In their own words
First week at U.S. Open filled with great soundbites
Posted: Sunday September 2, 2007 10:20PM; Updated: Monday September 3, 2007 2:02AM
With Labor Day upon us, we decided to let the players do the work today. Here is the story of the first week of the U.S. Open, as told by the men and women at play:
"Isner's going to be very tall and Roger's going to be very good."
"When I was signing autographs after practice, a guy asked me to sign his forehead. I was like, 'Are you kidding?' I say, 'I can sign your ball or shirt, but forehead?'"
"He told me I couldn't use my notes. I was like, Well, it's not like I'm Harry Potter, and my dad can magically give me notes to read. It's something that I write myself. Just little things. What if I were to take a paper on the court and write something. What's the difference?"
"The summer of 1973. It was a long time ago."
"A weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I said to myself at the beginning of that fifth set, I'm just not going to lose this match; I'm going to win this. Up until now the whole five set jinx, whatever, it had never really entered into my head. When I got in a fifth set I was just focused on winning and doing what I had to do to get there. But this time I just said to myself: I'm not going let it happen this time."
"He told me: 'It's amazing what I'm doing at my age. I said, 'Thanks, my son.'"
"I probably would have ran track because I ran track when I was younger. But obviously tennis was the place for me. I have to work hard to keep my weight on. I'd be even thinner if I wasn't playing tennis. Probably be modeling somewhere. Maybe those two things."
"At age 17 I had nothing planned, no cash, my sponsor dropped me and nobody wanted to help me in the [Russian] Federation because it was difficult times. The last source was my mother. She gave me $500 and said, 'You have luck or you don't have luck. This is your last hope. Take the $500 and go to the French Open and try to look for some money.' This is tough situation. So sitting here and asking about speculation about how many Grand Slam I should have won, it's a little bit funny."
"It's Roger [Federer]. There's no doubt. And that is a reflection of how the game has changed. Pete Sampras on a grass court, a quick grass court, was incredibly difficult to play against. But the difference is when you're playing someone like Pete, you might not make returns for three or four games, but you just felt like if you keep doing a good job on your serve, you could hold serve and get to 4-all, 5-all, 6-all. That's when conditions were quicker. Now with it being considerably slower a lot of the times, when you're playing Roger, every game is a struggle. I would definitely say he's the best player I've ever played against."
"I do not use Excel, but I use PowerPoint."
"I'm pleased you brought the subject of gambling up. That was the elephant in the room. So the elephant has finally come out."
"I don't know really guys from Mafia in Russia because I live from 15 years old in Germany. I don't know German Mafia. Like maybe if you go now to Brooklyn, you find Russian Mafia here in New York. But I never saw no guys in New York from Russia. I been Moscow only for Davis Cup and for Kremlin Cup, nothing else."
"You know, that's life. People are getting together, they are leaving each other. It's not easy. But, as I said, that's life, and I don't want to commentate too much."
"When I lost in college I felt like I let my team down. It was a terrible feeling. I didn't lose much in the team format but when I did I felt terrible. You always want to get that point for the team. When I lose out here I'm only letting myself down. I think college tennis really has prepped me well for this because I don't feel as much pressure out here than I did playing college."
"Try not to have one. Try to win before."
"They're so fat. But yeah, they're still alive, yeah. They're waiting for me at home."
"I hate the people when they still live in the past and saying how great they were in, I don't know, in the past century. Who cares? I'm not this type of person. I try to move on. I try to improve and forget it. Whatever happened, happened. It was good memories, great. But you don't focus on that because there's so much going on, so many things coming to you."
"Isner and [Donald] Young, they're going to be feel-good stories for this tournament. The difference between that pressure and the pressure I have is they lose and it's OK. But I think it's nice. It keeps these [press conference] rooms empty for me during the week, which I don't mind."
"How do you want me to keep up with the other girls? If I am like a stick, you know, I'm going to collapse after a few games. I have to have energy, something to burn."
"It's tough being a role model because when I was growing up I never really had a role model because I never thought that anyone was perfect. So it's tough to hear when kids do say that, you know, I want to be like Maria Sharapova. I say, 'No you don't. Because I'm not perfect.' I might be good at some things but I might not be good at other things."
"I love being me. I just like myself. I love being in my family. I love the way we interact, always have each other. I like the decisions I make. I like my style. I just like who I am. I'm comfortable with that. So whether or not I was working a desk job, I would feel like I was a special person."
"Watching a lot of kid DVDs, and learning a lot about Mickey Mouse, Little Einstein, the Wiggles. I know all the Wiggles."
"Put on a nice outfit and some makeup and you're the bomb."
"My life is in a public arena. So I'm completely comfortable with whatever people want to say, negative or positive, about me. That's what I signed up for when I entered professional sports."
"I can't keep up with what I say on a daily basis. I might have been just jabbering at my lips. Might have just been filling space."
"Sexy, a good kisser."