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Talking Points • Player Comments From Media Day @ Indian Wells Tennis Garden, CA

Garbine Muguruza of Spain responds to questions during the BNP Paribas Open WTA All-Access round table at the Indian Well Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 07 March 2018. EPA-EFE/JOHN G. MABANGLO

 

 

By Richard Pagliario

 

INDIAN WELLS—Before the stars square off against the opposition, they met the media at the BNP Paribas Open today.

 

Venus Williams, Grigor Dimitrov, Juan Martin del Potro, Caroline Wozniacki, Garbine Muguruza and Jack Sock were among those who conducted media round-table interviews.

 

Here are some of the compelling comments from players on media day.

 

Acapulco champion Juan Martin del Potro discussed defying his expectations after four wrist surgeries and the power of love he feels from fans all over the world.

 

Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina responds to questions during the BNP Paribas Open ATP Media Day round table at the Indian Well Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 07 March 2018. EPA-EFE/JOHN G. MABANGLO

“I didn’t expect to be in the Top 10 again after all my wrist problems, but I didn’t expect to win a medal in Rio I didn’t expect to win the Davis Cup,” del Potro said. “Everything is amazing for me and my heart. Emotionally, it’s difficult to match all of this love from the crowd, from the fans, that’s what I like. I think everybody knows my effort to come back and play tennis and they are happy just to see me play tennis.

 

“I love to feel that energy from the fans, from the crowd. It doesn’t happen a lot with other players. And also I feel like I have many fans cheering for me, supporting me and that’s an extra motivation to play good tennis around the world.

 

“I think the people know all my effort to fix my wrist problems. I did three surgeries on my left one and one surgery on my right hand in 2010. I never give up and I’m still dealing with pains every day and I’m doing treatment two or three hours a day to feel good for playing tennis. It’s not easy for a person who is 29 years old. You have to deal with many problems every day just to do what I want to do and the people know that and they see me playing with much love and much passion and I think it’s a good thing for the fans too.”

 

Venus Williams reflected on the evolution of the game since her pro debut as an unranked wild card in 1994.

 

“The competition is deeper and the courts are much slower so those two things have changed a lot. You have to be ready for any ball to come back,” Venus said. “The tennis life you can have a lot of freedom because of it, but also you have no freedom at all so it’s both. All you ever do is play tennis and go to the gym—that’s it. (You must love the game) otherwise you don’t do the work.

 

“Of course, nothing’s a given. You have to work for it. The so-called easy win—those are because you played well not because your opponent was not capable because everyone is.”

 

Caroline Wozniacki on winning her maiden major at the Australian Open in her 43rd career Grand Slam tournament to regain the world No. 1 ranking exactly six years to the day since she last held the top spot—the WTA record for longest gaps between time at the top.

 

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark responds to questions during the BNP Paribas Open WTA All-Access round table at the Indian Well Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 07 March 2018. EPA-EFE/JOHN G. MABANGLO

“I think what I appreciate most is I think I realized when I was 20 years old I reached number one for the first time you enjoy it, but you keep putting so much pressure on yourself. I think everything that I achieved after that—once I wasn’t number one anymore but I was still up there—it’s all about the process. It’s not about getting there because even when I got to number one, I was like ‘Yeah, but I have a match the next day still.’ I still have my dad telling me to keep moving my feet.

 

“It doesn’t change anything. But I think the process of having a goal and trying to reach it and the hard times and the great times that’s what you really appreciate it. It’s the same with the Australian Open now and getting back to number one after that. It was the whole process. I was there and then I dropped out and I was injured and then having to fight back in that process was something that was very special to me and I think that’s why the second time around has meant more to me. Because you know I’ve been through ups and downs and it’s been a long road.”

 

Grigor Dimitrov on what one-handed backhand boys bandmate Roger Federer’s success means to him.

 

“He just shows and proves that right now there’s no limit to be honest,” Dimitrov said. “So that’s simple as that. He keeps on proving with every tournament he’s playing. And in a way that’s Roger. I mean what else can you say? He’s done it all and right now he’s just kind of riding that wave. I think all that momentum that he has really helps him out. And the scheduling itself—he plays less tournaments and does well and has more time to rest so that’s just how it is. He has done so much for the game.”

 

Garbiñe Muguruza on attending the Academy Awards and Vanity Fair Oscar party.

 

“I’m not gonna lie it was a very good experience. It’s not something you go to everyday, so I didn’t want to miss it. I don’t think I’m gonna be impressed ever again (laughs). It was good. I saw so many people and I saw more actors when I went to the Vanity Fair event. I was like ‘I know these guys. I know that guy. Which movie was he in.’ It was just fun. I was recognized by a bunch of people I didn’t expect. It shows that there are people that like tennis.”

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