Say what? Best quotes from Roland-Garros 2020

 - Chris Oddo

We celebrate the top verbal volleys from the Paris fortnight.

Rafael Nadal, Roland Garros 2020, final, speech© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

They came, they saw, they spoke! The biggest personalities in tennis delivered wit and wisdom aplenty during Roland-Garros in 2020.

Here we compile classic quips, inspiring soliloquies and effusive excerpts as we look back on a fortnight’s worth of press room magic in Paris.

“I want to send a message to everyone around the world. We are facing one of the worst moments that I think we remember in this world, facing and fighting against this virus. Just keep going, stay positive and all the very best, together probably we will go through this and we will beat the virus soon.”

Inspiring words from Rafael Nadal during his victory speech on Sunday.

“I think this is what women's tennis is struggling with. That's why we have so many new Grand Slam winners because we are not as consistent as Rafa, Roger, and Novak. That's why my goal is going to be to be consistent. It's going to be really hard to achieve that.”

Trailblazing Iga Swiatek sets her sights on becoming a more consistent player after winning her maiden major title in Paris.

“Yeah, he actually said I should improve my serve. That's what I did, actually. So I think my serve is pretty good now. So, yeah, it helped me a lot here.”

– Roland-Garros boys' singles and doubles champion Dominic Stephan Stricker got some solid advice from Roger Federer during practice earlier this year. It paid big dividends for him in Paris. 

“Being in a semi-final here, it was great achievement for me, definitely. I'm very happy and glad and grateful for that, for sure. I could be at home watching and not even play tennis anymore.” 

– Three years after making her return to tennis in Paris after a traumatic attack in her home which led to career-threatening surgery to her hand, Petra Kvitova is grateful for the opportunity to chase her dreams, and the connection she has made with Roland-Garros. 

“No, I don't want to wake up.” 

– Argentina’s Nadia Podoroska did not want to be disturbed during her dream run to the semi-finals, where she became the first women’s singles qualifier to reach the last four in Roland-Garros history. 

“For sure he has reached almost perfection, Novak, in his game style, the way he plays, which is unbelievable to see honestly. That inspires me a lot to go out and work and try to reach that perfectionism, that ability to have everything on the court.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas had high praise for Novak Djokovic after falling to the world No.1 in five sets in the semi-finals. 

“At the end of the match, he said to me: ‘You, you couldn't get rid of Sofia, but I couldn't get rid of her father.’” 

– France’s Fiona Ferro has a laugh with reporters about the bizarre moment during her fourth-round match with Sofia Kenin, in which her coach Emmanuel Planque and Kenin’s coach, Alex Kenin, sat side by side for two sets. 

“I'm not thinking about finishing the year. I think maybe the year is finished."

– A disappointed Karolina Pliskova reacts to her second-round loss to Jelena Ostapenko in Paris. 

"I'm going to be honest here. I was like, 'Why are we playing?' Obviously I was looking how Rafa was taking this whole situation. To be honest, if he's a champion and he doesn't complain about it, I mean, who am I to complain about it right now?”

– Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur takes a page from Rafael Nadal's playbook and accepts the difficult conditions in Paris with a positive mindset. She achieved a career-best round of 16 performance. 

“I would tell them that they can do it with hard work, with talent, because we have so many talented players in Egypt. They just have to believe in themselves, and they have to follow the way, the right way to get to where they want. There are many obstacles in Egypt that can stop a tennis player from, especially a female tennis player, from playing. They have to always believe, they have to always fight through this to get to where they want.” 

– After becoming the first Egyptian woman to earn a spot in the main draw at a Grand Slam, Mayar Sherif offers words of wisdom to other young women from her country. 

“My feelings, I don't know. We played a really long match, so I don't know. I don't feel anything in my body right now. I feel empty.” 

– France’s Corentin Moutet tries - unsuccessfully - to find the words after his heartbreaking defeat to Italy’s Lorenzo Giustino. The contest took six hours and five minutes to complete, over two days, with Giustino winning, 18-16 in the fifth. 

Corentin Moutet, Roland Garros 2020, first round© Pauline Ballet/FFT

“Honestly, if somebody would have told us last year that we’re going to come back here and defend the title, we would have asked them, ‘How many beers have you had?’ It’s unreal."

– Germany’s Andreas Mies expresses his personal disbelief to the crowd after he and Kevin Krawietz remained perfect at Roland-Garros by claiming their second consecutive men’s doubles title. 

"I still can't believe two Japanese women were in the final of a Grand Slam. I was so excited last night, it’s a dream. I hope at the Paralympics next year this can happen again.” 

– Japan’s Yui Kamiji was thrilled to be a part of the first all-Japanese Grand Slam final at a major. 26-year-old Kamiji, an eight-time Slam champion, defeated Momoko Ohtani, 6-2, 6-1 in the women's wheelchair singles title decider.

“The message is to focus on their dream and never give up on your life, on everything you want to do and you want to reach.” 

– Italy’s Martina Trevisan, who made a triumphant run to the quarter-finals from qualifying, took four years away from tennis to overcome personal problems and an eating disorder. This year in Paris she shared her message of resilience. 

I'm super disappointed that I lost, that I didn't make the semis this year. But at the same time I'm happy for him. He really deserves it. It's an amazing achievement by him to break into the top 10 for the first time in the career. As I said, I'm happy for him. Maybe to lose against a friend hurts a little bit less.” 

– After falling to his good friend Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-finals, third-seeded Dominic Thiem said he was happy to see his good friend make a major milestone. Class!  

“I don't watch about records. I know who is on the other side. I have a lot of respect for him. At the end you want to win. You go on court to play your tennis with your personality. You go on court trying to play your tennis, trying to win obviously.” 

– 19-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner became the first male player to reach the Roland-Garros quarter-finals on his debut since 2005 this year in Paris. The Italian lost to Rafael Nadal but not because he didn’t have the right attitude.