Hello. We are back. Took a lil break and didn’t do this for Wimby but dw I’m here to tell you all what has stayed with me from the final Slam of the year (and the decade? or is that next year?) because obviously you’re all dying to know what the random 20yo who can’t play tennis thought of the tennis x
As usual, full credit to Sports Illustrated’s Jon Wertheim and his fifty Grand Slam parting thoughts which are a lot more professional and detailed than mine and contain a lot more information about actual results and winners than this will.
Oh yeah, soz for completely unrelated outfit photos. Maybe if I’m lucky enough to go there again next year you can have actual US Open pics.
Anyway, let’s go x
Bibi, player of the year. I know you could end up in hospital if you were to take a shot for every single time someone said the WTA Tour has a lot of depth (I mean, it does but ykno) but there were only two women that I thought had a realistic chance of winning this title, and they were the two women to meet in the final. How fitting for Bianca Andreescu to win the final Slam of the year when she has been the tennis player of the year. And I truly think she is the only player who would’ve been able to hold her nerve and still win after going from 6-3 *5-1 championship point to 5-5 second set. She still has not lost a completed match since 2nd March, only by retiring or pulling out.
The whole time she was out injured in the middle of the season, missing clay and grass, I wondered what she could’ve and would’ve done were she not injured, and she showed exactly what she could do when she came back. She’s won both tournaments, the Rogers Cup and this, since she had to take time out for injury post Sunshine swing. All this at nineteen years of age. She was born in 2000, and I think most of us class anyone born in the 2000s as permanently twelve years old but my god this girl is not anything near twelve. You can see how much Serena likes her and, through the frustration of losing and not playing her best or even like herself, how happy she was for Bibi, and that speaks a lot to her character. She is one of the most mature players on the tour by miles, into her meditation and visualisation which obviously work, and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know how to lose anymore.
Also, does anyone else think that Invisibobble neeeeeed to sign her as a brand ambassador? If you know, you know x
Flip the script. Rewrite it. Throw it out. I didn’t expect an ounce of this. Like, Medvedev couldn’t even stay with Rafa in a bo3 final in Montreal a few weeks ago and lost 6-3 6-0, did we expect this to be a tight battle if that happened? I didn’t. I had this whole blog post finished with Rafa two sets up. Going on about how it was one thing for Medvedev to make the final, but it was too big a step to touch Rafa in said final. WELL.
In the end, whoever was going to win deserved it probably more than any Grand Slam winner this year. I didn’t want the hassle of Rafa closing that Slam gap with Roger, more on that any min, but my god does he deserve the record now. A performance for GOATs and GOATs only. Like Bibi last night, could anyone else have come back from being two sets and a break up, then in a fifth set, broken serving for it, losing championship points, facing break points serving for it again. Big four only. And even some of them could choke it. What a moment, what a match, what a night. His tears at the end, that emotion, this was all worth it.
I have never seen anyone deserve their Grand Slam title as much as I saw it in Nadal after everything that happened tonight. And even though he still came away with the win, something has changed. Medvedev has done something we have never, ever seen before. And I’ve always wondered if one of these younger guys did something this big, would it be the catalyst for the rest to follow suit in pretty quick succession?
Props to Medvedev for being the youngest active player to have made a Slam final, and the first kid from the whole #NextGenATP era (he was part of the campaign / tournament in its first year two years ago) to make a Grand Slam final. After his American hard court Summer he deserved nothing less, and when all hope was lost at two sets and a break down, of course he found a way to force a decider. And then stay in that decider way longer than he should’ve.
And Medvedev proved my theory right about ATP players maturing slower than WTA players by making his first final at 23 and very nearly won, but the final set Rafa showed everyone why the 30+ men reign supreme. On the eve of the tournament, I published a blog post telling people to lay off the Next Gen ATP guys and give them a break, stop writing them off when they have some early losses, disappointing results or don’t have Slam breakthroughs. I’ve been guilty so so sooooo many times of being like umm how are the 18-21yo WTA gals winning huge titles and the ATP has a whole Next Gen campaign for their guys of that age yet they can’t win anything? But then it hit me – if we used the boys mature slower than girls theory for everything else, surely it applies to tennis too? I’m gassed because I said in the post that I hoped I’d be writing this parting thoughts blog post in a couple weeks and be able to prove some of this theory true and see younger guys aged 22-25 having big results. Well, 23yo Medvedev delivered. So did 23yo Matteo Berrettini. Therefore I am right x
And on a really nice note, now Rafa can go get married to Mery / Xisca / whichever nickname we’re using atm (ahahahha sorry gal laughing with you not at you – side note wasn’t she great today!! a mood, representing all of us) having just won the last Slam of the year. Not before I see him at Laver Cup in two weeks though WOOOOO X
I really cba for six months of debates, think pieces and hot takes about whether Serena will get 24 and sorta the fact that Rafa is now one away from Roger in the Slam race. Like, it’s at the point where I want Serena to win 24 just to shut this narrative up just as much as I want her to win it for every other normal, nice reason. Though I will say that for all the moaning I did about the fact that if Rafa won he’d close the gap with Roget to just one Slam, now he’s won this in the way he has I decided don’t really care anymore. Maybe for now, whilst we’re all happy and before it really starts every day for months, for like half a year until the AO (and then beyond dependant on result, esp as the French is almost a given for him). I didn’t even want Rafa to win today, despite predicting it on the eve of the tourney (I love being right x) because of this. But right now I can overlook it. The sentiment on both remains though, it taints this sport and how incredible these players are and everything they’ve already achieved when we have these endless debates about these things. I just cba for it. I cba for it. I keep ranting about it. And it felt like, why does it have to happen at the last Slam of the year when we have to wait forever for another Slam? Can we please collectively agree to just not discuss and debate this for the next five months because it’s gonna drive me insane. Let these lot be celebrated for their achievements.
Monfils and the matches of the tournament. One half of GEMS Life, Gael Monfils, took part in both of the men’s matches of the tournament, and tbh two of the best ATP matches of the season. And each time the result went the opposite way to what I wanted ? In the third round, Gael beat my favourite little angel cake Denis Shapovalov in an epic five setter. You know, an epic. Denis won the first set and I’m pretty sure served for the second? But lost sets two and three and then went 1-4 down in the fourth. My heart broke, my dream run to the QFs for Denis was about to be over, and then he stormed back to keep breaking until he won the set in a tiebreak. My fave eventually lost to Monfils in the fifth and final set though, but it was worth every second of me staying up until like 4AM to watch it.
Gael then played another unreal one against Berrettini in the quarters the other night, losing in a final set tiebreak after poor Tiny Hat (lol thanks Tennis Podcast) choked far too many match points, including that awful double fault – one double fault of too many – that bounced BEFORE the net. Two of the matches of the year on the men’s side, and of course showman Gael was part of them.
Some 2017-esque ATP resurgences happened this fortnight. Grigor Dimitrov, everyone’s favourite guy from that lost, forgotten middle generation, started his US hard court Summer losing to world no. 405 King in Atlanta, end ended it by beating Roger Federer on route to his third Slam semi final, and I think first since AO17? And Denis Shapo, because of course I’m going to talk about him as much as I can, has had the most wonderful weeks both here and in Winston-Salem. I guess Youzhny was the missing piece of the puzzle after our hero Marty stopped coaching him. That feeling from his breakout 2017 Montreal/NYC run is back and I couldn’t be more excited to see what these two do for the rest of the season.
Back to back Slam semis for my queen Elina Svitolina after a SF drought forever. Elina’s path on the WTA tour has often been likened to Lil Z – tons of tour titles, a career high of number three, winning their respective year-end championships last year, but never able to get past the quarters of a Grand Slam. Elina is yet to win a title this season but she’s now made two Grand Slam semi finals back to back, after having most of her clay season derailed by injury and barely winning any matches between the Sunshine Swing and Wimby. Her wins here were so impressive and efficient, until she lost to Serena in the SFs in a match that was my own personal Christmas. We all know how I feel about Elina – one of my most favourite women of all time ever – and I really think that has set her up perfectly to nab that maiden Slam next year, or at the very least a Slam final. I’m thinking Roland Garros, but really any of them are possible ?
The Coco Gauff – Naomi Osaka moment ?Moments like these are what makes me so proud to have some sort of engagement / involvement in this sport. The WTA women never fail to inspire me and this was yet another moment of some of the tour’s young female players just being the best ever. And it felt so full circle, a year after Naomi had to be comforted and stood up for by Serena whilst she cried, she then comforted an even younger star player than her whilst she cried. Melted my ice heart. If you haven’t seen it, watch it.
Some more amazing stories from this tournament courtesy of Kristie Ahn and Taylor Townsend. Kristie Ahn got all the way to the second week here in New York, yet before this week had never won a Grand Slam main draw match. She first qualified for a Slam MD eleven years ago here at the US Open but lost in the first round, and with her run this fortnight broke the record for longest gap between a main draw debut and a main draw win. And her parents don’t even want her to be doing this tennis thing! They want her to go into finance!! Just read the story directly on the WTA’s website here, it’s mad. And Taylor Townsend, once a junior star and tipped for big things, beat recent Wimby champ and former long-time number one Simona Halep in the second round before losing to eventual champ Bibi. Taylor’s story is ridiculous, she was refused funding from her own nation’s tennis organisation the USTA for something to do with her body shape. Imagine how humiliated and insecure you’d feel as a young women being denied funding over your body? Couldn’t be happier for these two finally seeing the success they deserve.
Somewhat ironic and funny how Rafa was the one of the big three to remain healthy and injury free. The poor man who has been cursed with injuries forever. Roger was plagued with a bit of a back injury during his loss to Grigor, going off court to receive treatment (aka he wanted his back cracked) and Djokovic had a shoulder injury the whole time, with all of us just waiting for the day he gave in and pulled out which came against big five member Stan Wawrinka. Wawrinka who then got the flu and stayed in bed sick since that sorta-win over Novak. Rafa was the last big three/four/five standing fit and healthy. When does that ever happen? These injuries raised some questions for me. Will we really ever see Fedal in NYC? This year was the best chance they could’ve had, even better than 2017, and now I seriously question whether it’ll ever happen. Meanwhile, I wonder how bad Djokovic’s injury really is? It seems he’s being more cautious than he was with the elbow a couple years back, that did cost him a good year on the tour so ofc he’s learnt from that mistake now. Also, not at the crowd booing him for that retirement. The disrespect to a man who gives his all and has won 16 Slams. Disgusting. But anyway, hmmm. Let’s see.
Macca’s players came through, and it was emotional. Peter McNamara, an Australia tennis player and coach, very sadly passed away at the end of July. His previous players, Grigor Dimitrov and Wang Qiang had incredible runs here this fortnight, and it’s hard not to believe that he was there with them every step of the way. Grigor made the semis and Qiang made the quarters, and you just knew that he somehow knew and would be so immensely proud. As if that wasn’t emotional enough, look at this interview ESPN did with Qiang about him. RIP Macca, your players still doing you proud.
The women’s doubles is elite. Like, would you see the ATP number one making the men’s doubles final at a Grand Slam? Ok, bo3/bo5 comes into play here and I’m not getting into that debate (bo3 for everyone first week, bo5 for everyone second week thankyou very much x) but seriously. What a final we were treated to this evening. Ash Barty and Vika Azarenka taking on Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka. Four top top top women’s singles players, also top ten doubles teams in a Slam final. Incredible. You love to see it, and I wanna see it more.
I know I already spoke about him in the final but Medvedev was so iconic, let’s end on him. Like, is there anything more iconic from this Slam than his panto villain act? Medvedev vs NYC was the head to head we didn’t know tennis needed. Omg. THOSE on court interviews. What an actual icon. Then from the booing to the crowd chanting Medvedev tonight to them chanting Rafa to a mix of all sorts. And then in the trophy ceremony him referencing those speeches where he trolled everyone, except this time he meant it genuinely. The most full circle moment EVER. And you know one of my fave parts about his run this fortnight? During his QF against Wawrinka when he was serving at *5-6 and Stan was two points from the set whilst Medvedev was dying, you could so tell that if Daniil lost that set, he would’ve just retired there and then. And yet mans found a way to win the set AND THE MATCH in straights, had like two whole days to recover for the semis and made his first GS final. And then looked half dead there again, and found a way to force a fifth. And then break Rafa serving for the match in a wild DF off a time violation second serve. Save two championship points on his serve. Have a break point when Rafa served for it again. This man is something else and I am going to be buying round robin tickets to the sessions he plays at the Nitto ATP Finals at the o2 in November. Actually iconic. Just iconic.
Well, there ya go. Hope you enjoyed my personal parting thoughts from this year’s US Open, my fave Slam of the year. Still not over everything that’s happened tonight. See you in 2020 (don’t even wanna say that, feel old) and we’ll do it all over again x