Say What!?! – Quotes from the First Week of 2018 Wimbledon
(July 8, 2018) Some of the more unusual questions and/or answers from 2018 Wimbledon news conferences during the first week of the fortnight.
July 2, 2018
Q. I don’t know if you have to congratulate more because of your win or the $300 million deal with Uniqlo until you’re 47 years old.
ROGER FEDERER: It’s good you know my contract or you have no clue and you’re just saying something (smiling).
Yeah, I’m very happy on both ends, absolutely. I’m happy to be back at Wimbledon. I was really able to enjoy the match out there because I got off to a good start. When you get off to a good start in set one and two, you’re able to just enjoy the moment more than when you’re struggling early on, especially at the tournament like I explained yesterday. There is always pressure and nerves when you go into a first round.
Also I was excited to wear Uniqlo today. I must tell you, it’s been a long time coming. I felt very good out there. It’s also crucial to play well, so it was helpful.
Q. I wanted to ask you about your Nike hat, the Roger Federer hat. I hear they still have that, but you can’t use it right now. Will that end at some point? What happens with it?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, so the RF logo is with Nike at the moment, but it will come to me at some point. I hope rather sooner than later, that Nike can be nice and helpful in the process to bring it over to me. It’s also something that was very important for me, for the fans really.
Look, it’s the process. But the good news is that it will come with me at one point. They are my initials. They are mine. The good thing is it’s not theirs forever. In a short period of time, it will come to me.
Obviously we also need to figure out with Uniqlo when at one point we can start selling clothes for the public as well. All this has just gotten underway. We’re hopeful the beginning of next year people can also start buying my stuff. For the moment, as fast at retailing as they are, as great as they are, it just needs a bit of time.
Q. One thing that’s changed, LeBron James went to the Lakers. As someone who has followed basketball a little bit more, what are your thoughts?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I kind of had a feeling that was what he was going to do. Good for him, I guess. I don’t really have any other opinions on that other than it’s going to be interesting to see now if and when other players are going to join the Lakers, whether they can put a fight up against the Warriors.
Q. What happened to the leggings?
MILOS RAONIC: The leggings? I didn’t need them.
Q. I just noticed that you have something on a ring finger. Something new that we don’t know, missing some news?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no.
Q. Maybe married or something?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I’ve been wearing this all year. You got to be a little faster (smiling).
Q. Always the same person?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Now look…
Q. I have a question outside the tennis. I’m from Switzerland. I was wondering if you are aware that your family or the family name Isner is coming from Switzerland, that you have roots in Switzerland? Did you know that?
JOHN ISNER: Oh, well, I knew that it could have been Swiss but also German a little bit. I have never met another Isner. For some reason back in the United States there are a lot of Isners in the state of West Virginia, so that’s bizarre. So it’s not a common last name. You know, maybe I can tell Roger I’m Swiss now (laughter).
So we have that in common.
Q. Apparently there is somebody who does this research, and your family is really coming from Switzerland.
JOHN ISNER: Really? My family? My, my family? Maybe they are Swiss-German.
Q. It’s really very much origin from…
JOHN ISNER: Did they get some of my DNA or something to do that?
Q. No. I think somebody even murdered somebody in the war.
JOHN ISNER: All right. I’m going to bring that up to Roger, actually.
Q. So you never heard about that?
JOHN ISNER: Thank you for mentioning that.
Q. Were there any grass courts in Greece growing up?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: None (smiling). Only at the fields where the cows were. Maybe.
Q. You have a very peculiar way of getting into a trance, concentrate. Because from your entourage there is a lot of shouting in Greek, in Russian.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah.
Q. What tricks do you use to get yourself into a trance, concentration-wise?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Well, just I would say focus on the present and not think too much of the future or the past what happened before and stay concentrated on every point I played. It’s an opportunity for me to win the point, and I’m just trying to find solutions, how I can open the court well, approach, serve well.
So being calm when I play is very important. Sometimes it’s not easy because there is a lot of tension, people shouting expectations from your team to do a little bit better. But at the end, staying calm and positive is the most important thing for me. Just helps me play so much better.
Q. Can you shut down, or do you still hear from your father, your mother?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Depends on the situation. If, let’s say, there are some moments where I feel more like close to myself, some other moments where everything is maybe just going not the way I wanted to go, and there might be, you know, like complaints from my side, I might start complaining or shouting. But I think it’s — I just think it’s human. Yeah.
July 3, 2018
Q. Congratulations on the record of appearing at Grand Slams, beating Roger Federer. I’m sure you would say luck, but what, besides luck and good fortune, is the secret of your longevity?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: I think the way I play maybe also. I think I don’t play so many rallies. Also my technique. I play quite easy, so I don’t make a huge effort in every single shot that I play. That’s also important.
I don’t know. I haven’t, you know, suffered any big injuries in my career. This is the most important thing. And also mentally I have the strength enough to be, you know, playing so many years (smiling).
Q. What’s in your drink?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: I cannot tell you. (Laughter.)
No, it’s a recovery drink. I don’t really know. My trainer, he prepares for me after matches, yeah.
Q. At a time when Roger and Rafa and Novak have a lot of the records, how does it feel for you to have a record like that? What does it mean?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: Well, when I was about breaking the record, I thought, wow, I’m going to beat Federer at something, which is a lot already. (Laughter.) Just it’s only a number, and I’m really proud of my consistency. Is not about, you know, the number of Grand Slams played. It’s about how many years have been playing, you know, at the top level. This is the most important thing.
Q. I think one of the reasons we pay a lot of attention to this record is that it is a very hard one to achieve. Some players have done a lot to get it. I think Wayne Ferrero walked on court with a broken ankle just to get the record when he broke it. Does it sort of represent something important to you?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: Yeah, of course. Of course it means a lot to me. As I said before, it’s not about reaching this number of the most consecutive Grand Slams played. It’s about being 15 years or more playing at the top level.
For me, after 30 years always so important to be competitive and to challenge the best players in the world. This is what I thought at this stage of my career was the most important thing, to stay healthy and to be able to compete against these monsters, because for me I played in the past against other monsters, but after the 30s it was so important for me to stay fresh and healthy, just to challenge these animals, because they are very — the level overall is getting higher and higher in the last decade.
So for me that was so important. I knew I need to do something different, and I was just, you know, trying to — I was taking care of my body. I was trying to do a lot of prevention for the injuries with my trainer. And I was very lucky, also, I have to say.
Q. You talked about your baking quite a lot last year, how that helped to take the edge off. It’s early days, I’m wondering what extracurricular activities you have going on at the minute on the side? I think you also promised Novak Djokovic some gluten-free treats.
JOHANNA KONTA: Well, I mean, if it was only gluten-free. I have a lot more criteria to meet than that. I will try.
He’s a no sugar, no dairy, but I can do alternatives to sugar, Xylitol, alternatives to dairy, coconut milk, almond milk. I haven’t thought up or even researched a recipe for something like that.
However, I’m really proud of this. I don’t know if you follow me on social media, but I made a Pavlova for the first time a couple days ago. It was the first time I ever made meringue. It was a strawberry, mint and elderflower Pavlova, and it looked unbelievable. It also tasted really good. It was the first time I ever had meringue or Pavlova in general. I didn’t know what to expect. I kept looking to my boyfriend, Is it good? Is it good? He said it was good, but I’ll take it.
So, yeah, I feel quite chuffed about that one. I actually cook a lot more than I bake. I don’t post it as much. I think I need to post my cooking more, like I marinated lamb two nights ago, made it last night. That was very good. I think I’m going to make a traybake this afternoon, this evening. I still have the elderflower cordial, so I’m going to make raspberry and elderflower traybake. You might see the big box coming in.
Q. Wimbledon say they’ll probably have a shot clock next year like the US Open is going to have. Do you have any opinion on it, whether you thought it was a good or bad idea?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: A what?
Q. Shot clock, 25 seconds.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: They are trying to make us faster. I think if this changes work for the fans, for the television, and for us as well, it could be a good opportunity to improve our game, too. We are trying to adapt to these kind of things.
But I think they are okay.
July 6, 2018
Q. What are your feelings about being one of only two players in the top 10 seeds to make it this far here?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I don’t care in the draw if they are seeded or not. It’s important to me that I’m in the draw. Even though they are not seeded, I think all the players are pretty strong and playing very good tennis. They wouldn’t be there without playing good level here.
I think it’s very open with this. Every tournament there are some surprises that some seeded players are losing. I think there’s always quite big pressure on the seeded players.
Yeah, I think it’s very lucky that almost all of the top 10, only me and Simona, we are in. It’s tennis. Everything is possible. You can see, like, everybody is playing great tennis. Even today I could lose. There’s so many close matches. For me it’s important I’m in the draw still.
Q. Serena Williams is looking very strong at the moment, in your half of the draw. Is that a worry for you? Is she the person to beat in your half of the draw?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: She’s not in my next round, so far I don’t care about her. I know she’s been winning also couple matches, tough one today. I beat her in US Open, so there is no reason why I should be worried.
Q. I’ve seen you on YouTube playing guitar. Do you have the guitar with you?
KEVIN ANDERSON: I do. And I’m going to go see Jack Johnson tonight, so maybe play a few of his songs today. That will be pretty fun to see. Yeah, I have it with me and I have a couple days off so maybe I’ll get in a bit more guitar time.
Q. You timed this press conference perfectly, at the halftime. How annoying was it to be scheduled at the same time as the match (referring to the World Cup)?
GAEL MONFILS: I knew it. At the end you have to think about you first. My first question when I go out to the court is, What was the score? It was 0-0. I tried to rush.
I was lucky enough to see Raphael Varane score. Perfect so far.
Q. Will France win the World Cup? Will Monfils win Wimbledon?
GAEL MONFILS: We try to go win this match I think step by step. Me, I’m very far of winning anything now.
Q. Marion Bartoli has criticized your work ethic when it comes to Grand Slams. Is that a bit unfair?
GAEL MONFILS: You know, it’s easy to criticize people when you don’t know them. So I won’t even pay any attention about it.
Q. Your agent said you had a tremendous appetite for fashion.
ROGER FEDERER: I like to eat it. I like to eat my clothes (laughter).
Q. Now you finally love grass?
JOHN ISNER: Well, with grass that’s not Newport, Rhode Island (smiling). But I like this grass. The courts are super firm this year. I really feel like they are playing like a hard court, which is my favorite surface.
Q. I talked a little bit to Patrick Mouratoglou about you yesterday. He was very impressed with your fighting spirit. I know you’re Greek and Russian heritage, your parents are Russian and Greek. Where does that come from? Is that the Greek side of you? The Russian side? Or both?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Sparta.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah.
Q. You said something earlier that was interesting. You said you have nothing to lose. That’s something that a lot of the top players who have gone out have said about the young, unseeded players, why they’re so tough to play. How do you get yourself into that mindset of having nothing to lose when it would seem you have everything to lose, you’re Serena?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, I don’t. I’ve won Wimbledon seven times. I don’t even remember all the times I’ve won. I can’t tell you what happened on match point, so…
I don’t necessarily have to win another Wimbledon in my career, saying I won — was it six times?
Q. It was seven.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was seven, okay. See, I don’t even remember (laughter).
I don’t have anything to lose. I have absolutely nothing to prove. Yeah, everything is a bonus. Every time I step out there, I know what I’m capable of. I know every Grand Slam, I’ve won ’em, I’m capable of just going out there and enjoying it.
Now, that doesn’t always happen, but that’s how I try to think.
Q. When will Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, get to see you win your number eight?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I have to keep winning.
Q. Have you set a date when she’s going to come see you play?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. One day at a time. Like I said, I’ve got to keep winning.
Q. When you made your mixed doubles success here a couple years ago, were you surprised at how small the prize money was?
KRISTINA MLADENOVIC: I don’t remember my prize money (smiling). Why? Was it small?
Q. It’s always just much smaller in mixed, is the thing.
KRISTINA MLADENOVIC: It’s smaller in mixed?
Q. Much smaller in mixed than in women’s doubles, for example.
KRISTINA MLADENOVIC: Yeah, well, yes, I guess. But mixed, we only have four times a year, so I’m not the one deciding rules and prize money.
Q. You have spoken a bit about how you’re not the biggest fan of grass. At what point in your career did you realize maybe you could do something on this?
KIKI BERTENS: Well, to be honest, coming to Wimbledon, like, being in the fourth round here, I would definitely sign already for that.
But I think I can play really well on grass, like when my serve is going well, when I really play aggressive, when I believe in it, then I think I can play well.
Yeah, it all has to come together. I think today was one of those days.
Q. Would you say grass then is more mental for you, having the belief?
KIKI BERTENS: Yeah, it’s just having to believe also. I have to go a little bit more for my shots. I have to make more mistakes. I find it really tough to accept the mistakes.
Yeah, you have to go for it a little bit more.
Q. On clay, you said when you’re on clay your game might be 20% better, but in your head it’s 80% better. So on grass…
KIKI BERTENS: I think, yeah, I can play well on grass. Everyone keeps on telling me that. But still I’m not really believing it. I’m trying really to believe it. But, it’s tough. I still find it tough, like, to believe that I can play really well, to beat the top players.
But, yeah, today I did, so yeah.
Q. How do you feel about the plan to go back to 16 seeds?
SAM QUERREY: Is that just for Australia?
Q. No, Grand Slam committee, so it would be for all…
SAM QUERREY: Oh, I hope that doesn’t happen. I like the 32 seeds.
Q. On what basis?
SAM QUERREY: A lot of times I float around between 17 and 32. (Laughter.)
That’s the honest truth. That’s why I don’t want that changing.
Q. What do you think is better for the game? Forgetting about you for the moment.
SAM QUERREY: I don’t know. I am a fan of trying new things in tennis. So, you know, if they want to try that for three years and see if we get great matchups and it works and the fans like it, that’s fine with me.
I’m just, me personally, I don’t want it.
Q. Are you a little bit masochist?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Masochist?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: What’s a masochist?
Q. You go down two sets here, then you win 6-2, 6-1.
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I don’t know what a masochist is. I won 6-1, 6-2 fourth and fifth. It was very easy.
Q. Nadal and Roger try to come in. Do you work in adding more variety to your game?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Says here I came to the net 31 times, so… That’s enough for me. I’m not going to come in much more than that.
July 7, 2018
Q. Was it a slightly eerie sensation, (Centre Court) less full than usual given the England match?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, I wasn’t really looking around. I didn’t really notice anything.
Q. Why didn’t you like it ( grass courts) before and what was the change?
BENOIT PAIRE: I was young and I was a little bit stupid. So that’s why I didn’t like. I was not expecting to play good with my game on this surface, but with my serve and with my hand finally I really appreciate to play on grass.
Q. When you said to the umpire, You are a zero, what did you mean exactly?
BENOIT PAIRE: Zero is because when you stay on the chair and you don’t make an overrule and you just announce the score, I think I can do the job. So we don’t need one chair umpire if it’s just to stay and say the score.
Because for me, he has to do his job, he has to take some risk, he has to make some overrule. Yeah, sometimes he say the line very far from me so I’m not sure. But every time it was serve just in front of him and it was not one millimeter, it was every time on the line very clear. I say you’re a zero because you have to do something.
Q. Did you mean it in the sense, I would give you 0 out of 10 as an umpire?
BENOIT PAIRE: No, maybe 1 or 2 just for announcement of the score, because he did a good job. So “new balls,” “15-Love,” it was a good job for him today. But after, no.
Q. Are you a betting man? Who do you think will win Wimbledon this year?
MILOS RAONIC: Am I a betting man? I don’t bet (smiling).
Q. The draw, you and Roger, scheduled to meet in the final if you go through. Is that a match you would like to happen again?
RAFAEL NADAL: If I am in the final, I prefer to face an easier opponent. I am not stupid (smiling).
But if I am in the final, will be great news. Any opponent will be difficult, of course.
Q. Given the unpredictability of the draw now…
SIMONA HALEP: Please. Now I’m off. I’m going to holiday.
Q. My question is, in your opinion, who has the ability to make a strong run next week?
SIMONA HALEP: I don’t have the power to think about that. The tournament is open. In my opinion, anyone can win it now in this moment.
Q. It doesn’t seem like it’s really opening up for Serena, who has done so well here in the past, from a player perspective.
SIMONA HALEP: I feel that she has a chance to win it, definitely. But also I see many other players that they have the chance to win it. Depends of the day. Depends of the power, the feelings. Everyone can do it.
Q. I think in your TV interview you talked about how you’ve been eating a lot of strawberries and lobster this week.
HSIEH SU-WEI: There’s a shop in London very famous now, called Burger & Lobster.
Q. You’ve been eating there?
HSIEH SU-WEI: This is my list every year for my team. I will take all my team to the shop and then we enjoy it.
Q. Will you do that again tomorrow?
HSIEH SU-WEI: We need to find something new.
HSIEH SU-WEI: McDonald? My nephew is really picky. I need to ask my nephew first. Before the afternoon tea, my nephew was like, Afternoon tea, afternoon tea.
I said, We will go before we play, relax, it’s okay.
So I need to ask my nephew.
Q. How old is your nephew?
HSIEH SU-WEI: Six years old.
Q. It seems that you’re quite composed any time something isn’t going well for you in matches recently.
ERNESTS GULBIS: Recently (laughter).
Q. Can you sum up your journey from semifinals Roland Garros and to where you’re at now? What happened in all that time?
ERNESTS GULBIS: Follow me. You should follow my results. I was talking to a lot of press during this time. It’s not like I was somewhere completely out of zone. I just was struggling with some injuries. I was half a year completely out. I didn’t play. It was last year.
Yeah, I was on and off with my coach, Gunter Bresnik. Now we’re back together. As soon as we’re back together, put in the work for at least half a year, the results are coming. It was the same story in 2013. The results started to come after approximately half a year of work. This time it’s the same thing. I started to work with him last year little bit before Wimbledon, then we weren’t completely back together. Then after US Open I started to work with him almost full-time, as much time as he could give me. So yeah, this is the story I think.
Q. You just said Sascha will find his way. What is missing at the moment?
ERNESTS GULBIS: I don’t know. I’m not his coach.
Q. You have one of the more unique forehands in the game. Have you developed a lot of comfort with it? Are you still tinkering with it? Is it still the same as four or five years ago?
ERNESTS GULBIS: I never cared the way it looks. I only care the way it feels for me. I was always saying that I always tried to find that my stroke is just relaxed, the swing is relaxed. This is what I’ve been focusing on. How it looks, if it’s here and there some changes, I don’t pay attention to it.
Q. You got a code violation when the line judge came up to the chair umpire to report something. You seemed surprised by that.
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: You just said it. He reported something he heard. You can ask him what he heard.
Q. Do you know what he heard?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: You can ask him what he heard.
Q. I don’t know him.
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: There you go.