- Australian Open, What They Said, Day Eight
Murray evades US Open boycott talk
Andy Murray cruised through his fourth round against Gilles Simon and promptly evaded talk of a US Open boycott, although he did admit the ATP is not happy about the Monday final. He said: " Since the player meeting, I haven't discussed with any of the players what was said there, what the plans are. But I know that the ATP are not particularly happy with the Monday final. I know that's an issue because however much revenue they make from having an extra day on their tournament hasn't really reflected in the increase in the prize money. That was what the players wanted, was obviously better prize money but not with an extra day to the event.
"I think that's what they're disappointed with. But I personally haven't spoken with anyone about boycotting the event."
Asked if he would back a US Open boycott. Murray said: "I don't want to go into that here at all. Not the place for it. Got the second week of a slam to focus on. Can discuss that after the event."
Gilles Simon admitted he had nothing to threaten Murray with on court, having been through a near five-hour epic against Gael Monfils. He said: "It was just difficult for me today. I knew it before. But I think I just did all I could for the last two days to be able to play this one. It was a painful hour and a half on the court. But, you know, Andy is anyway a very good player so it's always very hard to beat him. Without being 100% you have almost no chance to do it. I just wanted to do my best at any moment. But it was getting worse and worse on the court. It was a really difficult day."
After a year without a coach, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is working with Roger Rasheed and he's happy with how things are progressing. Following his win over Richard Gasquet, he said: "It's different because last year I was by myself. This year, I'm with Rog. It's just great to be with him. He give me good advice, so I hope I will continue to play good tennis and hope we'll have some good victory together."
Jeremy Chardy shrugged off concerns over his knee to beat Andreas Seppi in four sets to book a quarter-final clash with Andy Murray. He said: "It was very difficult in the beginning and I was a little bit tired," Chardy said. "It's the first time (here) I've played good. The knee is okay and now that I'm in the quarters I forget (about) it."
Having survived a scare against Jamie Hampton, Victoria Azarenka was back to her best against Elena Vesnina and she was happy with her performance. She said: "I felt like I was playing pretty good today. You know, I was focused and in control from the beginning. That was important for me. I feel like I'm improving from match to match. I just want to keep going the same way."
Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Caroline Wozniacki to set up a clash with world No. 1 Azarenka and is ready for a tough battle. She said: "She's consistent. She works differently. She has different goals, I guess. I guess she's just consistent overall. She improve definitely in many shots. But I think it was her head was letting her down all the time before. Some moments she always would go crazy in the match. You would always know. She changed and just became so stable and a good hitter."
Sloane Stephens withstood a fightback from Bojano Jovanovski to progress in three sets and she was happy to have stood firm. Stephens said: "She started playing really great tennis, and obviously you guys (the Hisense Arena crowd) needed to see a show, and I hope that I gave that to you. She just brought it full bore in the second and third set ... mentally it was pretty tough. I was going cross court on all of my shots and she was going down the line with every shot and hitting it with everything that she had, like every muscle in her body. I couldn't find a rhythm but sometimes you just have to stick it out."