The IX: Tennis Tuesday with Lindsay Gibbs, March 26, 2019

In praise of Drama Queens — Miami Open quarterfinals — Venus Williams on Golden Girls

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Look, I obviously love female athletes and respect them and think we should talk ad nauseam about their talent, work ethic, heart, skill, athleticism, and spirits.

At the same time, I am a messy b*tch who lives for drama. So sue me.

Sports aren’t all about inspiration and grace. Sometimes they’re about pettiness and temper tantrums and trash talking. And, I think because women’s sports are often talked about in one-dimensional terms, I really, really love when such soap operas manifest.

So, this all to say, I lived for 31-year-old Angelique Kerber — a three-time major champion and former No. 1 — calling 18-year-old Bianca Andreescu “the biggest drama queen ever” during their post-match handshake in the Miami Open. Im not saying I agree with Kerber; I just loved that it showed exactly how she was feeling in that moment. She was absolutely, positively over it.

A week prior, Andreescu had beaten Kerber in the Indian Wells final, a hard-fought, agonizing, three-set affair. It was Andreescu’s first career title. Kerber handled that defeat pretty well, with the class that most purists appreciate. But then the draw gods put them against one another in the third round of Miami. This is when Kerber turned into the WTA version of the “Old Man Yelling At Cloud” meme.

Andreescu was supposed to be happy with her Indian Wells triumph and fade away for a little while; that’s what usually happens after big breakthroughs. Instead, Andreescu saved a match point in her second-round match, and then came out swinging against Kerber for the second time in a week.

The Canadian Wonderteen took a medical timeout seven games into the match, which seemed to slightly upset Kerber, but other than that, the match was just business as usual. Except, of course, the fact that Andreescu won 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.

This wasn’t about Andreescu’s medical timeout, or any on-court antics. Kerber was mad because Andreescu was continuing to upend the tennis order. She was pissed off that she lost to a teenager. So, she blamed it on the drama.

Yes, it was fairly innocuous in the big scheme of things; but it also made the next Kerber-Andreescu match appointment viewing.


This Week In Tennis

Reminder: First, the underlined words are the links. Second. CLICK these, even if you’ve already read them. Clicks = Attention from editors, producers and webmasters. Third, if you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me! lindsayjgibbs@gmail.com.

Here are the quarterfinalists at the Miami Open:

  • No. 27 Su-Wei Hsieh vs. Anett Kontaveit

  • No. 3 Petra Kvitova vs. No. 12 Ashleigh Barty

  • No. 5 Karolina Pliskova vs. Marketa Vondrousova

  • No. 18 Qiang Wang vs. No. 2 Simona Halep

Serena Williams withdrew from Miami with a knee injury. This is her second straight tournament with a retirement. Her next tournament will be Rome.

Bianca Andreescu finally ran out of gas, and retired in her Round of 16 match against Anett Kontaveit.

WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen catches up with Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig.

Venus had a good week in Miami, until she ran into an in-form Halep in the fourth round. Halep now has four straight wins over Venus.

Also, here’s Nguyen breaking down all of the possible No. 1 scenarios at the end of Miami. Better her than me, I say.

Ed McGrogan of Tennis.com asks a very good question: What is wrong with Daria Kasatkina?

Love this: The Miami Open hosted a Pride Night.

Naomi Osaka was upset in the Miami second round by Hsieh. She opened up to the Palm Beach Post about her struggles with fame.

The man who stabbed Petra Kvitova gets eight years in prison.

Here’s Ben Rothenberg on Mari and Naomi Osaka’s brief sister act in Miami.

Click here to feel incredibly old.


Tweet of the Week

The indomitable Blair Henley provides some perspective on Tatjana Maria’s upset over Sloane Stephens:


Five at IX: Venus Williams on the Golden Girls

After her third-round win over Daria Kasatkina, 6-3, 6-1, Venus spoke to the press. And although this is not an exclusive interview, I am sharing it with you all, because some blessed reporter asked her about Golden Girls. We are truly not worthy.

Q. Seems like in the last few weeks you're having more fun on the tennis court. Does that seem to be the case?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I'm always having fun. I just have never smiled this much on the court. Even some points I lose... I don't know. I don't know. We'll see if I do that tomorrow. I don't know.

Q. You play Simona next. Thoughts on her as an opponent, what you make of her evolution as a player?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She always plays flawless tennis against me, so I have to be ready for that. Every match is a different match, opportunity to play better and to learn. I know each point will be an opportunity for me to play better and learn. That's how I look at it.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

Q. Serena is a pretty big Golden Girls fan. Is that a show you watch or one that you've gone back to over the years?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The whole family has seen every episode of the Golden Girls.

Q. Do you have a favorite?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's too tough, yeah. I'll have to think about that. We know every episode. It's hard to choose. It's just hard to choose.

Q. A favorite character, girl?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm definitely Dorothy. I can say that I'm a Dorothy. Favorite character? They're all incredible, to be honest.


Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women's Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Lindsay Gibbs, @Linzsports ThinkProgress
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal High Post Hoops
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell, @Carlygren PGA.com
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster