Sunday in Madrid was about the ladies on court — as the rest of the first round women’s matches got underway — and about the men off-court as the ATP main draw was released and its top players came to pre-tournament press. Here’s a wrap of all the best soundbites from the ATP’s top contenders in TTI’s latest “Quotable Quotes.”
Novak Djokovic, on his return to Madrid:
I feel excited to be back. Last time I was in Madrid was three years ago. I missed being in the city. I missed being a part of this tournament.
Andy Murray, on being defending champion:
I mean obviously any time you can win a big event it’s important, but not really thinking about that just now. It’s quite different conditions here obviously playing at altitude. There are no easy matches. I’m here to try and hopefully play at a high level. If I do that, I give myself a chance to win matches.
…I like the conditions here. Good for me. Hopefully I can play well.
Rafael Nadal, on his recent form (in Spanish):
I’ve been competing against the players and won matches against some of the best players of the world and competed pretty well against all of them. That has given me the opportunity to play the last three tournaments at a really high level…winning and playing matches against these people, it’s really something good for me.
I don’t know which Rafa you’re going to find here. I know that I’m doing things well. You know, I really want to do well. I’m really looking forward to it. Here I am. I’ve been preparing well. I hope to be prepared and do things as good as I can.
Stan Wawrinka, on his record in finals — he’s won his last nine in a row:
“It’s a final – you have to win it – that’s what you’re looking [for]. Sunday for the final, you want the trophy for the winner. That’s what I’m trying to do every time I play a final, but I don’t change anything really. I just get the confidence from the week if I’m in the finals it’s because I’m playing good tennis and that’s what happened the last few years now.”
Tomas Berdych and Kei Nishikori on how old they feel on tour:
“Not [feeling that young] any more — until maybe 24, 25 I was still feeling young but now 26, so I feel like I’m coming close to 30.” (Nishikori)
“There are still guys that are quite older and are doing pretty well, I think it’s just a bit of a trend right now. I think we are able to push ourselves and get little bit further when with the age and able to compete for little longer and yeah, I mean, it’s true — it’s my 12th or 13th season already, so time flies and I hope I’m still going to be able to be still here for a couple of years and be still competitive enough with all those guys and with all the new young generation that’s coming up. I think it’s gonna be quite interesting upcoming years to see all that competition between current guys and the new ones coming up.” (Berdych)
Murray, on Djokovic returning to Madrid:
I mean, we’re on opposite sides of the draw, so it only makes any difference to me if I’m able to reach the final — if he’s there as well.
Obviously playing him in a final — he’s the No. 1 player in the world — it’s a very difficult match. If you play someone ranked No. 7 or 8 in the world, it’s not quite so difficult a match.
Nadal, on his recent legal action vs. Roselyne Bachelot:
I have full confidence in the French justice…It’s something that is about image, is something about the people is not free to say any stupid thing any time, what they think in any moment without no knowledge about the things.
Djokovic, on Nadal‘s recent headlines:
I think he has done right thing to protect himself and integrity of his own brand and achievements he had in all these years of work and results that he put in — and the sport itself, because Rafa is definitely one of the best players in the history of the game, one of the most important players we have.
Murray, also on Nadal’s form:
He’s obviously feeling much better about his game. I think it makes things more interesting for you guys over this period when he’s playing at the level he’s been playing the last few weeks.
Nadal, on his request to make his ITF doping records public:
Well, my philosophy is easy to understand, no? I believe in my sport. That’s the most important thing. I believe that my rivals are clean. I believe the sport is clean and I believe in our anti-doping program, no, and it’s an independent one.
The sport should be clean and must look clean, no? Should be, in my opinion – always in my opinion – much better for the transparency of the sport in general to say, you know, Rafa Nadal is passing an anti-doping control today and the result going to be in two weeks. In the result, you publish the results. The anti-doping control is negative. That’s it.
This will be much easier for everybody. Should be much easier for the world of sport, and for sure will be easier for you guys, that you don’t have to think. Just have to read. For the people, at the same time, too, they don’t have to create opinion. They have the proof.
The top eight seeds received a bye into Madrid’s second round, and will be in action later in the week.