The IX: Tennis Tuesday with Joey Dillon, November 3, 2020
Vote. Please — Interview: Sloane Stephens Foundation's Lindsay Linhart — Must-click women's tennis links
The Election of a Lifetime
This isn’t going to be a normal Tennis Tuesday.
Today is Election Day in the United States and although Annie did an amazing job giving resources and talking about how important voting is, today’s the day.
I’m going to keep it simple…I’m begging you to vote for humanity. This isn’t about what party you represent. This election could determine so much and have a detrimental outcome on the country longer than we will be around.
If you already voted, thank you!
Vote for the millions who lost jobs.
Vote for the over 200,000 people who died from COVID-19.
Vote so our BIPOC friends and family can feel equal and safe in our communities.
Vote so the LGBTQ+ community can keep their right to marry their partner and have equal protections.
Vote so women can decide to do with their own bodies.
Vote so my mom can leave the house and be a regular person again.
Vote so my friends can say goodbye to loved ones properly.
Vote so my nephews can go to school and see their friends and teachers in person.
Vote so we can laugh, cry, cheer, etc. on the bad ass women in sports.
Your voice matters.
Remember, many states offer same-day voter registration and if you are in line by 7pm, you MUST be allowed to vote. Do NOT let anyone tell you to leave:
Should you notice any intimidation, uncertainty or need any question answered, call 866-OUR-VOTE
This Week in Women’s Tennis
The WTA announced their monthly awards for October, as voted by fans:
Player of the Month: Iga Swiatek
Doubles Team of the Month: Kristina Mladenovic/Timea Babos
Breakthrough of the Month: Nadia Podoroska
Simona Halep announced that she has COVID-19, but is on the road to recovery:
Bianca Andreescu is 100% injury-free and has her eyes set on Australia:
Taylor Townsend opened up to D’Arcy Maine about her expecting motherhood and how she knows she’s eager for more tennis glory in 2022.
Paula Badosa had a breakthrough 2020 campaign including a fourth round appearance at Roland Garros. The New York-born Spaniard spoke with David Kane about her year and the future.
Nicole Pratt was appointed the Females in Tennis – Coach Lead by Tennis Australia, where she will aim to grow the number of female coaches by 10% in three years.
2016 Wimbledon semifinalist Magdalena Rybarikova announced her official retirement this week. She planned on saying goodbye at the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in April before COVID-19 cancelled the tournament.
The tennis.com podcast’s guest this week was Nicole Melichar, who discussed her journey as a young doubles specialist.
On the most recent episode of tennis.com’s My Tennis Life, Monica Puig got to cast her first-ever vote in a United States election
Rosie Casals’ Love & Love Foundation was the most recent recipient of the WTA4Love/Lily Pullitzer “Community Hero” Grant.
Last week, I mentioned Brittney Collins’ fight against the NCAA regarding an office error of $252. She and a teammate spoke to Parenting Aces about the situation:
WTA Legend Martina Navratilova, a breast cancer survivor, joined WTA Charities for their second annual “Aceing Cancer,” where aces and other donations will go towards women’s cancer research.
Tweet of the Week
If Olympia Ohanian isn’t going to follow mom Serena Williams to Grand Slam glory, she should look into selling her artwork:
Five at the IX: Lindsay Linhart
For all of November, Tennis Tuesday’s Five at the IX will be with a member of the Sloane Stephens Foundation team. Then on Giving Tuesday, December 1, we will highlight the work they are doing for the youth in the Compton community. This week, we speak with Lindsay Linhart, who is the Director of Development for SSF.
Joey: Can you give us an overview of your journey in tennis and how you fell into your partnership with the Sloane Stephens Foundation?
Lindsay: Sloane and I have been friends since we were teenagers and we met in the strangest way. We were both training at Nick Saviano’s academy in Florida…moreso she was preparing to turn pro and I was trying to win a few more high school tennis matches. Not too long after arriving, I rolled my ankle severely, to the point where the doctor said it would’ve been easier if I’d broken it, and would go on to spend months in a cast. Sloane was the first person to come over and check how I was doing, which, for anyone that knows Sloane, is so spot on to the kind of caring person she is. She gave me her number and told me to keep her posted, and we’ve been lifelong friends ever since. Truly goes to show there is a silver lining in every situation! In 2013, she called and said she wanted to start a foundation, and it was off to the races.
Joey: You had a career in finance before jumping into the non-profit sector. How was that decision process? What have been the most eye-opening moments throughout your SSF tenure?
Lindsay: I spent 5 years in investment banking at Goldman Sachs/Citi and my final year in Goldman’s merchant bank, which is the firm’s in-house private equity and credit arm. I’m so appreciative of my time in those roles because it was such a pressure cooker to not only learn about business, but also about managing client relationships, thinking strategically, and communicating effectively (including how to give bad news to important people). However, I couldn’t see myself doing it forever, and a large part of that was because I knew I cared way more about SSF and the amazing platform that Sloane and Sybil (Sloane’s mom and ED) were growing. While I definitely got some strange looks for leaving my job in the midst of a pandemic, I knew it was the right move and I would forever regret not going for it. I’m so thankful to Sloane and her family for having the faith to take this leap together. While my role has expanded and evolved since I joined a few months ago, my primary responsibility on the foundation side is to raise money to grow our organization. Despite Covid-19 pausing the tennis tour and halting in-person school and programs in Compton, I’ve been blown away by everything our team has been able to accomplish and how we’ve really been there for our students during these trying times – that is a testament to Sloane and Sybil’s leadership and commitment.
Joey: Take us through a normal day with you and the SSF.
Lindsay: How cliché is it to say there is no normal day? Since we haven’t been able to travel, I’m spending a lot of time on Zoom building relationships with donors, corporate partners, and spreading the word about our work. Last week, we launched our first ever merchandise so that was a huge learning experience for our team! A lot of my time now is spent planning for 2021 and figuring out how to increase awareness and our impact while raising the funds to ensure SSF’s work can be sustainable for years to come. I’m thankful to work with so many incredible people on a daily basis from Sloane and Sybil to our incredible coaches, VISTA Fellows, social media team and supporters.
Joey: SSF has gone through a huge growth since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Can you talk about some of the highlights and what’s on the horizon?
Lindsay: Thanks! A major highlight was our entirely virtual summer camp this year. While we were nervous about how it would go, our students and coaches were incredible and adapted to the virtual environment in an amazing way. One benefit to virtual programming was that we were able to bring in guest speakers from around the country since they could just Zoom in. Currently, we are beginning to slowly bring students back on court two at a time while following all social distancing and health protocols.
Joey: A large portion of the professional tennis industry is male, but the day-to-day SSF team is mostly female. Has that affected the development in any way?
Lindsay: It’s really important to Sloane and Sybil that our students have strong role models and that each student feels that every job or opportunity is available to them. We want our girls to know they have a seat at the table and that their voices are heard. 100% of our coaches are from Compton or the immediate surrounding area, which is also important to us not only to invest in the young adults in our community by paying fair wages and providing professional development, but so that our students can identify with the shared life experiences of our coaches and see them as mentors that are invested in their lives and successes.
Joey: Where do you hope to see SSF in a year, or 5 years? Do you see SSF eventually expanding outside of Compton?
Lindsay: In a year, I hope to see us fully back on court and in the classroom in a happy, healthy way. We have programs in 25 CUSD schools, and I’d like us to expand into the final few to cover the entire district. We definitely have expansion goals outside of Compton, I think South Florida is a natural spot given Sloane’s connection there, and we are definitely open to international projects if they are a good fit. Of course, any expansion is dependent upon having the funding to do so, as we want to ensure we can be a stable, consistent presence in our students’ lives. We invite your subscribers to learn more, consider supporting our work, or rocking our merchandise.
Bonus: What was the best piece of advice you’ve received and who gave it? If you could go back in time to 18-year-old Lindsay, what would you tell her?
Lindsay: My friend Chara believes there is a John Wooden quote for every situation, and a great one is “things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.” Trust the process, try your best, and be a good person.
I would tell my 18 year old self that the best is yet to come and to not get so caught up in the destination that you miss the journey!