THE JOY OF TENNIS: Reflections on the Game – a Quotebook


THE JOY OF TENNIS: Reflections on the Game – a Quotebook

• “I cannot be without tennis.” – Russian Andrey Rublev

• “Everything in moderation. Except tennis.” – Radio Roland Garros

• “There was an emptiness. There was a void. And in that vacuum a sphere was created. And man began to play.” – The Davis Cup’s Opening Ceremony

• “Like snowflakes, every tennis shot, every point, the arabesque geometry of every game is unique and unpredictable.” – Michael Mewshaw

• “Tennis is the most amazing sport. Just the way the game flows. Each point is like a short story…I can tell all about a person after playing tennis against him for five minutes. Probably more than someone who’s known him for many years…Tennis is just like life.” – Inside Tennis reader Ray Senkowski

• “I want to be successful at tennis, to be good at my work, but to me, the most important thing is to make a whole stadium enjoy themselves. That is tennis to me.” – Yannick Noah

• “Tennis shares more DNA with dance than any other mainstream sport: It is the tension between art and sport that makes it so special.” – Elizabeth Wilson

• “Federer never looks like he’s imposing his will…He’s playing off the music of his opponent.” – coach Steve Stefanki

• “The best advice I ever got is don’t be afraid of the ball.” – Roger Federer

• “The job is to find myself.” – Rafa Nadal

“[Serena] gives us the whole range of what it is to be human…” – Novelist Claudia Rankine

• “If I ever become a tennis player, I will change the game.” – Twelve-year-old Billie Jean King

• “I’m going to simplify this for you. If he hits the ball over there, here’s a great idea: run. Wherever he is, don’t hit it there. You’re going to go back and play on your terms. Your dreams are in your hands, and we’re going to go for it with our guns blazing and do it the way we’ve done it from the beginning.” – Coach Brad Gilbert’s pep talk to his struggling student Andre Agassi

• “You miss it and you want to be out there. From the hour you’re in the locker room and putting your dress on, to the 15 minutes before the match when you’re pumping yourself up to play in front of 20,000 people…If I was mentally weak…I’d be on some island, with a nice, cold piña colada and a towel by the pool.” – The then injured Maria Sharapova on her determination to return

• “I’m frustrated [that] the ball doesn’t go where I want it to go. It goes a different way. I’m like, ‘Okay, I played tennis for 17 years and I still cannot put this little ball in this huge court.’ I’m not the worst player in the world…I have expectations for myself. No, it’s not the fault of the ball. The ball is perfect. It’s the right size. It’s not broken. It bounces, it’s green, has white lines, it’s written Penn. But I’m not perfect. I have to work on it.” – Two-time Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova

• “If you play like you’re broke and hungry, you’ll never be either.” – Mardy Fish’s dad’s advice to his son

• “If I had to give up golf or tennis, I would give up golf in a minute.” – Jack Nicklaus

• “Tennis is nothing but boxing with a ball.” – Writer Jerry Magee

• “If somebody likes tennis, then more than likely, I like him or her…It doesn’t matter what language they speak.” – Spanish native Jose Higueras who was America’s national coach

• “At a gut level, we understand: No human is ever as simple as a ball game.” – S.L. Price

• “When you really think about it, it’s so dumb — you have a grip in your hand, strings in the racket, there’s a yellow fuzzy ball and you hit it. And you’ve been doing it since you were four years old – it’s ridiculous, it’s really dumb but it’s what we do.” Robert Manar responded, saying, “I feel sorry for her failing to understand the beauty and complexity of this game — the tactical part, the emotions and drama involved, the joy of creating points…the rich rewards of executing short and impossible angles.” – Maria Sharapova

• “When there are 10,000 people in the stands and the television cameras are there, we are all actors. There is the serious one, the one who always screams at the umpire, the one who never says a word, the one who is a clown. I am the clown.” – Yannick Noah

• “In the end, tennis carves a niche for me and provides a prism; my own little planet Earth platform from which to view it all. It enables me to tell stories and spin tales of triumph, struggle, vanity, greed and courage. Ultimately, tennis’ greatest gift is that it so exquisitely amplifies it all, providing unerring insights into life itself. Year after year, to be able to witness, tell and shape that ongoing, ever-changing saga is my great joy.” – Bill Simons

• “We’re all human beings. We all need to try to live together and understand each other because we’re a little different, but in the end we’re the same.” – Timea Bacsinszky

• “We have to be humble. It’s transcendental. We have to suffer, maintain and be quiet.” – Spaniard Alex Corretja

• “I will be in my garden alone [in the French village of Le Puy-en Villiany] with my cat and everything will come back as usual.” – Marion Bartoli, imagining what her life will be like a week after winning Wimbledon



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