I can’t start a wrap-up post about today’s action in Cincinnati without leading off with the huge story that broke at the end of a long day: Marion Bartoli has retired from professional tennis.
Here are some excerpts from what she had to say about it late tonight:
“Well, it’s never easy and obviously there is never a time to say it or whatever, but that was actually the last match of my career. Sorry. It’s time for me to retire and to call it a career. I feel it’s time for me to walk away actually.”
“You never kind of know before it’s going to be your last match, but I felt that way after the match. I felt I just couldn’t do this anymore. I mean, after one set, my whole body was in pain. You know, everyone will remember my Wimbledon title. No one will remember the last match I played here.”
“As a tennis player you have to be at 100%. And I’m this kind of person, when I’m doing something, I’m doing it 100%.”
“If I have to be tomorrow on the practice court and prepare for the next tournament, I won’t be at 100% because my mind is not there, my heart is not there, and I just can’t lie like that.”
“I’m just too honest and too true to my values to kind of being there, but not really at 100%. I think that would be unfair for all my team, and I don’t choose to do that. I don’t have those values. That’s not the way I’ve been raised. That’s not the way I am, so I prefer to stay true to myself rather than just cheating.”
Juan Martin del Potro opened his tournament with a tricky match against Nikolay Davydenko, who tested the Argentinian until folding towards the end of both sets. I was looking for any lingering signs of the back problems that bothered Del Potro in Montreal last week, but he seemed healthy.
It took Petra Kvitova three sets to take out Marina Erakovic in a very typical Petra win. There were lots of winners and errors. And there was Radek Stepanek, incognito in a sweatshirt and shades, watching her match stone-faced from the back row of Court 9.
Jelena Jankovic came back from a set down to beat Ekaterina Makarova in three. I only caught the final two sets, but she was striking the ball very well.
She wasn’t pleased when she got broken in a long service game, trying to close out the match:
But that anguish turned to joy when she got it done the second time around.
Stan Wawrinka had a tough day against Tommy Robredo. Despite looking like the better player for the first set, Wawrinka lost a chance to break Robredo’s serve, and immediately got broken, losing the set. He was able to force a third, and was even up a break in the decider, but Robredo raised his level and won the next four straight games and the match.
Quotes of the day:
Rafael Nadal: “In the rest of the surfaces I will not say I am 100% perfect, but the way that my knee works today is not limiting my game in no way. So I’m very happy for that. I have pain sometimes, yes. That’s why I say I’m not 100% perfect. But I’m 100% perfect to compete at 100% today.”
Q: “When you see a player like Venus and she’s still playing singles and obviously with what she’s had to go through, did that motivate you that maybe I can still come back and play too?”
Martina Hingis: “No, not really, because, when you lose as a player like her, it’s not really encouraging because she plays well like first or second set and losing to players that she’s not used to losing. So, no, that’s not encouraging at all.”
“Serena, yeah, it’s a different story. She’s got so much willpower, it’s amazing. I really admire how she can still get out there and motivate herself all the time over and over all these years.”
“But they were always like, they had many more breaks. I mean, I had my break for three years, but, yeah, I was out there a lot younger. And I don’t have the same body as them too.”
“So it’s a little bit different when you can hit four aces in a game. I mean, I don’t have that weapon.”
Q: “John, I was just wondering what your reaction was to your grandpa’s homemade shirts.”
John Isner: “Yeah. That’s funny, huh? Yeah, he went over to play gin rummy with his other 80-something-year-old friends, and one of his friends who’s actually real tech savvy and has an iPhone and knows how to text message and do everything. The other ones don’t, but he doesn’t either. He had these shirts made and all of them were wearing it. I heard they were wearing it around town too, which is completely awful. It’s one thing to show up at my mom’s house in it, but it’s funny. He has a very good sense of humor about it.”