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OPEN COURT

US Open Results; Interviews With Winners Novak Djokovic, Samantha Stosur; Four Musketeers of Tennis; US Open Players Turn Tour Guides

Aired September 15, 2011 - 05:30:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PAT CASH, HOST: Welcome to OPEN COURT. This month, coming to you from New York, home to some of the greatest sporting venues in the world: Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden and, for two weeks every summer, Flushing Meadows, the site of the final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open.

And this year, it lived up to all the hype, in spite of the rain. Let's look back at two incredible weeks of tennis that captivated the Big Apple.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TEXT: IRENE THREATENS

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are rivers out of their banks, there are cities and towns flooding.

TEXT: BUT THE SHOW MUST GO ON

WIMBLEDON CHAMP OUT

VENUS SIDELINED

VENUS WILLIAMS, 43 CAREER TITLES: I think I've had issues with Sjogren's for a while. I was diagnosed this summer, a few weeks ago, actually.

TEXT: BUT STOSUR SURVIVES

SEEDS STAY STRONG

UNTIL

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rafael Nadal, after beating the Albania, that match went 2:39. Look at -- cramping.

TEXT: TWO WEEK

SWINGS BY

FAB 4 ADVANCE

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's very powerful, and she's a great athlete, so it's not going to be easy, but I have my strengths as well, and hopefully I can beat her this tour.

TEXT: SERENE TOO STRONG, 6-2, 6-4

STOSUR OUTGUNS KERBER, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2

FIRST TWO TO FED

BUT NOVAK ROARS BACK

6-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5

NOVAK DJOKOVIC, US OPEN CHAMPION, 2011: It's obvious that this is the best year of my career by far.

TEXT: MURRAY BULLDOZED

SAMANTHA STOSUR, US OPEN CHAMPION, 2011: It's great that now I've got a second chance to try and win one of these titles.

TEXT: STOSUR STUNS

SERENA SNAPS

6-2, 6-3

RAFAEL NADAL, WORLD NUMBER TWO: It's obvious that I'm the favorite for the final, and I -- I know I have to do something better than the -- the other matches to try to change the equation.

TEXT: 6-2, 6-4

CASH: I saw you at Wimbledon last year in the semifinal, and you looked -- you looked tired. You didn't have any energy, your game was sort of -- was not really going together.

DJOKOVIC: Yes.

CASH: And here we are just over a year later, and it's -- it's just completely turned around.

DJOKOVIC: Yes.

CASH: I mean, you've got to give me some -- give me some clues on how you did that. Did you all -- plan to change things? Or did it all just come together?

DJOKOVIC: Well, I think first of all, it's a mental thing. I had the right scheduling this year. I try to always prioritize the major events, the big events, the big eight, and of course the Grand Slams where I want to perform my best tennis, where I want to prepare and play well.

Where I didn't have -- that wasn't the case in the last couple of years. I was always trying to put 100 percent in every single tournament that I played on, and then when I come to the later stage or the grass, I'm not able to perform my best.

And I was -- I was playing most of those matches against Roger and Rafa or -- quite passive. I came -- I didn't have the right approach to those matches. I just waited for them to take the control of the match, and that's what was happening.

So, I think it's all process of learning. I managed to get that right experience, now. Now I know what to do on the court, now I believe in my abilities and my qualities that I believe I can win.

CASH: And he looks a lot healthier, too. I know, we know you all talked about your change in diet.

DJOKOVIC: Well, listen --

CASH: I -- I'm -- I did the same thing, I changed my diet.

DJOKOVIC: When you're winning, you always look beautiful, healthy, happy.

CASH: Yes.

DJOKOVIC: You know.

CASH: Yes, but you look so skinny. Can we get -- put some --

DJOKOVIC: I know, I am.

CASH: -- put some muscle on here. I mean, you got the muscles.

DJOKOVIC: Listen, as long as it's like this is, I'm starting to need to gain weight, maybe later on.

CASH: Start eating some cream cakes tonight.

(LAUGHTER)

CASH: Thanks very much, mate.

DJOKOVIC: Thanks, Patrick.

CASH: Wow.

STOSUR: This is the best look I've actually had of it the whole time.

CASH: Five or six years ago, when you're winning a few doubles tournaments, and so struggling along. Did you think you'd be holding this? Having --

STOSUR: I've done it.

CASH: I think I'd be holding this.

(LAUGHTER)

CASH: Did you think you'd be holding this saying you won the 2011 US Open?

STOSUR: Not really. I --

CASH: Beating Serena in the finals?

STOSUR: No, I think --

CASH: Easily?

STOSUR: No, no. I obviously wanted to believe that I could win, but there's no chance I thought it would be 6-2, 6-3. So, I still don't really believe it, I don't think.

CASH: Yes, yes. It's -- it'll probably -- I found that, too. It'll probably take you -- it took me about at least ten years before I realized what I'd done. And it's -- but you're in the club, now.

STOSUR: I know, thank you.

CASH: You've got your Grand Slam winners' club.

STOSUR: I'm glad to join it.

CASH: Congratulations.

I want a real honest answer. How did you feel when you actually won the championship? When you had that match point? And I want an honest -- a really honest answer, because -- for me, it was almost a little let down, which was a surprised. I was really happy.

STOSUR: Yes.

CASH: But proud.

STOSUR: Yes.

CASH: But I didn't -- it wasn't as if the world had sort of exploded, you know? And you sort of almost looked that way. Sort of went, "I'm not sure what I'm supposed to feel."

STOSUR: Yes. I think I was just stunned that it was actually over and that last shot was it, and I had won.

And it's funny, looking back at any replays, any big matches I've won, I kind of put my hands on my head and kind of just look so surprised in my face.

But yes. I don't know. It was just -- it's really hard to describe it.

CASH: No, it is, it is. It is really hard to describe.

STOSUR: So much of the match was kind of all a blur, now. I mean, I know I played well, but -- it -- I guess it'll be interesting to watch a replay of it and see exactly what I did, because right now, since I've stepped off that court, it's just been absolutely crazy.

CASH: Non-stop.

STOSUR: Yes.

CASH: But who were your idols growing up?

STOSUR: Steffi Graf and Monica Seles were by far my favorite women's players, and unbelievable to think that --

CASH: Wow.

STOSUR: -- their names are on this trophy, as well. So, I do remember watching Pat play the final here and winning.

CASH: Yes. Pat Rafter.

STOSUR: Yes, exactly.

CASH: Sure.

STOSUR: And it was just -- yes. He was, obviously, a favorite as well, and Andre Agassi.

CASH: They climb through the stands. Much tougher effort than I had to do. You've got this thing here to climb up, it's like four meters high.

STOSUR: I didn't realize it was so high. Just every -- all the guys make it look so easy, I thought, yes, I can do that. And then I got there, I was like, no, I can't. And then they were all telling me to get up there.

CASH: Yes, yes.

STOSUR: Lucky I had the security guards underneath to give me a boost. And I got hoisted in there, so that was, yes, great to be up there with everyone.

CASH: Yes, you've got to go and see that moment. And I mean, because it's a team effort, isn't it? In many ways.

STOSUR: Can't do it by yourself. It's 100 percent no doubt in my mind I wouldn't have been able to do it without that support.

CASH: Well, I know you had 22 million Aussies cheering you, including this one here. We're all so proud of you, Sammy.

STOSUR: Thank you.

CASH: Really so proud of you. Always wish you luck.

STOSUR: Thanks a lot.

CASH: Give me a hug.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CASH: Congratulations to Sam and Novak. Incredible performances this tournament. Sam grabs her first ever Grand Slam singles title, and Novak, well, his incredible year shows no signs of slowing down.

Still to come, four talented Frenchmen climb the rankings, but will they ever reach Musketeer status?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CASH: Much has been said about the Big Four in the men's game, but there's a quartet of Frenchmen who are not that far behind. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet, and Gilles Simon are all ranked inside the best 15 male players in the world. I suppose you could call them the new Four Musketeers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four of the best people, cream of French society - -

CASH: Richard Lester's 1974 film "The Four Musketeers" served up a large dollop of creative license with Alexander Dumas' classic tale, "The Three Musketeers."

But nonetheless, the adventures of Athos, Aramis, Porthos, and D'Artagnan became synonymous with ideas of French flare and fraternity.

It's a swashbuckling story which has entertained audiences around the world, but remains a mark of noble distinction in France itself, reserved for a chosen four.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were indeed one for all, and all for one.

CASH: In the 1920s and early 30s, it was a very different set of Musketeers who delighted French tennis fans, their rapiers replaced by racquets.

BUD COLLINS, AUTHOR, "THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS": They came together as a team. They made up their minds that they were going to win the great trophy for France.

The first one was Rene Lacoste. He's best known because of his clothing line. He had the crocodile on the shirt because he thought tennis players had terrible clothes.

Then there was Henri Cochet, that they called him the Ball Boy of Leon.

Then there was Jean Borotra, who was very gallant. He came from the Basque region and he was called the Bounding Basque.

Toto Brugnon, he was a very good player, but better as a doubles player, Toto Brugnon.

CASH: The Musketeers won 20 Grand Slam titles and six Davis Cups.

COLLINS: They were treated like celebrities, of course, in France, because tennis wasn't really a very big game there, then. So they had to build a stadium, Rolland Garros, because they had no place to play the Davis Cup.

CASH: It's been nearly 80 years since those men graced the courts, but French fans haven't forgotten what they mean to the game. Statues line the red clay courts at Rolland Garros, the men's trophy is named for them, La Coupe des Mousquetaires.

Now, there are four new French Musketeers who hope to follow in their footsteps.

TEXT: Gael Monfils, World number 7, 3 Singles Career Titles, 2010 US Open Quarter-Finalist

Richard Gasquet, World number 15, 6 Singles Career Titles, 2007 Wimbledon Semi-Finalist

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, World number 10, 5 Singles Career Titles, 2008 Australian Open Finalist

Gilles Simon, World number 11, 9 Singles Career Titles, 2009 Australian Open Quarter-Finalist

RICHARD GASQUET, WORLD NUMBER 15: We are old friends, we are 20 years old -- 24, 25, 26, and it's really nice to have them on the tour with me.

GILLES SIMON, WORLD NUMBER 11: The first one I met was Gasquet, because he was so good when he was -- well, when he was, he's still very good -- but I am two years older than him, and he was still able to play with us and to defeat us every time.

So, I think I played with him the first time, we were 10 years old, something like that. Me, I was 10, so he was 8 only, and he was very impressive already, and everybody knew he would be a very, very good player.

And then I met Jo and Gael a few years later, when we were 14, because we were in the same tennis center, and then I started to know them. And now, it's more than 10 years we traveled together.

JO-WILFRIED TSONGA, WORLD NUMBER 10: Me, Gael, Richard, and Gilles were detected really early, around 10, 11. And so I know these guys since, now, 16 years. We grew up together in the same academy, and yes, we have more than tennis in common.

GAEL MONFILS, WORLD NUMBER 7: I met them all differently, like Gilles, he was pretty sure, very, very skinny, you know? And so he was -- it was always a pleasure to be with him. And also the other guys. Impossible I was -- too small, and he was always beat me, beat me, and we knew he had great talent.

SIMON: When I was younger, I was really, really small, and it was very hard to play against Jo, for example. He was already very strong, very powerful. I had no chance to defeat him. But then I had to think about the way, trying every time, and finally, that's why I play this well in the pros.

GASQUET: He's very smart, he's very -- a lot of very good condition. He can run hours and hours. It's very hard to play with him on a baseline, and he's very good athlete.

TSONGA: Gael is -- he seemed like a crazy guy, but he's not. But he's not. He's really smart.

MONFILS: I've always been like that, I always be like that on the court, you know? It's just like, my parents are always telling me, reach it -- try to reach every goal, every goal. And most of the thing is to enjoy on the court.

My mother used to tell me always, laugh on the court. You have to show your passion, because it's a gift to be on the court.

CASH: The French federation calls them the Musketeers, and so does the French media, but the players aren't ready to jump on the bandwagon until they've won the Davis Cup and some Grand Slam events.

TSONGA: We are not Mousquetaires, because we have to win Grand Slam, and we never did it. So I hope it will happen, and then we -- they will call us Mousquetaires.

SIMON: We don't deserve that yet, and I think we won't deserve that, because there is so many good things. I think people were just happy to see us reaching the top 10 and trying to be the top guys, managed to defeat Roger and Rafa sometimes, Novak also.

And it's a good generation. We are good players, but still there are far more better players than us on the tour.

MONFILS: First I think we need two or three Davis Cups. And then, maybe we can be like Mousquetaires.

SIMON: We have different stories, different personalities, also. And -- but we all want to be as good as possible. I think that's the major point.

And seeing the other team -- Jo, winning here, seeing Gael reaching the final, there, Richard also, it gives you the impression that you can do it. Because it's easier to compare yourself to your friends or to the guy you are practicing with than to the top guy.

CASH: In an era dominated by players such as Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic, the Musketeers will need to overcome overwhelming odds to triumph amid the cuts and fuss of today's tennis nobility.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All for one --

UNIDENTIFIED MALES: And one for all!

CASH: But that's all in a day's work for D'Artagnan, Porthos, Aramis, and Athos. And with a new version of the classic tale about to hit the silver screen, perhaps the timing is perfect for French players to yield a just reward.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CASH: Well, that's a nice story and pretty cool that even though they're rivals, they're still really good friends and have a lot of respect for each other.

Time now for a break, but when we come back, an all-access pass to the US Open. The players turn tour guides after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CASH: We've seen a lot of great action over the last two weeks on the courts here at the US Open, but there's also a lot of action going on behind the scenes. So I asked my good mate and French Open doubles champion, Murphy Jensen, to take you around.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MURPHY JENSEN, 1993 FRENCH OPEN DOUBLES CHAMPION: Thanks, Pat. You know, this headband didn't help me too much to win the US Open, but it did help you win Wimbledon. But we're here at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, and I'm going to go hang out with some players and show you the ins and outs of the 2011 US Open.

ANDREA PETKOVIC, WORLD NUMBER 11: Hello, everybody, I'm Andrea Petkovic. I'm a professional tennis player at the US Open. I won my match today, and I'm taking you to some interviews.

This is my security. That I don't need normally because nobody recognizes me anyway.

We are going to tennis channel, now. Basically, what I did today, I had a press conference in the main room, were around 100 journalists sit in, and there were four. Four people wanting to ask me questions.

OK, here we go into interview.

You want half?

Hi, Tracy. Andrea, nice to meet you, how are you?

JENSEN: Now we're in the media center. Right here at the US Open, there are two cultures of the US Open, the players' side and the media side. Let's check it out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Attention press. Jurgen Melzer is in interview room four now. Melzer, room four, now.

JENSEN: Now, this is interview room number one. Once that door closes, it is all business for the media and the players. Every player that wins or loses will end up on this stage in that seat answering the hard, tough line questions.

That's how you do it, one take.

(LAUGHTER)

JENSEN: Thank you. That's how you do it. Thank you. Thank you.

FLAVIA PENNETTA, WORLD NUMBER 23: Hi, you are with me, hello. We arrive here where you can see how the stringers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Katarina Vitkova is in interview room three now. Vitkova, room three now.

JAN-MICHAEL GAMBILL, TENNIS COACH: Go upstairs to the players' lounge. No matter how big they make the players' lounge, it's never big enough for a Grand Slam.

It's also the lunch room.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Attention, press. Reminder. Katarina Vitkova is in interview room three now. Vitkova, room three, now.

JENSEN: When the players' matches are over and the night is done, they head over to these two beautiful girls to get a ride -- transport back the hotel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course, you came when we don't have any announcements to make.

JENSEN: This is the garden, this is where the magic happens, when you just want to relax and get under an umbrella and take it easy. Thanks for joining me. For Pat Cash, I'm Murphy Jensen at the US Open.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CASH: Thanks, Murph. Nice to see you stole that headband out of my tennis bag.

Anyway, that's all we've got time for for this US Open edition. We hope you enjoyed the show. Next month, we do all things Davis Cup. So until then, good-bye and thanks for watching.

END