well. (Smiling.)

 

You obviously had some good wins since you came back. Was today, because it’s in a slam, was that the best win you’ve had so far?

VIKTOR TROICKI: No, I wouldn’t say. It was a good win. Definitely Leonardo played great. He improved a lot. But I think I had better wins than this. This one was important since it was a Grand Slam and I had a long run. Yeah, it was a good win, but not the best.

 

Can you describe coming back last fall, playing qualifiers again, playing challengers, how tough that was? Was it humbling?

VIKTOR TROICKI: It was different. Very different. Playing small challengers, starting from the quallies, it was — it gave me some memories back when I was starting actually. I knew I’ve done it once, so why not do it again? I had a lot of support from everyone close to me, and my coaches were with me. I wanted to give my best and to get back to the top as soon as I could. I think I did a good job with that, so I’m pleased with that.

 

Did you ever question during the time away if you would come back or if you could return?

VIKTOR TROICKI: I never was thinking about quitting, but after I had some time off and I didn’t play tennis, I started missing it. Yeah, I started practicing hard, harder than ever before probably. I had some doubts, of course. I didn’t know how it was going to go and if I will come back. In the practice it looked good, playing against the good guys and everything. But in the matches, not having a match for a year, it was kind of — didn’t know how to feel. That first match in Gstaad gave me a lot of confidence. I’m thankful to the tournament of Gstaad where they gave me a wildcard to play in the main draw and beating Dominic Thiem first match after a year gave me a lot of confidence for my comeback. Also, I won my next match, so reached quarters in the first tournament, and that was — I knew I could get back fast, and that gave me a lot of confidence.

 

Who were you practicing with in the year you were out?

VIKTOR TROICKI: In the start, as I said, I didn’t practice at all. But afterwards, Novak probably the most. I traveled to some places where he was playing the tournaments. Obviously I could not play during the tournament on site, but before the tournament I was using any chance that I could to play with anyone. Also in Monte-Carlo where I spend most of the time because I live there. There’s a lot of players there, so I used any chance. Also back home in Belgrade when I was there, there is obviously a lot of young players. For me, since I couldn’t attend any — since I couldn’t be at any site, at any event, it was hard to get good players. But any chance that I could get, you know, I used it. That gave me a good practice. So I used any chances.

 

You’ve had some time to reflect on what happened. Do you still have any resentment about the way your case was handled?

VIKTOR TROICKI: You know what? Sometimes I see it in newspapers and some headlines it says that I refused to give a blood test. I never refused. That’s what hurts me. I want everyone to know that I never refused anything. I just asked for permission and I was allowed by the doctor that day not to give a blood test. I gave urine and I have blood test the next day. It hurts me. I know that I’m innocent and I didn’t do anything wrong. That hurts me obviously. And I’m being punished for following the wrong instructions. The instructions that I was given were wrong. That hurts me. I’m paying a penalty for someone else’s bad instruction, but it was my fault that I didn’t do it that day. At the end, I’m a player who needs to obey the rules. She was giving me instructions, wrong instructions, and she was not punished at all. So that’s what hurts me. I’m over it. I mean, that’s in the past. Trying to focus for the future. But it will always be a mark and I will always remember it as a bad memory.

 

One more question about the past. When you said you didn’t practice at all at first after the ban, why was that?

VIKTOR TROICKI: Because I had fun.

 

Okay. It wasn’t because you thought you might not come back?

VIKTOR TROICKI: No, no. It wasn’t that. Well, I started doing some things that I couldn’t do before while I was playing tournaments all the time. I just wanted to enjoy a bit. I skied a lot. I was month and a half spending on the mountain skiing. I was hanging out with my friends, family, traveling to some places. Novak was nice taking me to some places. Then I just had fun. I didn’t want to play tennis in the start because it was just a lot of negative thoughts. I just want to relax and enjoy. I never thought of giving up. It even made me more angrier and gave me more motivation to get back even better than I was. To all my team, actually. That’s why I was working even harder and better than ever. That work is paying off now.

 

The skiing and traveling wasn’t more fun than playing tennis?

VIKTOR TROICKI: Well, I needed some time off. Let’s put it that way, after when it happened. But after some time not doing something that you love, that ever since you are a kid I dreamed about playing tennis and professionally, and my goal was to play big stadium, big tournament, playing against the top guys, being a top guy. When you are forbidden to do something that you love, you start missing it a lot. You want to get back and be there again and be even better and prove to the world that you can be there again. That’s what was pushing me. Gave me a lot of motivation to get back.

 

You painted the lines there in that game that you saved a couple of match points. You were gutting it out. Can you tell us about your thought process.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I thought my thought process through the match to that point was pretty negative. I think I was dwelling too much on my mistakes, what I was doing wrong, not really being in the present, something that I’m really usually good at. At that point when you’re behind and you feel like you’re making a lot of errors, you don’t feel like you have a good rhythm out there, I just really tried to take it a point at a time, think positively, and change my thought process a little bit. When other things aren’t working, maybe the mental side of things will help you out. I think in the end maybe that’s what did.

 

You then had a service game where you easily held after having some trouble with that. Was that because you continued with that positive frame of mind?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, unlike the previous 30 service games, I actually served smart and did the right thing, I thought. I wasn’t trying to go for a line, for big first serve, when I didn’t have a good rhythm. They were good serves, but they weren’t over 180 kilometers. They were good placement serves, out of reach. Yeah, not too many rallies in that game.

 

Why do you think your mindset maybe drifted off track from where you’re usually able to keep something unusual happening that you thought led it astray?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I thought I did everything I needed to to have a good, solid first set. I was up 30-Love on the first service game, new balls, a few sloppy errors, all of a sudden your opponent gets a bit more confidence and thinks she has a chance to win. All of a sudden she’s out of the tournament. Then in her mind, Well, wait, I’m not out yet. Little by little it’s a combination of, you know, you kind of going the wrong direction and her starting to play, you know, quite well.

 

Did you know anything about her before the match?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, not too much actually, no.

 

You do a fair amount of fist pumping when you play. Is that sort of an important part of getting you mentally in the game, just a part of your process? What is that?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t know how to answer, What is that? It’s something that I’ve done since I was quite young. I think I’ve always been a very intense and aggressive player. Yeah, I actually don’t think I did that as much as I maybe usually do. I think I was a bit more subtle about things today.

 

When you saved the two match points, did you sense that Alexandra lost the belief that she could win it?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I was down two breaks in the third. I mean, the only belief I had was just try to get into the rallies. She served some really good games out there where I didn’t have much chances. When I did, I thought I could put a little more thought into her mind, get those first serves back. I think that was really important. You know, I think she became a little bit more tentative in that last game. Of course, based on experience, you lift yourself up both mentally and physically.

 

Going forward in the tournament, what are the positives that can come out of surviving a scare like that?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Just the fact that you did pull through and that you’re giving yourself a chance to keep going. You know, as I say, you never know how you’re going to feel until you go out on the court and compete and play. No matter how you prepare, what you did, once you get out there, everything starts from scratch. It was a tough day, but I pulled through. I guess at this point that’s what matters. Certainly gives me a lot amount of confidence that I didn’t play my best tennis and was able to come through. Sometimes that’s good.

 

You’re one of the toughest mental players in the game. What do you think the key is to your mental toughness and fighting spirit? Where does that come from?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, I don’t know, but I like winning more than I like losing. I’m sure that goes for many people. But, you know, no matter how things go within a match, that’s why I said I didn’t feel that I was positive enough, even though I was making a few more errors than I would have liked. And I wasn’t making enough first serves. But I was thinking about it too much instead of just like being in the present, saying, Hey, go up to the line; do what you do; do what you’ve done thousands of times. I’m good at that and I’ll continue to be good at that. But some days are just a little off. Today was one of them.

 

There’s been a change in one of the ITF rules about players who can play for Fed Cup or Davis Cup. Now a player can only play for one country. For example, if for any reason you wanted to play for the United States, you can’t because you represented Russia before. What’s your opinion on that kind of rule? Do you think players should be able to play for whatever country they want to?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I haven’t heard of that rule. I’m not sure. I don’t have any plans of playing for another country at this point. I’m very happy playing for Russia, as I have for my whole career. That’s the way I see the rest of my career going.

 

What goes through your mind when your back is against the wall?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it’s not the easiest position to be in because you feel like things are just kind of getting out of your control. Usually I’m a type of player that is aggressive, the one that’s doing something out there, not really waiting for another person’s mistake. You know, until the very end I still try to dictate’, I still try to find my way. But, yeah, your back is against the wall, I guess.

 

You play either Diyas or Schmiedlova next. Neither of those are probably well-known to you. What are your thoughts about having a first week of unfamiliar faces?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I guess that’s the way the draw shaped up. I have faced players I haven’t played in a long time, or like today someone I haven’t played before either of the girls coming up in my next match. It’s always tricky. No doubt about that. It’s unusual after being on the tour for many years. Yet there are always girls coming up that are rising, doing well. Diyas is a top-32 seed now with some of her results last year. Don’t know too much about the other girl. Depending on that result – I’m sure my coach is out there watching a bit – we’ll talk a little bit. But I don’t think the focus is really on the other side. I think especially after today’s match, I really just want to focus on what I have to do.

 

Do you ever watch things yourself, pull up YouTube?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, we usually do a little bit of that, especially if I’m unfamiliar with a girl I’m facing against, or sometimes a few highlights of matches I’ve played against players. I don’t watch too much. But, yeah, it’s nice to have. YouTube is a good source.

 

Do you ever watch your own videos?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I really dislike doing that. I’m not a fan. But it’s quite educational, at least that’s what the coaches tell me. But, yeah, it’s good once in a while. It’s nice to see something from a different perspective because, I’m quite a stubborn individual. You see something from your own eyes on the court, but sometimes your coach, or this little camera on top shows you a different picture. It’s nice to see that painting because sometimes it comes out completely different.

 

Why don’t you like watching yourself?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t know. Sometimes I just feel like I have better things to do.

 

Who do you think is dressing the best on court this year?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I quite like my outfit, so…

 

But others?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I haven’t seen all the outfits yet. Maybe I’ll check on Getty, yeah.

 

 

You’ve been playing quite well in the exhibition matches recently, but how much more satisfaction do you get from putting together a match like that here at a Grand Slam?

ANDY MURRAY: Well, it depends. I mean, some exhibition events are different to others. You know, a lot of the events I played at the beginning of the year — everyone’s wanting to get matches at this stage. You don’t want to come in having not sort of played competitive matches. Yeah, I felt like the players I played in Abu Dhabi and at the Hopman Cup. Everyone wants to win those matches. They’re not sort of gimme matches. I felt like I was playing well coming in. I feel like I started the tournament pretty well. First round was tricky. I didn’t know my opponent well. Today was better.

 

There’s been a lot of talk about ITF rule changes regarding Davis Cup participation; getting stricter about one player being able to play for one country in their career. Do you think someone like Bedene should be able to play for Britain when he becomes a citizen?

ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know. It’s not really my area. Yeah, I mean, I heard they changed the rules a little bit and that you can only play for one nation.

 

As it is now, if you ever played for anybody, that’s it.

ANDY MURRAY: That’s it, yeah, which I think is fine. But I believe he had all of his paperwork and stuff in before the rule change, so I’m not sure exactly what’s happening with his situation. But, yeah, that’s not really my area to say what’s right and wrong, though.

 

Do you think you’ve proven a point today, you and Amelie, given Marinko’s comments?

ANDY MURRAY: No. I get on well with Marinko. I spoke to him a little bit about what he said. He didn’t mean any harm. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion on anything. If he wants to get coached by a man, that’s absolutely fine. I have absolutely no issue with it at all. I still think he’s a good guy. I get on well with him. I wasn’t trying to prove a point at all when I was playing Marinko today. I was trying to win the match.

 

You’re a guy that likes to watch a lot of other sports and has opinions on other sports. I wonder if our cricketers would envy you with a 10-nil victory ratio against Australians. Where does all that come from?

ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know, to be honest. That’s not loads. Obviously, I played loads against like French players, a lot more than that. But, yeah, I don’t know exactly why. I think, like I said on the court, there’s obviously going to be a lot more challenging matches I think over the next few years when all the young guys keep improving and are getting better. So, yeah, I’ll struggle to keep on to a perfect record against Aussies, I would say, in the coming years. But, yeah, I have played well against them in the past.

 

Do you watch cricket, the Ashes?

ANDY MURRAY: I do from time to time. I obviously can’t watch the whole tests. But, yeah, I watch bits and pieces when it’s on. But normally, yeah, I’m training. It’s one of those things. I don’t know if anyone here sits and watches like the whole five days or not. You kind of see bits and pieces.

 

Is part of the thrill of being in Australia being two weeks ahead on what’s happening on Neighbours?

ANDY MURRAY: I’ve never watched Neighbours in my life, here or back home (smiling).

Q. Were you surprised about the first set of Bolelli, who never won a set versus you? Are you also surprised he never beat a top-10 player in 33 matches, and now 34?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I thought he played two really good sets against me in Davis Cup, so I felt like he was really, you know, imposing his strength at the baseline. I could sense there that he had a good forehand; committed, you know, on the return; solid backhand with the option to hit the slice. I wasn’t that surprised, to be honest, you know. I was just surprised how well, how consistently he was doing that, and especially how well he was serving actually. But then again, conditions were fast, which made it easier to serve well and harder to return. Maybe the break, I shouldn’t be broken, but he was really playing very well from the baseline. I guess in these conditions sometimes a break can be a set. That’s when I was under pressure for a while in the second set, but I’m happy I fought my way out of it.

 

Q. How is your finger and how is the blister?

ROGER FEDERER: I don’t know if it’s a blister. I don’t know what that thing is. It’s the weirdest thing. I don’t know. I feel it on the tip of my finger. Just felt really odd starting after the break, and for three, four games, it was the funniest feeling I have. I feel like it’s numb and swollen. So, I don’t know, I just wanted to have a chat with the…

 

Q. When you touched it, it was weird?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I don’t know what it was. I still don’t know. I just wanted to have a chat with the — what is his name — the physio just see what we can do. I know there is nothing we could do. I knew we couldn’t tape it up because then it would be even bigger and more weird. I just said, I hope it doesn’t get worse or stay like this. Actually it went away, but now I feel again. I don’t know what the feeling is.

 

Q. Might be a bee sting, you were saying?

ROGER FEDERER: I was thinking it could be that.

 

Q. Physio didn’t know what it was?

ROGER FEDERER: No. You can’t see anything (laughter). But it is definitely swollen and it’s funny. I don’t know what it is. As long as it’s not getting bad, it’s okay.

 

Q. You didn’t like the cameraman when he came too close. You said, Do you need to come that close?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, the guy is like in my ear. No I don’t like it because I think there’s a bit of privacy. In that space I’m just discussing the options of what we can do, and you feel like the guy is sneaking up on you. It’s not the best feeling, yeah. So I asked him if he needed to be that close. He clearly didn’t, because he backed off (smiling).

 

Russia has become one of the main organizers of sports events. It’s also a country that’s involved in all sorts of political problems. Do you think professional athletes should go to any country a federation sends them to, or do they have a personal responsibility playing in countries that are involved in war or human rights violations?

ROGER FEDERER: I don’t know. I mean, in tennis we can do whatever, I guess. It’s up to us where we want to go. We don’t get sent by the federation or anybody. It’s our call if you want to do it or not. Then whatever your beliefs are, it’s going to get you there or not.

 

Have you ever considered boycotting an event for political reasons?

ROGER FEDERER: I’ve never been in a position like this, to be honest.

 

You haven’t played in Russia since 2002. Is that a coincidence?

ROGER FEDERER: It’s not a coincidence. It’s just because it didn’t fit in my schedule.

 

Can I ask you a question about age?

ROGER FEDERER: I’d love to talk about that (laughter).

 

Do we lay too much emphasis on it? Do you feel like you’re the same guy in the same body as you were a couple years ago, or do you actually feel you have to adjust a little bit because you are no longer the youngest?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, I feel fine. I don’t feel any different to let’s say four years ago. I really don’t. You maybe pay attention a bit more and listen to the signs of your body a bit more. By now I know my body even better. Clearly as the years go by I guess you also want to try out new things. But that’s not really necessarily always down to age. It’s simple just to say, Okay, you did that because such and such. But actually it was just to make it different, make it fresh, make it new, try something else. That may be whatever the decision it was, but clearly you have to listen to your body. I think the mind also becomes important. How badly do you want to be out there? How badly do you want to play and win? Why are you still doing it? Are you doing it for the right reasons? I think that becomes, in my opinion, more important than the whole body talk that everybody puts emphasis on.

 

I know you’re a fan of a lot of sports. What do you think of rugby? Who would you be supporting in this year’s Rugby World Cup?

ROGER FEDERER: I’ll be supporting South Africa, of course. Yeah, I honestly don’t see it very often. I don’t know why. I don’t know where we are in the world when it’s happening, why I keep missing it. I was talking to somebody, maybe some — I don’t remember. But I see cricket frequently. When we go to the States and we follow the American sports over there. In Europe it’s more of the football, soccer, all that. With rugby, for some reason I don’t see it enough. But I’ll be supporting South Africa.

Do you choose to, on your days off, attend some of these sports? While in America, do you go see the L.A. Kings?

ROGER FEDERER: I’ve been to the Heat and the Lakers. Never been to a cricket game or a rugby game. Never been in Formula One. When we’re in town or they’re in town, there’s no other event happening. It’s the same for us. Yeah, I mean, Moto GP I’ve gone to see. There’s clearly many things I would like to do. I went to an Arsenal game during the World Tour Finals now. That was good fun. I try to, but it’s not always that simple, you know.

 

What are your thoughts on how Mandela used the South Africa rugby team to change the course of history in South Africa?

ROGER FEDERER: I think it’s wonderful how he brought the country together. It was a big, big moment in sports for everybody, more so for the people in South Africa. It was an amazing moment.

 

With Li Na not playing this year, do you feel more attention, more people watching you back home in China?

PENG SHUAI: I didn’t really watch this because the tennis now in China for sure is more popular than before because more tournament, more player on the tour. I think she make two Grand Slam, and also before like start from 17, 18, first with the Olympic go, then get more and more the good result in China. And also, you know, like the marketing, more popular, more tournament in China. For sure is more people watch tennis now. Yeah.

 

Do you think it’s important for Chinese players to continue to do well in order for the sport to get bigger in China?

PENG SHUAI: I think tennis is really good sport and also good for, how you say, like also be professional and to play, have fun. Because young kids or old people, they all can play and then they have fun. If more people watch, play for sure have a lot more player. I think everybody is want to improve, get better result. Is not only like a girl, for sure. Maybe future have a boy. I think everybody ask, are looking for this. And then, yeah, I wish I can get more better, but I don’t know, yeah.

 

 

Q. Would you mind talking about what men’s rivalry has been sort of the most impressionable on you, whether it’s coming up or now, in men’s tennis?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: Whew, I don’t know. Personally for me, I haven’t felt that there’s a rivalry at the moment to play against one player over and over again. I mean, obviously, so to speak, the younger generation, the younger guys are really pushing through and winning rounds. If you can call that a rivalry, maybe that’s the way it is. But, you know, so far in a way it’s early in the tournament to say that. In general, the year just began. Let it unfold a little bit before we jump into any conclusion.

 

Q. What about for you when you were younger? Were you a tennis fan growing up when you were a kid?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: Well, I’m not that young anymore if you think about it, but definitely growing up of course I had idols. I’ve looked up to a lot of players, following their success, their path. But I think now all that is behind me. I’m doing my own personality in my own way. So I think that’s good.

 

Q. Within yourself, do you think you’re ready to win a slam or do you think you might have a little ways to go?GRIGOR DIMITROV: If you ask me, of course I’d say yes. But that’s something that I definitely need to show I think throughout all the matches and be even more consistent. If I’m ready? Yeah, I think I’m ready. But before you get to the final or something like that, you need to go through quite a few players that are the top right now and playing their greatest tennis. I think the game has evolved so much in the past years that instead of getting easier, it’s getting harder. I think you have a lot of guys, they have more experience, they’re older, they’re fitter. You have that on the radar. But in the same time, you know, I’ve worked throughout my career so far to position myself in those kind of matches. I’m out there to win those ones, so I think I’m aiming higher.

 

Q. Maria scored an incredible come-from-behind win today. Can I ask you what makes her so tough?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: I think days like that defines who you are. It’s simple.

 

Q. And the definition of Maria is just…

GRIGOR DIMITROV: Well, I think I should be the last person to sort of judge that, but I think you can’t name one thing in particular with her. I think she’s been fighting throughout all those years, through everything that is in her way, jumped all the hurdles and all the obstacles. By far the greatest fighter ever.

 

 

 

How much did the crowd help you in the tough moments?

NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, I thought the crowd was massive today. They got behind me a lot at some really key moments. They got a bit carried away with some things. That’s going to happen. It was a lot of fun as well. I was interacting with the crowd. At stages they were telling me where he was going to serve. They obviously think it’s pretty easy out there. No, it was a lot of fun.

 

The atmosphere on Rod Laver compared to a show court is a lot different. Do you have a preference either way?

NICK KYRGIOS: No, I don’t mind. I guess when you play on a show court you know it’s going to get a bit more rowdy, a bit more out of control I think. I’ve never actually played on Rod apart from my junior final against Thanasi. The crowd was pretty empty for that. Yeah, I’ve never experienced that, so I can’t give you that answer.

 

Do you feel the crowd is giving the Australian players an advantage?

NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, they’re getting behind us. I think it’s tough right now when you have Groth versus Kokkinakis, who to go for. But, yeah, I think they’re helping the Aussies a lot.

 

Did you put in a request for a show court or…

NICK KYRGIOS: No, I didn’t put a request for any court. I just saw I was on Show Court 3. It’s a good court. I’m not going to complain. It’s a Grand Slam. Yeah, it was a really good court.

 

What do we take from your hair? What does it tell us about your personality? Tell us a little bit about your eyebrow, too.

NICK KYRGIOS: I don’t know. I guess it’s just youth. You know, you’re not going to see Roger or Novak doing things like this. I don’t know. Just doing it.

 

It’s a bit of fun for you, too?

NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, I guess. I got sort of known for having some lines in my hair at some stage last year. It’s my last Grand Slam as a teenager. I don’t think I’ll be doing this stuff when I’m 20.

 

Are you someone who looks ahead in the draw?

NICK KYRGIOS: Not usually, but it’s hard when social media these days when guys are saying, Kyrgios, Federer fourth round when the draw just came out. It’s hard not to look ahead, but I think especially for me, this tournament I wasn’t looking too far ahead. I knew that I had a big task ahead of me with Delbonis. I’m really happy that I’m getting through.

 

Any thoughts on that potential matchup?

NICK KYRGIOS: Not at this stage, no.

 

How much does it do for your confidence, beating a player that you regard so highly?

NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, I’m feeling really confident now, especially I played a good clay-courter first round. I thought he played really well. Obviously physically backing up after five sets as well, I can take massive confidence out of that. Ivo today, I thought he had the best year of his life last year. He got to top 20 at some stage. He’s 25 now. He’s playing some good tennis. With that serve, he can obviously beat a lot of players. I think he beat Djokovic a couple weeks ago. I knew he was going to be tough. That gives me massive confidence.

 

How much attention do you pay to what’s going on in the media?

NICK KYRGIOS: A lot. It’s hard to not read that stuff. I mean, there should be a lot of expectation on Australians playing their home Grand Slam. We all know there’s a lot of expectation on us. It’s fair enough. We should be performing at Grand Slams. Yeah, I’m just happy I got through.

 

Was there one rivalry when you were younger growing up that you really watched that you liked to watch as a fan, I guess?

NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, I mean, it’s hard to go past Federer and Nadal. I mean, they haven’t played each other in a long time, but every time they were in the same section or anything like that, they’re definitely thinking about it. I think it’s the greatest rivalry of all time. That’s the generation I was watching when I was a kid. I mean, I still am a kid. It’s happened pretty quick.

 

As you get older, do you think your bravado and showmanship on court…

NICK KYRGIOS: Are you asking me if I’m going to mature?

 

Pat Rafter said you were still a bit too emotional on court.

NICK KYRGIOS: Uhm, geez, I don’t know. I don’t know what to say to that. He has his own opinion, I guess.

 

 

During the warmup Genie’s Army was going crazy. You had a big smile on your face. How much enjoyment do you get from them being present?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: It’s really fun. I think they brought a lot of energy tonight. I think they played well. They were aggressive, showed their presence at good moments. It just makes it more fun. I think the rest of the crowd appreciates it as well. They kind of laugh and get into it. During the warmup they were also playing the Taylor Swift song Shake It Off. That’s why I was smiling. I almost wanted to sing, but I told myself not to.

 

Did you follow Sharapova at all today? A chance you might see her down the road. Did you see it was pretty tight?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I didn’t. I mean, I know like what happened, but I was like warming up and doing my things. But, yeah, I mean, that’s far off in the future. So I just have a match on Friday and that’s all I’m concerned about.

 

Does the surprise you someone 25 years old, 150, can hold two match points against Sharapova? Does that surprise you?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: No. We’re at a Grand Slam. Every player can perform well. It’s just if they bring their game on that day and maybe someone else is not play as well that day. I mean, there are a lot of good players out there. This stuff happens all the time. Doesn’t surprise me.

 

Sleeping until 1:00 p.m., can I ask how many hours of sleep that was?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: That was like between 12 and 13 hours of sleep.

 

This may be the first time in your professional career that you are going to face a player whose coach has coached you and may know you better than other coaches. If you were Nathalie Tauziat, what would you tell Caroline Garcia about you?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I don’t think I’m going to answer that. She’s amazing; you’re going to get killed. No, I’m kidding. Yeah, that’s true. I worked with Nathalie a little bit. I guess that’s how the tennis world is. It’s a small world. Kind of musical chairs in terms of coaching. I’m sure it won’t be the last time in my career. Yeah, but it won’t really bother me. I’m not playing against the coach, I’m playing against the player. I’m not going to worry about it. I’m still friendly with Nathalie, so it’s all good.

 

Last week there was a story that the Hong Kong Tennis Association were fined by the WTA because of what happened in Hong Kong. The reason was they felt they damaged your reputation. Did you feel the incident damaged your reputation?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I don’t think so. You know, I didn’t make any mistake in any way. I never entered the tournament, so I can’t withdraw from a tournament if I’ve never entered it. It’s just unfortunate what happened, but I think the WTA is good in terms of they want to protect their players, protect their own image. I think what they did is fine.

 

You seemed to have a little trouble with the twirl.

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: With the what?

 

Twirl.

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: It was very unexpected. I mean, yeah, I don’t know. An old guy asking you to twirl, it was funny.

 

I guess Serena did it.

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Well, Serena is good at her twirls. She does them all the time.

 

Serena was telling us this year, it’s the year of the back in terms of dresses. Are you going to get on that bandwagon?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Maybe I should. I mean, she must know like what’s coming up in fashion and stuff. Maybe I should cut a hole in my top tonight and show off my back like Serena.

 

You said after your first-round match you didn’t know a whole lot about Tim. How much did you learn in the last couple days? Were you surprised by the way he played in the end?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I saw him play some videos. I checked some videos. Well, I think he played well, but is true that what he did at the end of the fifth is just amazing. Congratulate. I say on the court, but I want to say here, too. Very few players can do that after four hours something of match, 5-All, Love-30. So just will say thanks to him because he’s a great example what he did today.

 

What was your reaction? Were you surprised?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, sure. At the end should not be surprising, but is surprise. That’s not positive thing. But is good. Is great. Is very difficult to make it and he did, so just congratulate.

 

After the third set, what was happening in your mind and body? Did you feel at this moment that you can still turn this around?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, no. I felt very tired. I felt, I don’t know. At the end of the first set, I start to feel my body very bad, very tired. I don’t know. I was worrying crazy. Then when I was serving for the third, almost throw up. So was terrible feeling, no? I suffered too much on court for three hours and a half. I was suffering a lot. Too much. You know, was not funny today the way that the match was. Obviously is a very positive thing that finally have the chance to win, but, yeah, I hope to recover myself.

 

Any explanation of what went wrong?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I don’t know yet. I just go out. But is true that the weather was different today than the last couple of weeks. Very humid. I am sweating a lot always when it’s humid. But, I don’t know, long time without competition, with tough conditions, but at the end happened something more. Is obvious, no? I practiced a lot. Should not be that tired after 40 minutes. That’s obvious, no? Something happened, and I feel lucky to have the chance to finish the match, and then to find a way to win. So very positive for me. As I say the other day, all the moments I spend on court are important. Is not positive be like this, but in general you know important to win these kind of matches. That’s give me the possibility to play again, and I going to try to make better the next day.

 

The suffering that you had on the court today, is that one of the toughest wins you’ve ever pulled off?

RAFAEL NADAL: In terms of feeling bad on the court, yes. Probably yes. I was close to not continue because I felt that I was very dizzy. I felt that I can lose little bit the – I don’t know how to say – can fall down. So is true that after the third, fourth, and fifth, I tried to play much more aggressive, without running, no running anymore, and try to go for the winners and play little bit better, play little bit more relax. In terms of physically, at the end of the match I started to felt little bit better.

 

What do you feel about your ability to dig down and come through? Do you think that is a talent that you have?

RAFAEL NADAL: All during my career is obvious that I was able to find solutions for tough moments. I was able to win matches where I was in trouble. Sure, is an ability, but you know I worked very hard during all my career to resist, to try to be strong mentally. Is obvious that all the practices when I was a kid, all the moments that I suffered, helps.

 

If someone at the final of the challenger in Napa said, Don’t worry, in a few months you’ll be the attention of world media in a fabulous Australian Open match against one of the great players of our era, what would you say?

TIM SMYCZEK: I probably wasn’t really thinking about that at the time. The challengers are great for honing your game and really getting some work done. That’s the way I treat them. So, you know, it’s kind of just like an added bonus coming here and playing well. That was really special tonight. It was pretty clear Rafa didn’t have his best stuff. But it just shows the kind of player, the kind of champion he is because, you know, he was sick and not playing well. That was his C or D game. He found a way to win. So hats off to him. That’s why he’s one of the best.

 

You’re proud of your performance? Talk about your performance.

TIM SMYCZEK: Yeah, I mean, very happy with the way I played. I had a good game plan going in. The most important thing I thought was for me to try and stay within myself. I thought I did a pretty good job of that. I didn’t really struggle with nerves too much just because I got nothing to lose. Very happy with the way I served. I was happy that I was able to go for four hours and still feel okay. But, yeah, very happy.

 

At the end you feel a little bit disappointed because at the end you didn’t win?

TIM SMYCZEK: Yeah, I thought I had him for a minute. When he was kind of doubled over I could see he was really hurting. I started to believe that I really, you know, had a chance and could get it done. But he turned it up to another gear. That’s why he’s been one of the best for years and years.

 

Have you ever played a better match? Is that the best level of tennis you’ve hit so far?

TIM SMYCZEK: I think that’s the longest I’ve sustained a level like that. I think throughout my career I’ve had flashes like that. But that’s definitely one of the positives I’ll take from it, you know, being able to sustain that for four and eight/ninths of a set.

 

What was your game plan going in?

TIM SMYCZEK: I kind of studied him. He’s maybe the one that I’ve studied the least out of the top guys just because he does so many things that I’m not capable of. But that being said, I have spent a lot of time watching him. We were going to try and just try and keep him from hitting forehands in his backhand corner because it’s lethal from there. Trying to pin him in his forehand corner, then when I had a chance, to really be forceful with a ball to his backhand.

 

Talk about what happened at 6-5 in the fifth when the spectator shouted. Rafa was serving. You indicated he should take another serve.

TIM SMYCZEK: I couldn’t make out what he said. I don’t know if the guy didn’t know he was tossing the ball or not, but it clearly bothered him. You know, I thought it was the right thing to do.

 

Where is your next match going to be?

TIM SMYCZEK: I’m entered in the Maui challenger next week. I think I might pull out of that one unfortunately. Need a couple days off after that. But assuming I’m healthy and everything, I’ll start up at the Dallas challenger.

 

What I was getting at with the question is you come off 15,000 spectators, several million around the world, and your next will be somewhat fewer. Where is the motivation going to come from?

TIM SMYCZEK: Like I said earlier, the challengers really serve a very specific purpose. It will be on me to go in there and really take care of business, you know, try and pick up points and work on my ranking. So, yeah, it’s definitely not going to be the same as playing a night session on Rod Laver. It’s just part of the deal with being ranked 100 in the world. You’ve got to do it.

 

If you had to point to something, what is the most remarkable point of Nadal’s game?

TIM SMYCZEK: Just his competitiveness. I mean, he was playing terrible. I have to be careful what I say. He was not playing well and he still found a way to just come back and hit another gear that he could tap into. It’s hard to argue with how good his forehand is. It will probably go down as the best lefty forehand of all time.

 

At the point he doubled over, you were up two sets to one. Even when you were racking upsets you weren’t thinking you might do it?

TIM SMYCZEK: Like I said going into the match, I wouldn’t have walked out on the court if I didn’t think I had a prayer. But there was a certain point in the match where I started to really, you know, think it was going to happen.

 

Talk about Rafa’s competitiveness. Is that something as a player that you feel on the other side of the net?

TIM SMYCZEK: At one point, I think it was in the fourth set, I had a service game where he didn’t really move for any of my serves, and I hit a couple aces. I think that kind of struck me as odd. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him do that. So I think just, you know, the fact that I was so surprised with him not making moves for balls just goes to show — he’s been on the tour for 10, 11 years, whatever it is. But you almost never see him take a point off. So that was kind of one of the biggest challenges going into the match. I knew there wasn’t going to be a lot free. That puts a lot of pressure on a lot of guys.

 

Did you have any difficulty with the spacing of the court, how big behind the baseline is? Did that ever throw you off?

TIM SMYCZEK: I loved it. It gave me a little room to run. It was a little bit odd. I hit on Laver yesterday. I was flagging balls into the stand. It was a little bit of an adjustment. By the time the match rolled around, I was fine.

 

Do you have Polish roots?

TIM SMYCZEK: I do. I don’t speak Polish, though. Sorry.

Share