It’s always fun to hear what the players have to say, especially in the pressure cooker of a Grand Slam tournament like Roland Garros. Here are some of my favorite quotes so far:
Marat Safin, on being booted out of his last Roland Garros:
MARAT SAFIN: Well, as you can see, I didn’t draw the heart, and I didn’t lay down and I didn’t cry and I didn’t all those things … it’s not me
Fabrice Santoro, asked to reflect on the Greats he’s played on court:
FABRICE SANTORO: Federer is different, because when he’s playing at his best, everything is just perfect on the court, what he can do with the racquet and the ball. I remember a few matches I played against him, and I was looking at him when I was playing, saying, ‘Wow, how is it possible to play so well?’
Andy Murray begs to differ:
ANDY MURRAY: Santoro for the, I guess, different style of play and for the entertainment. Out of the top guys, Nadal, I like watching.
More from Fabrice, on his scary decision to play the French Open at age 37:
FABRICE SANTORO: Out of the 15 tournaments I have scheduled this year, Roland Garros was the one that’s most scary for me. I thought, is it reasonable at my age to play such long matches on clay? Then I thought, is it reasonable to refuse to do it?”
Fabrice waxes poetic on his own unique style of play:
FABRICE SANTORO: I use what I have. That means not a lot. Many players are 15 kilograms heavier than me, 15 centimeters taller than me, and when they hit the ball, they want to hit it strong. And I can understand that.
My game style was out of date when I arrived on the tour. I got on the tour in the ’90s, and my style dated back to the ’70s. So when I arrived, I was, you know, 20 years late already. So managing to get good performances for 20 years when you’re 20 years late, that’s difficult enough. But that was my challenge. And that’s the beauty of my career, if I may say so.
Dinara Safina, when asked if her coach was happy with her 6-1, 6-1 victory in the second round:
DINARA SAFINA: If one day he’s going to be happy, I think I’ll finish my career. He’s never happy. Even today, he’s not happy.
Fedophile Marion Bartoli, when asked in a recent interview about her dream mixed doubles partner:
MARION BARTOLI: Roger Federer. He always says hi. He’s really friendly. I love him but I would get really nervous if I had to play with him.
Some real tennis insight from Gilles Simon:
Q. When you look at Murray and Santoro, I have the impression that these players play more with their brains than their arms. What about you?
GILLES SIMON: Not necessarily. These players are players who don’t necessarily ‑‑ well, it’s different. These players don’t use their strengths. This is the difference. They’d rather use the weaknesses that the other player has. That’s why you have the impression they play differently, whereas others think it’s more reassuring to play your style whether it works or not and to do this all the time.
James Blake, after losing to Leonardo Mayer in the first round:
Q. Is that same court you played Gulbis on last year?
JAMES BLAKE: Yeah.
Q. And is that your least favorite court in all of tennis?
JAMES BLAKE: No. The court I broke my neck on was my least favorite court, I would say.
Serena Williams, on finding time for her kids:
Q. Must be kind of nice to go back to your own place [her apartment in Paris]?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I want to go home and see my kids and relax.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Could be [said with a coy smile].
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, explaining the tie and polo combo he wore to his press conference:
Q. So the idea of the tie, where does it come from?
JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA: In other sports when you come to a pressconference, you have to respect, to comply with a dress code, so I thought thatin tennis, too, we could show we have certain ethics. I believe it’s important. We have beautiful tournaments, and we shouldshow a bit of respect.
Q. Are you going to wear a tuxedo in the quarterfinal or in the final?
JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA: Yes, I wanted to come with a tuxedo in thebeginning, but my equipment provider didn’t really want to. Now I found a solution.
Q. Are you going to wear a butterfly tie?
JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA: If I win, I’ll wear whatever you want, but not a G-string.
What a tease!