Kim Clijsters’ thoughts on the Antwerp Diamond Games

Quoted by Paul de Kuyser in the Gazet Van Antwerpen (16 Feb. 2015 print edition, page 19).

“‘Oh shit, what now?’ That’s what shot through my mind when we heard that Carla was withdrawing.

“It was the beginning of a chaotic ten minutes. Some quick decisions had to be made. Before I knew it, I was playing. What was I doing!  But I think the audience appreciated it.

“These are things your neighbours can’t help you to fix. If something doesn’t work in a team sport, you put a substitute on the field. That’s not possible in tennis. It’s obviously far from pleasant to be confronted with such a situation, but ultimately I still look back on a good week. With Andrea Petkovic we also had a top player and a great personality on the honour roll.

“You know what affected me most during the last week? When Dominika Cibulkova couldn’t play Friday night in her quarter-final against Andrea Petkovic. Whatever her reason, it was serious. Proof: she had to withdraw from her next tournament. Dominika found that she couldn’t play and withdrew out of respect for her opponent, the public and the organisation.

“Anyway, I’m very satisfied with the sporting performance. Sure, you’d like to see your top two seeds play in the final. On the other hand, if Bouchard plays at anything less than her best and Barthel plays her best, then she’ll win. That’s how it is in sports and that’s good. Wouldn’t it be really boring if the favourite always won? That’s why I’m not at all disappointed in anyone. The feedback from the top players was also quite good. Kirsten Flipkens and Yanina Wickmayer, for example, had already lost in the first round, but asked immediately if they could do something for us.

“Finally, I found this Diamond Games a unique experience for me—very instructive. Of course, there are things that can be improved and polished here and there, but overall I thought it can be considered a successful event. From Wednesday on, there were quite a few people in the Sportpaleis, the light show and the music introducing the players was better. We can continue to build on this formula for next year, so the re-introduced Diamond Games acquire a permanent place on Belgian tennis lovers’ agenda.”

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Luca Vanni in Sao Paulo

Interview by Riccardo Crivelli in the 15 February 2015 print edition of  La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“I’m in a dream,” said Luca Vanni after his win over Joao-Olavo Souza in São Paulo, Brazil.

“These are emotions I’ll never forget, especially when it wasn’t easy playing with the entire crowd against me.

“I’ve always been told that without bad luck I could have been top 50, but right now I’m extremely happy being in the top 100 and maybe go higher. That was the goal for this year.”

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Gilles Simon, post-loss to Berdych in Rotterdam

Interviews by Franck Ramella from the 15 February 2015 print edition of  l’Équipe.

“Tomas served hard, he hit bullets.  I just couldn’t do anything against him.  He was flawless in all areas, and his returns really impressed me.  He even hit shots he doesn’t know how to hit, especially cross-court chips.  Sometimes it felt like I was playing four people… When it’s going badly against that kind of player it can go quickly—something like against Roger.  I can bother him, but I also remember getting taken 1 and 2.

“I’d say I’m playing well right now.  Everything’s fine physically.  But I’d put Montpellier and Rotterdam on the same level.  There and here, I lost the two big matches against Janowicz and Berdych.  I didn’t manage to raise my level.  I was missing something when the other guy gave me something tough. And I’m normally pretty good at that.”

Jan de Witt’s perspective: “A very disappointing match.  A very bad quality of play against a very good Berdych.  The worst thing was the high number of unforced errors before Gilles sort of started panicking a bit.  But against Murray, he played well tactically.  He played quicker without missing very much.  Andy could even change his game plan three times during the match and Gilles found a solution each time.  That was good, and it will still be a good week.”

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