A women’s Laver Cup? — Must-click women’s tennis links

The IX: Tennis Tuesday with Joey Dillon, Sept. 27, 2022

Happy Tennis Tuesday, everyone!

Roger Federer’s retirement at the Laver Cup had me thinking: What would a WTA version look like?

Billie Jean King would be the best name for this event, but there’s already the former Fed Cup named after her. Then it hit me: Why not name it the Original 9 Cup? Especially as we celebrate 52 years since their monumental decision to create the WTA!

I’m going to keep the Europe vs. Rest of World theme but also spice things up a tad. Something I think can be added to this scenario is a point for a junior match. Why not really build on the future of the WTA by showcasing juniors to a massive audience? Something I’ve also stressed plenty is how the tour needs to promote its doubles better, so incorporating doubles specialists for a point would be another key move for the event. The college tennis fan in me would love to include players from the NCAA system in some way because they are put into that pressure cooker situation every week, though I’m not sure how or who to include there.

Europe

– #1 Iga Swiatek
– #3 Paula Badosa
– #4 Anett Kontaveit
– #7 Maria Sakkari
– Junior: Brenda (ITF Junior #7, WTA #166)
– Doubles: Katerina Siniakova/Barbora Krejcikova

Rest of World

– #2 Ons Jabeur
– #5 Jessica Pegula
– #6 Aryna Sabalenka
– #8 Coco Gauff
– Junior: Alexandra Eala (ITF Junior #33, WTA #291)
– Doubles: Giuliana Olmos/Gabriela Dabrowski

That’s quite a lineup, in my opinion. Of course, this is made up of the top-ranked singles/doubles players in the rankings. But what Laver Cup does so well is bringing the most popular players, no matter what their ranking might be.

For Europe, even though Simona Halep would be right outside of the top four, she would be an incredible draw. Emma Raducanu, though down in the rankings, is one of the more marketable players of the past 12 months. Caroline Garcia is having an amazing 2022, especially as of late. Why not put her on the European team?

While Europe has the most dominant player in Iga Swiatek, the rest of the world has depth. Think about players from smaller, not-known-for-tennis countries such as Beatriz Haddad Maia and Jelena Ostapenko or Canadian draws Bianca Andreescu, Genie Bouchard and Leylah Fernandez. Liudmila Samsonova, who clinched the Billie Jean King Cup for the Russian Tennis Federation last year, is a shoo-in. I haven’t even gotten to reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, Victoria Azarenka and Naomi Osaka, whose global appeal is in its own orbit.

For captains, I would love to see recent retirees take over the squads. For the first edition, why not a bestie battle between Caroline Wozniacki and Serena Williams? Sure, having John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg face off as captains is cool, but the players coaching and hyping each other up is the best part of the entire weekend. Keep that vibe going and let the captains have their banter on the sidelines.

I have my grievances with the Laver Cup — mostly the ranking points allotted, as well as a player-founded agency (Federer’s Team8) being the brains of the operation. However, events like this can really bring in the casual fans that tennis is desperately trying to wrangle in. I would love to see something merged in the spirit of Tennis United, but it looks like we’re getting a Hopman Cup replacement sooner than later, so I say it’s time to give the women their own arena under the lights?

Sometimes the slowness of the post-US Open season gets the mind thinking, and maybe I’m way off the mark? Let me know! Until then, time for links!


The Next, a 24/7/365 women’s basketball newsroom

The Next: A basketball newsroom brought to you by The IX. 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage, written, edited and photographed by our young, diverse staff, dedicated to breaking news, analysis, historical deep dives and projections about the game we love.

Subscribe to make sure this vital work, creating a pipeline of young, diverse media professionals to write, edit and photograph the great game, continues and grows. Subscriptions include some exclusive content, but the reason for subscriptions is a simple one: making sure our writers and editors creating 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage get paid to do it.


This week in women’s tennis

Happy anniversary to the Original 9 and the WTA!

Armed with a fresh mentality with the right team in her corner, Liudmila Samsonova is on a roll, capturing her third title of 2022 at the Toray Pan Pacific Open. The Russian defeated Zheng Qinwen in straight sets to win her 18th match of her last 19 and finds herself at a career-high ranking. The IX alums Gabriela Dabrowski and Giuliana Olmos took home the doubles title with a victory over Ellen Perez, another alum, and Nicole Melichar-Martinez.

At the Hana Bank Korea Open, Ekaterina Alexandrova won her third career WTA title and second of the year with a thorough win over Jelena Ostapenko. The doubles title went to Kristina Mladenovic and Yanina Wickmayer, who paired for the first time and defeated two more The IX alums — Asia Muhammad and Sabrina Santamaria — for the trophy.

Tamara Korpatsch won the biggest title of her career at the WTA 125 Budapest Ladies Open, nearly needing three hours to defeat Viktoriya Tomova. The German had to win seven matches between qualifying and main draw and extends her winning streak to 12. Anna Bondar and Kimberley Zimmermann won their second WTA-level title this year by defeating Jesika Maleckova and Renata Voracova.

Jamea Jackson never envisioned herself as a college coach when she was playing professionally, but now, after positions with Oklahoma State and the USTA, finds herself leading her own program at Princeton.

The WTA profiled Asia Muhammad and her venture, Lemon’s Laundry — a clothing brand she partnered on with Stanford tennis graduate Kimmy Yee.

Daria Saville was having a resurgent 2022 season and was perhaps one of the frontrunners for the WTA Comeback Player of the Year award. Her season came to a halt when she tore her ACL in her first-round match against Naomi Osaka. It’s the second ACL tear for Saville, who originally had surgery on one in 2013. This will unfortunately likely take Saville out of the Australian swing of the 2023 season.

Andorra’s Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva continues to be a trailblazer in tennis for the tiny nation and looks to be finding her groove after reaching her first WTA quarterfinal in Seoul.

Reese Brantmeier toyed with the decision to turn professional or attend college, but she’s already combining the two by starting classes at UNC and winning her first senior main draw Grand Slam match at the US Open.

Emma Raducanu made her first tour-level semifinal this past week in Seoul and is only seeing positives moving forward, even if she retired with injury to Jelena Ostapenko.

The fall period of the USTA Pro Circuit has some of my favorite tournaments, including a series of events in Northern California. For the second time, Madison Brengle captured the $60,000 ITF World Tour event in Berkeley, and the circuit continues this week with the return of the same-level event in Templeton.

Happy belated birthday to the GOAT, Serena Williams, who is finding new and surprising ways to fill her time as she begins retirement.

The final WTA 1000, the Guadalajara Open Akron, has a loaded player field featuring 17 of the world’s top 20 players.

Tweet of the week

Coco Gauff has time, and I’m here for the clapback.


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
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