I believe it was Roger Federer who first called the Australian Open “the Happy Slam.” And what’s not to like about sunny Melbourne, night matches, and the fresh promise of a newborn tennis season! Here are some photos of the pros getting happy (for the most part) and some quotes from Saturday’s press conferences.
Roger Federer tells reporters it’s all good:
Q. How has being a father affected your preparation?
ROGER FEDERER: It’s been good. Flight to Australia was good. I was surprised. I was expecting much worse. The girls are feeling good. Mirka is doing well, too. You know, if they’re all doing well, I’m always much more relaxed, as well.
We’ve been enjoying our time over here. Preparation’s been going smooth, you know, the way I wanted. I could get the practice session in and also spend some quality time with them. So it’s been a fun week.
“Aussie” Ana Ivanovic is really getting into the spirit of things:
Is Adam Scott across the net, or is Ana hitting on us?
This is pretty happy, for Dinara Safina:
Maria Sharapova is so rich, she pays other people to be happy for her:
Maria is excited about the state of women’s tennis right now:
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I honestly hope that this will be one of the most exciting years in women’s tennis. You know, you have the story lines of the comebacks. You have the depth of the top 10. There’s many possibilities. I hope that we can create, you know, great rivalries between each other and good matches. There’s no better way to start than a Grand Slam.
A cool $70 million probably doesn’t hurt Maria’s outlook on life, either! Yay, 2010!
I’ve never been to Scotland – is this some kind of “highland smile”?
Everyone has been been tipping Murray for the Australian Open title. Even Roger Federer says the Scot is due to win a major in 2010. Murray says, “yeah, so?”
Q. Talking about pressure, you’ve been written up in one of the local papers as one of the favorites. Is that a big pressure to take into a tournament?
ANDY MURRAY: No. I mean, I think it’s a good thing, you know. I feel like I’m playing well enough to win the tournament. It would be different, you know, if I felt like I was playing rubbish and then was expected to do well. But I feel like I started the year well and physically I feel good. I just need to make sure I play my best tennis. If I do that, I got a good chance.
Whoa, what’s weirder, this photo of Rafa or the question that follows it?
Q. You’re not considered a favorite, Federer is. Does that disturb you or worry you?
RAFAEL NADAL: For sure not, no. For sure, I’m not the favorite. For sure on hard court there is a lot of very good players. I think being No. 2 of the world, probably I am not the maximum favorite, but I am one of these ones.
So, sure, first of all, doesn’t matter. Is like every year when I arrive to Roland Garros, everybody talk I am the favorite, no?
Finally important thing is who plays better on the court. I know you have to write who is the favorite and you like to talk about that, but only thing is who plays better on court. And we will see what happens next two weeks.
That’s better, Rafa!
Every time I see a photo of the new smiley Justine Henin I think, “Oh no, what happened?”
I guess she’s just happy that Clijsters is back:
Q. With you and Kim back, do you feel a feeling that Belgium is back in the ballgame?
JUSTINE HENIN: It’s a great feel. With Yanina playing great in the last few months, Kim, Kirsten and me. I mean, Belgium, couldn’t think it would happen again to have a Belgium final like last week. So it’s a good feeling. I think now we realize how lucky we were to be both at the same time in the top for such a small country. I think this time we probably going to enjoy it a little more than in the past.
Here’s the Justine I know and love!
Order of play is already out for Monday. Sharapova, Clijsters and Murray are in Rod Laver during the day, and Nadal and Dokic headline at night. Click here to check it out.