The Day in Quotes
PARIS—A typical day during the first week of a Grand Slam tournament produces a cascade of quotes, some of them perceptive, others saucy, some hilarious, and some downright mundane. So let’s look at what some of the winners had to say about their efforts—or other matters—on Friday. It’s an especially relevant drill here, where the interview transcripts are not released to the general public, or even reporters who aren’t on site. We’ll leave out the mundane ones.
Roger Federer, who defeated Julien Benneteau, after he was asked if his daughters have any “comprehension” of his success:
“No, they have no clue. It’s better that way. But they know that I play a lot of tennis, and I go back and forth, back and forth. I come back from the courts, and I go play a match and I come to practice and then I come back to the room. They must be, like, his guy is crazy. I don’t know what he’s up to.”
I have a funny feeling that those two cherubs will understand exactly what their daddy was up to, and why he was doing it when, a few years from now, they erect that 60-foot tall statue made of Lindt chocolate in the town square of Basel.
Serena Williams, who defeated Sorana Cirstea, tweeted a picture of the newest addition to her family, a dog (we think it’s a Yorkie) named Chip. She was asked how her dog, Jackie, “feels about” Chip.
“Jackie? Jackie ignores him. She ignores everybody. She has a bad attitude, but she’s a great dog.”
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, I’m tempted to say, but it’s really true only as it applies to “attitude.” Among other things, this quote shows you how far reporters are willing to go to find something—anything—interesting to write in the wake of yet another overpowering win by Serena. Hey, maybe Sharapova, who also goes on about her dog, Dolce, can suggest a . . . oh, never mind.
Rafael Nadal, who defeated Martin Klizan, was asked about the scheduling, after his match was postponed yesterday because of rain. Tomorrow he’ll play Fabio Fognini, who had the day off thanks to having played—and finished—his match yesterday.
“I think everybody knows in this room that the schedule of yesterday was wrong. . . I cannot play third after men’s and girls when my possible opponent plays second after girls. That’s not fair. And today I was playing almost three hours on court, and my opponent was watching the TV in the locker room. So if you told me that’s fair, I say that’s not fair. Only thing that I can do is be positive, smile, and try to win my match. . .
“And I hope they (the tournament promoters) accept the mistake, because girls play best of three. For them is a normal tournament. Even if they play Grand Slam and all the matches of the career and all the tournaments, they play best of three. . .For us it’s completely different.
“That’s the excuse they told me—it was because Rosol (Lukas, Fognini’s opponent yesterday) had to play doubles. I am sorry, but that’s a joke. You have one more week to play doubles if you want to play doubles. Why do you want to protect the player who has to play doubles? So I’m going to write myself on the doubles draw then and I have the priority to play?. . .I don’t want to keep talking, because it seems like I am the bad guy saying that, but that’s the real thing, and everybody here knows that’s not right.”
Is Rosol in Rafa’s head? Nadal makes some worthwhile points, but in the big picture I think his discontent is a sign of how badly he wants to win here again, and a sign of the pressure he feels. At the end of the day, he’ll play two days in a row, and that isn’t exactly unheard of at a major (Nadal won in two hours and 47 minutes today).
Rafa didn’t get much support from Federer when the Swiss was asked about Nadal’s comments. Federer said, “I understand that he’s frustrated. That’s comprehensible. That is, he would like to play the second day like any other day. But 50 percent of the players couldn’t play their match, I think.”
Marion Bartoli, who defeated Mariana Duque-Marino, survived two match points in her first rounder, and three set points in the first set today. She was asked if, once again, she was able to blank out the importance of those decisive points.
“Well, you know, I’m an old-timer, and experience serves when you’re old, because I knew what she was thinking about. So I thought, ‘If I can produce a shot when I oblige her to do even better, and she can’t, then she will be thinking about it, which is exactly what happened.’”
Add mind-reader to all the other talents of Maid Marion, and prepare the walker to help her get out on the court for her next match.
Ryan Harrison was a loser today (to John Isner), but this bit was just too good to leave out. He seemed distracted by the “zip line camera”—a miniature recording device that glides across above the grounds, providing an intimate, helicopter view of the courts. But here that camera isn’t so miniature—it’s attached to the bottom of a replica Emirates jet about the size of an ottoman.
“That camera moves a lot. It’s not just a camera it’s an airplane, so it’s pretty big. It was trying not to get frustrated. I would look up and see it and just kind of smile. It’s one of those things where if you get frustrated and get caught up on it it’s just going to take you out of it. . . .
“Both guys have to deal with it. It’s not going to stop. It’s just going to happen. Only thing you can really do is just smile when it happens and give yourself a second, let it stabilize, and just go for it. It’s just not easy when you see what resembles an airplane that close to you.”
Sounds like Harrison may have been reading a lot of the recent news about U.S. President Obama’s drone policy.
P.S. I had hoped to add something from Tommy Robredo, who outlasted Gael Monfils in five tough sets (and after Monfils squandered four match points), but he only did Spanish press.