Tuesday September 3rd, 2013

Novak Djokovic Novak Djokovic showed some love for the U.S. Open stenographers. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Here are more of our favorite quotes from the U.S. Open (click here for Part I):

Novak Djokovic took time out of his news conference to praise the stenographers, a small crew of talented people who travel the world along with the tennis tour. "I think most of the players don't even notice these great people here who are working very hard to catch every word weare saying. And as I am speaking, he was typing exactly what I am saying. Wow, wow, wow, wow."

Roger Federer says his ability to make his game look easy has been a double-edged sword, especially now that he's losing. "It's always been a fine line, especially in the beginning of my career when I didn't have the results to back me up," he said after losing to Tommy Robredo in the fourth round. "People thought, Did he even try? Does he care much? Like, He can play so well. Is it so terrible?

"The story of my life: When I lose, people are shell-shocked to see me play this way. If I win, it's the best thing. Yeah, I can see that. But there's no doubt about it, I'm trying hard out there to make it work. Sometimes it just doesn't happen."

• A year ago, Flavia Pennetta had to shut down her season to get wrist surgery and her ranking tumbled from inside the top 20 to outside the top 150. Now 31, she's reached her fourth U.S. Open quarterfinal. It's been a tough road. "I was working hard. ... Was not easy, I can tell you. I cry a lot, yeah. But I love this sport. I would like to have a chance just to prove myself. I try my best. If I can come back, good. If not, I have a good career. I don't have to do nothing more. But I would like to try 100 percent, and I did it. Now the result, it's good."

Martina Hingis, 32, playing the fifth doubles tournament in her comeback, lost with Daniela Hantuchova against the top-seeded Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci in the first round of the U.S. Open. Reflecting on her WTA return, she admitted that her body wasn't ready for it. "Maybe hard court is not the easiest one to come back to as well, playing eight weeks in a row. ... I enjoy it. I feel like I'm playing well. My body is screaming, What are you doing to me?"

• Hingis rolled her eyes when asked if she'd expand her comeback to include singles. "God, give me a break. No, I haven't given any more thought to it. I have a hard time covering half the court and trying to be there. Full court is a completely different ballgame."

• No. 109 Tim Smyczek, the last American standing, got a lot of love in a heartbreaking five-set loss to Marcel Granollers in the third round. "I never heard somebody yell out from the stands, 'You're our last hope.' That was new," he said, laughing. "It was really neat. I never had to step up to the baseline with goosebumps so many times. I got a taste of it. I can't wait to come back again next year and do it because it was a really special feeling. I used to hear James [Blake] and Andy [Roddick] talk about how playing Davis Cup was one of the greatest experiences of their careers. I didn't quite get that before.  But I think now, it's a pretty special feeling to have everybody behind you like that."

Serena Williams on what Sloane Stephens needs to improve to get to the next level: "I don't think she has to work on anything. I think she is at the next level."

• When it comes to defining the greats, Williams says she goes by the numbers. "If you're going by numbers, Roger [Federer] still has more Grand Slams than Rafa [Nadal], so you have to go with that. I think still right now, I go by numbers. I don't think I'm the greatest because Steffi [Graf] has way more Grand Slams than me. I just go by what's written down."

Stephens' goal for the rest of the year is to break into the top 10. "I'm 200 points away from it. I have no points to defend. I'm playing five tournaments. I think I have a pretty good shot. If I don't make that, then shame on me."

Jamie Hampton was asked what she makes of Stephens' "rivalry" with Williams. "Less than you guys do."

• The 32-year-old Lleyton Hewitt's run to the fourth round is yet another reminder not to dismiss the old guys. "People are quick to write guys off and not kind of remember how good someone like Hewitt was at his peak," Andy Murray said. "He finished No. 1 in the world two times at the end of the year, won a couple of Grand Slams, and has been in the finals of others. When he's fit and healthy, he can compete with everybody."

Federer's press conferences are always a little bit different from everyone else's. Here's a sample of three "questions" he was asked after defeating Adrian Mannarino in the third round:

"First of all, congratulations. Fantastic game. Always."

"Your worst year is still much better than other people's best year."

"Tonight's match, it was such a show of force. You completely crushed poor Adrian.  If you could talk just briefly about the match."

• In an odd scene during Philipp Kohlschreiber's third-round win over John Isner, the chair umpire actually climbed down during a changeover to address two men in Isner's player box. "I don't know who was it, but one guy, between first and second [serves], was always saying, 'Come on,' and, 'Let's go, John,' like really aggressive during my motion," Kohlschreiber said. "I turned around and said to him, 'Well, I don't think that's a nice thing.' Then I said to the umpire it should be his duty to keep the people a little bit down. It's not Davis Cup and it should be fair."

Isner had no idea the umpire ever climbed down. "I didn't notice that. I don't know what was said or who said it, but if it affected Philipp in any way, I apologize."

Isner said he got too amped after breaking late in the fourth set and it cost him. He was immediately broken and played a flat tiebreaker to lose. "I was enjoying the good atmosphere. It's fun to play in front of a packed house like that. That's what I do. A lot of times I just get excited. But in a match like that, where the conditions are so humid and I'm sweating through seven, eight shirts, I just shouldn't have done that. There's a time to do it, and you could keep it a little bit more reserved. I just let out too much energy."

• Asked for his thoughts on the prospect of no American man making the fourth round of the U.S. Open for the first time (which ended up happening after Smyczek's loss), Isner shrugged. "I don't care. No, I'm going to watch football for a while. That's all I care about."

Rafael Nadal hadn't been broken entering the quarterfinals. "Will happen," Nadal said. "No worries."

Ana Ivanovic, who lost a three-setter to Victoria Azarenka in the fourth round, said she has to keep all the critics at bay and focus on her goal of trying to win a second Grand Slam tournament. "I think many times we judge people without actually knowing what's going on behind the scenes," the 2008 French Open champion said after her third-round win. "Speaking for me and for other players, you see us when we are competing and you don't know the efforts we put in. Everyone, it's easy for them to sit back and judge and talk about what one should do or shouldn't do. But only the person who is involved and who knows what their goals are, for every person it's different." • Asked for her memories of her last big win, Ivanovic showed off her underrated gallows humor. "Well, it's hard to remember. That's a scary thought."

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