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Beyond the Baseline

'Sloane Phi Sigma,' Federer's Zen state and more top quotes from Indian Wells

Sloane Stephens Sloane Stephens on missing out on college: "I am a sorority of one. Sloane Phi Sigma." (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Here are some of our favorite quotes from the early rounds of the BNP Paribas Open ...

• "So many people say, Oh, she's lucky. She cannot win anymore [Grand Slam titles], like blah, blah, blah. I say, That's OK. Doesn't matter. I already have two in my pocket. Nobody take it."

-- Li Na's version of the "haters to the left" speech.

• "When you are playing a player like Dolgopolov, the way to stop him and the way that I really bother him is when I am solid all the time, playing long, playing high. When I play a high ball and the ball comes short, I try to hit a winner and I open the court all the time. ... But when the ball comes back short [to the opponent], I am not able to have the winner or to play a shot that is going to give me that advantage. Then I become a really normal player. I am not anymore a great player. I am a great player when I am doing these kind of things. These kind of things I am not doing the last two days."

-- Rafael Nadal, after losing to Alexandr Dolgopolov. The world No. 1 lamented that he just couldn't find his rhythm in matches against Dolgopolov and Radek Stepanek at Indian Wells.

• "I mean, Rio, no, I didn't learn much because he made seven unforced errors in two sets, so I couldn't learn a lot there [smiling]."

-- Dolgopolov, on whether he was able to take away any lessons on how to beat Nadal when he lost to him in the final of the Rio Open last month.

• Funny exchange between reporters and Sloane Stephens about college, sororities and the WTA:

Q.  I know you like your life and you've talked in the past about not missing being in college.  ... Do you feel you're a sorority of one?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  I am a sorority of one.  Sloane Phi Sigma or whatever.  No, it's not bad.  I definitely ‑‑ like all the things I have had to go through and traveling and being a professional athlete and being so young and having pressure and whatever, I think I kind of skipped the phase of wanting to go out and have fun and whatever.

But, I mean, I don't regret it or anything.  I think I just cut out a lot of drama in my life, which I think is ideal.

Q.  Do you think there is less drama being a professional tennis player than there would be in college?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I think so.  Girls are full of drama.  To be in college in a sorority, that would be overwhelming.

Q.  There are 95 other girls in this tournament.

SLOANE STEPHENS:  I know, but we're playing for money in a real job.  It's a bit different from arguing over boys and stuff.

• "Everywhere is people [smiling]. I cannot do it."

-- Li, on why she doesn't like to play doubles.

• "Result‑wise, it's obviously not where I want to go. I've never been the person that comes out and wins the first tournament as a partnership. It took me a little while from when I started working with Thomas [Hogstedt]. I didn't get the results I wanted from the very beginning either with Michael [Joyce]. It's always a work in progress in terms of the work you do and getting to know each other. It's only been quite a short time, as well."

-- Maria Sharapova, after losing to Camila Giorgi, when asked to assess her current partnership with Sven Groeneveld.

• "If she played at this level for a consistent period of time, I don't think she'd be a qualifier here. That's pretty obvious for everyone in this room."

-- Sharapova, on Giorgi, who is ranked No. 79 and came through qualifying.

• "Her game is unpredictable completely. I mean, you don't know ‑‑ you don't understand what she's going to do. It's good for her in one point, but in the other not too much. She needs to find the balance between these two Camila [smiling]."

-- Flavia Pennetta, on Giorgi's erratic style. After upsetting Sharapova, Giorgi lost to Pennetta 6-2, 6-1 in an all-Italian fourth-round match.

• "If it was, I wouldn't tell you. It's all secret."

-- Roger Federer, when asked whether he was expecting another set of twins.

• "I feel different this year. I feel like if I do play my best, I can come through again. That's all the difference you really need. But then you need to prove it to yourself. It's one thing feeling it, but it's another thing really getting it done. That's why the victories against [Jo-Wilfried Tsonga] and [Andy] Murray and also now [Novak] Djokovic and [Tomas] Berdych were big wins for me to start off the year. Now I feel like I'm in a good place. Zen on the court. I know what my solid level is."

-- Federer, on his rediscovered "Zen."

• "Pretty good player, but not a good chance for her."

-- Li, who studied journalism, when asked how she would have written about herself at the start of her career.

Grigor Dimitrov got a little bit nervous when he found out that Sharapova was talking about him in her interviews:

Q.  Do you like talking about Maria, like in press conferences?  She seems to be more open about talking about you.

GRIGOR DIMITROV:  Why?  Did she say something?  (Laughter.)

Q.  Read the transcript.  No, she was talking about you in her last press conference.  She seems to be more open about talking about you guys.

GRIGOR DIMITROV:  Did she?

• "I just love it. The air is so fresh, it's in the morning. It's not too warm; it's not too cold. You look around and you have like lemon trees, orange trees, and it's just so nice. Sometimes I stop and I grab a lemon or an orange. I probably shouldn't say that here [smiling]."

-- Caroline Wozniacki, on her love of Indian Wells and her penchant for stealing produce.

• "I don't get mad. I just stop playing."

-- Wozniacki, on the frustrations of learning to play golf. She is engaged to Rory McIlroy, the sixth-ranked golfer in the world.

• "So many times I talk to husband, I say, Don't come with me. You go in first or you go in behind. Don't come with me."

-- Li, who said the only reason people recognize her in public is because they recognize her husband, Jiang Shan.

• Things got weird at one of Eugenie's Bouchard's news conferences:

With all the talk in Australia about Genie's Army, some said, Wait a second, genies can't have armies. What's your position on that? Do you think genies do have armies or not really?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: That's a kind of weird, deep question.

• "Anything I touched today was basically bad and was wrong. So really, you know, just to recap it, definitely my worst match that I had this year."

-- Tomas Berdych, after his second-round loss to Roberto Bautista Agut.

• "I don't keep my mind off tennis, out of tennis [smiling].  I'm thinking every day about tennis. And I like tennis, so it's not difficult for me."

-- Simona Halep, when asked how she takes her mind off tennis. She later admitted that an occasional shopping trip will do the trick.

• Finally, in case you missed it: Novak Djokovic crashed one of Dimitrov's news conferences and got the goods on Sugarpova:

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