Hurricane Swiatek emerges with WTA Finals win — Must-click women’s tennis links

The IX: Tennis Tuesday with Joey Dillon, Nov. 7, 2023

Howdy, y’all and Happy Tennis Tuesday! The WTA Finals (finally) came to an end yesterday after the horrendous weather pushed the finals to Monday. Iga Swiatek won her first WTA Finals crown, destroying Jessica Pegula, 6-1, 6-0 in the final and also clinched the year-end No. 1 ranking. Laura Siegemund and Vera Zvonareva — who were last to qualify the final week of the regular season — defeated Nicole Melichar-Martinez and The IX Friend Ellen Perez in straight sets to win the event.

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Swiatek’s quick rout was a seeming fit to the disaster that was the WTA Finals Cancun.

There is a lot to discuss, mainly the incompetence of the WTA. Plain and simple, it’s utterly embarrassing for the top women’s sports organization to completely drop the ball. Actually, think Kevin’s chili from The Office, just a thousand times worse.

When Cancun offered their bid, it was reported that it was going to be in an arena, but the roof was too low for the court requirements. Therefore, the tournament constructed an outdoor stadium that was completed the day before play started. The court’s surface was attacked by players for the patchy bounces, then the rain and wind made their presence throughout the whole week.

WTA CEO Steve Simon, who continuously denied to give any on-camera statement, wrote a letter to the players to accept full responsibility for the management of the tournament’s process. There has already been some tension with players and the tour, with a player-led letter being sent out last month to tour executives. The WTA has been able to skate by not putting their players first, but the last quarter of the season and perhaps most importantly in Cancun did crap hit the fan. Because of the weather delaying matches, Ellen Perez will have to miss Australia’s first Billie Jean King Cup Finals tie:

It’s just a bit mind-blowing how disorganized the WTA can be. There’s rarely any transparency, all of the tournaments are owned by a handful of organizations/agencies, there’s potential/likely nepotism and there is barely any strategy behind their marketing and social media efforts. What really killed me was when I was sent an Instagram Story by a friend from Hologic — the tour’s title sponsor — and they couldn’t directly link the WTA in their tag AND misspelled Coco Gauff’s name:

The level of unseriousness the WTA produced this past week was honestly incredible. You know this off-season I’ll be giving some takes, but it’s hard to even process where to start. Steve Simon’s seat might be hotter than the Australian summer, so don’t be surprised if we see an exit from him before the New Year. The WTA players deserve a leader that will fight and vouch for them behind closed doors and to the public. They deserve a lot better, period.

Until next time…..onto links!

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This Week in Women’s Tennis

Anna Kalinskaya won the biggest title of her career at the Dow Tennis Classic, taking the WTA 125 title over Jana Fett. Hailey Baptiste and Whitney Osuigwe won the doubles final in an all-American battle over Sophie Chang and Ashley Lahey.

The ITF announced that the prize money pool for the Billie Jean King Cup Finals will match the men in the Davis Cup, totaling $9.6 million.

Unsurprisingly, chemistry is the biggest difference-maker in doubles, which saw Vera Zvonareva qualify for the WTA Finals nearly two decades after her debut.

Storm Hunter rises to the Doubles World No. 1 spot following the WTA Finals, debuting at the top of the year-end rankings as well.

The friendship of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert has spanned half a century, which is incredible given how intense their on-court battles were.

In big life news, reigning Olympic champion Belinda Bencic announced her pregnancy, while Marta Kostyuk stunned as she got married last week.

Saudi Arabia didn’t get to host the WTA Finals, but they’re also looking to potentially purchase tournaments in Miami and Madrid.

In a gesture that speaks volumes considering her circumstances, Ons Jabeur shared that she will be donating a portion of her WTA Finals prize money to Palestinian aid relief.

Emma Raducanu checked in with Laura Robson to discuss her rehab and her eagerness to get back on tour healthy.

Jamie Loeb has a point here:

Reese Brantmeier of the University of North Carolina captured the ITA National Fall Championship with a three-set battle over Ayana Akli of the University of South Carolina. Brantmeier then joined Elizabeth Scotty to win the doubles title over Ange Oby Kajuru and Anastasiya Komar of Oklahoma State University.

Jessica Pegula aims to bring fans of both her family’s sports teams — the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres — into tennis as much as she can.

Venus Williams will be a distinguished lecturer at Trinity University next year, giving a talk on January 31.

Naomi Osaka has reunited with Florian Zitzelsberger to oversee her health and fitness plan as she comes back to tennis from maternity leave.

The United States Senate passed a bipartisan resolution to honor Coco Gauff’s championship at this year’s US Open.

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Tweet of the Week

Take a bow, Angela Kulikov! Whoa.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Joey Dillon