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April 07, 2012

Top Tennis Quotes

Here are some short quotes from tennis figures I found amusing or insightful. 

Jim Courier, US Davis Cup captain on intructions he gave his team before their upset of Switzerland with Roger Federer:

Don't give the artist a canvas to work upon. 

Ryan Harrison, rising 19-year-old player, on how Bolliterri teaches its pupils gamesmanship from grunting to stalling:

"There are younger kids at academies like Bollettieri's that are taught to do things that mess with their opponents," he said. "The guy I was playing today [Dimitar Kutrovsky] was trying to dance around during my second serve. I've never been one to do anything, from bathroom breaks to grunting to trying to affect someone's service motion. Anything I've ever done is to try to control my side of the court.

"That's how I was brought up," Harrison said. "My dad never taught me to take bathroom breaks like you see other coaches doing, trying to disrupt someone's rhythm. I've always had the approach that my game is better than yours, and I don't need to disrupt yours because I'm going to do what I can do and that's going to be good enough."

Arthur Ashe on tactics:

"I never hammer a man's weakness, it might become a strength."

TV analyst Mary Carillo, on Ivan Lendl taking scouting to a new level:  

"Lendl used to get replicas of rackets and find out the strong tensions of his rivals, then play with those rackets to see how they responded to different shots."
Robin Soderling on the sad realization that his career may have been suddenly ended by mononucleosis:
"In hindsight, I did wrong. I've always been bad at listening to my body. Maybe I pushed myself too hard when I had glandular fever. It may be the reason why I have not made a quick recovery."

Soderling has no idea when he can return. "I try not to worry because it does not make things better, maybe it makes things worse. But I realize that anything can happen. I could feel good enough for another three years, but that might be too late." 
Sergiy Stakhovsky, on Fed, Nadal, Djoko and the glacial pace of today's tennis (rough translation here):
Q: A conflict between Federer and Nadal…
Federer plays a less physical tennis. Someone has more God-given talent; someone has more of
something else. For me, Nadal is more talented in terms of discipline and hard work. Thanks
to that he became the No.1 player at the time.

But Federer – that’s a tennis player from God, a talent which found “his own” sports field.
One reached success through hard work; the other achieved more, while spending less efforts.

Q: But Nadal is a craftsman, who became a Master by learning a lot from the same Federer.
Everyone learns from Federer. In 2006-2008, Roger moved tennis in an absolutely
different direction.

He played so quickly that everyone followed him. But then the slowing down of courts started.

Q: I almost fell asleep during the 2nd set of the match between Djokovic and Murray in Miami…
That’s an example of systematic percentage tennis – a game without errors.
Djokovic, in fact, is playing like a wall.
... the courts used to be too fast, and they decided to slow it down to make the game 
more colorful. 

But they overdid it. And nobody really liked the final in Australia, which lasted 6 hours.

Roger Federer on prior U.S. Presidential race: 

"I couldn't believe the length of it and the brutality of it, you know."

"So I felt like every president should be extremely tired becoming the president, you know, and this is actually when the job starts. So it's pretty fascinating to watch, I'm definitely going to follow it the next time around the same thing again."

Juan Martin del Potro on the diminutive Nikolay Davydenko, who beat him in the ATP World Cup finals, 2010
"He runs to everywhere. He plays like PlayStation."
Marat Safin on Federer and Nadal: 

Safin on Nadal: "He's much more talented than he looks, because also a lot of people thought he doesn't have such great hands, but apparently he has unbelievable touch. He sees the ball quite well, unbelievable athlete... Also he improved his serve and decided to go to the net. Just he breaks everybody mentally. Before the match, everybody knows that they don't have any chance."

Safin on Federer: "I play against Federer many times, and he just surprised me every time. Each time the way he's moving the ball, the way he changes the pace, the way he's moving, the way he's destroying your game, basically. Takes him four games to destroy you completely. He serves pretty well, he returns, and that's it. Eventually, you just gonna break down."

Safin on Federer vs. Nadal: "Nadal, he got into his [Federer's] brain. Nadal, he just manage to get into his brain. Psychologically Federer cannot beat Nadal. But tennis-wise, I think Federer is much better."

Multi-billionaire Larry Ellison on Rafael Nadal:

“I hit with him for an hour and a half the other day, which was quite an experience,” Ellison, 67, said before gushing about Nadal’s incomparable topspin. “The ball, when it hits the ground, people think it just kicks up high to Roger’s backhand. That’s kind of not the problem. The problem is it kicks away from you sometimes, kicks towards you sometimes. It’s really a difficult shot. He puts just massive amounts of spin, and he can also obviously go very big.”

Maria Sharapova after being told Ana Ivanovic cried after hitting a bad drop shot in their 2008 Australian Open final.

 “That’s sad. (Smiling.)”

SI.com's Courtney Nugyen on court speed:

That the play in Dubai this week has looked a lot more like Ping-Pong than tennis speaks volumes about how slow the rest of the courts on Tour have become. So it’s not surprising, then, that two of the best fast-court players have made the final: Roger Federer and Andy Murray.
Rafael Nadal getting contentious after being told Roger Federer pointed out Nadal's consistent time violations in response to press questions, then being questioned himself about the slow courts at BNP IW:
“I like this court. I don’t know, maybe next year will be much faster if Roger says, no? I have already this week a lot of time violation. That’s the true.”
Andy Murray (and I think you have to be British to understand this one), on his performance against Roger Federer:
"In the first set, at least when I was behind in games, I was coming up with big serves, being able to dictate the points. But, you know, after that I served pants."
Nikolay Davydenko a few years back on why, despite being a top 5 player, he didn't have a sponsorship for his Prince racquet:
"Because Prince [has] no money. Crisis. I know Prince give everything to Sharapova and no money anymore."
Jim Courier on Rafael Nadal getting back to number one:
     "Nadal should dump those {Babolat RPM Black} strings."
Roger Federer recently on retirement:
" I haven’t set the date in any shape or form or thought about it in any way. At this point, I’m hoping to play in Rio {2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro}.
Roger Federer two years ago on his statement about playing at this year's WIimbledon Olympics:
"I only said I wanted to play in the Olympics at Wimbledon to stop all the questions about my retirement." 
Serena Williams on her image:
"I'm quite nice. I don't get enough credit for being nice."
Serena Williams on her image from her book:
Andy Murray on Roger Federer
"If there was more tournaments on {fast courts like Dubai}, I think he could definitely be No. 1 in the world for the next few years," Murray told reporters. "It really suits his game well. Just so many of the courts are so slow now. It’s nice for us to get a change-up like here. Some of the tournaments are so slow it's tough against so many guys that are moving well and serving big. It’s become tougher and tougher to stay at the top of the game longer."
Tennis writer Matt Cronin on Milos Raonic:
Patrick McEnroe describing rallying with Federer in PMac's book:
Miscellaneous missives from Ivo Karlovic, who is quite active on Twitter:






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