Quotes of the French Open Fortnight
Published June 10, 2009 12:00
PARIS, France - Players didn't just make noise on the court during the French Open fortnight, they also made memories in their post-match press conferences. Here's a collection of some of the best quotes from the stars of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour in Paris.
"It comes as a shock to me. Emilie Loit was part of the landscape. She's been around for a long time. We're the same age. All of a sudden now I'm thinking, 'Retirement is not that far away.' I will miss her. For me, retirement is a long way away. Don't worry. But Emilie was a great figure in French tennis."
Severine Brémond on fellow Frenchwoman Emilie Loit, who announced her retirement from professional tennis after the French Open.
"It has been a year since I stopped tennis. I'm in the new life. This is part of me forever, though. This love story between the French Open and me keeps going on. It's something that started a long time ago in 1992 when I was here to watch that big final, and then I won the juniors and then again four times. It's nice to be back, but it's in another way. It's strange to realize that I've been here so many years and that I've been fighting on center court for so many matches."
Justine Henin, who returned to Roland Garros this year for some off-court events. She won four of her seven career Grand Slam titles on the terre battue.
"This is a very good starting point for me. I always say you're only as good as your last tournament. Reflecting on everything I've been through in the last year, I can sit here and say I'm pretty proud of what I've achieved."
Maria Sharapova, who missed nine months of play with a shoulder injury but reached the quarterfinals of Roland Garros in just her second tournament back.
"I had some back problems at the beginning or middle of last year, but it was not the main reason. I was down mentally and just couldn't play my game. I wanted to win so much. There were too many expectations from the media and other people. I couldn't handle it. I was tight and stressed on the court. I tried to come out of that situation, but I tried too many things. It's not easy when nothing is working and you don't know what the problem is. But I kept working hard. And I had a few months alone, because all my life I had coaches with me 24 hours. Finally this year it's going well again. Now I just go out there and try to enjoy myself. Everything is much easier like this."
Agnes Szavay on climbing back up the rankings this year, after pulling off a third round upset over Venus Williams at Roland Garros. Szavay was ranked as high as No.13 in 2008 but came into Paris at No.31.
"I was a little bit surprised, because it never happened that so many people were cheering my opponent over me. Maybe they weren't against me, but I was thinking, do they not like me? But then I just realized I could not think of these things. After the match, my agent told me, 'Don't take it personal. Maybe they just wanted the match to go on.'"
Dominika Cibulkova on the crowd dynamic when she was leading Maria Sharapova in the quarterfinals, 60 50, and trying to close out the match.
"Klara Zakopalova. Everyone is a great competitor, especially against me. But some compete to no end whether they're ranked No.100 or No.1."
Serena Williams, when asked who the most competitive player is on the Tour apart from she and her sister. She named Zakopalova, who beat her in Marbella earlier this year and pushed her to the limits in the first round of Roland Garros, saving eight match points before finally succumbing, 6-4 in the third.
"We're a little bit different. He can maybe practice one and a half hours a day and for him it's enough. I'm more stubborn. I need to have maybe four hours on the court. And one time he was like, 'No, just practice half an hour and it's fine for you.' This was totally not me. I cannot do half an hour and that's all. But now he doesn't go into my tennis. I think he respects me much more now."
Dinara Safina on the worst piece of advice brother Marat Safin gave her.
"She's an amazing athlete. She works very hard. One day she'll make it here. I respect her a lot. But she plays with too much pressure. I play just to have fun and enjoy it. It was the same when I went on court at the US Open. I thought, 'Everything's great. I'm doing the thing I love. It's my passion. It's my job. This is it.' But she works hard, and she's No.1 because she deserves to be there."
Svetlana Kuznetsova on Dinara Safina, after beating her countrywoman in straight sets in the final for her second Grand Slam singles title.
"She was a funny girl. I remember her coming to the match with a two liter Pepsi. You would look at her and think, 'No way she can win a Grand Slam one day.' But then she moved to Spain and she changed completely. She became much more professional, and she did a huge job. She improved really a lot."
Dinara Safina on her first impression of friend and countrywoman Svetlana Kuznetsova when the two used to play before they were even teenagers.
"I've been travelling since I was eight, first only a bit and then more and more. I've always gone to a normal school and normal classes with teachers. When I'm not there, they know I'm in tournaments. Now they can see me on TV and they know I'm not somewhere else."
Sorana Cirstea on how she has balanced going to school with playing on the Tour. The Romanian reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal in Paris.
"I guess I wasn't really thinking about Grand Slams or winning tournaments or anything like that at that stage. It was more just trying to get healthy and leave my apartment, basically. It was hard, but I always tried to stay positive. I always told myself I was gonna be back. I didn't know if that was really going to be the case, but I stayed as positive as I could."
Samantha Stosur on her bout with Lyme disease, which kept her off the Tour for the better part of a year between 2007 and 2008. The Australian reached her first Grand Slam semifinal in singles at Roland Garros.
"The Australian Open this year was the best experience ever, and the most amazing crowds I've ever had or seen. No matter how hard it is on Tour sometimes, every week when I play, I always try to remember that, because that's what brought me back. Hopefully if I continue playing well, that will be what's brought me back into the Top 20 and Top 10."
Jelena Dokic, who followed up her scintillating Australian Open quarterfinal run with a second round run at Roland Garros, where she won the first set on a fourth-seeded Elena Dementieva before having to retire in the second set.