Roger Federer: "For me, I knew it, winning or losing, practice court or match court, that I love it." (Mike Groll/AP)
NEW YORK -- Here are some of our favorite quotes from the first few days of the U.S. Open:
• With all the recent retirements of his contemporaries, Roger Federer insists that he'll continue to play until his passion runs out, even if that means losing more often. "Clearly when you win everything, it's fun," Federer said. "That doesn't necessarily mean you love the game more. You just like winning, being on the front page, lifting trophies, doing comfortable press conferences. It's nice. But that doesn't mean you really actually love it, love it. That maybe shines through maybe more in times when you don't play that well. For me, I knew it, winning or losing, practice court or match court, that I love it."
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• Ryan Harrison, who lost easily to Rafael Nadal in the first round, was asked whether his tough season and inability to break through at a Grand Slam tournament has made him lose faith. "Well, I'm 21 years old. If I lost faith in my career at this point, that would be pretty embarrassing. So, no."
• Rafael Nadal is not going to be turning to a gluten-free diet anytime soon. "At the end of the day, all the small things can help if you don't get crazy. I always had the theory that the most important thing is to be happy, enjoy what you are doing and be fresh mentally. If you have the gluten‑free diet or have the perfect diet or these kind of things, which are supposed to change you or be a big sacrifice, and produce you not being happy the rest of the day, not being fresh mentally because that's a lot of effort for you, better don't do it."
• What was Francesca Schaivone's reaction to drawing Serena Williams in the first round? "Oh, s***." Schiavone lost 6-0, 6-1 and needed a hug.
• Are Serena and Venus Williams up to coach their baby brother, Dylan, into a tennis star? "I think my dad is tired of tennis, so if someone teaches him it will probably be up to Serena and I and the rest of our sisters to get him on the court," Venus said. Looking back at all the number of hours and the dedication both my parents put in, I don't know how they did that. I don't know if he's ready to do that again. I have to put it on my shoulders."
• Laura Robson isn't a fan of fellow Brit Dan Evans' tattoo choices. "He's got a Jesus tattoo. I mean, if you've ever spoken to him, he's really not the most religious person," she said, laughing. "That doesn't make a lot of sense to me."
• Li Na says she hasn't broken a racket in five or six years. "I love my racket. ... If you lose the point, it is not about your racket. It's about yourself."
• After her grandfather died two weeks ago, Agnieszka Radwanska withdrew from Cincinnati on a Friday, was in Poland for the funeral on Saturday, and flewto New York on Sunday to begin her U.S. Open preparations. "I think that sometimes there are some things more important than tennis. It was something like that, and it was really a pretty quick choice. Of course this is the situation that we have to be home for the family, and I think I owed my granddad to be there."
• No. 23 Jamie Hampton, seeded at a Slam for the first time, has advanced past the opening round of the U.S. Open for the first time in four appearances. With her rankings rise, she's noticed the target on her back. "Hunter and the hunted. I've been noticing in practice a little bit more people have been playing really well against me and I asked my coach, like, 'God, why is this happening?' He's like, 'Now people have nothing to lose against you.' It's a little bit new." While her opponents may see her differently, Hampton says nothing changed for her. "I've decided no matter what, I'm going to be the hunter. So even if I am seeded and I'm the favorite, I'm still the hunter."
• Hampton was asked for her thoughts on James Blake. "Good looking!"
• Caroline Wozniacki: "He's a little fluff ball and I love him. He's the best. He's always happy. No matter if you've had a bad day or great day, he doesn't care. He runs up to you and wants to lick your face." To clarify, she was talking about her dog, Bruno.
• Juan Martin del Potro played his first-round match during the day on Wednesday, a surprising decision given Andy Murray's request to play during the day and their respective television windows (a day match for Murray would air in prime time in the UK, while a night match for del Potro would have been better for South American television). The affable Argentine, who defeated Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 7-6 (7) in 4 hours, 13 minutes, shrugged when asked about the curious scheduling. "I don't know. I think they put the good matches at night," he said, smiling.
• Victoria Duval is an unabashed SpongeBob SquarePants fan, but it's not the title character that she loves. "I just think Gary's cute," she said, laughing, "Gary doesn't get enough credit. It's all about SpongeBob."
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• Tim Smyczek, who beat James Duckworth in the first round, had a little trouble getting to his match on Wednesday: His car ran out of gas. "We're going down the highway, and I notice the cars started passing us. We were kind of slowing down. I look up and you can see the rpm meter. It's at zero. I'm like, 'Wait a minute, why are we just coasting?' So the [driver], we were in the left lane; she makes it to the middle lane, and then we got to a spot where we had to merge.
"Kind of got cut off a little bit by a truck, so she had to hit the brakes. She was really pissed. I don't know if she thought we were going to coast the whole way here, but we were still a ways away. We just pulled over to the side of the road, got out, called transport. They said they'd send somebody. So we're waiting 20, 25 minutes. Then a guy named Nouri who works for the tournament just happened to be passing by. He pulled over and said, 'Hey, you guys need a ride or something?' He got us here on time."
• John Isner, a proud Georgia Bulldog, on why he couldn't be the player he is today if he didn't choose college over turning pro as a teenager: "You guys know there aren't many 19-, 20-years-olds on the tour right now -- at least in the top 100. There's no better way to become a better player, and really just a better person in general, than to go to college. Go to college, win a lot of matches, which is what I did. When you leave college, you come off feeling pretty good about yourself and about your game."
• Jerzy Janowicz, who crashed out of the first round after injuring his back, snapped back at a reporter who asked him whether his opponent, No. 247 Maximo Gonzalez, surprised him with his game. "How can he surprise me when I couldn't serve? Stupid question."
• Andrea Petkovic sobbed through her interview after losing to Bojana Jovanovski in the first round. "I still love my life. Just because I'm crying now doesn't change my feelings toward my professional life. I still love it and I still appreciate every day of it. It's just there are days like today when nothing goes right and it's just really, really frustrating and disappointing. But it's OK. I'll get over it."
• Madison Keys was asked about meeting First Lady Michelle Obama at Arthur Ashe Kids' Day. "I was so nervous! Do I have to bow? Do I have to, like, curtsy or something?" In the end, she just couldn't help being a teenager. "I gave her a high five and then a hug. So there you go. It's a little more laid back than that."
• Ernests Gulbis was asked for his thoughts after his first-round, five-set loss to Andreas Haider-Maurer. "Bad thoughts." As for his pick to win the tournament now? "Haider-Maurer." Fair enough.
• Petra Kvitova
's English has improved greatly since she won Wimbledon in 2011, but I hope her little quirks with the language stay. Here she is talking about the chaos of the U.S. Open. "I like the Wimbledon, which is very calm, and here it's like more crowd and had big show. I like big matches on the big stadium, too, but, I mean, the people, it's too much crowdy for myself, I think." It's too much crowdy for me, too, Petra.