NEWS FLASHES FROM SERENA-VILLE

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 15: Serena Williams of the United States in action in her first round match at Melbourne Park on January 15, 2019. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Bill Simons

Melbourne

QUESTION OF THE DAY: A listener asked Aussie Open radio, “Since the Australian Open is in the southern hemisphere, does the ball spin in the same direction as in the northern hemisphere?”

THAT DIDN’T TAKE LONG: Wimbledon announced that Andy Murray will have a statue at the All-England Club with Fred Perry and Virginia Wade…When she was asked when she became aware that she might play Serena in the second round, Genie Bouchard replied, “the moment the draw came out.”

IN ANDRE WE TRUST: Grigor Dimitrov explained why he chose Andre Agassi to be his coach by noting, “There was one person that I could trust unconditionally, and that was him…He brings so much to his life.”

A NEVER ACHIEVABLE GOAL: When asked what was the core thing that motivates her, Genie Bouchard answered, “This never achievable goal of perfection.”

OF SOCK AND OSAKA: About 14 months ago Jack Sock was soaring. He’d won the Paris Masters tourney and broken into the top ten. Now he’s No. 105 and he just lost to the young Aussie Alex Bolt. Why the descent? Is it mental, fitness, or something else? Plus, he won’t be playing doubles in Melbourne with the No. 1 player in the world, Mike Bryan, who’s teaming up with his brother Bob. Sock’s doubles partner is Jackson Withrow, who, like Jack, is from Nebraska…Naomi Osaka confided that, “in press [interviews] I feel comfortable, because I’m being asked questions. But when you have to do small talk, like, ‘Hello, how are you?’ after that, I don’t know what to do.” Then a reporter asked her “What do you do?” Naomi: “I go, ‘Um, okay.’ Then I walk away.”

NEWS FLASHES FROM SERENA-VILLE

DIALOG OF THE DAY: A reporter asked Serena, “Two years ago you were just pregnant, and now you’re a mom. Compare and contrast the difference between then and now.” Serena replied, “I’m not pregnant. That’s the biggest difference.”

FASHION DEBATE: After Serena came out on court in a stunning form-fitting green outfit, some in the press room wondered what the difference was between a body suit, like the one she wore at Roland Garros, a cat suit, like one donned years ago at the US Open, a jump suit or a onesie (which are defined as “a loose-fitting one-piece leisure garment covering the torso and legs” and not at all what she wore). Serena explained that her outfit was “not a onesie, it’s not a leotard, it’s a Serena-tard.”

UNTIL WE ALL WIN: Serena came into her press conference with a T-Shirt that said, “Until We All Win.” She explained, “It’s something that I have been working on closely with Nike, and working on different ideas: until we can all win – not just one person or one look or one style or one gender. It’s just across the board until we all win.”

BETTER THAN SOME OF THE GUYS: Greece’s rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas practiced with Serena and said, “She was practicing really good. I’d probably say even better than some of the male players I’ve been practicing with. She’s not easy. She’s a very interesting person. Very open-minded. She had a lots of topics…We talked about some interesting stuff.”

ON MOTHERHOOD: Williams confided that, “As a working mom, I feel guilty. I understand that that’s normal, but these are years I’ll never get back. I just try to spend every moment I can when I’m not working with her.”

ON HER NEXT FOE, GENIE BOUCHARD: Serena said, “I really like that she doesn’t quit. People write her off, and she doesn’t let that bother her. She continues to fight.” For her part, Bouchard heaped praise on Serena, but asserted that she didn’t want to put Williams on a pedestal since they are playing in two days. Then she confided that she loves Serena.

TOUCH THE SKY: Serena said, “I always try to reach the sky, and anything below it is not good enough.”

KEYS MATTERS: Madison Keys said she enjoyed doing normal things when she was recovering from her knee injury. “I was really excited about going to the grocery store,” she gushed. She was asked why. She replied, “I mean, there’s food there!” She then confided that she wanted to be elected to the WTA’s player counsel. When asked why players should vote for her she replied, “Because I’m really great. That’s all I’ve got so far.”

THE CONFESSIONS OF ANDY MURRAY: When IT asked Andy Murray whether during his career he overdid his fierce workouts, he said, “Yeah, there’s certain times where I would have done too much. It’s a difficult one because once you start training a certain way, you have success…[and] it’s easy to think that’s what’s giving you success, because your results improve.

“For sure I would have been okay if I’d played a little bit less, taken a few more days off, spent a bit more time resting. Right now, it’s something that frustrates me because of the situation I’m in, and I wish I had done things a little bit differently…It’s also been a flaw of mine. Some people might say it’s a positive thing that Andy worked really hard, trained hard. But I often didn’t stop myself when I was being told to do things. I should have sometimes said, ‘No, I’m not doing that today…I don’t want to train today, I’m sore, I need a day off.’…I would always kind of just go along with what I was being told. That was a mistake.”

Murray said he was nervous when he practiced with Novak Djokovic because he feared he would hurt himself. As for the future, he confided, “I have basically like two options. One is to take the next four and a half months off, then build up and play Wimbledon.

“Tonight was not comfortable in terms of my hip…I’m really struggling. I can’t walk properly at all…I could play another match, but if I want to try to play again, I want to improve my quality of life, because even if I take four months, I still can’t walk. I’m still in pain doing just basic day-to-day things. But having a [complicated] operation, there’re absolutely no guarantees…You can come back from that, that’s a possibility, because guys have done it before. Bob Bryan is doing it just now.

“That’s kind of the decision I have to make, that possibility of not having one more match by having the operation. I’ll probably decide in the next week or so…I’ll be in less pain doing just [doing] normal things like walking around and putting your shoes and socks on. Now, going to walk my dogs, playing football with my friends is like the worst thing I can think of doing. I hate it because it’s so sore and it’s uncomfortable. Waiting another five or six months to do something like that is just another period of where I’m really uncomfortable. I just don’t really know yet. But, if today was my last match it was a brilliant way to finish. That’s something that I’ll probably take into consideration. It was an amazing atmosphere. I literally gave everything that I had on the court…I’d be okay with that being my last match. Today I knew it was potentially the last match I play. I don’t care if I damage my hip any more in the match, so it’s a bit easier to deal with the pain because I know that I don’t have to hit balls tomorrow…[or] that I’m not going to play another match for at least five months or maybe not again. So that helped.”

FEDERER ON THE BRILLIANCE OF MURRAY: He “will try everything within the rules on the court to beat you. I appreciate that. Whatever he does, with his fighting spirit, with his tactics, with slicing, defense, attacking play, even his serve and volley, chip and charge, he’ll do it all. He’ll leave everything out there. I feel there’s no regrets for him after losing a game. I can’t stand it when guys go into the match and they’re just content: ‘[I’ll] I do my thing, it doesn’t work, so be it.’ He’s not like that.

“He’s one of the great retrievers we had in our sport. He’s a big guy to do that. With Novak, he’s more from the modern generation, they’re two guys that move like smaller guys. And Andy was carrying the weight of Britain on his shoulders. That was not easy.

“All the players, we’re extremely happy that he ended up winning Wimbledon, Davis Cup, Olympic gold, even though Olympic gold went through me. He had to really fight for it and earn it, like World No. 1. He gave it all he had after Novak’s incredible start to the season. He had a sick finish. There’s a lot to admire about Andy – how he went about it.”

QUOTEBOOK:

“Venus Williams keeps keeping on.” Australian Open Radio on the veteran who sprinted from behind to win her first-round match in 2:40

“Where’s Nick Kyrgios going to be? That’s always the question.” – Chandra Rubin

“She’s going to be a one-Slam wonder.” – A voice in the press room after former French Champ Jelena Ostapenko lost in the first round.

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