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

Dec 6, 2020

Smile Because It’s Over: 2020 WTA Wrap

It's now a cliché to say that the events of 2020 are unprecedented, and that we feel unstuck from time itself, but early 2020 does seem of a different era. After a packed January and February, which saw a new Slam winner and two high-profile retirements, the COVID-19 pandemic threw our lives (and the tennis season) into disarray. How tennis responded tells us a lot about the sport: at times remarkably agile and resilient, and at other times inequitable, clunky, and slow. Some players shone on the court, others took the year off, and at the end of the year, there's merit in simply getting through.

 

4:30 January: Tennis' reaction to the Australian wildfires offers a glimpse at the sport's inequities and its inconsistent reactions to a crisis -- who suffers?

11:30 Also in January: Pliskova wins Brisbane, Asia Muhammad kicks off one of the few feel-good stories of 2020, Sofia Kenin stuns the Australian field

18:55 A scattered February, as usual: Kim's comeback, Rybakina's great start, Sharapova retirement

27:15 March changes everything - Indian Wells the first domino to fall

31:30 What was the WTA up to during the pandemic break?

42:40 Women's tennis returns in August: Brady and Azarenka break out

46:50 US Open goes forward in a sort-of-bubble: Osaka's win seemed fated

51:20 Roland Garros follows 3 weeks later and gets a shocking winner

57:25 October & November . . . not much happening

60:40 WTA unveils a huge rebrand, reclassifies tournaments and debuts new logo

69:10 Keeping ourselves honest: how were our predictions for 2020?

Nov 27, 2020

sTaY sTrOnG, guys

Since we last came to you, Daniil Medvedev continued his impressive end-of-season run to capture the ATP Finals in London. We take you through the paces of the final hosting of that event at the O2 Arena. After recapping the actual tennis on court, we pick up where we left off last episode with Alexander Zverev and the domestic assault allegations made against him. This time we’ve got an actual response (or lack thereof) from the ATP, a further statement from Zverev himself, and another misstep from Novak Djokovic. Have you been wondering what Bernard Tomic has been up to? Well, we’ve got answers! 

 

01:29 Medvedev bookends Davydenko’s opening win at the O2 Arena

07:03 Dominic Thiem falls short in London, but he is all the way THERE

14:31 James’ optimism that this would have been Rafa’s year

19:05 Sabalenka, like Medvedev, doubles up to end the WTA season

21:31 The latest, ever changing developments with the 2021 Australian Open

29:44 Vasek Pospisil and Novak Djokovic resurface with the PTPA

40:00 Wading back into the Zverev waters 

54:54 sTaY sTrOnG, guys

58:29 Gimelstob resurfaces with a little help from his friends

64:19 Bernard Tomic is up to what? A SCAM!

Nov 12, 2020

The Sound of the ATP’s Silence

We're delving into the serious allegations of domestic abuse against Alexander Zverev. Many in tennis -- including Sascha himself -- are invested in painting this as Zverev "overcoming adversity" on his way to growing up, diminishing and erasing Olya Sharypova's story. The ATP has failed to send a clear message; indeed, they have not sent any message at all. We ask: why is tennis so inept at handling situations like this? Why hasn't the ATP followed the NFL and developed a robust domestic violence policy? What happens when we as a community treat intimate partner violence as a private matter?

 

01:12 Where this story begins 

09:32 Why do we believe women? 

16:08 Zverev's glib, narcissistic response to the allegations

21:59 The appalling social media fails from big tennis orgs

29:10 The ATP's deliberate failure to meet the moment

42:40 For example: where is your internal investigation?!

46:06 Zverev's management, Team 8, asleep at the wheel

Nov 7, 2020

Yes or Mess: A Pop Culture Experience

Grab a cocktail and dive into the pop culture garbage our tattered brains have been thinking about these past few weeks. 2020 has demanded we seek out diversions when possible, and we've got you on that front: 90 Day Fiance, Mariah's memoir and her lost tracks album The Rarities, TV we've been loving, and the week-long election coverage that birthed a million crushes on the #chartthrob Steve Kornacki. Every topic is either a yes or mess - some are both! 

1:30 The US election! Are you tired yet?

14:55 Thirsting for the cable news map guys -- we've got a big batch for ya

19:10 Nene Leakes' new venture

25:25 The Hocus Pocus reunion - this movie is perfectly crafted for millennial gays

28:55 2020 has been Mariah Season all year -- highlights of the memoir

42:00 The Rarities, an album of Mariah's b-sides and unreleased tracks

51:50 90 Day Fiance: The Other Way -- still exploitative but, like, exploitative lite

59:00 TikTok: minstrelsy, WAPs, and a welcome Fleetwood revival

1:09:40 There is a lot of injustice in the world, but nothing worse than Chris Pratt being selected as the least of the four Chrises

1:14:30 TV report: watch The Queen's Gambit, Grand Army, and the Dolly Parton Netflix doc!

Oct 27, 2020

Das ist mein Haus

Alexander Zverev will be building his latest house in Cologne, Germany after nabbing back-to-back titles at the same event. The German's twin triumphs headline this abridged episode recapping the tennis events of the last two weeks. Aryna Sabalenka joined the fun with double titles of her own in Ostrava. After rolling through the results, we say "YES" or "MESS" to other tennis happenings off the court. 
 

5:10 Zverev wins Cologne eins und zwei - why are there two? (we'll tell you)

16:30 Sabalenka tears through the Ostrava singles and doubles draws

19:50 Humbert wins Antwerp, Khachanov gives Lumberjack 2.0

24:40 Ruby joins the top 10 - the Harry Styles of tennis (or at least the Niall Horan)

28:55 What's the deal with the Race to London? Do the rankings make sense?

34:20 From Russia With Haste: Sam Querrey flees the Four Seasons under cover of night

38:55 Other yeses and messes: Basilashvili's domestic abuse case becomes a cultural touchstone in Georgia; auf wiedersehen, Julia; auf wiedersehen, Boris (for a different reason)

Oct 11, 2020

I Want Your Sets

The 2020 Fall French Open is in the history books! Iga Swiatek and Rafael Nadal swept through their respective fields on their ways to historic title runs in Paris. For Nadal, it was his 13th time lifting the Coupe des Mousquetaires, while Swiatek blitzed her way to a first Slam title, both efforts coming without the loss of a set. We go through most of the matches from week two that led to the weekend’s coronations, push back against the idea that the younger men are just “happy to be there,” and try to get to the bottom of why so many folks do not like Sofia Kenin. We finish the 2020 Grand Slam season with a dramatic reading of a captivating Danielle Collins moment.

 

4:00 Rafa wins his 13th at Roland Garros without losing a set

19:15 Fedal and the record books

26:00 Next Gen isn't breaking through quite yet, but not for lack of trying

37:25 Fly Like an Iga: the 19-year-old Swiatek stuns the women's draw

46:10 Flourishing without the benefit of wild cards

52:20 Why is Sonya Kenin so polarizing?

68:05 Mladenovic/Babos overcome coronadversity to win doubles; Jelena Djokovic and Neil Harman, partners in grievance; will FoxTenn Real Bounce be the solution?

81:50 Dramatic Reading: in which no grace was given

Oct 5, 2020

Kick Rocks, Eat Dirt

Welcome to our mid-Roland Garros 2020 dispatch. Those sounds you may have heard over the last few days were those of players often being loud and wrong. We’ve got a fairly predictable final eight on the men’s side, while the women’s draw has turned out some truly shocking yet inspiring results. We dive into the latest Zverev mess, Novak’s quip, Hawkeye misinformation, Sara’s cursing, retiring players before they’re ready, and finish with a rant on calling Naomi’s man her “rapper boyfriend.” Who’s deserving of being told to kick rocks and eat dirt?

 

5:00 A lot of surprises in the men's draw, but the quarterfinals are still pretty standard

10:30 Sooo many first-time third rounders on the men's side

14:40 Zverev has a fever. Oh?

27:50 Women's draw: Swiatek destroys the clear tournament favorite, among many surprises

32:30 Errani loses the match and her mind as Bertens cramps

44:00 Damn, it's tough to be an umpire these days: the HawkEye saga

56:20 Keep your saliva in your mouth; keep your dad in his seat

59:40 Et ceteras: don't retire players before they're ready

65:20 Why are we still telling players how to schedule and whom to date, during a pandemic?

Sep 26, 2020

Drip It Like It’s Hot

Roland Garros 2020 is upon us, en automne, barely two weeks after the US Open and perhaps against better judgment. But what happen-ed happen-ed and here we are in Paris. The cool, damp conditions will likely produce grinding and unpredictable tennis, which has made predictions futile. The best predictor is how players have fared so far during the restarted season. In addition to the draw preview, we've got a few Covid updates, several messes to check in on, and a Dramatic Reading full of Canadian Content.

 

0:30 Against all odds, Roland Garros is happening

4:50 Men's draw preview: who will benefit from these tough conditions? Rafa gets Thiem, Djoko gets Tsitsipas/Meddy/Berrettini

19:00 We both failed probability but no, Virginia, the draw's not rigged

28:20 Women's draw preview: for the first time in a while, there's a clear favorite (but her road's not easy)

37:20 Women's bottom half - what to expect of Pliskova's health? Will someone other than Simona win her third Slam here?

42:15 Covid updates: spectator limit reduced to 1000 per day; Paire is in, but Verdasco is out

47:10 Buckle up for lots of commentator talk about weather and new balls

52:50 An enduring, recurring mess by Boris Becker

55:35 Dramatic Reading, a tribute to the trap king of Vaughan, Ontario, Canada

Sep 15, 2020

Bubble Wrap: Women Save The Day

It wasn’t that long ago that we didn’t think we would -- or should -- have any tennis for the rest of 2020. Now, here we are recapping the final week of a fanless U.S. Open. Naomi Osaka and Dominic Thiem are your champions, a third Slam triumph for Naomi and a first at last for someone not named Federer, Djokovic, or Nadal. We cover the matches of week two leading up to the finals, as well as so much of the commentary and discourse surrounding the tournament. Sadly, and maddeningly, the commentariat simply did not meet the moment. All this and more on our Bubble Wrap!

 

02:02 Mariah saves the day: Jonathan has a word for the haters

10:20 The road to the women's final

20:38 Naomi Osaka wins her 3rd Slam title, against a reborn Vika

30:27 Naomi starts a conversation, the commentators have no clue how to talk about it

46:08 The sloppy path to the men's final?

52:07 The "low quality" of the men's matches doesn't exist in a vacuum

59:54 What to make of the men's final  

65:18 Moments that made us cringe

78:14 Moments of levity: things we enjoyed from the fortnight

81:59 Dramatic Reading: Serena (out of nowhere) shades tf out of ______.

Sep 6, 2020

Double Bubble, Toil, and Trouble

We knew it would be an unusual first week of the US Open. It started with Benoit Paire's positive test, and continued with the double bubble regulations and warring health departments. We got non-stop drama surrounding Kiki Mladenovic's singles loss and last-minute ejection from the doubles draw. But no one was prepared for the default of the undefeated #1 seed Novak Djokovic after hitting a line judge with a ball. Nostalgic for five-set collapses and parent-coach-player psychodramas? Oh, we still have those too.

 

0:30 Djokovic defaulted in the 4th round

9:15 Highlights of the men's first week: Felix grows up, Tsitsipas melts down

18:00 Three Canadian men in the second week of a Slam, a first!

26:00 Women's side: Rogers and Brady stun, Pironkova parachutes in to torture your faves, and Vika gets that Vika mojo back

41:20 Some thoughts on Sloane-Serena

49:45 Benoit and the original 10 - a double bubble and a not-quite-double bubble

53:40 Kiki does not love the US Open

59:10 Inconsistency, jurisdiction issues, and a lack of transparency

70:10 Thoughts on Djokovic's statement  

Aug 30, 2020

Be Careful Who You Association With

This week saw many major stories come and go until one stuck: the breaking away of Novak Djokovic and others from the ATP Player Council to start a separate player association (not a union btw). Before that, we saw Naomi Osaka's solitary act of resistance stop the tennis world in its tracks; a strange and troubling end to Sakkari-Serena; the rebirth of Victoria Azarenka; and the rebranding of Milos Raonic as widely beloved. Oh yeah, and the US Open preview.

 

2:30 American sports react to the shooting of Jacob Blake

9:15 Naomi Osaka announces that she won't play her Cincinnati semifinal to draw attention to BLM

16:30 "Shut up and dribble" doesn't work in tennis, especially women's tennis

20:50 Meanwhile, the Western & Southern Open is happening under strange circumstances - Vika's resurgence

24:45 Milos Raonic: new hair, new thighs, new me

28:20 The bizarre end to Serena Williams-Maria Sakkari

33:50 The girl who cried wolf

39:15 Friday night news dump: Djokovic and others break away from the ATP Player Council to form the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA)

53:30 Federer, Nadal, et al send a letter with some ... concerns (and some very good questions)

63:20 So what about women tennis players? #TennisUnited am I right

71:00 Oh, the US Open is happening in like two days? 

Aug 22, 2020

The Long Island Project

Tennis has resumed in the US and Europe as the pandemic rages on. We catch up on a few weeks' worth of news, including: recent title winners Brady, Ferro, and Halep; early life in the Cincy/NY "bubble"; the non-sensical ramblings of vaccine skeptics and conspiracy theorists; and that Novak interview. We close with a tribute to two titans of 20th century tennis, who contributed even more off-court than they did on: Bob Ryland and Angela Buxton. 

 

1:40 WTA site adds pronunciation guide - let’s try again,fail again, fail better

3:40 Tennis returns in Palermo, then Prague - Ferro is your first title winner of the resumed 2020 season

7:45 Lexington’s Top Seed Open gets a field they didn’t expect; thoughts on Venus’ new game, plus Coco, Serena, Vika, Jil, Ons, and Jenn

22:30 First-time titlist Jennifer Brady sweeps her side of the draw

25:00 Welcome to the bubble   

37:55 The NYT interview with Djokovic - ehrm, um, how do we put this 

46:15 Virologists and physicians are great and all - but let’s listen to vaccine-skeptic conspiracy theorists instead; also known as Occam’s Checkered Head Band

56:45 US Open:who’s in, who’s out

60:45 How are the rankings going to work this year?

63:15 Tributes to the late, great Bob Ryland and Angela Buxton

Jul 31, 2020

What’s The Point Of The WTA If We Don’t Stick Together?

We are back from hiatus to bring you an episode that we have been working on for months, one that serves as a continuation of our previous dive into Pre-Open Era tennis. With tennis players now able to earn a living while also competing against the best at all the tournaments, we follow the development of the WTA Tour after its inception, the persistent struggles for equality over the decades, and the players who played major roles in making it happen.

 

04:02 Why do this episode now?

07:21 Cultural context for equal prize money and conditions under which movement arose

20:25 Tennis at the onset of the Open Era & the emergence of the women’s tour

37:51 Chris Evert emerges at the exact right time for women’s tennis

43:43 The WTA takes off; the women take Wimbledon to task

57:42 What were the arguments back then surrounding equal pay?

71:08 Ebbs and flows in the 80s and 90s, but the fight continues

83:00 Wimbledon’s decades-long petty misogyny against EPM

97:20 Our cautions and takeaways from this episode

Jul 7, 2020

When Zina Speaks, You Listen

We've just had the pleasure of chatting with the legendary Zina Garrison, gold medalist in Seoul, 3-time major mixed doubles champ, and the 1990 Wimbledon runner-up. Zina chats about her origins in tennis, shares her experience as a black woman in a very white sport, and takes us through some of the highlights of a great career. As Zina herself says, "Zina doesn't say much but when she does . . . " -- well, you listen.

 
4:10 Our chat with Lady Z

8:50 Zina takes us through her introduction to tennis, the first all-black WTA final (with Lori McNeil), and getting a kick out of her own record against Martina Navratilova 

18:00 That Monica Seles flowers incident (lol) and beating Chris Evert in her final match

22:00 Zina's 1990 Wimbledon run, 30 years later

26:00 "Now people can't say those things didn't happen" - how Black Lives Matter has shone a light on inequality in tennis

34:10 Althea Gibson as more than just an icon

38:00 So ... about the wiggle

41:00 The game since Zina retired - who's she watching now?

Jul 2, 2020

The Doughnut Chronicles

Well folks, this is not how we envisioned bringing up our double century, but here we are! Truly, we never imagined still being here, and we owe you everything for your support in making it happen. Now, the ATP men remain a hot mess, and it’s the latest round of shenanigans that bring us to your ears today. We're bringing you our thoughts on the Adria Tour Covid collapse (crazy that it feels like old news now), plus Zverev’s very public dumbassery and the doughnut chronicles between an out-of-pocket Boris Becker and his target, Nick Kyrgios. 
 

4:00 A brief diversion to celebrate our double century, on cricket legend Brian Lara

7:00 Adria Tour results in several players testing positive for COVID-19

19:40 Fandom has made this conversation all but impossible

30:15 Blame game between players, coaches, Djokovic's dad, heads of state

32:30 Dominic Thiem, king of obliviousness

34:45 Alexander Zverev spotted acting the fool, stans jump ship

42:25 We're in trouble because managing this pandemic requires people caring about others

48:15 A dramatic reading of The Doughnut Chronicles, starring Boris Becker and Nick Kyrgios

Jun 20, 2020

A Pandemic Dahhhling, Do You Know What That Means?!

So ... anything interesting happen lately? This week, tennis has swiftly put itself back together again, introducing an ambitious summer/fall schedule that includes the US Open, Roland Garros, and smaller tournaments on three continents, with nary a week of rest in between. We discuss the risks, the stakeholder concerns, and the simple WTF of the US Open's bombastic announcement. Because it's Pride month, we also address the sorry state of content coming from the tennis institutions and how it can be done better.

 
2:30 US Open is going full steam ahead 

11:50 USTA trusts players to be "judicious" and careful about public safety ... where is the evidence tho

22:30 Novak Djokovic continues to take L after L after L 

30:00 Revised WTA and ATP schedules: Quarantine? Never heard of her

40:30 Revisiting the 2018 US Open trophy ceremony- does it read differently now?

57:10 Venus Williams turns 40! Also, what is Tennis Majors?

60:35 Tennis United and the general failure of tennis orgs to confront LGBTQ issues and racism

Jun 11, 2020

I Hope That Fish Eats You

The past few weeks have felt like a watershed moment in confronting anti-black racism across the US & the world. Tennis is not impervious to this. Players like Naomi Osaka, Coco Gauff, and Sloane Stephens have stepped forward as key leaders and activists in a moment when this sport truly needs them. Beyond tennis, we talk about the larger movement for transformative justice and the destruction of systemic racism in the U.S. The non-tennis stuff begins around the 1-hour mark.

 

2:40 A timeline: how did we get to the present moment?

6:45 How has tennis responded? Naomi & Coco assert themselves

15:50 Venus, Serena, and faith; Frances Tiafoe, Sloane Stephens, Sachia Vickery, Taylor Townsend

27:00 We expect a lot of black players - but what about non-black players? What say the Big 4?

36:45 Look over there! The Art of Distraction by Lisa Raymond and her side Kiick; Chanda Rubin sets her Twitter fingers to stun 

44:30 An example of how to move toward allyship: is Chris Evert becoming the Jane Fonda of tennis?

48:55 What to make of Alexis Ohanian relinquishing his seat on the Reddit Board?

54:45 Our comment on Courtney Nguyen's apology for past use of transphobic language

63:50 The non-tennis section of the episode - how the current anti-racist movement is a reaction to centuries of structural & state-enforced racism in the US

70:35 What does "defund the police" mean? Well, a few different things

May 25, 2020

TBS Live: The Remix

Welcome to our second ever Zoom session - The Remix, where we take listener questions, talk about Dominic Thiem's unfortunate comments and clarifications on those comments, and the larger inequities built into professional tennis. There's not much actual tennis news to talk about, so kick back and enjoy a much more relaxed Body Serve chat.

2:15 Catching up with player social media exploits: Venus, Naomi & Stef, Nick & Andy

7:25 The Dominic Thiem controversy - how to support lower-ranked players and how to answer this question better

11:15 The Ines Ibbou video response sheds light on the inequalities built into international tennis

18:30 This is bigger than Dominic! Bootstraps individualism and tennis' flawed governance

29:15 The WTA/ATP have announced how they will distribute player relief money

33:55 Merger updates

46:40 Please indulge us while we play a "newlywed game," guessing each other's favorite stuff & more

64:00 Live questions - which results would you reverse? Will tennis resume before a vaccine is available? 

May 17, 2020

For the Quarantainment

The Body Serve is back with a tennis-free episode meant to entertain you during these trying times. We've broken this rather long episode into three parts: 1) trending topics, in which we take up a few non-COVID-related topics that have grabbed our interest recently; 2) TV talk, which is just us having fun talking about the long list of TV series we've been watching; and finally, 3) Body Serve and Soul, our first crack at an audio advice column, answering five questions submitted by listeners. Sending everyone our best wishes and strength while we all do our best to make it through this mess.

 

Part One: Trending Topics

2:45 Do you remember how messed up Tyra's shows were? Twitter does

10:20 A conversation about "cancel culture," how powerful it is, and who actually deserves it

22:30 Verzuz battles: who would we pick?

29:15 What is going on with Karens and Chads across America?!

Part Two: TV Talk - *Warning: spoilers ahead for Hollywood and How to Get Away With Murder (the other series are mostly safe from spoilers)

35:00 Hollywood on Netflix

40:00 Shows we enjoy: We're Here, Normal People, Little Fires Everywhere

51:20 Real Housewives of Atlanta does its first online reunion

55:40 Insecure looks at a friendship in decline

61:40 RuPaul's Drag Race

67:00 The Good Fight, Upload, Never Have I Ever, and the finale of How To Get Away With Murder

Part Three: Body Serve and Soul, our advice column 

79:40 We answer listener questions on relationships, love, social media, and quarantine issues

Apr 26, 2020

TBS Live!

This week, we attempted our very first live show on Zoom. We recorded a live TBS episode covering the bizarre news of the past week or so (think vaccines, mergers, missteps), and followed that up with some games and live Q&A. Thanks to the folks who joined in, contributed to the live chat, and submitted questions. If you weren't able to make it, here's the entire session along with a quick intro. 

0:30 Intro - the fandoms had quite a week, huh?

8:30 TBS Live: starting with Roger Federer's bombshell tweet on ATP/WTA merger

18:30 Billie Jean weighs in: "The WTA on its own was always Plan B"

26:05 Novak's no good very bad week

37:00 ND clarified: I said what I said

40:00 Tennis powers announce a $6 million player support fund

49:15 A live F-Marry-Kill from @SholzTalks10s

53:00 Name the Tennis Player

55:20 A live mailbag from the Zoom live chat - starting with best player social media accounts

59:30 Who benefits the most and least from the suspension of tennis?

75:30 Flukiest Slam champ of the century? 

Apr 22, 2020

Hidden Figures in Tennis

While tennis remains on hiatus, we're diving back into the history of tennis by highlighting some fascinating players you may not be familiar with. We look at: Ora Washington, one of the premier women athletes of the 20th century, ignored and overlooked even in her own sport; Richard Russell, Jamaican tennis icon; Ruia Morrison, the Maori trailblazer finally getting her due in her 80s; and the Amritraj tennis family, major stars in India, but who we wanted to learn more about.

 

0:30 Another Body Serve special presentation - what choice do we have?

3:00 Ora Washington, of whom Arthur Ashe said in 1988, "she may have been the best female athlete ever"

13:20 While dominating tennis, Washington decides to dominate basketball as well

19:30 Richard Russell puts Jamaican tennis on the map

37:50 Ruia Morrison, pioneering Maori tennis star

46:30 The Amritraj family, Indian sporting dynasty

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