MONTRÉAL, Canada - The best players in the world are up north for this week's Rogers Cup, and the Top 8 all met the press ahead of their opening round matches. Led by top seed and World No.1 Simona Halep, the elite eight sat down to discuss their mid-summer training blocs, post-Wimbledon reflections, and their goals as the tour turns toward the final Grand Slam of the season.
Check out the best quotes here:
Simona HALEP (ROU)
On the Montréal crowds and her many Romanian fans:
"I love the people here. They’re very relaxed, and I always feel welcome here. We have many Romanians here, living and working, so that makes this tournament a bit different. I’m trying to feel like it’s home, because everywhere I win feels like a special place.
"I already saw the flags in practice! I felt the support especially in Paris because it’s close to Romania, and many people came to see my matches at the French Open. Everywhere I go, there’s at least one flag in the stands. I enjoy that, and I think it looks really good too."
On shooting a commercial at home for sponsor Rexona:
"It was really nice, and it was the first one where I laughed and enjoyed the time we spent filming. It’s not easy to do these things when you’re a tennis player, so this one was really nice and I feel like the people liked it too.
"There’s more attention at home, but I’m trying to stay the same. I achieved something huge, and the dream came true, but life stays the same. I just want to stay calm, quiet, and keep working, because it’s important to have energy and motivation to keep moving."
Caroline WOZNIACKI (DEN)
On how she spent a rainy Friday in Montréal:
"I went to the movies. I love to do that, and during the day it was raining, so I thought it was the perfect time to do that. We have a thing with David, where we try to pick a movie each, every day. That’s what we like to do to relax a bit. I’ll probably get him to go to the cinema again this week.
"I saw The Spy Who Dumped Me; it was really good, but everyone else just arrived today, so I wasn’t allowed to see Equalizer or Mission Impossible without them. I was banned from seeing those two!"
Elina SVITOLINA (UKR)
On crowdsourcing sight-seeing recommendations from fans:
"I asked my followers if they had any suggestions. They left many comments on where I should go, which restaurants, and all the important things to explore. I like to sight-see, though I haven’t had time to visit much yet. When I have free time, or a half-day, I’ll visit something because there’s lots of nice places in Canada. It’s a beautiful country."
On turning Wimbledon disappointment into US Open motivation:
"Normally, we have holidays, but the morning after I lost in the first round of Wimbledon, I started training again. I was really upset with the way I played at Wimbledon. The grass season wasn’t the best either. When you’re not happy with something, you have to change it and go back to work. I had a four-week training bloc, and put a lot of work in. I really want to play very strong in the second part of the season; that’s the goal for me."
Caroline GARCIA (FRA)
On celebrating France's 2018 World Cup victory:
"It was a great experience because the first time they won 20 years ago, I was really small so I didn’t really remember it. So this year, I really thinking how I will have the memories forever. The enthusiasm around the French team was kind of crazy, and it was nice to live it from the country. You know, even if the match final was so bad, we were all so happy about every single goal! It was nice to see them all very happy, and it was really one team, and it’s the team we wanted, and it was nice to see.
"We watched it with the family on a big screen, we were like 15 or 20 people, so it was a nice atmosphere, all sharing. It was really a lot of emotion, sports brings so many people together, and all the images and video you saw from around the country was kind of crazy-amazing."
Angelique KERBER (GER)
On working with SAP Analytics for Tennis:
"I’m using the stats a lot right now, especially with Wim. We are both also very close to SAP, so we are using it a lot, especially he’s using it. We are talking, we are seeing the stats, also about our opponents, so it is a big thing for us, or for all the players or coaches to have it, because that gives you much more confidence when you see what really happens on court, when you can really speak about your last match, or if you’re getting ready for your next match. Seeing a few things, like the details, which makes a huge success then, at the end."
On working with coach Wim Fissette:
I think he is really straight with me. I think it’s just six months that we are working together and it’s worked from the beginning. This is really important for me, also, to have trust in my coach, to know how he sees me, my game. We both know where we want to go, we have goals, and when we step on court, we know that we always want to improve my tennis, and it’s good, it works. I’m looking forward for the next months."
Sloane STEPHENS (USA)
On the humid conditions of Montréal:
"I practiced earlier today, it was fine. Obviously it’s going to be hot everywhere...it’s the summertime. Last week in DC, it was super-hot, here it’s going to be hot again. Luckily everyone has the same conditions, so everyone’s going to be hot and sweaty. Whatever happens, happens. Everyone’s going to be hot and distressed.
Petra KVITOVA (CZE)
On dealing with the humidity as an asthmatic:
"I’m really trying to do everything I can, especially improving my fitness. That’s probably what would be best for these kinds of conditions. But with my asthma, it’s tough to do something special. I have my inhaler, and sometimes I need to use it. Overall, I think when I’m feeling better physically, everything goes better."
On shaking off an early loss at Wimbledon:
"To be honest, I felt much better the next day. I’m trying not to be so sad after losing in the first round. I was very disappointed, but I knew how great my season has been so far. I tried not to be so unhappy after losing. I do remember when people started asking me what happened at Wimbledon, I said, ‘Don’t ask!’
"People are curious, maybe more than me. They think too much. I did have a talk with my coach straight after the match, and then that was it. I’m pretty happy that it ended quickly, and it was better than last year when I lost in the second round. That was more painful than this time."
Garbiñe MUGURUZA (ESP)
On Montréal's unique vibe:
"I really love to walk around the city and, I don’t know, I feel like I’m half Euro, half Canada/America, so yeah, I do like to do things and keep my mind busy. Some shopping, of course. I’m trying to go to the cinema, trying to figure out some times. Going to restaurants in Old Town, in the downtown."
On dealing with injury concerns:
"Well, I'm recovering. I had a few days to do all in my power to feel better, and it’s good. I’ve been working out physically, and recovering especially, I’ll probably hit a little today and we’ll see."