Google Down the Line!: HE SAID/SHE SAID: Roland Garros Day Seven

Saturday, May 29, 2010

HE SAID/SHE SAID: Roland Garros Day Seven

Q. I have a different question for you. Everyone in tennis loves Roger, respects Roger. He is said to be the best of all time. Yet two out of every three times you play him, you win. You've won six of the last seven times. Who's a better player?

RAFAEL NADAL: You like this. You are focused on the Roger thing, eh? (laughter.) Yesterday with the clay. Today with the if somebody says I am better than Roger, I think this person don't know nothing about tennis. That's my answer.

Q. How so?


Q. Yeah.

RAFAEL NADAL: So you don't know nothing about tennis. You see the titles of him and you see the titles of me? It's no comparison. So that's the answer. Is difficult to compare Roger with me now, because he has 16 Grand Slams; I have 6. Masters 1000, yeah, I have more than him. But for the rest of the things the records of Roger is very, very almost impossible to improve.

Q. Still, it is interesting when you step out on the court...


Q. Still, it is interesting, Rafa, when you step out on the court...

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) Sorry, I interrupt you. What's the question? Sorry.

Q. The question is: Still, for the fans, it is interesting when you step on the court with him, you usually win.

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I am No. 2 in the world for five years, so I think I am a good player, too. Sure, I can beat him. No. 2 can beat No. 1. That's the thing. It's not a lot of difference between No. 2 and No. 1 or between No. 1 and No. 10. That's the tennis, and the tennis very close, the level, all the time.

But I can beat him, yes. The same time, the thing is I beat him a lot of times on clay. I beat him on other surfaces, too. But the most of the times I beat him on clay, so I played with him more times on clay than on the rest of the surfaces.

Q. I guess players in the women's game, especially Serena and Justine in terms of mental strength, or even Maria, but how hard is it for everyone else when you know you're going up against those kind of opponents?

SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah, well, that's why they're so good, because they can come back from the brink of defeat and win matches. So, yeah, you definitely haven't won a match until you've won the match point against any of those girls.

If anything, it's not easier, but you know that going into the match. You know you can't drop off 1%, otherwise it could swing things around. So if you know you got to stay with it the whole match, then you're ready for it and you expect it. It's just a matter of trying to do it.

Q. I guess you'd say you feel as absolutely ready as you're ever gonna be for this sort of challenge?

SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah, why not? I'm playing well. I've had a good lead up to the French and had three good matches here. I'm gonna go into it thinking I can win no matter what the case. You're in the fourth round. You've got to believe that.

Q. Just curious, when you're in a van with Isner and Querrey [traveling to RG,] is there a lot of leg stretching going on? Do you have to get out and stop? Do you sit like that the whole time?

ROBBY GINEPRI: Their legs are about as long as me.

Q. Must be an uncomfortable journey. Were they in the passenger seat or back?

ROBBY GINEPRI: Two sitting here and two sitting here. We're all facing each other. So we kind of rotate every 30 minutes or so. I think John had to go to the bathroom with about 45 minutes left. I was a little bit upset. Could have got there 30 minutes sooner.

Q. What we saw on TV confirmed that the set ball was out with the Hawk Eye. Do you think we should put Hawk Eye on clay?

MARION BARTOLI: Well, then it reassures me. It means that I have good eyes. Maybe you should show this to the line judge. But if we use the Hawk Eye on television, why don't we use it on the courts? I mean, it would make everybody happy. Everybody would be relieved. It would avoid mistakes, especially if we don't agree on the mark, and then the mark is judged and interpreted differently according to the judge. If there is a technology available that can be shown on television to TV viewers, then why not use it on the court?

Q. You said that clay was a bigger challenge for you, but you don't seem to be the only one because there are no more French women players in the tournament now. Same question every year. How do you explain the fact that the French players do not succeed well on clay?

MARION BARTOLI: There are several explanations. There are only two seeded players, so when you only have two women players who are seeded, there are very few chances you'll find them in the second week.

And also, the second explanation is that when you grow up and you learn playing tennis, you learn to play on hardcourts more than on clay. I mean, as far as I'm concerned, all my regional championships were done on hardcourts. All the open tournaments that you play when you're 13 or 14 and you're ranked in France, less than 15, then you all play on hardcourts. The first time I played on clay was the French championship Under 16s.

So the first time you set foot on a clay surface you're 15, and all the Spanish players, all the foreign players training in Spain play all night, day in and day out on clay. It's very difficult to be competitive. So it's not just the surface. It's due to the fact that today there were only two players, Aravane and myself, seeded. If you take the number of Russian seeded players or American seeded players, I mean, Serena, Venus is a case by herself, but otherwise they have a greater chance of being there in the second week.

Q. Can you tell us how the 2010 Aravane is superior to the Aravane in Roland Garros 2009, even though last year you were at the last 16? Could you tell us more about this?

ARAVANE REZAI: Well, it's been a year. For a year I've been the challenger. I've been playing women at a very high level for a year now, and these matches are very hard against different players. Physically I prepared myself. Mentally, as well. I worked on my tennis. Physically I've lost weight. This is very important, physically speaking. Mentally it's about trust. I have confidence, and confidence comes with the matches you win. Also I'm more mature, I think, in all respects. I have a good team around me, people I can trust.

I know I'm going to move forward. For the time being, last year's player and this year's player are different. I've made considerable progress, a leap forward, I think. That's all. I don't really think about this.

Your questions are too hard for me. I don't want to think about the past. I want to think about the future. I want to move forward, what's up for me next. I have so much to learn, to do and to prove. This is it. It's happiness, only happiness and positive. I have everything to win.

Q. I wanted to ask about the XO in Dallas that's coming up in July. Any thoughts? Is it sort of a kick to play in that stadium? Do you have a relationship with Jones?

ANDY RODDICK: I don't. I haven't met Old Jerry. For me, it's easy. I can drive there, and I think just I think tennis getting into kind of mainstream venues like that more often is a good thing, you know. Selfishly, I like it. My friends, they don't watch me play too much, my friends from home, so we might just make a weekend of it and have some fun. I think it will be cool. I don't know if we're going to fill it, but... (laughter.)

Q. Good morning. Did you think at one stage that [Serena] might quit the match?

ANASTASIA PAVLYUCHENKOVA: (In English.) No, I mean, I really wished so. I was like, Please. No, I'm just kidding, of course. It's the French Open, and everyone sees that. I knew that she's quite motivated for this tournament. She hasn't won it so many times like Australian Open or US Open, for example.

Well, she was maybe a little bit dizzy, but she was still walking and feeling okay physically. So I didn't think so. She was one set up and just second set, doesn't mean we still had third set ahead. So, well, it was stupid to think like this.

Q. What did you say to each other at the end of the match?

ANASTASIA PAVLYUCHENKOVA: (In English) She said, Thanks Anastasia, thanks very much. I don't remember exactly, actually. I wasn't listening to her (laughing.) For sure she said, Thanks Anastasia for a good match. I asked her how she felt, if she was dizzy and everything. I said I hope she gets better and good luck. I mean, after she beat me she has to win the tournament. I really hope so.

[Photo(s): Getty Images]

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