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Quotable Quotes: Serena, Maria & Vika

Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka met the press in Paris this week, discussing everything from Rafael Nadal's comeback, being defending champion and adjusting to clay.

Published May 25, 2013 12:00

Quotable Quotes: Serena, Maria & Vika
Serena Williams

PARIS, France - Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka - the WTA's 'Big Three' as some have called them - all met the press ahead of the French Open this week, discussing everything from Rafael Nadal's comeback, being defending champion and adjusting to clay. Here they are...

Serena Williams
On being the favorite...
"It can definitely be a little tricky. Fortunately enough I have been in this situation many, many, many times at many Grand Slams, so I feel okay with it. And it's not any different than at the other Grand Slams - it feels fine here in Paris. And especially this year, I'm trying to stay relaxed and calm."

On whether this is the best she has ever played...
"I think so. I think so. Just looking back at a few of my matches from years ago and looking at my matches now, I definitely feel like I'm getting into that zone that I have always wanted to be in."

On going 67-3 since her first round loss here last year...
"I felt this past year coming back I had nothing to lose and just really wanted to enjoy my career. In the past when I played I was always so stressed out and always wanted to win, win win. And now I'm definitely having a lot more fun than I used to, and really enjoying every moment walking out there.

"Sometimes I think, 'Should I be happy that I lost last year?' You never know what can happen in your career and why things happen. But it's been great for me, just realizing that every match counts."

On Rafael Nadal's comeback...
"I think he's performed great. I think he's been doing a great job. He's won every tournament he's played except one, I think, and he was even in the finals of that one. I actually think he's trying to compete with me with his comeback, so... yeah, I'm going to have a talk with him about that."

On making history...
"I never thought about it growing up. I never thought I wanted to be in the history books. But as I get older, it's naturally like, 'Okay, I have a chance, and it could happen.' So it's cool, but I don't really think about it. I'm so close, but I always say I'm still so far. Three doesn't seem that far, but it's still far."

Maria Sharapova
On the illness that forced her to pull out mid-tournament in Rome...
"Unfortunately I had to withdraw from Rome. I have been practicing almost five or six days now, which has been nice. I haven't been back here since my victory, so it's been nice to be able to practice on the courts when it's quiet, and to be back on center court. It's been a nice experience so far."

On what it means to come back as defending champion...
"It's very meaningful. It means you have done something pretty good, and you're coming back into that position and you're trying to defend it. I think it's one of the best honors you can have as a tennis player. There's always a bit of pressure in everything you do, but I'm really looking forward to it."

On the years of getting better and better on clay...
"I didn't just wake up and become good on it - I always knew I'd have to work extremely hard to get to where I am today. It never came easily for me to play on clay, and that's why it took me many years. But I felt like with every year I was getting closer; I got to a couple of semifinals, and last year I just felt like everything came together in many different ways for me here at the French Open."

Victoria Azarenka
On rebuilding her form after missing two months with an ankle injury...
"Physically I feel pretty good. It was great to play those two tournaments before and kind of build up for French Open. Madrid was my first one; Rome I did much better. I felt like I was finding my game from match to match. But it's time to play here - that's what this whole preparation has been about."

On being the last player to beat Serena...
"I won that match but lost my No.1 ranking - it's ironic. But it was a great win, and I look forward to our next matches. Rome was great. It wasn't my way, but it's a great battle every time we play."

On the challenges of playing on clay...
"The biggest challenge for me on clay is just the construction of the point. It's an adjustment with everything, with the movement, and your game is a little bit different. On hardcourt you can really plant yourself, and on clay you need to adjust a little bit. So everything, even technically, needs to be adjusted and prepared on clay. For me it's a big challenge probably because I don't play as much on clay. The amount of weeks we have playing on clay, you really need to show that consistency."

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