A lot of words were said at this year's US Open. After three weeks of every-sense-of-the-word torrid tennis, here are the best, most interesting and/or insightful quotes from the players – plus more observers – at this final major event of 2018.
First, a Eugenie Bouchard instant classic:
Question: Genie, you had three days off since qualies, how did you prepare for this match?— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) August 29, 2018
Genie Bouchard: I went to the Drake concert.
"I see it all over Instagram. 'Oh, it’s so great staying at the Blah Blah Blah Hotel.' It’s a lot." – Barbora Strycova, in response to all her peers posting about their New York accommodations, and noting that she has never had such a US Open hotel partnership.
Karen Khachanov with some reverse-trolling of the entertainment media:
Yeah I am the 4th brother???????? https://t.co/I5pG9vjixY— Karen Khachanov (@karenkhachanov) September 5, 2018
"I think every athlete, every human, and definitely every African American should be completely grateful and honored how Colin [Kaepernick] and Eric [Reid] are doing so much more for the greater good. They really use their platform in ways that [are] really unfathomable. I feel like they obviously have great respect from a lot of their peers, especially other athletes, people that really are looking for social change." – Serena Williams
"It's not only about the tennis, not only about the fitness, but it's also about the mental, to know exactly those little moments that everything is clear, you go for it, you do it, you don't get soft." – Stan Wawrinka
“He's a fantastic player. He's a real talent. Sometimes he just doesn't want to play.” — Pierre-Hugues Herbert, speaking to the curious case of Nick Kyrgios, who chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani implored to, well, try harder, in their early-round encounter.
Reader: “Watching the umpire climb out of his chair to give a pep talk to Kyrgios reminds me of the time that the home plate umpire called time out, pulled Aaron Judge aside, and implored him to lay off the low and away pitches. oh wait, one of those two scenarios never happened”— Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim) August 30, 2018
"We don't sit around and reflect. That's not how you get out here and win matches, reflecting and looking back. You work hard, look forward. As soon as you beat one person, there's another one standing in front of you." — Venus Williams
"We started this journey 35 years ago, maybe less. Well, in a way, it started before we were born." — Serena Williams, on rivalry with sister Venus
Alize Cornet, who now knows a thing or two about an outfit-related kerfuffle, defending Serena:
"You have people, like the president of my federation, who lives in another time. What Bernard Giudicelli said about Serena Williams' catsuit was 10 times worse than what happened to me yesterday."
3/ @alizecornet was penalized for changing her shirt during the open on a blistering hot day. Then received support from women in the tournament. @vika7: "She literally changed her shirt because it was backwards. So I couldn't believe this was a conversation" #UsOpen pic.twitter.com/DenecNTM9D— Kelsey Trainor (@ktrain_11) September 10, 2018
Serena, after her championship-match dustups with chair umpire Carlos Ramos, defending herself and, in part, Cornet:
Everyone should listen to this from Serena Williams. pic.twitter.com/TF03dhpq2P— Cameron Cox (@CamCox12) September 8, 2018
Naomi Osaka, winkingly delivering a great line well before her first major final came a bit unraveled:
"I get told a lot, 'What do you want from your career?' I wouldn’t say I’m satisfied with my career. I think there is a lot more to be done and there is a lot more to be explored. I want to achieve more in the sport." –Kyrgios, after his loss to Federer
Osaka delivered some bona fide hilarity after beating Aryna Sabalenka, the sole player to take a set off her at this tournament:
Today’s #Osaka show :— Megan Fernandez (@MeganFernandez7) September 3, 2018
Reporter: “Your answers are so short. Are you like this with friends?”
Osaka: “What friends?”
Then: “I have like one friend I am totally myself around. And my sister, which I don’t reallt count. I hope that was a long answer for you!”#USOpen18
"When I woke up, I just was thinking on that match. I just wanted to win. I mean, was a really good present for me. I was playing also last year same day against Venus Williams, and I lost. This time I don't want to feel like last year. I wanted to have a happy birthday, and I have it." – Carla Suarez Navarro, upon upsetting Maria Sharapova
"It’s the match you want to play. It’s nothing about [Kaia] Kanepi, but I came here to play that match. If I’m this far, I want to be in Arthur Ashe, playing Serena. I remember that feeling. It doesn’t have to be that I beat her, but just to be there and play against her. I know she’s not No. 1 now as she was two years ago, but she’s still an amazing player. It would be so much better to play her. ... Okay, she has all the respect from me, but I can beat her, so I’m not worried about her. She has a big game, but sometimes she behaves bigger than her game is." – Karolina Pliskova, ahead of her hotly anticipated showdown with Serena
"I usually come in only to shake hands." – Serena Williams after defeating Pliskova on the strength of 24-for-28 attempts at net
"We had all the opportunities. We mustn't lie about this. We were all over them and controlling the whole match. I think it just slipped out of our hands in the second set, and then after we were down big-time, and we were really fighting till the end, and this is why they are such a great team. I mean, for now, personally, me, I don't have regrets. We gave everything what we had. It was a great opportunity, but 100% sure that the way we play we will have a lot, lot, lot more." –Timea Babos, about dropping the women's doubles championship alongside Kristina Mladenovic to CoCo Vandeweghe and Ashleigh Barty by a 3-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (6) count
Epic match. Grand slam final. Crazy emotions. Cruel end. But walking out with heads up high and full of memories. Thank you ma @timeababos for being my partner in crime. No doubt we will continue to write amazing pages in our book. ???? Thank you @usopen & see you next year for new battles! #USOpen #newyork #heretocreate ???? @cocodubreuil
"Bob's got first dibs." – Mike Bryan, commenting on his doubles partnership with brother Bob Bryan after moving beyond this US Open, in which he won the men's doubles title with Jack Sock
"Appreciating the journey is the real win. These titles come. When they do, they're amazing. But it really only lasts a few minutes." – Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who rebounded from an injury to capture the mixed doubles title alongside Jamie Murray
"When she broke me in that one game and I had to try and save break points, I was like 'What would Serena d– oh, she's right there.' Oh wait, what am I doing?" – Osaka, about seizing her championship moment
Also Osaka (because Osaka): "I don't know what happened on the court. So for me, I'm always going to remember the Serena that I love. It doesn't change anything for me. She was really nice to me at the net and on the podium." http://www.wtatennis.com/news/insider-takeaways-naomi-osakas-us-open-performance-fitting-tribute-serena
And with that, we eagerly await next year's Grand Slam tennis. 2019, do your best.
Follow Jon on Twitter @jonscott9.
This Weekend on Tennis Channel PLUS
-Davis Cup Semifinals (Sep. 14-16): USA takes on Croatia, while Spain faces France
-Additionally, watch Davis Cup World Group Playoffs featuring Austria vs. Australia and Canada vs. Netherlands