2015/03/31

Serena Williams to face Madison Keys in Australian Open Semifinal

Madison Keys

Madison Keys

(January 28, 2015) No. 1 Serena Williams and No. 35 Madison Keys booked spots in Australian Open semifinals on Wednesday. Keys broke up what could have been an “all-Williams” semifinal when the 19-year-old knocked out 34-year-old Venus Williams 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to reach her first Grand Slam final four.

Serena Williams had a much easier time advancing, dismissing last year’s Australian Open losing finalist Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-2 in 69 minutes, is still on track to try and win her 19th major and sixth Australian Open title.

Statistics tell the story for the world No. 1 American who hit 58 winners including 15 aces and made only 18 unforced errors against the Slovak. Williams has won the title at Melbourne Park each of the five previous times she has advanced to the semifinals.

“I feel I played well,” said Serena. “I felt I had to. I feel like when you’re going up against a player like that who is confident on the court – she just had a few good matches – I knew that I needed to really play well or go home.”

“It was tough match for me today,” No. 11 Cibulkova said. “She was just playing really well today, I have to say. She was putting so much pressure from the serve and return. I didn’t have a chance to play my game. Just felt under so much pressure. It was a good day for her.

“It’s the way I struggle with reading her serves. I just don’t put many first returns in the game. That’s what makes it tough. And also then I feel under a bigger pressure on my serve. That’s why I try to go for much more first serve today. It just didn’t go in. Then my second serve, she was just going for it. Yeah, that’s make it really tough. She tries to make the rallies much shorter and not to get me in the rhythm. Yeah, that’s it.”

In a battle between tennis generations, Venus Williams and Keys, it was the first All-American quarterfinal since Sloane Stephens beat Serena Williams in Melbourne Park back in 2013.

After a dominant first set by Keys, who is now coached by former No. 1 and three-time slam winner Lindsay Davenport, she had to overcome a left leg injury and rally from a break down in the third set to win the match. Keys completed the match with 34 winners to 45 unforced errors, while Venus hit 10 winners to 38 unforced errors. The match saw 12 service breaks.

“I definitely didn’t serve as consistently as I wanted to,” said the seven-time major champion. “I felt like just not as aggressive off the ground as I would have liked. So I think in this kind of match you have to be aggressive. Like I said, I give a lot of credit to her because she really set her points up. She was swinging freely. Most of them went in for her. So it was just, you know, great for her.”

“It already feels like a long season already, so many matches in a row,” Williams said. “But it’s a great start. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep this level up.”

Venus is 9-1 on the year, having won the tournament in Auckland.

“I think she played really well,” Venus said “Of course, I have to give credit to her just for playing well, landing a lot of great shots I think is ultimately — ultimately she played really well.

Venus hadn’t reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam since the U.S. Open in 2010 since being diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome in 2011, an auto-immune disease which causes fatigue.

“I think just being able to come back from being down and from not being able to move as well, not having as effective of a serve, just being able to kind of grind through that, still figure it out, manage to win some points, is what I’m most happy about,” Keys said about her left abductor injury.

“It was definitely one of those things where it wasn’t nearly as bad as Wimbledon, but it was that nightmare of `I don’t want this to happen again,’” Keys said. “Luckily the pain meds kicked in.”

“I mean, it definitely feels amazing,” said the teenager about the victory. “It’s one of those things where you want to feel this way all the time. But it’s not, you know, this unbelievable excitement either ’cause you want to keep winning and you want to keep doing better. I am very happy and I am very excited, but also not getting too far ahead of myself and being too content where I am.”

This is the third straight year that a teenager has reached the Australian Open semifinals: 2013 – Sloane Stephens, 2014 – Eugenie Bouchard and 2015 – Keys.

“I think Genie and Sloane are both really talented and can play some really good tennis,” Keys said.” It’s not super surprising they made semifinals. But, no, it’s one of those things when you see some of your fellow peers doing well, going deep in tournaments, it’s inspirational. Makes you kind of believe that you can do the same.”

About how Venus sees Keys’ future: “Sky’s the limit. There is no limit on what you can achieve. No one can stop you. Sometimes you may not win every match, but there’s a lot of them you can win. Really the sky’s the limit for her and anyone out there.”

On playing Serena next, Keys said: “It’s just one of those things where I have to go out and I have to do my best and I have to really just have to stay focused on my side of the court, because she’s obviously very, very good and she’s going to play very well. So if I get too focused on what she’s doing I think I can kind of let the moment get away from me. So I’m just really going to stay focused on myself.”

Serena on playing Keys:“I think she likes the surface. I’m just happy to be in the semis, and whatever happens an American will be in the final.”

“She’s playing great. I told her I was really happy that she did well. She’s in the semis. It’s good to see another American, another African American, in the semifinals playing so well. Regardless, there’s going to be an American in the finals, so that is great. It’s also great for me and Venus because we know that finally there’s other Americans that are constantly playing well and playing better, showing that they want to be the world’s greatest.”

On the men’s side of the draw, No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka posted straight set wins to reach the semifinals. Djokovic defeated Milos Raonic 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-2 to gain his 25 major semifinal, while defending champion Wawrinka dominated Kei Nishokori with a powerful backhand 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (6).

This sets up a repeat of the last year’s dramatic quarterfinal which Wawrinka won in five sets.

 

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Venus Williams Reaches First Grand Slam Quarterfinal Since 2010

(January 26, 2015) Seven-time major champion and former No. 1 Venus Williams reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal since 2010 on Monday when she upset No. 6 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 at the Australian Open.

Venus Williams is one win away from a potential semifinal match against her sister Serena Williams. The 34-year-old Venus will play 19-year-old American Madison Keys in the quarterfinals.

Williams had not been past the fourth round of any major since Wimbledon in 2011. Venus Williams had been formally diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome in the fall of 2011. The auto-immune disorder causes extreme fatigue.

No. 18 Williams was aggressive in her play against Radwanska – she hit 43 winners and made 36 unforced errors to her opponent’s 23 winners and 19 unforced errors.

Williams came into the net with success, winning 24 out of 40 points there.

Venus was broken to begin the third set and then surged past Radwanska.

“Honestly, I don’t know, “Williams said. “I just felt like in the third set I was trying to get back to the form that I was in in the first set. I didn’t do a lot wrong in that first game. It was just overhit some, missed an easy one that would have definitely helped my cause. It was frustrating but I stayed focused and I wanted to just continue playing like I did in the first game because it was really the right way to play.”

With the win, it marks the 21st time that both Venus and Serena have reached the quarterfinals of the same major.

“For me I’m just really focused and poised right now,” said Venus. “I feel like I’ve been here before, so it’s not like I’m jumping up and down for joy, Oh, shoot, what is this? I’ve never done this. Yes, I’ve done this. This is what I’m always going into each tournament thinking I want to do, even when I fall short. It’s definitely not the first time. I guess that’s how I feel.”

“I think I played well when it mattered. Her style of game was completely different than the first three players I played. The first three players I played tried to blast me off the court. This was the first time there was any sort of rhythm at all. The way she hits the ball is so different. A lot of times, especially for a player like me, you feel like, Wow, why am I not hitting more winners? That’s not just always the answer. It’s definitely a balance between being aggressive and being patient and being smart because the way she plays is very deceptive. Not everyone plays that way. Definitely a good win against her.”

Serena Williams Gets French Open Revenge to Reach Australian Open Quarterfinals

 

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Notes and Quotes from Day 4 of the 2015 Australian Open

VenusWilliamsFedCup

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

 

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

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

 

Q. Helped playing her in your last tournament?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Q. Are you driving in Melbourne again?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Q. Nothing to do with the heat?

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

 

Q. That wasn’t the reason?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uh-uh.

 

Q. Were doctors consulted as part of the reasoning?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Q. Level of tennis, I suppose.

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

 

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

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

 

Q. Is business tougher than tennis?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Q. You do a little better today?

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

 

 

Q. Things really clicked halfway through?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Q. She also seems just really happy.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah.

 

Q. And in a good place.

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Q. Just affects on singles for both of you.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Sure.

 

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

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

 

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

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, wow.

 

Q. You didn’t know about that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No.

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

SERENA WILLIAMS: Deflate Gate?

 

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

SERENA WILLIAMS: No way.

 

Q. It’s true.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Allegedly or for real?

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Q. How much does the ball affect your play?

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

 

Q. Patriots or Seahawks?

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Q. Would you do that?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

STAN WAWRINKA: What?

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Q. You have a question for me?

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

 

Q. About your outfit?

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

 

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

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Perfect, okay.

 

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

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

 

Q. It’s up to you.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: But fashion advice.

 

Q. It’s a lot of one color.

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

 

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

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

 

Q. Do you sympathize with her at all?

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

 

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

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

 

Q. But then you continued playing with such intensity.

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Q. Yes. It’s Australian.

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

 

Q. What do you attribute your success here to?

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

 

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

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

 

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

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yes.

 

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

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

 

Q. What caused the turnaround in the match?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

Start of Player Photo

Coco Vandeweghe
Coco Vandeweghe bio
Transcribed Interview Transcribed Interview

Start of Transcribed Interview

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

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

 

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

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

 

Q. You’ve enjoyed WTT for that reason?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Q. Watched you play Serena at the US Open.

COCO VANDEWEGHE: I got spanked, yeah.

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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Notes and Quotes from Day 2 of the 2015 Australian Open

Serena Williams

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

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

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

 

Your outfit today was pretty awesome.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Thank you.

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Q. Pizza?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Q. You would order something gluten free?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Gluten free coffee maybe (smiling).

 

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

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

 

 

Q. Busy with EleVen stuff?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Q. This isn’t a farewell tour?

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Q. She’s a she?

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

 

Q. Are you going to teach your kids tennis?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Q. Will Dennis be changing diapers with you?

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

Q. So you can’t watch it?

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

 

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

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

 

Q. But you want him to stay?

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

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

Djokovic melbourne

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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2015 Australian Open Women’s Contender Profiles

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

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

2014 Record: 52-8

Grand Slam Record: 259-39

Australian Open Record: 61-9

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

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

 

Maria Sharapova

2014 Record: 49-13

Grand Slam Record: 165-40

Australian Open Record: 42-10

Australian Open Best Result: Won (2008)

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

 

Simona Halep

2014 Record: 46-16

Grand Slam Record: 27-18

Australian Open Record: 6-4

Australian Open Best Result: QF (2014)

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

 

Petra Kvitova

2014 Record: 43-16

Grand Slam Record: 64-24

Australian Open Record: 11-6

Australian Open Best Result: SF (2012)

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

 

Ana Ivanovic

2014 Record: 58-17

Grand Slam Record: 97-39

Australian Open Record: 24-10

Australian Open Best Result: RU (2008)

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

 

Agnieszka Radwanska

2014 Record: 47-22

Grand Slam Record: 90-34

Australian Open Record: 24-8

Australian Open Best Result: SF (2014)

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

 

Eugenie Bouchard

2014 Record: 43-22

Grand Slam Record: 23-7

Australian Open Record: 5-1

Australian Open Best Result: SF (2014)

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

 

Caroline Wozniacki

2014 Record: 49-19

Grand Slam Record: 79-31

Australian Open Record: 22-7

Australian Open Best Result: SF (2011)

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

 

Angelique Kerber

2014 Record: 47-24

Grand Slam Record: 48-28

Australian Open Record: 11-7

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

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

 

Ekaterina Makarova

2014 Record: 41-21

Grand Slam Record: 48-29

Australian Open Record: 18-7

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

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

 

Dominika Cibulkova

2014 Record: 32-24

Grand Slam Record: 53-29

Australian Open Record: 13-7

Australian Open Best Result: RU (2014)

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

 

Flavia Pennetta

2014 Record: 33-20

Grand Slam Record: 69-45

Australian Open Record: 13-11

Australian Open Best Result: QF (2014)

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

 

Andrea Petkovic

2014 Record: 41-23

Grand Slam Record: 31-20

Australian Open Record: 6-5

Australian Open Best Result: QF (2011)

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

 

Venus Williams

2014 Record: 32-14

Grand Slam Record: 221-57

Australian Open Record: 41-14

Australian Open Best Result: RU (2003)

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

 

Victoria Azarenka

2014 Record: 15-9

Grand Slam Record: 101-32

Australian Open Record: 32-7

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

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

 

 

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Venus Williams Wins Auckland for 46th Career Title

Venus wins Auckland

(January 9, 2015) In a face-off between two former No. 1s, Venus Williams rebounded from dropping the opening set to defeat top seed Caroline Wozniacki 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 to win the ASB Classic in Auckland New Zealand. For Williams it was her 46th career singles title. She is second among active players in titles behind her sister Serena.

Williams, who had never dropped a set in five previous meeting with Wozniacki, fought back in the second set, rallying from being down a break after the opening game.

“The first set went fast,” Williams said. “After that I was like, ‘All right, time to take it to three.’ But of course with her playing that well, I had to find a way just to get it to three. In the first set she was serving so well. She had an amazing first serve percentage, all those amazing passing shots, even her mis-hits were too good. But I just tried to stay level-headed in the second set and focus on holding, and cut down on my unforced errors too, and it worked for me today.”

Williams took control in the third set breaking in the third game for a 2-1 lead and held on to win.

Williams hit 40 winners which included six aces.

Williams at 34,  became the fourth oldest winner of a WTA event, behind Billie Jean King, Kimiko Date-Krumm and Martina Navratilova.

“I am an old tennis player now,” said Williams said during the trophy ceremony.

“I waited until I was 33 until I came to New Zealand and that was the biggest mistakes of my life.”

“I want to congratulate Venus for a great week,” Wozniacki said.

“Week after week you work so hard and you have been on tour for so long I have a picture on my phone when I was 12 and you told me to stay in school.”

“I remember telling (Wozniacki) to stay in school,” Williams said. “But I didn’t know you would get so good.”

“Venus played really well,” Wozniacki added. “She’s had a great week. I served really well at the start, and I was putting a lot of pressure on her, but she played better and better as the match went on.”

Top seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci from Italy took the doubles title in straight sets 6-2, 6-1 from Shuko Aoyama of Japan and Renata Voracova of the Czech Republic.

More to follow.

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Wozniacki and Venus Williams Open 2015 with wins in Auckland

Venus wins

(January 6, 2015) Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams began the new year on winning notes in Auckland at the ASB Classic. Top seed Wozniacki beat qualifier Julia Glushko of Israel 6-3, 6-2 while American Williams dominated Jana Cepelova of Slovakia 6-1, 6-0 in less than an hour.

“I was welcomed when I came on the court and I felt like I left off right from last year,” said last year’s finalist Williams. “I felt comfortable right away.”

ASB CLASSIC 2015 – AUCKLAND, NZL
$ 250,000.00
5-10 JANUARY 2015

RESULTS – JANUARY 06, 2015
Singles – First Round
[1] C Wozniacki (DEN) d [Q] J Glushko (ISR) 63 62
[3] V Williams (USA) d J Cepelova (SVK) 61 60
[Q] L Hradecka (CZE) d [5] S Kuznetsova (RUS) 36 76(6) 64
[7] C Vandeweghe (USA) d R Vinci (ITA) 57 62 63
J Goerges (GER) d [Q] A Tatishvili (USA) 61 64
M Erakovic (NZL) d M Puig (PUR) 75 26 64
K Flipkens (BEL) d J Larsson (SWE) 76(1) 16 76(3)
E Vesnina (RUS) d K Mladenovic (FRA) 76(5) 62
[Q] U Radwanska (POL) d F Schiavone (ITA) 64 75

Doubles – First Round
[1] S Errani (ITA) / R Vinci (ITA) d Y Beygelzimer (UKR) / E Hrdinova (CZE) 26 62 10-1
[2] A Hlavackova (CZE) / L Hradecka (CZE) d D Hantuchova (SVK) / F Schiavone (ITA) 64 64
[4] S Aoyama (JPN) / R Voracova (CZE) d S Fichman (CAN) / M Sanchez (USA) 76(4) 62
P Martic (CRO) / A Tatishvili (USA) d [WC] R Cheng (NZL) / K Westbury (NZL) 60 62
D Jurak (CRO) / M Moulton-Levy (USA) d M Barthel (GER) / M Minella (LUX) 63 67(3) 10-5

ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 07, 2015
CENTRE start 12:00 noon
A Konjuh (CRO) vs E Vesnina (RUS)
K Nara (JPN) vs [3] V Williams (USA)
[4] B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) vs M Erakovic (NZL)

Not Before 6:30 pm
[1] C Wozniacki (DEN) vs [WC] T Townsend (USA)
[6] S Stephens (USA) vs L Davis (USA)

GRANDSTAND start 12:00 noon
K Flipkens (BEL) vs [7] C Vandeweghe (USA)

Not Before 1:30 pm
[Q] U Radwanska (POL) vs D Hantuchova (SVK)
[1] S Errani (ITA) / R Vinci (ITA) vs N Melichar (USA) / L Siegemund (GER)

Not Before 5:00 pm
After suitable rest – [3] J Goerges (GER) / A Groenefeld (GER) vs P Martic (CRO) / A Tatishvili (USA)

COURT 2 start 2:30 pm
J Goerges (GER) vs [Q] L Hradecka (CZE)

 

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Serena Williams Hit the Road for the Ultimate RUN South Beach for Charity

 

Serena Williams Live Ultimate Run

Serena Williams Live Ultimate Run

 

(December 14, 2014) Most likely inspired by her close friend and fellow tennis pro Caroline Wozniacki, who completed the New York City Marathon in November, tennis’ world No. 1 Serena Williams hit the road with more than two thousand runners from South Florida and around the country for the inaugural Serena Williams Ultimate RUN South Beach on Sunday.

Williams ran her first quarter marathon among others who also participated in the 5K Run/Walk and Team Challenge – bringing together runners of all ages and abilities. The run raised money for the Serena Williams Fund, which provides assistance to families affected by violent crimes and providing underprivileged youth around the world with the highest quality of education available to them. Serena’s sister, Venus Williams, also gave her support by running the 5K.

Serena Williams Live Ultimate Run

Serena who completed the 6. 55 mile run in 1 hour 14 minutes, said after the race:  “Today’s run was so enjoyable and the spirit of everyone who came out was so passionate which helped me to build the energy I needed for my first quarter marathon.  I’ve never ran that far before, so I had to pace myself, but I was pleased with my finish time.  I’d like to thank all the sponsors and everyone who participated in the run to help raise money for underprivileged youth around the world.”

South Beach’s famous Ocean Drive which was closed to traffic for the Ultimate Run’s was the scene for the start and finish for the race. The course took runners through South Beach. Past New York City Marathon, Boston Marathon winner and 1984 Olympian, Alberto Salazar, fired the starting gun for the Ultimate Run.

Serena Williams Live Ultimate Run
“Our inaugural Serena Williams Ultimate Run was quite a memorable event,” said Marc Wachter, the event’s executive producer. “Runners of all ages and abilities were very excited to come out in their thousands on a very early and crisp Miami December morning to run alongside Serena for a great cause.  We are thrilled to have had such an iconic athlete behind the first in our Ultimate Run series and Serena’s enthusiasm really gave every participant the Ultimate experience.  We look forward to making this one of Miami’s most popular sporting occasions on South Florida’s annual event calendar.”

Event sponsors included Nike, Gatorade, Delta, Beats by Dre and MISSION Athletecare.

 

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Serena Williams Receives Written Apology from Russia’s Tennis Chief

Serena Williams

(October 23, 2014) Serena Williams told media in Singapore at the WTA Finals on Thursday that she has received a written apology from Russian Tennis President Shamil Tarpischev.

During her post-match news conference after dismantling Eugenie Bouchard 6-1, 6-1 said: “Yes, I have received ‑‑ he has reached out to apologize to both myself and my sister.”

“It was written. No, I did not speak to him,” Williams added.

The WTA fined and suspended Tarpischev for offensive comments made during his appearance on a Russian TV show including referring to the Williams sisters as the “Williams brothers.”

The WTA fines the Russian tennis chief $25,000 and suspended from tour for a year.

 

Related articles:

Serena Williams Responds to Shamil Tarpischev Comments

Update: WTA Fines and Suspends Shamil Tarpischev for Williams Sisters Comments

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