Coco Gauff wins the US Open — Final quotes from New York — Must-click women’s tennis links

The IX: Tennis Tuesday with Joey Dillon, Sept. 12, 2023

Howdy, y’all and Happy Tennis Tuesday! The 2023 Grand Slam season is officially complete following this weekend’s US Open final, won by Coco Gauff. Per the course of Slam action, I feel it’s my duty to reflect back on the fortnight a la Jon Wertheim’s Parting Shots — a tournament staple.

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Obviously, the biggest news out of the tournament is the crowning of Coco Gauff. Her three-set win over Aryna Sabalenka was essentially predicted before the tournament thanks to her summer run, but it’s crazy to imagine that she was on the verge of a second consecutive Grand Slam opening round loss yet emerged champion. Obviously the biggest questions are “where does she go from here?,” “will the title change her?” and “will she be the tour’s big weapon?” Honestly, time will tell, but until then, give me all the Candi Gauff content:

You have to give Sabalenka a load of credit. Sure, she’s finally reached the World No. 1 ranking and she was a set away from her second Grand Slam of the season, but she didn’t let the loss deter her away from wanting to make a dent as the tour’s leading player. Her first match as future No. 1 was her semifinal epic over Madison Keys (who, by the way, is overdue for Slam glory especially after that semi) showed what she’s made of and now that she has the worry of the ranking out of the way, could we see our new tour dominator? Also, her reaction to losing the final in (presumed) closed doors made me love her even more:

While Gauff’s rise to glory seemed imminent, you do have to wonder how much “help” she received by schedulers — particularly the quarterfinal day match against Jelena Ostapenko, who had just beaten No. 1 Iga Swiatek in a three-setter the night prior. Not to be that guy, but between that and both the USTA and ESPN (with a potential conflict of interest in Brad Gilbert commentating), it didn’t leave the best taste in my mouth.

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College tennis was very well-represented in New York with Alabama grad Erin Routliffe winning her first Grand Slam in women’s doubles, Florida alum Anna Danilina capturing mixed doubles for her debut win and rising Stanford freshman Katherine Hui taking home the Girl’s Singles crown:

Diede de Groot continued to dominate the wheelchair division with her third consecutive Calendar Grand Slam. She’s honestly unreal at this point.

Fiona Crawley qualifying for the main draw while still a college student was mighty impressive, but the Tar Heel made an extremely valid point about maintaining her amateurism in the land of NIL deals.

While the men and women using the same ball for the first time raised a lot of injury concerns, something I never thought about was the environmental impact the balls have themselves.

Another strong reminder that Coco Gauff won $3 million on the 50th anniversary of equal prize money at the US Open. That being said, wherever debt-free land Coco Gauff lives in, I want to move to:

Now, onto (more) links!

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This Week in Women’s Tennis

The WTA announced that Cancun, Mexico will have a one-year deal to host this year’s WTA Finals, avoiding a mess of a move to Saudi Arabia. While Mexico loves their tennis and they did a great job hosting in Guadalajara in 2021, the monopoly with GS Sports Management is notable.

While we’re entering a new golden era on the WTA, does the tour have enough pull to get their worth in a potential merge with the ATP? Apparently talks will be happening later this month to make the sport fully united.

Tamara Zidansek had to save multiple championship points over Rebecca Sramkova to take the WTA 125 Open delle Puglie in Bari, Italy, while Katarzyna Kawa and Anna Siskova needed less than an hour to defeat Valentini Grammatikopoulou and Elixane Lechemia in the doubles final.

Point blank, some commentators aren’t the best, but Mary Carillo is one of the game’s best with her research and insight to the game.

Not only did Aryna Sabalenka take over the No. 1 singles ranking, but Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula lead the doubles list together.

Daria Kasatkina’s US Open vlog is a must-watch:

IX friend Blair Henley was profiled by another alum Victoria Chiesa as the emcee extraordinaire took on a plethora of duties in New York.

The writer’s strike has shut down the late night circuit the US Open champion usually takes part in, but The Today Show was able to sit down with Coco Gauff after her win:

Genie Bouchard is the latest tennis star to sign with a pickleball tour, but I don’t expect her to fully commit to the sport like her male counterpart Jack Sock.

When coming to the US Open to discuss mental health, Naomi Osaka shared she has quite the schedule planned for her return from maternity leave in 2024.

While Venus Williams reflected on her fight for equal pay at Wimbledon not even two decades ago, she was also honored with special courts in the Bronx this past weekend:

Tweet of the Week

A Gen Z Slam champ means we get TikToks right away…


this barbie is the us open champion 💞

♬ Barbie World – <3

Five at The IX: US Open

Q. In those emotions that kind of haven’t sunken in yet, is relief one of them? People have been talking since you rose up in tennis, you have all the talent and celebrity but when is she going to win, does relief factor in at all?

COCO GAUFF: Oh, 100% a lot of relief. It’s not the biggest emotion. I think it’s honestly the smallest one, and I think that was what the difference was between French Open and now, I feel like the relief. If I would have maybe won that title — obviously I didn’t — it would have been the biggest emotion, more than happiness, more than excitement.

Right now I’m just feeling happiness and a very, very small bit of relief. Because honestly at this point I was doing it for myself and not for other people.

Yeah, I have just been embracing every positive and negative thing that’s said about me. I realize, you know, sometimes people have different personalities and some people need to shut off the comments and not look at them. But I’m an argumentative person. I’m very stubborn. My parents know. If they tell me one thing, I like to do the other (smiling).

So I really told myself, literally up until, like, 10 minutes before the match, I was just reading comments of people saying I wasn’t going to win today. (Laughter.)

That just put the fire in me (smiling).

Q. You haven’t wanted to talk about No. 1 too much while you were still in the tournament but now that the tournament is over, how you reflect on being No. 1 and how that maybe changes how you react to the end of this tournament knowing you still have this accomplishment?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, that’s why probably, that’s why I’m not super depressed right now. I’m definitely going to be. I’m definitely going for a drink tonight (smiling) if I’m allowed to say that. Yes, we are athletes, but sometimes we are drinking, but not much (smiling).

But becoming a World No. 1, it’s a huge improvement, and achievement, actually. I’m really proud of myself that all those years I have been working so hard helped me to become World No. 1.

But, you know, like, for me it’s more about end the year as World No. 1, not just like become World No. 1 and then next week you’re second. It’s good so that I can say I have been World No. 1, but I really would like to finish the year as World No. 1. That’s why I’m, like, still positive, and I’m still motivated. (Laughter.)

Q. Congratulations on the slam. Gaby, your second slam, as well. I just want to ask you, when did you feel the E and G combination that this was a partnership that was going to lead to something like this or possibly something like this as well as the coordinated jumping celebration that you did at the end with the trophy?

ERIN ROUTLIFFE: You have won a slam, a mixed slam. First women’s slam, women’s doubles.

GABRIELA DABROWSKI: All good. All good.

When did it start?

ERIN ROUTLIFFE: We just started.

GABRIELA DABROWSKI: Yeah, feels like we just started. Really, I mean, we had a pretty good start in Montreal, in Cincy, we had some good wins. In Cincy, in particular our first round when we beat Shibahara-Aoyama, and they had just won Montreal, I thought that was a good indication we could hang with one of the best teams in the world.

Our second-round loss was a heartbreaker. It was really close and we lost to that team again in Cleveland.

Yeah, we beat some great teams along the way into this tournament, and also at this tournament. I would say for me it started I think when we actually beat Aoyama-Shibahara in Cincy, the belief, the true belief. But I believed before but when you have a win like that it kind of solidifies, oh, yeah, my instincts were right.

Then I think we also had some really good conversations, honest conversations coming into this tournament. We had the tough loss in Cleveland which kind of made us put everything out into the open. I think I’m really grateful to Erin for having the honest conversations with me and I think she feels the same way.

It helps us come into the matches on the same page, and I think that’s reflected in our results this week. Because even though we faced a lot of adversity in a lot of our matches from slow starts to momentum shifts to the crowd being completely against us, we really stuck through it together.

Yeah, I think it’s really cool what we’ve been able to do in the short span of time.

Q. You got to play a round in the women’s draw. Did you take any lessons from playing that match into the juniors? What have you learned from it?

KATHERINE HUI: Yeah, so I played Genie Bouchard first round of quallies, and I think I honestly dedicate a lot of this win to her (smiling).

I had learned a lot. I was very discouraged from that match just because I felt like I had too much expectations and put too much expectations on results and wasn’t able to execute my game.

Obviously she takes balls early and steps in and was hitting really deep. I kind of took inspiration to that, and I have been here since then practicing on-site.

So these last two weeks I have just been really working. I think a little bit of my anger fueled the motivation during practice (smiling).

It really helped me, and I’m really glad that I was able to execute it this time.

Q. Congratulations. Do any of these achievements stand out apart from the rest, as far as this many US Opens in a row or total Grand Slams in a row? Is there any you’re most proud of?

DIEDE de GROOT: So I always like to say that I don’t really keep track of the numbers. I’d like to really not worry about it too much, because then you’re going to start to think about, oh, I want to reach this or I want to reach that.

I really just want to focus on my game, and that’s what I did today. So that’s what I’m really proud of. But I think just being this consistent is what I’m really proud of. Being able to do it multiple times in the year, yeah.

I don’t even have a goal to never lose, like, that’s a really strange goal to have that, but because I think I have that goal, like, I think about myself, what do I have to do, where can I find the key points, and I think because I focus on them so well, I manage to win.

Yeah, the consistency is, I think, what I’m most proud of.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
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Thursdays: Golf
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Written by Joey Dillon