Rybakina’s Royal Wimbledon — Champions’ Quotes — Must-click women’s tennis links

The IX: Tennis Tuesday with Joey Dillon, July 12, 2022

Happy Tennis Tuesday! A new Grand Slam has come and gone and like always, I end with my own Wimbledon thoughts a la Jon Wertheim’s takeaways:

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Elena Rybakina likely wasn’t the pick for many pundits to walk away with the Wimbledon title, but the Kazak took out Ons Jabeur, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 to calmly claim her first Grand Slam. She’s never been the big force on everyone’s radar, but somehow, this route has worked for her:

Though Ons Jabeur didn’t leave SW19 with the winner’s trophy, she is perhaps the biggest blossom from the past two weeks — especially to fans. She continues to destroy glass ceilings for those in Tunisia and Africa, as well as for Arabs:

Time for the honest truth: doubles is the shit and doesn’t get anywhere near it’s due. That’s nothing new. It’s time for the WTA to market their top teams, like Katerina Siniakova and Barbora Krejcikova. The Czech duo continue to dominate, winning their second Wimbledon and fifth Grand Slam overall. The took our top seeds Zhang Shuai and Elise Mertens, 6-2, 6-4 for their second major of the year.

Though they were defending champions, Desirae Krawczyk and Neal Skupski weren’t planning on partnering together. After some last-minute changes, the duo still somehow defended their title, taking out Sam Stosur and Matt Ebden, 6-4, 6-3.

On the junior level, Olivia Hovde took advantage of her No. 1 seed and claimed her first Grand Slam with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Luca Udvardy. In doubles, Angella Okutoyi continues to shine and make history, becoming Kenya’s first-ever Grand Slam champion with Rose Marie Nijkamp. The duo took out Kayla Cross and Victoria Mboko, 3-6, 6-4, [11-9].

Diede de Groot is perhaps the most dominant player in tennis and you haven’t even heard of her. The wheelchair legend captured her seventh consecutive Grand Slam with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Yui Kamiji. She will look for Grand Slam No. 16 and second-consecutive calendar Grand Slam in New York.

The ban on Russian and Belarussian athletes put a dark cloud on the playing field, but it was almost fitting that Elena Rybakina, a Russian-born lured to Kazakhstan, captured the title? The Russian Tennis Federation was quick to claim credit for building Rybakina’s foundation, but she has been quite mum on pledging any allegiance to her former country. Still in a final where both players were representing the top berth of their countries, history was made.

What a career tournament for Tatjana Maria, who is just over a year out from her second maternity leave. Her game is tailor-made for grass and this fortnight showed it.

As always, WTA Insider delivers and some pieces this past week you’ll want to check out are their Wimbledon wrap, Champion’s Corner with Elena Rybakina, a post-Final sitdown with runner-up Ons Jabeur

How about a round of applause for Heather Watson, who made her first second week of a Grand Slam in front of her home crowd at the age of 30? Her road to the fourth round was unconventional, but this result should be a boost for the 2008 US Open junior champion.

The loss of ranking points has caused quite the stir, but if the whole playing field wasn’t invited, it’s fair that the WTA did this. However, the $1million fine the tour put on Wimbledon and the LTA? Peter Bodo thinks it wasn’t needed, but I disagree.

Serena Williams’ wildcard was the talk of the tour before Wimbledon, but now that she’s unranked, where does the GOAT go from here? I’m hoping we see her in one or two US Open warmups before taking on New York. For her first match in a year, her three-hour third-set tiebreak epic against Harmony Tan was thrilling and you’d have to think that she would’ve beaten the majority of the draw that didn’t chip and slice the 23-time Grand Slam champion down. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Serena at Wimbledon, but don’t take my prediction for anything but a hope and prayer.

Speaking of Williams, how awesome was it to see Venus surprise the tennis world with a wildcard into the mixed doubles draw? She also lost a third-set tiebreak 18-16(!), but she’s already looking ahead to the hardcourts based on the news of her training block in Croatia:

Good news: Ajla Tomljanovic was one of only two women to back up their 2021 Wimbledon quarterfinal. The bad? This:

UCLA has quietly bred a large contingent of professionals on tour, including Five at The IX alum Catherine Harrison, who went from a last-minute entry into her first singles Grand Slam qualifying all the way to the second round of the main draw.

I’m all for this Brooklyn-Wimbledon collaboration:

Now, onto (more) links!

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This Week in Women’s Tennis

Perhaps the biggest non-Wimbledon news is that private equity firm CVC Capital is looking to purchase 20% of the WTA’s stake for $180 million. Earlier this year, there were talks of an WTA-ATP merger with CVC, but the ATP recently announced their strategic plan that excludes deals with private equity firms. So much for “Tennis United.”

Jon Wertheim covered Steffi Graf as part of Sports Illustrated‘s “Where Are They Now,” though the 22-time Grand Slam champion didn’t participate in the interview. Still, it’s a fantastic read about the now-baseball mom who continues to stay as far away from the limelight as possible since her retirement in 1999.

WTA Charities announced their partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with their hopes of collaborating to “elevate women’s leadership and voices in support of women’s health, and specifically women’s nutrition, as a major global health priority for the public, donors and partner governments.”

At the WTA 125 Grand Est Open 88 in Contrexeville, France, Sara Errani saved three championship points en route to defeating Dalma Galfi, 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(4). The doubles title went to Ulrikke Eikeri and Tereza Mihalikova, who downed Han Xinyun and Alexandra Panova, 7-6(8), 6-2.

Jang Su-Jeong won the biggest title of her career at the Nordea Open, a WTA 125 event in Bastad, Sweden. She became the first South Korean to claim a WTA-level title since 1982 with her 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 win over Rebeka Masarova. In doubles, Misaki Doi and Rebecca Peterson received a walkover from Mihaela Buzarnescu and Irina Khromacheva following a knee injury to Buzarnescu.

Obviously, no ranking points were awarded at Wimbledon, but what might have been the rankings resulted in if they did? Speaking of rankings, Emma Raducanu finally broke into the World’s Top 10 this week.

Liz LaPlante has been coaching at UC San Diego for 44 years and has the distinct honor of coaching the program from Division III to Division II and now, Division I.

Charleston continues to make their mark on the professional tennis scene with multiple players emerging from the area, including recent pro Emma Navarro. The 2021 NCAA champion spoke about the transition to being a full-time professional and using fellow UVA product Danielle Collins as inspiration.

The ITF, WTA and ATP had a joint session with some of the World’s top juniors to discuss topics like mental health, internet safety and safeguarding to ensure a long, but healthy career.

Naomi Osaka’s mom, Tamaki, recently released her own autobiography and discussed the process behind writing it, helping fuel Naomi and sister Mari’s tennis success and more.

The groups for the Billie Jean King Cup Finals have been set and a group with the United States, Poland and Czech Republic is definitely the standout.

The women’s field at the WTA 250 Citi Open is stacked, with Simona Halep, Emma Raducanu, Jessica Pegula and Victoria Azarenka among the players set to play.

In some coaching news, Karolina Pliskova announced she and Sascha Bajin have split after over a year and a hlaf together. Elise Mertens also shared that she and Simon Goffin, her coach since the beginning of the year, have parted ways.

The International Tennis Integrity Agency announced the banning of three chair umpires in Tunisia following an investigation for match-fixing.

Tweet of the Week

After a brilliant, 30-year broadcasting career, Sue Barker — unofficially the “Voice of Wimbledon,” is retiring.

Five at The IX: Quotes From Wimbledon Champions

Q. What do you think you proved to yourself today and what do you think you proved to the tennis world?

ELENA RYBAKINA: Hmm. Maybe I proved that not always you have to have great team from the young age because I didn’t till age of 17, 18. So I think this is the most important thing, that everybody, no matter their financial situation, no matter who they are, they can play and achieve many great results.

And to myself that I can actually win a Grand Slam, believe more in myself, and maybe I can win more Grand Slams. Who knows? But for sure that’s the goal, and that’s what I’m going to work for.

Q. Winston Churchill, a lot of different people have long talked about the relationship between the United States and Great Britain. Is it fun to have a British/American combo? Any fun story you can share? Do you sometimes not understand each other’s language?

NEAL SKUPSKI: No. It would be a problem, but I went to U.S. college, so I was there for four and a half years. So I kind of picked up some of the American lingo.

But, yeah, we don’t seem to have any problems. We get along very well. It seems to be going well. I mean, Des, I don’t know, you do say a few things on court that I maybe don’t understand. She gets mixed up a little bit.


NEAL SKUPSKI: Like you go the wrong way sometimes.

DESIRAE KRAWCZYK: A couple times, yeah. As long as it’s not the important points.

I remember we first played, and you warned me, you were like, If you can’t understand me, let me know because some people, it’s so hard for them to understand. You talk so fast.

NEAL SKUPSKI: I talk very quickly. Especially when I’m nervous. Doesn’t sound like English. It’s gibberish. It’s broken Scouse. Where I’m from in Liverpool, they call us Scouses.

When I do get nervous, I speak very, very quickly, quicker than this. Desirae just doesn’t understand me.

Q. A fourth Wimbledon title. Can you talk about competing on grass, what’s special about that?

DIEDE de GROOT: Competing on grass for us is really tough. I think where on hard court we push the chair and we reach the end of the court. For grass it’s maybe two meters, maybe not even. It’s a constant effort that you have to put in to keep, keep pushing. That makes it physically very tough.

We also have to change our games. Actually this year is the first year we all had a preparation tournament, whereas previous years we didn’t even have a preparation tournament. It was literally this one week a year that we played on grass.

We’re very happy that it’s a little bit moving right now. We had a little bit of a grass season. But it doesn’t make it easier.

Q. How does it feel to win a second time? Does it feel any different to your first victory here?

BARBORA KREJCIKOVA: I mean, feels different, for sure. I mean, it was a huge match for us. We played on the Centre Court, which is very special. There are these celebrations of the Centre Court, so it’s just making everything more special.

Yeah, I mean, always playing Wimbledon final, I think it doesn’t really matter what category you play, you always get, like, goose bumps when you entering the court.

I think for us, we really like to play on a big court, so I think we really enjoyed the atmosphere. From very first point we really, really wanted to win. I’m really proud of us, that we managed to do that and that we get another trophy.

Q. There were no points here. Did you ever consider not playing because of that?

LIV HOVDE: Well, I didn’t play it last year ’cause I couldn’t get in. Now I got to play it this year, and having me be the 1 seed, it’s a really cool experience. The points are just a bonus. But this time they didn’t have points, and that’s okay.

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: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Joey Dillon