Best quotes from Wimbledon, Part I
WIMBLEDON, England -- It's been a week to forget for the game's top players. Only 10 of the top-10 men's and women's seeds made the third round, the worst showing at any Grand Slam tournament in the Open era, according to the ITF.
The upsets have meant that there's been a whole lot to chat about in the press room. Here are some of our favorite quotes from the early rounds at Wimbledon.
• Roger Federer on whether his fans will mourn the end of his 36-major quarterfinal streak: "It will be OK because I'll be OK."
• During his second-round loss, Federer went straight at a net-charging Sergiy Stakhovsky a couple of times. "It's a play you have to use sometimes instead of always trying to chase the line on the sides. ... Sometimes it gives you an angle after the first volley. It's more tactical [than psychological]. I knew coming in [to the match] he was going to come [to the net]. I knew sometimes also I was going to go after him just to try to win the point, not to hurt him. This is not the juniors here [smiling]."
• Serena Williams thinks Rafael Nadal's surprising first-round loss to Steve Darcis may be a blessing in disguise. "I'm probably his biggest fan," she said. "I obviously was really sad. But in a way I was happy, too, because I felt like he'll have time to rest up and get ready for the hard-court season."
• With all the talk of the huge upsets in the first week, Tomas Berdych wanted to make sure the underdogs got their due. "Yeah, Federer lost, Nadal lost. What about the Stakhovsky win, Darcis win? That's something different. It's an incredible effort. Just all the respect, all the credit. I know the feeling how it is, to beat Roger, and it's really nice."
• Bernard Tomic, who famously trash-talked Federer during the Australian Open in January, continues to weigh in on Federer's psyche. "I think a lot of people were happy when Nadal lost. I think Roger was very happy. I think he got ahead of himself, then things turned around. The players that I think don't get too ahead of themselves, focus on their matches, have the best chance of winning."
• Laura Robson got a bit X-rated during her interview after beating Mariana Duque Marino in the second round. Asked if she would want to watch Serena Williams and Andy Murray "get it on" in Las Vegas, the teenager couldn't stop laughing. "That's interesting wording," she said as the press room erupted in cackles. "I think everyone would watch that." Even the normally stiff-upper-lipped moderator started blushing.
• Robson's news conference was dominated with questions about how much pressure she feels playing at Wimbledon and how she plans to cope with it. Then, Robson was asked to respond to Williams' comment that Robson can be even better than just a top-10 player. "Not to add any pressure or anything," she said sarcastically.
• Sloane Stephens really likes Wimbledon. "I think my goal in life is to be a member of the All England Club." She might want to talk to Robson, who is actually a member. The two trained together as kids, and their moms are good friends. "It was me, Laura, Genie [Bouchard], Monica Puig and Mallory [Burdette]," Stephens said, recalling the group. "[Robson] was the mama bear of the group."
• Andy Murray credits the steadiness of the Nadal, Federer and Novak Djokovic for their prolonged dominance, not the lack of depth in the game. "The consistency of playing at a high level from the top players has been incredible. But that is not going to last forever. When guys have slight dips in form, [and] some of the younger guys start to improve and raise their level, then that's going to be tough to maintain for a long period. There's been a lot of depth in the men's game for a long time. I think it's just now the results are starting to show that."
• Juan Martin del Potro is one of the rare South Americans who actually enjoys playing on grass. "I like it more than years ago. I'm improving my game on grass. I remember when I was a junior, I came here and I lost really easy. I say, I will never play good tennis on grass. But I've learned to play here."
• Li Na won her second-round match against Simona Halep with one wonky scoreline: 6-2, 1-6, 6-0. "So I would like to say, Welcome to the crazy women's tennis tour (smiling). At the end of the first set, she called [the] official. I thought, Maybe she is going to retire or something. I was already losing concentration on the court. [Then at] one-set all, [I thought,] Wake up, she's OK, she kicked your ass already in the second set. So you should be ready for a final set."
• Kimiko Date-Krumm, 42, is the oldest woman in the Open era to make the third round of Wimbledon. "When I was young, I always practice, train, I need to win, I want to be the top 10. Always I had the pressure. So I didn’t enjoy it much when I was young. And then after, when I come back, I’m enjoying it very much, even when I’m losing. Of course, after losing, I’m always very disappointed. But still I’m enjoying it very much. … I like the challenge because it’s not easy for my age.”
• Tommy Haas is into the third round round and he reflected on his injury-laden career. "I don't get a handout just because I've had five surgeries in my career. It's not like that. You have to earn everything. You can't buy ATP points. It's not possible; otherwise, [Ernests] Gulbis [who comes from a wealthy family] would be No. 1 in the world."
• Madison Keys is too young to remember watching the all-Williams battles. "But I definitely watched them as I've gotten older, just seen the replays and all that. I'm just very happy I don't have a sister who plays tennis [laughter]."
• Michael Llodra was grilled after retiring from his second-round singles match against Andreas Seppi but coming back to play doubles later in the day (he won the doubles when his opponents retired). The 53rd-ranked Llodra said it was a calculated decision, given that he and Nicolas Mahut are contenders in doubles. "I'm not playing for the money. Not anymore. I'm 33 years old. I don't care about money. I have enough in my account bank. It's enough. No, I play for the title."
• Michelle Larcher de Brito was in the top 100 at age 16. Now 20 and ranked No. 131, she scored the biggest win of her career when she stunned Maria Sharapova in the second round. "When I was 16, when I was in the top 100, everybody was comparing me to Martina Hingis, expecting me to win a Grand Slam at that age. But that doesn't happen anymore, winning Grand Slams so young. Tennis is so competitive now and so hard, it's hard to stay there. Also with all the [age] restrictions from the WTA, I was only allowed to play I think eight tournaments a year. It was hard for me to stay in the top 100. When I had points, I couldn't defend them because I was only playing maybe one or two tournaments a month."
• After her loss, Sharapova was asked if all of the questions she had been fielding about Williams, Sugarpova and boyfriends distracted her. "I've handled a lot of things off the court in my career. I'm a four-time Grand Slam champion. I've been No. 1 in the world. I don't know if you can call those things a distraction."
• Lleyton Hewitt wasn't exactly in a chatty mood after losing to Dustin Brown in the second round. Asked about the state of Australian sport, Hewitt kept it short. "I'm out of Wimbledon. That's all I've got to say."
• Two days after upsetting Federer, Stakhovsky lost to Jurgen Melzer on Friday. "Yeah, it was quite hard for me because yesterday was a busy day. Everybody wanted to chat. Everybody wanted a piece."
• Funny thing: All of a sudden Federer is no longer the positive standard against which everyone measures themselves. Here's Melzer on playing Stakhovsky: "You go out there and show him that I'm not Roger Federer and I can return his serve and make him play tough volleys." And here's Stakhovsky on his tactical error when playing Melzer: "I should have mixed it up. I should never play the same shot against Jurgen. He was returning much better today than Roger." • Three members of the British boy band One Direction tweeted at Robson, causing a bit of a firestorm among the group's fans on Twitter. "I actually got an email from Twitter saying, He's followed you and messaged you. I guess if you're that big‑time, then Twitter gets involved. But I looked in my replies, and it was just like thousands of these messages, saying, Who is she?" Robson said, laughing. "I was like wetting myself because it was so funny. ... I think I've gained 20,000 followers and they have no idea who I am."