Monday, August 29, 2016
R. VINCI/A. Friedsam
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. The great memories from last year, if you could just talk about do you still carry those with you? How does that help you coming into the tournament this year knowing that you had such great success last year?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yes. Was great to be back here to play on center court first match. I was proud to play in Open, this US Open 2016.
Yeah, it’s incredible to be here. It’s pass one year, so like yesterday. But I had of course a great memory, but today just think about the match and keep the positive things of the last year.
Was a tough match. Is always tough play the first match of a Grand Slam, but I won. So this is important thing today. I start to play great first set, and then 2-Love in the second set a little bit nervous, a little bit scared about the match because, well, she’s — also in Australia when I lost against her I won the first set easy and then I lost in the third.
So just my mind to stay focused and think about every single point. Don’t think about the opponent. Just keep — just try to play aggressive.
But was a little bit nervous, so I fight a lot and I won the second set.
Q. Talk about how you feel coming into the tournament and what your expectations are. You know you can go far here. You have done it before.
ROBERTA VINCI: It’s tough to repeat of course the results of last year (Smiling.) But I’m No. 7, so of course I have a lot of pressure. They expect me semifinal, quarterfinal, step by step and match by match.
So now I’m really happy that I won the first round. Tomorrow relax and play the second round. I don’t know the opponent right now, but will be of course a difficult match, tough match. I try my best and don’t think that I have a lot of points to defend.
Monday, August 29, 2016
C. WOZNIACKI/T. Townsend
4-6, 6-3, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You take her three sets, winning the first. How do you look at the result? Even though it’s a loss, are you to the point you’re satisfied or do you feel you should have had this?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: No, this is one of the wins that — or losses that really stings. I had so many chances.
Overall, I just have to take the positive from it. This is definitely not satisfying for me. I want to continue, go back out, I mean, if I could I’d go back out on the practice court now. That’s just how I feel. Just to get better because I know that I’m so close.
So that was just — that match proved a lot to me today, but I’m not satisfied at all.
Q. It was a pretty special match in the sense it was the first match on Grandstand. Did that give you a special feeling? Have you ever been, especially at an opening of an event, of a venue — was that a special moment for you?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Definitely. I didn’t have a chance to hit on the court at all before I went to play the match, so obviously — you know, I played quallies. I was on other courts.
But the court is amazing. It’s beautiful. I didn’t realize how big it was until people started to come in and started to get a little bit more packed. You know, people started cheering. I was in awe. You know, it’s such a beautiful stadium. And to see the improvements they have made in the course of a year, it’s amazing.
I was really happy to be able to, you know, to break the court in, quote/unquote (Smiling.) It was really great, and especially putting in — being an American, it was awesome.
Q. How hot was it out there? Looked like it was really blazing.
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: It was — it was decently hot. You know, I didn’t use the ice towel for the first two sets. I’m from Atlanta, so the heat is not really a big deal. It wasn’t that hot to begin with.
But as the match progressed it got a little bit hotter, a little bit more breezy, so it was — and obviously, you know, it’s 10 degrees hotter on the court than it is like wherever you are.
It was getting pretty toasty. The conditions, it wasn’t affecting me that badly because I’m used to it. I train in the heat. The Atlanta heat is different than here. I was kind of used to it.
Q. Did you take a break between sets with heat protocol?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: No. I just went to the restroom after the first. The heat rule was in, but I didn’t take the break.
Q. When you look at this match, when you look at it as a whole, are there specific points that come out? Like if that point went one way or the other, or was there something she was consistently doing and you are weren’t doing that was impacting the outcome?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Yeah. I mean, obviously she stayed steady, which is her game. There are a lot of different points that I feel like if I could have done something different or if I made a different decision that it could have maybe changed the outcome.
Instead of getting broken, could have got broken. Instead of being down 30, could have been up 15-30 or 15-all. But that’s tennis. There are so many points during the match where it can go either way. You have to make a decision in a split second. Sometimes you make the right decision; sometimes you make the wrong decision.
I have to learn from it. I can pick apart the match and tell you every little thing, but overall I’m just going to assess it, watch the film, learn from it, and keep moving.
Q. Is it just more the decision-making maybe you’re disappointed in or execution-wise? What do you think?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Just the decision making, I think. Because if I would have made a different decision then I probably would have executed the shot. I think I was doing a good job of executing my shots when I had it.
But, you know, there are points in the match where I did something and I was like, Oh, I should have done that. You know, I can’t change it. Like I said, I’m just going to look at it and try to build on it.
Q. Would you say that maybe those couple of dropshots you tried during the match would fall into that decision making category?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Definitely.
Q. And what kind of vulnerability did you sense in her? First set she had a point for 4-1 and you turned around and won the set. What sense did you get from her?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: I wasn’t really concerned about what she was doing. I was more into myself. I realized that I could win the match (Smiling.)
Ultimately, it just comes down to that belief in myself and the things I have been working on and the training I have been doing.
You know, winning three quallies matches obviously it’s great, but to win a main-draw match against someone like that, she’s been No. 1 in the world so she knows what it takes to win matches.
But, you know, I could taste it. It was so close. I just think that — I don’t know. Like I said, I just want to continue to build on it, really. It really was a great match. I can’t beat myself too much, but just going to keep building and keep working.
Q. What do you think has been the key to your ranking turnaround? You are up several hundred spots from where you were earlier this year.
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: I think great coaching, great people around me, just having peace of mind. You know, knowing that my team and everyone that I surrounded myself with has my best interests and I’m just moving forward.
You know, we’re not complicating anything, not putting too much into it besides just going out and playing tennis.
Just getting out on the court and just playing a lot of matches, you know, and having to go through that grind of, you know, playing 25s and losing quallies. You know, all of that stuff.
I just think that, you know, just great coaching. I have worked really hard on and off the court. I just think that when you give yourself opportunities and you keep playing, you get experience more than anything.
I think that you begin to grow as a player and get results.
Q. Do you feel like you’re moving up for good now, or do you still like you have to keep battling to work your way, steadily keeping your ranking up and moving up?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: It’s always going to be a battle. It’s like you can see — I mean, it’s always going to be a battle because you know that when you gain points the following year you have to defend or do better or you will lose those points.
So it’s always going to be about to continue to grow and push yourself and just get better and better and better.
I mean, I can’t worry about what I have done or I don’t know what’s ahead of me. I just have to continue to focus on what I’m doing right now and the results will come.
Q. It was a great match to watch. What do you think Billie Jean would say about it?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: I have no clue.
Q. Are you still in touch with her much?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Not really, but, you know, she sends me messages. We chat back and forth sometimes every blue moon. But, you know, you talk to Alana (ph) every once in a while, and I was able to sub for a TeamTennis match. I got to see her there but didn’t get to chat much. Opening night is always super busy for them.
Q. Do you think you would have trouble seeing the ball if your opponent was wearing the same color as yours?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: No, I don’t think so.
Q. It doesn’t kind of fade —
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: No, not really. I mean, I feel like at this point, you know, we should all know how to watch the ball (Smiling.) If we don’t, then we’ve got a problem.
So I don’t think that it’s really a problem. During the Open, they always — all the companies always go with bright colors and super fun outfits. That’s not really something that you can worry about or control.
Q. Who’s the coach you’re working with now or coaches?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Donald Young, Sr., and this week I have been working with his wife, Illona Young. They have all been helping me, those two together.
Q. Where are you doing your training now?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: What train?
Q. When you practice when you’re home.
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: I hit with a majority of people. The tennis community in Atlanta is pretty broad. There are a lot of colleges and a lot of players that come out of the South, you know, that visit there and that live there.
So I hit with a lot of college guys, college girls. It just depends on who’s in town, because, you know, obviously our schedules sometimes don’t match up together.
But there are a lot of people. I can’t really sit here and name them all because it is a lot.
Q. You seem to be in pretty good frame of mind after a loss. You also seem to be growing and maturing. I wanted to ask you just a general question about the sport. What is it that you really love about the sport of tennis?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Well, not this (Smiling.) Well, no, actually, I do. Moments like these before, you know — obviously, you know, I was crying and upset, but at the end of the day, you know, I have good people around me, like I said.
And Mrs. Young kind of helped me a lot just understanding the growth I have made over the last year. It’s been monumental. Like I said, I can’t really beat myself up too much. Moments like these where I have played and I left my heart out there and I know I could have done things better, it just drives me more to want to get out on the court and fix it, just try and do better.
Luckily, you know, I was able to get an opportunity to get a wildcard for doubles, so I have another chance to get out on court and play competitively. I know I have an opportunity to not really fix what I did, but to work on it and just be able to get back out on the court and compete.
So, you know, just the opportunity to be able to redeem yourself or, you know, just grow. Because, you know, you know in your head what you did. Now it’s about executing and just doing it.
Q. Good match.
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Thank you.
Q. Do you feel when you get on the court there was bigger pressure on you as a sport we are still trying to get in with more African-Americans?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: I wouldn’t really call it pressure. You know, I think that it’s an opportunity to use a platform that we have been getting in with talent and blessings and gifts. Just to be able to inspire other kids, you know, I don’t think that it’s a pressure situation.
Because, you know, there are kids that no matter how you do, they’d just be happy to be able to see you and watch you play. They are just even more excited when you do well.
Just to be able to inspire people like that, it’s not really pressure. I think it’s more of a blessing and a gift, you know, just to be able to do that. To be able to be on this platform, it’s amazing. I can’t complain at all.
Q. There was a 29-shot rally in the third set that you were able to win. What does a rally like that do for you in terms of your confidence with all the hard work and everything that’s been going on? That was impressive stuff, the construction and putting it away. In that moment, is that something you look back on and think, that’s one of those breakthroughs?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Yeah, like first of all, catch a breath. That was the main thing (Smiling).
No, I think that it was really good. I didn’t know how long the rally was, but I knew it was long. It is a confidence builder, because I know that for someone like her who she just thrives on rallies like that and she can hang in points all the time – that’s her game – for me to be able to win a long point that was probably the longest point of the match is good, and it proves something to me that I can hang in rallies like that.
And then to go even farther and win the game, you know, you can win a point like that, but if you lose the game it kind of defeats the purpose of it.
But then I was able to bounce back, hold my serve, and stay in it, you know, neck to neck, that really is great.
Monday, August 29, 2016
K. EDMUND/R. Gasquet
6-2, 6-2, 6-3
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Given the context of the match, the opponent, and the tournament, was that your best-ever win?
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah, I think so. Yeah, I played really well. Yeah, on ranking I think, yeah, it’s probably my best win. And the way I went about it, the way I played, a lot of things went well.
Yeah, definitely one of my best wins in my career. Yeah, very pleasing. Very encouraging the way I played, the way I handled myself, dealt with situations. I thought I was smart with the way I played when I needed to be in certain situations.
Yeah, a lot of good things. Yeah, days like this feel really good. You know, just lots of positives. There is definitely days where they are not like that, so, you know, that’s when you put the work in.
I have had a few days like that over the past few weeks on the hard. Really haven’t quite found my form, but luckily the match when I needed it it came good against a good opponent.
Q. Was there something about New York that lifted you?
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah, I guess so. It’s a Grand Slam, and you always get a little bit more excited about it. Yeah, to be honest, it’s just been a really long trip. I haven’t really felt too comfortable as much as — well, coming from Davis Cup where I was playing really well, and then to come to Toronto, I guess you compare — form was really good.
You’re always comparing to how you’re playing. Like as I said, I just didn’t quite find that. It had been a long trip and stuff, so I just accepted the way I was playing and just, you know, sort of said, Look, this is the situation. You’re playing a good player. You’ve got nothing to lose. Just go out there and play.
I knew after this tournament anyway I’ve got a bit of a break before Davis Cup in Asia. Either before Davis Cup or after Davis Cup, just depends on how I do.
So maybe that just relaxed me a little bit and made me enjoy it as well a bit more. You know, not playing so tense. Just played a lot freer.
So I definitely played better than I expected to be playing. The last few days actually have been a lot better than the start of the trip. So there were good signs. But it just already clicked today, so I’m very grateful for that.
Q. How has the pressure of playing and winning the Davis Cup helped you when it comes down to the Grand Slam tournaments?
KYLE EDMUND: Those two matches were a big thing for me. Just probably because I value them very highly. So in my head I knew what was at stake or maybe the pressure I put myself under. You know, however you want to put it.
I valued those matches very highly, and I targeted that just because I knew I had a good chance of playing them. And especially when Andy said he wasn’t going to play, I knew I was definitely going to play. I was going to have the responsibility of playing two matches.
I really wanted to do well there, and obviously when I beat Lajovic it was a lot of relief because you wanted to do well. So I guess I played in a pressure environment, plus in the final it was an intense environment. So those absolutely definitely helped coming out there. You know, playing the 13th seed in the first round of a slam, you want to do well.
But, yeah, from having those experiences, they definitely do help me. No doubt about it.
Q. As a player, is it frustrating at all that you’ve put a lot into Davis Cup and the Olympics, and there is no ranking points at stake for those? It’s been quite a big part of your summer, hasn’t it, and not playing for points?
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah. It’s just one of those things. I think — well, like I said, I value them highly, so I wanted to play them. But, yeah, I don’t know the reason why the ITF changed that. There were points last year; obviously not this year. And I would have gotten a nice chunk of points from Davis Cup, but it’s just one of those things.
The way I look at it is I am 21. I still do have lots of years. So I’m not hanging on two tournaments for my ranking. You know, that doesn’t make my ranking, those two tournaments or anything.
So I see it as building experience. Even though there is maybe not points in there, the experience from that will benefit me far more than the points in the long term.
So, yeah, that’s just the way it is. I’m sitting around 80 at the minute, maybe with the points I could be sitting at sort of low 70s, high 60s. So there is a small jump, but as I said, that doesn’t really concern me, you know. You want to be 30s, 20s, 10s. That’s where you want to be — 80/60 is not a huge difference, so I think the experience is more beneficial.
Q. Was there any degree of immaturity out there? I remember the Davis Cup final. We all remember it. Started off like a dream. But here, a break down in the third set and brought it back, which maybe you wouldn’t have done 18 months ago.
KYLE EDMUND: No, yeah. I think it’s, again, getting back to that experience. Just when you’re more experienced you’re a little bit probably more calmer in those situations in your head. You’re more relaxed about it. You’re not — maybe because — if it’s happened the first time you’re a bit unaware of what will happen, but maybe you’re a bit calmer about the situation.
When I did go a break down I thought I didn’t do too much wrong. I didn’t make enough first serves. Maybe he was trying to get something going so he was playing a little bit more freer.
But the way I had been playing, I was playing very consistently and I wasn’t playing out of myself. I was very confident with what I was doing, so I knew it wasn’t going to take much to get that back.
So I just remained calm. Yeah, I had a good game to break him, and then because I got that momentum, it really helped me kick through towards the end of the match.
Again, those experiences definitely do help, and I think I’m getting some good ones now.
Q. When you beat someone like Gasquet so convincingly, as well, how much belief do you get that you can beat these kind of top players more and more regularly?
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah, it gives you more belief, absolutely.
I had a good summer. I beat some good players, and, well, I beat a guy Simon, but then had a good experience against Andy. Those matches, top players, give you more experience, more confidence with your game, that you are able to take it to him. Especially the way I play my game is very much on the offensive, wanting to take it to the opponent.
So I have to be expressive. I have to express myself, and that’s the way I play.
So it gives me confidence doing that. Definitely Davis Cup I expressed myself very well. Was very aggressive on that weekend. And today I thought I was aggressive but playing smart at the right times; not being too overly aggressive. I got the balance right.
That’s against a good opponent, so that gives you more confidence about your game.
Q. How did you feel with the heat out there? In the end, did you feel like you would have hoped it went to four or even five sets in those conditions?
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah, I mean, it’s difficult to say. I would always back myself to do it. Like going out there, if I needed to play five sets I was ready to play five sets, you know. I had done all the preparation I normally do for five sets and stuff.
So, yeah, I would have felt confident doing it. It’s hard to say in hindsight how you would have coped, but, yeah, it was pretty hot out there.
I don’t think it was hot as last year. I thought it was more humid last year; a lot of pullouts last year. So I think that just shows in itself.
It’s hot but you adapt to it. The body adapts. I have been in America, what, four or five weeks now, so your body does adjust to it.
Yeah, I guess I wasn’t out there about an hour and a half or something, so it wasn’t that long compared to other people.
Q. Do you know anything about Escobedo?
KYLE EDMUND: No. I actually played him in the first round of Binghamton challenger last year, so I think that was three sets. I honestly can’t remember a huge amount of the match because it was a year ago.
I will watch a little bit of tape of him. You see a few things you pick up. You see his game style. But, yeah, I mean, all these matches here are going to be — you have to get your game out there.
But I’m pleased with the way I played today, so I think the main thing for me is trying to keep that going, and basically what I did today, try to put that in my next match and I’m sure you’ll have a good chance.
Q. I think he’s a wildcard. Always a tough match. A great opportunity to make round 3?
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah, it’s a good opportunity. Maybe, yeah, on paper not as high ranked as someone like Gasquet. But, again, you have to respect the opponents. The worst thing you can do in sport is get ahead of yourself, get too forward thinking, start looking what’s going on.
Definitely not — you have to look at one match at a time, look at the guy in front of you right now, stay in the present. You start looking elsewhere then you’ll get called out. I have always done that. You have to give respect to your opponents. He is in round 2, so there is a reason he’s in round 2 is: because he’s playing well.
But, yeah, I definitely look forward to it for sure.
Q. I know you kind of touched on this the other day, but is there an element of the sort of head-to-head between you and Evo for the second Davis Cup spot at this tournament?
KYLE EDMUND: I guess so like in terms of the last tie and there is not that much time. So I guess it’s almost like whoever is maybe doing well at the time or has that bit more confidence.
But, again, it’s Leon’s decision, how he sees it, how he sees matchups.
Again, we will see what happens. We have actually had a lot of ties over the past few years now because — and that’s a good problem, I guess, because we have been doing well.
It’s sort of like another tie that’s come up. So, yeah, for me, I will just concentrate on here, first.
But, yeah, it’s just really is Leon’s decision. Nothing more to say than that, because you do what you do, as in play your match. Results give you a good chance of getting that, getting a pick.
We’ll see. I mean, it’s just one of those things. I mean, Dan’s obviously had a good summer. He’s had some good results. I’m sure my result today would have helped things. Yeah, we’ll see.
Monday, August 29, 2016
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. 4-nothing lead in the tiebreaker. She came back to win it. How did you regroup and save your best tennis?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, the first set was so frustrating because I had so many chances which I didn’t convert. I honestly didn’t deserve to win this set because I didn’t use my chances, and always when I was leading I was super tight.
I think it’s normal after the injury to have this. I mean, in the moment I was very frustrated, but, I mean, I had nothing left, just to fight and win the next two sets. That’s what I did.
Q. You want to make easy work out of your competitors in the first match, but it’s good to be pressed a little bit and know you can turn things around.
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I don’t want to practice, so I practice in the match. (Smiling.)
No. I mean, it’s good. I didn’t play a lot of matches, so I don’t mind playing longer match. For me, it’s nothing. I don’t need to save energy now. I didn’t play for so long.
A. KERBER/P. Hercog
6-0, 1-0 (ret.)
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Not a lot of work out there today. It was a pretty quick match. Just kind of the way you like to get a Grand Slam fortnight started?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: To be honest, it’s never the way I would like to finish the match, but I went out there to feel my rhythm and start the tournament well. I played the first set really good, so this is what I will take from this match, that I’m playing my tennis.
For me, it’s always tricky the first few rounds. So it’s always good, yeah, to have the first round done. Just now focusing on the next rounds.
Q. You have had a terrific season. You come in seeded No. 2. Just talk about coming in the highest seed you have ever come into a Grand Slam and the level of confidence that I would think comes with that?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I have a lot of confidence, especially also from the last few weeks and from the whole year, actually. I mean, I’m playing one of my best tennis now.
To come in here is always special. You know, for me, especially. I’m not looking too much about the seeds because I know every round it’s tough in the Grand Slam.
But I think that I know that I’m playing good right now. That gives me a lot of confidence. And also, the experience I had from the last years and the last weeks especially, yeah, gives me the confidence of going out and playing really good tennis.
Q. Serena and Venus Williams have inspired so many young players to take up tennis. Who, for you, was the most inspiration as you were getting to learn the game?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: When I starting, of course, Steffi was always my inspiration when I was growing up. I was always watching her on German TV. I was always like thinking, Okay, one day I can play like her and playing the big tournaments.
So that was always like my inspiration. But also when I start, of course Serena and Venus, they played already. So for me, the both, they, yeah, are also great champions for me.
Q. Besides the power of Steffi Graf and of course the Williams sisters, what about the intelligence of the way they played? What did you learn maybe from the mental side of it?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, when I was young, I don’t know. I was not thinking too much about mental stuff. But when you are like growing up and you’re playing your tournaments and matches and a lot of like experience you take, then you start to think also that the mental side, it’s really important, and to think about like strategy and everything what’s coming with this.
So I think you have to take time to grow with all the stuff around you.
Q. You were asked on the court today again about the prospect of being so close to No. 1. You said you didn’t want it to be a distraction, but that if it would come it would certainly be something that you would look forward to. Without it distracting you, how does the prospect of that inspire you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I mean, for sure to be one day No. 1, I think this is a goal from everybody, especially also for me. But I will not putting too much pressure on myself like I said a lot of times, because I know that when I put the pressure I’m not playing my tennis then.
You know, I will go out there to win every match going step by step. If the day will come someday it will be amazing. But, yeah, just let’s see. I have to win few more matches.
Q. We have been hearing about records in women’s tennis a lot lately. They separate them whether they happened in the open era or it didn’t. Do you know why they separate like that? Do you think they should?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I don’t know. I mean, I have — I don’t know actually. No.
Q. What is the thought of playing indoors on Ashe Stadium? What are your thoughts about that?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It’s really like — it’s really huge when you go out there, and for me it’s nice to have now the chance to play on this court and like indoors. It’s nice, actually.
Q. Anything specific about what you think will make it special indoors?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It’s always a little bit different when you play indoors or outdoors. It’s always like not the same, but, I mean, the surface is the same. So, yeah.
Q. Do you find it any different this year? Because even though the roof is open, there is a lot of structure that encapsulates the stadium.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah. It looks of course a little bit huger and bigger. It’s also like of course you have the first few hours you have like one side it’s sun and the other side is shadow.
But at the end, I think if it’s raining we all are happy about that. (Smiling.)
C. BELLIS/V. Golubic
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. They keep calling you Catherine in the media room. You are still CC, right?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yes.
Q. Can you talk about the value of coming through the qualifying and what you gained, the experience of winning three matches going into today?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yeah. I think just playing actually three matches made me so much more comfortable, and knowing the surface of the courts and just playing on the courts in general is I think a big advantage for me.
I think it’s better for me to come through qualifying rather than getting just a wildcard.
Q. You have talked about going to Stanford. What would make that decision change?
CATHERINE BELLIS: It just — it used to be ranking-wise. I used to think of it, you know, the past couple years about, oh, I should be close to the top 100 and stuff like that.
But I think now it’s just more me being confident that I can, you know, compete at this level consistently.
Q. As of right now you’re still going to Stanford?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yes. Yes.
Q. You are waffling?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I am. For right now. I verbally committed and I talked to the coach a lot. I think the signing date is in November.
Q. How much of a reminiscent moment was that for you to win out on that court today and do what you did? How much do you feel you have changed as a person and as a tennis player in the two years?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yeah, I think it was really great that I was on that court again for the first round. It was really cool. When I saw the schedule, I was like, Oh, my God. I’m on that court again.
Yeah, it was great. The girl I played was really good. I’m glad I got through it. I think I have grown as a person and as a player last couple of years. I think my game has matured a lot. I think I have improved pretty much everything in my game a lot.
Back when I was younger I could have some good wins here and there, but now I can consistently, I think, have better results.
Q. Four matches, including qualifying, and dropped only one set. What’s been the key?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I think I have been focusing on playing for myself and my game style. Not focusing on anything else going on. Just thinking about each point one at a time.
Q. Coming into New York, what were the emotions like? You’re going to go play qualifying. Typically it might have been a wildcard situation. What was your thinking once you got here about what you could do and what you wanted to maybe prove to yourself or to other people?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Qualifying was actually one of the biggest things that I wanted to do here, and just do in general in a Grand Slam.
That’s one of the biggest, you know, moments for me in my tennis so far, so I think that was one of the main things. Everything else is icing on the cake for now.
Q. You come from a beautiful but very quiet California suburb, yet you come here to The Big Apple and sort of kick back. What makes you do so well, do you think, here in New York?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Honestly, I think it’s all the support that I get and everybody that comes out to my matches.
If I didn’t have that support I don’t know if I’d be doing as well as I am right now. (Smiling.)
Yeah, I think that’s one of the main things. I just love the atmosphere. Atmosphere. The courts are amazing. Everything about it I love.
Q. Have you gone back at all and watched the tape or do you reminisce at all and — that was such a big moment I think in your life. Do you sort of waffle over that at all?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I don’t have any tape of it. I haven’t watched it at all. Yeah, I mean, it was so long ago. I don’t think it really has anything to do with me or my game right now.
No, I don’t really look back on it.
Q. You played Shelby once and she said it was on clay. She knows that you swing for the fences. What are you thinking about going into that match?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yeah, we played each other a couple months ago. Yeah, I mean, I haven’t really thought about it too much. I’m just focused on I went out and practiced and focused on my game, everything like that.
I think I will think about it more tonight and tomorrow. I’m just going to focus on me, focus on myself.
Q. You practiced after your match?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yeah.
Q. For how long and what did you work on?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I mean, I do it after every match I play. My coach and I usually go out for 30, 45 minutes and we practice. We do all my groundies, you know, cross-courts, down the lines. We do counting just to groove everything. Volleys, overheads, serves, returns.
Q. Is it dependent upon how you do in a match?
CATHERINE BELLIS: No.
Q. No matter what you have the same routine after every single match?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Unless I’m on the ground dying tired, then I’m going and practicing. That hasn’t happened yet, so… (smiling.)
Q. Glad to hear.
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yeah.
Q. What did you think of Shelby’s run at the French Open?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Oh, my God, it was amazing. Yeah, it’s unbelievable for American tennis and for Team USA. Yeah, she was playing unbelievable there. It was really great.
Q. There was so much attention to her run and she was said to be the Cinderella. Did it ever cross your mind there was a little bit of sameness to your experience when you first emerged here?
CATHERINE BELLIS: No. No. I think it’s a lot different. She, I think — round of 16 or quarterfinals there? Yeah. I mean, that’s obviously a lot better than what I did.
I don’t think it really has anything to do with that. I mean, different surface, different tournament, so…
Q. At this stage of your career, what is fun for you in terms of your tennis? What do you get the most enjoyment out of?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Still playing. Yeah, playing matches I love so much. Having all my like hard work from practice come out in my matches. That’s the best thing any tennis player can possibly be a part of.
Q. Are you harder on yourself than anybody else could ever be on you?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yeah, definitely.
CATHERINE BELLIS: Because I think that I can do big things in tennis and that I think if I don’t — you know, say I didn’t play well one day or something. I know can I do a lot better than what I did.
So, yeah, I think it’s good. I think it’s good that I am.
Q. You talked about all your hard work. What element of your work really has borne the most fruit? Has it been the physical work? Has it been stroke technique? Has it been the mental side and mental toughness?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I think it’s a combination. Yeah, in the last year I have worked very hard on my fitness and just getting a lot stronger. I mean, even in the last couple of years when I have played here, like I said, I could have some good matches.
But my body couldn’t handle playing consistently at this level. Neither could my game.
Definitely my fitness, but also just everything in my game being a little more solid.
Q. The NCAA keeps changing the rules on amateurism. It’s changed last year again where you could keep money for expenses or…
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yeah. You get to keep $10,000 a year, plus like at every tournament that you go to, whatever you can make you can expense that money if it adds up to however much you expense.
Q. Are you going to seek out some pretty nice expenses if you keep on going here?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yeah. I have already upgraded to a suite in my hotel. I had my dad do that for me. (Laughter.) I was excited about that.
Q. Maybe you can buy us members in the press corps a gift as part of your expense account.
CATHERINE BELLIS: (Laughter.)
Q. After your match today or after qualifying?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Qualifying. Yeah, couple days ago.
Q. I mean, I know you won four matches and there was so much attention around you because you were 15 and you beat a seed two years ago, but how much more satisfied, if you are, of what you’ve accomplished the last few days?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yeah, I think I have earned my way into the tournament this time rather than — I mean, I did last time. I won the National Hard Courts, but it’s different.
I think getting through qualifying, for me, it means a lot more than, you know, just getting straight into main.
G. MONFILS/G. Muller
6-4, 6-2, 7-6
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. So when you crashed into the wall, did you think you had hit it that hard?
GAEL MONFILS: Ah, no. When you are in the moment you don’t feel really anything. Just jump. I saw was a wall, but it was quite lucky.
Q. How surprised were you when it kind of came over?
GAEL MONFILS: I was surprised, because it hurt me a little bit. You know, could be pretty bad. Could have fallen on my ankle or calf and could be more than that.
Q. What thoughts do you have on the situation for the big four that has dominated for so many years: Murray, Nadal, Djokovic, and Federer, where they are right now?
GAEL MONFILS: Oh, I have no idea, you know, actually, because I don’t very focus about the big four you call them. I just focus about I know all of them, and I can beat them, you know, no matter what.
So I think Roger is out for his injury, but the other ones, still tough players for sure. Novak is still cruising again a little bit this year. The other ones are playing tough also. I think we all improve all the time a little way to try to beat them sometime and to actually put them in more trouble.
Q. Who do you draw most inspiration from as far as your tennis?
GAEL MONFILS: For me? Actually like current player?
Q. Could be current or past.
GAEL MONFILS: For me, past definitely Arthur Ashe for me. I used to watch a lot of documentary of him. Really love his life and what he achieve. It’s him for me I look up for most of the time.
Q. You obviously have wonderful power shots with your forehand and your serve, but you’re also known for your wonderful creativity, spontaneity, and different shots. Is that one of the things that you love about your tennis that keeps you going? Talk about that aspect.
GAEL MONFILS: You know, to be honest, I always say that is very natural, you know. Just instinct player, you know. And I do what I feel to do at that time.
You know, I think I played a lot of sport when I was young and still play now other sport. Maybe have different coordination of others, so that’s why sometimes it looks a little bit different.
Q. Do some of your shots sometimes surprise you? Was there one shot in particular that you can…
GAEL MONFILS: You know, it’s tough because when I’m inside, you know, I have no look, you know, by myself. And actually when I jump or when I dive or whatever, you know, for me it’s natural.
So I have no look. Right after if someone show me, say, Shit, it was good. (Smiling.)
Q. Coming up obviously you had really good results right up and through the Olympics, and having the Olympic experience this year and coming out to the Open. Are you feeling good? Are you feeling satisfied with the way you’re playing coming in?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, I feel good, you know. I think I have a strong first round, and obviously I know it was a little bit worries, my back a little bit.
Today I just play tough and cruised. I’m satisfied. Still have won a lot of matches. No, I just feel good and hopefully going to keep going.
Q. And you take the first set, straight sets, do you feel good the way things went out there?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, because this one, I think it was a bit more than a first round. I think Gilles is just out to be seeded and he’s a tough player.
I feel like to win this match straight sets was I think a good effort for me, so it give me a lot of confidence.
Q. What about the possibility of playing under the roof here? What do you think it will be like to play indoors?
GAEL MONFILS: I don’t know. I don’t know. No one ever ask me this question. Would be cool. Would be more electric, I guess. I think it’s gonna be more noisy. Yeah, actually, can be a really cool experience.
Q. You had that incredible match with Federer here. What has been the most wonderful match in your career?
GAEL MONFILS: Honestly, the first time I beat my dad. But in the tour, I always say when I lost to Lleyton Hewitt in 2004 in Bercy. I lost 6-3, 7-6. For me, it was the best match I ever play so far.
Q. When you’re in the zone, you know that expression, in the zone, playing your best, how would you describe that feeling?
GAEL MONFILS: I can’t, because I will do it every time. I can’t, because I think actually we practice, you know, to be at this zone. You know, for the zone is like when you’re in the top and you achieve anything, you can beat anyone, and no one can beat you.
Somehow, you know, I think maybe Novak is the one can say it most because he’s not losing a lot.
But me, I can’t I tell you. I know it’s a great feeling, but never happen a lot in the season, when you’re in the zone, what, a match, two matches maximum? But when you’re in the zone it’s very rare to have this sensation.
R. NADAL/D. Istomin
6-1, 6-4, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. If you can, assess the match. How you feel you played today?
RAFAEL NADAL: Normal. That’s the real thing. Not very good; not very bad.
I think I played — was a good start for me obviously winning here in straight sets. I have been dominating the match comfortable after 6-1, 4-1, and I think in that game I could have the second break in the second set, no, and go 5-1.
Didn’t happen. And then the second set was tougher, no? Was tough at the end. He had some chances in the 4-All. Happy that I finally saved that game. I had the break in the last one. In the third I think I finished playing well. Last couple of games I played a little more aggressive with my forehand.
I feel that I was changing a little bit, you know, playing a little bit longer the cross shot, and then changing down the line, like last point. It was positive one.
That’s it. My serve worked well almost all the time. I am hitting very well the backhand, but it’s true that the forehand I need time. I need confidence and I need to keep practicing the forehand, no?
Is not easy to go two months-and-a-half out of competition in the middle of the season without hitting a forehand. I need to have the confidence again with my wrist. That is coming, because I feel the wrist much better, and every day feel that the wrist a little bit better. That’s very important thing for me. By the way, the most important thing.
I need to recover the normal movement with the forehand. Even if I played very well in Rio, you know, when you have pain you try to change the movement to avoid a little bit that pain no? So I need to find again the normal movement. But I am in the way.
Q. How different with the roof on is the wind or the shadows?
RAFAEL NADAL: Oh, the wind, there is no wind. It’s just a little bit of wind, no? Since the first day that I practiced here I checked that was not wind at all, no? Because I remembered one of these days that I was practicing in the center court outside was very, very windy, and in the center court was not wind at all, no?
The shadows are, you know, always a little bit of inconvenience during, but it’s true after 2:30, 3:00 in the afternoon it’s over. That’s a good thing. In general terms, is great. Is beautiful court. Is an amazing job that USTA did, and I think is a great improvement for everybody, for the players, for the fans who are visiting here Flushing Meadows, and for sure for the people who are following the tournament on the television.
Q. In Rio you said that you played there just because it was the Olympics. You wouldn’t have played in any other tournament. It ended up you had to play a lot. In hindsight, looking back, do you think that much court time did good for your recovery or you think that you just got too tired?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, was too tiring. After the Olympics I feel myself destroyed. But it’s normal, no? Is not because I was not ready. It’s because I didn’t competed and I didn’t have the chance to practice strong practices on court, no? I was doing a lot of physical performance, training in the gym.
But since one week before the Olympics I was not hitting forehand, no? Just practicing 45 minutes to 30 to one hour. That’s the maximum thing that I was practicing, no?
So was a very important event for me, and in general terms have been very, very positive. I will say more than very positive, and I’m 100% recovered physically, no?
In terms of the wrist injury, I was not sure when I was there, but the real thing is the wrist improved. Was a very good decision.
Q. You’re known for your love of our sport and also for the love of your country. When you came out of the tunnel holding the flag for Spain, you were beaming and smiling. As you walked down the track, what went through your mind about the country and your journey? What were your thoughts?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I was just enjoying that very unique moment, no? Olympics are the most important event of the world of sport, so for me was something that I missed the opportunity in London, 2012, to bring the flag.
And I see it like (Asking for translation) for award, reward. Is an award after a lot of years of hard work, a lot of years of passion for the sport, a lot of years having represented well I think my country around the world no?
That moment was unique, unforgettable, and was just very, very high emotions.
Q. If that’s the case, can you understand why players choose not to play the Olympics because they are not getting ranking points and not getting prize money?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. No, in my personal feeling, you know, in terms of importance, the events are — always you need to find in your interior, no? You need to find what’s the motivation of yourself for everything, no?
But for me personally, Olympics is the closest thing to a Grand Slam. That’s my feeling, no? And I can’t understand some players that are a little bit older that they decided to not go because they prefer — they have been there. If they believe that there is no chances for medals I could understand, but some young players that choosed to not go there, it’s difficult to understand, no?
Olympics are once every four years and is something that is an experience you can’t miss. Even if you are young, you need to have the right people around you to advise you that have to go there. You know, because then when you are older you appreciate a lot these events and these experiences that are completely special and unique.
So that’s a thing the same what happened in golf, the same what happened in tennis with a couple of players.
But is something that makes the sport bigger, no? I think if the stars are going to Olympics makes the Olympics bigger. But at the same time, have the golf in Olympics I think makes the golf bigger, and having the tennis in Olympics have — you know, is true that we help to have the Olympics bigger, but the Olympics help us to be bigger in the world of sport, no?
Because there is a lot of fans around the world that they don’t follow tennis normally, but during the Olympics everybody see the Olympics, no? So you have a lot of visibility during that week. In my opinion we should promote that.
Q. Much less serious experience is at the end of matches here when you hit the balls into the crowd. What is that like? Where are you trying to hit it? How far and which direction?
RAFAEL NADAL: Oh, I don’t know. (Laughter.) No idea. Don’t know. Just I try to send the balls where more people are. No, I just try to send the ball where the people really want the ball. That’s it.
Q. In our stadium do you ever try to hit it out of the stadium?
RAFAEL NADAL: No chance. We tried before. I try when I was younger but have more power without the roof, and there was no — impossible.
Q. You said you would have rested longer with the wrist had it not been for the Olympics, so if there had been no Olympics do you think you would have been playing in this tournament or still resting?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, sure I would be playing this tournament. The wrist is better, yeah.
Yes, if there is not Olympics probably I will start here. That’s the normal thing that will happen, no? But the real thing is I was very happy to play the Olympics, no, because was nothing against the injury. Nothing happen against the injury.
So the improvement had been very positive. Sometimes you take decisions, and I take the decision to play in Roland Garros and it was a very negative decision. It was very important event for me.
After that I break a little bit the wrist so had to stop for two months and a half. Then I decided to play in the Olympics and was positive thing, no?
So in terms of decisions, after the decision when you know what happened, everything is easy, but before you need to take a decision. So when you take decisions, you have mistakes or you don’t. People take decisions are the people who can have both things.
Q. You have seen it happen in basketball where there are a lot of players that want to rest because of injury. You have Laver Cup and other things happening in tennis. Is tennis too full schedule-wise, or how much more tennis do you think guys can play or players can play because the sport is also so physical?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, don’t compare the exhibitions or the tournaments outside of the tour than when we are competing on tour, because it’s a different story in terms of, you know, what is the tougher thing for the body. What really damage your body and your mental strength is other real competition.
When I have exhibition I relax. We try to do it for the crowd, to try to play good for the crowd. We try our best, but we don’t know what is the limit. You have problems when you go to the limit, so is not fair to compare that.
And in terms of calendar, I never said that calendar is too long. In my opinion the calendar can be as long as you want. For me it will be great if we have tournaments since the first week of the season every single week.
The only negative things sometimes are the mandatory events. We have a lot of mandatory events, and that creates very short periods of rest, no? But as many tournaments as we have, as more tournaments we have the better, because there is more jobs.
One sport is bigger and better not only if the best players win a lot of money, if is a lot of players can have the right money to live well.
So that’s how much more players can have the work on the tennis life, better for our tour. So the only thing is the mandatory events.
Q. You were just talking about how each of the players have to find their own motivation. In the past you said your motivation for tennis comes from your love of the sport. Talk about that. Talk about the love that you have for tennis and how that affects your motivation and drive.
RAFAEL NADAL: I always say the same, no? Sport in general is one of my hobbies and is one of my passions. Not only like player, like a spectator, too. I love the sport with a lot of competition, when I am practicing, and when I’m watching on the TV. I love the sport in general, and my life and my family always have been very close to the world of sport and living the sport with a lot of passion.
That’s why I always tried hard and I love what I do.
Q. You have done it many times, but do you still wake up on the morning of the first round of a Grand Slam and feel that nervous energy of a big tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: If you are not nervous a little bit it’s time to say good-bye. That’s the real thing, no? You need to be nervous. No, that’s part of the competition, no?
If you don’t feel that then it’s because you really don’t want to win as much as you need or you are not afraid about the lose. When you don’t have those feelings it’s because you don’t have enough motivation for what you are doing.
G. MUGURUZA/E. Mertens
2 6, 6 0, 6 3
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What was wrong physically that you called the trainer after the first set? How were you feeling the rest of the match?
GARBINE MUGURUZA: I started and it was difficult a little bit to breathe for me. It was really humid. I don’t know. When you feel the heat that makes you a little bit, like, down kind of, you know.
I was talking in the locker room a little bit with the physio. Was kind of like similar to Australia, you know, where is hot.
I forgot that there was the ice towels and everything. So I start using them, trying to breathe a little bit better, I don’t know, taking more calm just to, you know, go with the match.
But I didn’t remember that was that hot in here. I don’t know why I felt this today. It was like really, really humid.
Q. Were you not feeling well before the match or was it just the heat of today that made you feel unwell?
GARBINE MUGURUZA: No, I kind of felt this also in the practice two days ago, that I’m like, Whew, this is hot here.
Today in the warmup I didn’t feel it. It’s only half an hour in a warmup. It’s only a warmup. But as soon as I started the match moving and running, also with the competition makes you more tense. I guess that, yeah.
Q. You mentioned the next player, you don’t know who she is, never seen her play. How do you mentally prepare for a game like that where you just don’t know your competition?
GARBINE MUGURUZA: Well, it happens more in the Grand Slams at the beginning of the rounds because there’s a lot of people and sometimes you don’t know the opponents.
But today was the case. I went to the court and I didn’t really know the opponent. You play and you do your stuff. You kind of see a little bit during the match how she plays, but you cannot know anything before.
It’s like that. I don’t know.
Q. Coming in as the 3 seed, a Grand Slam champion, somebody not really known to the public here, how does it feel to come in with higher expectations? Does that raise the confidence level and your own expectations of yourself?
GARBINE MUGURUZA: I think is different. If I would say no it would not make sense. Someone that, I don’t know, has reached the last rounds of the tournaments or, you know, the important moments every time you go to a tournament, you believe, Maybe I can do it again. You have more expectations, that’s for sure.
But I got to play with that. I have to go on the court, try to don’t have in my mind all the time, Hey, let’s go for this match, let’s try to win this. That’s the way.
For sure maybe a lot of people is talking. All this kind of stuff that I cannot control. If I cannot control it I don’t put it in my bag, you know. I’m minimizing and doing everything very simple around me.
Q. Some people thrive on the environment here; others find it daunting. Where do you come in there? Do you enjoy this atmosphere?
GARBINE MUGURUZA: You mean in the court?
GARBINE MUGURUZA: Yes, I felt there’s more movement, more noise, more stuff. But it’s well known also because of the environment and the crowd and the vibes, I don’t know, that feeling that brings New York.
I think it’s also special to feel. I don’t know. There’s a lot of people. They’re watching you. Maybe it’s not as silence as Wimbledon, that everybody is like this, but I enjoy a lot also.
Q. Aside from the tennis, can you enjoy the city of New York? Anything besides tennis?
GARBINE MUGURUZA: You can enjoy. For me it’s difficult during the tournament. I came one week earlier here to prepare and everything. In those days I have more chances to, Hey, let’s go watch this show. This is the city of shows. There’s 10 every day and restaurants and everything.
Once I start the tournament I’m very, I don’t know the word, like in a cave. I’m in my room. I do simple stuff. I don’t go to a lot of places. I just try to keep my energy with me and not going there and there and there.
Q. You came here early this year?
GARBINE MUGURUZA: I came one week early.
Q. Shows or anything?
GARBINE MUGURUZA: Yes. Where did we go? We went to a Mark Anthony concert. I loved it. I was dancing. I have to say, there was all womens. Not one man in that concert.
And are trying Greek restaurants. I love Greek restaurants. Italian and steakhouses. I love the steakhouses. I just discover places.
Q. Did you have a lot of media appearances for sponsors? Was that part of that week?
GARBINE MUGURUZA: Yes. Here is where they’re all more or less based. This is the part of the year where you’re more compromises, or, I don’t know. It’s just more people, more sponsors, more people that want more time from you.
Yeah, it would be more here. You have to really schedule everything.
Q. But you also have to train.
GARBINE MUGURUZA: Yes, because between this, this, this, I have to practice, go back 10 blocks, one taxi.
Q. First round match, having difficulty breathing, playing against somebody you never played before, it’s very easy to panic. Did you ever come close to that? Did you ever feel like you were panicking? If not, how did you reel the match back in?
GARBINE MUGURUZA: No, I don’t feel I panic. I think I always have a chance. I’m there. Even though I’m down 4 1 I always try to see what can I do to turn these things around.
Maybe you’re like, Oh, this is dangerous situation, because you feel that you’re like 4 1 or in the third set you know last set.
These kind of things, I think all the players feel that. But you always have to focus and, Okay, what should I do now to win this point? How can I turn this set? Where should I play? You kind of think about something else.
J. ISNER/F. Tiafoe
3-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-2, 7-6
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. When he’s serving for the fifth set, what advantage do you have not being 18 years old?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I guess, I mean, experience is definitely on my side in that match, but sometimes experience is overrated.
You know, I think in that instance I actually probably played the best return game I played all match.
You know, he played very well, I thought, and he earned everything up to that point for sure. I just tried to stick with it. Was able to get back into that set at 5-4.
Actually, even though I was pretty haggard out there, I got a jolt of energy when I got it back to 5-4.
Q. Were you at all surprised by his level of play?
JOHN ISNER: No, I wasn’t. I mean, I know how talented he is. At such a young age, he seems to be the type of kid that can rise up to the big occasion, big moment, and great atmosphere. He played I thought very well.
I was struggling matching his intensity. In the early goings of the match he was all over me and was the better player hands down.
I had to stick with it and had to try to tilt the match in my favor a little bit, which I was able to do.
Q. You’ve won some epics in your career. You’ve also had a lot of tough, close losses this year. Where do you rank this match as far as the drama, being out on the Grandstand for the first time?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I mean, the atmosphere was amazing. I mean, you guys saw it. Standing room only in that fifth set. The crowd was going nuts. A lot of people were cheering for him – rightfully so.
But it’s definitely up there. I feel like I was due. I’ve lost a number of close matches this year, so to be able to pull that one out feels really good. And in the way I pulled it out feels especially good, so…
Yeah, I can’t say enough about Frances. I’ve always liked him. Always. He’s a great guy. He has a fantastic future.
Q. Can you describe what you really thought of the play of the new Grandstand? What kind of court was it? Is it quicker?
JOHN ISNER: I’m not the best person to ask when it comes to that stuff. I don’t pay too much attention to it.
If I had to say, it’s probably a little on the quicker side, I think. You get rewarded for the right type of play out there. I don’t know.
I mean, I practiced on Armstrong. Maybe it’s a little quicker, but I don’t know.
Regardless, the court is beautiful and it’s fun to play on.
Q. He’s obviously the youngest player in the draw. What elements do you think he has to grow to play big points?
JOHN ISNER: He’s got so much room to grow as a tennis player. Yeah, I think probably his second serve. He’s improved his serve from when I practiced with him.
He’s been at some Davis Cup ties. He definitely has improved his serve. I think the best thing he has going for him is he’s just an incredible athlete. You can’t really teach that.
He’s got wheels; he’s got the hands; he’s got shots on both sides. One area, if he improves his second serve a little bit. But I would certainly buy stock in him right now for sure. He’s a great player.
Q. At the end of a match when you’re hitting balls into the crowd, what is that experience like and what are you trying to do?
JOHN ISNER: Oh, I don’t know. I was enjoying it at that moment. The atmosphere was awesome. A lot of people were on their feet cheering for that match. They weren’t just cheering for me at the end.
It’s why you play. It’s why you work so hard, to have moments like that. Everyone that’s been part of a painful loss like that, as well. The wins, in an atmosphere like that, in a close match like that, are really sweet.
Q. How about in general, the whole experience of hitting balls in the crowd? Do you try to hit them out of the stadium? Where are you aiming?
JOHN ISNER: No. I was pretty tired. I just hit them up. I didn’t hit them anywhere in particular at the end there.
Q. What did you and Frances say to each other up at the net?
JOHN ISNER: I can’t really recall. I don’t think he said much. I think I said, Great match. It was really fun to play against you today. Keep your head up. You know, your future is immensely bright.
I mean, I didn’t say that. Keep it going, man. It was fun. I think that’s what I said.
Q. How important has that slice backhand been for you to develop as a shot that gets you out of trouble sometimes? Does it get you into trouble ever?
JOHN ISNER: No, it’s improved. Sort of a shot that sometimes I feel it really good and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes it’s not there at all. You know, leading up to this match, practicing here, I feel like that shot has been working pretty well for me.
For me to use that shot in a sort of defensive fashion is very important to get it low and get it down cross-court.
I’ve worked on that shot ad nauseam forever now. It’s always going to be a pretty important shot for me.
Q. Does someone hit that shot best on tour?
JOHN ISNER: Roger probably. Yeah.
Q. After a match like that, when you lose a close match, how do you make it learning experience instead of making it a scar that lasts?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah. As I said before, I’ve lost a lot of close matches this year in final-set tiebreakers. You have to try to learn from it, even though it can sort of scar you up, as you said.
But you have to try to learn from it. You have to try to stay positive and stay the course and know that it will turn around.
I know with how I play, very good chance I’m going to be in that situation a lot. Maybe not at a Grand Slam like this, but, you know, I just stuck with it. I was confident in that fifth set icebreaker. I really believed I was going to win it.
I had no reason to believe that considering how many matches I lost, but I was positive and believed I was going to pull through.
Q. What do you like most about his game?
JOHN ISNER: His backhand is world class. His backhand return is world class. He was handling my serve better than anyone really, maybe outside of Novak. I mean, he was really on it. His forehand’s great. I think that shot’s improved a lot.
As I said earlier, he’s such an incredible athlete. He’s got that on his side. That’s not going to go anywhere, so…
He’s got a very bright future.
Q. As someone who follows football and other sports, what is your reaction to Colin Kaepernick’s statement with not standing for the National Anthem?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I thought that was pathetic from him. The cause he was going for, fine by me, but don’t do it in that fashion. He could have found some other ways to present his voice there. A lot of NBA players have done it, and good on ’em.
For him doing it in that way really irked me. I’m a big Blaine Gabbert fan now.
J. ISNER/F. Tiafoe
3-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-2, 7-6
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Where do you think you had the better chance of winning, the third set tiebreak or when you served for the match?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Both, I mean, about the same. Yeah, pretty disappointed I missed that backhand at 5-All with that much court I had to work with. Overcooked it.
But, yeah, serving for it I thought I definitely had it. I thought I definitely thought the match was over, but he played a good return game. Didn’t make that many first serves that game. Probably should have played a higher percentage, but it’s tough.
Q. You were very gracious on court. What were you feeling after the match, having chances? What is going on in your head?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I mean, toughest loss of my career so far for sure. But, you know, think I’m getting over it now a little bit. I mean, not much to really say. It’s tough. I was so excited serving for it 5-3; the crowd is going nuts; I’m going nuts. You have so much adrenaline going.
Come up a little short, it hurts.
But it’s against an experienced player. Me and John are great friends. It was a good battle and I had a lot of fun today.
Q. (Question regarding experience.)
FRANCES TIAFOE: I think that played a part in it. If I could replay that, probably wouldn’t have gotten as hyped up when I broke. Maybe would have taken a little bit out of it.
No, I mean, I think that played a little part in it.
Q. Talk about the atmosphere playing on the new Grandstand. What was that like?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I think it’s going to be the best court at the US Open in years to come. It was unbelievable. It was pretty much packed the whole time.
Yeah, I mean, it still feels pretty intimate, just like the old Grandstand. I think it’s going to definitely be a court I want to play on for sure in the future.
Q. What did you and John say to each other at the net when you hugged? There’s always a lot of questions about the future of American tennis. With young guys like you and Taylor Fritz, how bright is the future? Can you compete for slams down the road?
FRANCES TIAFOE: To be honest, yeah, I don’t really know what John said. I just heard him say, You’re going to be great, you know, and I was kind of crying on his shoulder. But, yeah, I mean, he’s so nice. I mean, we’re such good friends.
And then the last thing I heard him say is, Don’t let this get you down.
For American tennis, I think it’s looking really good. I think we have a lot of guys that are going to be very good. I think American tennis is definitely on the right path. We just got to keep our heads down and keep doing the work and I think we’re going to have good careers.
Q. What did those first two sets feel like? Looked like you could do no wrong.
FRANCES TIAFOE: Seemed like everything I touched was golden. Came out playing pretty much lights out. I was returning unbelievable. I was guessing right on everything. Wasn’t really expecting that. I was ready to play a couple breakers going in.
But, yeah, I mean, it was a lot of fun today. I really enjoyed myself and I really thought I played one of the best matches I’ve played so far.
I pretty much did everything but win the match today. It was an unbelievable experience.
Q. Did your dad have anything to do with tennis before he got the job at the camp?
FRANCES TIAFOE: No, nothing at all. Nothing at all. Never really even held a racquet before he came there at all. No relation to tennis whatsoever.
Q. How do you build off a match like this going forward, take the positives out of it?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I think the positive is that I can play that level, you know, on a big stage like that. Also that I think one day I could maybe have a good run at a slam.
You know, just keep going on the practice courts and keep doing what I’ve been doing: working hard, get my strengths even better, and my weaknesses to one day be strengths.
Q. I saw you in the Orange Bowl when you were 15. What part of your game has made the biggest advance since then?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I think I’ve just gotten a lot stronger physically. I think that’s helped me a lot. Moving better. You know, hitting the ball stronger from both sides. Serving a bit better.
I mean, yeah, I just grew a lot as a person, as a player since then. I think that’s really what’s been helping me the last couple years.
Q. Which tennis figure has provided you with the greatest inspiration?
FRANCES TIAFOE: As far as player or… ?
Q. Can be a player. Doesn’t have to be.
FRANCES TIAFOE: I’m a big DelPo fan. Huge DelPo fan. Seeing him win a slam here when he was 19, 20, that was huge inspiration for me. I always wanted to be like him.
Seeing him in the locker room, now we’re talking, that even seems surreal. I think he was a big inspiration for me.
S. ZHENG/M. Puig
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How tough was it out there today?
MONICA PUIG: It’s always a little bit tough, especially coming off winning the Olympic gold medal. A lot of pressure, a lot of expectation, but I can always continue to learn. That’s what I’m going to try and do.
All credit to her, though. She played well. She complicated me just enough. But, you know, I’m still learning. I’ll still growing. Trying to find the positives out of everything.
Q. Does this feel like something you’re going to have to take some time to process in terms of recovering in a way from this big career achievement?
MONICA PUIG: Sure. I’ve never been here before. These are new waters for me, new territory. I’m going to have to start getting used to it. Once it starts becoming a little bit more of a habit, then I’ll feel comfortable.
It took me a while to be comfortable being in the top 50, the top 30, all this stuff. It’s always a process. I’m just going to have to keep learning and just take it day by day.
Q. New York City has such a big Puerto Rican community. What did you make of the crowd support for you?
MONICA PUIG: Well, it was great. Everyone was there supporting me. They didn’t really let down at any moment. It’s even great to see that at my lowest points they were there for me. I really appreciate it.
I know that I can always come back to New York and have a Puerto Rican family there for me.
Q. You mentioned positives that you want to take from this match. What are some of those positives that you are going to work on?
MONICA PUIG: At no point in the match did I have a bad attitude towards what was going on, and no moment did I give up. That’s really positive for me, because no matter how tough situations get, I know that I won’t give up and I’ll always keep trying.
I tried to be aggressive when I could. It didn’t happen today. But we have bad days as tennis players. I just got to keep working on my game.
Again, I’m still in the process of learning. There’s so much to be done still with my game. I’m 22 years old. There’s always room for improvement. I’m just going to go back to the drawing board with my team and see what else we can fix.
Q. How tough is it that it was such a big tournament so soon? Did you feel maybe there could have been an extra week between the Olympics?
MONICA PUIG: I wish. Everybody does. Kind of had some time to come down from the high a little bit. At the end of the day, the calendar doesn’t really give you much room to, you know, ask and take, whatever. You have to get back out there like everybody else does.
Kerber went out after the final of the Olympics and made finals of Cincinnati. But, again, she’s been there. She knows what it’s like. She knows she’s No. 2 in the world. She’s tested the waters out a little bit. I’m brand-new to this.
I need to keep racking up as much experience as I can. You know what? This isn’t going to be the last of me. I know I’m going to keep working hard. The Olympics was something that happened because of all my hard work.
I’m just going to keep working harder to get those results as soon as possible.
Q. Kerber, after she won her first Grand Slam, she had struggles. Does that give you confidence knowing they were able to rebound from that?
MONICA PUIG: Of course. I mean, I’m playing well. I’m playing good tennis. I feel good out on the court. I feel good hitting the ball. It’s something I did tell myself.
Garbine won her first Grand Slam and then she had a little bit of a letdown. She’s coming into her own as well.
A lot of people go through this. It’s not, you know, just me. That’s what a lot of people need to kind of understand sometimes. I’ve gotten a lot of negativity over these past few weeks. I’m like, Well, okay, take your time a little bit. You know, I’m still learning. I’m still coming about.
With time everything will become a lot easier for me. Again, it’s all about hard work and it’s all I’m going to keep doing.
Q. What are some of the things you’re going to work on for the next tournament?
MONICA PUIG: I’m going to keep on working on everything in general. I know what type of game I like to play. I know how I play. It’s just continuing to make myself as solid as possible to try and patch up all the holes in my game. Just make everything as solid as I can.
There’s only a few more tournaments left in the year. I’m going to definitely try and finish the year off with a high. I have had a great year until now, so only going to try and build my confidence up with that and just keep going.
J. TSONGA/G. Andreozzi
6-3, 6-4, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Did the match pretty much go as you expected? Were there any surprises for you? You won in straight sets.
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah, I played well enough. I served pretty consistently. Then it was easier for me to put pressure on his serve.
So, yeah, I expect to win, of course, before the match, and I did it. So, yeah, that’s great.
J. SOCK/T. Fritz
7-6, 7-5, 3-6, 1-6, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. I know it’s a tough one to lose. After Australia, you were positive after that match because it showed you you could stay at that level. What do you take from this?
TAYLOR FRITZ: You know, I’ve always been a fighter and someone who competes till the end. I don’t know what I really take from it. I think I’ve proven I can come back from two sets to love down; never really out of it.
It’s just really tough to do everything that I did, get back to the point where I was at, and then after all that lose the match.
Q. Must be hard to go from day to night on a court. Were there visual conditions that were difficult?
TAYLOR FRITZ: In the very, very beginning of the match, first set, it was kind of tough with the shadows that were coming across the court, but those went away pretty quick.
So I think the whole second set and on the shade covered the court, so it wasn’t tricky with the sun in your eyes or anything.
Q. How about the color of Jack’s shirt? Does the ball ever get lost in that?
TAYLOR FRITZ: No. Didn’t seem like that to me. I mean, I was wearing the same shirt, so…
Q. Looked so similar.
TAYLOR FRITZ: Never. Didn’t see a ball come out and thought, Wow, the shirt did something. I never even thought that was an issue at all.
Q. What’s next for you?
TAYLOR FRITZ: I play doubles here. Afterwards I’m going to have a couple weeks to myself to just train and get stronger. It’s been a while since I’ve had a nice long training block to get stronger and really improve my game.
So I’ll do that.
Q. Where will you do that?
TAYLOR FRITZ: Probably in Carson.
Q. Do you work at all with Christian Groh anymore?
TAYLOR FRITZ: When I’m in San Diego we work, but I’ll be in Carson, USTA.
Q. Does he work with you at Carson, too?
TAYLOR FRITZ: No. At Carson I work with mainly David Nainkin, and Mardy Fish comes in sometimes, too, to supplement and help out.
Then my first tournament back is going to be in Tokyo.
Q. You’re a little bit further along in the year now. Quite a bit further along. In January you were looking ahead. What do you think you’ve gotten in this year so far?
TAYLOR FRITZ: I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in this year. I feel like overall when I look back at it, it’s better than I expected. I have to be proud of being where I’m at at the age I’m at.
It’s tough because I just set the expectations so high for myself. I want to do better and I want to do more than I’ve done. Didn’t want to have any of the lows in the season.
At the end of the day, need to step back and look at the big picture. I’m 18; I’m 50 something in the world. It’s way farther than I thought I’d be at this point a year ago. I have to stay positive and keep looking at the positives that I can take out of this year, and there are a lot.
Q. What are the tournament highlights of this year for you?
TAYLOR FRITZ: Memphis, for sure. Memphis and Acapulco were two great tournaments for me. I’ve been to a lot of great places.
But towards the end of this season I haven’t had the results I’ve been looking for, even though I felt like I’ve been playing some pretty decent tennis.
I’m not too worried, though. I think if I keep playing well, the results will come. It’s just I’ve had some close matches I’ve lost and some tough draws. I’m not too worried.
M. RAONIC/D. Brown
7-5, 6-3, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. A little uneven the first set. Didn’t seem to have timing on your serve.
MILOS RAONIC: Had trouble with my serve even throughout the match. It got better and better, but definitely something I’m going to put some time into tomorrow.
I know it’s something that I can get back on track pretty quickly, but definitely was not where I would have liked it to be to start the match.
Made good progress throughout.
Q. Overall a pretty easy way to start. Would that be the way to put this match?
MILOS RAONIC: I was efficient at the end of the day. Three sets; not too much time on court. I would have wished to play better, but it’s not the goal to be playing my best tennis in the first round. It’s about getting through and giving myself a chance to get better in the next round.
Hopefully my level continues to improve.
Q. Can you clarify the situation for us with John and you now. He was sort of going back and forth in his comments.
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, well, John, throughout these weeks, will not be helping me. We’ll see where it goes after that.
Q. Do you have an idea of what you want already after?
MILOS RAONIC: I believe it was just too many things going on throughout this period of time. He felt like that was the right decision.
At the end of the day, it’s a decision we’re both okay with. We spoke about it, were up front, and there’s no ill feelings over it.
Q. Is it hard to be on the other side of a net from a guy who is kind of a Harlem Globetrotter?
MILOS RAONIC: I don’t know if that’s necessarily a fair way to call him.
It is from the aspect you don’t know what you’re going to expect. The match is going to go through many different stages and you just have to sort of stay on top of it.
I did that well for certain bits; then I didn’t. The thing I always did was I rebounded quite well, so I’m happy with that.
It’s a first round. It’s about getting through. It’s about getting yourself to go through this tournament.
Q. You practiced with John McEnroe here.
MILOS RAONIC: Yes.
Q. Did you get advice from him?
MILOS RAONIC: For today?
Q. Last week practice.
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, we spent some time. We were working on certain things. Then Carlos arrived later in the week then, after Ricardo departed. Yeah, we worked on a lot of things two weeks before Cincinnati, as well.
There’s certain things I’m trying to bring awareness to in my game. I’m trying to improve what I feel I need to do better. We’ve had some good matches to reflect on over the last little while.
Hopefully I can implement those things I’m working on.
Q. For so long other players have been trying to get to where the big four are. How would you describe right now the status of the big four?
MILOS RAONIC: Well, I think it’s a little bit spread out. You have Roger, who was always there, that is unfortunately unable to be playing at this moment, who is sitting out for a little while.
You have Andy and Novak who have pretty much led the charge of those big four. Have been leading it at least throughout this year.
Rafa is still one of the most dangerous players on tour.
You’ve got to navigate your way through. You’ve got to be trying to play your best. Hopefully you face these guys later in tournaments and you can bring your best tennis.
Q. What is the message to guys such as yourself about where those guys are now, because it has been so hard to break into where they’ve been?
MILOS RAONIC: Well, I’ve just personally looked at it from the chance of I’m trying to get better every single day. I compare myself to those four guys, what I need to do to compete against them, to win against them. ‘Cause you can’t avoid these guys, especially not in the big tournaments. Even the smaller ones as well. If they’re there, they’re consistently playing well.
I’ve always had that outlook of what I can do better and how I can go about it. I guess there’s a little bit more opening now than there used to be, but you still have Andy and Novak holding a pretty good lockdown on the big tournaments.
They played all the finals this year, at least one of them, and two of them were against each other.
Q. How much have you worked to develop that slice backhand as a defensive shot? The one-hander. Do you feel it’s become more important in the men’s game to have that in your arsenal?
MILOS RAONIC: I believe you have to defend well; you have to move well; you have certain guys that do it different ways.
Novak doesn’t defend too much with a slice. He’ll actually slide out and try to get two hands on it and play pretty flat down the middle of the court. He doesn’t give you much.
You have other guys that have made great careers for themselves defending with the slice.
I think for each player it’s their own difference. Obviously for me it’s important as a guy with a big reach. It helps me out. Also buys me some time if I’m out of position to get back in a situation that I have a better opportunity.
Q. Your stretch at Wimbledon was a very important run in your career. What would be the one or two takeaways from that experience?
MILOS RAONIC: I think the most positive side of it was the way I was able to fight through two probably of the most identifying matches, coming down [sic] from two sets to love down, coming back in that situation, and sort of being able to turn that around against Roger late in that semifinal, as well. Those I think are steps that I can try to implement more and more.
I’m sure I’ll be facing similar scenarios many times where I’ve got to step up. I think that puts something in my pocket as far as understanding of how to get through those situations.
And then it was great to put myself in that situation, to have a chance to be one match away from winning a Grand Slam. But at the same time, the negative side of it was I wish I played with a little bit more intensity and stepped up a little bit better, which I would try if I could put myself back in the situation, which I believe I can.
Q. Was it nerves?
MILOS RAONIC: I thought I was doing it. That’s the different aspect of it. Only when I re-watched the video I sort of put myself back and saw the whole picture. I was unable to do that. I know that everything I had I did put into that match, into that final, because I knew the importance of it.
But I think I could have expressed it more externally to get a little bit of pressure off myself and get a little energy out and convert it and use it in a better way.
Q. Writing for the players tribune, what was that like?
MILOS RAONIC: It was a fun process. It was a process in the sense of you get to say what you want to say. There was a lot of different theme lines that they wanted me to stick to. This one was the one I felt was more relevant on the timing that they were looking to put out the article.
I worked with two other guys really to get the meat of the work done, and then I put in my own words. So it came from my voice. I’m happy with how it looks. I haven’t read it other than the last draft we went through and I feel comfortable with.
But I feel like I got to say what I wanted to say, and that was the most important thing.
Q. Is that a way to help you with what happened in the match, to write it?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, but I write everything down. So I’ve already dealt with it myself. I think this was I guess a more public accountability for it.
Q. Funky looking shoes you’re wearing. How would you describe the color? Is it your choice?
MILOS RAONIC: The color’s very pink and loud, but I like the outfit. Definitely I think it was a color they wanted to work with. I like the sort of disconnectedness. That that’s sort of the focal point of the outfit. Then something more classic and more toned down for the rest of the outfit. I think it works nicely.
Q. When you say they, you mean New Balance?
MILOS RAONIC: Yes.
Q. Was the goal to have everybody wear the T-shirts in your box and your parents said no?
MILOS RAONIC: I don’t know how many people were wearing them.
Q. Two. Is the one you’re wearing, is that a little bit of brand building?
MILOS RAONIC: I’m just having some fun with it. Having some fun with it. The other one, I don’t know what you’d call it with the badger, whatever my girlfriend made for fun. These were made by New Balance alongside with their designer, and they’re actually pretty close. They communicate back and forth about it. I guess they’ve helped each other in a way.
Q. Could you talk about New York City as an art center.
MILOS RAONIC: Probably right now with the generation of artists coming up, and after the unfortunate events of 9/11, I think there have been a lot of very influential New York artists that have really grown up through the city and made a difference.
I think you have that sort of current of guys passing through. Then you have previous phenoms that have changed the world. A lot of it has been based and centered in New York, so I think this is one of the cities where you don’t have to travel too far to see the different influences.
There’s galleries on many different corners. Some small, private, to much bigger public things as well. There are many collectors throughout the city as well, so you can amuse yourself through that outlet pretty easily.
Q. Can you briefly give few names?
MILOS RAONIC: Dan Colen, Jeff Elrod, Rashid Johnson. There’s many great artists that have, after that whole unfortunate event of 9/11, stepped up and I think done great things.
Q. (Question regarding records and the Open era.)
MILOS RAONIC: Which records?
Q. For example, Serena’s slam count. She’s tied with Steffi Graf in the Open era, but Margaret Court before still has more.
MILOS RAONIC: I think people compare it. I think Rod Laver’s Grand Slams are compared. I think that was before the Open era, if I’m not mistaken. People still consider the fact that he completed a slam in a year as one of the greatest feats.
I think people like to have that discussion for argument’s sake, but people still appreciate the great things that were done throughout any period of time in tennis.
Q. When would be the first time you played Ryan Harrison? How do you feel about playing him in the next round?
MILOS RAONIC: I can’t remember the first time I played him. It would have to be a long time ago. Juniors. He was younger than me. Probably second to last year or last year of my junior career. I think the last time I played him was in San Jose.
I know the things he liked to do back then. Obviously times have changed on both sides of the court, mine and his. So I’ll definitely do some research and maybe try to watch a little bit of that match he played yesterday, maybe have a few words with other players that have played him over a recent period of time.
J. SOCK/T. Fritz
7-6, 7-5, 3-6, 1-6, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How many times have you played him in a tournament?
JACK SOCK: That was the second.
Q. All your matches go five sets, right?
JACK SOCK: Two for two. Yeah, today was obviously a back-and-forth match. Two sets my way, two sets his way and then a battle in the fifth, but just happy to get through.
Q. What do you think made the difference tonight?
JACK SOCK: I thought I came out and I thought I returned well the whole match. He’s got a great serve. He can really pop the first serve. Can’t be spotted well. It’s tough. I was able to get on a lot of second serves and put pressure on him I think. That paid off in the fifth getting up two breaks. Obviously didn’t help me too much when I gave them right back.
Yeah, once again, I was able to come up with some good returns at the 5-4 game and played a couple good points and got it done.
Q. How badly did the color of his shirt throw off your game?
JACK SOCK: I guess it could have gone both ways because I was wearing the same one for the first few sets.
Q. An adjustment you have to make?
JACK SOCK: No. We’ve seen them before. Nothing new.
Q. Doesn’t ever get lost?
JACK SOCK: No.
Q. What are your thoughts on the state of men’s tennis in America right now with the younger players who got a chance to play in the first round against a couple more veteran American players?
JACK SOCK: Yeah. I mean, you never want to see a bunch of Americans playing first round. Less chances for us to have more in the second round. But draws are draws. I saw some of the Isner-Tiafoe match earlier. These guys are in the main draw for a reason. Grand Slam matches are always tough.
I think the younger Americans are doing a great job of making a splash, making names for themselves early. Taylor has been a pro for a year and some change now and he’s already in the top 60 or 70 or wherever he is.
Yeah, these guys are playing great tennis. They’re playing with confidence. As many for some of us, my first few years I wasn’t top 100 right away. It took a little more time. These guys are playing free and with nothing to lose and coming out playing well.
Yeah, I mean, I saw Frances serve for the match earlier. Didn’t get it, but the experience does go a long way. This is my sixth or seventh US Open. Sixth, I think. I know John has played however many.
The experience does play a factor.
Q. When you win a match here you hit balls up into the crowd. What is that experience like and where are you trying to hit the balls?
JACK SOCK: Whoever’s loudest probably most of the time. If I have a certain section or a few people that are really loud supporting me throughout the match, I’ll try to hit it to them to kind of thank them.
Other than that, I usually have a sort of signature one where I will face one direction and kind of hit it backwards and tease them a little bit. That’s one I usually like to do.
For the most part, whoever is being loudest and whoever helped me most in the match.
Q. What is the experience like when you get to do that after a match?
JACK SOCK: I mean, it’s fun. The people go nuts. They get really loud. It’s a fun experience for them. They stuck around for however many hours you played a match. It’s the least we can do to give back.
Q. You talked recently about wanting to build on your doubles success. How has your experience in Rio or the medal and success there, how do you channel that into singles?
JACK SOCK: I’ve never considered myself a doubles player. I’ve just enjoyed playing it. Happened to have pretty good success in it so far in my career.
But like I’ve said recently in the media, I won’t be playing any more doubles in slams. I want to put my focus solely on singles. Been a few instances in these slams where obviously you’re playing three-out-of-five, and especially here in New York where it can be 95 degrees, 70 percent humidity, you need to have all your energy. You need to rest up for these singles matches.
There’s been a couple places where I always loved playing doubles 100%, and obviously I go out there and give it my all. Yeah, just decided to put it aside and be able to rest and put everything into singles. Maybe there’s schedule mishaps where on your day off you’re waiting to play last on in doubles and all of a sudden you’re here.
This happened to me last year a little bit. I was here, played until 9:30, 10:00 at night and you’re not out of here until 11:00, 11:30, and they put me on second the next day.
There is nothing you can do about it. You can’t control the schedule. But it can be avoided if you’re not in the draw.
Q. Is there something you try to do differently on the big points from the not-so-big points?
JACK SOCK: Win them would probably be the most important. I mean, no. My game is pretty straightforward, I feel like. If there’s a big point I’m looking for a forehand; looking to be aggressive.
If I’m serving, looking to make first serves. If I’m returning, dictate with my forehand as much as possible. Get the majority of the points. Yeah, any point, especially big points, that’s what I’m trying to do.
Q. From which tennis figure have you drawn the most inspiration and why?
JACK SOCK: Oh, man. It’s tough. Growing up, I’ve said this numerous times being from Nebraska, Roddick was a big influence watching him. I can remember to this day watching him win this tournament with his spiky blonde hair and visor and wearing the Reebok clothes.
That was big for me growing up one city over from where he was from. Other than that, when I was really younger I watched Andre a lot, Andre and Pete, and then Andy when I started taking tennis seriously when I started getting older.
Just as time has gone, you’re focusing on your game and trying to get better yourself. But you can pick up things even your first few years on tour when you watch the top four guys, what they can do. You can always take a few things what they’re doing and apply it into your own daily routines, professionalism.
There’s always something to be learned. Yeah, I mean, I would say the majority of people.
Q. A little while ago in your career you were playing in the Wimbledon doubles final. You score the great championship point. This summer you go to Rio and become a bronze medalist. Can you compare the two different peak experiences?
JACK SOCK: How did you describe the first-round loss?
Q. I called it wretched.
JACK SOCK: The guy’s a pretty good player, so I wouldn’t consider it a bad loss. He took a set off Del Potro next round, so I think he’s a pretty solid tennis player. So we can make that clear.
But, yeah, I mean, it wasn’t my day in singles. He played good tennis. Had to regroup and get ready for the doubles. Then in the mixed, able to come away with two medals, one being gold. Had one of the best weeks of my life.
I mean, I put Rio and my time there at the Olympics at the same level as Wimbledon and my first singles title, if not in front of it. Something about the Olympics. Obviously you dream of it as a kid. It’s even different being there, I think.
I’ve heard so much going in and the expectation and everything, but I think it’s that much and better when you’re there. It’s definitely one of the best weeks of my life being there with all the athletes and supporting everyone and the camaraderie, and the overall experience was incredible. I think all the guys would say that.
Q. Can you try to put into words the rush you get at the moment of victory?
JACK SOCK: I mean, the bronze was awesome. I’m a big golf fan. One of my favorite golfers is Matt Kuchar, and had the pleasure of him watching our bronze medal match. I was pretty hyped up for that, having him there and then being able to win in there. Went over and gave him and the whole team a hug afterwards. That was a pretty special moment for me.
And then a few days later winning gold and hearing the U.S. National Anthem standing in the middle of the podium with a gold around your neck, there’s really nothing like it. Don’t really know if it’s sunk in totally. Just flew from Rio, and the next day started training, the day I got off the plane, for this tournament.
Different from the other sports where you maybe have a little time off after the Olympics. After this maybe I’ll sit back and enjoy it a little more.
N. DJOKOVIC/J. Janowicz
6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. First of all, what is your physical status at this moment, and what was it before the match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s getting better and better each day. I’m glad that I’m experiencing that. So hopefully as the tournament progresses, I’ll reach my peak.
Q. What were you having treatment for and what pains were you suffering?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was just prevention. It’s all good.
Q. Of what?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Of my arm.
Q. When you come back to New York and you have all this fun in post-game interview, why is this tournament different?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, each Grand Slam has something different about it. US Open is the most entertaining Grand Slam, I think. There’s a lot going on on and off the court. You’re in one of the biggest, most important cities in the world. New York City, always something going on.
There is a great vibe during these couple of weeks for the tennis. Everybody’s in town. It’s always fun to be out there.
Q. It was the first match for you after a long break during this period of the season. What were you looking for in your game? Now that it’s done, were you satisfied completely with what you did?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, each day presents us some kind of challenges that we need to overcome, accept and overcome. It wasn’t easy today playing against Jerzy for the first time. He’s a very, you know, potent player, powerful serve, big forehands. Unpredictable really.
Play well as he did in the second set and he can make a couple double-faults in a row in the important moments. It’s really up and down. That’s why it wasn’t easy to keep the concentration.
But I thought I’ve done well in the third and fourth to bounce back from the dropped second set. It’s an opening match, night session. After all I’ve been through in last couple of weeks, it’s pleasing, of course, to finish the match and win it. I’ll try to look positive and just think about the next day.
Q. With injuries you’ve had coming in here, how you’re feeling, is it fair to say your expectations are measured or lower for this tournament? You’re willing to not be too much of a perfectionist?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: To be honest, I take it day by day. That’s what I feel at the moment. It’s good, as I said, just to finish the match. I’m pleased that as the match progressed I was feeling better and better.
Tomorrow is a new day. I hope that I’ll feel overall good so I’m able to perform at my best for the next match.
Q. Vesely next, one of the guys who has beaten you this year.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Different surface, different circumstances, best-of-five. But still, Vesely deserves respect. He’s somebody that has been kind of trying to break through as the next generation.
Couple years ago he already was there. He made a name of himself. Just gained the consistency I think over the last couple of years. He has a big game, a big serve, big forehand, and moves well for his size. So let’s see.
Obviously he hasn’t played many times on the Arthur Stadium. If you get to play there, it’s quite different. I like playing there, especially with the roof construction. Conditions are quite suitable to my style of the game. Hopefully I’ll be able to slow his serve down a little bit and then take it from there.
Q. One of the great things about you is you’ve learned and grown over the years. People love you because you’ve been transparent and open. Can you share about what you’ve learned or how you’ve grown over the past couple months?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Last couple months? Whew. I think as anybody else really, life arranges things to happen for you so you can evolve. Whether you recognize those kind of signals and circumstances as an opportunity to grow, that really depends on you, how conscious you are.
I’m really grateful to be able to have that conscious at the moment. Hopefully I’m at the right path, you know. As everybody else, I’m trying each day, day in and day out, to first of all find always new ways of motivating myself to play tennis.
I have more than enough happiness in my life and blessings to be a father and a husband. Life is wonderful. I mean, there is no doubt about it. I cannot sit here and complain and whine about the issues that, you know, everybody has in each day in their lives, privately, professionally.
But that’s a beautiful thing. When you expect the least, that’s when you have things coming at you as life’s lessons. I’m glad that I’m able to accept them and to greet them with a consciousness of wanting to evolve and wanting to get the best out of them.
That’s all I can say. I’m very grateful.
Q. You had the beautiful statement on court where you said Ashe is like a dark tunnel; at least there’s a beautiful light at the end. Does that in some way reflect your spirit some days?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Ashe is like a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe I said something wrong. It’s not like a dark tunnel.
It does feel like you’ve been illuminated on the court with all these lights and all the show and everything that’s going on. The opening ceremony is always a special night, of course. Phil Collins is one of my favorite singers. I was enjoying that and getting pumped before the match.
Yeah, it was wonderful to come back and play a night session that is undoubtedly the most special night session that we have in sport.
To be there and play another time, I don’t take anything for granted. I know the player in my position earns a right to play these kind of matches in the biggest stadium. But, again, I try to be aware, be present. It’s really a beautiful moment.
Q. You’ve been elected to the players council. How do you see this new role?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: First of all, an honor to be elected to be part of the council. I was part of the council some years ago for three years, then I had a little gap where I wasn’t involved in the politics of tennis, if you want to call it that way.
Now the players, most of the players, majority of the players that were in the council, they put my name in the election group, so I was elected to be in the council. I gladly accepted it, because it’s a calling. It’s a responsibility. If, as it is the case, my colleagues and friends have given me the trust of being there, I need to take it.
Of course I’ll do my best to contribute to the evolution of this sport for the time being. The first council meeting was very long but productive. I was elected the president. Kevin Anderson is vice president.
But to be honest, you know, it doesn’t change much. In the council we are all even. We are all equal. It was interesting to really sit there and hear and talk about, discuss, debate about different subjects that are ongoing right now, new ideas, new prospects.
You know, we are all in the same ship basically: the council people, the board people, and in the end of the day, tournaments as well. Even though historically the system is such that there is 50% of players, 50% of tournaments, many times there is a conflict of interest a little bit.
In the end of the day, we are all part of the same governing body. We’re all part of the same organization. As I said, we’re all in the same mission to make this sport better.
Q. Did you come into this tournament, and now that you’ve won this first match, do you think it’s a little easier road that Roger is not part of this tournament or does that not factor in at all?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, to be honest, it doesn’t really factor in. I mean, still the draw is 128. You still have guys like Andy, Rafa, Cilic, Nishikori, Raonic. You still have the best players in the world.
Certainly it’s not the same when you have Roger and you don’t have Roger for the tournament, for the fans. He’s been one of the most popular players of all time, one of the most successful players of all time. There is no doubt that every tournament is missing him. Of course.
But on the other hand, we got to focus on the players that we have at the moment. So I think even without him, it’s a very strong field. I’m sure it’s going to be a good tournament.
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