May 21, 2022

Thoughts and Prayers: Roland Garros Preview

Not more than four short months ago, we were reveling in Rafa and Ash’s Australian Open glory. Now that we’ve been abandoned by Ash, and Rafa’s foot has set alarm bells ringing, we enter the year’s second Slam with that familiar feeling of dread. Iga has taken the baton from Ash and sped through the Spring season; who can catch her? On the men’s side, things are a bit more focused…on one very concentrated half of the draw. Join us for our 2022 Roland Garros preview where we parse through the draws, give updates on the latest Wimbledon mess, and finish with the glowing debut of Drag Race All-Stars 7!

 

3:20 Women’s draw: name one player who can beat Iga (well, the few who might be able to are in her section LOL)

14:25 Women’s bottom half: Is Ons the favorite to reach the final?

20:10 Babs is back but the fourth quarter is the land of opportunity

26:50 Men’s draw, first quarter: I would like a recount

41:45 Men’s bottom half: Stefanos, it’s yours, take it

48:50 Et ceteras: RG makes changes to post-match media process, GEMS Baby is dropping in October, Naomi Osaka forms her own agency

55:00 ATP, WTA, ITF will not award ranking points at Wimbledon due to the Russian/Belarusian ban 

68:10 Appreciating the Drag Race All Stars All Winners season

May 9, 2022

Out Here Ons Her Own

Two drop shots to rule them all: Ons Jabeur wins her first WTA 1000 title and Carlos Alcaraz slices through two GOATs and a [redacted] to win his fourth title of the year. In a shorter episode than usual, we chat about Madrid, the ongoing comebacks and retirements, Shapo Music’s spectacular unraveling in Rome, and more.  

 

3:50 Ons Jabeur wins Madrid!

10:00 What were we saying about the WTA top 10 a few months ago? Well …

17:10 The final weekend scheduling in Madrid makes the women an afterthought, again 

22:30 Carlos’ achievements are undeniable – but some context, please!

31:00 Et ceteras: Murray, Wawrinka, Thiem; Andreescu’s break and return 

35:05 Kevin Anderson & Gilles Simon retire 

40:05 Denis Shapovalov’s absolute shit fit in Rome

43:45 WTA is getting a 1000 tournament in Mexico!

May 1, 2022

I Don’t Know (and Other Insights)

As we get older, we get more comfortable existing in the “I don’t know” space, which might be a strange thing to say while also producing a podcast where we share our opinions. But as the debate about Wimbledon rages on, as Boris Becker is sentenced to prison, and in light of your great but tough questions, we’re comfortable remaining equivocal on some things lately. We catch up with the tennis in Europe, check in on some woeful but on-brand missteps, and discuss the Ukrainian players’ response to the Wimbledon decision (something we missed last week). Finally, we end by answering some excellent listener questions – fun, challenging, or both.

 

1:00 Simona slaying in Madrid, Rafa is back with a tough draw, and catching up w/ Estoril & Munich  

8:25 More on Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian & Belarusian players

10:50 What have the Ukrainian players been saying?

21:30 Raducanu splits with coach Torben Beltz

26:35 A few of the week’s worst: the PMo self-promo machine, Cirstea, and homophobia from “allies”

35:55 Boris Becker sentenced to prison for hiding assets - another chapter in a sad post-tennis saga

48:05 Madrid asks, how do we employ a creepy private security and surveillance regime while also making it *adorable*? 

Mail

50:35 What’s going on with the WTA/ATP collaboration?

59:25 Which tennis players would you recruit during a zombie apocalypse?

66:00 Our cringiest tennis moments

71:30 FMK Bridgerton Brothers

75:20 Ending on some Williams sisters questions

Apr 25, 2022

Making The Ban

Thank you all for your patience while we’ve been away! We’re back to recap all the tournaments we’ve missed – almost three weeks of them. Iga Swiatek wins her 23rd straight match by beating repeat runner-up Sabalenka in Stuttgart, while Carlos Alcaraz wins his 23rd match of the year, taking the Barcelona title from PCB. The biggest off-court story has been Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players, and the fallout from players, the WTA and ATP, and the larger political stakeholders.

 

 

2:55 Wimbledon acts unilaterally (shocking, I know!) and bans players from Russia and Belarus 

22:20 Pam Shriver opens up about problematic and abusive relationships on tour 

25:50 Not another wild card drama. I don't have it in me

33:00 Alcaraz falls into the lap of the ATP

40:30 Putting the comparisons between Carlos & Iga into context

46:55 All she does is win: 1ga still soaring 

57:10 The core of Stefanos’ problem

61:25 Results carousel: Marrakech, Houston, Charleston, Bogota

65:30 Etceteras: WTA Finals, Gail Falkenberg; Kim & Tommy retire

68:40 Serena unfollows Patrick on IG & a word on Willow Pill

Apr 6, 2022

Doing The Most

It's been barely two weeks since Ash Barty's retirement and already Iga Swiatek is answering our questions about what's next for the WTA. Riding a 17-match win streak, she knocks out fellow heiress apparent Naomi Osaka to win her third straight WTA 1000 title. Carlos Alcaraz generated a truly astonishing level of buzz on the men's side with his Miami title -- and while we always caution against too much hype, tennis is truly in a fascinating spot right now. 

 

1:15 Iga fills in the blanks after Ash’s retirement

8:35 Let’s enjoy the present: on the WTA especially, it’s not Next Gen, it’s Now Gen 

20:25 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga announces his imminent retirement from tennis 

23:35 Carlos Alcaraz wins Miami, generates well-earned excitement; but let’s cool it with the hype, ok?

33:40 Injuries, absences, instability among the ATP top guys have created a perfect void for a young gun to swoop in

37:00 A few more racquet throws in Miami and the ATP finally says enough! (well, we think)

41:40 Et ceteras: Clay baes Thiem & Wawrinka make their return in Andalucia; rumors swirl about a Russian ‘ban’ from Wimbledon but what’s actually going on?

45:00 IMG snags Frances Tiafoe and purchases the Mutua Madrid Open 

52:10 The Oscars - and no, we’re not talking about that 

Mar 26, 2022

Bye Bye Barty

Ash Barty shocked the tennis world this week by announcing her departure from the game as a 25-year-old dominant #1. After the shock wore off, though, it started to make sense based on what we know about Ash, as a player who’s planned her career intentionally and who was upfront about how she approached the sport. What were her greatest moments? What does Ash’s retirement teach us? What is her legacy? 

 

0:40 Getting over the initial shock

8:30 Ash’s early career and first break from tennis

14:00 Ash returns to tennis in 2016 and steadily builds a world-beating resume; post-COVID dominance

27:00 Career achievements: those weeks at #1 and talking about her successor

31:20 The retirement announcement

36:25 What did we learn from Ash’s retirement? What's the precedent for this?

39:00 Rethinking work and setting boundaries after a pandemic and the myriad disruptions of millennial and Gen Z life

48:30 Reframing authenticity

54:40 Our favorite Ash Barty memories

Mar 22, 2022

Indian Wells (Taylor’s Version)

The finals may not have lived up to their billing, but Indian Wells advanced a number of the season's major storylines: the continued growth of Iga Swiatek, the battle to stick out from the WTA pack, Rafa's hardcourt win streak, Alcaraz's series of firsts, and the Netflix effect. We cover the tennis, plus a discussion on the Nick rinse-and-repeat, the tennis world's response to Naomi Osaka's response (again, rinse, repeat), and the parallels to Jane Campion's flippant 'joke.' 

 

0:40 Welcome to Tennis Para- well, purgatory

3:20 Swiatek wins 5th title and cements her new #2 status

17:40 Taylor Fritz d. Rafael Nadal in the battle of the walking wounded

31:15 Carlos Alcaraz tries his best to snatch that torch from Rafa

40:10 No, we are not entertained, thanks tho 

53:20 Anisimova swiftly exeunts her match, leaving confusion in her wake; partnership with Darren Cahill ends abruptly as well 

56:00 Heckling at Indian Wells and why it’s not the same as heckling at other places …

69:15 Jane Campion - ma’am, what?

Mar 9, 2022

FFS, When Will It End?

Starting off on a difficult subject - the invasion of Ukraine and the response from tennis authorities and the players affected by it. As always, it’s fair to ask who sets the moral standards and what’s the right thing to do, even if we don't have easy answers. On to more positive news, the WTA gets a new title sponsor at a critical time, going from cigarettes to a women’s health company in 50 years. The ATP has some rhetorical fun with the Zverev non-decision and leaves umpires out to dry. Plus, did Novak attempt another stunt in this never ending saga?   

 

1:10 Tennis’ response to the war in Ukraine - what should a sport’s leadership do in wartime?

11:40 Is there any precedent? Banning South Africa and the trouble of who sets moral standards

20:00 WTA gets a new title sponsor and … a Mary J. Blige crossover?

31:40 The Zverev decision -- a suspension and fine, just kidding lol 

43:30 Novak Djokovic will sacrifice titles for his principles but would, like, prefer not to

52:10 Ash & Babs pull out of Indian Wells

59:55 Leylah Fernandez defends Monterrey amidst a lighting crisis! It’s always something

64:55 Federer return, Lepchenko’s 4-year ban, and Kristie Ahn’s retirement

Feb 27, 2022

Take Flight

It’s not exactly your average February on the ATP: we’ve got a new #1; a recent #1 and GOAT doing (dubious) damage control as he struggles to find tournaments that will have him; a different 35-year-old GOAT starting the year on a 15-match win streak; and a top player defaulted for a gross display of rage at an umpire. Acapulco said don’t let la puerta hit you on the way out, and further penalties from the ATP could be looming for Zverev. Meanwhile on the women’s side, it’s Jelena Ostapenko’s world and we’re just living in it. 

 

2:15 Medvedev takes #1

7:45 Rafa’s blazing start to the season continues in Acapulco

19:05 Acapulco was fun. You know what’s not fun? AZ and the escalating abuse of umpires

34:00 Djokovic’s BBC interview: yes, I guess we’re still talking about this

45:10 Felix wins his first ATP title!

51:05 Sport is never safe from politics and world crises … let’s have some understanding for players dealing with the invasion of Ukraine

57:30 Ostapenko beats -- in some cases, destroys -- six Grand Slam champions over the past two weeks

62:30 Are the Doha quarterfinals a sign of *some* stability near the top of the women’s game? 

Feb 14, 2022

My Funny Mail-entine: TBS Mailbag Part II

Welcome back for the second part of our mailbag episode, made possible by February boredom and listeners like you. This time around we’re talking about the changes to tennis during pandemic times and whether we’d like to see them stay; our thoughts on Bravo, Drag Race, and TV in general; our Tennis Housewives dream cast; and a bunch of other thought provoking tennis questions. 

 

02:00 Our thoughts on the changes to tennis (Covid-related or not) - electronic line calling, towels, no-ad, etc.

13:35 FMK: Tennis HABs

16:00 Has your bandwidth increased for the ATP after the Australian Open?

22:40 Thoughts on Drag Race season 14

27:40 Favorite TV of the year so far + Bravo updates

38:25 Which tennis pro’s shot would you want for yourself?

42:35 How to assess a player’s success outside of the Slams? What are the other metrics even if you’re not a Slam winner?

52:00 Real Housewives of Tennis dream cast

56:50 Janet Jackson finally gets her flowers – she is the blueprint, kids!

65:05 Reiterating The Body Serve’s mission statement, if you will

Feb 10, 2022

Winter Break: TBS Mailbag Part I

We asked for your questions, and wow, did you deliver. So much so that we’ve decided to stretch this mailbag into a two-part super episode. The post-Australian Open hangover is real, so we’ve got some light-hearted and non-tennis subject matter here, but we also tackle your tennis questions on commentators, our Grand Slam wish list, Delpo, and dream tennis apparel designers. 

 

 

3:30 Which designer or brand do you want to see try tennis apparel?

5:50 If the Slams did anthems, which artist would you want to do the anthem for each Slam?

14:00 A perennial topic: What makes for a good tennis commentator?

20:50 Now let’s talk about us: how has our approach to fandom evolved over the years? Did we learn anything new with Nadal’s win in Australia?

26:45 A question on our process, how we record, the magic of editing, etc.

31:50 Favorite tennis player forays into music

34:10 Favorite comfort foods … how long do you have?

39:00 What tennis stories would we like to see as movies?

44:20 Tennis and NFTs: et tu, Stanley?

50:20 Now here’s an original one: ranking the types of tennis headwear

54:25 Honoring Juan Martin del Potro with our fave Delpo moments

Jan 30, 2022

Dare To Dream

Ash Barty and Rafa Nadal are your 2022 Australian Open champions -- Barty winning her third Slam and further cementing her #1 status, and Nadal notching an unlikely victory from a two-sets-to-love hole against a much younger opponent, leading the Grand Slam tally for the first time. Danielle Collins leaves Melbourne with many new fans while Daniil Medvedev leaves a bit shattered. We'll take you through the final rounds of the tournament and what it means for the players and the state of the tours, plus we chat about doubles, unruly crowds, corporate Pride celebrations, dreams deferred, and the fashions. 

 

2:55 How did that happen? A men's final of disbelief

18:20 Medvedev's stunts catch up to him? But the crowd was bad, really bad

22:45 Tennis looks amateurish again: make a decision on coaching

32:20 The other notable men’s matches and wrapping up this men’s tournament 

44:10 Women’s final: Ash Barty wins her 3rd Slam on as many surfaces

55:55 DanYell’s fanbase is growing despite some initial skepticism

63:30 Doubles: Azealia - err, Nick & Thanasi 

67:10 Dylan Alcott retires as the only Golden Slam winner in his discipline

69:05 So who will become the ‘hero’ of this next generation?

75:00 AO Pride Day: great idea, so-so execution 

78:00 Fave fashions and fave tweets of the tournament 

84:15 Ranking updates: there’s a lot of movement and it’s not pretty

Jan 23, 2022

So Siuuu Me

Week one of the Australian Open is in the books, with Barty carving her way through the draw, Sam Stosur retiring from singles, and most of the men's contenders surviving. Although many feared the tournament would be overshadowed by the Djokovic visa saga, once play started the tennis began to speak for itself. We've gotten blockbuster match-ups that live up to the hype (Osaka-Anisimova), veterans rediscovering their magic (Monfils, Keys), and recent Slam champs Krejcikova & Medvedev reminding us why they're great at tennis and very meme-able.

 

0:44 The Nole decision: Get yourself a friend like Vasek & a frenemy like Kyrgios

07:40 Adelaide 2 & Sydney winners, plus week one upsets

13:15 Notable week one matches

15:35 The Kyrgios sideshow makes another appearance 

20:35 Did you get the attention you ordered, Nick?

25:40 Krejcikova’s problematic necklace plus Naomi-Amanda

31:35 Madison, Felix, Rafa

38:45 Where we’re at the in the draw

47:50 Farewell to Sam Stosur and oh hey, Craig

55:45 Et ceteras: Ash’s serve, Naomi’s IG declaration, Liam represents

61:00 Netflix said to That Guy thanks, luv, we’re good; but also, ATP - where’s the investigation, boo?

Jan 14, 2022

The Leaning Tower of Visa: Aus Open Preview

The 2022 Australian Open is around the corner and guess what is still dominating headlines: visa cancellation 2.0, appeal 2.0, and the various foibles and f- er, muck-ups of Djokovic and co. After discussing that for a moment, we focus on some of the excellent stories coming out of the Australian lead-up tourneys: Ash’s domination, Kokkinakis’ brilliant stretch, and statement wins from Andy, Madison, Amanda, Simona, and Elena R. We finish up with perhaps our most equivocal draw analysis ever, as Djokovic’s shadow looms large.

 

02:00 Hawke strikes upon the hour: Immigration Minister cancels Djokovic’s visa, citing the “public interest”

09:04 Djokovic’s various fumbles have made grace an impossibility here

14:56 Week 1 Winners: Vets Rafa, Simona, Gael; plus Anisimova is back and Barty steamrolls

26:17 Week 2 gives us a day to remember: Keys-Gauff, Murray lobs Opelka, and BathroomGate is decidedly not behind us

33:23 Odds and ends: Bernie wins a bet by getting Covid; Rafa & Vee step in it; Reilly, dude … let it go

43:40 Our breakout picks for 2022: no, I will not be explaining myself

46:42 Women’s draw: that first quarter is rude and it ruined James’ dream final

58:13 Men’s draw: an Australian judge will decide who fills the no. 1 slot. Could the men’s bottom half see a major breakout?

Jan 10, 2022

Playing In Our Faces

The Australia v. Djokovic saga has dominated new cycles for the past week in and outside of the tennis world; it highlighted many of the anxieties and political squabbles of the COVID-19 pandemic, spurred infighting between various levels of Australian government, and most importantly, was completely avoidable. There is plenty of blame to go around here: to Djokovic, to his family’s increasingly bizarre statements, to the Prime Minister's cynical political maneuvers, and to the head of Tennis Australia, who committed an astonishing number of unforced errors. We give you a timeline and the cast of characters as we attempt to contextualize this debacle as best we can. 

 

00:30 Setting the scene, and why we don’t do emergency episodes

12:40 Jan 4-6: Today I’m heading Down Under with an exemption per-.... oop

22:30 Jan 8: The zero-sum game resulting from the positive PCR test

29:30 Jan 10: The hearing none of us understood

37:05 The dramatis personae: starting with Craig Tiley and Tennis Australia

40:20 The Victoria Government (and why state governments shouldn’t get immigration advice from a sporting organization)

45:00 Prime Minister Scott Morrison scoring political points, or; “rules are rules” 

49:25 Learning about Australia’s refugee crisis and draconian immigration policies

58:00 Hubris, extremism, and strange bedfellows

Jan 7, 2022

Party Like It’s 1999

Many of us look back at 1999 as the dawning of the modern golden age of women’s tennis, a season that saw four different Slam champs, the abrupt exit of one GOAT, and the breakthrough of a new one. Lindsay, Martina, Venus, Serena, and Steffi battled for the biggest titles and crafted historic, enduring storylines at every major event of the year. There was a changing of the guard, sure, but the shift from one era to the next is never quite as cut-and-dry as it seems. Plus, of course, the memes -- or, in this era before memes -- the off-court controversies and clownery that we still talk about: BeadGate, the formal education argument; and more darkly, the homophobic insults thrown at Amelie Mauresmo and the persistent, racialized "muscles vs. brains" narrative. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and discuss a season of women’s tennis that quite literally changed the sport forever.

 

03:10 Setting the scene: What is happening in women’s tennis and the culture at the fin de siècle? What does the teen pop explosion and Y2K have to do with tennis?

08:10 The WTA’s struggles with investors and why anonymous “analysts” doubted the marketability of women’s tennis

19:30 So what makes the ‘99 season so special?

22:55 Themes of the season: the Williams sisters are coming, and not everybody’s happy about it

29:55 Martina is #1, but the dominance is slipping

37:40 Australian Open: Hingis three-peats, Mauresmo comes out, and we endure BeadGate

55:25 Roland Garros: Graf wins final major in an almighty mess of a final

62:50 Wimbledon: Lindsay ain’t just a hardcourt wonder

69:45 Steffi calls time on one of the greatest careers in tennis history

72:25 US Open: Serena bags the first Williams singles Slam, beating a befuddled Hingis in the final; plus, why the ‘formal education’ dust-up is even more instructive than we remembered

83:50 The year-end rankings, some fun facts about the Slam season, and the signs of what’s to come

Dec 11, 2021

Dire Strai(gh)ts: ATP Wrap

In our season seven finale, we’re recapping this odd and transitional year on the ATP Tour, a year in which Novak Djokovic came very close to winning the first Grand Slam since 1969 and a bunch of youngsters shook the table of Big 3 hegemony. We take an honest look at our breakout predictions – not great, Bob – and reminisce about some truly wild (and some depressing) Remember When moments. Although there’s much levity, you know us – we’re not going to recap the ATP season without talking about the dark shadow cast by the ATP’s repeated fumbling of the Zverev & Basilashvili abuse allegations. 

 

Thanks for your support this year and every year – see you in 2022! 

 

04:00 In Australia, Russians make history and Djokovic wins his 9th

14:00 The spring gives us a sign of what’s to come (Rublev, Karatsev, Hurkacz, Sinner) plus a quick chat on PTPA progress this year

20:55 Clay season: Tsitsipas announces himself as a favorite for Roland Garros alongside Nadal & Djokovic

22:35 Novak screams and hollers his way to the Roland Garros title, beats Tsitsipas from 2 sets down 

27:20 Grass season: Djokovic’s Wimbledon win seemed kinda … easy? Golden Slam Watch is on

41:40 US Open: BathroomGate went on way too long; breakouts galore; Medvedev kills the dream

46:15 Fall season: Norrie wins IW, Frances captures our attention, Russia bookends its year with a dominant Davis Cup win

49:00 Let’s look at the receipts: titles and rankings 

52:50 How’d we do on our breakout picks?

55:15 Remember When? Hecklers, innocent bathroom breaks, the code-cracking racquet launch, YawnGate, and the unfortunate trend of ATP players using homophobic slurs

65:05 The ATP’s Integrity Problem

Dec 3, 2021

Holy Spirit Activate: WTA Wrap

Friends, we’re finally at the end of our WTA season. So much of what we recapped didn’t even feel like it happened in 2021. Kenin signing with Motorola but tweeting about it from her iPhone? 2021, really? Badosa and Kostyuk broadcasting from their Fox News bunker in Australia? Feels like forever ago. Nonetheless, we try to make sense of a truly unique year in tennis, in which the sport learned to live with the pandemic to varying degrees of success. We asked for help with our “Remember When” segment and boy, did y’all deliver. We finish with our mini-review of “King Richard” and then a taste test of Mariah Carey’s venture into Irish creams: her latest stone cold smash hit wonder!

Above all, we are so incredibly grateful for all your support and sticking with us through seven seasons. To the OG listeners, we can’t even know what to say. To those who just joined us, it’s a privilege we don’t take lightly. 

 

02:10 An update on our GoFundMe: We can’t even know what to say

08:10 The princesses and the paupers: a super quarantine and one persistent mouse almost derail the Australian Open

17:20 Mugs, Sabalenka, Jabeur, Gauff, and Badosa steadily build their impressive seasons in the spring

25:55 Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from Roland Garros, plus … you thought Barbora Krejcikova was just a great doubles player? 

35:15 Grass season: vets find success but Barty cements her #1 status

46:30 Still reeling from that wild US Open 

56:00 Stats in review: A not-so-clear-cut POTY and year-end rankings 

66:40 Remember when: tennis players can’t control God, talk to Him 

77:00 How’d we do on our breakout picks?

81:10 A dispiriting Peng Shuai update

87:55 It’s time to finally make good on the calls for #TennisUnited

89:20 Our King Richard review: It OUTSOLD!

97:35 A nutty taste test: Black Irish Mimi edition

Nov 21, 2021

We’ll See

First things first: we are officially announcing the launch of our GoFundMe campaign! Thank you to our listeners for the past 7 amazing years, and we’re looking forward to great stuff to come. Since our last episode, the Peng Shuai story has received widespread coverage in US media, with Chinese state media offering some video clips as “proof” of Peng’s well-being. The WTA has done a great job pushing the issue, but we wonder what's next if the WTA's demands are not met. We also celebrate the successful Guadalajara WTA Finals, spend a good 10 seconds on the ATP Finals, chat about WTA historiography and why they’re so good at, and cover a few odds and ends about Australia and Federer.

 

01:50 GoFundMe - it’s awkward to ask for money but here we go!

04:20 Peng Shuai situation -- Story blows up in US media; Chinese state media offers some seemingly orchestrated appearances. What’s next? What can we do from here?

16:35 Muguruza’s win caps off a fun and diverting WTA Finals in Guadalajara; much praise to her opponent, new #7 Anett Kontaveit

23:00 Ever notice that the legends of women’s tennis are always around to promote the sport? Here’s why (at least in our view)

32:50 ATP Finals: If a tree falls in a forest . . . anyway

38:50 Australian Open confirms vax stance and Novak demurs 

42:15 Roger Federer updates his fans, and it’s tough to hear

Nov 15, 2021

A Sensible Flat

Episode 245 features a potpourri of tennis happenings. We begin with a discussion of the harrowing Peng Shuai news and the response from tennis' governing bodies. After getting caught up on ALL the tennis since our last episode, we end with a bit of levity -- thanks to our generous listener, Kaitlyn -- our first ever live taste test on The Body Serve! 

Oh, and we've also got the soft launch for our second ever GoFundMe for the podcast. Thanks to all of you for supporting us as we finish up season seven! 

 

01:05 Launching our 2021 fundraising drive: help us fund the podcast 

07:45 Peng Shuai makes a brave allegation, disappears from public view. What can (and should) tennis orgs do?

17:25 Novak shakes off his US Open vanquisher and secures year #7 as the best

21:30 BJK Cup: the perpetually aggrieved is re-aggrieved

29:50 WTA Finals - lay off the fashions, eh?

36:15 Our dream final spoiled in Stockholm

39:35 NextGen Finals - innovation for innovation's sake does actually work sometimes

52:40 We asked: What's one player tic or habit that annoys you (irrationally)? Boy, did you deliver 

61:35 Taste test / ASMR session -- trying a holiday specialty from New Brunswick!

Nov 3, 2021

Forgive Me Jannik For I Have Sinned

We are well and truly in the final stretch of the 2021 season, rounding third and heading for home. The field for the WTA Finals in Guadalajara is set after Anett Kontaveit blitzed through Moscow and Transylvania. We chat extensively about Frances Tiafoe's great run in Vienna, but must wade into unholy waters filled with Jannik Sinner salt. Later, we've got updates but not really on the vaccine saga for the Australian Open, before finishing with a few detours into our own personal interests.

 

0:55 Anett Kontaveit decides not to lose anymore, snags final qualifying spot for WTA Finals

07:30 Frances Tiafoe’s fantastic run to the Vienna final

10:00 Jannik says the show must NOT go on

24:20 Tiafoe has the x-factor and that's that on that

33:15 Andy keeps on truckin, Emma gets a few wins and more fans in Romania

37:10 It's all governmental infighting and leaked memos in Australia! And Benoit Paire says he doesn't care who misses out, it's Benoit Time 

44:55 Where is Sofia Kenin?

51:15 Updates: Jared Donaldson; will Martina be on Real Housewives of Miami?! 

56:35 Niche cricket and baseball content for the brave and curious

Oct 21, 2021

The Straight Talk Express

October’s Very Own Indian Wells has concluded and we’ve got a surprising men’s winner in Cam Norrie and a surprising-but-not-really-surprising women’s champ in Paula Badosa. We take a ride on Reilly and Novak’s Straight Talk Express, where truth (or some version of it) reigns. Some quick thoughts on the current role of the press, one holdover question from our mailbag, thoughts on TT’s annual Hall of Fame nominations news cycle, and finally, the brief return of our Dramatic Reading segment. 

 

2:25 Indian Wells a kingmaker / queenmaker? Let’s look at the receipts

6:20 The men’s side finally gets a taste of WTA-style unpredictability

13:30 Vika tries for IW #3, but Badosa takes the next step in her rapidly blossoming career

27:00 More Aussie vaccine news and what it means for Novak. An “inappropriate inquiry?” Be that as it may ...  

35:20 Reilly Opelka has opinions. Not sure if you heard 

42:20 British journalists pen an open letter on ending the “Zoom era” of pressers -- so what should the player-press relationship look like post-pandemic?

51:40 Mailbag question about player scheduling and the decisions that go into it

57:55 Dramatic Reading: Serena Williams on her bestie-frenemy 

61:45 Tennis Hall of Fame nominees: reliably making tennis fans mad year after year

Oct 6, 2021

Taking Steps

Indian Wells is underway, in autumn, after a two-and-a-half-year hiatus, but the big story this week is the ATP’s revelation that they’ve begun an investigation into the abuse allegations against Alexander Zverev. It’s a year or so too late, but it’s a big step nonetheless. That’s the theme of this episode -- steps, mostly in the right direction, as small and plodding as they might be. We also talk about some recent results, persistent vaccine hesitancy among tennis players, the WTA’s race to its new Finals site in Guadalajara, and the ATP’s survey of players on their attitudes toward LGBTQ issues. 

 

1:30 Cute results: Muguruza wins Chicago; both she and Jabeur get closer to the WTA Finals

9:25 Kim Clijsters’ comeback continues

13:10 Ruud works on his hardcourt bona fides; Sinner wins title #4 in his young career

19:30 Previewing Indian Wells: where have all the top boys gone

26:50 The ATP announces that it has begun an investigation into the Olya Sharypova accusations -- why was Laver Cup not mentioned in the press release? Oh, and that injunction doesn’t mean what AZ thinks it means 

37:00 Mary Carillo’s decision to quit her Laver Cup broadcasting gig -- why we need prominent people to take a stand

44:30 Aryna Sabalenka - positive for COVID, out of Indian Wells

47:10 Will the Australian Open be off-limits for the unvaccinated?

58:30 Remember that gay survey players mentioned at the US Open? Well, it happened!

Sep 22, 2021

TBS Mailbag: We Were JUST Talking About You

This week we outsourced the agenda-building to you, our listeners, and you provided a set of fascinating and tough questions. Come take a break from the weekly grind of current tennis events. We’ve got a modest proposal for how to choose new tennis TV commentators, plus we talk about areas of the game we might consider changing and why the age eligibility rule is important. By popular demand, we open with the momentous Williams-Sharapova reunion at the Met Gala and the photos that broke the tennis internet for a day or two.   

 

01:35 Vee, Ree, and Masha at the Met Gala: WHAT?!

08:05 Laver Cup’s blocking spree as social media strategy

13:20 Is the game missing something without challenges? Did automated line calling sap some drama from matches? 

20:30 Between Serena and Novak, whose legacy is most affected by missing out on the Grand Slam?

26:50 A question on the teen breakthroughs at the US Open and the WTA’s age eligibility rule

34:15 A memorable FMK - Met Gala Baes

44:10 You all had a lot of thoughts and questions about tennis commentators, as usual!

62:55 A perennial question: where are all the gays in men’s tennis? Do they just not exist?

69:10 A question that threatened the peace in our household: the Whitney-Mariah duet

75:00 Happy 24th anniversary to an album that sounds even better with age: Butterfly

Sep 12, 2021

Hatched and Snatched: US Open Wrap

Will history see this US Open as a watershed moment? On the women's side, is this just the most extreme example of a years-long trend of youngsters managing the moment and storming to victory? On the men's side, many felt Novak Djokovic was inevitably marching to a Calendar Year Grand Slam. But, whether it was due to fatigue from his long matches, the unfathomable weight of the moment, or Daniil Medvedev's mental and physical fortitude, the Grand Slam remains unfulfilled since 1988 (or 1969). Regardless of its place in history, this year's Open gave us storylines for the ages: the coronation of a longtime hardcourt menace and two young superstars to add to the WTA's already formidable roster.

 

02:15 Emma Raducanu & Leylah Fernandez stun the world 

09:10 Raducanu’s win -- while unprecedented due to ranking and number of matches won -- is actually the rule rather than the exception on the WTA these past few years. Are the kids just built differently these days?

28:35 It turns out it’s really, really hard to win the Grand Slam

33:45 Daniil Medvedev has been the solid #2 hard court player for a few years, and today he came with a game plan and incredible poise

49:00 Doubles: Stosur wins 8th Slam title; Krawczyk won ¾ of a Grand Slam this year; Salisbury doubles in men’s and mixed 

52:05 Other stories: Zverev story gets more mainstream media attention

58:00 Coaching during matches - it happens, so what should they do about it?

62:50 The Players Lounge: the Racquet magazine-produced roundtable on mental health

Sep 6, 2021

Oh Yeah, They‘re All Scammers

It was a first week for the US Open history books, full of entertaining matches and high-profile breakthroughs. Youngsters Fernandez, Raducanu, and Alcaraz notch huge wins, qualifier van de Zandschulp reaches the quarterfinals, and the undeniable stars Tiafoe & Auger-Aliassime face off in a blockbuster fourth round. BathroomGate threatened to overshadow the entire week, as fans and mainstream reporters became gamesmanship detectives and amateur clock-watchers. Oh yeah, and Djokovic is still on the hunt for the Grand Slam. 

 

0:35 Week one -- well, day one even -- exceeded all expectations

9:20 #HatchingandSnatching update: Fernandez, Alcaraz, Raducanu

17:40 Women’s fourth rounds - plus a tangent on the Krejcikova-Muguruza controversy

26:40 Men’s fourth rounds: the Tiafoe-Auger-Aliassime match was a blast

32:35 Zverev finally has to answer to the Sharypova abuse allegations, he deflects to BathroomGate, and the broadcasters comply

39:30 Accusations of scammery follow Tsitsipas all week, and to be honest they have merit; or, “you can be mad about two things at the same time”

54:05 US Open Pride Day sees various players wear rainbow gear and otherwise show support

58:05 Sloane Stephens was one of the best stories of the first week

Aug 26, 2021

Withdrawal Symptoms: US Open Preview

The year's final Grand Slam is upon us, and for the first time since the 90s, we won't see a Williams sister, Nadal, or Federer at the US Open. In two weeks, we'll know if Djokovic has completed the historic Calendar Year Grand Slam against a group of young challengers (Novak and the Seven Trees?). We also discuss the recent publication of part two of the Olya Sharypova story and why the ATP and tennis broadcasters will have a harder time ignoring it this time around. Plus: Barty surging in time for NY, Stef's laughably bad vaccine stance, and some lucky loser drama in Winston-Salem. 

 

1:15 Reflections on Cincinnati FOMO

7:00 Wrapping up the Canada results: Giorgi stuns the field and Medvedev beats Opelka

10:50 Cincinnati: Barty allows no doubt about who’s #1

21:30 Also happening last week: *that* Naomi presser, Yastremska gets called something mean, Lepchenko popped for a doping violation

33:00 Cincinnati men’s draw: the less said the better

38:20 The Tsitsipas Family’s wild and reckless vaccine takes

44:35 A lucky loser fracas at Winston-Salem 

47:15 Draw analysis: starting with the women. So … how about that third quarter?

70:55 Men’s draw: is there anyone here who will beat Novak in best-of-five?

85:10 Part two of Ben Rothenberg’s story on the Zverev allegations -- why he said/she said is a dog whistle and why tennis might finally be forced to reckon with this

98:30 Another historic week in women’s sprinting! From your faithful tennis / Jamaican track correspondents

Aug 15, 2021

Bot On A Hot Tin Roof

Tennis’ second pandemic summer gets us a bit closer to “normal,” but the absence of many of the biggest stars leaves room for other players to create compelling narratives. Danielle Collins runs off 12 matches in a row, Reilly Opelka transcends servebotism and outfoxes Tsitsipas in Toronto, and Karolina Pliskova resuscitates a career that many (us?) were calling over the hill. We also talk about some egregious stunts (ciao, Fabio & Mo), the WTA Race to [somewhere?], and the post-Big 3 landscape. 

 

0:35 Rafa and the glaring absence of the Old Guard this summer - what’s next? Does the Next Gen *have to* snatch the tour from the Big 3 or no?

9:10 Results in Cluj-Napoca & DC: Petkovic back in top 70, Sherif becomes first Egyptian woman in WTA final, Sinner & a few lesser known American men show out in DC

12:15 Danielle Collins wins a second title and more fans - why does Collins inspire such charged cultural conversations?

22:20 Montreal: Pliskova, Giorgi, Collins-Pegula, Jabeur

30:00 Reilly Opelka makes the case for himself

36:25 Pure stunts from the ATP’s king of stunts. Lasciami in pace, Fabio!

41:15 A brief retrospective on a Whitney & Mariah moment

45:15 Final thoughts on the blazingly fast women’s 200m and then we’ll leave you alone

Aug 1, 2021

Set Fire To Their Tears

Just to get it out of the way: we're not the biggest fans of Olympic tennis. Nevertheless, the Games brought up some interesting stories, old and new -- the fairy-tale endings that failed to happen for Novak and Naomi, the "mental health" conversation (or the seeing-athletes-as-human-beings conversation) that is changing sports discourse around the world, and the men's gold medal that wasn't. We've also got some thoughts on Naomi's Netflix docuseries, the extremely busy post-Wimbledon non-Olympics tennis calendar, and the blazingly fast women's 100m final.

 

 
2:15 Naomi lights the torch! There's a metaphor in there somewhere

7:10 Bencic is finally in "the talk," in her words

10:00 So, about the men's gold medalist and the allegations that are finally gaining traction outside of Tennis Twitter

17:45 Djokovic's Golden hopes end as a racquet is javelined into the stands

27:30 Final thoughts on Olympic tennis and 'prestige'

32:00 Simone Biles kicks off a conversation/uproar similar to Naomi -- the ground is shifting on how we talk about athletes, mental/physical health, and self-sacrifice

42:00 Post-Wimbledon events: Collins wins first title, Ruud vultures the entire summer clay season

47:05 Bertens & Bacsinszky bid farewell

50:00 Meet me at the altar in your Off White dress - GEMS Life is married!

54:10 Thoughts on Naomi's Netflix special

61:54 Our resident Jamaican track and field fan recaps the women's 100m race, which lived up to very high expectations 

Jul 12, 2021

Hateration, Holleration In This Wimblery

The first Wimbledon since 2019 ends with Ash Barty and Novak Djokovic leaving London victorious, both clear #1s at very different stages of their careers. Pliskova should be mighty proud of her tournament, and Berrettini reaches a new height in a very promising career. So how long will Djokovic dominate? What will the next generation have to say about it? All that plus doubles, PTPA stuff, Olympics conjecture, and how the ATP can hold onto those eyeballs Berrettini brought in. 

 

1:25 Introducing our newest line of merch, the Bandwidth Collection

3:00 Ash Barty wins Wimbledon 50 years after her mentor, Evonne Goolagong; cements no. 1 status whether you like it or not

11:50 A great semifinal lineup: former winner Kerber, perennial top 10-er (until recently) Pliskova, and Sabalenka's big breakthrough

16:20 Djokovic has 3/4 of the Calendar Year Slam, Berrettini acquits himself well in final

28:10 Berrettini and Hurkacz bring new eyes to the sport, but the youngsters still have work to do

34:05 Doubles: Mektic/Pavic are back from Covid; Krawcyzk gets the Channel Slam; Hsieh/Mertens save match points to win

38:15 Et ceteras: Roger, Felix, Raducanu, PTPA update

47:00 So who exactly is going to the Olympics?

55:05 We finally get the trailer for Naomi Osaka's Netflix documentary

Jul 4, 2021

Slippy Cup

It was a wet, wild, and slipp(er)y first week at Wimbledon, which felled a 7-time champion within minutes and saw some electrifying home country heroes show out for their local fans. The faves in the men's draw have sauntered into week two, while a few top clay performers have continued their good form on the women's side. Special shout-outs to Ons Jabeur's stannable barfing moment, the more-fun-than-is-reasonable Venus Williams-Nick Kyrgios mixed doubles pairing, and great stuff from Shapo, Gauff, Samsonova, and more. 

 

1:20 Upsets of Petra, Kenin, Andreescu, Tsitsipas (hey Frances!) -- were they *surprises* or just upsets?

9:10 Surprises: who is quietly sliding into the second week? Garin, Ivashka, Hurkacz, Khachanov

13:40 The women's round of 16 matches and how we got there; Jabeur vs Swiatek is the one we're looking forward to

25:00 Men's round of 16: the three faves -- Djokovic, Fed, and Berrettini -- are still here

33:35 So about the grass ... Mannarino and Serena slip on Centre Court and pull out within an hour of each other. How many slips are too many?

42:55 Andy Murray's electrifying Centre Court matches - it's great theatre 

47:15 The critique of Coco Gauff's court assignments 

52:40 Favorite moment of week one: Venus-Nick mixed doubles, it was great while it lasted

58:55 Ostapenko's very eventful second and third rounds

66:35 Et ceteras: good on Fowler & Gilbert for talking honestly about Zverev & Basilashvili; Alexandra, what are you doing?

74:45 Thanks to everyone who bought Body Serve merch!

Jun 25, 2021

It’s A Bop, It’s A Jam, It’s A Banger

Before we get to the Wimbledon preview, we're proud to debut our first line of Body Serve merch: t-shirts, magnets, stickers, mugs, hoodies and more, all adorned with Tom Humberstone's exclusive Body Serve artwork. Back to tennis -- Wimbledon is upon us, as we move back to the traditional two-week gap between Roland Garros and the grass major. We'll walk you through the draws and the grass results, highlighting top recent performances from Jabeur, Berrettini, and Kerber, plus Sonego's musical and athletic prowess. And to wrap, a few queer et ceteras for #PrideMonth. 

 

0:35 Introducing The Body Serve's online store

5:30 Grass results from this week: resurgent Ostapenko, Kerber, Giorgi, and Querrey; plus Dasha, Petra, and Daniil

18:20 Halle, Birmingham, Queen's, Berlin -- Jabeur wins first title, is the first Arab woman to do a lot of things in tennis

26:55 Men's draw: it's Novak and then a big drop-off -- who else is a contender?

41:00 Women's draw - a lot more early-round intrigue, lots of question marks in the first quarter

46:50 Women's third quarter presents a huge opportunity for somebody

51:20 Yastremska's sexcuse worked! The suspension is over

54:30 PTPA has resurfaced with an executive director, new branding, and an advisory board

65:20 #Pride et ceteras: Carl Nassib; Love, Victor; women's 100m; and a story!

Jun 14, 2021

Are Your Clay Sensations Nourished?

Are your clay sensations nourished? Ours certainly are NOT, but we hope to summon the requisite energies to bring you this French Open recap. Barbora Krejčíková and Novak Djokovic are your 2021 Roland Garros singles champions, both surprise winners in their own rights, but also two champions that make varying degrees of sense. Krejčíková became the fourth active WTA player to win Slams in all three disciplines (Venus, Serena, and Stosur), while Djokovic captured his 19th Slam title, a stone’s throw from Nadal and Federer’s record of 20.

 

01:20 Krejčíková beats Pavlyuchenkova for her first Slam singles title

05:45 Questionable (line) decisions, sportsmanship, and giving the benefit of the doubt

15:00 How did we get to this women’s final? 

21:15 Rafole, hyperbole, and the context of that semifinal

33:35 Novak’s gonna Novak, and that Novak is on a higher plain

42:30 The grass season started *during* Roland Garros this year 

44:30 Is coaching allowed during matches? If you’re a commentator who is also related to the player, yes

49:15 Taylor Townsend writes an illuminating piece for The Players’ Tribune

Jun 7, 2021

Right In Front Of My Salad?

Has the 2021 French Open felt a bit . . . strange? Clouded? Cursed, even? (Yes) But aside from the weirdness floating above the tennis, we've actually got a fascinating lineup of quarterfinals in both the men's and women's draws. The men have more familiar faces, but the women's side sees the success of a bunch of great performers during this clay season, including several first-time Slam quarterfinalists and the defending champion. In the interest of efficiency, in this episode we wrap week one, talk about the prevalence of betting culture on Tennis Channel, the virtue of a good apology, and how The Good Place and Roland Garros intersected in a most humorous way. 

 

03:15 Quarters are set on both draws: how did we get here?

06:10 Men's draw: a historic Slam for Italian men, Medvedev king of trolls, plus the usual suspects

13:55 Federer's withdrawal and Musetti's retirement -- honest to a fault

25:30 Women's draw: huge upsets; great stuff from Pavlyuchenkova, Gauff, Zidansek, Sakkari, and more

39:10 Et ceteras - betting is even more entrenched at Tennis Channel, Sizikova arrested for match fixing ... any irony there or nah

46:05 Rune proves that the cover-up -- err, non-apology -- is often worse than the crime. All this during Pride Month?!

54:20 Danielle Collins' great narrative arc and Jameela's valued tennis opinions

Jun 2, 2021

Does This Apply To Me?

Since our last episode, the conversation around Naomi Osaka's withdrawal from press conferences grew so loud that it led to an actual withdrawal: her decision to pull out of Roland Garros completely to preserve her mental well being. The past few days have presented so many important questions -- especially around mental health, mental strength and the "bootstraps" mentality, race, gender, and the role of the press in tennis -- that we felt it warranted another stand-alone episode. Let's leave the mess in WhatsApp and instead have a real conversation about what we can do better and why tennis' first reaction was punitive rather than empathetic.

 

0:30 Catching up on the events of the past few days: a media frenzy that culminated in Naomi's withdrawal from Roland Garros

12:05 Naomi's statement and the French Federation's response - how did we get here, and how can we do better?

17:30 "Press conferences are part of the job description" - well, since you mentioned tennis being a workplace ...

24:30 Should the Player's Councils and the PTPA be vocal about this?

28:45 Many reporters took Naomi's initial statement as a personal or professional attack -- where is the reflexivity?

38:40 The demand for a disclosure from Naomi - the act of "confession"

42:30 What has this situation taught us about how society and sport view mental health awareness?

50:30 The unavoidable question of race and gender, and how Black athletes are expected to entertain without complaint

May 28, 2021

Pressed: Roland Garros Preview

Naomi Osaka is a paradigm shifter, regardless of whether you agree with her decisions. We spend a good chunk of our Roland Garros preview thinking through Naomi's decision to skip press and how it affords the sport an opportunity to rethink how it conducts journalism and creates news. Why did it inflame such impassioned responses? What does the press conference accomplish? What are the alternatives? Amidst all this, we have the year's second Grand Slam to preview, which will happen among the most "normal" conditions we've seen since the pandemic began. Rafa, Ash, and Iga are faves, but they're not the only ones with a fighting chance.

 

0:45 Naomi Osaka's bombshell: she won't be doing press conferences at Roland Garros

8:30 "It's part of the job" - but why? Is this an opportunity to rethink how tennis does journalism?

20:25 What we don't want to see: personal axe-grinding against "the press" in general

35:10 Some ideas on how to rethink tennis journalism

39:50 Roland Garros men's draw preview!

55:25 Women's draw: two clear favorites and a lot of great performers right behind them

64:15 Women's bottom half -- especially the fourth quarter -- is ripe for a dark horse breakthrough

May 18, 2021

And What!!!

Nadal logged another decima, at Rome this time, which turned out to be one of the most exciting Masters tournaments in recent memory. While Nadal-Djokovic went the distance, Iga Swiatek dropped not even a game against Karolina Pliskova, The Unbothered. We chat about questions surrounding Sabalenka's views; Roger Federer's comments on the Zverev case and why it's emblematic of a much larger problem, or the system working as intended; and the latest intrigue from the ongoing Yastremska doping circus.   

 

0:00 I can't control God. Talk to him. 

2:10 Swiatek blanks 2019 winner Pliskova; Karolina gives a master class on being unbothered

9:35 Rain and retirements; plus Coco, Martic, Simona, and Ash

20:40 "Il Next Gen siamo noi" - Nadal/Djokovic #57

32:30 Sonego; Reilly's Venus Effect; these dangerous Rome courts -- this is what labour unions are for

41:40 Williamses in Parma, Federer in Geneva, and packed draws everywhere

48:45 Addressing the murmurs about Sabalenka's political allegiances

55:20 The Yastremska story gets even weirder .. and "riskier" 

60:40 About those Federer comments on Z*erev ... we can and should expect more

73:05 Shapo drops 3 new songs!

76:30 Things we like/dislike - why is Jonathan coming for me?

May 11, 2021

The Unattractive Inside Open

We're haters, fine, but Madrid is just not the tournament for us. We get an unappealing winner on the men's side but a first-time clay titlist in Aryna Sabalenka, peaking just in time for Roland Garros. Elsewhere, the ATP loosens -- nay, practically obliterates -- its bubble restrictions ahead of RG. In major coaching news, Sofia Kenin parts ways with her dad. And finally, James takes another quiz. Does he redeem his putrid performance from last week? You be the judge.

 
1:55 Madrid. It happens every year but we don't have to like it

4:40 The repeated failure of the ATP to say or do anything of substance on domestic violence (great at deleting Instagram comments though)

15:45 Aryna Sabalenka wins first clay title in Stuttgart rematch

21:55 And now we are in Rome: Djokovic and Serena return

32:50 The ATP bursts its bubble, vaccine or not!

38:25 American men's tennis declares its independence from the top 30; Pavs gives a revealing interview; short shorts are the moment

49:25 Kenin & Garcia split from their coach-dads

53:55 James takes another quiz! 

Apr 27, 2021

Nicely Plump

Struggling to keep up with all the tennis? So are we. Join us on this struggle bus episode where we go over the results since our last episode, leading up to Ash Barty and Rafa Nadal's wins this past week. If you haven't seen the Kasatkina interview/doc with sports.ru, it's truly a must-see tennis event. After we flog Fabio and Benoit, James takes a quiz where we end up flogging the U.S. men too. Hurrah.

 

2:30 Nadal wins 12th Barcelona crown, but it was far from guaranteed

5:30 Is Tsitsipas the ‘second favorite’ after Nadal? Don’t count out Djokovic

11:25 The Djokovic -- er, Serbia Open

19:55 Ash Barty makes it hard on her detractors

24:50 Monte Carlo: Rublev slays the giant and Tsitsipas breaks through

33:10 Madrid women’s draw

36:40 Kasatkina interview: Russian TV does not play!

42:10 Fabio, the boy who cried lupo; and French Federation to Benoit: we do not require your services, thank you

46:15 Other odds and ends: Yastremska update, Rena+Zina

50:50 James takes a rankings quiz! (This is much more fun than it sounds)

Apr 13, 2021

It Stays Between Us, But …

This episode is really two separate shows put together, but we trust there is something in it for everyone. In the first part, we recap the results of last week, again imploring more kindness towards tennis players who are going through it, while in the next breath calling for the heads of those who act a fool. We also touch on the news coming out of Monte Carlo and again question the Covid protocols under which tennis is currently being played, and what can be done about it. The second part of the episode deals with the continued push to litigate the participation of trans women and girls in sport and the undoubted harm it will cause to trans youth if enacted. We dive deep into the legal argument, how this relates to professional sports, and why we hope this particularly awful moment for trans kids forces a reckoning for our community. 

 

4:35 Kudermetova wins her first career title in Charleston

7:00 Sloane lets us know the full 100 of what's been going on

13:10 Cagliari, Marbella, and Bógota

16:20 Medvedev tests positive for Covid in Monte Carlo and the fallout

22:05 Is a vaccine passport feasible for tennis right now?

28:15 Cornet's hilarity ahead of French Open news

31:30 The influx of anti-trans legislation and how it relates to tennis

41:15 Let’s talk about the Civil Rights Act Title VII & IX to be specific), Bostock v. Clayton County, and how the Women’s Sport Working Group seeks to influence legislation

54:30 The hypothetical ‘menace’ of trans women participating in sports

Apr 4, 2021

The Messiest Person You Know Is A Man

On court, tennis welcomed its first Polish Masters 1000 champ, Hubi Hurkacz; and the reigning #1 Ash Barty knocked down a slew of hardcourt contenders to defend her Miami crown. Off court (or on court if you're Pospisil), the contentious debate on player representation and tennis governance reared its head. What does the PTPA want? How is tennis' current governance structure an impediment to real change? Plus, we were treated to something we've all been waiting for, tennis players' misinformed opinions on vaccines!  

 

1:20 Miami Nice: Barty defends Miami title. Now why is everyone still so pressed about the #1 ranking?

14:05 Andreescu is back and all eyes are on her

20:00 Hurkacz def. Sinner, becomes first Pole to win a Masters 1000

26:05 Vasek Pospisil melts down completely on court, threatens to sue ... so what the hell happened at this infamous ATP meeting?

30:30 Players demand a #playersvoice but they have one ... what are they going to do with it; the impasse caused by tennis' governing structure

43:55 Not another vaccine debate ...

53:20 The stopped clock principle and why sometimes you can cooperate with people you don't like

55:45 Odds and ends: most importantly, GEMS Life is back and they're getting MARRIED

Mar 16, 2021

A Journey Which I Didn’t Enjoy Ultimately

Mari Osaka gives us our title this week, with her wonderfully straightforward retirement post that reminds us that we're allowed to stop doing things we don't enjoy. We're covering the tennis results strewn across four continents: Muguruza capitalizing on her huge momentum in 2021, Medvedev rising to #2, Fed's return, and some great runs by players considered to be doubles specialists. The odds and ends segment lets James go on about some of his favorite topics: tennis governance, the ATP's arcane and mysteriously enforced rules, collaboration between tennis orgs, and disqualifications. We finish up with a things we like/dislike segment with no dislikes! (Some love for Below Deck, Borgen, and Grammy performances) 

 

0:30 An exercise in making a clean break

3:00 Persona non grata wins Doha, plus a refresher on how the ATP has refused to handle domestic violence; but in better news, Fed is back!

9:40 Bubble Life is just not for everybody

16:20 Garbi's imminent breakthrough is no longer imminent as she wins the Dubai 1000

25:30 The traveling Ryan Murphy acting troupe of women's tennis

27:20 Daniil wins Marseille; Tsonga is back; Stefanos somehow makes the Petros wild card debate even worse

31:25 Guadalajara (Sorribes Tormo!) and the Santiago Dove Men+Care Ivory Palmolive Dawn Dish Soap Open (dale, Cris!)

36:35 T7 Working Group - you know we love tennis governance news

40:55 Damir Dzumhur defaulted in Acapulco and it wasn't pretty

45:25 Odds and ends: AZ kvetches about rankings, Kim delays return again, the Murray family & Tay Townsend have babies!

52:40 Things we like! (No dislikes this week)

Mar 7, 2021

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Don’t Spit

Covid be damned, tennis has been around the world in February and March. We saw youngsters Clara Tauson and Juan Manuel Cerúndolo make unlikely title runs, Petra win her 28th, and Andrey Rublev snatch every ATP500 in sight. Come for the tennis, stay for our thoughts on rankings math, wild cards, the Kodak kit, and spitting during a pandemic. 

 

1:45 Petra wins 28th(!) title, beating Garbiñe at Doha

7:55 Rotterdam: Ruby d. Fucsovics to win 4th consecutive 500 title; Kei (Sir Penguin) on the come-up; Meddy oh so close to #2 ranking

14:00 Andy Murray on retirement chatter: “Why would I stop?”

16:00 18-year-old Dane Clara Tauson announces herself at Lyon

21:20 Los hermanos Cerúndolo; Benoit Paire leaves his droplets and tanks

30:55 Odds and ends - starting with Djokovic’s rankings record

33:40 James tries to explain the AP Calculus-level rankings changes (ok, not really that complicated); what effects do these rankings adjustments have on players?

42:05 Wading into the wild card debate again

47:00 Kokkinakis opens up on mental health; Bernardes & Federer are back, Willis is out; Sorana Cirstea says remember the Alamo and forget your mask

Feb 21, 2021

The Time Is Nao

The 2021 Australian Open is in the books! After months of speculation over whether the tournament would even happen, Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic are the last two players standing, holding old friends Daphne and Norman. We take you through the latter rounds of both singles draws before tackling a couple of the bigger issues for us this tournament: gambling taking over the tennis coverage and Hawkeye Live being force fed to us. If you’re still with us by this point, we run through a few odds and ends, from G.E.M.S. Life’s break to some of our fashion hits and misses! 

 

2:00 Women’s final: Naomi d. Jenny(fer) Brady for Slam #4

15:00 Women’s quarters and semis: it’s a lot of commentator emotion for a perfectly legitimate medical timeout; Naomi d. Serena

27:30 Men’s final: Djokovic wins #18, beating Medvedev in a not-great final (well, great for Novak)

30:55 Men’s quarters and semis: Grigor, why??? Plus Tsitsipas gets another breakthrough, qualifier Karatsev makes the semis 

36:00 The injury, the bizarre trophy presentation, the endless drama

42:45 Doubles! Mertens/Sabalenka win & take the #1 ranking; Krejcikova and Ram each make 2 finals

45:35 I got issues: Gambling and tennis media; Hawkeye Live - why are commentators 100% in the bag for it?

59:00 Odds and ends - Sofia’s appendectomy won’t get in her way 

65:25 Alexis, T*riac, locals, and the S*ndgren show 

74:45 Fashions: Nike finally does it! Beautiful gowns!

Feb 13, 2021

I Love This S#@! I Love It

It's the midpoint of the 2021 Australian Open, and we're cooking with gas now. The early rounds were rough on the hard quarantiners, with Azarenka, Andreescu, Kerber, Stephens, and Sakkari all going out. Defending champ Sonia Kenin followed. But we've gotten some electrifying tennis along the way. We'll take you through the Thiem-Kyrgios classic and the nonstop Kyrgios discourse, Félix winning the battle of Canadians, Novak and Rafa's injury issues, and the boatload of riveting matchups on the women's side. No predictions here, just appreciation. 

 

3:50 Women's top half - what the hell happened to Karolina Pliskova?

13:40 Kaia Kanepi wreaks her usual havoc, taking out defending champion Sofia Kenin

21:25 The hard quarantiners have a tough go if it

22:45 If you see Hsieh Su-Wei on the other side of the court, be afraid

31:30 The rest of the women's bottom half is on another level - fit and fighting Serena & Sabalenka, Mugu-Osaka match-up, Swiatek-Halep rematch

41:55 Djokovic d. Fritz - Taylor's carriage turns into a pumpkin, Novak's health a question

51:15 Dominic and Nick give us a classic - and the Kyrgios commentariat is back

60:40 Felix's fleet feet; welcome back, Thanasi

69:20 One bossy fan tries to give Rafa the hook

Feb 6, 2021

Ogre-Alla-Ass-sim-Oh Forget It: AO Preview

Alright, y’all ready? After so much drama leading into the 2021 Australian Open -- from questions surrounding whether it should happen in the first place to the complaints from players about the conditions under which it was happening -- we’ve finally made it to St. Melbourne’s gate, ready for play to begin on Monday. This past week saw SIX tournaments strewn across Melbourne Park as players sought to get as much preparation as possible after breaking out of quarantine. We cover what’s happened in those events as of this recording, the reactions to play being halted on Friday as the players went back into quarantine for a day, and then finish with a look at how the draws unfolded. Wow, we didn’t even get to just how much of a MESS the draw ceremony was. Whew. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.

 

02:01 Recapping this weird week in warm-up tourneys

09:17 Assessing Venus’ game and what it’s like to be a Vee-liever

17:09 Is there a player you hate when they’re playing your fav? 

19:13 Rena getting in formation?

23:35 We almost got a lockdown part 2; why you mad about a super tiebreak?

32:44 Encroaching upon a stadium near you: ATP Cup

36:28 Dayanavision part 37

41:41 A bit delayed but we offer our breakout picks for 2021!

46:10 Sifting through the ATP draws

58:50 The women’s draw is locked and LOADED

Jan 30, 2021

Proceed With Caution

The 14-day quarantine has lifted . . . tennis players in Melbourne and Adelaide are leaving their rooms and playing in maskless stadiums, thanks to months of sacrifice by Australians and much politicking by Tennis Australia. Throughout the 2-week quarantine, the tone and level of complaining softened (for the most part), but it was not without intrigue. We chat about Novak Djokovic's list of requests to TA on behalf of quarantined players and why the universal roasting he received was, well -- maybe a little much? We're also talking about Nadal's comments on quarantine; the Adelaide exhibition; (grudgingly) the Margaret Court carousel; and what's next. 

 

1:20 Checking back in on the quarantiners: fact-checker Artem Sitak; plus Badosa, Tomic & Vanessa, RBA

13:45 So . . . about Adelaide

18:10 Craig Tiley says the quiet part out loud & Rafa offers an imperfect but impassioned forest-for-the-trees perspective

24:00 Peter Bodo blasts Tiley for his "imperial ambitions" and the clear inequalities between the top players and the Melbourne quarantiners

29:05 Looking at Novak Djokovic's requests (suggestions? asks?) on behalf of the Melbourne players

36:35 Margaret Court's honor from the Australian government is met with vocal criticism -- is the tide turning?

40:45 Yastremska's appeal to ITF is denied - but the Court of Arbitration for Sport will hear her doping appeal right away!

44:00 Team8 and Zverev part ways; AZ gets softball interview with BILD; AZ's crisis PR manager (and former employee of BILD) acts out on Twitter again

47:05 Et ceteras: Twitter MVP Chanda Rubin clears a troll

52:35 Adelaide exhibition: Novak disappears and reappears, the Serena-Naomi kiki, and Thiem & Nadal hitting but not giggling

54:40 Actual tennis is starting, like now! 

Jan 16, 2021

Is It Worth It?

It remains to be seen if Tennis Australia's logistical balancing act to host the Australian Open will be worth it, but here we are. Amidst the tightest safety protocols yet, a nation grudgingly welcomes hundreds of tennis personnel into its borders, who promptly kvetch about the (free) food, the (free) accommodations, and the quarantine rules. Not all has changed, though: top players get special treatment and American men continue to embarrass us at home and across the globe. Buckle up: pandemic tennis enters year two, with (some) lessons learned.

 

4:00 Tennis Australia launches vast logistical plan in action - Tennys Sandgren tries to undermine it in about five minutes

11:15 Players begin to arrive in Melbourne on chartered flights, two flights must isolate for 14 days, complaints ensue

25:35 Here is a picture of my terrible food, in my free hotel, during my free trip, during a pandemic, in which I will earn a minimum of $100,000 even if I lose

29:05 The actual legitimate complaint: the potential inequity between the elite players in Adelaide and the rest in Melbourne

34:50 Notable qualifiers

42:35 Tennis results already: Sabalenka is on 15-match win streak; Hurkacz wins Delray Beach but is overshadowed by anti-mask grandstanding

53:30 Dayana Yastremska provisionally banned for an anabolic steroid. Ma'am, give us a week off from the drama?

61:20 Sam Querrey has resurfaced!

67:15 Another person who craves attention - Ion Tiriac (and tennis' continued failure to stand up to misogyny and racism)

Jan 9, 2021

Finding Stefanie

To open our 7th season, we dive into the career of Stefanie Maria Graf, one of the game's most decorated champions and still, somehow, one of its most elusive. Graf's staggering achievements -- beyond the iconic Golden Slam -- are in some ways poorly understood and lost to recent history, likely because she has so determinedly removed herself from the tennis world. Instead of seeing her just as Monica's rival or the goalpost to pass for Grand Slam glory, we look to understand Graf's career as it was, in its own time. What didn't we get about Steffi Graf? What about her game made her the best? Who were her important rivals outside of Monica? What was the state of women's tennis when she arrived, and how did she leave it? What's clear: Steffi was a whole lot more than just "German precision."

 

0:25 Intro and taking aim at the myths and misunderstandings

10:30 So, about those career stats . . .

13:00 Graf as child prodigy - staggering early seasons in 1985-87

18:15 What was the WTA like when Steffi arrived? The Chrissie-Martina duopoly, burnt out child stars, the next Czech generation

23:20 Gaby and Steffi: "glamour" vs "automation"

29:35 Steffi's peerless game: how was her dominance perceived in its day? (1988-89)

36:50 Becker, Graf, German identity, and the question of patriotism: let's talk about history for a minute

48:00 Peter Graf, a dominating and difficult father, but at times a "shield"

53:05 Monica Seles asks the question again and again, and Monica's removal from the game asks even more

65:00 The rest of the 1990s: more Slams, myriad injuries, and the humiliation of a private life becoming tabloid fodder

73:05 What is Steffi's legacy as a player, and as a member of the once highly political WTA?

79:55 Rivalries: Gaby is the dark horse

82:52 Steffi's iconic matches -- too many to mention, but here are a few

Dec 11, 2020

The Ending of That Was Iffy: 2020 ATP Wrap

Episode 215 is our season 6 finale and the ATP companion piece to our WTA Wrap. In this episode, we spend some time discussing the on-court highlights, like Djokovic's stellar start, Nadal's 20th Slam, and Thiem's US Open crowning. But, the pandemic threw tennis for a loop; while women players went mostly quiet, several men engaged in bizarre and selfish behavior, peddling conspiracy theories, spreading pseudoscience, and flouting safety protocols and plain common sense. This year, the off-court noise demands as complete a retelling as the tennis itself. All that and James takes a quiz on the ATP season! Thanks for joining us for a sixth season of The Body Serve, and take care of yourselves. 

 

01:30 James takes a quiz on the ATP 2020 season

12:19 The ATP Cup? Remember that? James is still not a fan

18:27 Revisiting the Djokovic default at the USO

24:47 That USO final and comparing it to Novotna’s ‘98 Wimbledon

27:41 Nadal achieves yet more history at Roland Garros

32:00 What else stood out to us inside the lines this year?

35:35 The Zverev family has A LOT of curious things to say

43:32 Djokovic kicks off the 2020 covidiocy

47:32 Thiem dodges Covid-19 while traipsing all over the globe

56:35 We’ve got to stop treating grown men as stuffed animals 

65:08 An update on Bernard Tomic’s fingers

67:15 Keeping ourselves honest: revisiting our breakout picks for 2020

70:19 A reflection on what we did this year and crowdfunding the show

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