Say what? Best quotes of RG 2024

Quotable quips, soulful soliloquies and powerful proclamations – the best quotes of the Paris fortnight

Rafael Nadal, first round, Roland-Garros 2024
 - Chris Oddo

Verbal volleys, press room banter, on-court comedy. There was something for everyone at this year's Roland-Garros.

Here's our compilation of notable quotes from the 128th staging of Roland-Garros.

Gael Monfils, paying tribute to 14-time champion Rafael Nadal after the Spaniard's first-round loss to Alexander Zverev:

“It's important, because he's our legend. He's everybody's legend. He's back. It's impossible not to watch him, impossible. When I say it's important, it's more than that. I know that I love him, whatever happens.”

Rafael Nadal, with a smile, on his 37-year-old body: 

“I cannot tell you if I will be or not in one month and a half, because my body has been a jungle for two years. You don't know what to expect. I wake up one day and I find a snake biting me. Another day a tiger.”

Naomi Osaka, after losing a heartbreaking three-setter to Iga Swiatek in the second round:

“I cried when I got off the court, but then, for me, I kind of realise I was watching Iga win this tournament last year, and I was pregnant. It was just my dream to be able to play her. When I kind of think of it like that, I think I'm doing pretty well.”

Alizé Cornet, giving advice to her 15-year-old self after her last professional match at Roland-Garros:

“I would just say stay as you are and be yourself. Don't fight to be perfect, because you will never be perfect, and you will waste a lot of energy doing so.

“Be genuine. Be loyal and truthful, and people will accept you as you are or not. At 15 years old, the teenager that I was already knew what she had to do as far as tennis was concerned but it's another thing to accept one's self as we are as a person.”

Iga Swiatek, after defeating Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0 in 40 minutes in the round of 16:

“It went pretty quickly – pretty weird.” 

Casper Ruud, on gaining some small revenge on the family of Felipe Melegeni Alves, for his father’s loss to Alves’ uncle in the Bastad final in 1995:

“We talked about it for breakfast, actually. My father… lost the Bastad final one time in his career, so he was never able to win an ATP tournament, and the guy he lost to in the final was Felipe's uncle. 

“I think both me and my dad wanted to get some revenge on the Meligeni family. It was worth the wait, I guess. It was many years we had to wait, but we got it today.”

Olga Danilovic, after reaching the second week at a major for the first time with a dramatic three-set victory over Donna Vekic:

"Every match I get is like a blessing, and playing in the biggest stages of our sport is a blessing – I try to take as much as I can."

Olga Danilovic / 3e tour Roland-Garros 2024©Philippe Montigny / FFT

Daria Kasatkina, on legend Andy Murray, after the Scot played what will likely be his final Roland-Garros match against Stan Wawrinka in the first round:

“Andy is the best. We're going to miss him a lot. His British sense of humour was amazing. Also, the guy is such a character on court. He was one of the best players in the world. So I really enjoy him playing. I was sometimes, you know, trying to learn something from his game."

Tunisian trailblazer Ons Jabeur, summing up the sport of tennis in one swift sentence:

“But nothing is sure about tennis. You can play unbelievable and lose, and you can play shi**y and win.”

Richard Gasquet, pondering whether or not his 21st Roland-Garros appearance, which ended against Jannik Sinner in the second round, will be his last:

“I have no answer to that really. It's month by month. It's very hard to say or to know when you have to stop, so I don't really know.” 

Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov, on waiting out the rain during his suspended fourth-round match with Hubert Hurkacz:

“I think after, I don't know, 17 naps and the amount of rice I had and fruits and everything, it has truly been an experience for me after 15 years to experience something new, so I'm pretty happy about it.” 

Grigor Dimitrov, quarter-final, Roland-Garros 2024©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Italy’s Flavio Cobolli, who reached the third round in Paris, with a succinct summary of his undying passion for tennis after being asked if he would like more tough matches like his five-set loss to Holger Rune on Court 14:

“Of course, I hope so. I wait solely for this. I live for this.”

Aussie Alex De Minaur on finding a new friend during his magical run to the quarter-finals in Paris:

“That young lad was there from the very first point till the last with five hours of rain delay. He was this little kid that every single change of ends, every single point I won, he was screaming at my face. I’m looking at him and thinking if I was a fan, I would probably be back home, because it was bloody cold out there.

“He gave me life…. It was amazing. I appreciate this kid.”

Mixed doubles champion Laura Siegemund, on how a last-minute texting volley led to a mixed doubles title with Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin:

“He texted me literally two hours before. I was like, ‘Okay, that's really the kind of player I'm absolutely looking for. We had many times I wanted to play really bad with him, and he was set already, or some other situation. I was, like, okay, I cannot say no to this. I'm really happy that I decided to say yes.” 

Edouard Roger-Vasselin Laura Siegemund Roland-Garros 2024©Nicolas Gouhier / FFT

Varvara Gracheva, who was the only French woman to reach the second week, after singing La Marseillaise with fans:

“I will remember that moment until the end of my life. After the interview, they said ‘it's your first French Open as a French player with the French crowd.’ I couldn't believe what a wonderful atmosphere it was!”

Singles quarter-finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas on why he was signed up to play singles, mixed and doubles at Roland-Garros: 

“Well, it’s all for love. From both sides. It’s all about love, and combining love and tennis is quite exceptional.”

Teenager Mirra Andreeva on her tennis intellect, after becoming the youngest woman to reach the semi-finals in Paris since 1997: 

"I see the game, I just play wherever I want, I don't even have a plan. When I see an open space, I try to hit there.” 

Four-time Roland-Garros champion Iga Swiatek on being mentioned in comparison to Rafael Nadal: 

“We'll see in 14 years if the journey is similar. I mean, that's obviously really nice for me. I would never expect anybody to compare me to Rafa because for me he's above everybody, and he's a total legend.

"But I'm proud of myself that I'm playing consistently here and that I'm mentioned in the same sentence as Rafa. That's cool.”

Iga Swiatek / Victoire Roland-Garros 2024©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT