Wednesday May 30th, 2012

Round 1 of the French Open is in the books. While some of us are still reeling at Serena Williams' shock exit,  here are some of the best quotes from the first three days in Paris. Sometimes reading can soothe a weary soul.

• "Wow.  Bet you guys wish you could write down what I was thinking during that, right? This is the point where the older, better version of myself takes a second."

-- Andy Roddick, after being asked a long convoluted question about whether he was expecting to lose his first-round match and whether being put in the secondary interview room was a sign of disrespect.

• "I never really feel anything slipping away or anything. I just felt I couldn't get a ball in play. You know, when I did I just felt like I was hitting late and, I mean, how can you hit late on a clay court?  It was kind of odd."

-- Serena Williams, truly perplexed as to her inconsistency in her first round loss to Virginie Razzano.

• "I have good records against many players, thank God. I was on a winning streak against Americans for a while, too. But this is stuff I didn't even know about, to be quite honest."

-- Roger Federer on his 48th straight win over German players. I think @PseudoFed would probably add a #humblebrag tag to that quote.

• "If I had won today I would have qualified for the Olympic Games.  I feel like crying.  It's really tough. I'm going to get my act together. I will go in four year's time.  Three month ago I was 125. I didn't think I could go to the Olympic Games. I came back into the race and I thought I was going to go.  Nobody expected me to be able to, and then I'm about to jump the last step and I can't jump that one last step. Of course I'm hurt.  I'm disappointed."

-- Alize Cornet, after losing her first-round match to Zheng Jie, thus making her Olympic qualification improbable.

• "My main goal is the Olympics this year, so if I reach that, I'll be home free.  You might not see me the rest of the year (smiling).  Somewhere celebrating."

-- Venus Williams on qualifying for the Olympics, which at this point, looks very likely.

• "In some sports you can say I prefer to be ready for that, I prefer to be ready for another thing.  In our sport, not.  You have to go for everything.  You have to try your best in every moment. Even talking about  you can prepare like to run for the race, I don't know, 10,000, you can be without competing, just preparing for that event for maybe four months, five months, just ready for that.

"In tennis, if you are doing that, nobody tells you that you will arrive in the right conditions. So the tennis is a sport about feelings, mental part, you know, you have to be with confidence. I am at Roland Garros. I gonna try my best in Roland Garros. Then in Halle, then in Wimbledon. And the Olympics. I will try my best in every tournament. I don't know if I will be able to play well in some one of them, but I will try."

-- Rafael Nadal waxing philosophical when asked how he prioritizes the Olympics in his career.

• "The final in Rome still killing me. After final I tell everyone don't talk to me about tennis like three days."

-- Li Na, on her rain-drenched loss to Maria Sharapova in the Rome final.

• "He didn't talk to me much when he was working with Roddick.  He was quite distant at that time, which is a bit weird, because I got on very well with Roddick.  But I think he respects me very much.  I had many interviews with him for Tennis Channel, and we saw each other in the changing room. Well, I talked to him. He is much closer to Nadal than to me.  Maybe that's the reason."

-- Roger Federer on his distant relationship with Jimmy Connors.

• "For me, for me at these big events, it's all about getting through the early rounds.  Once I do that, I start to get more comfortable. I'm not scared of anyone, but I know at the same time every match is so tough.  If I blink just for a second, I could be out in the second round here. So the ultimate goal is to be in a slam final.  I do believe I can do it.  I'm going to go out there and try and do it."

-- John Isner, on his need to focus on the early rounds to get a shot at the top players he knows he can beat.

• "No.  No, I haven't won that many matches this year period."

-- Donald Young, after being asked if he had any confidence coming into this year's French Open. He's won two matches in 2012.

• "Yes, it was my 10th draw here, final draw here. We all hope to play such a match on such a court here with the French. And the French audience are waiting for this. They want to support the French players. They want us to beat seeded players. This was the time for me. I wanted to make the most of it. I wanted to stay on the court. And at the age of 30, there we are. It happened."

-- Nicolas Mahut, who had not beat anyone in the Top 100 at Roland Garros in his career, after beating Andy Roddick in the first round.

• "I know of her story and her husband. We all have stories. I mean, I almost died and Venus is struggling herself. So, you know, it's life. You know, it just depends on how you deal with it.  She obviously is dealing with it really well."

-- Serena Williams after being asked if she knew about Virginie Razzano's story of losing her fiancee eight days before the French Open last year. 

• "It's definitely a surface that I can continue to improve on.  I'm going to obviously put a lot of work into getting better on this surface. You look at someone like Sharapova, and she's made massive strides on clay.  She definitely has the sort of game that I would like to be playing on this surface."

-- Laura Robson getting some inspiration from Maria Sharapova that yes, big girls can play on clay. It's funny how times change.

• "No, not really, because everyone has (to earn it) their way.  I mean, if you're not playing well, you're not giving results, everyone is going to pick on you obviously. That's just the name of the game. When you're doing well, everyone loves a winner. Obviously when you're doing well all the media going to be like, 'Oh, you're awesome; you're this; you're that; you're the next star.' But I think you get from the media what you give to them, so they kind of feed off of what you're doing.  So if you're doing well, then, yay.  It's good for you."

-- Sloane Stephens on whether the media has been unfair in its expectations and critiques of the younger American players.

• "You know, when I played Les Petits As, I don't know which year this was, I don't think I saw him since then.  I think he's not really changed at all.  He's the same, a bit taller, but his face, the game, you know, his style, I recognized him immediately."

-- Richard Gasquet, on Brian Baker, who he played against in juniors.

• "No, I should use sun protection creams, but I can't.  I can't play with this.  I have the impression that afterwards my skin is sticky, and I don't like feeling this, something sticky on my skin.  That's awful. I have always, you know, touching my nose, my face, and then I have the impression that even my hands are sticky.  Even during practice I don't use sun protection cream.  I should perhaps."

-- Rafael Nadal admits he doesn't use sunscreen. That is tremendously worrisome, Rafa.

• "In 10 years I better have won this one time at least, otherwise I will be one unhappy camper."

-- Sloane Stephens on what she would like to achieve in the next 10 years.

• "When I retire, you'll know after the last match... I'll just hang it up.  That will be that."-- Venus Williams on retirement.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.