Tennis Interviews (20)
Home base: Fremont, CA
Number of weeks on the road: Having traveled with the ATP for over thirty years now, he considers the Tour “almost like family.” Steve has a little seniority when it comes to how much time he spends away from home. “Because, I guess, I’ve been around so long, I do get to pick the tournaments I like and the ATP’s nice enough to give most of them to me,” he said. He finds himself on the road, “these days, about half the year. I try to do two tournaments a month.” His tournament preference? “I really like the outdoor events.”
TAT: Igor, can you clarify your coaching situation? You’ve been alone for over a year now. Are you looking?
IA: I’m alone for now. It’s possible that for the period up to Roland Garros someone will be traveling with me, either a physio or someone from Valencia. But so far, I’m OK alone. So, really, I’m not “on a hunt,” such that I must find someone.
Of course, there are moments when you need training, help getting into playing shape, but overall, I’m still pretty satisfied as is.
TAT: And when you’re training in Valencia are you alone there also, or you have someone there?
IA: Well, in Valencia, it’s an academy. I’ve been there a long time, and there are coaches there, guys you can practice with. Same in Moscow. So, things like practices and such, there are no problems with that.
After their first loss of the 2009 season, to Rohan Bopanna and Jarkko Nieminen in the quarterfinals of the SAP Open in San Jose, Calif., the top-ranked doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan sat down with TalkAboutTennis.com to share their thoughts on their past and their future—both on and off the court.
TAT: So, that was your first loss of the year?
Mike Bryan (MB): Yeah, it kind of reduces a little bit of the pressure. You can’t ever be perfect. We’re looking forward to having next week off. We can go home and then obviously on the horizon is a big match against Switzerland. Trying to get up to play, and we’ve got Delray [Beach] right in front of there. So we’re going to go home and train, try to think about that, what we have to do to slay Roger Federer and Wawrinka, the gold medalists.
TAT: You’re pretty sure that’s who you’ll play?
TAT: What’s the secret of your success, after so many years involved in this event?
Bud. No last name necessary. When the topic is tennis, there’s only one Bud. Unfortunately, health issues delayed TAT’s interview, originally planned in conjunction with the publication date of The Bud Collins History of Tennis. “I’m doing quite well now,” he says, the tone of his voice sounding mighty hearty for a gentleman approaching his 80th birthday. The racing around and packing for Australia that is occurring in the background during our chat certainly would indicate that he is every bit as healthy and fit as an international traveler/reporter need be as he enters his 54th season of tennis coverage. In a few days, Bud Collins and his wife Anita R. Klaussen will embark on what has become an annual journey that mixes both of their professions. Anita is a noted photographer (some of her work can be viewed on Bud’s website, at www.budcollinstennis.com). They’ll depart for the south Pacific, where their holiday will begin with photo shoots. This will be followed by tournament attendance, and television and print work, highlighted by reporting from yet another Australian Open. Even at 79, Bud Collins is in high demand come Slam time.
Bud has conducted some legendary interviews and even “non-interviews,” such as Roger Federer’s refusal to talk following his 2007 loss in the French Open final. However, many tennis fans consider his post-match discussion with Natasha (then known as Natalia) Zvereva following her loss to Steffi Graf in the final of the 1989 Family Circle Cup to be among the most memorable. When we broach the subject with Bud, he is delighted to retell the day. “The funny thing about that interview is that most people don’t remember my comments at the opening of the match.” The subject of the Soviet Tennis Federation taking most of the players’ winnings had been brought up in a pre-match discussion between Bud and his colleague in the commentators’ booth that day, Dick Enberg. “I had stated in my opening commentary that Mr. Gorbachev needed to let players make more money.”
TAT: Viktor, congrats on your win today. What do you think the difference was between you and Gremelmayr?
Viktor Troicki (VT): Well, I could say that I played really good today. I came to D.C. a few days earlier, and I had time to prepare. I was serving very well during the whole match and did not give him any chance to break me. I had a few good return games and used chances when I had them. So it’s a really good win today, especially since he played pretty good last week, making the semifinals in L.A. I’d like to say that I’m happy, and I’d like to continue this way in the next rounds.
On his way to winning his 55th career title at the Rogers Masters, in front of his hometown crowd in Toronto, the world's top-ranked doubles player spoke to TAT about doubles, Canadian tennis, and what he has learned from his 17-year career as a professional tennis player.
TAT: Congratulations on your run so far.
TAT: You are now not only the world No.1, but you are also the only active male player with a Golden Slam. Have you had time to reflect on your achievement?
DN: Well, yeah, I've thought about it for sure. But I know well enough from years of experience, with winning… You know, sometimes you forget about what you need to stay on top or to get to the top. That's the last thing, you know… I want to stay near the top and keep playing, so I don't want to over-enjoy something and get overly confident and relax. So, you have to keep going, for sure. That's the hardest part about being ranked at the top. It's staying there. It's not easy to get there, for sure, but it's hard to stay there. That's the hardest thing.
Tennis media and serious fans often spend hours analyzing and arguing about a single quote from a tennis player. But have you ever wondered how that quote made its way from the player’s mouth to your newspaper or computer screen? Meet Julie Rabe, a stenographer with ASAP Sports, the company that provides most of the transcripts from tennis tournaments.
Interview transcripts are created, much like in court proceedings, by use of a stenograph machine. Rabe gets a headphone feed from the microphones carried around the room by reporters for questions as well as the one worn by the player who is being interviewed. She transcribes what she hears using a stenograph, which is a typewriter-like machine that contains 23 unlabeled keys. Entering various combinations of phonetic sounds using these keys produces letters or words that are sent via a Bluetooth connection to a computer. Software on this computer recognizes certain shorthand abbreviations (called "briefs"), tennis terms, and proper names. It creates the text of the transcript, which Julie edits after the interview. She uses a pre-made template to make sure the questions are in a bold-face style and the tournament/ATP and ASAP Sports logos appear in the Microsoft Word file. The file is then released to the world. If there is a significant mistake in the text, a rare occurrence, the stenographer is alerted by either a member of the media or a tournament official. After the transcript is edited, it is re-released. Occasionally a player or an official will ask the stenographer to remove parts of the interview from the final transcript. These requests are usually complied with.
TAT: How did you get involved in tennis journalism in the first place? Who were your writing "role models?"
PB: My writing role models were all the authors I read voraciously as a youth, and through my higher education.