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TENNIS U.S. OPEN NOTEBOOK : Sometimes Grown-Ups Say the Darndest Things

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Now here’s an upset: In less than one week, some of the world’s greatest tennis players, so eloquent with a racket, have been reduced to blithering babblers off the court.

Of all the words spoken during the first week of interviews at the U.S. Open, some have even made sense. Many of the rest stand out for other reasons, because they are either inane or trite or funny or, in some cases, completely nonsensical.

So as a public service, here is the best of the worst--or worst of the best:

No Kidding Dept.: From Aaron Krickstein, after upsetting longtime antagonist Andre Agassi in the first round: “It was nice winning.”

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Get a calculator: From Michael Chang, who has dropped out of the top 10 to No. 22 in the rankings: “I think it has been a good year.”

Get a translator: From Monica Seles, on how she looks at her career: “I see day by day. You know, I wake up, I think about today’s match and tomorrow’s match, that is, you know, that is maybe not a great thing as I said this year because the hard thing is like, you know, next few days got to make up my whole schedule for next year, how am I going to know where I am going to be in February, if I am going to be sick.”

Get some glasses: From Nicole Arendt, after winning only two games in a straight-set loss to the 5-foot-10, 140-pound Seles: “She is a little small.”

Get a life: From Richard Krajicek, who was suffering from a sore neck, muscle cramps and dehydration, explaining why he lost to Ivan Lendl: “I was dead.”

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Haven’t the foggiest: From Jim Courier, on the time he couldn’t see his opponent because of the smoke blown across the court from the concession stands: “I felt like I was in San Francisco with the fog.”

No Kidding Dept. II: From Lendl, explaining his five-set victory over Krajicek: “I enjoy winning more than losing.”

No Kidding Dept. III: From Lendl, offering further explanation of his victory over Krajicek: “If you don’t win the match, you lose it.”

Ah, Manhattan: From Martina Navratilova, on the best way to combat the hectic conditions of New York and the U.S. Open: “Go with the flow. . . . If you go against it, you will go to the insane asylum.”

Dear John: From Patrick McEnroe, asked if he planned to discuss his five-set loss to Jimmy Connors with brother John McEnroe the next day: “I am trying not to discuss it for the next five years.”

Mr. Helpful: From Lendl, asked to assess his second-round victory over Patrick Kuhnen: “You saw it, what am I going to tell you?”

Barcelona-bound? From John McEnroe, who wants to play tennis in the 1992 Olympic Games: “If Michael Jordan doesn’t want to play, I am available for the basketball, too.”

No. 1 by a whisker: From top-ranked Boris Becker, asked why he is wearing a beard: “Some people have one and some people don’t.”

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Hat trick: From David Wheaton, speculating on why Gabriela Sabatini wears a hat even when playing night matches: “She’s afraid of moonburn, I guess.”

Jennifer, Part I: From Jennifer Capriati, asked if she would like to play Jimmy Connors: “Yeah.”

Jennifer, Part II: From Capriati, asked if winning a Grand Slam would surprise her: “Yeah.”

Jennifer, Part III: From Capriati, asked if reaching the finals would surprise her: “Yeah.”

Jennifer, Part IV: From Capriati, asked about her chances of winning the U.S. Open: “Who knows?”


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