July 1, 2016

On The Call with Venus Williams

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

(June 15, 2016) New York, NY – Venus Williams held a media conference call on Wednesday to discuss summer plans and her participation in the Bank of the West Classic tournament, part of the Emirates Airline U.S. Open Series. Also on the call were Vickie Gunnarsson, Tournament Director, Bank of the West Classic and J. Wayne Richmond, General Manager, Emirates Airline US Open Series.

UNITED STATES TENNIS ASSOCIATION MEDIA CONFERENCE

BRENDAN McINTYRE: Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining us today on the call. A special thank you to Venus Williams, who is joining us today after recently committing to play in the 2016 Bank of the West Classic, marking her 13th appearance in Stanford, which includes an impressive seven appearances in the singles final, capturing two titles.

The Bank of the West Classic, a WTA Tour event, will launch the Emirates Airline US Open Series again this year, beginning on July 18th.

I’d also like to welcome to the call Bank of the West Classic tournament director, Vickie Gunnarsson; and Emirates Airline US Open Series manager, J. Wayne Richmond.

At this time I’m going to turn it over to J. Wayne for a few remarks.

J. WAYNE RICHMOND: I’ll make this very brief.

As we kick off year 13, I wanted to thank the Bank of the West and the WTA Tour for doing this call with us, but more importantly Venus, to you, for taking the time to do this call. We know you have a lot on your schedule getting ready for Wimbledon.

It hit me this morning looking at this that, Venus, you were the very first final we ever broadcast in 2004 on the series from Stanford. It’s kind of a perfect fit to have you on this call. Thank you for being part of it.

I’ll turn it over to Vickie Gunnarsson from Bank of the West.

VICKIE GUNNARSSON: Hello, everybody. Great to have everyone on the call. We appreciate your support. Thanks to the media for attending. A special thank you to Venus for taking the time to participate.

We are excited to once again be the starting event of the Emirates Airline US Open Series. We have a great player field at the Bank of the West Classic this year, highlighted by Venus, of course, and Aga Radwanska. But overall 13 out of 20 players on our acceptance list have won at least one career WTA title, and many will represent their countries at the Olympics. We expect this year’s tournament to be highly competitive.

This is the 46th year of the tournament. But more importantly, this is Bank of the West’s 25th year as our title sponsor. They are an amazing partner and a great supporter of women’s tennis.

So thank you to everyone for participating on the call. Hopefully we’ll see you in Stanford.

BRENDAN McINTYRE: At this time we’ll open up the call for questions.

Q. Venus, I’m wondering if there’s any sort of additional challenge when it comes to figuring out the right way to schedule your summer during an Olympic year.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Additional challenges? Absolutely because the Olympics is such a highlight, but at the same time it’s important to play tournaments so you can continue with success on the tour.

Also for me it’s making sure I have a little bit of a break. This year I’ve been very successful. I will be starting out with Stanford, Bank of the West, then playing one more event, then heading off to Rio is my plan.

Q. Venus, I would like your comment on the young American players who are coming up, possibly their chances at Wimbledon. You and Serena are going to be clearly leading the American charge, but we have CoCo Vandeweghe who played some very good tennis lately, and Madison Keys. Are you encouraged by the fact there might be some young players, Sloane Stephens in the mix, too, to follow in your steps as a great Wimbledon player?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, absolutely. The surface at Wimbledon has changed a lot since I first started. It’s a lot more forgiving, so it gives a lot of players more opportunity to be able to adjust quicker to the grass. Hopefully we’ll be able to see that with the young Americans.

But they’ve been playing really well, especially this year. That’s great news for obviously the Olympic team and Fed Cup and all of the above. It’s pretty exciting prospects.

Q. Venus, you’ve gone through different ways of prepping for the Olympics. Back in 2004 you played some tournaments before. The last couple you’ve kind of gone in straight from Wimbledon. Talk about what it meant to play tournaments leading into the Olympics, and then did you feel like it has any effect not playing events before the last couple Olympics?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, it’s kind of hard to remember because it happens every four years. So I don’t really remember how I felt or what tournaments I played four years ago.

But I do know that, no matter what, at the Olympics you got to figure out a way to play your best, no matter what the circumstances, because it only happens every four years.

Thankfully for me, I have a lot of experience. That will help me out in the long run.

Q. Venus, since your diagnosis several years back, you’ve played a lot of tennis, and recently some very good tennis. Has it gotten a lot easier for you to manage it? Have you found some new ways to manage it? Is there a way that you can keep yourself healthy more easily than you were at first?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, of course the first couple years are really tough because there’s no road map. There’s no one who says, This is how you do it, this is how you manage it. It’s challenging.

But I’ve always wanted to rise to the challenge and the occasion. That’s not how I see it, as a disadvantage, but a challenge I’ve had to overcome.

I’m always looking for different ways that I can be at my best, whether it’s eating, resting, different training regimens, whatever it may be.

It’s definitely a constant search. I never give up.

Q. Venus, this part of the season, playing on the North American hard courts, what is your favorite thing about it? Also, as a player, what does it mean to have a series of tournaments like this package for you to play?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it’s great to play at home in front of the home crowd. That’s the highlight. Being at home, being able to just play in the U.S., and there’s not as many opportunities as there was when I first started to play in the U.S., so it’s become really special at this point. It really becomes the last opportunity to do so until March. I really cherish that.

I love hard courts. A lot of people think my favorite surface is grass, but actually I grew up on hard courts, so I prefer that. I feel right at home on it.

Q. Venus, can you talk about how important it is for you to have the series as a preparation for the US Open.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, absolutely. Coming in, of course, you want to come in strong, playing a lot of matches, hopefully winning titles. It gives you confidence going into such a big event as the US Open.

But even if you don’t win, you’re able to hone your game, work through mistakes or chinks in your armor.

Unfortunately, as much as you train, there’s always something to work on. It gives you the opportunity to figure out, What do I need to perfect at this moment in time?

Q. We saw your dress that you’re going to be wearing in Rio. I wanted to ask a little bit about that in terms of the inspiration. Aside from needing the red, white and blue, what else inspired you? Also, what tips do you have for the newbies going into the Olympics about trading pins?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, the dress, my dress at the Olympics is always inspired by Wonder Woman. Each and every Olympics it’s Wonder Woman as the inspiration. It never changes.

Second, trading pins, you know, it’s definitely about trading pins, but once you start trading pins, you find out it’s about meeting people. That experience of meeting somebody you’ll maybe never see again, but the connection you have with them, the joy you have from meeting them, that is the best part of it all. It’s an interesting byproduct that you don’t expect. Then you have your pins for memories when you look back to remember those times at the Olympics. That’s awesome as well.

Q. With the Wonder Woman inspiration, are you going to have gold wristbands or is that too much?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I should. I’ll probably do a special Olympic hair, though. Maybe I’ll come back with colored hair. I haven’t done that in a while.

BRENDAN McINTYRE: Thanks, everyone, again for getting on the call. A special thank you to Venus. We look forward to the start of the Emirates Airline US Open Series at the Bank of the West Classic starting on July 18th.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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

 

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

U.S. OPEN

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Serena Williams

Press Conference

S. WILLIAMS/V. Williams

6-2, 1-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Venus in Press

U.S. OPEN

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Venus Williams

Press Conference

S. WILLIAMS/V. Williams

6-2, 1-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe she’ll remember.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think that’s the best part.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Djokovic celebrates win-001

U.S. OPEN

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Novak Djokovic

Press Conference

N. DJOKOVIC/F. Lopez

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

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

314MarinCilic-001

 

U.S. OPEN

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Marin Cilic

Press Conference

M. CILIC/J. Tsonga

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

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You know, just enjoying to play here.

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

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

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

So it’s, you know, open field.

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

Yeah, I think it’s going to be okay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, you know, it goes around.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

 

Roberta-Vinci

 

 

U.S. OPEN

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Roberta Vinci

Press Conference

R. VINCI/K. Mladenovic

6-3, 5-7, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have nothing to lose. We will see.

Q. You said you didn’t — I think you said you didn’t expect to be in the semifinals right now.
ROBERTA VINCI: No.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And also, I think also against Venus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think the doubles help a lot. Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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Serena Williams Moves into US Open Semifinals with Three-set Win over Sister Venus

(September 8, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – It was Serena Williams versus Venus Williams part 27 as the sisters battled it out on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Tuesday night at the US Open.

Serena kept her hopes for the Grand Slam alive with a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 win over Venus.

In the first set Serena broke Venus’ serve twice to capture the set 6-2.

In the second set, errors crept into Serena’s game and the 23rd seed Venus ran up a 5-1 score. Serena hit 3 double faults of her total of five in the match, while Venus continued to hit powerful groundstrokes, shot for shot with her sister. Serena saved two set points, but could not save a third, set to Venus 6-1.

In the third set Serena broke in the second a game and held the rest of the way for 6-3.

At the net, the two sisters embraced and Venus said “I’m so happy for you,” to Serena.

“I think I will look back on it fondly,” Serena said of the hug at the net. “It means a lot to me. Obviously we are very, very tough competitors on the court, but once the match is over and the second it’s done, you know, we’re sisters, we’re roommates, and we’re all that.”

“It’s really great to see her do so well,” Serena continued. “She was at an unbelievable level today. Down to the match point it just was not easy. It’s probably the toughest match I have played in a really, really, really long time where I wasn’t actually beating myself. I was out there facing an incredibly tough opponent.

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

“I think she is the best ever because of the level of competition that she’s faced,” Venus said of her sister. “There have been some unbelievable players in the past, but I have played in this, you know, seems like multiple eras at this point.

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

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

Serena is now 16-11 against Venus, 9-5 in majors.

Serena is on a 33-match winning streak in majors, a 26-match winning streak at the US Open.

Serena hit 35 winners to 35 unforced errors. She won 9 of 11 points at the net and was 3 for 6 in break point chances.

Serena will play Roberta Vinci for a spot in the final.

Defending US Open champion Marin Cilic was pushed to five sets by 19th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (3), 6-4 in his quarterfinal match which lasted almost four hours on Tuesday.

“He just hit the ball a little bit more properly than me at the right moment, and that was a huge difference at the end, because he just made it,” Tsonga said. “He just made it.”

“A big mental fight,” Cilic said after the match, “especially after losing that fourth set.”

Cilic talked about regrouping after failing to close out the match  in the fourth set: “Well, at the tiebreak when I was going down a bit with the score I was, you know, obviously disappointed with that.

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

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

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

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

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

“Jo just came up with amazing shots,” Cilic said.

The Croatian will face  No. 1 Novak Djokovic. Djokovic reached his ninth US Open semifinal in a row defeating 18th seed Feliciano Lopez of Spain 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2).

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

“I started to feel the end of the fourth like my serve, finding the range on my serve, which wasn’t working at all in the first part of the match. Obviously when you start serving better, more accurate, higher percent of first serves in, you feel more confident.

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

Djokovic has never lost to Cilic and was asked about Cilic’s confidence.

 “Because of the fact that he won his first Grand Slam title last year in New York. He hasn’t lost a match, you know, 12, 13 matches in a row, so I’m sure that he feels confident. He won today a really close match. A couple of five-setters he had already in this tournament.

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

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

“Well, there are different scenarios that you can predict. Obviously when the moments are kind of tight and important during the match, most of the players have certain patterns of the serve and of the game.

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

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

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

The two other men’s quarterfinals matches on the other half of the men’s draw are on Wednesday. They will feature No. 2 Roger Federer vs. No. 12 Richard Gasquet of France, and No. 5 Stan Wawrinka vs. No. 15 Kevin Anderson of South Africa.

Williams will play Roberta Vinci in her semifinal. At age 32, this will be the Italian’s first major semifinal. Vinci survived an ailing Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.

Vinci, ranked at No. 43 is playing her 44th major. Only Elena Likhovtseva had played in more majors, 46 before reaching the 2005 French Open semifinal.

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

“I have nothing to lose. We will see.”

“Definitely a little bit more old school, but also a really great matchup, because it’s fun to see people that can still come to the net and still hit slice and still hit one-handers,” Serena said about her next challenger. “It’s different. It’s good for tennis.”

Serena stands just two victories away from winning the Grand Slam and her 22nd major, tying her with Steffi Graf for second on the all-time major list, two behind Margaret Court.

 

 

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Mardy Fish – In His Own Words

MFishNewsC821TennisPanoramaNews

U.S. OPEN

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Mardy Fish

Press Conference

F. LOPEZ/M. Fish

2-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What are the emotions, Mardy? How are you feeling?
MARDY FISH: It’s tough to say because I don’t feel that great just from the match. So it takes a little bit away, you know, just — I don’t know.

I mean, it will probably sink in a little bit later when I start feeling a little bit better.

Q. You got to be proud of the way you fought over five sets considering how many matches you have played over the last few years?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, not many.

Yeah, I put myself in a couple of difficult positions and came away pretty well. That was the goal.

Q. Can you describe the emotions that you had when you went up 5-4 in the fourth set? Looked a little bit like disbelief that you might win that one.
MARDY FISH: Oh, not really. I was starting to sort of feel pretty tired and starting to get a couple of twinges in my legs at the end of the fourth set, so I figured that was my opportunity. You know, didn’t pick a great time to play the worst game I played all day.

You know, I haven’t been in that position in a long time, obviously. So things happen.

Q. Lopez said afterwards that when you guys met at the net he told you he felt you deserved to win; you outplayed him. What did that mean to you?
MARDY FISH: I felt the same. (Smiling.)

No, we have played a lot of matches. I have had some success against him. I was playing fine. Certainly put myself in an opportunity to win the match.

Q. You were playing so well for a while. Did the thought occur to you somewhere in the third set, Maybe I shouldn’t quit? I should keep going?
MARDY FISH: No, no.

Q. No second thoughts?
MARDY FISH: None.

Q. What message would you most want people to take from your career and the way you have handled the challenges before you?
MARDY FISH: I don’t know. I mean, I’ve got a lot of great memories. I have got a lot of great memories; I’ve got a lot of good wins out here. I have made a lot of really good friendships with almost everyone out here.

You know, I’ll miss that. I can’t answer that. I mean, I’m not sure. Someone else, other people, you guys, have to answer the career part.

And then the health stuff, I mean, I’m just trying to help any way I can and share my story. Like I say, if it helps other people, that’s great.

Q. What do you consider most important about your story and the health obstacles that you would want people to draw from?
MARDY FISH: Well, just that you can beat it. That you can put yourself back — it’s always going to be part of your life, and you can pull yourself right back in the fire and come through okay. I think I showed that here at this tournament.

Q. You said you felt a couple twinges in your legs in the fourth. Did you pull a hamstring later on? Did you ever think about you would just have to quit?
MARDY FISH: No, I wasn’t quitting. I was just cramping. I mean, both sides of both legs, if I moved anywhere close to three or four steps, two or three steps, it would go.

So, no, you would have had to carry me off the court. I was definitely not stopping at that point.

Q. You chose this as your last venue. What does this event mean to you? Was there more fight in you than you expected? Some people go through a farewell tour that’s kind of routine. There seemed to be quite tremendous amount of spunk and fight in you today.
MARDY FISH: Thank you. Well, I have worked hard to try to get back. Obviously I’m not in as good of shape as I used to be a few years ago.

That probably wouldn’t have happened a few years ago. I probably would have been fine in the fifth set. I worked as hard as I could. My body is just about done.

So I gave it everything I had; that was all I had.

Q. Can you maybe give us some insight on why you thought it was important to come back?
MARDY FISH: For the three events or just this event?

Q. No, the three events, just to come back and have your good-bye.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, they are my favorite events. They’re some of the events where I have had my most success, best fan experience that I have throughout the years: Atlanta and Cincinnati especially, and here.

You know, I wanted this to be — this one specifically to be the last one. I probably would have chosen this one as my last one regardless if I didn’t have any issues with my health in the past couple of years just because this is the biggest one and the most fun and the one that you want to go out on.

But this one was extra special or extra special meaning for me because of how it happened in 2012.

Q. What’s next for you? What are you looking forward to? What are you going to do now?
MARDY FISH: I’m going to try to take an ice bath and try to feel better. (Laughter.)

Q. Not that immediate.
MARDY FISH: I’m going to, I don’t know. I’m going to play in my club championship at Bel Air. I haven’t played a lot of golf recently.

And then I have got some stuff in the works. (Smiling.)

Q. You had a real good career, and then you really turned it up around 2012 with a win over Andy, better ranking. But if someone says, Seems like that kicked off your anxiety, that you were sort of used to playing under the radar and now it’s a bit tougher, could you just talk about that process if you don’t mind?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, expectations changed and pressure was a lot higher and a lot more on myself and from others.

I mean, that’s how it all happened. That’s how it all came. Expectations changed. There was a lot more pressure on myself to play well at every event, and, you know, every week.

That was the position that I wanted to be in, you know, the top American, top 10 in the world, and, you know, sort of a marked man.

It was too much for me to handle.

Q. Do you think you put that pressure on yourself also as well as coming from others?
MARDY FISH: Sure. I mean, everyone puts some pressure on themselves to succeed, and I just — I was maybe a little bit different because I was working so hard and trying so hard to be as good as I could be and I was sacrificing a lot on and off the court. So that’s why I always was hard on myself.

Q. You seem somewhat sad. Is it because of the way it ended or the fact that it’s ended?
MARDY FISH: Definitely not the way it ended. Just I don’t feel great right now. (Smiling.)

Obviously with my history of anxiety disorder, I, you know, get a little nervous when I don’t feel well.

But, no, look, those are the situations you work so hard to be in. You know, just an awesome crowd, and it’s a really nice memory to have on my final match. Obviously not the last set, but my final match.

Q. You speak of expectations and the pressure creating some anxiety and some nervousness in you. Were you feeling that at all when you were serving for it at 5-4?
MARDY FISH: No, not specifically at that part. I certainly felt like that was, you know, my opportunity, big-time opportunity to really capitalize.

But, you know, once that had sort of came and gone, I knew I was sort of in trouble because of, you know, the way my legs felt. I tried as hard as I could to hydrate as best I could. I did everything I could.

My body gave out, and that’s why I’m stopping.

Q. Can you describe what you were saying to yourself when your legs were really starting to hurt and cramp up? If this wasn’t US Open and your last match, would you have quit, retired if it were somewhere else?
MARDY FISH: No, I mean, I would have tried. I haven’t cramped very much in my career at all. In the beginning of my career I never played long matches like that to cramp, and the end of my — sort of 2010 through 2012 I was so fit that I never needed to worry about it.

So it was kind of the perfect storm of, you know, doing everything I could, but, you know, a little bit — you know, not enough left in the tank.

That’s the way it goes.

Q. What were you saying to yourself when it was happening as it was happening?
MARDY FISH: I’m in trouble. (Smiling.) No, I wasn’t really thinking. Then it starts –you know, look, we were 3-All, 3-4 serving. I was somehow figuring out a way to hit winners and hold serve. I had two 15-40s because it’s hard to play a guy that’s, you know, sort of wounded and you can — I have been there. I understand that.

I haven’t actually been in my position very often at all. It’s very hard to play someone like that when you know that, you know, their body is sort of giving out.

So I actually had, you know, more chances than he had in the fifth before the eighth game. Way more chances.

I was sort of, you know, wondering if I could actually get through it, but obviously I knew I was in a bit of trouble.

Q. In the months and years ahead, what do you think will give you the most satisfaction about what you have accomplished both as a player and as a person, given what you have had to deal with?
MARDY FISH: That’s a good question. I mean, I put my head on my pillow every night — I’m very comfortable knowing how hard I have worked in the later stages of my career. Very comfortable with how this summer has gone. Just at peace personally.

You know, I’m bummed that obviously my career didn’t end the past few years, you know, the way I had imagined. But it is what it is, and you try to make the best of your situation obviously.

You know, it’s tough. I mean, it’s tough. It sort of, you know, starts kind of kicking in every once in a while in my head as I answer these questions that this is probably the last time I will do this.

Q. How does that make you feel?
MARDY FISH: It doesn’t make me feel sad or happy or anything. It’s just I have done a lot of these. (Smiling.)

You know, it’s an interesting lifestyle. It’s a different lifestyle to live as a tennis player and as a professional athlete.

You know, to be up here and answering questions from you guys is different than most. So I will probably never do it again. It’s different. (Smiling.)

Q. Besides playing golf, there are new opportunities for tennis players with maybe less pressure, like the International Premier Tennis League. Is that something you might be interested in doing one day?
MARDY FISH: Yes. I’m sure tennis will always be a part of my life. I’ll always be around it.

Yeah, so I’m not going to go too far. I’m going to try to help out with the USTA as much as I can, some of the younger Americans. I have a lot of experience over the last 15, 16 years. I have been playing tennis tournaments since I was six years old, so it’s a long 27 years of playing tournaments that matter, and now it’s over.

Q. I’m sure you spoke to James and Andy about how it feels to close it up and to close here. I’m wondering how you have experienced the last few days and also the last hour or two?
MARDY FISH: Like I said, I don’t feel great, so it’s not that part. That part is tough and different.

Those guys both announced here that they were stopping, so it’s a little different feeling. I have known for a little while.

I knew with Andy, knowing him personally, he didn’t know his — he didn’t know he was going to stop until relatively recent when he announced it.

And James may have known or may not have known. He didn’t tell us too much. I forgot the first part of your question.

Q. Has it matched your expectations kind of on what they told you or what you expected?
MARDY FISH: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, yeah. I mean, I’m not looking for everyone to bow down when I leave the room and carry my racquets out today. I mean, that’s not what it’s — it’s uncomfortable and that’s not what I’m looking for.

I accomplished everything that I set out to this summer, and I’m happy about that.

Q. You talk about this being your last time you do this and that it’s an odd feeling. I’m sure that it is. I just read your first-person piece you wrote about your experiences. I was struck by the fact you said you didn’t want yourself to be defined by sports terms like winning and choking, and that this wasn’t a sports story so much as it was a life story.
MARDY FISH: Uh-huh.

Q. Being a life story, what aspects of that, you know, what verbs would you use for your life story? What part would you want us to think about your life as opposed to your tennis necessarily?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, just that I was — just that I was helpful to other people, that I was open and honest about a topic that is supposed to be masculine, or not supposed to be masculine.

We are trained as tennis players from a very young age to not show weakness. I was very good at that throughout my career. I would not complain very much if I didn’t feel well or, you know, fake it on the court if I didn’t feel well, and, you know, not show that side of it.

So I’m sort of out front with that part of my life because it helps me a lot when I talk about it. Makes me feel better when I talk about it. I want to help people that have gone through it and try to be a role model for people that are deep into some bad times, that they can get out of it, because I was there. They can conquer it.

(Applause.)

Transcript from ASAPSports

 

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

Transcripts of player interviews cannot be posted until one (1) hour after the interview has ended. Player transcripts can only be posted on the website of the publication that was accredited.
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Mardy Fish Ends Pro Career with a Five-Set Loss at the US Open

Mardy Fish

 

(September 2, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Former Top 10 player Mardy Fish ended his singles tennis career on Wednesday in the second round of the US Open, falling to 18th seed a fellow 33-year-old Feliciano Lopez 2-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3. Fish had a chance to serve out the match in the fourth set in a match which lasted 3 hours, 11 minutes. Fish began suffering from leg cramps in the fifth set.

“I was starting to sort of feel pretty tired and starting to get a couple of twinges in my legs at the end of the fourth set, so I figured that was my opportunity,” Fish said. “You know, didn’t pick a great time to play the worst game I played all day.
“You know, I haven’t been in that position in a long time, obviously. So things happen.”

Fish came back to the tour this year admitting that he’s been suffering from anxiety disorder. He wrote about it in the Players’ Tribune.

“I was lucky that I won the fourth set,” said Lopez on court “And then in the fifth set, he was not feeling well. He was cramping and he was so tired. I think he really deserved the win today.”

“It’s been many years together. We played many times. He beat me a couple times,” Lopez said. “I have to say, he was the better player, normally, when we played. And he was a great player, had a good career. It was very sad what was happening the last two, three years with this illness, and it’s great to have him back at least for a few weeks.”

“I’ve got a lot of great memories,” said the former world No. 7. “I have got a lot of great memories; I’ve got a lot of good wins out here. I have made a lot of really good friendships with almost everyone out here.”

“And then the health stuff, I mean, I’m just trying to help any way I can and share my story. Like I say, if it helps other people, that’s great.”

“I wanted this (US Open) to be — this one specifically to be the last one. I probably would have chosen this one as my last one regardless if I didn’t have any issues with my health in the past couple of years just because this is the biggest one and the most fun and the one that you want to go out on.

“But this one was extra special or extra special meaning for me because of how it happened in 2012.”

“I’m bummed that obviously my career didn’t end the past few years, you know, the way I had imagined. But it is what it is, and you try to make the best of your situation obviously.

“You know, it’s tough. I mean, it’s tough. It sort of, you know, starts kind of kicking in every once in a while in my head as I answer these questions that this is probably the last time I will do this.”

As to the future: “I’m going to try to help out with the USTA as much as I can, some of the younger Americans. I have a lot of experience over the last 15, 16 years. I have been playing tennis tournaments since I was six years old, so it’s a long 27 years of playing tournaments that matter, and now it’s over.”

ASk about telling his “life story” he said: “I was helpful to other people, that I was open and honest about a topic that is supposed to be masculine, or not supposed to be masculine.

“We are trained as tennis players from a very young age to not show weakness. I was very good at that throughout my career. I would not complain very much if I didn’t feel well or, you know, fake it on the court if I didn’t feel well, and, you know, not show that side of it.

“So I’m sort of out front with that part of my life because it helps me a lot when I talk about it. Makes me feel better when I talk about it. I want to help people that have gone through it and try to be a role model for people that are deep into some bad times, that they can get out of it, because I was there. They can conquer it.”

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More Women’s Seeds Lose, Young Beats Simon, Federer Cruises at US OPen

Lucie Safarova

Lucie Safarova

(September 1, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – The upsets continued on the women’s side of the draw at the US Open on Tuesday. French Open finalist sixth seed Lucie Safarova lost to No. 37 Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 6-1, while 14th seed Timea Bacsinszky lost to Barbora Strycova 7-5, 6-0 Alizé Cornet 27th seed Alizé Cornet also was defeated. Ten women’s seeds have lost in the first round at the US Open, half of the Top 10.

No. 11 Gilles Simon led Donald Young by two sets to none and 3-0, when the American rallied to win the match 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

“Down two sets to love and 3-0 actually, that’s when I decided to swing a little freer, start to, you know, push the envelope a little bit and start to come in more, just assert myself to the match,” Young said. “I was going to go down swinging. That was pretty much my mentality at that point.”

“I love playing in New York. I love playing on hard courts. It’s the last slam of the year. I haven’t had the results I wanted at the other slams. I didn’t want to go out like that.

“If I was to go out, I really wanted to go out swinging and giving him a battle and making him earn it. I didn’t feel at first I was able to do that. To be able to do that was great. Emotionally I just felt, you know, it gives you confidence to know you can come back from 2 sets to love against such a quality opponent, a top 10 guy, wins titles and, competes at the highest level every week.”

This was the first time Young had ever come back in a match from two sets to love down.

There was no such drama for high seeds (2) Roger Federer, (2) Simona Halep, (4) Caroline Wozniacki, (6) Tomas Berdych and (9) Garbine Muguruza.

Federer destroyed Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in 77 minutes.

“I feel good now,“ Federer said. “I actually wasn’t so confident yesterday and today. I just felt like maybe could be one of those matches I just couldn’t see it coming.

“So thankfully I took this match extremely serious. I thought at times almost I was taking it a bit too serious. I got that lucky in Shanghai, so that’s why that was just — it was just creeping around in my mind that maybe today was going to be a bad day.

“Plus I had practiced with him, you know, here, I don’t know, the day of the draw, and he was playing very well in practice, too.”

A record was set for retirements during the first round of the U.S. Open than in any round at any Grand Slam tournament in the open era.

Twelve men and women have retired during matches on Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday pull-outs included Marcos Baghdatis, Ernests Gulbis, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Aleksandr Nedovyesov and Marina Erakovic.

Andy Murray bested controversial Nick Kyrgios in four sets in the night match. The young Australian Kyrgios was playing his first match since and episode in Montreal where he verbally abused Stan Wawrinka. He’s been put on probation by the ATP, and if he misbehaves in the next 6 months at an ATP event, he could face a suspension and fine. However this would not apply for the US Open as it’s a Grand Slam.

RESULTS – SEPTEMBER 1, 2015
Women’s
Singles – First Round

[2] Simona Halep (ROU) def. Marina Erakovic (NZL) 6-2, 3-0 (retired – knee injury)
[4] Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) def. Jamie Loeb (USA) 6-2, 6-0

[5] Petra Kvitova (CZE) def. Laura Siegemund (GER) 6-1, 6-1
Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) def. [6] Lucie Safarova (CZE) 6-4, 6-1
[20] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) def. Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 6-1, 6-2
[11] Angelique Kerber (GER) def. Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU) 6-3, 6-1

[18] Andrea Petkovic (GER) def. Caroline Garcia (FRA) 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
[9] Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP) def. Carina Witthoeft (GER) 6-2, 6-4

[22] Samantha Stosur (AUS) def. Timea Babos (HUN) 6-3, 6-4

[16] Sara Errani (ITA) def. Mayo Hibi 6-0, 6-1
Johanna Konta (GBR) def. Louisa Chirico (USA) 6-3, 6-0
Elena Vesnina (RUS) def. Laura Robson (GBR) 3-6, 6-3, 7-5

Kurumi Nara (JPN) def. [27] Alizé Cornet (FRA) 2-6, 6-4, 6-4

Petra Cetkovska (CZE) def. Christina McHale (USA) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3

[24] Sabine Lisicki (GER) def. Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 6-1, 6-4
Varvara Lepchenko (USA) def. Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 6-1, 6-1

Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) def. Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 6-3, 6-1

Qiang Wang (CHN) def. Maria Sakkari (GRE) 7-5, 6-2

Shelby Rogers (USA) def. Sachia Vickery (USA) 6-2, 6-2
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) def. Julia Goerges (GER) 6-3, 6-4
Nicole Gibbs (USA) def. Lourdes Dominguez Lino (ESP) 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
Barbora Strycova (CZE) def. [14] Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 7-5, 6-0
Danka Kovinic (MNE) def. Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) 4-6, 7-5, 6-1
Mona Barthel (GER) def. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-1
[26] Flavia Pennetta (ITA) def. Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS) 6-1, 3-6, 6-1
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) def. Annika Beck (GER) 6-4, 1-6, 6-4
Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) def. Tereza Mrdeza (CRO) 6-2, 6-2
Karin Knapp (ITA) def. Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-7(1), 6-2, 6-4
Olga Govortsova (BLR) def. [28] Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) 6-1, 0-6, 7-6(3)
Camila Giorgi (ITA) def. Johanna Larsson (SWE) 6-3, 6-3
Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) def. Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 6-0, 6-3

Monica Niculescu (ROU) def. Alexandra Panova (RUS) 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-3

Men’s
Singles – First Round

[2] Roger Federer (SUI) d. Leonardo Mayer (ARG) 61 62 62
[5] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs. Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 75 64 76(6)
[6] Tomas Berdych (CZE) d. Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) 63 62 64
Donald Young (USA) d. [11] Gilles Simon (FRA) 26 46 64 64 64
[12] Richard Gasquet (FRA) d. Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 46 61 46 63 20 ret.
[13] John Isner (USA) d. Malek Jaziri (TUN) 62 63 64
[21] Ivo Karlovic (CRO) d. Federico Delbonis (ARG) 63 75 75
[30] Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) d. James Ward (GBR) 61 75 63
Jurgen Melzer (AUT) d. Denis Kudla (USA) 63 75 61
Austin Krajicek (USA) d. Santiago Giraldo (COL) 36 76(6) 76(6) 76(1)
Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) d. John-Patrick Smith (AUS) 61 36 75 76(4)
Jiri Vesely (CZE) d. Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) 64 64 64
Gilles Muller (LUX) vs. Ruben Bemelmans (BEL)
Aljaz Bedene (GBR) d. Ernests Gulbis (LAT) 36 64 30 ret.
Robin Haase (NED) d. Dustin Brown (GER) 46 46 63 75 64
Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) d. Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) 64 26 67(7) 61 62

More to follow…

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Top US Open Seeds Meet the Media in Flushing Meadows

(August 29, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY) The top seeds at the 2015 US Open met the media on Saturday ahead of Monday’s start of the last major of the year.

Third seed Andy Murray and second seed Simona Halep spoke to the media in the relaxed setting of Media Garden located behind Arthur Ashe stadium.

Murray was asked about playing the controversial Nick Kyrgios in the first round, which is projected to be a very competitive match for the Scotsman.

“For me it’s just a tennis match,” Murray said. “I go about the match in the best way possible by getting all the things, getting all the tactics, and everything sorted and you know, tailor my practices the next few days around his game style and that’s what I’ll be doing. You don’t obviously pay attention to the other stuff.”

Murray talked about past match-ups with the Australian. Murray holds a 3-0 record against his challenger.

“Every match is a new match. You can learn, obviously, from those previous matches, see what things worked and what things didn’t, but he might come in and do something completely different against me next time, so I need to be prepared for that. He’s quite an unpredictable player so you need to expect that when you go on the court.

Yeah I’ve played well against him, I played good matches, but he’s obviously a top player, you know, just missed out in a seeding here and I’m sure he’ll be one of the top players here in the next few years.

On playing Kyrgios at the US Open: “To be honest, I think he likes playing on big stages. That’s where he’s played his best tennis throughout his career. Last year he’d only won one or two matches outside of Slams in the whole year. This year, his results have been inconsistent but at the Slams he made quarters. In Australia, I played him in the third round at the French and at Wimbledon he was close to reaching the quarters again there. I would expect him to be ready for the match. He gets himself fired up for the big events.”

Simona Halep

Simona Halep

For Romania’s Simona Halep, despite a recent left knee problem, she’s really to go.

“Now, I’m feeling great; I’ve recovered and I’m ready to start.”

“I think in the past I didn’t believe that I had the chance to do great here. Now, I’m feeling better and I’m feeling more confident. I had two great weeks before here and I think it’s going to help me. I’m just going to enjoy it and I’m not going to think about the pressure.

“Actually, I play well when there’s pressure, but not too much.”

Asked she wanted Serena Williams to win the Grand She said:

“If I will not be in the finals, then I want her to win. If I’m in the finals with her, then I want to win.

“I said that because she has a big chance to win all four Grand Slams this year. I think she has enough power to do that, but of course I want to win. I just want to take it match-by-match.

 

The Media Day interviews moved over to Media Interview Room One as last year’s US Open finalist Kei Nishikori took on the press.

“I think from last year this time I kind of stepped one up and I raised my level after this tournament, so I’m very happy with everything this year. Especially this summer I’ve been playing really well, from Washington and Montreal. I unfortunately got hurt and couldn’t play Cincinnati but still I feel very good physically and also tennis-wise, so very exciting, and it’s going to be a big challenge for me to play this year, again, but I’m very confident.”

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic entered his news conference with a stuffed animal Mickey Mouse, which he sat on the desk.

The Serb is really to take on New York. “Generally I have huge incentive and motivation to play US Open as any other Grand Slam, Djokovic said.”
“These are the events where you want to perform your best. These are the events
where you want to go far and compete for the title. Just being here is a pleasure and of
course as anybody else, I’m excited and looking forward to getting on the court”
Djokovic is coming into the US Open aiming to win his third major of the  year. He won three majors in 2011.
He compared his game in 2011 to now:
“I’m a different person, a different player today than I was in 2011, so it’s kind of hard to
compare tennis-wise. I think physically I’m stronger and I’m able to endure longer than I did in 2011 and maybe there are some slight differences in the game, but generally as you grow older you’re kind of maturing and you’re trying to develop your game and get your game to the highest possible level. I think this season, results-wise (is) pretty close to 2011. What I achieved in 2011 is hard to repeat, so this season is definitely just behind that one. But I don’t usually like to compare myself to any other season because every season brings some new challenges at both professional and private levels so it’s pretty different.”
315Federerin press.-001

Roger Federer is coming off a title in Cincinnati where he played a more aggressively, beating Djokovic in the final, and in some matches returning serves from just behind the service line. The Swiss was asked about this aggressive style game.

“It all starts with the serve, to be quite honest,” Federer said.

If you’re able to hold your serve, I don’t want to say you can do pretty much anything on the return, but chances are it’s in your favor. You don’t know if you’re going to hold most of the serves, but I did that very well last week, so I’m sure that’s where the service helped me, but … after that, as the tournament went on, I decided to keep up aggressive play because it didn’t just start against Murray and Djokovic, I had already been doing it against Bautista and also Kevin Anderson, so from that standpoint I was very happy that I was able to keep it up.”

“If I’m going to do it here, as well, at practice so far conditions definitely allow you to do. I think the ball flies faster here. The surface is slightly different than last week, so a slight adjustment to be done there. I’m just really focused on my first round. It’s really tough to be playing Leonardo Mayer, so I have to come back to reality after the good week I had last week and go from there.”

Federer, a five-time winner at the US Open, last made a final in 2009. He has not come close since and was asked about it.

“On the run I was on, to ‘08 and even ‘09, in the finals, clearly I was hoping for it to be endless, but you know that’s not realistic, and ’10 and ’11 were tough matches in the semis against Novak, “Federer said. “So I came very close.”

“Clearly my focus needs to be not trying to win the tournament right away, that’d be thinking too far ahead. I haven’t been in a finals in this tournament as of late. I came close, but close is not good enough. I’ve tried to build up as we move forward.”

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal comes into Flushing Meadows ranked the lowest he’s been in many years at No. 8. The Spaniard will face a rising star on the ATP tour in Borna Coric in his first round.

“He’s a tough player,” Nadal said. “He’s a young player with a lot of energy and he’s a big competitor. He’s one of the players that is the future of our sport, so it’s a tough one, but I’m playing well. I feel like I’m ready. He’s a complete player with a great serve and a very good backhand. He’s a big competitor. I don’t remember playing him before. It was a tough week for me; I had the surgery the week after. I don’t remember it very well, but I think I played very bad. If he played well then he deserved to win, but hopefully Monday will be a different story.

Nadal says that he’s coming into the tournament with not as much stress.

‘My stress is much less than it was at the beginning of the season,” said the two-time US Open champion. I’m feeling better

myself. As a tennis player, I’m feeling better today than I was a couple of months ago. I’ve worked a lot these last couple of months.

“I know the process; It’s a challenge for me. to find the level of play that I’ve been at a lot of times in my career. I’m practicing great, now it’s time to play that great against the competition. The level of tennis is very close to being back there.”

On getting his confidence back, Nadal said: “To have the confidence back you need to win. If you’re not winning, then you won’t have high confidence. To win you need to play well. To win a lot you need to play very well and have a lot of confidence, and I’m playing well today.”

Nadal also clarified to press that he did not refuse to play with or against Nick Kyrgios in a charity exhibition for John McEnroe’s foundation.

“I was never supposed to play a doubles match,” Nadal explained. “First, I was only supposed to play singles in the exhibition. That was wrong information. Second, I never knew I had to play against Kyrgios; I was told I was going to play Lleyton Hewitt. No one asked me to play doubles with Nick Kyrgios. I was only asked to play a singles match; since Roland Garros I knew that. This story that I was supposed to play a doubles match? I don’t know where that story comes from.”

Sharapova 382014 IW

Maria Sharapova is coming back from a muscle strain in her leg which kept her out of Cincinnati and Toronto.

“It’s always just the adjustment of being a professional athlete in a sport that requires many weeks out of the year to compete ata high level,” said the 2006 US Open champion. “Don’t always know where some things come from but sometimes you have to make adjustments to be healthy and ready for the big ones. I’ve had to make adjustments throughout the year and it only gets tougher as you get older, of course”

 

Asked about her preparation for the US Open, the Russian said: I’ve done everything I could to be ready. There’s nothing more that I could have done, so yeah, I hope to be ready.”

 

Sharapova faces a test in her first round match-up against countrywoman Daria Gavrilova who beat her in Miami.

“Well, obviously she’s a really great player and a tough first round we’ve gone back and forth with our results this year,” Sharapova said. “She beat me in Miami and I had a good win against her in Rome so yeah, she’s a really good opponent.”

 

Serena Williams held her pre-US Open news conference after the draw on Thursday.

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama at the US Open

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2015 US Open Seeds Announced

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

(August 25, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – The USTA has announced the seeds for the 2015 US Open which begins on August 31st. Going for the Grand Slam is top seed Serena Williams for the women and Novak Djokovic aiming for his third major of the year is the No. men’s seed.

 

2015 US Open Women’s Singles Seeds

 

1.    Serena Williams, United States

2.    Simona Halep, Romania

3.    Maria Sharapova, Russia

4.    Caroline Wozniacki, Denmark

5.    Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic

6.    Lucie Safarova, Czech Republic

7.    Ana Ivanovic, Serbia

8.    Karolina Pliskova, Czech Republic

9.    Garbiñe Muguruza, Spain

10.  Carla Suarez Navarro, Spain

11.  Angelique Kerber, Germany

12.  Belinda Bencic, Switzerland

13.  Ekaterina Makarova, Russia

14.  Timea Bacsinszky, Switzerland

15.  Agnieszka Radwanska, Poland

16.  Sara Errani, Italy

17.  Elina Svitolina, Ukraine

18.  Andrea Petkovic, Germany

19.  Madison Keys, United States

20.  Victoria Azarenka, Belarus

21.  Jelena Jankovic, Serbia

22.  Samantha Stosur, Australia

23.  Venus Williams, United States

24.  Sabine Lisicki, Germany

25.  Eugenie Bouchard, Canada

26.  Flavia Pennetta, Italy

27.  Alizé Cornet, France

28.  Irina-Camelia Begu, Romania

29.  Sloane Stephens, United States

30.  Svetlana Kuznetsova, Russia

31.  Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Russia

32.  Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, Slovakia

 

228 Djokovic being interviewed-001

2015 US Open Men’s Singles Seeds

 

1.    Novak Djokovic, Serbia

2.    Roger Federer, Switzerland

3.    Andy Murray, Great Britain

4.    Kei Nishikori, Japan

5.    Stan Wawrinka, Switzerland

6.    Tomas Berdych, Czech Republic

7.    David Ferrer, Spain

8.    Rafael Nadal, Spain

9.    Marin Cilic, Croatia

10.  Milos Raonic, Canada

11.  Gilles Simon, France

12.  Richard Gasquet, France

13.  John Isner, United States

14.  David Goffin, Belgium

15.  Kevin Anderson, South Africa

16.  Gael Monfils, France

17.  Grigor Dimitrov, Bulgaria

18.  Feliciano Lopez, Spain

19.  Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, France

20.  Dominic Thiem, Austria

21.  Ivo Karlovic, Croatia

22.  Viktor Troicki, Serbia

23.  Roberto Bautista Agut, Spain

24.  Bernard Tomic, Australia

25.  Andreas Seppi, Italy

26.  Tommy Robredo, Spain

27.  Jeremy Chardy, France

28.  Jack Sock, United States

29.  Philipp Kohlschreiber, Germany

30.  Thomaz Bellucci, Brazil

31.  Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Spain

32.  Fabio Fognini, Italy

 

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USTA and ESPN Expand US Open and US Open Series Coverage

 ustalogo
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 21, 2015 – The USTA today announced that for the 2015 summer tennis season, ESPN will broadcast over 1800 hours of live tennis action across it’s platforms as the exclusive live domestic television and digital media partner for the US Open and Emirates Airline US Open Series.  2015 marks the first year of an 11-year agreement between the USTA and ESPN, which will see the US Open carried on ESPN through 2025.
The unprecedented tennis coverage will feature over 200 hours of live match play on ESPN and ESPN2, with more than 1600 hours to be featured on ESPN3 – ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network, a destination that delivers thousands of hours of exclusive sports annually.
“The opportunity for tennis to be seen across ESPN platforms affords the sport a stage that reaches far beyond the eyes of just the traditional tennis fan and into the homes of all sports fans,” said USTA Chairman of the Board and President Katrina Adams. “The ability to be top of mind throughout the summer is an incredible chance to highlight some of the greatest athletes in the world, including Serena Williams as she continues her historic pursuit of the calendar Grand Slam, and continue to grow the sport throughout the country.”
“We are delighted to work with the USTA to bring tennis fans even more comprehensive coverage of the most important tennis this summer between the Series and US Open over the next seven weeks” said Scott Guglielmino, SVP, Programming and Global X. “We are extremely excited for our first year of exclusive coverage of the US Open, giving us the opportunity to leverage our TV and digital media platforms to further engage fans with more ways and more hours to watch as the game’s greatest athletes compete.”
Over the five week calendar of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, ESPN2 will air nearly 70 hours of live coverage, while ESPN3 will carry more than 500 hours of action.  In total, there will be 34 consecutive days of coverage for these tournaments.  For the first time, fans will be able to access coverage on the Emirates Airline US Open Series main website – emiratesusopenseries.com – as well as the respective tournament websites, through the integration of the ESPN3 Media Player.  ESPN3 is also accessible on line at WatchESPN.com and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app.
During the 2015 US Open, ESPN and ESPN2 will combine to air more than 130 hours of live match play with more than 1100 hours of first-to-last ball coverage to be seen on ESPN3, which will also be hosted on the US Open website – usopen.org.  In an expansion of its US Open coverage, ESPN will feature play from 11 courts.
“This overarching agreement with and commitment from ESPN is incredibly important to the USTA and to tennis, at large, as it brings the sport to the fans on a larger scale than ever before,” said Gordon Smith, USTA Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer.  “The reach of ESPN is undeniable, and the ability to watch the US Open and Emirates Airline US Open Series throughout the summer, across a number of ESPN’s platforms markedly enhances the experience for the tennis viewer.”
For the 2015 US Open, the men’s singles final will return to its traditional Sunday (September 13) afternoon timeslot and the women’s singles final will be scheduled for Saturday (September 12) afternoon – both finals will air on ESPN.  The men’s singles semifinals will take place on Friday (September 11) afternoon, with the women’s singles semifinals scheduled for primetime on the second Thursday (September 10) night of the tournament. This schedule reaffirms the USTA’s commitment to providing a day of rest for singles competitors between the singles semifinals and singles finals.
Prior to the start of the tournament, ESPN will kick-off its coverage of the US Open on Sunday, August 30 with a broadcast of Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. (ET) and a US Open preview show from 2:00 – 2:30 p.m. (ET), both to be broadcast on ESPN2.  Additionally, leading into the men’s singles final, ESPN will televise a 30-minute “Blue Carpet” special, enabling the fans to get an inside look at the excitement, pageantry and celebrity surrounding the day.
In addition to ESPN’s coverage at the Open, Tennis Channel, for the seventh year, will offer pre and post-match coverage, analysis, and match encores throughout the two weeks of the US Open.
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The US Open Series Begins this Weekend in Atlanta

 

BB&TAtlantaOpen

By Herman Wood

(July 17, 2014) ATLANTA – Preparation for the US Open is underway.  The BB&T Atlanta Open gets things started on Saturday, July 19th for the men.  Qualifying begins at 10 AM.  The BB&T Atlanta Open is an ATP 250 event, with a 28 player draw, four of which come from the qualifying tournament.  The qualifying field will have 32 players.  The doubles draw is a 16 team field.  Last year’s champ, John Isner, is returning, along with fellow Americans Sam Querrey, Wimbledon doubles champ Jack Sock, and Donald Young.  Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet, Radek Stepanek, Ivo Karlovic, Ivan Dodig, Lleyton Hewitt, and the other half of the Wimbledon doubles championship team, Vasek Pospisil, are also expected in the tournament.  The tournament aspires to be a mini US Open, with the venue set among the skyscrapers of downtown Atlanta at Atlantic Station.  Atlantic Station is a community within downtown that provides homes for 10,000 people integrated with shopping, restaurants, and retailers that make it a hit with the players.  Besides the attractive venue, players will get a jump on the US Open Series Bonus Challenge, where nearly $40 million in prize money is up for grabs.  This is the third year the tournament has been held at Atlantic Station.

It is a familiar place for Americans, with Isner winning last year, Roddick in 2012, and Fish in 2011.  It has also been comfortable for big man tennis- last year Isner, at 6’10”, overcame Kevin Anderson at 6’8” in three tiebreaks.  Fans in the first couple of rows certainly had to pay attention with the huge serves coming their way.  It is especially familiar for Isner, who competed collegiately just an hour down the road for the University of Georgia Bulldogs, leading the team to a national championship and winning every possible team title in 2007.  He’s usually a fan favorite, with at least a couple of barks from Georgia fans in his favor at each match.  Isner may not be the only recipient of barks; University of Georgia player Austin Smith has accepted a wild card into the main draw. The sophomore from Cumming, Georgia excelled this season as the Bulldogs captured the 2014 SEC Championship. Smith finished with a 35-12 record, and went 9-1 in SEC matches. He has won four USTA Pro Circuit matches. A tournament qualifier in 2011, Smith will be playing his debut ATP main draw match.

Another American, Jack Sock, could very well get on a roll at this tournament.  After winning doubles with Pospisil at Wimbledon, he rolled into Newport and eliminated Isner in the Newport Hall of Fame event on grass just a week ago.  Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t able to keep that momentum and was eliminated by the veteran Lleyton Hewitt, who went on to win the tournament.  Hewitt’s feisty shouts of “C’mon!” have endeared him to the Atlanta fans in past years.  Fresh off his renewed success at Newport, he could very well win Atlanta.  The main draw was just rounded out with the addition of Ryan Harrison and Robby Ginepri.  “We’re ecstatic to welcome back two of our fan favorites in Ryan Harrison and Atlanta metro resident Robby Ginepri,” Tournament Director Eddie Gonzalez said. “One of our goals is to highlight American talent and both of these players are great examples of the fine players this country has produced.”  Harrison won the doubles last year, partnering with Matthew Ebden.  Ginepri appears for the fourth time, with a onetime ranking of fifteen.  He is a graduate of Wheeler High School, just a few miles north of Atlantic Station.  He currently resides in Kennesaw, another couple of miles north.

The draw will be finalized over this weekend with the completion of the qualifying tournament.  Promising American junior Francis Tiafoe has accepted his first tournament qualifying wild card. Tiafoe, 16, is a talented young prodigy who rose to No. 2 in the world junior rankings this spring. Georgia Tech’s Nathan Rakitt and Alabama’s Becker O’Shaughnessey have also accepted qualifying wild cards. Rakitt, a Marietta native and All-ACC selectee, is competing again for the second year. O’Shaughnessey of Macon, Ga., led the Crimson Tide in singles wins (22) this season.

Herman Wood is in Atlanta covering the BB&T Open action from around the grounds for Tennis Panorama News, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/hermanewood.

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