Serena & the Big Apple — Quotes from NYC — Must-click women’s tennis links

The IX: Tennis Tuesday with Joey Dillon, Sept. 6, 2022

Happy Tennis Tuesday and Happy September! I hope everyone enjoyed their Labor Day weekend and are ready to go through all things tennis. If you were living under a rock, there’s only two things you need to know and we’ll dive through — the U.S. Open quarterfinalists and Serena Williams’ retirement.

First, your U.S. Open Elite Eight:

[1] Iga Swiatek vs. [8] Jessica Pegula
[6] Aryna Sabalenka vs. [22] Karolina Pliskova
[12] Coco Gauff vs. [17] Caroline Garcia
[5] Ons Jabeur vs. Ajla Tomljanovic

Off the bat, we’re shook because I have 5/8 in my predictions last week! Three of my semifinalists remain, including my all-American final of Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff. My last prediction will be Sabalenka knocking out Pliskova in a hard-hitting tussle.

I’m keeping this short, because obviously Serena was the talk of tennis, talk of the sports world, hell — the world, period.

Serena’s final win came in a thrilling three-set titanic against No. 2 Anett Kontaveit and while the match was impressive, I’m more enamored with a third round encounter with Ajla Tomljanovic.

In true Serena fashion, it was electric, dramatic and full of roars from a record-breaking crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Serena was up, then lost the first set and then had to weasel out the second by the skin of her teeth. The third set, she went up a break to start, but that would be it. The final game was the 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-1 of Serena as a player with the GOAT saving five match points in a 15-minute game. The three-hour battle went to the Australian, 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-1 and was the break from a reputation Tomljanovic had for faltering at the end of important matches. Tomljanovic aims to use her career-defining win — as of now — to continue the 2022 surge she’s seen with a second consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal.

Serena’s farewell to the crowd was emotional, specifically when she called out her team and family. In perhaps the most poignant part of her speech was acknowledging Venus. “I wouldn’t be Serena if it weren’t for Venus,” she said. The sisters teamed up in the doubles draw, becoming the first-ever women’s doubles first-rounder to be in the night session on Ashe. They lost to Lucie Hradecka and Linda Noskova in a tight two-setter and was the first Grand Slam opener the sisters lost since their debut at the 1997 US Open. Talk about irony.

To add a little comedic relief, I’ll miss the true star of the Williams family — matriarch Oracene Price:

So many think pieces from journalists chronicled Serena following her last match. Johnette Howard penned an incredible piece about Serena embodying that you can achieve your dream. WTA Legend Martina Navratilova spoke about Serena’s impact on the sport and beyond, while Zina Garrison shared her low-key, but impactful influence on the 23-time Grand Slam winner. Perhaps my favorite reflection is Getty photographer Matthew Stockman, who has been taking pictures of Serena since the start of her career. Reem Abulleil shared some players statements of how Serena has blatantly improved their career, specifically with Madison Brengle’s note about Serena’s 2018 French Open outfit that led the tour to allow leggings on court. That helped Brengle, a skin cancer survivor, be best equipped and comfortable to continue her career.

But even though we kind of know what’s next — what’s next? For starters, like I’ve mentioned in the past, her off-court endeavors will perhaps have more impact on the world than anything on. But Serena should do retirement like she did her entire career — her way.

I’ve already gone on and on and on about her career, but please check this link for a fantastic overview

Before we do links, here are Serena’s final words from her final presser:

“I mean, there’s so many things to be remembered by. Like the fight. I’m such a fighter. I feel like I really brought something, and bring something, to tennis. The different looks, the fist pumps, the just crazy intensity. I think that obviously the passion I think is a really good word. Just continuing through ups and downs. 

“I could go on and on. But I just honestly am so grateful that I had this moment and that I’m Serena.”



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This Week in Women’s Tennis

We know tennis helps people through a variety of means, but Oxford shooting survivor Kylie Ossege used the sport she recently fell in love with as motivation to overcome her injuries.

Venus Williams continues to serve in ways we didn’t know we needed:

While the world centers around the retirement of Serena Williams, she’s not the only player to announce their goodbye in New York. In a three-set battle, former Top 10er Andrea Petkovic played her final match against No.13-seeded Belinda Bencic in the first round. Though she struggled with injuries, she always gave a different perspective to everyone in the tennis community.

We always talk about the youth coming on tour and making their presence known, but right now, it’s the veterans making noise.

Rhiannon Potkey, who does most of the content for tennisrecruiting.net, wins with the best Serena tweet, IMO:

Zhang Shuai found herself in her first U.S. Open fourth round, headlining a strong Chinese contingent advancing in New York. She reflected on her career — including her then 0-14 Grand Slam record — but she’s continuing to build on her resurgence.

Nick Kyrgios is a hot topic given his antics on and off of the tennis court, but Coco Gauff — who will debut in the Top 10 next week — opened up about how he’s influenced her in her career.

Amanda Anisimova announced after her first-round loss that she had broken a toe in Cincinnati and hasn’t said how long she’ll be out.

Victoria Azarenka and Marta Kostyuk met in the second round of the U.S. Open, continuing the unresolved tennis tensions the Ukraine/Russia/Belarus conflict

Leylah Fernandez bowed out early compared to her 2021 runner-up finish, but she blossomed in both women’s doubles and mixed doubles. Meanwhile, 2019 champion Bianca Andreescu believes she can claim Grand Slam glory again.

TW: sexual assault. Fiona Ferro has come forward and spoke out about her former coach, who is facing rape and sexual assault charges in France. The coach, Pierre Bouteyre, also coached Alize Cornet for 10 years and has been called as a witness to testify in court.

Zendaya, who’s filming a tennis movie due next year, attended the U.S. Open and she was a mood:

Camila Osorio is armed with a new coach in tow, hoping it helps launch her to new heights following her post-pandemic rise.

Though this is ATP-related, here’s a nice piece on Brandon Holt, a qualifying wildcard who made the main draw — and so happens to be the son of Tracy Austin.

Liudmila Samsonova’s secret to her summer winning streak? A mental coach.


Tweet of the Week

I mean……



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Five at The IX: Week 1 U.S. Open Quotes

“I mean, no one’s going to pronounce my name right. That’s going to suck.”– Ajla Tomljanovic when told she’s now going to be the answer to a trivia question for years to come.

“I just can’t believe like the era of Serena is kind of on the tennis court is over. I mean, it’s just hard to picture tennis without her. Because all the achievements she had, she’s paved the way for a lot of women, women of color, coming from Compton, there are just so many things she kind of checks off the boxes.

“Yeah, it’s crazy that she’s — I don’t know, it’s just sad. Happy sad, but it’s sad.”– Jessica Pegula on Serena Williams

“Three letters is W-I-N. That’s it. Very simple.”– Venus Williams on what drives her at this stage of her career.”

“I experienced loss to Ashleigh Barty in Melbourne 6-Love, 6-Love. I was like, It cannot be worse than that, even against Serena.”

– Danka Kovinic, who lost 6-3, 6-3 in the first round to Serena Williams.

“Well, it’s a different situation obviously from last year. I know I could be safer than other players, for sure. But you never know. You could have six or five Anetts come up after at the end of the season.”– Ons Jabeur, who sits at No.2 on the Porsche Race to the WTA Finals Leaderboard, on trying to qualify for her first WTA Finals this year.


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: Eleni Demestihas, @strongforecheck, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Joey Dillon