Lets talk tennis podcasts — Rome and NCAA have their Elite Eight

The IX: Tennis Tuesday with Joey Dillon, May 14, 2024

Howdy, y’all, and happy Tennis Tuesday! While we continue with Rome and the NCAA team tournament, I was inspired by Sloane Stephens’ announcement of her podcast, Sincerely, Sloane.

Continue reading with a subscription to The IX

Get unlimited access to our exclusive coverage of a varitety of women’s sports, including our premium newsletter by subscribing today!

Join today

The first episode dropped yesterday with journalist Taylor Rooks and they had a really nice conversation that coverage a wide range of topics. Of course, the meat of the episode was centered around Rooks’ rise in the journalism world and handling being a woman (of color, nonetheless) in a male-dominated world but I also learned the best setting spray for your makeup on the market! Perhaps my favorite part of the episode was Sloane’s quick-fire Q&A at the end — especially the answer around mantras.

I’m personally very excited about Sloane’s podcast with Uninterrupted — in my opinion, she’s one of the sport’s all-time greats in the press room and I think her experience in that environment is going to translate really well, which Rooks mentioned in their chat. I think it’s also extremely important that more women athletes get their voice, opinion, ideas, etc. out as much as they can. Sloane has a really unique perspective — she’s a two-time college graduate, a wife, parent, businesswoman and philanthropist on top of being one of the best tennis players in the world.

You can catch Sincerely, Sloane anywhere you listen to your podcasts including Apple, Spotify and Audible.

Your business can reach over one million women’s sports fans every month!

Here at The Next and The IX, our audience is a collection of the smartest, most passionate women’s sports fans in the world. If your business has a mission to serve these fans, you should reach out to our team at editors@theixsports.com to discuss ways to work together. For a limited time, we are accepting paid collaboration inquiries for 2024.

It also made me think of a few other tennis podcasts you should definitely be checking out:

  • No Challenges Remaining: Originally hosted by journalists Ben Rothenberg and Courtney Nguyen, Rothenberg and now Tumaini Carayol break down the happenings inside the tennis world. Topics range from tournament recaps, to breaking news, to yearly recaps (“Remember When” episodes are my personal favorite), to recent episodes breaking down the movie Challengers. Though it’s not as consistent as it used to be, they have over 300 episodes for you to binge if you want to go down memory lane.
  • The Body Serve: I’ve mentioned TBS a few times in previous Tennis Tuesdays, but real-life Canadian couple Jonathan and James aren’t full-time employees in the tennis scene, which works to their favor. They are allowed to push the envelope and cross intersections between sport, sexuality, pop culture, race, gender, etc. It’s refreshing to have their perspective on all things tennis because while everyone might be thinking it, they’re saying it.
  • No-Ad, No Problem: College tennis is tennis’ hidden gem, especially the women’s side of the game. John Parsons does an incredible job covering what’s happening with not only the women, but the men. However, he shines in giving the women the spotlight they deserve whether it’s in his weekly recaps or one-on-one interviews. I’ve been fortunate enough to be a guest once discussing my journey, but more recently, he spoke with Angella Okutoyi after her big win at the African Games and trying to qualify for the Olympics, while competing for Auburn simultaneously.

Onto links!

This week in women’s tennis

In true Joey fashion, the NCAA tournament did not go according to my plan, with No. 15 Tennessee handing No. 1 Oklahoma State their first loss of the year 4-2 in the Super Regional round. Though you could argue it’s No. 2 Stanford’s to lose, it truly is anyone’s game as this next week unfolds. Here is where the Elite Eight stand:

(16) Tennessee vs. (8) UCLA
(5) Virginia vs. (13) Texas A&M
(3) Michigan vs. (6) Pepperdine
(7) Georgia vs. (2) Stanford

Speaking of Stanford, graduate student Angelica Blake did this awesome day in her life video:

On the pro side, the exhausting clay season continues as the quarterfinals are set in Rome with plenty of battles, a few surprises and some great matchups:

(1) Iga Swiatek vs. (18) Madison Keys
(3) Coco Gauff vs. (7) Zheng Qinwen
(24) Victoria Azarenka vs. (10) Danielle Collins
(9) Jelena Ostapenko vs. (2) Aryna Sabalenka

After an incredible 40-year career, Arizona State head coach Sheila McInerney is retiring.

In a massive surprise, Camilia Giorgi added her name to the ITIA’s retired players list but there are some interesting rumors behind the sudden departure.

Reigning junior Wimbledon finalist Nikola Bartůňková has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for trimetazidine. The Czech denies intentionally doping and plans to clear her name

Danielle is a GEM:

Among the WTA Insider gems to catch up on: the Dirtball Double, Naomi Osaka‘s clay court breakthrough ahead of Roland Garros and a sit-down with Maria Sakkari.

WTA web editor Alex Macpherson has also been in Rome and getting some great features as well: Rebecca Sramkova overcoming odds as a child and now finding herself soon in the Top 100, Challengers‘ presence on tour and discussing Daria Kasatkina’s vlog channel with girlfriend Natalia Zabiiako.

Jessica Pegula and Karolina Muchova are both getting back on the court following their own injury layoffs.

Good news if you want to see more and FREE WTA action that includes Simona Halep’s return at the WTA 125 in Paris:

WME Sports Vice President Marijn Bal was a guest on the Inside-In podcast to chat about his career in tennis as a college player, unpaid intern at IMG and rising up the ranks to where he is now.

Want women’s hockey content? Subscribe to The Ice Garden!

Here at The IX, we’re collaborating with The Ice Garden to bring you Hockey Friday. And if you want the women’s hockey goodness 24/7? Well, you should subscribe to The Ice Garden now!

Tweet of the week

A personal call to action as I run my first GLTA World Tour event in July….

Five at The IX: Rome Week 1

Q. This is obviously a big tournament, another big tournament, then there’s another big tournament, French Open, coming up. What have you learned about staying fresh during this whole period to make sure through the whole clay season you’re in great shape?

IGA SWIATEK: Well, I’m not expecting myself to be fresh. Truly, like when I came to Madrid, I was more tired at the beginning of the tournament after Stuttgart than I was actually before the final. It really depends how the matches are going to look like.

I know that if I’m going to stay longer in a tournament, I might have also some days off where I don’t even practice. We’re trying to plan it differently than last seasons because we are worried. These tournaments are longer and it’s not possible to have days off before, so sometimes you have to have them during.

Also it’s the kind of approach that we are still trying to figure out because we never actually did it. I always practiced in between matches. I mean, my coaches are planning it. No point for me to focus on that because I want to win first matches, and we’ll see what’s going to happen afterwards. If I lose, then I’m going to have a hundred days off, so…

Q. In terms of finding balance or harmony in terms of not just your tennis but coming back, off court balancing everything, what has that journey been like for you? Do you find it bleeds over, like from the off court to the on court, vice versa? Where do you feel you are in that quest for balance in your game at the moment?

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I think honestly I don’t know why, but today I just woke up very peaceful. I just feel like, I don’t know, no matter what happens on the court, nothing will change for me off the court. Like, my daughter will still love me. I have so many people around me, so…

Yeah, I think maybe that showed today. I hope that mentality stays and continues.

I don’t know. I’m just really excited to learn more about clay court and develop and go to Paris. Shai is coming to Paris, so that’s something that’s keeping me very, I don’t know, happy.

Q. What importance do you place on the Olympics? Where do you place that in terms of the Grand Slams this season?

COCO GAUFF: I mean, for me, the Olympics is a top priority. I would say equal to the Grand Slams. I wouldn’t put it above or below just because I’ve never played before. This is my first time. Obviously, I always want to do well, try to get a medal. Yeah, I mean, but the prep is going to be interesting because I’ve never done the grass-to-clay transition before.

Yeah, I’m not putting too much pressure on it because I really want to fully indulge in the experience. Hopefully I can have the experience multiple times in my lifetime. I’ll treat it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Q. I’ve seen many kids starting to play competitive tennis when they’re eight, 10, 12 years old. When they lose, most of them go back to their parents either crying or complaining. With you, especially recently, when you lose we see you smiling like you don’t suffer so much for the loss. Were you always like that even when you were a kid? Have you changed and learnt how to bear the defeats in a different way?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Okay, that’s a big question.

I suffer a little bit. Last time I crashed my racquet, that’s how emotional I am. I just throw it out once, I was okay afterwards.

When I was a kid, I was also crying, I was pissed. There was lots of different emotions going on.

What I learned in the past is just the momentum. Yeah, now you lost, but you have thousands of opportunities to get that win. It’s just momentum and you just have to be respective. You just have to accept the loss and just move on and work and try better next time.

If you get to that stages, to the last stages of the tournaments, I mean, it’s impossible to win all of them. Sometimes you just have to lose to learn something. Then maybe on the bigger tournaments or in the most important tournaments, you will remember the lesson and you’ll do better in the final.

It’s all the process, you know?

Q. When you have a new coach, how much actually changes in your day-to-day in terms of your practices? Does David come in and everything changes or does he come in and the way you work is kind of the same…

MARIA SAKKARI: I don’t know. My transition was very smooth. That was a very good thing. Obviously in that first tournament, you get to meet each other. It is a little bit awkward the first days. That’s the thing with everyone.

I think the fact that he’s very relaxed and very laid back, it made it so much easier for me.

In terms of coaching and stuff, I’ve said it many times, he keeps it very simple. He just doesn’t over-complicate things. There’s no discussion between us, which I like, because I can get very distracted in the match.

I just feel like the things he says, I just trust him and I just follow what he tells me. I just like how it’s going because it’s a very different approach to what I was used to all my previous years.

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