Google Down the Line!: HE SAID/SHE SAID: US Open Days Five + Six

Sunday, September 5, 2010

HE SAID/SHE SAID: US Open Days Five + Six

Day 5

Q. How have you found the rhythm of your serve, because you're serving very well?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, Toni arrives and everything under control. No, seriously, I don't know. That's pretty strange, because I wasn't serve very well the previous days. I started to serve well one or two days before the competition. But the week of practice, I wasn't serve really well, no? I changed a little bit the grip, like five or six days ago, because I felt when I played against the wind I didn't have free points. So I needed that, no? So I tried to play the serve a little bit more aggressive. For the moment, it's working really well, so I going to try keep playing like this. And, sure, serve like this is a big confidence on my game.

Q. Considering your success at Roland Garros and a good run at Australia this year, do you feel right now you are as poised as you've ever been in your career, both mentally and physically, to get to semis, to get to a final, and to actually contend for this championship?

SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah. Why not? I think I've had a pretty consistent year, and now to get through -- I've never been past the second round here, so now to be in the fourth round is a big jump. I think it's just the kind of following on from the year I've had. It's pleasing to now back it up in another Grand Slam and to be playing well. Yeah, once you get to this point, you never know what can happen. So if you keep playing well, then, yeah, can you find yourself in maybe semis or finals. If I've been there once, I definitely want to try to be there again.

Q. Do you feel as confident as you've ever felt in this particular campaign where you are right now, as confident as you've ever been in your career?

SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah, absolutely. Like I said, I never had a good US Open. If I wasn't feeling as confident as what I've ever been here, then I think there's something wrong. So I think I'm playing well and hitting the ball well. Yeah, I think I have a good chance.

Q. We see your mother as a coach, but how do you work physically?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: You mean fitness?

Q. Yes, fitness.

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, I do have -- well, I don't have a fitness coach. I have some other people working with me, but my mom, she's definitely the one who's traveled with me. That's the person that I feel more comfortable with. So fitness is a big part of my game, and, you know, physically I feel pretty good playing all these years on the tour. So I always take, you know, lots of time during the offseason to get ready physically before I start my practice.

Q. Do you ever ask your mother to be a little more calm when she's watching, or...

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I always ask her, but I realize it's very difficult to watch and not be able to help. She's very emotional, and she really wants me to win. So it's kind of hard, because she's not only my coach, she's my mom. Well, I guess it's just very emotional for her.

Q. Does she know that she's very good on television? Because she looks so...

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: She hates when, you know, the camera goes on her. (Laughter.) She hates it.

Q. How much time do you spend in New Jersey?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Ooh, um, after I played that event in Brussels, I flew over to New Jersey for a few days afterwards. So I was there until, yeah, we left to Cincinnati. And then kind of in between Montreal and the US Open I was there for a couple of days. And before Indian Wells. You know, like whenever it fits with my schedule, obviously now. When I wasn't playing I spent more time here, obviously, in the summer. I was at our house more. But now time is kind of divided between going to tournaments and being there.

Q. Can you compare sort of the traditional lifestyle in Belgium with Jersey life?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, it's home. They're both home. I think you create that home atmosphere. You know, I even try to create it in our hotel room. No, I mean, it's obviously nice to go to a place that you're familiar and you can cook yourself and do everything kind of yourself. But obviously, you know, my childhood memories are in Belgium. You know, I still live in the same street as my parents used to live, where I grew up; my grandparents live next door. I mean, that's what I love, and that's obviously what I go back to, you know, when I go back after the US Open. That's what I look forward to the most is going back and just being there.

Q. If Rafa were to win here and complete the career slam, how do you think that will change the way his record is looked at, his career is looked at, in comparison with Roger's?

ANDY MURRAY: I don't know. I hope he doesn't win the tournament this year (smiling). But, I mean, his record is incredible. You know, for someone so young, he's won pretty much everything, you know, bar here. You know, he's made a semifinal here a couple of times. If he wins, that's obviously great for him. But, I mean, his career is pretty impressive as it is anyway. He's won on all the surfaces; he's won Olympic gold; he's won however many tournaments. I'm sure he'd love to win here, but I don't think I mean, I'm sure for him it would be incredibly nice. It wouldn't change the way I view him as a player if he wins the US Open. To me, he's one of the greatest ever right now. He's going to win more slams. He's going to get closer to however many Sampras won, however many Roger wins by the end of his career.

Q. What are your thoughts on the speed of this court versus the speed at Wimbledon and how that affects Rafa's game?

ANDY MURRAY: It's quite clear the balls are a lot faster, a little bit harder to control the balls. Guys are serving harder. But I think the court itself I think grass is definitely still quicker than here. I just think because of the warm weather and obviously the balls being they seem very light in comparison to the Slazengers, which are pretty heavy. I think it's just a little bit harder to control the ball on the return. Obviously guys serve a little bit bigger, which might make it a bit harder for Rafa to break.

Q. You had such a wonderful breakthrough obviously in Paris. A lot of people might have expected you enjoy, sort of lose the rest of the season because you achieved this great thing. You really have seem to have reset yourself perfectly and are putting yourself in position again with another Grand Slam.


Q. Was it mentally difficult to get over that and get yourself ready for the hard court?

FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE: Yes, was difficult, but new experience give you the chance to make a new step. So everything that is new is maybe at the start a little bit slow and then came back, because I won the championship at Roland Garros. Is not another person. I have the chance to play again in a big Grand Slam like this. I want to do well. I have the quality and the opportunity to do it.

Q. So it made you hungrier?


Q. You spoke in the past about some of the books you've been reading. What have you been reading this summer?

ANA IVANOVIC: I've been reading a lot Stieg Larsson's books, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire. I'm on the third book. I've read about 50 pages in the last few weeks. I haven't had much time to read. Just trying to take a lot of walks and spend time outside. Didn't spend too much time in the room.

Q. Back to the Stieg Larsson books. The main character, Elizabeth Salander, she's a feisty character. Do you get any inspiration from that? She takes no nonsense from anyone.

ANA IVANOVIC: I do recognize myself in some of them. I do get very stubborn sometimes. That's a little bit annoying to my coaches. But, hey, you have to take the bad, too.

Q. Talking of the best, trying to perform the best you can, your outfit was really amazing. Could you talk to us about why you had that beautiful outfit and top it off with a victory.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, so far this year my outfits have been based off of cities that I play in. This outfit was really about New York. It's firework bursts actually on the dress. It's like bursts of fireworks. It's about a celebration of me playing my best obviously at home and kind of doing what I love and being able to wear something fun while I do it. So just always trying to do something fun on the court.

Q. Speaking of EleVen designs, have any female tennis players approached you trying to rob some of your designs?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, that will be fun. As my company continues to grow, maybe there will be some other representatives. Obviously, EleVen is about sport, but I don't think the primary focus will be tennis as it grows. It's just a small feature.

Day 6

Q. Have you looked a bit ahead [in the draw?] Do you know what's coming possibly next round and the round after?

ROBIN SODERLING: Yeah, I saw Montanes won in his match against Nishikori. I will play him in the next round, which will be a very difficult match. We played many times. We had tough matches. Yeah, I think here was the first round last year we had a tough four setter, I think. He's a good player. It's gonna be tough.

Q. Do you know what might happen the round after that?

ROBIN SODERLING: Yeah. Everybody has been telling me that since the draw came out. I'm going against Roger in the quarters. He still needs to win two more matches, and I still have to win one more. It's still far ahead.

Q. Does that bother you people have been telling you, or it's gonna happen no matter what you do?

ROBIN SODERLING: No, I mean, I'm the fifth seed, so I know I'm gonna play one of the four top guys in quarters. I mean, they're all good players, so it doesn't really matter who I'm playing.

Q. The other day you spoke about how much you looked up to Maria and that you had never had the chance to meet her. Can you describe any interaction that you had with her before or after the match today?

BEATRICE CAPRA: Before the match, you know, she would just walk past me and kind of like give me a glare, which is kind of intimidating. (Laughter.) You know, after the match when we shook hands, she was really nice. She said, Great tournament. Keep up the hard work. You know, I think she's a really nice person. Yeah.

Q. What did that mean to you?

BEATRICE CAPRA: It meant a lot. It really meant a lot to me that she said that. She didn't have to say anything. But, I mean, it encourages me, I guess.

Q. Did you see Francesca Schiavone's shot between the legs?

ROGER FEDERER: I think I did see it. I'm not sure.

Q. Is it more difficult for a girl, in your opinion, to do it?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, yeah, because they never come to the net, so they'll never be lobbed. No, I've seen her hit some very good shots in the past already, you know. She has a great ability to come up with some different kind of variation for a woman's player, which is nice to see. I think she played incredible at the French Open. She is not scared of trying out a few things, you know. That's why I kind of like to watch her.

Q. When you were a junior, was the whole Maria [Sharapova] image thing something that you thought maybe one day you'd emulate?


Q. Well, she's the big Nike girl. You're now Stella McCartney.

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, you know, to be honest, Kournikova was always for me the girl that I thought was just I wanted to be like her, definitely, you know. I thought she was very pretty; she was handling everything really nicely. You saw her everywhere in the commercials. I think I would more go for Kournikova.

Q. But what about on the court? Did you watch Maria's game? Did you see her win here in '06 or even Wimbledon when she was 17? What did you admire about her?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, of course. I think when you're a junior you see a lot of matches, in the women's game. And, yeah, I saw some of her matches, definitely. But, you know, she's a fighter; she never gives up. I think that's a great thing about her. But, you know, players that I really admired was, yeah, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis; those were the girls that I really looked up to.

Q. You're regarded as one of the toughest mentally out there on court, if not "the" toughest. Do you believe that in yourself? Also, how has the surgery and injuries since then, how have they really affected your confidence and perhaps showing you a little bit of vulnerability that you didn't have before?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Um, I mean, I do feel that, you know, especially in certain situations that I feel I don't know if the word "tougher" is the right word, but, you know, it's something that's, you know, won me many matches in my career.

Growing up I was never the biggest, the strongest girl on tour. You know, even though I have big shots, there are many girls that are more powerful that were quicker. But in certain situations -- you know, coming into juniors, I was playing girls that were much older than I am. You'd be in a position where it's 6 all in the third, and I'd have to battle it out. You know, I found a way to stay calm, and, you know, be tough inside of me. It wasn't really about, you know, seeing an error from the other side, and, you know, saying, come on or pumping the fist. It was more of a feeling you had inside of staying calm. That's kind of the toughness that I felt. Like I said, it's certainly won me many matches.

Q. Compared to other Opens, how are you feeling mentally and physically? You know, you're getting into the last final week. You have hopefully a few matches less until it's that final match. What's going through your mind right now?

GAËL MONFILS: I feel great physically. I mean, before the Open I was strong; I work hard like physically, so I feel great even if I have like long match. Basically I feel great. I hope the conditions will be better, and then I have like couple interesting like match to come one against Richard so I will try to play the best tennis I can. I know I can made it through the quarters, so I will try to take my chances on Monday.

Q. Do you think there's a lot of differences between your's and Richard's game?

GAËL MONFILS: Yeah, a lot. I think Richard is more talented than me in couple ways. Like he can adapt more about the conditions. Then I think I'm stronger than him physically, and maybe a bit mentally, also. Sometime he is like too defensive, like me. So actually it will be a good match, and we will see who's going to put like more pressure on the opponent.

[Photo(s): Getty Images]
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  1. Matt Cronin needs to stop going to these press conferences and inserting Sharapova into every question. When a so-called journalist has a picture of himself looking at a player with lust in his eyes as a background to his twitter page, all sense of objectivity disappears. We do not even have to ask who is asking these questions, we just know. Enough already.

  2. "Well, yeah, because they never come to the net, so they'll never be lobbed."

    Uuuuuh, excuse me? Roger, I'm one of your biggest fans but even I have to admit that you're totally talking out of your ass on that one. Dude, at least watch a match or two before you start making blanket statements.


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