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Catching the Lines: Quotes from the Open January 31, 2010 - 10:23 AM

AndyMurray_postfinal I didn’t expect another Australian Open victory for Roger Federer to be as inspiring as it was tonight. After all, it was his opponent, Andy Murray, Great Britain’s Great Hope, who had so much at stake: the chance to become his country’s first men’s major singles champion in 74 years. Federer had already achieved the career Grand Slam (at last year’s French), the all-time major singles titles record (at last year’s Wimbledon), and the unofficial “Greatest Of All Time” designation (bestowed upon him by more than one tennis authority). Where would be the drama in witnessing him extend a record he already holds?

But the championship, and its aftermath, were in fact dramatic. It may feel familiar when Federer plays brilliantly in a Grand Slam final, but it’s a familiar thrill. Tonight his genius was in full effect: He served well, retrieved well, cracked dazzling forehands, rifled impossibly-angled backhands and, in a stirring third-set tiebreaker, withstood five set points for Murray before converting championship point on his third try.

The trophy ceremony that followed did not provide the iconic image Rafael Nadal gave us last year, when the Spaniard draped a companionable, consoling arm around a crushed and weeping Federer. But this year’s edition was plenty poignant. The enormously talented Murray, still without the Grand Slam title he so ardently covets, was disconsolate—his lower lip trembling, his eyes filled with tears. In the past, the Scotsman has come across, off the court, as the world’s stodgiest 22-year-old—likeable but ornery, stoic and unexcitable, something of a curmudgeon. Tonight, he was clearly shattered, and it was moving to see him so moved, his tears rendering him unable to finish his runner-up’s speech.

“In a way it was hard to watch, but at the same time I like seeing players who care for the game,” Federer said later about Murray’s emotional display. “It’s nice to see.” Federer also credited the Scotsman’s play with raising him tonight to a level he has achieved only rarely during his remarkable 16-Slam run. “Guys like Murray—they’ve made me a better player, because I think this has been one of my finest performances in a long time, or maybe forever.”

----

I’m sorry to downshift so abruptly from Federer’s profound observations, but I wanted to wrap up this year’s blog with a few of my favorite quotes from the tournament:

Not thrilled with the linesman:
Andy Roddick, on the tumble he took during his first-round match:
“I ran into one of those immovable objects called a referee. … Normally they see a player running full speed, they decide to at least move or catch the player. You know, I felt like he was trying out for WWE or something, just letting me go.”

Is the Ivy League degree a requirement for that job?
Roddick, on who takes care of his dog when he’s on the road:
“Sometimes when I leave, the dog wants to stay in Austin, because it just tells us, and my friend Neal Boban, who graduated from Dartmouth, takes care of it, takes it out thrice daily, emails us updates.”

Um, thanks, I think:
James Blake, talking about John Isner:
“He’s such a good kid. We give him a hard time for saying a few stupid things, but he’s actually pretty bright.”

She knows how to hydrate:
Maria Kirilenko, when asked if she would celebrate her 23rd birthday with champagne:
“No, I don't want to get drunk before my next match.”

Did you buy anything there?
Andy Roddick
, on Marin Cilic:
“He literally sets up shop right behind the baseline and isn’t going to be moved.”

No love lost:
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
, when asked about his ailing quarterfinal opponent Novak Djokovic:
When did you first realize he had a problem?
Tsonga: Five years ago.

That’s one way to dodge the question:
Did you resent having to play qualifying?
Yanina Wickmayer: “What does ‘resent’ mean?”

Unintended consequences:
Serena Williams, on hearing comments from the crowd during the final:
“I think everyone was for Justine tonight. This one guy was like, ‘You can beat her, Justine, she’s not that good.’ I looked at that guy and I was like, you don’t know me. And I think I won all the games after that. Because that’s just totally rude.”

Foreign language appreciation:
Serena, on Justine Henin:
“She says ‘Allez’ a lot, so I think it’s kind of fun.

Mind on the match?
Serena, on what she was thinking when she was down a set and 4-0 versus Victoria Azarenka in the quarterfinals:
“If I lose today, and I don’t win in doubles, I think I can catch a flight on Friday.”

And some awards:

THE ‘MAKING MOUNTAINS OUT OF MOLEHILLS’ AWARD:
Sam Querrey, when pressed on his claim he had worked out every day of the off-season:
Even on Christmas day?
Querrey: On Christmas day I went for a run. I ran up a mountain.
A mountain? Where?
Querrey: Near my aunt’s house in Marin County.
A mountain in Marin County?
Querrey: Well, really, I ran up a hill in her neighborhood.

ACHIEVEMENTS IN SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF
Donald Young
, on dealing with the rowdy pro-Lleyton Hewitt crowd in Rod Laver Arena during their second-round match:
“You just gotta kinda imagine they’re cheering for you, even though obviously you know your name’s not Lleyton or Hewitt, and you know you’re not Australian.”

THE ‘WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE, WHO NEEDS PIERRE-YVES’ AWARD
Justine Henin
, when questioned about the diamond ring she’s sporting on her left hand:
“Well, it’s not coming from a lover, if that’s the question. It’s a gift from a friend.”

THE BLUNT PRAGMATISM AWARD
Roddick
, on the injury he suffered in the quarterfinals:
“Obviously anytime there’s something with an arm, a shoulder, numbness with your fingers, I’m going to be a little bit concerned. My arm is pretty much my livelihood.”

THE SENSE OF PERSPECTIVE AWARD
Maria Sharapova
, who doned $10,000 to the Haiti relief fund, on her first-round loss:
“There are many worse situations in life. There are people that don’t even know what a tennis match is in the world.”

THE OFF-THE-CUFF ELOQUENCE AWARD
Roger Federer, on whether he thinks about his legacy:
“I try to be good for the game, leave it better off than when I arrived, even though that’s hard. I’m very thankful to the legends of the game who created this great platform for us.”

THE UNDERSTATEMENT AWARD
Federer, trying to explain how he’s been so successful in Slams:
“You know, I’m definitely a very talented player.”


50 Comments

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Posted by CeSaRae January 31, 2010 at 10:46 AM

Unintended consequences with Serena is so funny,she said"you don't know me"lol

Posted by CeSaRae January 31, 2010 at 10:53 AM

Oh...and First!yay!hehe Congrats to Fed on Sweet 16 and Commies to Murray's Kads.He will win a Grandslam,just wasn't his night,Fed was....Fed.lol

Posted by didi January 31, 2010 at 11:01 AM

No mention of Roger coordinating the effort for Haiti?

Posted by Ashkelon January 31, 2010 at 11:26 AM

Roger--beyond words, his greatness and his magnificence on the tennis court. I honestly didn't count him out, but thought,"Can he really rise up and beat this kid to win another slam, in another decade?"

Yeah, he can.

Kleenex to dab the tears of Murray fans; your guy truly will win a Major, this is only his second Slam final. What's going to happen with Djokovic and Nadal is anyone's guess, now. I hope Nadal can recover from this spiral of confidence, etc.

Posted by SRao January 31, 2010 at 11:32 AM

C'mon,pls leave an award for Roger's "HIT FOR HAITI"

How about "Roger,the SAINT"!!!

Posted by jb (go smiley fed!) January 31, 2010 at 11:38 AM

abbey - thanks so much for all the posts these last weeks. and in particular for pulling your fav quotes together for us.

still giggling about jo-willi... what a wise-acre. :)))

Posted by pogiako January 31, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Congratulations to Roger!! May you win more grand slams.....

Posted by Aimee January 31, 2010 at 12:36 PM

Super fun article. Great selection of quotes and great way to wrap up the AO with some laughter. Amazing finals too. Hopefully the smile will stay on my face til the French.

Posted by Hale January 31, 2010 at 12:57 PM

'Where would be the drama in witnessing him extend a record he already holds?'

Edging towards the Greatest Sportman Of All Time. Is he up for it?

Posted by soderlingfan88 January 31, 2010 at 12:57 PM

thanks for the quotes abbey, I enjoyed them....especially serena and jo willy's lol

Posted by tina January 31, 2010 at 01:34 PM

Ah, yes, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - jealous much? You lost to Novak on this very court, and now he is ranked #2 in the world. Who's got the last laugh?

Posted by Sher January 31, 2010 at 01:45 PM

Tsonga was JOKING with his answer about Djoko.

Posted by Cloud13 January 31, 2010 at 02:01 PM

Federer finally did what he's tried and failed to do so many times against Nadal: win a major with his backhand. An analysis: http://bit.ly/cY9VJE

Posted by Fabio January 31, 2010 at 03:21 PM

It is NOT the same thing hitting a backhand off Murray and off Nadal, who has the heaviest topspin in the game. That backhand has never been really a weakness except against Rafa.

Posted by Bhai Mirzai January 31, 2010 at 03:42 PM

Fabio, +1. Completely agree with you.

I think the big difference that many observed during this tournament was that Roger's movement was back to the old level. He seemed to had lost a step, but that step came back. He was rarely out of positon.

Posted by on cloud nine January 31, 2010 at 04:41 PM

"Ah, yes, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - jealous much? You lost to Novak on this very court, and now he is ranked #2 in the world. Who's got the last laugh?"

Ah, yes, Tina, humor-deficient much?! Also, I must confess that in the version of the AO '10 that I watched, it was Novak who lost to Jo-Willi on this very court this very week! Nice way for Djoko to back into the #2 ranking by losing in the QF with an upset tummy. Very convincing display of prowess, indeed!

Posted by TB January 31, 2010 at 05:16 PM

Ahh, this is great. I remember about a year ago all these people on here were saying that Fed was done, that he at most had another slam or two if he was lucky! That he wouldnt be able to keep up with the Murray's, Djokos ect. Some people on here have the foresight of monkeys! A year later and we have Fed being in every slam final since that last AO loss to nadal and winning 3 of them! I feel for Nadal, and hope he returns to his best but im glad Fed rocked murray, who i dont care for much. Fed is the GOAT

Posted by Tadhg January 31, 2010 at 06:18 PM

The distance between Federer and the rest of the field seems quite wide, once again.

My take on the match, and on Federer's ongoing achievements: http://tadhg.com/wp/2010/01/31/sweet-sixteen-down-under/

Posted by tina January 31, 2010 at 06:53 PM

Tsonga was joking, but it wasn't without snarkiness.

And yes, I was in poor humor today. I'm on chemo and I get very tired.

Posted by Bibi January 31, 2010 at 06:53 PM

For somebody that has a five year long problem Novak did quite well.

Posted by TennisLover!!! January 31, 2010 at 07:57 PM

If Soderling had been in the final against Murray...A Swede would be holding the trophy. The Brits are a cursed breed in tennis. Whatever the curse is, Fed has to be glad.

Posted by sook January 31, 2010 at 08:49 PM

what a boring blogger she is. why do they put her on here?

Posted by Fudoshin January 31, 2010 at 09:39 PM

It is easy for Federer to make remarks when he wins. He is not such a good sport when he loses.

Posted by thooz January 31, 2010 at 09:56 PM

Some think Fed is no longer motivated---well, kiss that thought good bye. I have a feeling this great champion is gunning for one last glory: a calendar year Grand Slam. If he accomplishes that, all the silly doubters on this site will really have to eat crow. And if he doesn't, he is still the GOAT anyway. In the end, he should have at least 20 major titles before he retires

Posted by Jan Wallace January 31, 2010 at 11:16 PM

What a great way to end this Australian Open. Roger was as magical as he ever was. His footwork was back and maybe even better than ever. His backhand has never looked better. His forehand was just plain scary and he is just such an offensive player. That was the difference between him and Murray today. Roger took advantage every time he had a chance. Andy didn't! I'm sure Andy Murray's time will come and I'd love for him to win a slam, only not when he's playing Roger.

Posted by John February 01, 2010 at 02:03 AM

@sook, i think everyone enjoyed this blog and it was a nice way to capture the entire tournament that we're all missing already. she is not boring at all

Posted by Stewart February 01, 2010 at 03:48 AM

Federer played very well of course, but Murray played quite poorly, which is really unfortunate, because he's shown in this tournament what kind of player he can be. Not only did he not turn on the offense until he finally broke in the 3rd set (who think it's tactical brilliance to spot Federer two sets and get him all relaxed?) but he missed serving for the set and 5 set points, reminds me of Djokovic's USO 07 loss.

In the latter stages of the 3rd set and the tiebreak the one shot Murray couldn't stop trying to hit was the DTL forehand from the BH alley. Terrible shot selection. The inside out forehand, which even Roddick hits extremely well, gives you more court length and allows you to hit over the low part of the net, which is crucial when trying to put away a short ball. Other than Kolya, who was playing lights out for awhile against Fed, I haven't seen anyone hit that shot effectively.

Speaking of Kolya, hard to think the 2 quarterfinal matchups were where the eventual champs turned it all around. Serena really should have been beaten by Azarenka, and Kolya should have beaten Fed. They were completely in the driver's seat in those matches. But whereas Serena WON that match, FEd didn't really have to win it, Kolya just lost it for a good hour.

A shame, because not only would it have been great for Nikolay and Victoria to be in the final, but both the eventual finalists, Justine and Andy, were capable of winning but didn't play to their full potential.

Kind of lacklustre compared to last year's to be honest. Am glad Murray finally showed some emotion, maybe he'll smarten up and try and TAKE it next time and not wait for it to be given to him.

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Posted by Mike February 01, 2010 at 06:01 AM

Yeah, what is it with Fed ... happy and respectful to the loser when he wins, sad and respectful to the victor when he loses ... what a self absorbed egomaniac. ;)

Posted by Anne February 01, 2010 at 08:39 AM

I loved the DonY comment-I almost spit out my coffee I was laughing so hard. Same with JoWilly (I do think he was joking) and Serena. Way to go Rog-here comes the Slam!And maybe SamQ should've run up a mountain instead!

Posted by Shannon February 01, 2010 at 03:27 PM

I cried when Murray cried, I'm a sucker for man tears! I cried last year when Fed cried lol. I really felt for Murray I could tell much he wanted this. He'll win a slam this year, I'm confident.

Posted by Alex February 01, 2010 at 11:16 PM

Don't get me wrong - he is the best, but all of Federer's comments, now over the past 3 years, come across as a bit arrogant. Yes he may deserve the right, but others (Sampras & Nadal), have never come across that way. For that reason alone, there is just something about Federer that I just can't quite accept.

Posted by Lisa Marie February 02, 2010 at 01:55 AM

Alex,

I have come to believe that it is a second language thing. We should all be so eloquent in Swiss German. I have read unbelievably arrogant-sounding quotes, yet when I see the video of the presser, it's obvious that he is just recounting and trying to be accurate. When I see him speaking in German, his body language changes dramatically, he laughs more, and his speech sure doesn't seem as measured.

Cheers!

Posted by manny_pacquiao February 02, 2010 at 02:55 PM

Hey Roger.. You are the manny pacquiao of tennis!!

Posted by lorenab February 03, 2010 at 06:08 PM

Responding to Stewart's comment. It's natural to try to break things down in such a technical way. Sounds like you're saying that Murray and Davy gave the matches to Roger by playing poorly and making tactical errors. You point out specific instances where they screwed up, but so did Roger at times in these matches. So does every player in every match. All of them are supremely talented. But where Roger has such an advantage is his ability to perform in the biggest moments. There is a reason Davy "lost it" for an hour and Murray waited until the 3rd set to "turn on the offense". Confidence, nerves, mental toughness, experience - these intangibles are what separate the champions from the rest of the field. And these things are just magnified 100 times in a grand slam final. Roger and Rafa clearly have these qualities. I think Murray has the talent to win grand slams - and I hope he can develop the intangibles required to do it.

Posted by andrea February 04, 2010 at 11:36 AM

andy and roger both came into that match refreshed and ready to go. no injuries, no rain delays... roger won. and if andy played poorly it was his mental state, and the person on the other side of the net, that caused it. andy has beaten roger before and in fact still has a h2h that is favorable against him so it's not like andy was faced with a circumstance that was impossible.

well, actually it was close to impossible.

and if you can't pull your game together on the big stage, you're not gonna win.

and no one should be defending novak at this stage. he's proven to be a medical time out/injury/retire/runs/too hot/bird flu/can't breathe flake in crucial moments. many players have commented on this over the years and we've all witnessed it. that it keeps happening at slams is quite fascinating.

maybe it's time to try a new sport there novak.

Posted by Xerocomix February 17, 2010 at 02:43 AM

Way to go Roger... More games would mean more wins!

Posted by stari February 18, 2010 at 10:13 AM

just a comment on rodick
as a player rodick has absolutely exceptional potential but just couldn't make it
he looks the same as a 'comedian' ...............

Posted by Paula February 19, 2010 at 09:56 PM

ohh maan Serena is so funny :)

Maria Sharapova is a great gal, love her :]

Posted by karunakar February 26, 2010 at 07:23 AM

yes this make a poit to think

Posted by tennis live March 01, 2010 at 12:45 PM

Roger was better, don't cry Andy.

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A dramatic happening. He took the win happily.


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The Mettle Winners  >>




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