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WATCH: Kaia Kanepi ousts No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka in the fourth round

We’re at the midpoint of the Australian Open and, thankfully, the narrative of top-ranked Novak Djokovic’s battle with the nation’s government is no longer sucking up all the available oxygen. Once again, sundry events and matches have attracted great attention and generated compelling storylines, stimulating players to respond with comments ranging from the comical to the gut-wrenching.

Here is our tour of the first week of the “Happy Slam” in quotes, in chronological order, starting with the pre-tournament media day:

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It's quite inspiring for me to be listening to the stories. For sure, tennis needs more than tennis from time to time. But when it becomes too much, it becomes kind of overwhelming, not as interesting anymore. Stefanos Tsitsipas, about the impact that the various off-court stories, including those of Djokovic, Naomi Osaka and Peng Shuai, have on the game and its fans.

People want to see the drama, and they want to see the moments where you have a tear, the moments where it's frustrating. People I think don't want to see us doing elastics in the gym. Garbine Muguruza, on the Netflix tennis docu-series (already in the works) modeled on the highly successful franchise about F1 auto racing, “Drive to Survive”

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Dang, you saw that? I deleted it like three minutes after. . . Yeah, I didn't know if I was like, aggressive. You know how when you text something, it can come off a bit aggressive? So I was like, Hmm, I'm not sure about that. Naomi Osaka, after her first match, about a defiant tweet in which she wrote that she “DGAF” (Don’t Give a . . . ) about her critics

Rafael Nadal preparing for his third round match against Karen Khachanov in the 2022 Australian Open

Rafael Nadal preparing for his third round match against Karen Khachanov in the 2022 Australian Open

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So, in a personal level, yes, I would like to see him playing here. If is fair or not that he's playing here is another discussion that I don't want to talk anymore about that. Rafael Nadal, when asked if he missed Djokovic in the draw “on a personal level”

The crowd was a bit rowdy. I think everyone's had a couple of drinks and enjoyed themselves. I tell you what, obviously you don't want people throwing punches, because we are the Happy Slam and meant to have a bit of fun. [But] Obviously I encourage everyone to keep their hands and feet to themselves. John Millman, following his first-round win over Feliciano Lopez.

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It's going to be a fantastic celebration of the indigenous culture, of the First Nations people. I can't wait to see how it is celebrated because I think it's going to be a beauty of a day. Top seed Ash Barty, a member of the Ngaragu tribe via a great-grandmother on the maternal side, about playing her second-round match on First Nations day in Australia

I have a great net game, and some of the players, most of the players don't have the ability to come to the net the way I do, and to cover the court and win a lot of points with volleys. They simply don't have it. Tsitsipas, after his first-round win over Mikael Ymer, on why his game is so effective on hard courts

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Yeah, it's kind of backwards. Yeah, it's very backwards and, like I said, it's hard to manage. Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens, after losing to current US Open champion Emma Raducanu, on the fact that the 19-year old Raducanu won a Grand Slam tournament without having ever beaten an Grand Slam champion

Second-seeded Sabalenka lost a third-set tiebreaker, 10-7 to Kaia Kanepi, to see her Australian Open end in the fourth round.

Second-seeded Sabalenka lost a third-set tiebreaker, 10-7 to Kaia Kanepi, to see her Australian Open end in the fourth round.

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I was really thankful to him. I think that's why he wrote me, because he said, ‘I felt so bad when you were serving like double-fault and double-fault and I felt so bad.’ He said, ‘I felt like I have to text you and see what can I do for you.’ Aryna Sabalenka, seeded No. 2, on Mark Philippoussis, the former Wimbledon runner-up and serving machine. The Aussie, who had helped Sabalenka before, returned to offer his services to the Belarussan as she continues to struggle with the serving yips. Sabalenka still tagged 41 double faults in her first three matches before losing in the fourth round

Unfortunately we did not. We're both super busy, and our practice hours are a little bit everywhere. It's hard to cross paths when there's so much things to do. Leylah Fernandez, when asked if she’d had a chance to talk with fellow teenager Raducanu after the two teenagers contested the most surprising US Open womens’ final in recent memory.

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Everyone is telling me, like, ‘Oh you'll really enjoy it. It's going to be amazing. But I thought it was absolutely awful.. . . The atmosphere was incredible, but it's the first time I've ever walked onto a tennis court and been booed, which for me was a crazy experience. You get sledgened from the sides like you can't believe, that they don't pick up on TV. Liam Broady after losing the Nick Kyrgios in the first round before a rowdy Aussie contingent

He's trying to kind of like falling asleep, you know, with his game. Like he's not hitting the ball I think on purpose sometimes not that hard, so then your feet are going to go slower, and then, yeah, I think he did his web, you know, like a spider, and I fell into it. Matteo Berrettini, the No. 7 seed, after his second-round win over US wild card Stefan Kozlov. A notorious “pusher,” Kozlov managed to split sets before falling in four

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It's not lost or anything like that. It's also not scratched. When it travels, the gold medal, it's like packaged in like three T-shirts, folded in a very special manner that not one scratch gets on it. Alexander Zverev, explaining how he had entrusted his brother Mischa to care for the gold medal Zverev won last summer's Olympic Games

Raducanu brought on Torben Beltz as her new coach in November 2021.

Raducanu brought on Torben Beltz as her new coach in November 2021.

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Before the match there were some people in my team who didn't want me to play. I thought it was a pretty good learning experience for me—I learnt I had some tools that I didn't know I had before. . . [But] yeah, I don't think you're getting very far against Simona Halep with a slice forehand. Not gonna lie. Raducanu, explaining why she chose to play her second-round match despite carrying a painful blister on her racquet hand. Had she won, she would have faced Halep in the third round

You know, making the second round of Slams is not something I find particularly motivating. I want to be doing better than that. Andy Murray, who continues to battle to make a successful comeback from hip resurfacing surgery

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I had been in the same cycle of rehab, training and injuries for three-plus years, and mentally/physically just couldn’t do it anymore. CiCi Bellis, who vaulted to fame when she won a first-round match at the 2014 US Open at age 15, announcing the end of her injury-decimated career on social media early in the tournament. The American was able to play only 17 Grand Slam matches (8-9) in her career and appeared in the Australian Open just once

I actually wrote 'siuu' in the camera afterwards because when Jim on the court started talking about this, I was like, 'Well, okay, I'm going to write it then because everybody is doing it. So I guess that's the thing to do.' Daniil Medvedev, after defeating Kyrgios in the second round. He was referring to the oddball vocalization, apparently in imitation of soccer star Christiano Ronaldo, that many fans have adopted—much to the irritation of some players

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You know, like I'm not God. I can't win every match, you know. Osaka, the defending champion, after she was beaten in the third round by Amanda Anisimova. Seeded No. 13 due to inactivity, Osaka’s ranking will now plummet when her rankings points from last year’s triumph fall off

When I've played against the top players, apart against Rafa, I was close. I think I have the level to play against the top players. I'm getting close, getting closer every tournament that I'm playing. Carlos Alcaraz, perhaps the brightest prospect on the mens’ tour, following his third-round, five-set loss to No. 7 seed Matteo Berrrettini (note the “apart against Rafa” caveat. . .)

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I think that we're in a completely different time now. This generation is becoming more honest about all these kinds of things [mental health]. . . I'm comfortable speaking about whatever. I've gone through a couple of hard years, and I don't mind posting stuff on social media and just try to spread awareness for people who are also going through tough things. Anisimova, reflecting on her own emotional struggle following the unexpected death of her coach/father Konstantin in August 2019. Before her fourth-round loss to Barty, she was 8-0 in 2022

Make your picks, and you could win big

Make your picks, and you could win big

Think you know what'll happen in Cincy? Tell us in our Match Point Predictor.

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I don't know who I'm going to play against next. I don't like to watch and I don't want to know. It's 3 a.m. Just finished my match. I don't really care about who I'm playing next. Is the last thing I'm going to think about. I just want to enjoy the moment right now. Adrian Mannarino, following his grueling, late-night, third-round upset of No. 18 seed Aslan Karatsev.

You need to be quick on making the right decisions, analyze what's happening. This is something when you are not playing is something that don't come that quick sometimes. Today I was able to analyze I think the proper way. I maked the right decisions. . . Nadal on the challenges facing players, like himself, when they are coming off a layoff. He defeated Russia’s Karen Khachanov in a high-quality third-round match

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I'm not losing like a ton of money or anything. I'm not, like, crazy, but honestly it's been really relaxing. So that's what I have been doing, which is kind of sad. Jessica Pegula, who was on a bit of a roll in the first week, explaining that she has been spending much of her spare time playing blackjack in the casino near her hotel.

Just letting you know after yesterday’s chop fest in doubles my opponent's coach and trainer proceeded to threaten to fight in the players gym. Tennis is a soft soft sport. Kyrgios tweeted this quote following the controversial win he and partner Thanasi Kokkankis (a wild-card team) had over the top-seeded doubles team of Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic. But isn’t it also a little “soft soft” to tweet about something that often stays in the lockerroom?

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Yeah, my mindset is to go for it and that's my game. I don't really think much. Sometimes I have good days, sometimes bad days and I feel like on the good days it's very difficult to beat that style of play going for both serves. Maxime Cressy, a 24-year-old Paris-born, American citizen, following his third-round over Aussie wild card Christopher O’Connell. Cressy plays an aggressive, no-holds-barred, serve-and-volley game

Cornet earned a second straight win against Muguruza, having beaten her last spring on grass.

Cornet earned a second straight win against Muguruza, having beaten her last spring on grass.

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I don't know who I'm playing against and I don't want to know. I'm sorry. I did the same the previous match. I just want to enjoy the moment and not think about who I'm going to play, the tactics. Alize Cornet, after her third-round win over Tamara Zidansik. Cornet, now 32, has said that this will probably be her final year on tour. She has played in 63 consecutive Grand Slams, second overall only to the ATP's Feliciano Lopez, who took part in 72. On Monday, she reached her very first fourth round of a major

I mean, it's huge. It seems stupid, like after that match I was almost close to like tearing up a bit. But it seems stupid, because so many people have made the second week of slams, but it's just, like, eluded me for so long. I have had a lot of tough matches, honestly a lot of tough draws, never gotten a great look at it, I guess. Taylor Fritz, reacting to finally making it into the second week at a major, after consistently meeting top seeds in past events