Rafael Nadal announced on Wednesday that he will not play at the US Open. Players competing at the Western & Southern Open gave their reactions to the news during their post-match news conferences:
Q. Rafael Nadal is not going to play the US Open he announced today. Do you have any thoughts or comments on that?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: No, I don’t have idea. It’s a very sad moment for him, for sure.
I wish him very fast recovery for him. We miss him in these kind of tournament. It’s really tough moment for him, for sure. I wish all the best, a good recovery. I don’t have too many words to say.
Q. I’m sure you heard that Rafa Nadal pulled out of the US Open with knee problems. What was your reaction when you heard that?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, yeah, I mean, it’s obviously a shame. I mean, I like Rafa a lot as a friend. Yeah, I’m disappointed for him. But I think for tennis and also a major competitions, it’s a huge benefit when you have the top players playing.
Yeah, it’s obviously tough for him. He’s had trouble with his knees in the past. So, you know, I hope he can rest, doesn’t come back too early, and gets them fixed so he can get back to playing his best tennis.
Well, not a surprise, because I wrote him and he told me it wasn’t looking good at all.
I kind of knew, saw it coming. But obviously when it’s official, it’s disappointing for tennis, there’s no doubt about it. I would love to have him in the draw. In particular, sort of the 12 days before the Open, you figure he might still have time to fix what he has to fix to get ready. If he pulls out that early before the Open, it must be something serious.
That’s what is sort of scary. There is obviously the whole debate going on if he is going to come back for this year. I hope he will. He’s definitely got some more weeks off now because of it. I hope in hindsight this is a very smart decision by him. But it’s obviously a big blow and disappointing news for the tennis world.
Q. You probably heard that Rafa pulled out of the US Open.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I heard.
Q. I’m just wondering what your thoughts are about that and his long term processes, if it seems like he has this chronic tendonitis.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I really don’t know what the injury is and how serious it is. Obviously it’s that serious that takes him, you know, out from the tour for last couple of months.
You know, he’s a great competitor, and, you know. He’s somebody I know really well on and off the court. I’m sure that if he was able to perform in US Open he would come.
So I wish him a quick recovery, obviously.
Grand Slams. Obviously great rivalry. Going into the US Open I realize there are a lot of other great players, but does it take away a little bit of the excitement for you knowing he’s not going to be there, one of your great rivals?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, my excitement is always the same when I am approaching any Grand Slam. Obviously it’s the biggest tournaments we have in sport.
Yes, the fact is that tennis is going to lose a little bit because of Rafa not being there and playing, because he’s somebody that has made a history of this sport. We all know how good he is and how popular he is.
Again, there is everybody else except him who is going to play there, so I am sure we will have a good tournament.
Q. Rafa is out of the US Open.
MARDY FISH: Really?
Q. I’m not sure if you heard that.
MARDY FISH: That’s too bad.
Q. Thoughts on that? It’s surprising.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, it’s too bad. You felt like if he wasn’t able to come to at least here — a lot of guys took Toronto off, but at least come here. Maybe he was in trouble. So it’s a shame.
You know, he made the final last year and he’s the past champion year before that. He’ll be missed.
Q. When something happens like Nadal pulling out of the US Open while you’re at a tournament, what’s the buzz in the locker room among the players like?
MILOS RAONIC: I don’t think too many players concern themselves too deeply about it. Everybody pretty much in the locker room had a match today. I don’t think it was by any means any, say, priority for them, that kind of news.
It’s a little bit sad just because he’s a really good guy and a lot of people get along with him; but at the same time, it’s a competitive sport.
Q. Not sure if you heard, but Rafa is out of the US Open.
SLOANE STEPHENS: I just read it on Twitter. I’m devastated. This is so sad.
Q. What is it like when he’s not in the locker room at slams? What does he bring that might be…
SLOANE STEPHENS: I’m not sure because I’m not in his locker room. (Laughter.)
I love Rafa so I love seeing him at tournaments. I get star struck when I see him. I’m like, Oh, my God I wish I could touch him.
It will be sad with him not there, obviously. I mean, he’s such an amazing player. I just kind of — I like seeing him practice. He’s on the P1 through 5 or whatever and he’s always on the first court so everyone can see.
I like eating my lunch and watching him. I’m kind of bummed he won’t be there. I’m sure we will have, you know, still an amazing tournament.
Q. Does it affect the buzz of the tournament even when somebody on the other draw is out? Can that really carry over to the women’s side?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I don’t really think so. I mean, Murray is still playing, Olympic gold medalist, Federer, Djokovic still playing.
Rafa will be missed, but I’m sure that people think that Djokovic and Murray and Fed are pretty hot too. So I think it will work out.
Venus’ Success Ring
Q. You’re known to wear bling on the court. There is a ring you used to wear all the time, the big round ring. What happened with that and did you replace it? What’s the ring you have now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: The ring I have now is actually my last shopping purchase. It’s called a success ring, actually. But my match ring, I do have it here with me. I always have it. I haven’t been wearing it as much lately.
I have been wearing it since ’03 I think, so it’s been a long time. Actually 2002. I think it’s been a very long time. Just switching things up a little bit.
“I’m Not a Model”
Q. Professional photographers take lots of pictures of you. How do you feel about the pictures when you look at them? Like them? Don’t like them? Don’t care?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I like looking at the pictures. I critique myself. It’s good stuff. More than anything it’s fun to see the pictures over the years. It’s like seeing your life. It’s a beautiful thing.
Q. Back to the picture thing, do you feel pretty comfortable? You have been doing photo shoots for a long time. Do you feel pretty comfortable in front of the camera now? Is it different from being photographed on the tennis court?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I’m pretty comfortable. If I had a choice I’d go to practice over a photo shoot. I’m not a model. I’m an athlete, you know, a fighting athlete on the court. That’s my main thing.
Love you sis, but I want to be No. 1
Q. Your sister (Ursula) has been playing really well. Probably a career high ranking. How much of that do you think is partially how well you’ve been doing also? Do you think the family feeds off each other at all?
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: Well, I think so, but I’m just very happy that, you know, she’s playing very good and have some good results last couple weeks.
Actually, I think she’s on court now, so I really gonna cheer for her maybe from the locker room because it’s really hot out there and I need to rest after my match.
But I think it’s great thing to have a sister on tour, especially that we are very close. I just hope she can be also, you know, maybe not No. 1 but No. 2, because I want to be No. 1. (Smiling.)
Q. Are you focused at all on how close you actually are to No. 1 right now?
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: Well, I know that I am close, but it’s, I think, it’s still a little bit, you know, far from No. 1. I’m just going to do everything in my power to be No. 1, at least for a week, so I know that I have chances this year to do that.
Doesn’t have a goal to be No. 1 right now
Q. Not too long ago you were very close to being No. 1 in the world, and I was wondering, with respect to that, what’s your goal for getting there eventually?
PETRA KVITOVA: I don’t have any goal like be No. 1 right now. Yeah, I knew that in the beginning of the year was really huge for you guys, but not for me.
Yeah, I was injured in the season, but still I’m trying to do my best and still be in game, improve my game. For me it’s important to stay healthy that I can play.