A Flushing Meadows fortnight — Quotes from US Open champs — Must-click women’s tennis links
The IX: Tennis Tuesday with Joey Dillon, Sept. 13, 2022
Happy Tennis Tuesday, y’all! The Grand Slam season has come to an end and while my Pegula-Gauff prediction was voided right after we published last week’s TT, we were still left with quite the event. Before we even delve into 2023, how about a recap a la Jon Wertheim’s 50 US Open Takeaways?
First things first, what a tournament for Iga Swiatek! The Pole was the hardcourt player of the year until the Summer came and she leaves New York with the US Open trophy in hand. She says the sky is the limit, which can be even scarier for her WTA counterparts.
A treat of tiramisu paid off for Swiatek, though in the funniest of circumstances. What would your trophy treat be? I could go for a tray of Italian bakery cookies from a local spot in NYC.
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You have to feel for Ons Jabeur, whose devastation was captured by cameras following the trophy ceremony. However, she’s the World No. 2 and perhaps building a fun rivalry with Swiatek for years to come.
The favorite entering Roland Garros and crashing out in the opening round, she’s gone onto make the final in the following two Slams. With not many points from the Slams, expect to see Jabeur overtake Swiatek in 2023, but first a WTA debut in her home Tunisia is set.
The career Golden Slam finally made its way into the hands of doubles champions Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova. The duo clawed back from a set and 4-1 down to defeat Caty McNally and Taylor Townsend and win their first US Open title.
Though the Czechs won, what a tournament for Townsend, who was pregnant during her run to the 2021 doubles semifinal and is playing her best tennis now. However, who the hell signed off on Patrick McEnroe emceeing the trophy ceremony given Townsend’s history with him.
Storm Sanders took home her first Grand Slam title, partnering with fellow Aussie John Peers to down Kirsten Flipkens and Edouard Roger-Vasselin and claim the mixed doubles US Open crown. It was nice to see Flipkens make her maiden Grand Slam final just months after calling it a career on the singles court.
Diede de Groot is perhaps the most dominant player in all of tennis by capturing the calendar/Golden Slam for two consecutive years. Whoa. Also, how amazing was it to see $1 million offered in wheelchair prize money, a field doubled to 16 players and a first-ever junior wheelchair Grand Slam? The US Open is killing it in terms of accessibility representation on tour.
Alexandra Eala continues to make massive history for the Philippines, winning her country’s first junior Grand Slam. She’s even gaining praise from her country’s biggest sports star:
From Danielle Collins knocking out Naomi Osaka on pretty much no matchplay to Alize Cornet upsetting reigning champ Emma Raducanu to Aryna Sabalenka match point down 6-1, 5-2 before tearing a run to the semifinals, Australia sure should be interesting.
Even though she was the talk of the fortnight on-site, Serena Williams dominated US Open viewership at home for ESPN:
For two more Serena reads, check out her final month on-court via D’Arcy Maine, as well as Sana Noor Haq’s piece on how the GOAT redefined the female athlete in light of her motherhood.
Now, onto links!
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This Week in Women’s Tennis
We still have a few months left to go, what could happen?
The 2022 WTA Finals will officially be held in Fort Worth, Texas, though only for this year. Unfortunately — as of now — the WTA’s crown jewel will be returning to China in 2023 despite everything they’ve demanded from the country in the wake of Peng Shuai.
Iga Swiatek and Ons Jabeur are the first to punch their tickets for Fort Worth, too.
Never miss WTA Insider’s Champions Corner, with recent features featuring with both Iga Swiatek and Katerina Siniakova/Barbora Krejcikova.
At the inaugural Open delle Puglie, Julia Grabher captured the biggest title of her career, taking the WTA 125 event in Bari, Italy with a straight-set win over qualifier Nuria Brancaccio. First-time pairing Elisabetta Cocciaretto and Olga Danilovic took the doubles title, defeating top-seeded Andrea Gamiz and Eva Vedder in the final.
Remember when we got rid of the awesome Hopman Cup to make room for the men-only ATP Cup that ended up being a little bit of a bust? Fortunately, Tennis United will (hopefully) reign supreme.
Simona Halep, already in the midst of a divorce, announced she went under the knife to fix a nasal problem and will be out of action for a little while:
The WTA made sure to shine a light of Serena Williams’ accomplishments and wow:
Sure, Hawkeye Live is starting to erase the need of linespeople, but replacing “OUT” calls with sponsor messaging? Nah, not a fan.
Here’s a nice feature on Marta Kostyuk, who is making her presence known as much on the court, off as she handles the events following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
I’m not sure if the COVID-19 pandemic prolonged so many careers, but this years’ US Open saw us say goodbye to a few former Top 100 stalwarts.
Obviously, former players rule the commentating booth, but it’s more than time for an overhaul of those voices.
Sloane Stephens’ Spanish lessons she wanted seems to be paying off:
Congratulations to Jon Wertheim, who was recently awarded the Eugene L. Scott Award, an accolade via the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Though she tumbled down the rankings, Emma Raducanu is the top seed at this week’s Zavarovalnica Sava Portoroz after the Brit took a last-minute wildcard into the main draw.
How cool would it be to take a lesson from these legends?
Tweet of the Week
Y’all are lucky I’m not a top-level pro, because the bottles of tequila I’d probably bring in…Here’s hoping Jessica Pegula has a Heineken endorsement sooner rather than later.
Five at The IX: US Open Champions
Q. It feels quite different to your French Open wins. There you obviously were super confident, playing well, not too many battles. Here you’ve had to fight. Does that in some ways make it more satisfying?
IGA SWIATEK: Well, it’s hard to compare. For sure Roland Garros I always feel like I have more control and I feel like Philippe Chatrier is kind of my place. Here on Ashe, I still need to figure out the atmosphere. I wasn’t sure before the match if this is actually my place.
I was pretty focused and I didn’t let myself, like, get into these thoughts. For sure, I don’t know if it’s more than the second win on Roland Garros because I feel like back then the pressure was really on and everybody was kind of expecting me to win.
Here I managed to go ahead my expectations lower, and also I feel like people were not expecting a lot from me on hard court. So mentally I think Roland Garros was little bit tougher. But tennis-wise and physically here for sure it was tougher.
Q. Storm, you said in the trophy presentation, you turned to John and said, I can’t believe we’re Grand Slam champions. First one for you. He has achieved one once before. Now that the emotions settled a bit, what did it feel like when you had that realization?
STORM SANDERS: To be honest, I still don’t think it’s really sunk in. Even before the match, I was just thinking it’s another match, doesn’t matter. Amazing opportunity and a great challenge to be playing on the biggest court in the world in a Grand Slam final. Obviously I lost my doubles semifinal yesterday in a close one. I had to kind of let that go and just really focus on today.
Yeah, when we won the match and it kind of all sunk in, having Sam there as well watching on, it was just super amazing. Kind of gave me a little bit of calmness knowing that she was there. I think she yelled out ‘Believe in yourself’ to me once, and that definitely helped.
Yeah, it still doesn’t really feel real to be honest. This is the first time Johnny and I have played together. We played really well all week. We had some really tough opponents.
Yeah, our game styles match up really well. We also have a lot of fun out there, too.
Q. We talked all week about what a victory would mean for the Philippines, being the first one. Now that you’ve actually done it, what kind of feelings or pride do you have? What does this mean for Philippines tennis?
ALEXANDRA EALA: It’s very overwhelming right now. But I think this is a huge step for me personally, as well. I’m super happy to represent my country and do something with a big platform, being able to inspire other younger people.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations. If you could take us through the match today and how it feels to have completed the career Grand Slam as a team.
BARBORA KREJCIKOVA: Well, I think that the match was very difficult. I felt like we were just down for a very long time. But I felt we were still, like, in the game and we tried to fight for every single ball.
Suddenly the game just started to go on our side. I mean, we felt really, really good with that.
I felt as we took the second set, I think from there on we started to be a better team. I’m really, really happy that we won this final slam for us that we were missing.
I mean, it sounds amazing that we achieved such amazing things.
THE MODERATOR: Your thoughts?
KATERINA SINIAKOVA: I think Barbora said pretty everything. But I’m really happy that it went this way because in the beginning it wasn’t so good. We just keep fighting. The second set, as Barbora said, it really helped us. We were much better and better.
I’m so excited that we have the title.
Q. It’s the first time you lost a set in a Grand Slam match I think since 2021. When you face a deficit like that, what goes through your head? How did you manage to come back today?
DIEDE de GROOT: Preparing for the match, you go through all of the preparations that you have. You have, like, your warmup, your prematch warmup, you have your thing in the locker room where you prepare your tennis bag. You have so many steps that you go through.
Somehow I was already prepared for a long match today. I remember, like, I make two bottles always with a certain sports drink. I made three today, I don’t know why I did, but I needed all three of them.
I don’t know if somehow my feeling was like I know Yui is going to bring it to me today. And she really did. I don’t know. I was just so happy to, I don’t know, get like an early service hold in the second set, which is why I think I could sort of relax a little bit. So that was nice.
|By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer|
|By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer|
|By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next|
|By: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX|
|By: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden|
|By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer|