Published : Oct 04, 2003 00:00 IST

I felt I had so much more to give. I wasn't at peace with myself. I wanted to do something to test myself.

— Nino Benvenuti, former world middleweight boxing champion, Rome Olympics gold medallist and matinee idol, telling Sports Illustrated why he volunteered to work for a church-run charity in Madras, India, as a caretaker for sick and poor people. For three months Benvenuti aided patients in a leper colony.

I'll be back in 2004 and I won't be there to finish second. I don't plan on doing a farewell tour. I'd like to go out at the top.

— American cyclist Lance Armstrong, after winning his fifth straight Tour de France.

I have psychological problems now. There is always that voice inside that reminds me of the punishment and fear. I cannot get rid of it. I hope with the collapse of the regime, I will improve.

— Hassan Turki, a midfielder with Iraq's national soccer team, who was arrested, blindfolded and taken to a prison where he was forced to do non-stop exercises at all hours for 10 days, all because he missed a penalty kick in a 2002 game against the United Arab Emirates.

Sport should be something you enjoy, not something to be punished for.

— Louay S. M. Jawad, President of the Iraqi Wrestling Federation, who was jailed for more than a month in 2001 after an Iraqi wrestler defected and was imprisoned again in 2002 after some wrestlers lost their passports.

Tennis is unique. It is man against man, very raw, and this is what we need to get back. (Lleyton) Hewitt is so important because he puts his will on the court and in the opponent's mind. I wish there were more players like that.

— Former champion Boris Becker, critical because nowadays "everyone is friends and good guys," and "that's not what sport is about."

There is nothing worse than wanting to do your job and not being able to.

— Tommy Haas, a 25-year-old German formerly No. 5 in the world, saying he'll miss the rest of the tennis season after failing to recover from a shoulder injury.

He is more of a pop star than a player these days.

— Soccer legend Pele, on English soccer star David Beckham.

He was the best ever. Maybe not at the French Open but at any other tournament you knew you were going on court and you weren't going to win. I don't see anyone dominating the game again as Pete did.

— Carlos Moya, the 1998 French Open champion, on 14-time Grand Slam winner Pete Sampras who announced his retirement on August 25.

The biggest compliment I could ever receive. It means more now that I'm a father, because you want so much for your child. For parents to come up to me all the time and say, `You've been a good representative for my kids,' and to feel like you've made a difference with people. I think that's worth the few extra Sports Illustrated covers I might've gotten had I acted a different way.

— Pete Sampras, in USA Today.

That's one thing I'm proud of. I didn't change much over the years. I was true to myself. I didn't sell out for anybody.

— Pete Sampras.

I used to carry on like an idiot. (Now) I think it's funny when somebody freaks out.

— Wimbledon champion Roger Federer.

He is someone who comes along in tennis every 10 or 20 years. If you want to be a tennis player, model yourself on Roger Federer.

— John McEnroe, former superstar and current TV analyst.

Now it is time to set new goals. I want to become No. 1 next. I'm not going to push it, but without goals nothing happens in life.

— Roger Federer, after winning Wimbledon and becoming No. 2 in the world.

I think he's a genius. He is just magnificent. He could be the next (Pete) Sampras.

— Tennis legend Billie Jean King, on Roger Federer, during the US Open.

When I came off the court I just felt like the whole world was coming down on me. My heart was being ripped out. It was a great match and I gave it all I had. She did, too. For whatever reasons, I didn't win. It is just a match and it helps with my family around and the support I've gotten — them showing their love for me, telling me that it is just a match.

— Jennifer Capriati, after losing a heartbreaking 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 semifinal duel to eventual US Open champion Justine Henin-Hardenne in which Capriati was two points away from victory on 10 occasions.

Tennis has been great to me. So I feel like I've got to give everything I have to it so that I can live without regrets.

— Andre Agassi, 33, after his disappointing US Open semifinal loss to Juan-Carlos Ferrero, saying that most likely he will train as hard as ever and return in 2004.

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