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What They Said: Federer delighted to equal Connors' record

ESPN staff
May 28, 2012 « Djokovic starts strongly at Roland Garros | Chartbeat test »

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Federer cruises past Kamke
Djokovic off to solid start
Azarenka's great escape
Robson falls at first hurdle

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Roger Federer was delighted to equal Jimmy Connors' record of 233 grand slam match wins with his win over Tobias Kamke.

"I think that's a big one, because that was longevity. Jimmy is obviously one of the greats of all time, and was around for 20 years. I love the big tournaments. I have been so successful for such a long time and to already tie that record, at 30 years old, is pretty incredible, so I'm very happy."

Novak Djokovic, who beat Potito Starace in straight sets in the first round, says he is thriving on the pressure to add the French Open to the other three slams in his possession.

"Pressure is always present, and the way I look at it, it is a privilege and, you know, it's a challenge," he said. "I believe every professional athlete feels the pressure. So you need to try to understand and learn how to deal with it, and if you feel pressure, that means that you're doing something that is right. I'm happy to be where I am at this moment. I was always dreaming to become the world's best player."

On the prospect of completing a non-calendar year Grand Slam, he added: "It doesn't give me an extra negative pressure. I really think it's a challenge and something to embrace and to enjoy. As I said, I'll try to go step by step. It's really too early to talk about eventually getting my hands on the trophy, but it's definitely a goal. It's a two week event. Anything is possible here."

Victoria Azarenka refused to make excuses for her error-strewn performance that saw her narrowly avoid defeat at the hands of Alberta Brianti.

"It wasn't the clay that was bothering me today, I was just missing. You can sit and think up excuses but I try to not approach it that way. I like to think 'what can I do better?'"

Laura Robson is looking to learn from Maria Sharapova as she bids to improve her clay-court game after defeat to Anabel Medina Garrigues on her French Open debut.

"It's definitely a surface that I can continue to improve on. I'm going to put a lot of work into getting better on it. You look at someone like Sharapova, and she's made massive strides on clay. She definitely has the sort of game that I would like to be playing on this surface."

Defending champion Li Na admits she is still haunted by her defeat to Maria Sharapova in Rome earlier this month. Li was leading by a set and 4-0 before the Russian came back to win.

"The final in Rome is still killing me. I got experience. At least I can play tennis in the rain."

Lleyton Hewitt may have crashed out at the hands of Slovenian qualifier Blaz Kavcic, but the Australian was simply happy to come through his first competitive outing since undergoing foot surgery in February unscathed.

"I had to start somewhere," Hewitt said. "I'm sure tomorrow I'll pull up pretty sore, but it was good for a lot reasons to go out there and play - lasted nearly four hours and physically felt fine. There are positives to take out of it."

Feliciano Lopez was forced to quit after only five games of his opening-round clash with Florent Serra with a side strain having picked up the injury in training last week.

"In the beginning, I felt it was nothing really serious, but [the] day after, I couldn't play almost. I tried to rest during the weekend just to try to play today, but it was impossible."

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