Best verbal volleys from 2012

As usual, players didn't just let their rackets do the talking this year. Here are some of their wittiest and most memorable verbal volleys.

1. "Now is the time for a cup of tea."
-- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, when asked if could say a word to his British fans after a tough loss to Novak Djokovic at the French Open

2. "Good morning everybody."
-- Rafael Nadal, beginning his postmatch comments after the 5-hour-53-minute Australian Open final, which finished past midnight

3. "It would be better if we played a couple of times serve-and-volley. … I'm sorry about that."
-- Novak Djokovic, in his postmatch remarks after the Australian Open final

4. "I'm getting closer."
-- Andy Murray's teary opening after losing the Wimbledon final, his fourth loss in a Grand Slam final

5. "I'm very, very happy on the inside. I'm sorry if I'm not showing it as you would like."
-- Andy Murray, after winning his first Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open and being told this was a good time to show his emotions

6. "I won Wimbledon, became world No. 1 again and I got silver. Don't feel too bad for me."
-- Roger Federer, responding to a sympathetic TV interviewer after losing the Olympic final

7. "We all know his fighting qualities, his fifth-set qualities. I managed to avenge Mahut. So I'm proud."
-- Paul-Henri Mathieu, after defeating John Isner 18-16 in the fifth set at the French Open, remembering the 70-68 epic between his friend Nicolas Mahut and Isner at Wimbledon.

8. "Taking a break afterwards."
-- Serena Williams, on what she likes most about winning a Grand Slam

9. "I don't want to be depressed."
-- Victoria Azarenka, on whether she would watch tapes of her matches against Serena Williams to prepare for the U.S. Open final

10. "It's not maybe a quarterfinal, which they wanted to see, without Rafa being there or whatever, but I think David and me -- and not trying to overexaggerate anything -- played, until now at least, the best match of the tournament."
-- Janko Tipsarevic, gently pointing out the quality of his U.S. Open quarterfinal against David Ferrer, which took place in the portion of the draw vacated by an injured Rafael Nadal

11. "Whoa, thanks for reminding me."
-- Bernard Tomic, when asked whether he was playing the Australian Open mixed doubles with Jelena Jankovic as planned

12. "I guess a lot of good-looking girls follow him."
-- Milos Raonic, on the benefits of being friends with Feliciano Lopez

13. "I'd like to see that happen. Maybe that's why I got on Court 2, because they knew I could back myself up."
-- Serena Williams, on whether she might be knocked down by the outer-court crowds

14. "I fell on my butt, but I've got a big butt so nothing happened."
-- Nicolas Almagro, on slipping during a match at the French Open

15. "SORRY"
-- Mikhail Youzhny, scrawling an apology on the court during his match against David Ferrer at the French Open. No holding back afterward either: "I played horribly. Ferrer played well, but not very well. He only won because I played horribly."

16. "And at the end, we did give each other a hug. Like men."
-- Roger Federer, hastily, on his on-court conversation with David Goffin, who as a child idolized Federer, following their match at the French Open

17. "I don't want to get into any Twitter incidents at all right now."
-- Donald Young, jokingly referring to his controversial USTA tweet last year, when asked to comment on Ivan Ljubicic's tweet about Americans not playing clay events

18. "I was just trying not to sing at the change of ends."
-- Laura Robson, on the challenge of playing her first match on Arthur Ashe stadium with music during changeovers

19. "I think James Cordon was watching me today as well. I spotted him midway like first set, and then spent the rest of the time trying not to wave."
-- Laura Robson, on the challenge of playing her second match on Arthur Ashe

20. "I think I have more expectations of this press conference than I did the match today."
-- Andy Roddick, giving his final press conference before retirement at the U.S. Open

Passing shots

Sometimes having a target improves a player's aim, as the quotes below suggest.

1. "It's very easy for him. 'I say nothing, everything's positive, I stay a gentleman and the others can burn themselves.'"
-- Rafael Nadal, almost (almost) starting something when asked about Roger Federer's stand on player issues

2. "I don't know, maybe next year will be much faster if Roger says, no? I have already this week a lot of time violation."
-- Rafael Nadal, joking about the extent of Federer's influence after the Swiss commented about too much time being taken between points.

3. "I was angry because I don't think this is the great image for the women's tennis, what was going on there."
-- Agnieszka Radwanska, skeptical about Victoria Azarenka's apparent injury during their match

4. "I hope I was a good example of women's tennis."

-- Victoria Azarenka, after defeating Radwanska 6-0, 6-2 in their next match

5. "Men's tennis remains more attractive than women's tennis at this moment."
-- Gilles Simon, on why he is against equal prize money

6. "Despite everything else, I'm sure there are a few more people that watch my matches than his."
-- Maria Sharapova, on Gilles Simon

7. "He's missing that little something that distinguishes great players."
-- Tomas Berdych on the prospect of Nicolas Almagro being on the opposing Spanish team in the Davis Cup final

8. "When somebody else does a mistake, they [should] have to pay in the same way, but the players don't feel that happens much, especially with ATP."
-- David Nalbandian, lashing out at officials after being defaulted for kicking a board that injured a linesman

9. "It's not by a miracle that I got to No. 1."
-- Taylor Townsend, after having her funding to play the U.S. Open juniors withdrawn by the USTA over fitness assessments

10. "For 15 years, I have not been saying anything, but after the Olympics it's going to be the start of a really big war."
-- Marion Bartoli, on the Fed Cup dispute with the French Federation that kept her out of the Olympics

Most quotable player of the year -- Maria Sharapova

It wasn't just the Russian's strokes that returned to full form this year. Her shots off the court found their mark too. Here's a sampling:

1. "I could have said, 'I don't need this -- I have money, I have fame, I have victories, I have Grand Slams.' But when your love for something is bigger than all those things, you continue to keep getting up in the morning when it's freezing outside, when you know that it can be the most difficult day, when nothing is working, when you feel like the belief sometimes isn't there from the outside world, and you seem so small. But you can achieve great things when you don't listen to all those things."
-- after winning the French Open to compete the career Grand Slam

2. "Isn't she back in Poland already?"
-- after beating on Radwanska, who said Sharapova's grunting was annoying, in the Australian Open semis

3. "Growing up, I think I was 10 or so, I was watching the ceremony. … I don't remember who was carrying the flag then, but I thought that was so cool. Maybe one day I could do that. As I was walking there, it like hit me that memory of me watching on my small little TV in my room, just being so proud and hoping one day I could have been there."
-- on carrying the Russian flag at this summer's Olympics

4. "It was so unfortunate that Vika was extremely injured today and just couldn't really perform her game."
-- sarcastically referring to Victoria Azarenka's medical timeout during their final in Stuttgart

5. "It's not like a hockey puck or something. She forgot, I think, the sport."
-- on the mid-point racket tapping of Maria Kirilenko, who is dating hockey player Alex Ovechkin

6. "They told me I was fine, not pregnant. I'm like, 'Can I get my money back?'"
-- on medical tests for a stomach problem

7. "Everyone is hurting at this time. Some show it more than others."
-- on Azarenka's injury at the season-end championships

8. "Everyone who follows my career knows I haven't done a thing about it."
-- on grunting

9. "Even though I like to dance and all, there's something about dancing in prom costumes in front of national television that's just not very appealing to me."
-- on whether she would appear on "Dancing with the Stars"