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The truths can hurt

Richard Williams, the father of tennis mega-stars Venus and Serena Williams, once quipped that, of all the athletes he'd ever mingled with, the two dumbest types were boxers and tennis players.

I don't adhere to that, although with folks like Mike Tyson, Johnny Tapia and Lleyton Hewitt to point to, you can certainly see the senior Williams' point.

With that in mind and in the spirit of the U.S. Open, here are some funny anecdotes and sayings, dubbed "59 Obvious Truths About Tennis," courtesy of "Inside Tennis."

 

59. Time and again we are told, In tennis, love means nothing.

 

58. Ivo Karlovic said the difference between winning and losing against Roger Federer was that Roger won the last point.

 

57. When Russian Elena Vesnina netted yet another drop shot, Australian TV contended, "what she needs to work on if she's to progress is net clearance."

 

56. Mitch Hedberg once said, "The depressing thing about tennis is that no matter how good I get, I'll never be as good as a wall."

 

55. Justine Henin: "If I lose the third set, maybe I lose the match."

 

54. A reporter to Andy Roddick before his U.S. Open semifinal: "You're probably rooting for yourself to win."

 

53. A couple of days after Mark Philippoussis won a marathon Wimbledon match, a reporter asked him, "Did you wake up the next morning?"

 

52. Boris Becker noted that Wimbledon needed "to start to build Centre Court, otherwise they won't finish it."

 

51. Pam Shriver informed us that left-handers have it rougher serving into the sun in the Southern Hemisphere than the Northern Hemisphere. She also noted that, "All the feathers in badminton birdies come from the left side of the goose."

 

50. When Cliff Drysdale asked Ivan Lendl, who had long been absent from tennis, what he'd been doing with his life, Lendl replied, "Living it, Cliff. "

 

49. Asked about the state of the game, the late Phillipe Chatrier, who headed the ITF, said, "Tennis is in a healthy mess."

 

48. As her tennis game with Woody Allen in the movie in Annie Hall evolved from forehands to flirtation, Diane Keaton self-consciously told Woody, "Oh God what a dumb thing to say, right? You say I play well and right away I say you play well. La-di-da, la-di-da, la-la."

 

47. While assessing women's tennis, writer Gianni Clerici contended, "We need a third sister."

 

46. Serena Williams contended that when she's playing well, she's the best in the world and added that, "It's not even a belief. It's more of a fact."

 

45. Martina Navratilova: "Anytime you have to play Serena you have a tough draw. But Serena doesn't have to face that. She doesn't have to play herself."

 

44) After his high-profile match at the U.S. Open, Nebraskan Jack Sock confided, "When you play on Ashe [Stadium] at the Open, it feels a lot different than playing at Blue Valley North in May at the high school state championship."

 

43. Just before winning the third set of his Wimbledon semifinal, Jo-Willie Tsonga was hit in his privates. After the players came out for the fourth set, the BBC said, "A new set, but not new balls."

 

42. Mary Carillo suggested that in order to beat Nadal on clay, "All Federer has to do is hit all of his shots on the lines."

 

41. Asked why the first set of a match against Henman got to a tiebreak, Roddick quipped, "Because we got to six-all."

 

40. Former Head racket executive John Supple: "If you really want to know which rackets the pros prefer, burn all their contracts and let them buy their own rackets. Then see what happens."

 

39. Before this years Miami final between the game's two premier shriekers, Sharapova and Azaranka, Bill McAtee said, "It might get loud."

 

38. Pam Shriver: "Some of these players grunt when they drop shot, and no drop shot deserves a grunt."

 

37. Reflecting on the poignant collapse of Jana Novotna in the 1993 Wimbledon finals, Simon Barnes wrote that she played a game of tennis for everyone who has ever made an absolutely ghastly mistake. Or, to put it another way, for the entire human race.

 

36. Maria Sharapova: "I wouldn't be a professional athlete if I weren't a professional athlete."

 

35. Also from Sharapova: "Beauty sells. I'm not going to make myself ugly."

 

34. When Mardy Fish was asked about the difference between playing all his matches at night and an upcoming day match, he replied, "It's a matter of night and day."

 

33. After a loss in San Francisco, Fritz Buehning told the media, "All refs stink, I'll see you later."

 

32. Before their match last Fall, chair ump Muhammed Lahani told Federer and David Ferrer, "If you have any questions today, you know where I am."

 

31. While John Isner admitted he was not the fastest guy out there, Lou Holtz, who was then coaching Notre Dame, said he didn't realize how fast Raghiv "Rocket" Ismail was until he saw him playing tennis with himself.

 

30. Bud Collins noted that the Navratilova-Evert final at Amelia Island was the match of the century "at least for this week."

 

29. After a local favorite lost, an Australian headline insisted that, "SUN WILL CONTINUE TO SHINE DESPITE MOLIK MELTDOWN."

 

28. Brit Nick Price wrote that Russian women's tennis "has a pipeline. British tennis has a drain."

 

27. After Anastassia Rodionova was drubbed in straight sets while wearing dark sunglasses, one commentator suggested that she wore them "because she didn't want to see the scoreboard."

 

26. After losing to Federer at the Aussie Open, Roddick quipped, "It was frustrating. It was miserable. It sucked. It was terrible. Besides that, it was fine."

 

25. Similarly, in 1995 after Sampras won one of the most memorable points in U.S. Open history a 22-stroke set-point he said it was the best point he ever played. Agassi said it sucked.

 

24. When Agassi teased Roddick during an exhibition, asking him, "Let's see what you got, big boy," Andy replied, "Hair."

 

23. Pam Shriver: I think Lindsay's parents are terrific. You know why? I've never met them ... I'm crazy about the Davenports."

 

22. David Wheaton suggested that Gabriela Sabatini wears a hat during night matches "because she's afraid of moon burn, I guess."

 

21. After a tough loss, Stefan Edberg said, "I'm not disappointed I lost Wimbledon. There's another tournament next week."

 

20. When asked why he wears a cross, Juan Martin Del Potro replied, "Well, I'm Catholic."

 

19. When IT asked John McEnroe whether he thought tennis players needed to show more emotion, he replied, "is the Pope Catholic?"

 

18. John McEnore's brother Patrick conceded he never argued with officials. "Arguing is just not worth it. I couldn't win with my names."

 

17. Jeff Tarango said that when he was a junior, tournament directors viewed Pat McEnroe "[As] the lesser of two evils. He always seemed to get the sportsmanship award. I think people were happy he didn't burn the place down."

 

16. After Bob Bryan revealed that it looked like he and his wife Michelle were probably going to have their first child on the day of the Aussie Open doubles final, the Californian confided, "We weren't planning."

 

15. Marat Safin said that if his younger sister Dinara Safina does "everything opposite of what I've been doing throughout the years, she will be No. 1 for a long time."

 

14. Mary Carillo: "Elena Dementieva normally does a good job of recovering from herself."

 

13. Carillo said that Kournikova's attitude toward everyone was, "Peel me a grape."

 

12. Kournikova: "Without tennis I would probably be cleaning toilets somewhere in Russia."

 

11. Svetlana Kuznetsova said her goal in life was to be perfect.

 

10. Reflecting on the economics of amateur tennis, Althea Gibson said, "Being a champion is all well and good, but you can't eat a crown."

 

9. After Roddick explained that the much-maligned pattern on his U.S. Open shirt looked like a subway map, a reporter asked if there were any subways in Andy's hometown of Austin. Roddick noted, "The only subways they have in Austin are sandwich shops."

 

8. Navratilova: "Let's just put it this way: I'm the greatest volleyer that's ever played, and I would have a hard time serve-and-volleying in today's game."

 

7. Justin Gimmelstob: "There are good misses and there are bad misses. At least with good misses you have the advantage of the intent to do damage."

 

6. When the South African apartheid government allowed Arthur Ashe to play there in order to show the world how inclusive they were, Richard Evans wrote, "Of course, you cannot hide the absurdity of absurd and barbarous laws."

 

5. Serena's mother Oracene: "What's inside a person always comes out."

 

4. Reflecting on a match at crunch time, Pat McEnroe said, "The heart of the matter is heart."

 

3. The late David Foster Wallace: "Tennis is a perfect combination of violent action taking place in an atmosphere of total tranquility."

 

2. After losing the Australian Open, Sharapova said that there are "a lot less worse situations than losing a tennis match and that there are a lot of people who don't even know what a tennis match is. "

 

1. And finally, don't forget what baseball's fabled Yogi Berra, who has nothing to do with tennis (except that his daughter is a good tennis writer), told us: "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future."