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Quotable Quotes: French Open Week 1

Quotable Quotes: French Open Week 1

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

PARIS, France – The interview rooms at Roland Garros have been just as busy as the grounds through Week 1. Here are some of the best quotes from a hectic week.

“I just made it a point to play my game. Up until that point I had not been playing my game. I was playing really defensive. It’s not me. So I just wanted to be Serena out there.”

– Serena Williams on how she steeled herself for the second set tiebreaker after a long rain delay against Kristina Mladenovic.

“My youngest [sister] actually called me yesterday and I answered the phone and she was just like, ‘Where are you?’ I’m in Paris. ‘Are you in the French Open?’ Yeah, I am. ‘Oh. The teacher asked me about it and I wasn’t sure.’ Yeah, no, I’m here.

‘Paris sounds like a really good place to buy me presents.’ You know, it’s really expensive stuff so I feel like you probably wouldn’t like it. ‘No, no, I probably would.’ I was like, We’ll talk about it.

Then she said, ‘Okay. Here’s mom.’ That was the end of our conversation. (Laughter.)”

– Madison Keys reenacting a phone call she received from her sister last week.

Francesca Schiavone

“So Roland Garros announced my retirement, but I didn’t. So you can stand up all of you and go back to work in the office because I didn’t say that. I will announce when I will want to stop.”

– Francesca Schiavone clarifying an announcement that she had played her last match.

“It’s unacceptable really to lose ten games in a row in a match. I think that my focus a little bit was the part that let me down, the mental part. Something I’ve been working on. I had been getting better, so it’s not always going to be good.
But, yeah, I mean, I wish I would’ve done better.”

– Eugenie Bouchard after her 6-4, 6-4 to Timea Bacsinszky in the second round.

“I’m definitely disappointed and I’m definitely feeling like I should do much better. I feel like my results should be better, especially after two great weeks in Dubai and Doha. I was playing very well.

I feel like I lost a few close matches in Indian Wells and Miami, and I lost my confidence after that. Was really difficult for me to regain it. I had a couple tough draws with Madison Keys in Rome first round and Bacsinszky in Madrid, and then it’s difficult to get back in the groove.

Yeah, definitely not happy with the place I am at right now. The most important part is that I’m willing to work; I’m ready, too. I’ve been through much worse than a couple of bad results. It’s not a thing of attitude or lacking of attitude or work. It’s just a matter of lacking of confidence, and I’m ready to dig myself out of there.”

– Andrea Petkovic on her recent dip in form.

“My game actually feels good. My shots feel good. My movement feels good. So I think it hurts a bit more knowing I can play really well right now.

But I know it’s a long process and a long journey. When I restarted working with Nick, we talked about a long-term plan. Of course immediate results would be great, but it’s trying to improve over the long run to become the best player I can be.

And, yeah, so that’s talking months, a year, or more. So I have to kind of keep that in my head, that that’s the ultimate goal. But I know my game is there. If you can put it all together, immediate results are possible as well.”

– Bouchard on the long road back. She’ll be ranked outside the Top 45 after the French Open.

“I called her because I had lost seven or eight matches in a row, so I was a bit nervous. I wanted to win matches. So the problem was with me that I didn’t focus my energy correctly.

“My mind was not where it should have focused. As you said, I had tried other psychologists, but so far, I had not found the right person. But she has helped me a lot. I was going through bad moments, and she told me three, four, five things that really help me considerably.”

– Carla Suárez Navarro on working with a sports psychologist since September.

Carla Suarez Navarro

“I’m just like, I’m here to play tennis. That’s it. I’m not here to do anything else. I did have a conversation with the tour director afterwards, because I respect every person on the court and I want respect, too. I was pretty clear on that with him.”

– Venus Williams on getting a rare coaching violation.

“I think it was a good match, a beautiful match, as well. On both sides, I think. Sometimes, you know, there are days that she’s not really into the match or she has difficulties due to what she does, but today I think it was really difficult for both of us. I think I put out good tennis, solid, from the first to the last ball. And during the rallies I thought that “she was beatable.”

But then, as I said, I told you, she’s exceptional, and her biggest strength is her serves. She hit me so much with those serves. But then I’m a bit frustrated. She’s such a great champion, and she manages to escape and find a way out with this weapon.”

– Kristina Mladenovic after losing to Serena Williams in the third round.

“I was actually laying on the couch hanging out with CoCo and I was asleep. All of a sudden I heard my name on a radio. They were like, We can’t find Madison. I’m like, I’m right here. Then they were, Okay, you’re next on. Went from fourth to next. How does that work?

Once I kind of absorbed the information and had a second to process it I was really happy, just because I didn’t want to get stuck playing super late and potentially having the rain stop us.”

– Madison Keys on getting notice her third round match had been moved.

Alize Cornet

“I think that this is quite exceptional, to be able to stay at this level at the age of 36 or perhaps 35. I mean, it’s something that gets on our nerves, you know, I mean, for us. And she managed to kill me when she wanted to during the third set.

She has so much experience. She’s a great champion. Maybe she’s less consistent than before, but just a little. She’s still in the top 10. Nobody notices she’s less consistent. So you have to play full seasons. I fully respect what she does.”

– Alizé Cornet on her respect for Venus Williams.

“I think her experience is of course when she was playing on court and she understands what I feel, and that’s the main key, I think. Because for some coaches who didn’t play on such a high level, it’s tough, I think. It’s just different. It’s not bad; it’s not good.

That’s why for me it’s important to have my coach Iain, he helps me more like technical things, and she’s more on the mental thing for me. So everything worked well this period of time and in this stage. So it works now.”

– Elina Svitolina on having Justine Henin as an advisor.

“I saw Justine for the first time today. I didn’t even realize she was coaching. I was like, gosh, it’s a little bit surreal.”

– Serena Williams on seeing Justine Henin around the grounds.

“I speak with my coach before the match in the same day, not before, because otherwise I would have dreams with my opponent and it’s not good for me (laughter).

In the morning before the warmup, I speak with my coach, and he tells me what I have to do. I just put it in my game.”

– Simona Halep on how she prepares for matches.

Sloane Stephens

“She just gave me the mop today. (Smiling.) That’s all I can really say. It sucks and I’m sad, but she played a good match.”

– Sloane Stephens after winning three games in a loss to Tsvetana Pironkova in the third round.

“I feel like everyone’s career has been like pretty like steady and mine has been like, What am I doing? I guess that’s just part of being an athlete, part of sports, part of growing up.

If I hadn’t won three tournaments this year I would probably be kind of disappointed. There are definitely things to be happy about with that. Hopefully during some of the majors I can get back to where I was before making the second week pretty consistently. Something I’m just going to have to work on.”

– Sloane Stephens, still trying to find consistency from tour events to Slams.

“I said to everyone after the match, I was like, Jeez, I can’t remember being so happy to win third round. Yeah, it means a lot.”

– Sam Stosur, after beating Lucie Safarova in the third round. Stosur was 3-11 against Safarova heading into the match.

“At the risk of sounding really arrogant, I kind of think that I can play with like the top-10 players, like I feel like I can play with anybody. I just have to be consistent and not freak out all the time.

I feel like I’ve got to have more strategy, because it can’t be just this one thing all the time. I feel like I do have like the strokes and the power, though. But like, please — I don’t want to sound like I’m a mean person while I’m saying this.”

– Naomi Osaka, who made the third round in her French Open debut after making the third round in her Australian Open debut.

Naomi Osaka

“It’s hard to be the leader in any position, and he’s done wonderful. I think everyone enjoys working with him. I have spoken with him, too, and he takes everything into account.

It’s tricky, because there are so many players and they all need attention. Not tennis players, but, you know, the tournaments and different bodies that need — everybody needs a win. Everybody needs to walk out of the room feeling like that they got something out of it. So that’s not an easy thing to do, and he does well with it.”

– Venus Williams on WTA CEO Steve Simon.

“I’m disappointed. I can play better. But it was a wonderful moment. It was very emotional. The public supporting me helped me coming back in the match when I thought it was over. I think they believed more in me than I believed in myself.”

– Caroline Garcia, after losing to Agnieszka Radwanska in the second round.

“I haven’t put my name out there or anything like that, so it’s just my friends. So the fact that people can’t just write death threats to me after matches and stuff feels really good. I think I manage [the negative comments] pretty well. There are definitely days where I’m stronger and other days where after a tough day I’ll read them and sometimes that gets tough.

But it’s to the point where you have a tough match and you know you’re going to have a lot of horrible comments you just scroll to the top, don’t read it, close it, and don’t deal with it for a few days.”

– Madison Keys on Snapchat and social media.


Best Q&A Moments:

Q. We know that Serena has conquered the French language or done a good job. We have not really heard you speak French. Have you had an interest or not very good at it, or tell us about it.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I’ll let her do that part (smiling).

Q. Not into languages?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually, I am. But, you know, she’s bold, you know.

Q. The $64 question, how do you come down from this and focus on two days from now when you have to play that fourth round?
SHELBY ROGERS: Maybe you guys could tell me. I don’t know. (Laughter.)

Q. How does your sister take your success? I know you two have quite the rivalry.
NAOMI OSAKA: We had a roasting battle yesterday.

Q. How did that go?
NAOMI OSAKA: I think I won, because I kept — this is not going to make sense. But basically we were like dissing each other, and so I just kept posting pictures of her, like the most unflattering pictures ever.

Then after a while she stopped responding. I think I hurt her feelings. But, yeah, we’re still like best friends and whatever.

Shelby Rogers

Q. Everyone I have talked to who knows you continues to tell me that you’re the kindest, sweetest person in the history of civilization.
SHELBY ROGERS: You’re going to make me cry.

Q. Then I’ll change gears here. Do you have any plans to become hardened and bitter?
SHELBY ROGERS: No, I don’t think I can (smiling).

Q. How are things with the adductor? You’ve had that so many…
MADISON KEYS: (Knocking on wood.)

Q. I’ll do that too.
MADISON KEYS: Knock on wood. Everyone knock on wood.

Agnieszka Radwanska

Q. How do you feel about that?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: About what?

Q. The match.
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: (Laughter.) I feel about everything.

Q. Is it tough to dig when you have grass coming next?
ANDREA PETKOVIC: Well, I will dig, but maybe literally on the court. (Laughter.)

Q. Talk about limiting your schedule this year, is that scary as a player that plays quite a bit? When you play more you can get more points and ease the pressure a little bit. Now you play less and it’s a lot of pressure each tournament.
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: If you ask me that five years ago I would say, Yeah, it’s very scary and I would feel weird not to play hundred matches. Here it’s different story. Like I was saying, experience is the thing, really using and making a schedule. Now to be home for two, three weeks in the middle of the season is not the scary thing anymore. Can just help you.

Sometimes I have this part of the season that I just rather practice more than playing matches and enter another tournament. So that’s what I decided to before I came here, and so far it’s working.

All photos courtesy of Getty Images.

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Rogers Roars Into QF At Roland Garros

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

PARIS, France – Shelby Rogers beat the odds on Sunday, dispatching No.25 seed Irina-Camelia Begu, 6-3, 6-4 at the French Open to reach her first-ever Grand Slam quarterfinal.

Rogers proved she could play on clay earlier this year when she reached the final of the Rio Open, but the unseeded American had never been past the third round at any major tournament in her career. Meanwhile, Begu had enjoyed the most consistent clay court season of anyone in the field, reaching the quarterfinals in Charleston and Madrid, and the semifinals in Rome.

Nevertheless, Rogers has been the Cinderella story of the tournament, taking out No.17 seed Karolina Pliskova, Volvo Car Open finalist Elena Vesnina and No.10 seed Petra Kvitova just to reach the second week. Playing on Court Suzaane Lenglen, she took it to her Romanian opposition, hititng 15 winners and nine fewer unforced errors than Begu, who only hit 12 winners in two sets.

“I think any player has to be ready to do well every week,” she said in her post-match press conference. “We enter the tournaments with expectations, of course, to do well or work on things or, you know, with certain goals in mind.

“If you don’t expect to do well, then maybe you shouldn’t play, you know. I keep going back to trying to treat this as any other tournament, any other tennis match. Obviously the stakes are much higher and the players are much better.

“I’m just trying to stick with my routines and do what I have been doing all year.”

Up a set and 4-2, Rogers briefly saw her lead under threat as the No.25 seed surged back to level the second.

“I won the first set and it was working. Okay, I missed a few, but still going for the right shots kind of thing. So just keep going after it I kept telling myself. It was working in the first, it’s going to work again. So keep doing it.”

Maintaining the course, a fifth break of serve in the tenth game proved decisive for the 23-year-old American, who clinched the biggest win of her career in one hour and 21 minutes.

“I really enjoyed playing on that court. It was a great experience.

“I think that’s a very important point on backing up a big win. I guess I have done that pretty much this whole tournament, starting with the first round, because that was a huge upset for me and kind of set the tone for the last few matches I have played.”

Setting up a quarterfinal encounter with No.4 seed Garbiñe Muguruza, Rogers becomes the first American not named Venus or Serena Williams to make it this far at the French Open since 2005 (Lindsay Davenport) and, at No.108 in the world, the lowest ranked player since 2012, when qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova won her way into the last eight, ranked No.142.

“I keep reminding myself to play one point at a time and that this is just another tennis match. But that’s getting a little bit harder to do as the rounds get farther.

“But I’m very happy with the way I played, and I just hope to continue it.”

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Vote Now: French Open Best Dressed

Vote Now: French Open Best Dressed

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

Having seen in action all the clothes bound to bring a new twist to Paris’ reputation as the fashion capital of the world, Marija Zivlak of Women’s Tennis Blog made a selection of the best styles and now it’s your turn to tell us your thoughts – vote for your favorite outfit right here!

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The most striking collection of the tournament has definitely been adidas’ Y-3 Roland Garros collection, better known as the zebra collection, even though the designer Yohji Yamamoto’s inspiration were not the elegant African animals, but dazzle painting used for ship camouflage in World War I and World War II.

The distinctive black and white stripes bring movement and fluidity to the attire and the 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic is the most graceful and elegant zebra on the loose in the adidas Roland Garros Y-3 On Court Dress which features faux red braces at back.

“I actually really like it. The cut is beautiful in the dress, and I think it looks very feminine,” the Serb said about her eye-catching outfit. “The design also supports my favourite club, Partizan Belgrade. I really like it. It was very comfortable to play in.”

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Another dominant member of the zebra family is Simona Halep, rocking the printed Y-3 tank and a solid black skirt with layered jacquard mesh overlay. 27129103292_d8aa1655d2_b.jpg

Players rocking adidas have been equipped with limited-edition adizero Y-3 shoes, which blend style and performance to make players feel confident, ensuring quick, safe and comfortable movement for hours of court wear.

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Eugenie Bouchard’s sleeveless polo dress is reinventing a traditional polo look and the fresh approach to the classic style is nothing short of stunning. This NikeCourt Premier Advantage Dress features a lovely mock collar with two-button placket for a personalized fit, while split hem and racerback provide ease of movement. The soft performance pique fabric brings a flowy feel, keeping players dry and comfortable.

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The Canadian’s footwear of choice are these unisex Nike Air Zoom Ultrafly shoes, nicely matching the complete hyper cobalt look.

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Serena Williams opted to remove the mid-back mesh panel of her NikeCourt Premier Dress, making the outfit extra edgy and no other player could pull off those side cutouts better than the World No.1.

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To complete the stunning effect, Nike created these NikeCourt Flare shoes, offering supreme ankle support during explosive, agile and quick movements. The rose details adorning the swoosh are inspired by the tennis icon’s ever-blossoming career.

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Venus Williams’ EleVen Geo Swirl Dress has an exceptionally flattering shape featuring a high neckline with an edgy narrow cut, contrast binding at waist and a flowing fit at the skirt. The abstract print features light orange elements, to nicely match the French Open clay.

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Agnieszka Radwanska merged her ninja game with the soft feminine energy of Lotto’s limited-edition Lacy line. Technical perforated fabric with a lace effect makes this item fashionable without putting performance in the backdrop, while ruffled skirt brings the extra touch of flirtiness.

The Pole’s vigorous on-court movement is supported by new SS16 Stratosphere shoe model, the latest innovation in Lotto tennis. The speed-oriented shoe studied for high-level players ensures optimal level of cushioning, improved adaptability to different weight of athletes and maximum transpiration.

The New Balance Tournament Dress made my April’s best dressed list, but it’s not too much to include it in the French Open fashion favorites as well, since the item, worn by Heather Watson and Nicole Gibbs in their first-round clash and then when they joined forces in doubles, is truly outstanding.

The classic navy is revived with white stripes, as well as with a subtle functional detail in the form of an “N” houndstooth burnout mesh at back. Modern thin racerback straps, clean finish neckline with mesh and NB DRY technology which efficiently wicks sweat away make this a genuinely refreshing design that stays true to sports fashion while adding just the right amount of stylish touches that rule contemporary tennis clothing trends.

A little bit of color provided by the 996v2 shoes and accessories is propelling this look to the very top of tennis fashion scene this clay-court season.

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With Fila’s Jelena Jankovic out in the first round, when the weather was so cold that players wore long sleeves over their dresses, we saw pretty much nothing of Marion Bartoli’s Love Fila Tennis Dress inspired by Paris, but the brand’s Fila Spring Gingham Racerback Dress, as seen here on Irina-Camelia Begu, brought a ton of style with a classic racerback dress in gingham pattern, enhanced by the perfect peacoat navy contrast piping and pleats at bottom hem. Brigitte Bardot famously wore a pink gingham dress at her wedding, making the pattern so popular that France ran out of it. Will Fila manage to emulate the actress’ success?

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French Open Sunday: Radwanska On A Roll

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

Time to switch gears in Paris. Week two beckons, and the draw has been whittled down to sweet sixteen! We preview the bottom-half matchups at WTATennis.com

Sunday, Round of 16

[2] Agnieszka Radwanska (POL #2) vs. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL #102)
Head-to-head:
Radwanska leads, 9-2
Key Stat: Radwanska has won all three of the pair’s meetings on clay.

Two players not known as clay gurus will vie for a spot in the quarterfinals as they contest their 12th career meeting in Paris on Day 8. A hundred ranking spots separate Agnieszka Radwanska and Tsvetana Pironkova, but that rankings chasm might be misleading because both are executing some of their best clay-court tennis on the terre battue this week. Pironkova has taken out two Top 20 seeds in week one, and was in scintillating form on Friday as she thumped No.19-seeded Sloane Stephens, 6-2, 6-1, to reach the Round of 16 at Roland Garros for the first time. But it is Radwanska who has held the edge in the pair’s head-to-head, winning all three of their encounters on clay, and nine of eleven overall. “Well, we played so many times, but I think the last one was also quite some time ago,” Radwanska said of the Bulgarian. “Against her it’s always a good challenge. She’s really tricky opponent. You know, I expect a tough one as well.”

Pick: Radwanska in three

[4] Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP #4) vs. [13] Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS #15)
Head-to-head:
Kuznetsova leads, 1-0
Key Stat: Kuznetsova (49-12) will bid for her 50th Roland Garros win on Sunday.

One of the more heavily anticipated fourth-round clashes in Paris pits 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova against No.4-seeded Garbiñe Muguruza. Both are rounding into form on the red clay, and both are loose ahead of this high-stakes contest. “I just want to go out there and just try to play my game,” Kuznetsova said after defeating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in round three. “Since I got a bit better ranking and everything I start to be tense again, and I don’t want it to happen.” Muguruza is taking a similar approach as she prepares to meet Kuznetsova for the second time. “I have a new mindset,” she said. “I’m not thinking of what I did last year, because every time I come to a tournament, no one remembers. People remember who plays good last year, but no one cares. Let’s see who is going to win this year, let’s see who is playing well.”

Pick: Muguruza in three

[6] Simona Halep (ROU #6) vs. [21] Sam Stosur (AUS #24)
Head-to-head: Halep leads, 4-3
Key Stat: Stosur owns a 2-0 edge over Halep at Roland Garros

An injured left wrist has done nothing to slow former runner-up Sam Stosur down in Paris. Will Simona Halep, another former Roland Garros runner-up and the player who absolutely thumped Stosur in Madrid a few weeks back, be able to do it? Maybe yes, maybe no. Either way, the Aussie is not going to carry the baggage from that shellacking into her eighth career meeting with the Romanian. “I’m not going to lose too much sleep over that match going into this next one in a couple days’ time,” Stosur said confidently after squeaking past Lucie Safarova on Day 6. That said, the Aussie knows she’s up against a daunting foe in Halep. When asked what makes Halep such a tough competitor, Stosur was quick with her answer. “I think her ability to continually put you in positions that you don’t necessarily want to be in,” she said. “She’s very consistent. She moves very well. She doesn’t have a big serve but she places it well. So she’s a player that you have to beat. She doesn’t really give too much away.”

Pick: Stosur in three

[25] Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU #28) vs. Shelby Rogers (USA #108)
Head-to-head: First Meeting
Key Stat:
This is the first time that two Romanians (Halep, Begu) have reached the Round of 16 at Roland Garros since 1997.

The dream became the reality for 23-year-old American Shelby Rogers on Friday as she stunned No.10-seeded Petra Kvitova to reach the Round of 16 at a major for the first time. “There was a lot of noise and a lot of applause, and a lot of emotions taking over,” Rogers said of the experience. “I immediately started crying, and it was a very incredible moment.” Sunday’s challenge? Rebooting emotionally so that she may handle the task of facing rising Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu. The Bucharest-born 25-year-old is knocking on the door of the Top 20 and has been in great form on the clay, reaching the semifinals in Rome and earning wins over Victoria Azarenka (Rome) and Garbiñe Muguruza (Madrid) this spring. Will Rogers’ wild ride continue, or is it time for Begu to make her mark?

Pick: Begu in two

By the Numbers:

8 – Number of players to have reached the Roland Garros quarterfinals while ranked outside the Top 100 since 1983. Shelby Rogers and Tsvetana Pironkova will bid to become the ninth and tenth today.

4 – Number of former Grand Slam champions to reach the Round of 16 at Roland Garros this year (Kuznetsova, Stosur, Serena Williams and Venus Williams).

4-4 – Stosur’s record against the Top 10 at Roland Garros, which includes a victory over No.1 Serena Williams in 2010.

1 – Agnieszka Radwanska could attain the No.1 ranking at week’s end if she wins the title and Serena Williams does not reach the final.

– Chris Oddo, wtatennis.com contributor
 

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