The IX: Tennis Tuesday with Lindsay Gibbs, July 30, 2019
A call for solidarity — Coco-mania continues — Bless you, WTA Insider
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Where’s the solidarity?
Okay, I have to be honest here: WNBA All-Star took over my brain. I landed back in Washington, D.C. this morning after a red-eye, and my plan was to go over to the Citi Open in the afternoon before coming over to cover the Washington Mystics game tonight. In retrospect, this was a bit ambitious!
So, I apologize that this is coming to you late. I promise to make it up to you in the future, as we gear up for the U.S. Open. But for now I want to highlight a good point that Ben Rothenberg made today on Twitter. After the USMNT players union released a statement in support of the USWNT’s fight for better pay from U.S. Soccer — and denouncing the math that U.S. Soccer was trying to use — Rothenberg pointed out that it’s unfathomable right now to think of ATP players doing the same for WTA players.
Unfortunately, he’s right. I can’t imagine it. Andy Murray, sure. But that’s about it. In one way or another, ATP players throughout the ranks have made it known that they believe they deserve more than the women.
And that’s ridiculous. Yes, the men have been in a golden age. But that will end. It might be 2050 by the time Federer and Djokovic and Nadal retire, but it will end. And then what? The ATP has certainly not done a good job focusing on the future.
In fact, right now, we’re seeing lower-level men’s events invite women to come perform exhibition matches to drum up interest and ticket sales! Earlier this summer, Venus Williams and Madison Keys faced off at the Atlanta Open, and this week, the Winston Salem Open announced that it is hosting an exhibition match in August between Ashleigh Barty and Coco Gauff! This is exciting. When tennis is looked at as one entity, there is a much brighter and bigger pool of stars and legends and storylines to draw from. This is why the equal pay conversation gets so grating.
Instead of counting pennies to figure out who is more marketable at this exact moment, focus on the collective power that all of those pennies have together. The good thing about the men and women sticking together in these fights is that it makes both of them stronger, in good times and in bad. Solidarity matters. One day, tennis will learn that. I’m not optimistic it will be any time soon.
This week in tennis
Speaking of what women deserve, I’m very sad I missed this:
Svetlana Kuznetsova had to skip defending her title at the Citi Open because of visa issues.
Here’s Kelyn Soong looking at rooftop tennis in D.C. for World Team Tennis.
Jil Teichmann won the Palmero Ladies Open.
Love this look at Madison Keys from the Washington Post.
Meanwhile, Keys, Stephens, and Guaff all went out in the first round of the Citi Open. Not ideal!
Sharapova and Venus get Cincy wildcards.
Great to see CoCo Vandeweghe back. And winning!
David Kane on Donna Vekic.
Coco Guaff made her main-draw WTA debut at the Citi Open, and learned many lessons along the way.
This is a very important PSA, and yet, I will mess this up one million times.
Tweet of the Week
Five at The IX: Barbora Strycova
Remember how I said I’d been in WNBA mode all week? Well, here is where that is really problematic: I thought I had an interview for you all. I was wrong. So, I am going to turn your attention to a WTA Insider interview, conducted by my good friend, Courtney Nguyen.
In this particular interview she sits down with The IX favorite, Barbora Strycova, and of course, it’s a must-read. I’m giving you a few nuggets, then demanding you go read to the whole thing.
I will be at the Citi Open the rest of the week, and will have exclusive interviews for you next week, I promise.
WTA Insider: Your first Slam singles semifinal, at your favorite tournament no less, your first major Slam doubles title, and the No.1 doubles ranking. What has your two weeks at Wimbledon meant to you?
Strycova: It means everything I dreamed off. It means something that I really couldn’t imagine, but in the back of my head I was dreaming about, and when I was getting older I felt like it can happen. And it just happened!
I am extremely proud of myself and proud of the team I have behind my back. And it’s something really special.
WTA Insider: The doubles final just finished and in about an hour you’re about to head to the Wimbledon Champion’s Dinner. Have you even had the time to process everything that’s happened?
Strycova: It is mind-blowing, but I can’t really realize it yet because I was so focused these two weeks. So focused on being relaxed, enjoying every moment, that I really didn’t want to realize what was going on because then my head would go somewhere else.
So I think when I come back home and I will sleep some in my bed I will enjoy a little bit myself, then I will realize what really happened. Because it’s big!
(Sorry for the late file, Howard.)
(Editor’s note: I’m always happy to get Lindsay Gibbs wisdom any time of night.)