Sunday January 15th, 2012

MELBOURNE, Australia -- A roundup of the best quotes from players on the eve of the Australian Open ...

• "I think everything is possible. Obviously 2011 has been the best year so far in my career. It's going to be very difficult to repeat what I have done. But, look, I've done it once. Why not twice? Why not stay optimistic and positive about the whole season? It's a start."

-- Novak Djokovic, on replicating his 2011.

• "I'm sorry I didn't bring my kangaroo with me this time. I'm sure he might show up later during the week."

-- Caroline Wozniacki, who, along with the media, just won't let that kangaroo story die.

• "Today [Saturday] was my first practice where I could play again at 100 percent. ... I feel like I'm back to normal. That's a good feeling to have coming into the Australian Open."

-- Roger Federer, on his his back injury.

• "I'm not going to get the benefits from having Ivan [Lendl] this week. I'm going to see it in six months, 12 months' time, when all the things we work on start falling into place. I mean, it's obviously good to have someone with his experience around the Slams and these situations. But in terms of the actual improvements in my game, it's going to take a little bit longer than a week to make changes."

-- Andy Murray, tempering expectations of his new coach's immediate impact on his game.

• "I'm not hungry anymore on the court, like, last half of the year. But now I feel hungry again. I'm still tough and I'm back."

-- Li Na, on her 2011 slump and newfound confidence and desire.

• "I am, and he better be."

-- Serena Williams, on whether her mixed doubles partnership with Andy Roddick is here to win the title. Get the memo, Andy?

• "Yeah, I said. But I was going to take more care about what I going to say now in the press conference because after what I say in London, in every press conference the people ask about what I say there. What I say there is I played a few matches at the end of the season with less passion than usual. That's nothing crazy. That happens when you are a little bit more tired than usual. Maybe you're not doing your job all the time with the same passion because you're tired. That's part of the job. I'm here in Australia 2012 with big motivation, with big passion, and trying to enjoy the previous weeks. I did. I'm happy. I am practicing well. I'm enjoying everything. I will try to be ready for tomorrow."

-- Rafael Nadal, downplaying his comments about lacking passion for tennis. Fair point, Rafa. Fair point.

• "Look, you never know, but I doubt it."

-- Kim Clijsters, on whether she'll still be playing tennis next year.

• "I just need to worry about playing good tennis. That's what I've been trying to do on the practice courts since then and not get too caught up in, you know, is it absolutely perfect, all that kind of thing. It's hard to always play perfect. Maybe when you're a little bit stressed, that's what you're always looking for. But, yeah, I think that's probably the main thing for me to remember. You can go out there and play well; it doesn't have to be perfect. Give a 100 percent, compete hard. If I can do that then, yeah, I'll be happy."

-- U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur, on having to accept the imperfections in order to win.

• "I've been in Melbourne for some time now. Came here a little bit early. I was thinking of maybe playing a tournament the week before. Just thought it would be good to stay here and train and get ready. I wasn't really in a hurry to go and play a tournament when I didn't feel like I had enough practice and all. But, yeah, it's been really good. The body feels really good."

-- Maria Sharapova, on her ankle injury.

• "After Wimbledon, I had a lot of press. I had to improve my English. Yeah, I'm still a little bit nervous, but it's much better."

-- Petra Kvitova, on her much-improved English.

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