A special place: “It doesn't look as big as it is. I mean, it's elegant. It's the grass court. Also the players, they have to play all white clothes. So it's amazing. I have a good feeling there. I just like the court. Today I didn't read the message of the door because it's a good message there. But tomorrow I am happy that I have another chance to read it, all the message. I will tell you after the match tomorrow.” The world’s most famous court is a special place for Simona Halep.
Smooth transition: “Last year I had the chance to play from clay court immediately to grass court, and I won both tournaments. I have experience to adapt very quickly. I like grass, but was difficult at the beginning of the tournament because I didn't have the timing of the balls. Then match-by-match and day-to-day I was working very hard at practices. Just I wanted to find my feeling.” Adapting from clay to grass is challenging, but ultimately no problem, for French Open finalist and now Wimbledon semi-finalist Halep.
Pressure points: “I can handle the pressure. I don't feel now pressure because I have experience from Australian Open also quarterfinals and the French Open finals. I feel very relaxed now. I'm focused, as well. I just want to enjoy every match.” Pressure is not a problem for, Halep, the highest ranked women’s semi-finalist at world No.3
Fanfare: “I just want to stay focused. After this tournament I will go home. I have a tournament there. So I can enjoy the time with my fans, with my friends, and with everybody from there. They sending me a lot of messages, but I want just to read after this tournament.” Halep loves the support but is maintaining her single-minded focus as she targets her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon.
Seizing opportunities: “Tennis is something I've played for 15 years now. I've put in a lot of hard work on the court. So, you know, results that come for me, in the back of my mind I expected them because I've put in so much time and effort. I have that true belief that I deserve these results when I get them.” Eugenie Bouchard, who alongside Halep is the only player to reach the quarter-finals of every Grand Slam this season, has worked hard for her success.
Honoured traditions: “My favourite thing about England is Wimbledon. I'm always so excited to come back here. But, you know, it's the traditional tennis tournament. It's so prestigious, so special. I think most players will agree with that. You know, it's kind of like a magical two weeks here. I hope I can stay a few more days.” Bouchard has quite the relationship with the grass court Slam.
A winning feeling: “Winning the junior title was still I think to this day my proudest accomplishment in my career. It really kind of propelled me into the pro circuit. You know, I'm very proud of that … I’m definitely happy to have some success at Wimbledon. I love this tournament.” Bouchard, the 2008 Wimbledon girls’ champion, feels a sense of belonging at the All England Club.
Royal watch: “It's cool this extra kind of aspect of Wimbledon where there are Royals. I think for me it's just interesting to see who shows up and things like that. But for sure, if I can play in front of anyone, I'll be super motivated.” Eugenie Bouchard, who was watched by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in the quarter-finals, appreciates what’s special about Wimbledon.
Single-minded: “During a tournament I don't really pay attention to any of that stuff really. More after tournaments or in training weeks we really have more in-depth conversations about it, because I really want to try to stay focused in the tournament and not have any distractions.” –managing the off-court hype is all part of the Bouchard success story.
Many happy returns: “These feelings are always very emotional for me. Of course, to be in a semi-final of Wimbledon is always great of course for me. Especially when I won it here, I have great memories.” Petra Kvitova is delighted to return to the final four at Wimbledon, where she achieved her Grand Slam breakthrough in 2011.
Peer pressure: “It's going to be my third match against (a) Czech girl actually during the Wimbledon, which is unusual. We played last time in Eastbourne. It was big fight until the end. I'm expecting tough battle again.” Kvitova’s semi-final against her friend and Fed Cup team-mate Lucie Safarova will be her third against a countrywoman at the 2014 Championships.
Preferred surface: “I'm aggressive definitely more than last year, for example, or the other tournaments. I just probably feel the grass. I just know that it suits me well and I can really play my best tennis on that.” Kvitova brings her best game to the hallowed turf.
Momentum: “I really had great practices before Wimbledon. I played well in Paris. So it gave me a little bit more confidence from there, as well. I lost a really tough battle against Sveta, but it gave me a lot of positive things from that match. I'm just glad that I'm playing semi-final again.” Wimbledon is the perfect place for Kvitova to find her best form.
Czech-mates: “I know Petra since she was 14 and we are from the same club so I saw her growing and I saw her achieving those great results. We always practised. It’s also motivating to see that somebody who is so close to you is reaching the best results … it’s motivating for you to try to make it too.” Lucie Safarova was inspired by the success of her friend and semi-final opponent Kvitova.
A turning point: “I had a match point and the Hawkeye showed that it was TWO centimetres out, so it was really painful for me. But on the other hand it was also motivating because I could see that I was really close to making it to the best, top 10, that I can beat those top 10 (players).” Surrendering a match point to eventual champion Li Na ultimately proved a turning point for Safarova.
Mastering their craft: “Tennis has a huge tradition in the Czech Republic. It’s a very popular sport and we are used to changing surfaces, because in the winter we are playing indoors. You kind of change and they are very different, they are fast surfaces indoors … it kind of makes you adapt to different surfaces and we are usually players who are playing really fast and aggressive. So that’s the key to how to play on grass on well, so I think it fits." Safarova explains why Czech players thrive on grass, despite there being no grass courts in that nation.
20:08It brings me no pleasure but it's time to bring the curtain down for another year. Seemed somehow appropriate to leave the last word to Roger Federer. Thanks a billion for reading. What a fortnight, what a final, fast forward to 2015 please...
20:03"I already have seven. It's not like I need another one. But it would have been awfully nice to have it. I think that's what the feeling was of the people, and I felt that... I know they love tennis. They love tennis after we're all gone."View all