Oh what a Wimbledon — Quotes from SW19 — Must-click women’s tennis links

The IX: Tennis Tuesday with Joey Dillon, July 18, 2023

Howdy, y’all and Happy Tennis Tuesday! Wimbledon is officially over and before we head into the best part of the season — the North American hardcourt swing — it’s my duty to recap the fortnight with my own Parting Thoughts.

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First, can we just have a moment for Marketa Vondrousova? A year ago, the Czech was visiting Wimbledon as a guest because of injury, had only made it to the second round in her career and leaves London a Grand Slam champion and the newest member of the WTA’s Top 10. Whether it was the Czech lineage or taking it one step at a time, the 24-year-old now finds herself a member of tennis history as Wimbledon’s first unseeded champion.

While the tennis world was happy for Vondrousova, they collectively wiped a tear for Ons Jabeur, who now drops to 0-3 in Grand Slam finals. You could argue that this was her best shot thus far, players like Kim Clijsters and Simona Halep won their first Slam after multiple attempts. It was quite the run for the Tunisian, who defeated four Grand Slam champions en route to the championship match but it’s the final hurdle that still eludes the World No. 6.

Elina Svitolina also defeated four Grand Slam champions en route to her semifinal finish at the All England Club, but in my opinion, her run was perhaps the most inspiring. A mom returning from maternity leave in April and facing immense pressure as the face of perseverance in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war, she found herself in her third career Grand Slam semifinal. Sure, she hasn’t reached a final yet, but wins like her quarterfinal upset over World No. 1 Iga Swiatek mean more for her and her country. Svitolina is playing with a renewed mindset and with Raemon Sluiter in her corner, expect a solid hardcourt season.

Aryna Sabalenka continues to be one of the most consistent players on tour with yet another Grand Slam semifinal added to her resume, but the Belarussian faltered yet again with the No. 1 ranking on the line against Jabeur. One can argue if the time will come for Sabalenka, but if there’s any consolation prize, it’s knowing she can beat any player, any day on any court. Here’s your reminder that she’s the reigning Australian Open champion, Indian Wells finalist with a handful of other deep runs on the hardcourts this past year.

Jessica Pegula is perhaps running the most “what if” questions when in her sixth Grand Slam quarterfinal, led Marketa Vondrousova 4-1 break point in the final set of their match, only to lose the final five games of the match. While she searches for answers, I give her credit for this reply to some hate:

In doubles, Hsieh Su-Wei continues to defy odds by coming back in May and by July winning two Grand Slams with two different partners. She and Barbora Strycova reunited to win their second Wimbledon as a pair, with the Czech announcing this was her final Wimbledon and will be retiring at the US Open.

Lyudmyla Kichenok was able to give Ukraine a trophy at SW19 by capturing her first Grand Slam title in mixed doubles, partnering with Mate Pavic. The duo outlasted Xu Yifan and Joran Vliegen to win their first title as a pair.

In juniors, Clervie Ngounoue has been building a resume with some Grand Slam doubles titles, but the American broke through to win her first singles major over Nikola Bartunkova. While Wimbledon couldn’t give her her own tweet or put her on Court 1 like the Boys final or previous Girls finals, she is still one to heavily keep on your radar.


Diede de Groot is the most dominant player in all of tennis and it’s not even a question. The Dutch won her eleventh consecutive Grand Slam in the wheelchair division and honestly, can anyone stop her at the moment?

Before we move onto the future and links, how about a mini palate cleanser from Petra Kvitova?

This Week in Women’s Tennis

Congratulations to Naomi Osaka, who announced she and boyfriend Cordae have welcomed their first child, a baby girl. The countdown to Australia begins now, I guess?

At the Grand Est Open 88 in Contrexeville, France, Aranxta Rus won her second consecutive WTA 125 title with a win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The doubles title went to Cristina Bucsa and Alena Fomina-Klotz, who beat Amina Anshba and Anastasia Detiuc.

Olga Danilovic captured the Nordea Open in Bastad, upsetting top-seeded Emma Navarro in the WTA 125 final. Irina Khromacheva and Panna Udvardy downed Eri Hozumi and Jang Su-jeong to take the doubles crown.

Jessica Matthews will be playing college tennis at Iowa starting in the fall, but being the lone female hitting partner at Wimbledon is the highlight of her career thus far.

Haley Giavara is a new professional to the tour following an All-American career at Cal, but thanks to the SoCal Pro Series, she’s secured a qualifying wildcard into next year’s BNP Paribas Open.

Caty McNally added her name to a small, exclusive list as one of the only players to be part of a mother-daughter duo to have played on the grass at Wimbledon.

The WTA rankings are officially back to normal!

IX Friend Danielle Lao was featured as the USC All-American has found another love in the sport of running as a Hoka ambassador.

As the WTA celebrated their 50th anniversary, what’s even more impressive is the global nature the tour has shifted in when the Original 9 were made up of players from only two countries.

Venus Williams detailed her Wimbledon experience in her latest vlog and fortunately her injury doesn’t seem to serious as she’s signed up to play in a team tennis event in San Antonio.

Jennifer Brady makes her comeback after two years away from the game due to injury this week at the $100k ITF World Tour event in Granby, Canada.

The PTPA has partnered with Universal Tennis to help give players more opportunity to earn a living playing tournaments, but apparently the WTA has struck down the decision to include ranking points in those events.

Former Top 100 doubles player Allie Will was named the Head Coach at Santa Clara University.

Congratulations to Alison Van Uytvanck, who married girlfriend Emilie Vermeiren in a ceremony this past weekend.

The WTA and FanDuel have announced a multi-year agreement to continue their partnership as the Tour’s authorized gaming operator.

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Tweet(s) of the Week

Olympia Ohanian will humble you when she has the chance:

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Five at The IX: Wimbledon Champions

Q. You alluded to it earlier, how much sweeter does this feel after the French Open final, after the Olympics, the injuries you’ve had? Must make the journey and the tough moments worth it.

MARKETA VONDROUSOVA: I was thinking we played finals in Berlin of doubles. My mom was there watching. She was like, she was so upset.

She told me, I don’t want to be second all the time.

I was like, Okay, Mom, we’ll try today.

She was like, I’m not coming. I just want to watch TV.

Yeah, I mean, I was a bit nervous before. When we came onto the court, I was like, Okay, let’s see what’s going to happen. I didn’t start well. I feel like I was so calm. I felt really good. So I was just trying to put every ball into the play.

Yeah, I’m just so happy that I could stay focused. It’s very tough. People are cheering and everything. When it was 40-Love, I couldn’t breathe. I just was thinking to myself, Just be over. I was like crazy nervous.

It was such a relief when I put the match point in.

Q. You didn’t drop a set all tournament. What was your mindset coming in? Were you zoned in on getting the title at the end?

CLERVIE NGOUNOUE: Yeah, my brother actually just told me that, that I didn’t drop a set.

I really think I was just focused on myself and trying to progress as a tennis player, knowing that this is not, like, the end, that this is only a part of the journey. This is to set me up for more.

I think all of us juniors at these tournaments, these prestigious tournaments, are such good opportunities not only for recognition but us personally as tennis players to progress. It’s all to progress. It’s all a part of the journey.

Really, I think it was a confidence thing for me, just try to focus on the next match, the next point, the next set, whatever was coming, trying not to look ahead of myself. But it was just really trusting myself and whatever I learned recently.

Q. Barbora, you said you wanted to have a fire before the tournament. Once you started playing, you can find a fire inside of you. When did you feel that athlete instinct inside of you?

BARBORA STRYCOVA: Every time I step on the court and every time we start to play the first point. Of course, you say you want to have fun. Having fun means kind of like you don’t care, yeah, you just play. But from the first game of the tournament and first match, we were on. I knew that we can go far.

I wanted to kind of kept the fun there, but also the focus in our game, which Su-Wei helped me all the time. She won French Open, now she wins Wimbledon. She’s amazing. It’s great to have a partner like Su-Wei because sometimes when you are little bit down, she brings you up.

Yeah, we have fun, but we also compete very well. I say today we were always there. Even though we were 4-1 down, then it was 4-All, we were always in our minds very strong.

Q. The on-court interviewer you mentioned Esther, that record. Is it ridiculous for people to keep comparing you to her, that she has 470-odd wins?

DIEDE de GROOT: I completely understand it from a point of view, like from the media side, from people watching it. I completely understand it.

I think for Esther and myself it can be a little bit different because it creates the atmosphere of who is the better player. So, yeah, we spoke about this the other day. I think it really is, for me as well, I respect her so much as a player, what she’s done for the sport, not just for wheelchair tennis, but for Paralympic sport in general, and she’s still doing that. So I respect her so much.

Being in the position that I am now, I know how difficult it is to have a streak like this, to win a lot of tournaments. So I think the respect is only growing.

But, yeah, people like to compare. I hear it in the on-court interviews with Djokovic as well where she mention his streaks. He’s also like, I don’t care about the numbers.

I think for the players, it’s not something you have in mind as a goal. You want to play well, you want to hit the right shots, you want to enjoy. You don’t want to have necessarily high numbers I think.

Q. It’s clearly a winning partnership. Will you take that partnership to the US Open?

MATE PAVIC: We haven’t…

LYUDMYLA KICHENOK: That’s too far (laughter).

MATE PAVIC: We played actually just one time before this. It was actually in Wimbledon 2017. It was a long time ago.

But, yeah, definitely we’ll try to arrange something.

LYUDMYLA KICHENOK: We’ll see. Why not?

MATE PAVIC: Obviously we’re playing good together. Why not?

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