WTA Insider rounds up the best quotes from the Hologic WTA Tour during Week 1 at the BNP Paribas Open.
Coco Gauff didn't get the 18th birthday celebration she wanted, but she has a lot to look forward to when she gets home. She hopes to get her driver's license before the Europe swing and her father Cori has ordered her a car.
"I feel like [it's] more of a present for himself. I don't like driving at all, to be honest. He is like [you're] 16, you need to get a car. At 16, he wanted to get me one. I don't want one. 17, he wanted to get me one. He is like, I'm tired of driving you everywhere, so here is your car. Yeah, more of a present for him.
Also, my brother is going to be 15 this year. He's going to get a permit. I'm gone. So whose car is he going to drive? Mine. I don't know if it's a present for me or not."
Emma Raducanu couldn't help but laugh when asked about Andy Murray's milestone 700th win on the ATP Tour.
"I think he's just such a great role model for me and everyone, from the UK, and also across the world. 700 wins is something I can just dream of.
"I think I've won three now, so I have a long way to go (laughter)."
Paolini: “[Sabalenka’s] not a regular player. She's can hit very strong, many winners. But it's not easy to play every point full power.— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) March 12, 2022
"I try to stay there, to play my game. Like Brooksby said one time, tennis is not to hit strong the ball, it's doing something different." pic.twitter.com/F3e0ofVzOL
Iga Swiatek has quietly evolved as a "Comeback Kid". She proved it in her run to the Australian Open semifinals and in Indian Wells, rallying from a set down in both her matches in the first week.
"I think my work that I've been doing with Daria [Abramowicz, her sports psychologist] is clicking, basically. Mentally I feel that I have more skills right now to just stay calm and think about solutions because before I struggled with emotions a little bit and sometimes I wasn't choosing the right path to change something.
"Before when I was losing I felt like my whole life is bad and like the base of my existence is suddenly destroyed because I'm losing a tennis match, you know?
"Right now I have more distance to everything and I can see clearly. Basically, I'm just more calm and more confident, I would say. Confidence is a key as well. But you also have to believe with some experience. I feel like it's clicking right now."
Petra Martic defeated Raducanu for her first Top 20 since 2019 to make her first Round of 16 at a WTA 1000 since Rome last year.
"I think the most important thing I can take out of these matches is I didn't play great but I managed to win. I think for a big part of last season I was looking for perfection. I was judgmental, not happy with myself, and the worst part of it was I lost that competitiveness. I think I'm a pretty decent competitor and now it's really easy to beat me. That was one of the things I wanted to change this year and these matches showed I'm in a good way.
Win or lose - she won - Veronika Kudermetova saw her match against Naomi Osaka as a great learning opportunity.
"I'm the same age with Naomi. When I played juniors, I never see her. She's a great player. She already win how many Grand Slams? For me it's really important to play with the players like that because when I play with that kind of players, I can improve my game. After that matches, I have little bit more confidence. I can step up, improve my game. It's very important for me."
Paula Badosa: "In WTA anything can happen. The level has improved a lot. Yesterday I was watching tennis. I saw an insane match. Then you see the ranking. It was a girl [ranked] 120. She played like Top 10 level.”— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) March 14, 2022
The player in question?
Harriet Dart. #IndianWells
Victoria Azarenka joked that she should be an agent, after being asked about her propensity to spot Top 10 talent. When it comes to what she looks for, Azarenka said it wasn't about the quality of forehands and backhands.
"For me, a lot of it is about how people carry themselves. That shows a lot. Everybody can hit the ball pretty well. I've seen so much talent who are incredibly gifted with their hands or with something else. But it's about how to find solutions, how to go about a routine that is pretty difficult, the grind.
"People impress me with who they are as human beings. Again, there's so much talent that is impressive for a little, but I think what the person brings behind that, the legacy that they can bring, what they can bring to the sport, what they can bring to inspire a new generation, that's what impresses me.
"I always look for people who have more than just a good tennis game. I think that's really important."
Shelby Rogers made her first Indian Wells quarterfinal last fall and is into the third round after defeating Jelena Ostapenko.
"I'd like to think it's some karma because this is where I hurt my knee initially. I think I've done a really great job of adapting here in the desert. One I don't like the dry conditions. I'm used to humidity. I grew up in Charleston, I live in Florida now, so I want hot, humid, sticky. So the dry weather is really tough for me. My body just rejects it. When it gets windy though, that's anybody's game.
"It's a great place to be. It's chill, it's not a big bustling city. I don't love that. I love a retirement community (laughs). Once you leave site, time slows down. I love that."
Manhattan-born Paula Badosa feels right at home whenever she returns to America.
"I always said the U.S. is like my second home. I said that when I came here last year in Indian Wells. I really feel like the crowd supports me. I feel very comfortable playing here. I really like the fans here.
"Yeah, it's like my second home. I hope Spanish people are not hearing me right now (smiling)."
Riske: “I played this tournament so many times. Hopefully we're not ending here, but my best result thus far is coming when I'm 31 years old. I'm very proud about that.— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) March 12, 2022
"I don't think the best days are behind me either, which I think is really exciting.”#IndianWells pic.twitter.com/YMB6ordvIu
Into the third round at Indian Wells for the first time after beating Garbiñe Muguruza, Alison Riske is looking towards a different set of players for inspiration.
Q. You mentioned being 31 a few times there. Is career mortality something that's on your mind more?
ALISON RISKE: Yeah, it definitely is. I actually think I think about it a lot because I feel like I've finally come to grasp in the last few years what I've been striving for for so many years.
Yeah, it definitely is. I definitely have so much respect for players, like a Kaia Kanepi, even Vera Zvonareva, older players that continue to have success. I look to them more than ever before.
Raducanu trying to keep her perspective after her stratospheric ascent after winning the US Open.
"I think everyone just suddenly expected me to win everything, and clean up everything I played.
"But realistically before that, like, if you would have said to me last year, Emma, what is your goal for the year? I'd be like, Okay, I want to win one round in the main draw of a Grand Slam. [This year] I did that in Australia. That to me last year probably would have made my year, to be honest. What might be a poor result now in people's eyes to me would have been a positive thing. I think I need to keep reminding yourself of that, not getting sucked in.
"I feel like now people are starting to realize it's going to take some time for her to settle in. I feel like patience is a big thing. Once I settle in and go through all these highs and lows, I'll find some sort of equilibrium."
Karolina Pliskova explained the circumstances surrounding her broken arm, which ruled her out of the first two months of the season.
"I fell down in the gym. I was doing some jumps and fell down and I broke [the radius bone in the right arm]. I heard a click. It was fully broken. The first couple of weeks I had the brace and then slowly we started to do some moves. Started hitting soft balls at end of January. I was able to play backhand. The biggest issue was the serve."
Gauff explained her "spidey sense" when recalling her first match against Simona Halep at 2019 Wimbledon.
"She played well and for some reason I always have this feeling, like I think a player's going to win a tournament and like they do. I know Serena was also playing, but I knew that Halep was going to get to the finals after playing her. I was like, she's playing really well.
"Not that I had much experience playing against top players anyways, but you can kind of tell that she was playing well. I knew she was going to be in the finals for sure. She ended up winning. I feel that's happened to me a couple of times, where I lost to the player who won the tournament. I definitely feel like when you lose you kind of just know like, yeah, they're going to win."
Marie Bouzkova is set to graduate in May with her degree in Business Administration from the WTA's partnership with Indiana University East.
"I've enjoyed it a lot. It gave me a different perspective on the world, to learn about different things. Business is obviously a fun subject to learn about how different things work. I also took electives, fun classes. I'm drawing, I had a photography class, I had a music class. This last semester was more easy-going, though I have to admit I'm a bit behind now coming from Mexico. I was just so tired throughout the day because I was always playing at night. But I'm just catching up this week.
"I'm really excited for the graduation. I'm going to go with my family, we're going to fly out for the commencement ceremony. I'm really happy for that and excited. I have my robe and everything. I'll have a nice couple of days there and then a week later it will be the French Open."
Martic couldn't help but laugh when asked about what surprised her about Raducanu's game.
"The lobs. I was really angry about that (laughs)! Like, seriously? No one does this and suddenly she comes and does it six times!"