Top Tennis Quotes: Victory, Humility, Championship, and Passion

Andre Agassi famously said, “In tennis, you’re on an island. Of all the games, men and women play, tennis is the closest to solitary confinement.”

Indeed, the top is a lonely place.

But, time and again, it is not always about the greatest tennis player of all time. Their words are all the more reason these men and women deserve respect.

Famous tennis quotes

Experience is a great advantage. The problem is that when you get the experience, you’re too damned old to do anything about it. ~ Jimmy Connors

Freed from the thoughts of winning, I instantly play better. I stop thinking; start feeling. My shots become a half-second quicker, my decisions become the product of instinct rather than logic. ~ Andre Agassi

I just try to play tennis and don’t find excuses. You know, I just lost because I lost, not because my arm was sore. ~ Goran Ivanisevic

I play each point like my life depends on it. ~ Rafael Nadal

It’s one-on-one out there, man. There ain’t no hiding. I can’t pass the ball. ~ Pete Sampras

If you can keep playing tennis when somebody is shooting a gun down the street, that’s concentration. ~ Serena Williams

I’m not afraid of anyone, but sometimes I’m afraid of myself. ~ Justine Henin

As a tennis player, you have to get used to losing every week. Unless you win the tournament, you always go home as a loser. But you have to take the positive out of a defeat and go back to work. Improve to fail better. ~ Stan Wawrinka

Losing is not my enemy, fear of losing is my enemy. ~ Rafael Nadal

Tennis is mostly mental. You win or lose the match before you even go out there. ~ Venus Williams

Tennis uses the language of life. Advantage, service, fault, break, love — the basic elements of tennis are those of everyday existence, because every match is a life in miniature. ~ Andre Agassi

If you don’t practice, you don’t deserve to win. ~ Andre Agassi

The mark of great sportsmen is not how good they are at their best, but how good they are at their worst. ~ Martina Navratilova

In tennis, it is not the opponent you fear, it is the failure itself, knowing how near you were but just out of reach. ~ Andy Murray

I enjoyed the position I was in as a tennis player. I was to blame when I lost. I was to blame when I won. And I really like that, because I played soccer a lot too, and I couldn’t stand it when I had to blame it on the goalkeeper. ~ Roger Federer

True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. ~ Arthur Ashe

What is the single most important quality in a tennis champion? I would have to say desire, staying in there and winning matches when you are not playing that well. ~ John McEnroe

Since I don’t look like every other girl, it takes a while to be okay with that. To be different. But different is good. ~ Serena Williams

As a tennis player you can win and you can lose, and you have to be ready for both. I practised self-control as a kid. But as you get older they both – winning and losing – get easier. ~ Rafael Nadal

Luck has nothing to do with it, because I have spent many, many hours, countless hours, on the court working for my one moment in time, not knowing when it would come. ~ Serena Williams

You don’t have to be pretty for people to come and see you play. At the same time, if you’re a good athlete, it doesn’t mean you’re not a woman. ~ Martina Navratilova

You’ll hear a lot of applause in your life, but none will mean more to you than that applause from your peers. I hope each of you hears that at the end. ~ Andre Agassi

I’ve been playing against older and stronger competition my whole life. It has made me a better tennis player and able to play against this kind of level despite their strength and experience. ~ Maria Sharapova

I don’t mind fans coming up in a friendly, respectful way. That’s all part of the fun of being a top tennis player. But if people take pictures without permission, particularly if my children are in the shot, I feel uncomfortable. ~ Roger Federer

 

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Player Feature: Novak Djokovic

Full Name: Novak Djokovic 

Birthdate: May 22, 1987

Birthplace: Belgrade, SR Serbia 

Years active: 2003 – present

ATP Rank: #1

Key facts and statistics

  • One of the Big Four of men’s tennis
  • Had the highest Elo rating
  • 16 Grand Slam titles
  • Held the 4 major titles at once
  • 5x ATP #1 tennis player in men’s singles
  • Has 75 singles titles

Novak Djokovic is dubbed as one of the best male tennis players of the Open era and of all-time. He ranks among the rosters of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Pete Sampras, and Bjorn Borg.

An aggressive baseline player, there is something unique about Djokovic’s all-court (albeit modern) playing style. He is known for his deep and penetrating groundstrokes. But his backhand underspin is legendary with its consistent pace and precision – even considered as the best in this era. 

Djokovic is both a defensive and offensive player. He can easily convert positions on seemingly defensive positions. 

He turns to his serves as a weapon to win free points. The same goes with his return of serves; John McEnroe even said that Djokovic is the most outstanding returner in tennis history.

Together with Federer, Nadal, and Andy Murray, they formed the Big Four. The players dominate men’s tennis division in terms of ranking and victories. Djokovic has the highest Elo rating of the four, though, because of his records in winning against quality opponents. He was the only player to defeat the top three tennis players within one season.

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) currently rank him as the #1 player in men’s singles. He was a five-time #1 player, grabbing the position in a total of 250 weeks. He was the only Serbian to achieve the ranking as well as win a Grand Slam singles title.

Djokovic has numerous titles under his belt; 75 titles. He has a total of 16 Grand Slam titles, reaching the Career Grand Slam title after winning the 2016 French Open. He was the eighth player to do so.

He was also the third tennis player who holds four major titles at once, on different surfaces. His major titles include seven Australian Opens, five Wimbledons, three US Opens, and one French Open.

He was consistently on tours since he started playing professionally as well. Djokovic has won 33 ATP Tour Masters, 12 ATP Tour 500s and five ATP Finals. He holds the record for being the only male player to win tournaments under Masters 1000.

With all these, he was always the consistent half on the best rivalries on the court. Not just against his Big Four contemporaries, but also Stan Wawrinka, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, and Juan Martin del Potro. In all their meetings, Djokovic prevailed.

One of the cited reasons for his court endurance and agility is his vegan diet. In 2010, his coaching team, which included Igor Četojević, a nutritionist, discovered that he has a gluten intolerance. Gluten was removed from his diet. He became stronger and quicker after the change.

Aside from playing tennis, he also devotes his time to his vegan restaurant in Monte Carlo that he opened in 2016.

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5 of the Greatest (and Controversial) Moments in Tennis History

Tennis history is full of spectacular moments, from marvellous wins to sublime rivalries and even controversial events. After all, tennis is a game of surprises. There’d been a multitude of great occurrences that define and redefine tennis since time immemorial. However, these had been the greatest and some, contentious thus far, in no particular order.

Greatest (and Controversial) Moments in the History of Tennis

1) Monica Seles stabbing incident

Proving how influential the Seles vs Steffi Graf rivalry then, it compelled a fan to stab Seles on April 13, 1993. The incident happened during a match and was inflicted by a mentally ill Graf fan. In 1993, Seles showed her finest games.

Seles was stabbed in the back, affecting her tennis capacities and skills after that. Seles was formerly ranked #1, but Graf brought low her ranking. Eventually, Graf became the #1 player in women’s category. 

2) Rafael Nadal’s win against Roger Federer

Nadal versus Federer was one of the most-followed tennis rivalries of all time. Federer has always been ahead of Nadal. But Nadal won over him in Wimbledon 2008 men’s singles finals after 4 hours and 48 minutes – one of the longest in the history of tennis where incredible sportsmanship was in full display. 

The prior year, he came too close to winning his first Wimbledon until he faltered and lost. This had the spectators anticipating their 2008 match that did not disappoint. It was even considered as the greatest match in history. Nadal’s memorable winning moment caused him to collapse on the court, albeit happily. He was the first Spanish tennis player to win Wimbledon after 40 long years.

3) Roger Federer smashed his racquet

In a shocking display of strong emotions from arguably one of the coolest players in tennis, a frustrated Federer smashed his racquet on the ground. It was during the 2009 Miami Open where he met with Novak Djokovic.

The crowd booed Federer, even eliciting surprised reactions from the sportscasters since he was not a “boo-boo” player. But it was the only time he had experienced a negative reception since he has always been the mild-mannered one. 

4) Andre Agassi’s emotional retirement speech

Agassi’s tennis career has been the most inconsistent in terms of victories and defeats. He had his moot moments, but everyone would remember his iconic speech after losing the game in the 2006 US Open.

Agassi suffered from a back injury that compelled him to retire earlier than expected. He was under strong painkillers. An emotional Agassi bade goodbye through one of the most iconic retirement speeches the spectators had seen.

5) John McEnroe hurt the King of Sweden

McEnroe, or Mr Erratic as he was called, was known for his outbursts on and off the court. In one of his episodes during the 1984 Stockholm finals, he lost his cool and vented out by hitting a table full of refreshments. Some flew to the crowd and struck King Carl XVI Gustaf.

McEnroe realized what he had done. Fortunately for him, the Kind downplayed what happened and the ever-emotional notoriously outspoken tennis player did not receive any punishment.

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