The IX: Tennis Tuesday with Lindsay Gibbs, April 16, 2019
Wozniacki's bachelorette party — Serena and sharks — Amanda Anisimova's breakthrough
Friends, I’m going to be frank with you: Today has not been my day. I overslept, which threw off my entire schedule. I’ve been treading water at work, thanks to one of those days where sources and stories and deadlines and writing time just do not line up. And, when I went to transcribe this week’s incredible Tennis Tuesday interview, I realized that my tape recorder let me down. It was not there.
But, here at The IX, the show must go on. (I understand that this was not the most inviting intro, but PLEASE KEEP READING, it will be worth it.)
So, given all of this, I wanted to start this newsletter with something that has brought me unabashed joy this week: Caroline Wozniacki’s bachelorette party.
In case you didn’t know, Wozniacki — the former world No. 1, Australian Open champion, and best friend to Serena Williams — is engaged to a tall, handsome former NBA player, David Lee. This week she held her bachelorette party in the Bahamas. Serena was there. Serena’s daughter, Olympia, was there. Nicole Gibbs, a former Tennis Tuesday interviewee, was there. And, thanks to the power of social media, I felt as if I was there, too.
And goodness, it was a blast. The setting was idyllic. The bathing suits were fashionable. And the hijinks were plentiful. Gibbsy — as #caroscrew calls her — was chased by a pig in the water. The women performed a choreographed dance to Backstreet Boys. Olympia danced with the bride-to-be on a boat in the sunset.
And, if that’s not enough, we were gifted with a video of Serena Williams saying, “I don’t do sharks,” while Gibbsy is in the water, apparently with sharks, laughing hysterically.
Sometimes, my friends, even when life is tough, we have to focus on the good things. Like the fact that later in that same video, which you absolutely must watch, Serena films a stingray swimming by Gibbsy and says, “Where they do that at? They don’t do that in Compton.”
So, yes, Polona Hercog and Amanda Anisimova won tennis tournaments this week, and we’ll get into all of that in the links below. But Wozniacki’s bachelorette party stole the tennis show this week, and we’re all better for it.
This Week in Tennis
Okay, so, yes, I guess you want results?
In Bogota, 17-year-old American Amanda Anisimova defeated Australian Astra Sharma 4–6, 6–4, 6–1 in the final to win her first career title.
Some fabulous stats, via WTA Insider: Anisimova is the youngest American to win a clay court title since Lindsay Davenport won 1993 Lucerne (at 16 years, 349 days), and the youngest American to win a singles title on any surface since Serena won Indian Wells in 1999.
Anisimova says she’s been working hard on the mental aspect of the game, and it’s paying off.
Love David Kane’s piece on Anisimova’ victory. She is delightful. (More on that in the interview below.)
In Lugano, Hercog won her first title in seven years with a 6–3, 3–6, 6–3 victory over another 17-year-old wunderkind, Iga Świątek, in the final.
Adam Zagoria for the New York Times asks, “Where have all the American tennis tournaments gone?” This article — which touches on a topic we addressed two Tennis Tuesdays ago — has already caused quite a stir.
The coaching partnership between Kristina Mladenovic and Sascha Bajin is officially official. This is going to be fun.
Great dive into the mind of Aryna Sabalenka and her coach, Dmitry Tursunov.
Welcome back, Svetlana Kuznetsova. We’ve missed you.
This is an absolute must-listen WTA Insider Podcast interview between Courtney Nguyen and Julie Heldman, one of the WTA’s Original Nine. So much history.
Here’s a handy WTA guide for who is playing Fed Cup where.
Speaking of Fed Cup, it’s that time of the year! In the main event, the semifinals, we’ve got France vs. Romania and Australia vs. Belarus. Here’s where to watch.
Team USA is in action in San Antonio, Texas, in the World Group playoff. They’re hosting a Belinda Bencic-less Switzerland squad. My lost interview was with USA captain Kathy Rinaldi, and I’ll try and get her back soon, because she was fabulous. But, while Serena did not end up playing this week, Team USA is still pretty stacked, with Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys, Sofia Kenin, Jessica Pegula, and Jennifer Brady.
Tweet of the Week
Honestly, we might have to re-name this segment just for Naomi.
Five at The IX: Throwback Tuesday with Amanda Anisimova
Okay, so, as I mentioned in my thrilling intro, unfortunately a technical difficulty this week, and thus my exclusive interview is delayed a week. (It’s worth it! I promise!)
But, in honor of Anisimova’s big win this week, I went back into the archives and pulled some excerpts from her press conference at Indian Wells last year, when she was only 16 years old and upset Petra Kvitova. The precocious teen talked about the big stage, joy, equality, and gun control. She’s impressive on and off the court.
REPORTER: Do you think it’s an advantage for you going on court against those very experienced player and you have just 16 years old?
ANISIMOVA: Yeah, definitely. I have no pressure going onto the court, and all I can think about is having fun, whatever happens. That’s definitely an advantage.
REPORTER: When you walk out on that court, did you take a look around a little bit and take it all in or keep your eyes in front of you? How did you handle it mentally out there?
ANISIMOVA: I was looking a little around when I was warming up because of all the TV screens. And I would see myself on the big screen, so I wasn’t use to that. That was the first time. But I was trying to stay really focused.
I was enjoying the moment, but at the same time, I was trying not to, like, make myself nervous because of the huge crowd, and everything, and the big stage.
REPORTER: And when you said on court, “I just trusted my game,” what did that mean?
ANISIMOVA: Oh, yeah. Well, I just think about my game when I go on court. I put myself where — just like I trust my game more than whatever, whoever I’m playing. I don’t really look at them as much as — I worry about myself.
My coaches and my dad will be, like, Okay, they do this. Your opponent is going to do this today. And I’m just like, I’m focusing on what I’m going to do. That’s what I do.
REPORTER: You have recently posted about Billie Jean King’s activism and gun control. How do you see your responsibility as a public figure that’s increasing?
ANISIMOVA: Yeah, definitely. I also posted about her when it was Women’s Day, you know, because she started equality on the court, and everything about tennis, you know, treating the women’s side and men’s side the same way.
I really look up to her, and that’s a great thing that she did. She’s my role model.
REPORTER: You saw the young people from Parkland, Florida, speak out, gun control was mentioned. What are your thoughts on that issue?
ANISIMOVA: Yeah, that’s definitely terrible. I actually had a friend that goes to that school. It’s really close to me. It’s really sad what’s going on. I think that guns should be banned. That’s what my opinion is, whatever. I posted that on Twitter. But you should have stricter laws on that for sure. And I don’t think teachers should be having guns in school because I don’t think that’s a good idea. I think that we just have to take them out.