Flushing’s Teenage Dream — Quotes from US Open Champions — Must-click women’s tennis links
The IX: Tennis Tuesday with Joey Dillon, September 14, 2021
So, first off, PHEWWWWWW. What a US Open! I’m going to GLOSS over my predictions last week, where I picked only one semifinalist of the eight quarterfinalists. However, in the spirit of all of my end-of-Grand Slam coverage, here’s my own takeaways in the form of Jon Wertheim’s Parting Thoughts.
There’s too many teenage puns I can toss out for Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez? While I brush off the dust off my brittle bones as I approach 30 next Tuesday, but their final is another example of how friggin exciting the future of women’s tennis is.
Can we just pour one, or may ten bottles, out for Raducanu? I mean, holy shit. It wasn’t even three months ago that she was denied an initial main draw wild card into Wimbledon. Then after a breakthrough and a summer full of a ton of matches, to go through qualifying and then win seven more matches — all in straight sets — is unreal. It’s one thing for a teenager to win a major, but it’s not like Raducanu has much experience under her belt:
What a tournament for Fernandez too. Her route to the championship match is simply unreal and perhaps the magnitude of the moment got to her, but it was quite an entertaining final that lasted shy of two hours. She had to defeat three of the current Top 5 players to make the final and also reached the third round of doubles with Erin Routliffe. She should, and will leave with her head held high. Her moment to take the mic back and commemorate the 9/11 victims and New York crowd had me in chills.
We’re witnessing a massive breakthrough in Raducanu, but how big will her impact be off-court? I’m sure IMG was salivating when she made her Wimbledon run, but I can’t even imagine them now she’s a Grand Slam champion. The globalization she brings can hit many different markets of sport fans. Born in Canada, raised in England to Romanian and Chinese parents? I mean, it may seem excessive to be sports’ first billion-dollar female athlete, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
I’m a massive fan of the initiative the US Open does with a trophy for the champions’ coach, and this feature into Raducanu’s coach Andrew Richardson delves into the team focusing on performance versus results. Seems to be working.
One of my favorite things throughout Raducanu’s run was that she was not only scheduled to play Luxembourg qualifying this past weekend, but she was also on the list for the Columbus 125 qualifying as well. It’s safe to say she’s only going to be playing the WTA 500 in Chicago or WTA 1000 in Indian Wells — and that’s only if she wants to.
Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai captured their second Grand Slam as a duo and continue their impressive summer. The 2021 title comes 16 years after Stosur’s first US Open doubles title and 10 years after her singles win. In an “LOL” moment, runner-up Coco Gauff (partner of Caty McNally) shared that Stosur was the first autograph she ever received from a tennis player. Again, let me cry in old.
I think we should perhaps create a Doubles Player of the Year around and throw it at Desirae Krawczyk. The Arizona State alum won her third consecutive Mixed Doubles Grand Slam and second overall with Joe Salisbury. She will go go the non-calendar Grand Slam in Australia and I hope she gets it. Also, a massive congratulations to Five at the IX alum Giuliana Olmos for making the final and more Mexican tennis history.
Robin Montgomery ended her junior career in style by capturing the US Open double. She won the singles title over Kristina Dmitruk and then partnered with Ashlyn Krueger to win the doubles title over Reese Brantmeier and Elvina Kalieva in an All-American final.
In some sad news, Five at The IX alum Luisa Stefani reached her first Grand Slam semifinal and was leading in the first set tiebreaker with Gaby Dabrowski when she went down with a knee injury. She confirmed she has a torn ligament, but hasn’t announced any surgery plans yet. It’s a tough one for arguably one of the best doubles players of the year who is in contention for the WTA Finals and just cracked the Top 15.
There wasn’t enough talk about Diede de Groot’s GOLDEN SLAM that was completed in New York. Like, sure, all of the attention was on Novak Djokovic, but major shout out to both her and Dylan Alcott for achieving that this past week.
Think we should add “psychic” to Louisa Chirico’s professions:
I know I joked about my predictions, but you’ve got to feel for the veterans that were aiming for their first Slam like Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina. Even young semifinalists like Maria Sakkari and Aryna Sabalenka couldn’t capitalize on their second appearance at that stage to make their first final. For all four, I still say it’s when, not if when they’ll hold a champion’s trophy.
Players are pretty superstitious, which is no shocker, but I don’t know if my daughter’s first Grand Slam final would keep me at home like it did for Jorge Fernandez.
I love Hsieh Su-Wei:
This Week in Women’s Tennis
Alexandra Stevenson isn’t the most favored analyst on TV, but I’m a fan. Her tribute to friend Manny DelValle Jr., whom she lost in the 9/11 attacks, is something everyone should watch.
The biggest news on the WTA side is the announcement that there will be a WTA Finals this year! In a bit of surprising news, Guadalajara will be hosting the tour’s crown jewel before it returns to Shenzhen in 2022.
Mayar Sherif captured the biggest title of her career at the WTA 125 event in Karlsruhe, Germany. The Egyptian defeated Martina Trevisan in straight sets in the final. The doubles title went to Irina Bara and Ekaterine Gorgodze, who edged Katarzyna Piter and Sherif in a 10-point match tiebreaker.
I shared a few weeks ago the mental health initiative between the WTA and BetterHelp and the therapy service will provide an additional $500 per ace by WTA players, and up to up to $1 million in value, toward free therapy for the public for the remainder of the 2021 season.
Tennis was well-represented at the Met Gala, with co-chair Naomi Osaka, Serena and Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Emma Raducanu, Leylah Fernandez, Sloane Stephens and Ajla Tomljanovic making appearances. Mari Osaka designed her sister’s dress and explained the meaning behind it, which I loved:
In unsurprising news, Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez were this week’s biggest ranking movers, with the US Open champion catapulting to No. 23 and the runner-up to No. 28.
Midori Castillo Meza is an incoming freshman at the University of Arizona, but the player had a brief, but eye-opening encounter with Billie Jean King at the USTA Girls National Championships.
Naomi Osaka has jumped into the skincare world, releasing KINLO, a line to help women of color, but is also extremely comfortable in pricing.
Kim Clijsters will be returning to the tour following her initial comeback at the WTA 500 in Chicago. She hasn’t played since the 2020 US Open following some injury struggles.
If you were curious about what a WTA Communications Manager does, Bryan Shapiro spoke with the Down the T podcast and shared some interesting tidbits.
Tweet of the Week
I mean, come on….
Five at The IX: US Open Champions
Q. If someone had told you ahead of Wimbledon that by the end of the summer you’d be a Grand Slam champion, what would you have said to them?
EMMA RADUCANU: No, I wouldn’t have believed it at all, because at the beginning of the grass courts, I was coming fresh off my exams. I had three weeks to practice before my first tournament. Yeah, I just built up every single match, every single win.
I mean, I thought Wimbledon was such an incredible experience. Fourth round, second week, I couldn’t believe it. I thought, what a great achievement.
But I was still hungry. I was working hard after the grass. I didn’t have much time off. Then straight back out here on the States. With each match and tournament and week, I think I’ve really built in terms of confidence, in terms of my game, in terms of my ball striking. Everything came together today.
Yeah, I think to pull off some of the shots I did in the big moments when I really needed it was just an accumulation of everything I’ve learnt in the past five weeks.
Q. Many people look at what happened at Wimbledon and see a lot of strength and inspiration in that, that you came through that situation and then come back and play so well in this big tournament, handle the pressure so well. How do you view that? Do you view it as a triumph in that sense?
EMMA RADUCANU: I think the biggest triumph for me is how I managed to just not think of absolutely anything else except for my game plan, what I’m going to execute. I didn’t really think anything other than what was going on on the tennis court. All the outside stuff, I just completely zoned in and focused on my craft.
When I was on the tennis court, it was just business as usual, focusing on the plays. That’s the biggest thing that I’m proud of. I think that’s definitely the biggest thing that’s probably helped me to win this title.
Q. Would you like to expand on how you feel that you’ve completed the Golden Slam. You said before you were not thinking about it. Are you thinking about it now?
DIEDE de GROOT: Yes, I’m thinking about it now.
I think, like, it’s a way to sort of focus on the right things, to just focus match for match. I did that very well this tournament. I think in the final now it sort of showed I was a little bit nervous, I wasn’t really I guess on top of my game. So, yeah, I think everyone could see there was pressure to get that Golden Slam.
So happy to have it. I just can’t wait to go home, celebrate it with my family, friends, everyone that has supported me in the past few weeks. I know a lot of people have been watching all of the games. Seeing as there’s a lot of time difference between here and home, and also between Tokyo, I know they’ve been staying up late in the night.
Yeah, it’s just great to go home I guess.
Q. Sam, can you sum up, analyze what it means to you at this stage of your career to have this happen, what this place means to you?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah, I mean, it’s just a phenomenal feeling to have this trophy again 16 years later. Winning the singles here, I’ve got so many amazing memories here playing in New York. I love coming back here, I love the courts, I love the atmosphere. Yeah, obviously a very special place for me.
It’s brought out some of my best tennis in my career over obviously many, many years. This year has been tough for everyone. This is the last two days of a trip that’s going to be four months for me away from home. I haven’t done that for a long, long time. To be going home with this trophy just means the absolute world to me.
It makes everything worth it. Yeah, I’m so proud to have Shuai as my partner. Like she said, we certainly bring out the best of each other on and off the court. Yeah, it’s a really special title for both of us.
Q. Desirae, to have your name next to names like Martina Hingis, Martina Navratilova, Leander Paes, Margaret Smith Court, winning three mixed doubles Grand Slams in the same year of the Open Era, your name is going to be alongside those names. What do you think about that?
DESIRAE KRAWCZYK: Honestly, just to think about that, it’s just crazy to me. No, I’m just happy with, you know, how well I have done.
Yeah, I mean, honestly, it hasn’t really sunk in yet. No, I’m just happy to be able to play in front of a lot of friends and family here and to play with Joe and have our whole team with us. It’s just been a good two weeks.
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By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
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