Players “Meet the Press” During Media Day at The BNP Paribas OpenEmbed from Getty Images
(March 7, 2018) INDIAN WELLS , CALIFORNIA – Wednesday was “Media Day” at the BNP Paribas Open. Some of the top seeded players fielded questions from media. Seeded player Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Grigor Dimitrov, Jelena Ostapenko, Garbine Muguruza, Jack Sock, Alexander Zverev, Juan Martin del Potro, Karolina Pliskova, Caroline Garcia, Kevin Anderson, Simona Halep, Marin Cilic, and Elina Svitolina took questions during the round-table interviews.
Venus Williams: On playing Tie Break Tens at Madison Square Garden earlier in the week: “You know it’s not easy playing tiebreakers. I’ll need more practice next time. It was cold too, I had a hard time warming up in the winter, I need a summer place to play. Outside of that, it was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it.”
Things that have changed since she first started the tour: “The competition is deeper and the courts are much slower, so those two things have changed a lot.
“You just have to be ready for every ball to come back,” she said about the slower courts.
“The tennis life, you have a lot of freedom because of it, but also there is no freedom at all.”
No freedom:”All you ever do is play tennis and go to the gym.” Her love remains the same despite this “lack of freedom,” (must love the game) or you don’t do the work.”
Asked if she knew about the 1-million-dollar bonus to the person who wins both singles and doubles, she said: ‘Is the doubles draw closed?”
“I might not be in it this year but next year. I love playing doubles though.”
Caroline Wozniacki: The Australian Open champion talked about having the the top ranking again and the difference from six years ago. “I think what I appreciate most is I think I realized when I was 20 years old I reached No. 1 for the first time you enjoy it, but you keep putting so much pressure on yourself.”
“I think everything that I achieved after that, once I wasn’t No. 1 anymore but I was still up there, it’s all about the process. It’s not about getting there because even when I got to number one, I was like ‘Yeah, but I have a match the next day still.’ I still have my dad telling me to keep moving my feet.”
Alexander Zverev: On proposed Davis Cup changes: “I think a Davis Cup should be like the World Cup in soccer where it’s played once, once every two years once every four years and we play it over three, four weeks in the summer at some point and play it in the same nation and go from city to city and have group stages, quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. Different stadiums, locations.”
“I think the Davis Cup titles should be the biggest title a tennis player can win. I think the Davis Cup lost that a little bit of it’s value. If they do something like that and make it really huge event every once in two years. Once in four years, where like in soccer, if you win it your world champion. Not only are you the world champion but your country is.”
On his split with Juan Carlos Ferrero which his former coach blamed on Zverev always being late for practice, Zverev responsed: “I ended the relationship because of what happened in Australia, but I’ve said that before.To be very honest, I was never late for practice in my life. I don’t know where that is coming from.”
Juan Martin del Potro: “I didn’t expect to be in the Top 10 again after all my wrist problems, but I didn’t expect to win a medal in Rio I didn’t expect to win the Davis Cup,” del Potro said. “Everything is amazing for me and my heart. Emotionally, it’s difficult to match all of this love from the crowd, from the fans, that’s what I like. I think everybody knows my effort to come back and play tennis and they are happy just to see me play tennis.
“I love to feel that energy from the fans, from the crowd. It doesn’t happen a lot with other players. And also I feel like I have many fans cheering for me, supporting me and that’s an extra motivation to play good tennis around the world.
“I think the people know all my effort to fix my wrist problems. I did three surgeries on my left one and one surgery on my right hand in 2010. I never give up and I’m still dealing with pains every day and I’m doing treatment two or three hours a day to feel good for playing tennis. It’s not easy for a person who is 29 years old. You have to deal with many problems every day just to do what I want to do and the people know that and they see me playing with much love and much passion and I think it’s a good thing for the fans too.”
On the proposed Davis Cup changes: “I don’t know too much about the changes, but I think that if anything change for the future in a better way for the young players will be great. But I don’t know if I will be in that moment for the changes.
“I think that did my best playing Davis Cup, me and many partners won the Davis Cup for the first time in our history two years ago and it was enough for my heart and now I’m very..I think I’m done with that challenge.”
Marin Cilic: On proposed Davis Cup changes: “I think it’s very good, very good for tennis. Something we have been talking about as long as I have been on the tour, for 10-12 years at least. As the format was quite difficult with playing four weeks in a year. I played that in 2016 season and also for our team, playing most of the matches most of the time so I know how difficult it is.
“Now the possibility to play in one week, I think it’s definitely great for tennis. It can be definitely even bigger boost for more fans in tennis. When one team, last year France and Belgium played the final. I think you know, if one nation is playing, earlier in the draw in the quarters or in the first round, then the fans from that nation, maybe not following as much. If it’s a one-week tournament, I think that most of the teams, most of the fans are going to be watching until the end.”
Questioned about missing a “home tie” with all of the teams playing in the same location, Cilic said: “Yes and no. We haven’t experienced the format the players wanted to play best-of-three sets to have it a little bit shorter. I think in this way, choosing between these two options, I would choose to play rather in the one-week tournament. Still the fans can come, I know it’s not the same, but still to play, 4 to 5 hours every single day for three days, its very difficult. I’m in Davis Cup since 2006 and I’ve been missing only ties when I was injured. It’s very difficult. It’s gets you to the point much longer and also, you have to take care of your body and prepare for the season too.”
Elina Svitolina: The winner of Tie Break Tens talked about her first time being time Madison Square Garden. “It was really awesome,” so when I got an invitation to play there, there was no other answer then yes, I was thrilled to play there.”
Because of the uniqueness of the event, Svitolina admitted that when she won, she did not realize what the score was. “After the final I forgot, that I finished. It’s a bit tricky but I have to be straight into the match.
“I can start the match pretty much chilled. It’s good.”
“When you start, the first tie is like exhibition, then the second you are winning okay, it’s exhibition, you try to do something, but finally when you realize there is some money, you are like Okay, let’s get back into mode and try to win. Not every day you are playing in Madison Square Garden and playing for so much money. Of course it’s a part of exhibition, (I’m) very lucky to be one of these players, who play there. “It’s just amazing.”
“Playing there (Madison Square Garden) I was very, very lucky.”