Words will never beat foes’ fierce forehands and lacerating down-the-line backhands. Even so, the best verbal volleys that players hit over the course of the season, aimed at themselves or others, can sear all the same. “Brevity is the soul of wit,” said Bill Shakespeare, duly noted by some of the game’s top guns.
In ascending order of “zing!” factor, here are the 2015 tennis season’s 10 best sound bites:
First, let’s get this Dishonorable Mention out of the way: “Uh, he didn’t apologize. … But I prefer not to talk about him. Thank you.”—Stan Wawrinka on Nick Kyrgios after the latter’s crass mid-match comment in August.
Honorable Mention No. 1: “She just looks like she invites danger.”—Chris Evert on Maria Sharapova, who won 7-5 in the third set against No. 150 Alexandra Panova at the Australian Open after facing down two match points.
Honorable Mention No. 2: “I just think he spends way too much time worrying about his hair.”—Eugenie Bouchard on compatriot Milos Raonic.
10. “Discussion, eh?”—Ivo Karlovic after being informed at a Montreal press conference that journalists had bandied about the question of who the ATP World Tour’s best server is (Later in 2015, he become the all-time aces leader in men’s tennis)
9. “I’m the world No. 8, not No. 100. In every press conference, it seems I am No. 200. I’m not so bad.”—Rafael Nadal on whether the press had its own defeatist attitude about him this year.
8. “I lost my muscles and I look like jelly. There was nothing there. Then when I saw myself in the mirror a month ago I was like, ‘Oh, my God. I got to do some work.'”—Jelena Jankovic on the idea she had to retire after the 2014 season due to beleaguering injuries.
7. (Most Awkward Exchange of the Year)
Media member to Tomas Berdych: “Do you feel your form is good going into the quarterfinals?”
*Cue Berdych gives look of disbelief.
Moderator: “He lost.”
Berdych: “He knows that, right? Is he making fun of me?”
5. “You’re an idiot.”—J.K. Rowling to a Twitter troll who said Serena is “built like a man.”
4. “When I am at my best, I am more like [Novak] Djokovic game-wise. When I’m not, I’m more like [Andy] Murray”—Borna Coric, in a Times of India interview in Chennai (before he sought to walk back the comment).
3. “I don’t think you’re ever going to hear nice words from him about me.”—Maria Sharapova on Patrick Mouratoglou (Serena Williams’ coach) during Wimbledon, who said Victoria Azarenka is “much better” than the Russian.
2. “Mate, Rafa takes 30 seconds between points every time, and all I’m doing is putting my socks back on.”—Kyrgios, to Wimbledon chair umpire James Keothavong, who he felt was hassling him.
1. “I didn’t even wear white in my wedding.”—The ever-quotable Bethanie Mattek-Sands on Wimbledon’s strict predominantly-white dress code
Your turn to properly punctuate 2015, tennis fans: What quotes stand out to you from this epic tennis season?
Follow Jon on Twitter @jonscott9.