Tennis Tuesday with Lindsay Gibbs, July 23, 2019

Simona Halep goes back to Romania, Alison Riske goes Bollywood, and Li Na enters the Tennis Hall of Fame

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Soaking in the moment

Look, it’s been a wonderful but exhausting few months in tennis. From the time Indian Wells started to the moment the champions danced at Wimbledon, things have been going at full speed.

So yes, there was tennis this week — there’s literally always tennis — but mostly, this Was a week for tennis fans catch their breath before the U.S. summer hard courts, and, of course, the U.S. Open.

Which means, I don’t have any big takes this week, or epic results to talk about.

Instead, I just want to take a moment to appreciate the reception that Simona Halep got when she took her Wimbledon trophy back to Romania. It’s easy for me, as an American, to think of popularity through the lens on how well-known and beloved tennis players are in the United States. But goodness is that a stupid way to think of it.

Look at how beloved she is!!!

This week, she was granted Romania’s Order of the Star — the highest distinction one can earn — and found out she would be the flag bearer for Romania at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Plus, droves of fans greeted her at the Bucharest National Stadium.

These photos are good for the soul.

There’s a bus that has Simona holding the Wimbledon trophy!!! I want to be on that bus. That is a good advertisement if I’ve ever seen one.

Anyways, I’ll be back next week with some thoughts on World Team Tennis, and then, when I get back from WNBA All-Star on Tuesday, the Citi Open will be underway. I’ll be attending, interviewing players for The IX, and taking in live tennis for the first time in far too long.

This Week in Tennis

Li Na is still an inspiration. As is, of course, Mary Pierce. Both legends were inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame over the weekend.

France’s Fiona Ferro, No. 98 in the world, beat Alize Cornet in the final to win her first WTA title at the Swiss Open. You never know what’s going to happen when Frenchies face off.

Kazakhistan’s Elena Rybakina beat Patricia Maria Tig to win the Bucharest Open.

Nicole Gibbs is on the comeback trail after her cancer scare. We’re rooting for you, Gibbsy!

The ridiculous fine levied against Anna Tatishvili after the French Open was overturned, thank goodness.

Australian tennis legend and WTA coach Pete McNamara passed away at the age of 64 after a battle with prostate cancer. Many WTA players took to twitter to share their condolences.

Naomi Osaka in Allure.

I’m a serious journalist and not here for gossip and juicy headlines will not tempt me LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE, SIMONA.

Here’s your rankings update.

Angie Kerber parted ways with her coach, Rainer Schuettler.

Coco Guaff is coming to the Citi Open — she might play qualifying, but she’s definitely going to appear to host a kid’s clinic, which is an amazing thing for a 15-year-old to do.

The WTA is back in Jurmala, Latvia for a tournament this week. Here’s a primer on Jurmala.

Alison Riske married former ATP pro Stephen Amritraj over the weekend, and the wedding was stunning and filled with tennis family.

And you MUST watch the Bollywood dance that Riske surprised her new husband with at the reception.

Kiki Bertens is the top seed at the Palermo Open this week. Sevastova leads the way at the Baltic Open.

Tweet of the Week

(Sorry, I know this takes up a lot of space, but the scroll is worth it.)

Five at The IX: Li Na’s Hall of Fame speech

Li Na’s speech at the Tennis Hall of Fame had to be short and sweet because nightfall was coming, but goodness is it endearing anyways. Here’s the full transcript.

Li Na: Okay, I will try my speech, like my name, short as ever. Thanks, Max. I think is only agent I had. We start working 2009. I hope I have been good player, in your pinion, right?

I think it’s great honor to be Hall of Famer, join the great names of the tennis legends. This is a big place, inspiration for my professional tennis career. It’s means for me, like, everything. Thank you.

My name is Li Na. I am from China. Li Na is pretty symbol, and a common name in China. I will guess maybe they have one million same name like me in China. Yeah, I was so happy with my choice. Yeah, but not choice of mine. But I have to say sometimes is not bad, right?

I start play tennis when I was eight. My mom chose for me. Even she’s not interesting about any sport, but good choice, yeah. I start about eight, dinnertime. I hate tennis, honestly. I hate because after school I have to be come to the tennis court, no time play with my friends, yeah.

So what I should say? Not bad. At least I’m stand here right now, yeah. When time went by, I really enjoyed this amazing sport. Looking back for the past year, a lot of the people who have empower me.

I would like to thank the team where I grow up, also the China federation, all my coaches. The (indiscernible), friend, also family. All of these have result in Li Na, and cannot be achievement without any of them. Tennis has taken me around the world, explore different country. Also because of this great sport, I have more self-control and have become better organized. I think for this I can benefit lifelong and more importantly, not only on the tennis court.

Have been five years after my retirement. In the past five years, I enjoy better work and life, and most importantly I got two children, yeah. Also, same husband. I will do all I can to inspire, to help more young and upcoming players and hope they can enjoy this amazing sport.

Yeah, thank you, everyone. Also thanks for the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Thank you.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Lindsay Gibbs, @Linzsports ThinkProgress
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal High Post Hoops
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell, @Carlygren
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by The IX Team