Media day musings

 - Sarah Edworthy

Players' whimsical takes on form, fitness and friends ahead of RG19.

Simona Halep media day© Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Roger Federer

On the 1999 Roland-Garros women’s singles final: “I remember vividly the Martina Hingis-Steffi Graf match because Martina was basically my age and she was doing things, I didn't know how she did it, but at a young age while I was still in diapers basically but the same age as her, she was No.1 in the world.”

On why he is pleased with his body:Being healthy is key at this stage of my career, and I'm very happy with how my body has been…I wanted to make sure I was 100% going to be able to play at Roland-Garros…I didn't have to second-guess myself too many times because my body always said yes. It was just a question if it was good for my schedule. Is the family okay with it? Do the coaches agree? But from the body I always got the green light, and that's a luxury at this age.”

Speaking frankly

Dominic Thiem on his favourite court in the world: If I could choose to play one match in my life, I think I would maybe choose Suzanne-Lenglen. I love the court. It's an amazing size, and I have played a lot of great matches there.”

Rafael Nadal, on geography and his aptitude in the elements: “Of course, being from an island, we have wind. But if you ask me if I prefer to play with wind or without, I prefer to play without.”

Gael Monfils

The Frenchman doesn't mince his words ...

Q. In the draw, you're with Thiem and Del Potro. No Rafa or Djokovic before later in the tournament.

GM: Well, it's a good thing, otherwise I'd be dead.

Naomi Osaka

On how she's feeling: “I'm currently very cold because I just took an ice bath, but other than that, I feel good.”

On her next major milestone: “Roland Garros. That's what I'm dreaming about right now. If you're talking about longer goals, of course I haven't won Wimbledon yet either, and it would be really cool to win everything in one year. The Olympics are coming up, too. We're not forgetting about that.”

On blooming "late":I feel really old, but actually I'm 21... I'm talking like a 35-year-old person that's been through a lot. I always thought I would be No.1 and win a Grand Slam when I was 18… When that didn't happen, I was a little bit depressed. I was thinking, like, I'm late to the party.”

On staying reserved: “I always wanted to win the US Open and the Australian but I wouldn't tell anyone because I didn't really believe that I could. This year I called my mom in the second round. I was, like, ‘Do you want to come to Australia because I'm going to win this tournament?’ She was, like, ‘No, I'm with your sister. No thank you.’

Czech mate, Simona!

Karolina Pliskova on finding a kindred spirit in Simona Halep:There are some players who are just too intense for practice. You don't want to be stressing in practice, because there is enough stress and nerves in the matches when the tournament starts… So we always try to hit. I always enjoy to play Simona. It's a guarantee that the practice is going to be a good level, because she always fights in the practice. But on the other hand, it's relaxed. We can laugh. We can even talk about stuff, not about tennis.”

Halep on being "too happy" to play her best tennis again: “Probably, but I am happy to be in this position, I have to admit this. I will try to do the things [I did] as a kid, enjoying the time. I wanted this badly, and I wanted so much that now having it, I just want to be happy and to smile. Yesterday when I had the chance to touch the trophy again, I wanted to take it home, but I was not able to do that… I'm still motivated because my career doesn't stay [still] in a Grand Slam or ranking. I play tennis because I love playing tennis. I'm here because I love the life of an athlete. I like to make friends. I like to spend time with people, and now I see the things differently so I am discovering a different life on tour.”

Around the grounds

Sloane Stephens, on the the new-look Roland-Garros: “Not too bad. I just go places that I know are still there, if that makes sense.”

Kristina Mladenovic, on being a role model: “I’m very proud and flattered if I inspire young tennis players, may they be girls or boys, or adults as well. They send me wonderful notes of support and they have a lot of emotions. It's always strange to see how much impact we can have on others.”