The year is young, but the tennis world has already witnessed a pair of off-the-cuff remarks that generated buzz and debate, most of it good-natured, just as the two who spoke the words were themselves waxing witty at the time.
Gael Monfils has long been a mercurial, any-given-day talent, and he upended Philipp Kohlschreiber (who had a banner 2012 by his standards) at the ATP stop in Doha before bowing out to another German, Daniel Brands, a qualifier. Against Kohlschreiber in a three-set contest, Le Monf—the subject of scrutiny in his native France recently—suffered a time violation handed down by the chair umpire. He had this response: "I'm black so I sweat a lot."
With whistles and claps echoing around the arena, Monfils belabored the relatively minor incident, also saying, to much amusement on the part of fans worldwide and the tournament director himself (shown at clip's end), "It was a winner, a clean winner, and so do you think I need time to recover or something?" Here's that video, if you missed it:
Meanwhile, last week in Brisbane, Sloane Stephens gave Serena Williams potentially more of a battle than the 31-year-old had expected, ultimately going out, if not quietly, by a 6-4, 6-3 score. Serena was vocal in the match—which is to say, she was herself—and Stephens noted to her USTA coach on a changeover, "Those 'come on's are just disrespectful." Her coach concurred, though the two basically laughed it off. Stephens was not entirely serious, less so even than Monfils had been, and shrugged off the shouts as "friendly fire."
In the court of public opinion now, whose side do you take in the Monfils-does-Doha debate? Did he deserve consideration for more time? And should Stephens consider the intensity she faced par for the course when playing a fairly tight match against Serena?
What have been your own favorite or otherwise notorious quotes in this budding season?
—Jonathan Scott (@jonscott9)