This Week In Tennis
Q. What do you think it will be like going back there, defending a title, everything that goes into another Grand Slam for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I don't know. I have tried to defend there once, twice, three times before. Didn't quite work so well. But this year is different. I'm going to definitely go in there and I feel more calm and I don't feel stress to, like, have to win. You know, I feel like I just am happy to be out here.
Q. The camera or the microphones rather picked up you saying, You're going to be a future No. 1, I think, at the net. I mean, there is obviously a lot of great young players in the States, but do you feel like Madison is kind of the pick of the bunch?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think Madison is a great player. I really do. I always have. I feel like she has potential to be the best in the world and that is No. 1. Yeah, absolutely.
Q. Are you the type of player who, if you practice well you play the match well? Or, you know, some players say if I am practicing well I know I'm going to play a good tournament. Or practice doesn't matter as much?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I'm the kind of player when I play a lot of matches I'm playing good. Practice and matches, totally different thing. You know, like I kind of like past years I have been playing very well and I couldn't deliver it on the court. So my ranking was much lower.
Now I feel like I'm confident, I'm winning matches, and I'm doing better. I'm more confident in my game during the match. So that's what brings me success.
Q. You said you had a big training block in February. It was kind of an offseason for you because of the concussion and everything. Do you feel you start peaking now physically maybe? Do you feel really well finally?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Well, I have been putting in a lot of hard work since I was able to start training again at the end of last year. You know, I don't think there is like a magic formula to know exactly when you will peak. For me, I just put my head down and kept working, trusting that it will come at some point.
I'm trying to get that done. You know, today was one match, so I can't just relax and be like, Okay, it's done, you know. I have another match tomorrow. Just gotta keep going.
Q. If I heard well, Serena told you you're going to be the next No. 1 after match. So it's quite a big heritage.
MADISON KEYS: Yeah, too bad what she says doesn't just happen (smiling). But, yeah, I mean, it's always great to hear that from her. She's obviously an amazing champion, and she's won so many matches and tournaments. Hearing that is definitely something that makes me just work harder.
Q. Obviously the biggest final you have played in your career so far in terms of just level of tournament. Did it, in a way, help you playing Serena because you have played her twice before in terms of just not thinking of it maybe as a big final, as a Premier 5 final? Because you looked fairly settled out there when you started the match.
MADISON KEYS: See, everyone says I looked really calm and relaxed. I wasn't. (Smiling.)
I'm glad I was giving that off, but I think no matter how many times you play Serena, you always go in and you can just feel her presence. That's always an extra thing that you have to be worried about during the match.
But for me today it really wasn't so much about how big the tournament was or anything like that. It was really just wanting to go out and do my best and give my best performance.
Q. Very tough match. Obviously difficult for you to lose. But can you talk about Genie Bouchard? Can you talk about how she played?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I mean, I can just say something about me and --
Q. Please, then.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: -- about the match.
I can say that the first one-and-a-half sets I was completely not playing my game and I was completely not on the court.
So I was just trying to fighting back. I was not play my best tennis, but of course I was fighting and the third set was really close.
But at the end she played good. Yeah, she won the last point in the match.
- RISING: Pennetta (+3 to #10), V. Williams (+3 to #11), Safarova (+2 to #13), Kuznetsova (+4 to #15), Keys (+7 to #17), Begu (+7 to #28), Doi (+7 to #38), Babos (+4 to #44), Puig (+6 to #51), Pereira (+9 to #81), Sevastova (+10 to #84), Duque-Marino (+11 to #98)
- FALLING: Kvitova (-3 to #12), Sharapova (-12 to #24), Wozniacki (-3 to #34), Gavrilova (-13 to #45), Lisicki (-6 to #50), McHale (-9 to #65), Hibino (-9 to #70)
ON THE WEB
Bouchard: Stronger Than Yesterday
Agnieszka Radwanska: I Hope My Hard Work on Clay Will Now Start to Surface
Insider Notebook: Learning To Love Clay
For Victory on Clay, a Tennis Pro Trains at the Beach
Kimiko Date-Krumm, Fixture at Grand Slams, Hopes for Another Return
Champion's Corner: Serena
McHale: Breaking the Ice
Maria Sharapova: Could Tennis Star Play Wimbledon?
- Andy Murray had a big week in Rome. Armed with a much easier bottom half of the draw, and a finals opponent coming off marathon matches the previous two days, Murray stuck to the task and got the job done. He beat the world #1 in straight sets, a sparkling way to celebrate his 29th birthday. Murray has won five titles since the start of 2015 (from 10 finals), and is now one of the most accomplished clay court players on tour.
- Novak Djokovic had a peculiar -- yet still -- successful week in Rome. His success on court, in the face of a lopsided draw, was accompanied by a series of outbursts and high drama. The world #1 still managed to battle past Nadal and Nishikori before losing to Murray in the final.
- Kei Nishikori cemented his status as one of the most consistent players on the ATP Tour this clay season. He made two semifinals and two finals in the four major lead-up events to the French Open, losing only to Djokovic (thrice) and Nadal.
- Rafael Nadal played his best match against Novak Djokovic in almost two years. The nine-time French Open champion led in both sets before the world #1 found his way to the finish line each time. Nadal ends his lead-up to Roland Garros with titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, along with semifinal and quarterfinal showings in Madrid and Rome respectively.
- Lucas Pouille made the most of his lucky loser entry into the main draw, advancing all the way to the semifinals. His reward? A 21 spot bump in the rankings and a seed at Roland Garros.
- Nick Kyrgios, no stranger to controversy, was again in the news in Rome. This time, he was the target of Australia's Olympic chef de mission, who questioned his suitability for selection to the Australian tennis team for Rio.
- Roger Federer's time in Rome was spent under heavy scrutiny with respect to his health and whether he would even play. He managed a straight sets opening win against Zverev before losing to Dominic Thiem in the third round. His status for Roland Garros is uncertain.
- Tomas Berdychannounced his coaching split from Daniel Vallverdu days after suffering a double bagel loss to David Goffin.
- The Bryan Brothers claimed their fourth career doubles title in Rome. After a slow start to 2016, the pair have turned it on in recent weeks with titles in Houston, Barcelona, and now Rome.
Q. Happy Birthday. We see you can win sometimes on your birthday. How satisfied you are? How important is for you to beat Djokovic on clay and win a tournament like this? More than 85 years since a British won this tournament, in 1931. Used to win Davis Cup after 80 years for Great Britain, to win Wimbledon after 77 years. So it takes a long time, and then a British wins.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, like obviously the history part is nice. But for me, you know, more important, looking at the players that have won here, you know, some of the best players of all time have won this event. There's very few years where there's been, like, a surprise winner, almost.
It's mostly great players have won this event. So I'm very proud to have my name on the trophy. Today against Novak is nice. I know, you know, he didn't play his best today. But, you know, still some tough moments for me in the second set. I saved the break points well and held strong. And, yeah, overall it was a great week for me. I didn't lose a set.
Winning a clay court Masters Series, last year I certainly didn't think I'd be doing that multiple times over and giving myself a lot of opportunities to do that.
So it's been a good week.
Q. After a match like this, what is the lasting feeling? Comfort of knowing how high a level you've played today or disappointment of the loss?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, no. I came late here not because I was disappointed. I came late because I was in doping and just for like this (indicating small space between index finger and thumb) I didn't came before, maybe a little bit.
No, I was not disappointed. Well, it's obvious that when you feel that you are so close to take both sets, you know, it's obvious that you go out of the court and you feel that you cannot be 100% happy.
But overall I am playing well. As I said before, I have been competing at the highest level against the best player. Play a match like this, best player of the world, that's the only thing that give me the confidence that I am ready for the things.
Q. You took the warning after four games. Why you so nervous so soon in the match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, it happens. These kind of matches are important for, you know, for both players. There is a lot at stake. Obviously when you get to play a rival, and of course you want to win, sometimes you get too emotional.
But, you know, I threw a rack the, racquet bounced over the fence, and I got warning instantly. So the chair umpire was on fire today. He really wanted to show the authority to me and to everybody, so congratulations to him.
Q. You lost only two matches before the tournament. This loss just before Paris is more doubtful for you, the new tournament, Roland Garros?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You know, my confidence level is high because of the matches, many matches that I have won this year on this surface and all the other surfaces.
So I don't feel that I'm doubtful or I'm shaken up by this loss. Of course, you don't like to lose, but, you know, you've got to congratulate the better player that played well today, Andy, and he deserved to win and I move on to Paris knowing that I'm going to approach it hopefully healthy and refreshed and then giving it my all, as always, in Paris.
Q. Could you tell us what do you think made a difference tonight?
KEI NISHIKORI: I think I was playing really good tennis in the first set. I was playing aggressive. I think I stopped doing that in second set. Also, he start playing better, too.
Yeah, in the third I think I could be little better, and he was giving me a lot of pressure and I wasn't making much first serve like these other matches. So that was costing me a lot of points.
Well, I think in tiebreak I made too many unforced errors and, like, three in a row from 3-All. So that was the biggest mistake I had today.
- RISING: Murray (+1 to #2), Gasquet (+2 to #10), Pouille (+21 to #31), Mahut (+3 to #45), Mannarino (+9 to #63), Gulbis (+8 to #76), Kukushkin (+6 to #81), Monaco (+27 to #87), Robert (+14 to #89), Stakhovsky (+22 to #96)
- FALLING: Federer (-1 to #3), Ferrer (-3 to #12), Fognini (-3 to #34), Coric (-3 to #44), Zverev (-4 to #48), Gabashvili (-20 to #80), Evans (-4 to #90)
ON THE WEB
Amelie Mauresmo Left Lasting Impression on Andy Murray
No Place Like Rome
Burning Up Rome
Murray: I Never Expected To Have These Results On Clay
Novak's Rough Roman Weekend
Why Tolstoy Took Up Tennis
The Body Serve - "Rome Recap"
Beyond The Baseline - "Gerry Marzorati on New Tennis Book"
No Challenges Remaining - "Episode 153a: The NCRvision Song Contest!"
Realz Tenis Fanz - "Miss Me in Madrid"
Tennis Connected - "Reviewing the Roma, with Roland Garros on Deck"
The Main Draw - "The Big Announcements Episode"
The Tennis Podcast - "Murray Masters Djokovic; Martina Navratilova Interview..."
WTA Insider - "Serena wins Rome, Steve Simon on Equal Prize Money"