This Week In Tennis
Q. You have sustained your enthusiasm and your motivation incredibly well all year, despite not having played so well and not having so many wins for a long time. Have you had trouble keeping that incredibly high level of motivation?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, because it starts from there. I know it starts with your mind, starts for you to decide what you're going to do, and then your body follows.
But if you don't convince your mind to be open, to be willing to go out and work hard and know what you want and really be disciplined day in and day out, it's not going to work.
So for me the most important thing is to get healthy and believing that my body would allow me to go and produce tennis that I'm producing today.
Q. You were obviously No. 1 when Serena was in her prime. You beat her in Indian Wells recently. But Svetlana actually said the women's game still depends on Serena's mood and Serena's feet. What's your comment on that and do you feel you could be No. 1 by the end of the season?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: We'll see what happens. When I say that I believe in myself and I believe I'm good, there is no other way to go on the court. If you're not going on the court feeling you're the best player, just don't go.
Serena is, I have said it many times, one of the players who makes me push myself and with the stats and records she owns pretty much all the records there. She's the toughest competitor there is. And for me there is a great challenge to have her, because it always will push me to improve.
Q. This is your second final, 2016, and you did take a title earlier in the year. As you look at where your game is now going into the clay season, how do you assess your abilities and what you would like to work on moving forward this year?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah, I think my honest opinion is that in Sydney I was much better shape. I felt much better the ball, and I felt like I was dominate on the court.
Now I'm not at this point, and I lost a little bit of the base of training. So with the clay court season, I must take a couple weeks to prepare in order to be fitter and be faster and be more consistent, because in order to play good on clay I really need that.
I had a little bit difficulty planning my schedule, because I had to play Fed Cup for Olympics and it was kind of messy weeks which I couldn't take decisions. I think it's my fault because I had to go to Doha/Dubai, and then I think more important would be if I could practice and be better for here.
But this is what happened. From now on I just have to practice a little bit more to get better for clay.
Q. You practiced with Steffi I think in Vegas before all this. I know you did that last year as well. Did that help you reset maybe a little bit; put all the Australian stuff behind you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yes, I think this helps because I went there for few days. It was quiet. I was working really hard on court with Steffi, Andre, which is always great experience to be with them on court.
Yeah, I think that, yeah, the time there and also the time here - because I came a little bit earlier here to really be focusing - give me back like the confidence. I had the feeling that I was practicing again really hard and that I'm ready again for really tough matches.
- RISING: Kerber (+1 to #2), Azarenka (+3 to #5), Kuznetsova (+6 to #13), Babos (+10 to #39), Wickmayer (+6 to #41), Watson (+14 to #55)
- FALLING: Suarez Navarro (-5 to #11), Petkovic (-7 to #28), Lisicki (-14 to #51), Larsson (-12 to #69), Riske (-8 to #94).
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- What more can be said about Novak Djokovic and his dominance at this point? With his "Sunshine Double," he has surpassed Roger Federer in career earnings and Rafael Nadal for most career Masters 1000 titles.
- David Goffin exits the Sunshine Swing with back-to-back semifinal appearances and a new career high ranking at #13.
- Gael Monfils continued his solid start to 2016. Through six tournaments, the Frenchman has made the quarterfinals in at least five of those events.
- Nishikori, fresh off a quarterfinal at Indian Wells, went two rounds better in Miami before losing to Djokovic in the final. The world #6 also played the match of the tournament in the quarterfinals against Gael Monfils, saving five match points to advance.
- Nick Kyrgios reaches a career high ranking of #20 after making the semifinals. The results follows a title earlier in the season in Marseilles and another semifinal in Dubai.
- The third "Sunshine Double" came courtesy of the men's doubles duo of Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Their March success sees them ranked #5 and #6 in doubles respectively.
- New career highs inside the top-60 for Americans Rajeev Ram (58) and Denis Kudla (59).
- Sometimes lower ranked players just need a bit of good fortune. Horacio Zeballos only gained entry into the Miami main draw after Roger Federer withdrew from his 2nd round match against Juan Martin del Potro. With Zeballos' 4th round result, he jumps 22 spots inside the ATP top-100.
Q. One loss this year, and that was because of the eye thing. Compare where you are at right now to where you were a year ago and how great a year it was last year.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, if I may say, I do feel better this year than I have felt last year at very same stage of the season. That definitely satisfies me.
I'm hoping I can continue on, keep the same trajectory, and we'll see. Season is very long. So far couldn't ask for a better start.
Q. I'm going a little bit off topic here. Last month I saw in the headlines of the press about the payment of exhibition you did with Guga in 2012. I understand the government did not pay you when it was agreed. I wondered if they have settled it with you, if it's still in the way of settling, and how do you feel about that four years after?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: This is not going to impact my arrival to Rio or anything that has to do with Brazil. I enjoyed very much my stay there, my exhibition with Guga that is one of my favorite guys ever from the tennis world. You know, that's not going to change.
Of course there is this legal procedure that is ongoing and it's still not settled. But we'll figure out the way. You know, I'm not somebody that prioritizes money ahead of, you know, some core human and life values that I felt very strongly in Brazil during my presence there.
We'll figure out a way.
Q. Knowing that Milos is from Toronto and that you had some painful memories when you were last in Toronto, you were fined at the Roger's Cup, did that give you an extra motivation to win tonight, saying, I want to definitely win tonight because of the unpleasant memory when you were last in Toronto?
NICK KYRGIOS: I don't have any bad memories in Toronto. It was Montréal, but...
Strange. That's okay. Great question. Next.
Q. Is March becoming your favorite month?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You know, actually, I spoke to my team about it yesterday saying that if I look in general throughout my career, the most successful month in the whole season is definitely March and these two tournaments.
I enjoy probably these two tournaments the most back to back than any other throughout the year. Probably because of the fact that also it's spread out four weeks, you know, two tournaments. You have time to play best of three, have time to recover between matches, time to prepare.
It allows me to get in this state of mind and optimal state of, you know, physical and emotional harmony that I can actually portray my best when it's needed.
Q. How is your confidence level now? You have come off two semifinals in a row. Davis Cup, you played well there, too. Just talk about your confidence moving forward. You haven't had a lot of success against top 10s, but this has to give you a boost playing as well as you did against Novak today.
DAVID GOFFIN: Yes, of course my confidence is really high, and, yeah. But of course I did two good weeks, two good tournaments, but I was not on fire. It was like really solid game, and I played my level. I really happy that mentally I was really competitive and I won a lot of good matches against many great players.
So, yeah, I worked a lot during practice, so maybe that's why it pays off during the match. But for the next tournaments and the rest of this season, of course the confidence is really high.
Q. Emotionally are you more discouraged with the loss or are you encourage with the fact that you played so well?
GAEL MONFILS: Well, you know, it's never easy to talk about a match like that, but actually I feel that I'm in the right direction. I still have the strong belief that I'm not far from those guys.
- RISING - Goffin (+2 to #13), Kyrgios (+6 to #20), Kuznetsov (+6 to #45), Sela (+24 to #60), Donskoy (+15 to #67), Pouille (+7 to #81), Zeballos (+22 to #90), Herbert (+11 to #96)
- FALLING - Isner (-2 to #15), Pella (-7 to #46), Haase (-5 to #64), Mannarino (-10 to #74), Verdasco (-12 to #77), Andujar (-7 to #78), Edmund (-5 to #92)
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