I’m going to be experimenting with a new series for the site. Each day I’m live at an event, and have the chance to talk to players, I’m going to put out the best quotes from each player that day. I like to focus more on feature writing for The Tennis Nerds, and I know you guys can find a daily recap just about anywhere. So I hope I can give my readers some inside access into what the players are thinking and saying each day, rather than give a description of a match you probably watched yourself(because my readers are tennis nerds). Feedback is much appreciated, so just leave a comment or drop me a line on twitter.
Thiemo De Bakker–The Dutchman received a lucky loser after retiring in the final round of quallies. He upset two seed and last year’s finalist Kevin Anderson 6-4 7-5 in the round of 16 thursday.
On retirement from final round qualifying match: “I mean I knew there were Lucky Losers. I still did not want to lose. I tried to play the match normally but after 3 or 4 games my neck was starting to get stiff. I won the first set but it got worse. I’m competitive, I wanted to win the match, but I didn’t want to make the (injury) worse.”
Why he dropped in the rankings: “A lot of things(happened). I wasn’t ready mentally. I struggled with the practices. I just wasn’t ready to handle the pressure. Tennis was a hobby, and I didn’t really think about what I was doing. At the end of the year I got tired and I didn’t want to practice hard.”
Kevin Anderson–Rough day at the office for the South African. He faced 13 break points, a very high number for him and his big serve.
On his struggles thursday: “I definitely didn’t feel like my normal self out there, especially on the serve. I guess (I’ve had) a few weeks off, and I didn’t feel, in that match, a competitive mindset at all. Sometimes having a bye and playing a guy who has already played a few matches (can be tough). I felt a step behind the whole match.”
On scheduling: “I’m trying to give myself a few more breaks throughout the year, and take care of my body. You look at all the top guys; they’re playing fewer tournaments and that’s definitely my goal.”
On De Bakker’s play: “I thought he played quite well. He was picking my serve, swinging out a little bit. That made me feel like I needed to go for a bit more.”
John Isner–By far the best match of the day was contested between Isner and Robby Ginepri. Isner pulled it out 4-6 7-6(5) 7-5, saving two match points at 4-5 in the third set. He closed the match out with 4 straight aces. The Atlanta crowd was very engaged throughout.
On pluses/minuses of having first round bye: “Having a bye is nice, but at the same time your playing somebody who already knows the court and won a match. It’s not easy at all.”
On mindset when match point down: “Just pick a spot, and hit it. (Ginepri) was guessing quite a bit. When he guessed right on my serve, it came back every time. I got a little lucky. On the first one he guessed “T”, I served wide. On the second one, he guessed wide, I served “T”. It’s really a coin flip.”
On court speed: “It’s playing a little fast. It’s tough to get a rhythm. Especially with (Robby), he’s taking the ball early and not giving me much time.”
On Marinko Matosevic, his quarterfinal opponent: “He’s good on fast courts. He’s a little bit wacky, and he would probably say the same thing as well. He’s a character, I think he’s good for our game.”
On if getting new balls to serve out the match helped: “Yeah, I didn’t realize at first (that I was getting new balls). I’ll take serving 6-5 with new balls every day of the week.”
Benjamin Becker–The 33 year old German played exceptionally well against a quality opponent, Yen-Hsun Lu. He took the match in straights 6-4 6-3, winning 86% of first serve points.
On his performance in the match: “I think we both played well. It was a close encounter, he had some chances early on, but I saved them, and then capitalized on my first break point. He hits pretty hard and returns well, so I had to try and not let him dictate the points.”
On playing in the US: “I like it here, obviously. I live here, played in college here on hard courts, and (the surface) suits my game.”
On the offseason: “I try to relax, give my body a rest, get the batteries charged again. I try to hang out with my family, which I don’t get much time to do during the season. All of those things fire me up.”
On De Bakker, his quarterfinal opponent: “We all know he is very talented guy. His ranking (does not represent) how good he actually is. He can play well and it’s going to be a tough match.”
SERIOUSLY, give me some feedback. Was this interesting or boring? Yes/No to continue the series?