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tennisIlove09
Feb 26th, 2003, 08:42 PM
Winners With Words: Agassi, Serena Selected Most Quotable Players

By Richard Pagliaro
02/26/2003

Andre Agassi and Serena Williams were crowned Australian Open champions last month and now the pair are not only champions on the court they're winners with words. The top-ranked Williams and second-ranked Agassi reigned over opponents and rule with reporters too.


In a vote conducted by the International Tennis Writers Association, Agassi and Williams were elected the ASAP Sports/ITWA Most Quotable Players of the Year for 2002.

The 32-year-old Agassi accumulated almost three times as many votes (26) than the man who placed second, temperamental titan Marat Safin, who received nine votes. Pete Sampras was third with six votes and James Blake finished fourth with five votes. Many writers find Agassi's insights illuminating.

"I'm challenged by the game itself," Agassi said after winning the Tennis Masters Series-Rome title last year. "I think the game is a complex one. I think it continually asks more forces you to ask more of yourself. I find that as I get older, it gets more difficult, which increases the challenge of it, which fuels the very thing that motivated me in the first place."

On the women's side, Williams received 20 votes, followed by Kim Clijsters (11), Lindsay Davenport (5) and Amelie Mauresmo (4). When it comes to offering thoughtful answers, Clijsters is consistently one of the most cooperative women in the top 10, which is one reason why it was so surprising when her father and manager, Leo Clijsters, announced earlier this week his daughter would decline to speak to certain sections of the press.

Both Agassi and Serena are known for drawing sizeable crowds to their matches and post-match press conferences and are equally adept at hitting winners and filling the notebooks of reporters with quotable content.

In the aftermath of her run to the Roland Garros championship last spring, Williams emphatically expressed her belief that she was the best player on the planet.

"Serena Williams has, in my mind, always been the best tennis player," Williams said speaking in the third person after claiming her second career Grand Slam crown. "It's just been maybe a lack of results. I didn't want to be a one-hit wonder. But in my mind, I've always felt that I've been No. 1. But that's how you have to think going into any sport. If you don't think like this, you'll lack confidence."

Fittingly, the Most Quotable Players of the Year were coupled in a quote from Williams herself last night. In an interview with a few reporters at the State Farm Women's Classic in Scottsdale, Williams was asked her thoughts on top woman golfer Anika Sorrenstam playing golf against men and her response revealed her thoughts about how she would fare against Agassi.

"I'm definitely all for it (Sorrenstam playing against men). It's perfect but in tennis, it's like Lennox Lewis against Leila Ali," Williams said. "But for golf, maybe it's way different. Leila Ali would have no chance against Lewis and I'd have no chance against Andre Agassi. It's just different bodies and different types. I think that would be impossible."

Crazy Canuck
Feb 27th, 2003, 02:16 AM
Sampras was considered the third most quotable male? That's insulting to so many people...

Bright Red
Feb 27th, 2003, 02:49 AM
Originally posted by Rebecca
Sampras was considered the third most quotable male? That's insulting to so many people...

For me, however, they picked the right guy. Sampras is a major ***YAWN***

selesfan
Feb 27th, 2003, 03:10 AM
When has Sampras made a decent quote?

Crazy Canuck
Feb 27th, 2003, 05:15 AM
Oh wow, was that taken the wrong way or what?

I was pointing out that the fact that they consider Sampras the 3rd most quotable male, indicates to me that they have only heard of 3 ATP players...

Crazy Canuck
Feb 27th, 2003, 05:17 AM
Although I don't disagree with their number one pick. Agassi is not my choice personally - I would go with Safin, Kafelnikov, or Blake... even Rios makes a case ;). But I can definately see a case for Andre.

But Pete? Third? Like I said... clearly they haven't spoken to more than a few players...

kiwifan
Feb 27th, 2003, 06:05 AM
Goran is the most quotable male!!!

They got the women's side right, way to go Mama Smash!!!

Crazy Canuck
Feb 27th, 2003, 06:58 AM
Goran... I agree with you there. But unfortunately he wasn't playing most of last year, so we didn't get to hear much from him, Safin is sort of like his understudy ;)