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Verbal volleys, clever quips, honest assessments. Media Day at the BNP Paribas Open had a bit of everything from the top stars of tennis. Scroll down for the highlights…   

Aryna Sabalenka, on where she keeps her two Australian Open trophies, and how her mom craves a new addition to her daughter’s trophy case

“My mom has them, and they are side by side. She calls them twins and she says, ‘We need to have a different one – it looks boring when you have two of the same ones, can you work on the other Slams?’ I’m like mom, what an easy request, thanks for that – you could have just appreciated these two, they weren’t easy to get.” 

Carlos Alcaraz, on returning as the defending men’s singles champ at this year’s BNP Paribas Open 

“I’m coming here to defend the title. It’s difficult, I know. The best tennis players in the world are here, and some of them are playing great tennis this year, and it’s gonna be really difficult. But I’m here to do it.” 

Jessica Pegula, on the impetus behind her decision to change coaches after a long, successful run with David Witt

“I just felt like I needed to take some chances. Not that being 30 is the end – I think I just didn’t want to look back and be like maybe I should have tried someone else, or tried something different. I think it was just more to keep pushing myself, and I didn’t want to feel too comfortable. I kind of wanted to change things up, and I think being uncomfortable makes you learn new things and pushes you in new directions and can be really helpful.” 

Jannik Sinner, on whether he always believed he’d become a Grand Slam champion

“You never know if you can achieve these kinds of things, especially when you are younger and you decide to try to be a professional tennis player – I was never dreaming to become that good. It has been something incredible. I come from a normal family, and where I’m from, we usually do more winter sports than summer sports. I was just trying to get better.” 

Coco Gauff, nominee for Time Woman of the Year and Vogue Covergirl, on fame

“I just don’t feel famous, I feel like a regular person. People approach me and I feel like they think I’m some extraordinary being and I’m not – I’m just a tennis player, and a person who tries to uplift the people around her. So many people in the world do that, not just famous people, also just regular humans in their communities. I don’t think [fame] makes me any different.” 

Naomi Osaka, on balancing motherhood and her comeback

“It’s definitely different. In a way, I feel when I come back to where [my daughter Shai] is, I’m immediately a mom. So in some ways, it’s really fun, of course. I think when I’m away from her, I’m always an athlete, but when she’s here, I’m an athlete and a mom at the same time. So there’s a constant surge of energy that I have to have. And I hope it ends up doing well for me here.”

Relaxed Iga Swiatek, on taking two days of downtime in beautiful Southern California prior to arriving at Indian Wells 

“One was in Malibu, it was amazing. Just shopping, beach, oyster bar, and the other day was just more chilled, just in the pool – so pretty fun.” 

Daniil Medvedev, on how he has learned to roll with the changes over the course of his tennis career

“We always put a lot of questions in our heads. Sometimes it’s good, and sometimes it’s bad. That’s what I learned to love about tennis – is that it’s changing. For example, two weeks ago, I was hurting a little in my body here and there, and now it’s changed and I feel well here in Indian Wells. And I have more motivation and attention to what I can do on a tennis court than when I was coming to practice two weeks before... I’ve learned to enjoy the changes, and even if I don’t enjoy them, I try to think about better days ahead.” 

Zheng Qinwen, on why she hasn’t been able to keep in touch with legend Li Na after meeting her at this year’s Australian Open

“I should have asked for her WeChat… maybe next time.”

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