Other Sports

Teenagers Coco Gauff and Catherine McNally take home Citi Open doubles title

gauff_mcnally_citiopen_usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Teenagers Coco Gauff and Catherine McNally take home Citi Open doubles title

WASHINGTON -  Coco Gauff and Catherine McNally are WTA Champions. The former is 15 years old, the latter is 17.

None of the above is a typo.  

Playing in their first ever WTA doubles event together Gauff and McNally assembled a fairytale run throughout the 2019 Citi Open. They entered the tournament as a Wild Card, riding off of the success of Gauff’s incredible run at Wimbledon weeks prior. Neither of them had won a main draw doubles match at the WTA level before. 

Neither of that mattered or was on the mind of the duo in Washington D.C. this week. They oozed confidence and knew they were capable of competing for a championship. 

“We didn’t go into the tournament seeing how far we can go. We went into the tournament with getting to the finals on our mind,” Gauff said earlier in the week. “I don’t really put expectations on us or myself in general, because I just feel like whatever happens, obviously, me and her know that we have the game to win.”

In four matches to the trophy Gauff and McNally rolled through their competition without dropping a single set. None of their sets were even particularly close. They knocked off two seeded duos including Maria Sanchez (world No. 68) and Fanny Stollar (No. 106) in the Final 6-2, 6-2.

Not once in the tournament did the two lack the mental fortitude, in fact, they probably had the most of the all the players. Even with McNally thriving in the singles draw, including on playing the day of the Final, there was no concern or doubt they were going to win. 

“I think we just worried about ourselves every single match and our game plan,” McNally said to reporters after claiming the title. “We just executed it really well and that’s what the scores show.”

A pretty remarkable showing for the young American pair that had only played together once before and almost didn’t make the tournament. Up until five minutes before the doubles draw ceremony, they were not even considered. Then, tournament owner Mark Ein got “one of the best phone calls of his life” and without hesitation granted the two a spot into the field.  

“I was actually thinking about playing with someone else and then once I knew that Coco was in, I decided to play with her,” McNally said. “We’re such a good doubles team, and we just have great chemistry."

McNally singles run will be overshadowed by this victory. Like in doubles, she entered the event as a Wild Card with no main draw wins to her name. She made it all the way to the semifinals. 

While this is the first title for the two as professionals, it is not the first time they’ve played. It was only once before that they decided to partner up, at the Junior U.S. Open. There, they were also crowned champions.

Needless to say, as they are both under 18 years of age, the future is extremely bright for the Americans. With all instant success they’ve had and no losses as a doubles team, they will enter the U.S. Open doubles draw together. And the two are not shying away about what they are capable of. 

“I honestly believe that we can [win]. We can do whatever we want when we put our minds to it,” Gauff said unwaveringly. “I think to be honest the way we’re playing we can go as far as we want.“

As for now, McNally is just going to catch up on sleep. She played eight matches in six days. 

MORE CITI OPEN COVERAGE:

1.20.20 Rick Horrow sits down Nick Kelly, Vice President of Partnerships, Beer Culture, and Community for Anheuser-Busch InBev

winterclassicvenue.png
USA TODAY Sports

1.20.20 Rick Horrow sits down Nick Kelly, Vice President of Partnerships, Beer Culture, and Community for Anheuser-Busch InBev

Edited by Tanner Simkins

In the latest edition of Rick Horrow's Sports Business Podcast, Rick sits down with Nick Kelly, Vice President of Partnerships, Beer Culture, and Community for Anheuser-Busch InBev.



LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE

  • The NHL 2020 Winter Classic between the Nashville Predators and the Dallas Stars was the least-watched edition of the annual ice hockey game since it was first played in 2008. According to Nielsen, the Stars’ 4-2 win over the Predators on New Year’s Day roped in only 1.97 million viewers for NBC. The figure represents a drop of almost one million on last year’s edition of the game, which saw an audience of 2.94 million tune in for the Boston Bruins’ win over the Chicago Blackhawks. In related news, the NHL has selected the head coaches for its January 25 All-Star Game at St. Louis, with Todd Reirden of the Washington Capitals, Bruce Cassidy of the Boston Bruins, Craig Berube of the Blues, and Gerard Gallant of the Vegas Golden Knights getting selected due to their points percentage in their respective divisions. Since the upcoming NHL All-Star Game is in the home of the Stanley Cup Champion Blues, the league has high hopes for good ratings and attendance for its annual midseason celebration.
  • In conjunction with the Protect the Pitch program, which continues to lead the industry in-stadium sustainability and clean energy efforts, LA’s Dignity Health Sports Park has installed 12 new Volta electric vehicle charging stations that will be available to guests free of charge at all events. Volta designs electric vehicle charging networks for forward-thinking businesses seeking to provide seamless, simple and free charging. Volta designed Dignity Health Sports Park’s charging network as a foundation for further expansion to match the park’s rising electric vehicle demands. Projecting out based on the average Volta station impact in Los Angeles, Dignity Health Sport Park’s 12 stations will offset an estimated 250,000 pounds of CO2annually. The MLS LA Galaxy and Dignity Health Sports Park have launched numerous sustainability efforts to reduce carbon footprint and become more sustainable through the Protect the Pitch initiative. As increasing numbers of Galaxy fans drive electric cars, Dignity Health Sports Park’s partnership with Volta is a perfect complement to the club’s Protect the Pitch sustainability initiative.
  • WWE made $13 million off of YouTube advertising revenue in 2019. According to Tubefilter, WWE’s YouTube channel is larger than those of the NBA, the NFL, MLB, and the NHL —combined with a whopping 52.8 million subscribers. And WWE uploaded a staggering average of 510 videos per month with content ranging from full matches to behind-the-scenes clips. This had them outpacing their sports league counterparts by hundreds of videos a month. Furthermore, there is no offseason with the WWE so there is always lots of content. In 2019, WWE’s channel brought a monthly average of 756.4 million views, putting in up in the ranks of the most-watched YouTube channels. But WWE is making around $1.40 per 1,000 views, a number far below YouTube’s reported average CPM of $7.60 due to the fact that the wrestling content is not ad-friendly for many sponsors. Even if the WWE only pulled in $13 million, the amount of eyeballs on their content in an era where traditional TV viewership continues to dwindle for all sports may be worth more than AdSense’s earnings for the company.

The Big Twenty: What it means to look back on two decades of heartbreak, jubilation and history

The Big Twenty: What it means to look back on two decades of heartbreak, jubilation and history

20 years.

Two decades.

Five administrations on Pennsylvania Avenue.

A lot happened in and around the District in the last 20 years, and for us, those from here and of here, the sports world flipped upside down.

There were droughts, intense droughts. Then parades, intense parades.

There was heartbreak. There was elation.

To really experience life as a D.C. sports fan, misery became the currency over the last 20 years.

Playoff flops, unbelievable upsets, unfortunate injuries and one painful, gut-wrenching display of the fragility of life.

That despair, that dismay, that depth of loss, eventually, allowed for growth.

And then, out of nowhere, improbably and incredibly, came the boom.

Kahlil Gibran wrote The Prophet in 1923, but one passage in particular applies to life as a DMV sports fan in 2020: “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”

The sorrow was real. But the joy made the trip worth it.

Nothing will ever top the image of Alex Ovechkin skating to Nicklas Backstrom in the Las Vegas desert. Ovi holding the Stanley Cup high over his head, finally, mercifully, ending D.C.’s championship drought that stretched nearly three decades.

The Capitals finally broke through in 2018, taking down the Penguins in the second round of the playoffs en route to their first ever Stanley Cup Championship, and with that win, the curse was broken.

If that curse was real or perceived didn’t matter.

Perception becomes reality, and as the Caps, Nationals and Redskins all learned during the drought, playoff heartbreak was all too real.

One year later, with the championship door kicked in by the Caps, the Mystics and Nationals joined the party.

The Nats title was almost make-believe, a series of events more improbable than the last, and the final chapter a storybook ending of perseverance.

Those titles are the best moments - obviously. Deservedly.

There were plenty of other moments too, and unfortunately, many of them aren’t pleasant.

Nothing will ever change the shock and sadness of Sean Taylor’s passing. Nothing.

Time won’t be able to dim the glow of Robert Griffin III’s rookie year, even all the losing and the long, slow implosion that followed.

After plenty of long droughts and ugly moments, the area again found college basketball’s peak.

Maryland’s men's and women’s teams won titles and eventually Virginia too broke through to cut down nets.

Baltimore knew no such title droughts as its Ravens proved to be one of the best franchises in football. Twice Super Bowl winners, it’s undeniable that some of the best modern players wore purple. They’ve got statues to prove it.

Legends came back, including huge names like Michael Jordan and Joe Gibbs.

The success of their earlier career didn’t follow, but it was still a wild ride. Another legend said goodbye, but the Ironman Cal Ripken never actually leaves. He’s the Ironman.

The greatest swimmers in the world emerged, and they’re from here. They’re household names now - Ledecky and Phelps.

A Cinderella broke through, and by George Mason making the Final Four in 2006, changed the game for future “mid-majors” forever.

D.C. United won and built a new showcase.

Stephen Strasburg piled up strikeouts and got shut down.

Alex Ovechkin scored. And scored. And scored. Gilbert let us all down.

Trying to boil down two decades of sport is hard. Looking at the totality of the events, the totality of a region divided by state lines and distinct cities and mountains to the west and water to the east, yet still united by sports, speaks to the immeasurable heart and spirit of what being a fan means. The drought is over. Long live the good times.