Dec 10, 2018

Season 4 Finale: What the Boys Got up to in 2018

As our fourth cycle comes to a close, we recap the men's tour with its continued Big 3 dominance, Djokovic's herculean comeback, and NextGen banging on the door (well, more like politely ringing the doorbell). We look at the latest Gimelstob debacle as a mess that tennis governing bodies made for themselves, one that echoes MeToo stories across every industry, and which the sport continued to ignore and pave over until things blew up spectacularly. Finally, we finish with some levity: our TBSMoments awards, including feel-good moments, WTF moments, and most bizarre off-season story.


01:00 Who won the big titles this year? Is the Big 3 still a thing? Yep.

13:00 Rankings leaps and tumbles: NextGen isn't quite here yet, but they're really close
22:40 The Gimelstob Debacle: Tennis has a whole mess on its hands, much of its own making
33:30 Tennis governance and how conflicts of interest can rot an organization from the inside out
38:50 Why the resounding silence from the tennis world?
48:35 Other controversies: Novak sparks unionization rumors, Sandgren comes out as an Alt-Right dabbler, Darko gets exposed(?)
55:40 Retirements and comebacks
57:45 Our favorite and most impactful matches of the year
61:00 Jonathan takes a quiz on the ATP season - play along at home!
68:15 The #TBSMoments awards, starting with Denis Shapovavovavorlov, WTF moments, and wildest off-court story
72:00 Men being d---s ... as always, fertile ground on the ATP Tour
75:55 Finishing this season with Feel-Good Moment and the You Did THAT Moment

Dec 4, 2018

WTA Moments of 2018

We consider a WTA season that was by turns tumultuous and gratifying, full of tedious controversies and long-awaited breakouts. This episode takes on the major themes of 2018, the title winners, the comebacks and retirements, a few surprising events that almost faded from memory, and our #TBSMoments. Oh, and as if 2018 wasn't annoying enough, take our WTA Quiz alongside James.


02:00 Who won what? Parity was the name of the game

13:10 How'd we do on predictions? Well, there's a reason we don't usually make them

17:00 Moving on up (and down)

23:45 Matches that stood out ... most of them feature Simona

27:40 #RememberTheTime

35:55 Moments that had people mad this year: Miami crowd, Pliskova lumberjack, the endless Serena controversies, Peng gets snitched upon

51:15 Your favorite comebacks of the year, and a few farewells

56:30 Quick update on WTA streaming and Tennis Channel

58:05 James takes a quiz on the WTA season!

68:00 Our #TBSMoments: first up, funniest moment of the year

72:00 WTF Moment: the Plisko-chop

75:10 The You DID THAT Moment and Feel-Good Moment

Nov 21, 2018

Look At Us, We’re Going The Distance

Y'all know by now we're a pair of Mariah stans, and we are HERE for her new album. We chat briefly about her tightly spun new effort at the top of the show, before segueing into the tennis action. Zverev and Tsitsipas won the ATP & Next Gen Finals respectively, two banner results for the future of the ATP. The meat and potatoes of this episode is a convo about conflicts of interests in tennis, precipitated by an interview given by Julien Benneteau. We finish with a new segment called, "Yes or MESS," before bidding adieu to Aga Radwanska and Lucie Safarova.  


03:15 Going the distance: Zverev wins ATP Finals

13:47 Proceed with caution: On-court advertising boards

16:14 Thank you, next (gen): Tsitsipas runs the board in Milan

18:26 A No No: Federer & conflicts of interest

29:05 GTFO: We ain't buying it, Craig Tiley

40:00 Giving Me Life: Yes or MESS (New Segment!)

50:50 (No longer) With You: Coaching carousel continues

53:46 Portrait of a career: Farewell, Aga & Lucie

Nov 6, 2018

Khachanov Hatches In Paris

It seems like we've been talking about the next generation of ATP players a lot recently, and Karen Khachanov keeps that trend going with a massive first Masters 1000 title in Paris. Elsewhere, the WTA officially ends its season with Ash Barty hoisting the trophy in Zhuhai. Although he was unable to keep his win streak going, Djokovic leaves Paris with the #1 ranking secured into 2019. We talk a bit about the upcoming ATP & #NextGen Finals, before finishing the episode with more news in the ongoing tennis culture crisis of ballkid abuse.


00:32 Khachanov rides momentum to dream week in Paris

04:09 Federer shows up and shows out vs Nole

08:01 Hats off to Ash Barty and her beautiful game

20:33 Luksika Kumkhum winning out loud

24:57 Rafa shuts it down, has ankle surgery?

27:42 Nole secures year-end #1 for a 5th time

31:55 What next for the Saudi exhibition?

34:28 James goes to bat for Isner at ATP finals

37:48 The #NextGenFinals sowing some good seeds

50:04 Yet again: THESE ARE CHILDREN!

Oct 30, 2018

Undefeated, Undeniable, and Under Scrutiny

Elina Svitolina ran the table in Singapore to secure the biggest title of her career. Meanwhile, Sloane Stephens has shown -- to us and herself -- that her standing in the game cannot be denied. Other topics on offer this episode: Wozniacki reveals her arthritis diagnosis, Grigor's alarming hairline, the absurd Sampras "boring" debate, and the growing calls for Rafole to abandon their Saudi exhibition. Thanks as always for listening!


03:10 Svitolina reverses course, goes undefeated to win Singapore

09:55 Sloane makes herself undeniable

13:12 What next for Svitolina & the Year End Championships

20:05 9s across the board for Federer & other ATP results

29:01 Wozniacki's big, worrying news in Singapore  

31:50 Long story very short: Grisha, where your follicles at?!

35:44 To play or not to play: A Saudi saga

47:41 The boring Sampras debate and considering him as tragic figure

53:08 Tennis Jesus shows Verdasco how to apologize

58:42 How NOT to do a Naomi Osaka costume: NO BLACKFACE

Oct 16, 2018

Just Djoking: Novak’s Purple Patch Continues

The 2018 tennis season is getting ready to pull into its final station, and we've got tales from a few of its last few stops. Nole's purple patch and Borna's full package headline the action in Shanghai. We also assess the state of the ATP's burgeoning #NextGen stars and posit who is poised to emerge as the real deals. It was a very successful Asian swing for some of the game's top Asian players; perhaps we are seeing tennis' heavy investment in Asia pay some dividends? Finally, enjoy a few TV recommendations and brace yourself for Jonathan's almighty rant on something he reaaaally dislikes.


00:32 Nole extends his purple patch in Shanghai

07:20 A circular, probably not-so-fair take on Zverev

14:55 Who of the #NextGen is MOST ready?

23:16 But, back to Borna Coric....he's got all of the packages

24:46 So, who's been doing the winning the last two weeks?

34:54 Where were you when I needed you?

37:37 The Asian players came to play during the Asian Swing

40:34 Etcs: Fighter girl Simona, Aga's apartments & poor Delpo

48:38 Things we like & one thing Jonathan REALLY dislikes

Oct 2, 2018

So Disrespectful: Please Remember My Name

We've recharged our batteries after the draining U.S. Open just in time to catch up with the tennis happenings on the Asian Swing. Aryna Sabalenka continues her march to the top of women's tennis with her big win in Wuhan. We ruminate on what people mean when talking about being "the next Serena," before finally wading into the Davis Cup changes. Hopefully you'll find a bit of levity towards the end of the episode as we stick up for Sloane, torch Verdasco, and speculate on what makes Indian Wells such a fertile WTA stomping ground.  


01:52 The Sabalenka train picks up serious steam

05:05 Tursunov provides great insights as Aryna's coach

13:28 What does it mean to be "the next Serena?"

19:31 Catching up on the winners since we've been gone

28:26 Davis Cup semis & new format

34:15 A healthy dose of skepticism at the Davis Cup changes

45:31 A big big tangent on policing black women in America

60:24 "F@#*ing bitch tried to hit me!"

66:49 Dear Fernando, they are LITERALLY children

68:58 A quick word on Naomi Osaka

Sep 10, 2018

US Open Wrap: Multiple Things Are True *Oprah Shrug Gif*

There are so many things to talk about from the U.S. Open women's final, but chief among these is that Naomi Osaka bossed her way to a maiden Grand Slam title. We talk about just how awesome Naomi and her game were this past fortnight, before wading into the mess that was the drama in the championship match. We implore listeners to consider multiple things we think are true of this situation, instead of painting this as a black and white issue. We belatedly finish with Novak's 14th - and oh so impressive - Slam title, before revisiting the Pliskova saga and how it could have been avoided.


02:53 Naomi Osaka's star is born

10:33 So, we get to the final...

14:57 Looking at what happened with empathy

23:30 To coach or not to coach

29:42 Why questioning Serena's integrity cuts so deep

35:15 Rules are rules except when they're not

42:34 Serena claims unequal treatment, was it the right time?

46:14 What does it take for people to see blackness at play?

54:28 Where Serena and her team went wrong

66:32 Multiple things are true: to recap

70:40 Novak wins #14 and ATP etceteras

79:28 The Pliskova mess and how we could have avoided it

Sep 1, 2018

(You Make Me Feel Like) The US Open Is Burning, Literally

The late, great Aretha Franklin -- a huge tennis fan -- provides the theme for our episode today, as we tackle the unusually wild first week of the US Open. First, we talk about the actual tennis, the upsets, and the 30th Williams-Williams showdown. Then, we tackle the mountain of extracurricular storylines: Alize Cornet's accidental (pending?) revolution, the fashions, Serena's tutu; and an extended meditation on Kyrgios, our expectations of athletes, and how Nick's personality seems to compel people to overstep their professional bounds. We finish with a very personal tribute to the Queen of Soul.


2:00 Something they can feel: New York brings the heat!

14:45 Ever changing times: early round upsets

20:10 Sisters are doing it for themselves: Williams Bowl XXX

25:40 Respect: the appalling Cornet code violation

32:15 Don't play that song: Catsuit correlation and causation

35:55 Great gowns, beautiful gowns: US Open fashions

42:35 Chain of fools: the men are at it again (Lahyani, Murray-Verdasco drama)

52:10 You better think: Chris Fowler needs some help

1:01:15 We say a little prayer that these boys leave Tsitsipas alone

1:07:50 Sail on silver girl: Our Aretha Franklin tribute 

Aug 25, 2018

The Good, the Bad, and the Tragic: US Open Preview f/ David Taylor and Kamau Murray

We sat down with the coaches of last year's US Open finalists, David Taylor (Keys) and Kamau Murray (Stephens). These very different coaches share their thoughts on navigating player personalities and what they see as the most important roles of a tennis coach. But first, we analyze the US Open draws: the stacked women's first quarter, which could see a Venus-Serena third round and a Simona-Serena fourth, but with much uncertainty for all. On the men's side, Nadal gets an easy-ish one, while Djokovic looms for Federer (or vice versa) in the quarters. We also take on FFT President Giudicelli's comments on Serena's catsuit, and why boycotting is not top of mind for us.


2:10 The tragic: the women's first quarter, which features 5 current or former no. 1s plus Kuznetsova

12:45 The good: Madison Keys' draw
21:15 Also good: defending champ Nadal gets a soft draw to the semis
32:50 The bad (depending on your position): Djokovic and Federer drawn to play in the quarters
38:10 Peng Shuai gets dinged by the Tennis Integrity Unit, Lendl joins the Zverev camp
42:50 French Federation president Giudicelli bans Serena's catsuit: the cultural battleground that is the black female body
51:30 Is this the least wide-open women's draw in a while?
56:20 Our interviews with David Taylor and Kamau Murray, coaches of last year's US Open finalists Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens
1:04:40 Kamau Murray's radical honesty

Aug 20, 2018

Kiki-ing Down The Door In Cincy

The bad news: our time in Cincinnati has come to an end. The good news: we're back with another episode to recap an event that produced a stellar title run by Kiki Bertens and a full-circle performance from Novak Djokovic. After recapping the finals, we rehash some of the notable matches we saw over the past week and regale you with some stories/observations from around the grounds. We also pondered a few questions: is Stan back? Is Milos being usurped and replaced in Canadian media? Do fans really care about Nick Kyrgios' "antics?"


2:30 Kiki Bertens takes out four top 10 players to win Cincinnati

11:30 Simona Halep and Darren Cahill audio: looking at Simona's evolution as a player and Darren's as a coach

17:00 Serena-Petra in Round 2 ... the tantalizing rivalry that never really was

24:00 Djokovic beats Federer to complete his Masters set: MasterBlaster

31:35 Other men's matches: Stanley vs. Roger, battle of Canadian no. 1s, Milos Raonic and Denis Shapovalov

36:45 The undeniable star power of Nick Kyrgios

41:55 Thanks to USTA Midwest for the USTA Pride Event at the Western & Southern Open

44:00 Stories from around the grounds: ball thievery, Alexis Ohanian flying under the radar, watching Coric & Fuscovics

52:35 Marin Cilic provides your moment of zen

Aug 15, 2018

Getting the Conversation Started: Creating a Safe Space to Come Out in Men’s Tennis

You might have read what Roger Federer had to say about why there hasn't been an openly gay male tennis player in on the ATP Tour. Now, hear his words, along with those of Kevin Anderson, as both speak on what can be a tricky and challenging issue. Plus, our chat with Nick McCarvel about the upcoming event he's hosting (in partnership with No Challenges Remaining) to kick-start the conversation of "being queer and out in pro tennis," featuring the out retired player Brian Vahaly.


1:00 Talking about LGBTQ issues in tennis - why now?

6:25 Roger Federer speaks on the possibility of a male player coming out on the ATP Tour

14:20 Kevin Anderson expands on his previously stated support for LGBT athletes, and why he was compelled to speak in the first place

18:00 What are some of the barriers for an ATP player coming out?

24:50 Our chat with Nick McCarvel, host of the upcoming Open Playbook event with Brian Vahaly in NYC


Open Playbook: Being Queer and Out in Pro Tennis - at Housing Works Bookstore, Soho, NY on August 23

Event benefits Housing Works and New York Junior Tennis & Learning

Aug 12, 2018

Rogers Cup Wrap, Sascha Bajin Chat

Here in Cincinnati, we had the chance to sit down with Sascha Bajin, Naomi Osaka's coach and the former long-time hitting partner of Serena Williams. Sascha talks about his playful relationship with Naomi, his approach to coaching, and his recent social media tribulations. We're also recapping the Rogers Cup, which was highlighted by an incredible giant-killing run by Stefanos Tsitsipas and a superb women's final between Simona Halep and Sloane Stephens.


2:00 Catching up with Rogers Cup results: all about Stefanos

7:30 Denis & Sascha Z ruffle a few feathers - we attempt to move past the knee-jerk reaction
17:00 Rafa's run to the Rogers Cup title
19:30 Simona and Sloane put on a great show in Montreal women's final
26:00 Anything to say about the shot clock? Not really
29:00 Our conversation with Sascha Bajin, coach of Naomi Osaka
37:00 Sascha's trials and tribulations on social media: "I've been getting in so much trouble on Twitter"

Aug 6, 2018

Midsummer Mailbag

We are tackling listener questions little by little; you've given us so many great ones that we will have to space them out. But first, we try to provide some context into Serena Williams' repeated statements about doping tests: we look at the structure of the anti-doping system in tennis, Therapeutic Use Exemptions, and the uphill battle to arm everyone with comprehensive knowledge on the system. We also talk Andy Murray's emotional return, Kuznetsova and Vekic's accidental profundity, and Serena's no good very bad day at the office.


0:30 Like Alyssa Edwards and Andy Murray we're back back back again

1:55 Murray battles, cries, gives it all, but DC tournament director wants more
9:25 Serena has a very bad day against Jo Konta - what's next?
14:10 What's happened since Wimbledon? Fognini wins 2 titles, Thiem stays losing, Zverev defends DC title
17:10 Kuznetsova and Vekic remind us that playing tennis is about survival and sticking around for the good moments
21:00 Tackling Serena's comments on anti-doping in tennis - trying to get the whole story on USADA, ITF, WADA
29:00 Therapeutic Use Exemptions and the story that riled up Tennis Twitter - what are the ethical considerations in writing about stolen medical data?
36:45 Question from Sam (@top_tennis): how would you do doping tests if you had the power to shape the anti-doping system in tennis?
41:20 Who will complete the Career Slam first - Kerber, Muguruza, Kvitova, or Azarenka? (from Arun, @arknight12)
44:05 What are the top 5 places you'd recommend around the Rogers Cup venue or Toronto in general? (from Angie, @angs2014)
48:15 If y'all were single, would you go on Love Island? Which tennis players would you bring? (from Peter, @thaiguy84)
52:40 A truly scandalous FMK from Dr. Sholz (@SholzTalks10s)

Jul 16, 2018

Postcards From Wimbledon: Pleading The Fifth

Wimbledon is (mercifully) over, and we've got two players making their returns to the winner's circle after rather tumultuous 2017 campaigns. Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal in a much-talked-about semifinal before taking out Kevin Anderson in the final. Meanwhile, Angelique Kerber became the second ever player (Venus) to beat Serena Williams twice in a Grand Slam final. We then parse through the major stories of week two at the All England Club, including Dominika Cibulkova's appearance in this episode's #SeeWhatHadHappenedWas.


01:52 Kerber reasserts her class with third Grand Slam title

06:46 Serena has a ways to go yet, but what a ride!

14:26 Nadalovic, Rafole, Djokodal? Whichever you prefer, it was a hell of a match

32:17 AELTC relying on tradition, honour and empire to explain away bad organization

38:23 Women's final (non)scheduling: the issue is about R-E-S-P-E-C-T

45:06 Dedicated to Jana: doubles rundown

48:07 #SeeWhatHadHappenedWas: Cibulkova gives ALL the bad looks

54:08 Rankings Watch: who's up and who's down after Wimbledon?

56:53 Chrissie Evert has had IT: she will name and shame

61:44 What will it take for the WTA to acknowledge its rich gay history and present?

64:44 #SaveHopmanCup

Jul 8, 2018

Wimbledon Week 1: Opportunities Earned

Maybe you've heard that Wimbledon 2018 has been full of shocking upsets, but just how shocking are they? Most of the early-round vanquishers have backed up their results with trips to the second week. In the words of tennis' poet laureate, Venus Williams, their places in the draw are not accidental, but "an opportunity earned." We comb through the draw, look at Federer's decision to leave Nike for Uniqlo, and take a look at Marion Bartoli and Nick Kyrgios' tiff. 


0:30 Week 1 summary: Everybody lost

5:10 Wozniacki's unkind words for Makarova are belied by Makarova's actual results
10:25 Many of the early-round giant-killers are still slaying!
16:00 Other women's draw stuff - Serena, Venus, Kerber, Simona, Hsieh
24:20 Our women's draw predictions
25:55 Men's draw: Mackenzie McDonald is giving US fans a different look
31:45 Gulbis is rebuilding his career the hard way, knocks out #4 Sascha Zverev in round 3
37:00 Other men's draw stuff and predictions
41:30 Federer with Uniqlo in massive 10-year contract
47:30 Marion Bartoli goes all the way in on Kyrgios & Monfils

Jun 30, 2018

Previewing the Nature Valley WimbleBowl

We're back to regularly scheduled programming with our Wimbledon preview. First, we go over the grass court news: the seeding question that dominated the news cycle, Kyrgios' water bottle explosion, Petra's excellence, and Boris Becker's heretofore unknown career in diplomacy. Then we break down the gentlemen's and ladies' draws. 


3:15 Nick Kyrgios pleasures a water bottle, owes 15,000 Euro; or: why we should stop criminalizing Nick

10:20 Odds and ends - Andy is back, Fed and Rafa trade no. 1, Petra Kvitova wins title no. 5
17:00 The Serena Williams seeding drama: here's how the Wimbledon seeding policy works
25:45 Draw preview - does Federer have any obstacles?
29:15 Nadal's fortunate draw avoids many of his bugaboos
36:50 Women's draw - Simona Halep's very tough quarter w/ Petra, Penko, Pova
45:55 Sloane is #4! A year after being #957
48:45 For some reason we really care about the #25 seed's draw

Jun 23, 2018

Pride Is Political: A Partial History of LGBTQ People in Tennis

We are proud to bring you our Pride Special, a partial and selective history of the LGBTQ people across tennis history who changed our sport forever. Some of the stories you'll know, others were news to us, but all of them challenged our view of history and opened our eyes to so many forms of resistance. Listen for stories about Baron Gottfried von Cramm, Helen Jacobs, Billie and Martina, Renee Richards, and many more. Happy Pride!

03:45 The early modern era: Big Bill Tilden
8:00 Helen Jacobs, shorts pioneer and one-half of a fascinating gay relationship in the 1930s
14:20 When queer love is criminal: Baron Gottfried von Cramm
22:00 Ted Tinling, the designer of women's tennis
27:00 Renee Richards changes everything
40:00 The summer of 1981: Billie Jean King & Martina's outings pose an existential threat to women's tennis
45:55 "In Defense of Billie Jean," by ally Chrissie Evert Lloyd
51:00 Martina: a perfect storm of Cold War hysteria, citizenship fears, and the "butch" female body
54:55 Amelie Mauresmo, who was never "in"
1:03:45 Gender trouble: the confounding clash of sex, sexuality, gender, and gender expression
1:11:30 Things we learned and closing thoughts
Reading List:
Big Bill Tilden - Frank Deford
Second Serve - Renee Richards
The Rivals - Johnette Howard
"Renee Richards Wants to be Left Alone," Michael Weinreb (Grantland)

Jun 11, 2018

La Primera y La Undécima: 1s Across the Board at French Open

Simona Halep and Rafael Nadal are your French Open champions. For Simona, it was her first time as last woman standing at a Slam, while Nadal hoisted the Coupe des Mousquetaires for an 11th time. After recapping both finals and notable matches since the quarterfinals, we tackle some of the outside-the-lines etceteras that popped up since our last episode. On tap:  Nadal's alleged equal pay remarks, the ubiquity of flossing, the laughable punishment meted out in the James Blake case, and using Margaret Court to raise the stakes for our current greats.


01:41 Simona turns the Titanic back around

11:05 Putting the many facets of Simona into context

15:55 Muguruza defollicles Maria & Madison has no answers for Sloane

20:02 Complicating Sloane's relationship with the media

24:46 Sloane gives a pitch perfect performance as runner-up

27:00 Nadal's third "La Undécima" & the anxiety of greatness

34:54 How did Dominic acquit himself in his first Slam final?

39:48 The massive elephant in the room: Nadal & equal pay in tennis

53:28 Assessing Novak's performance and loss to Cecchinato

58:11 Speaking of Cecchinato...thinking out loud about sports reporting

63:50 Doubles, juniors & flossing?!?! How do the kids all know how to do it?

70:53 ENOUGH of using Margaret Court to move the goalpost.

Jun 4, 2018

Much Ado About Mother: The Catsuit’s Out of the Bag

The quarterfinals of the 2018 French Open are set, and we are back with episode 125 to recap how we got here. Serena Williams dominated week one discussion with her catsuit, and her play, before having to withdraw ahead of a fourth round meeting with Maria Sharapova. Some folks had stuff to say about her attire, and we've got something to say about that. We cover the usual mid-slam topics: upsets, genuine surprises, feel-good stories, amusements, and various atrocities.  


02:02 Mother is back, causing ALL the conversation

05:30 The catsuit's out of the bag

15:34 Serena has to withdraw ahead of the Sharapova match

21:15 Girl, BYE: Bill Simons and Karolina Pliskova edition

29:08 WTA upsets, surprises, and  upcoming quarterfinals

39:56 So, let's talk about Sloane

46:55 Marco Trungelliti's road race with destiny

48:12 Cecchinato's surprise and Jack Sock's abominable display

51:08 ATP upsets, disappointments, and other etceteras

53:54 The folly of John Isner

55:34 Grigor and Goffin disappoint, Nole holds court, and QF previews

64:55 Serena's moment of levity/immense pettiness

May 25, 2018

Songs In C-lay Major: Roland Garros Preview

The denouement of the clay season is upon us with the dawning of the French Open. We're back to preview the year's second major with the help of some of our listeners. We solicited questions specific to Roland Garros, and you all came through big time; we structure our draw analysis through your thoughtful offerings. After parsing through the draws, we finish with a few thoughts on the protected seeding drama that erupted again this week.


02:26 Women's draw dark horses

09:34 Muguruza or Ostapenko: who will fare better?

13:57 Players who'll benefit/suffer most from lack of on-court coaching

16:40 Is this the beginning of the end for Aga?

20:00 Other women's draw observations

30:18 Men's dark horses

34:45 Who will be Nadal's fiercest competition?

37:10 The Big 4 as super coaches

42:18 FMK Frenchies edition: Pouille, Chardy, and PHH

44:26 Other men's draw observations

52:06 Wading into the protected seeding WTA issue again


Recommended reading: A Maternity Leave Policy for the WTA by @BadToss

May 21, 2018

Royal Weekend in Rome

Rafa Nadal rights the ship on clay with a gritty win over Sascha Zverev, and Svitolina defends her Rome title with far less drama. We also cover Francoise Abanda's charges of racial discrimination, Sascha Zverev's stunning hot streak, Djokovic's resurgence, and we spend a good while on our See What Had Happened Was: Karolina Pliskova's shocking tantrum in Rome.


1:40 Il Re della terra battuta: Rafa wins 8th Rome title

4:45 Sascha Zverev's game is steadily improving (except the volley) - expect him to change his fortunes at majors
10:00 Djokodal 51 - great signs for a resurgent Novak
15:20 Elina Svitolina defends Rome title, winning 8 straight finals
19:30 The Sharapova-Halep semifinal was - well, it was something
26:50 Canadian no. 1 Francoise Abanda addresses racism in tennis
34:00 #SeeWhatHadHappenedWas: Karolina Pliskova melts down, smashes umpire's chair
40:55 What would be the reaction had someone else done this? (Take your pick)
45:00 The umpire was wrong, Karolina was wrong, but only one of them acted with aggression and malice

May 16, 2018

One Clay At A Time

The show is back from a two-week hiatus to discuss more clay court tennis! Rafa Nadal got to a record 50 consecutive sets won before bowing out to Dominic Thiem, who in turn bowed out to Zverev two matches later in the Madrid final. Petra Kvitova continued her awe-inspiring run with a third title in Madrid, this after taking the title in Prague the week before. We rag on Shapovalov and Patrick Mouratoglou, take a deep dive into Cornet's ITF ruling, then finish up with a few tennis etceteras.  


01:28 #Thirev is a thing? The Bel-Ami Madrid final

07:11 A few clay tangents and musings

10:40 Phallic with a real sense of danger

14:49 The most positive Sharapova segment we've ever done

17:21 Petra won't stop winning, and other WTA standouts

25:00 Taking the piss out of Shapovalov and his "haters"

32:00 Serena is playing Roland Garros? Lord God Patrick says so

35:39 The Cornet case: did they make every reasonable effort?

49:40 Results we missed, injury updates, and Vinci's farewell

May 1, 2018

46 Problems But A Set Ain’t One

Rafael Nadal continued his clay dominance with a second El Undécimo, this time in Barelona. We begin episode 121 with a look at some of the stats within his streak of 46 consecutive sets won on clay. Our #SeeWhatHadHappenedWas features Grigor Dimitrov's "as a man" moment in Barcelona, and we highlight (if you can call it that) some of the coaches who chimed in on social media last week. The episode wraps with a look at Serena's profile in the New York Times, and a Riverdale Daddy FMK.


00:35 46 problems but a set ain't one

04:39 Tsitsipas on the come up and disappointing Domi

10:27 Pliskova halts Vandeclay's Stuttgart surge

18:00 #SeeWhatHadHappenedWas: Grigor as a power top?

25:42 Coaches chiming in all over the place

29:02 Simona, THOSE Romanian men, and the responsibility of #1

35:02 Townsend and Eubanks doing big things

37:15 Taking stock of Maria, 12 months back from suspension

47:04 Serena's profile in the NYT

56:02 FMK: Riverdale Daddy Edition

Apr 24, 2018

Seeing Red: A Step Too Far

After an injury-riddled start to 2018, Rafael Nadal returned to his best in Monte Carlo. The King Of Clay won the tournament for the 11th time, while Novak Djokovic made signs of progress in an encouraging three match stretch. Some tennis folks have gone "a step too far" and we give our takes on Jared Donaldson, the continued disregard for player safety, and Caroline Wozniacki's foot-in-mouth syndrome. We finish the episode with a typical pop culture diversion via a Grown-ish/Riverdale FMK.


03:53 Rafa masters Monte Carlo for the 11th time

10:56 Clay Kei is back and we're here for it

12:02 Other Monte Carlo assessments

17:24 The "inevitability" of Rafa on clay & not getting his due

23:06 A step too far: Jared Donaldson loses control

30:39 When tournaments give zero fucks about player safety

37:28 Fed Cup: Sloane secures the bag...and the tie

44:34 Many steps too far: Who are you, Darko Grncarov?!

48:08 Wozniacki still (rightfully) mad about Miami, steps in it

60:44 FMK - Grown-ish and Riverdale edition


@Hypotemuse wrote a piece on John Isner and why it's OK to push back on his politics. Give it a read!


Apr 15, 2018

Spring Mash-Up: Divas, Davis Cup, Dellacqua

Before the clay season kicks into gear, we're bringing you a mixed bag of topics: Madison Brengle alleging mistreatment at the hands of the WTA and anti-doping authorities; the controversy over the Davis Cup proposal seems to be heating up; Aussie favorite Casey Dellacqua retires from tennis; and we discuss the ways players create branded images and connect with fans outside of the traditional press. Stay tuned for our new segment on divas, the first of which celebrates our fave Mariah Carey.


4:15 Players' self-presentation through social media - how the relationship with traditional media has changed

13:20 Madison Brengle files suit against the WTA and ITF over anti-doping practices
24:05 ITF chief hits back over Davis Cup proposal amidst rumors of player discontent (h/t @markalannixon)
28:30 Does the Davis Cup overhaul pass the eye test? Just who will benefit?
33:00 Farewell to Casey Dellacqua, who retired from tennis this week
36:30 Jonathan takes a quiz on clay court tennis - take the quiz at home!
48:45 Our new segment Diva: our foundational diva, Mariah Carey, and her brave statement this week on her bipolar disorder

Apr 9, 2018

Charleston Wrap: Reunited, And It Feels So Good

Jonathan is back in Toronto after his trip to Charleston for the Volvo Car Open, and reunites with James to bring you #118. On deck for this episode: the WTA's uphill battle for equal footing with the ATP, a reflection on Naomi Osaka and her openness, Cornet's conundrum, the Davis Cup echo chamber, and #ThingsWeLike.


01:26 Tying up some Charleston odds and ends

05:37 The WTA's constant struggle for a piece of the pie

11:05 Naomi's sense of wonder and vulnerability

24:30 Bertens wins in Charleston, Muguruza secures her bag

28:01 Strike three: Cornet's whereabouts

34:36 Davis Cup weekend and James' misstep

39:52 The entrenched opinions surrounding proposed DC changes

48:01 Capital Tennis' out-of-nowhere statement on Tennys Sandgren

54:13 Shoutout to Carol, TBS listener Jonathan met in Charleston!

56:30 Things we like: Jesus Christ Superstar and Love, Simon

Apr 4, 2018

Setting The Record Straight In Charleston

Episode 117 comes to you again from Charleston and Toronto. This time, Bri (@4thetennis) joins the show from the Volvo Car Open to "set the record straight" on all things Sloane and offer her insights on a potpourri of tennis topics. You will also hear from a handful of WTA players in a segment featuring audio from the players' All Access Hour in Charleston, before James makes his appearance to close the show with part two of our listener mailbag. This episode is a bit unorthodox, but we hope you enjoy! 


1:00 Welcome our guest, General of the #SloaneHive, Bri! (@4thetennis)

2:45 Bri makes sure we put some respeck on Sloane's name
9:00 Talking Rafa's return, the state of Novak 
17:20 On the ground in Charleston: Genie, Tortellini Queen, Stosur, college grads in women's tennis
28:00 Press goodies:  Konta, Garcia, Keys; and Osaka talks Big Sascha
35:20 Listener Q&A: why hasn't WTA Rising Stars taken off like ATP NextGen? (@_clarkeshannon)
43:15 What would you change about tennis? (@gaygroundzero)
46:00 Who are your favorite (and least fav) tennis commentators? (also @gaygroundzero)
49:15 Where is the line when it comes to poking fun at your least favorite players? (@SholzTalks10s)
53:30 Will Sharapova return to the top 10 or is she done? (@michaelomusic)
56:50 What will it take for Novak to fix himself? (@TylerGreenDC)


Apr 1, 2018

S Is For Salty: Miami Open Review

Episode 116 features two distinct halves: James & Jonathan tackle two listener suggestions at the top of the episode, then Chad (@ccsmooth13) returns to the show alongside Jonathan in Charleston to chat about some of the things he saw in Miami last week. 


:45 James getting his airtime before Jonathan left for Charleston

2:40 In the case of Thanasi vs. Fernando, you are not the father (ATP guys being rude in Miami)
14:30 Caroline Wozniacki levels huge accusations against Miami spectators and tournament staff (topic suggestion from @AnnaMarseille)
18:30 Tournament director James Blake's much-maligned statement
26:30 Jonathan and my usurper, Chad (@ccsmooth13), in Charleston
28:25 Chad talks about being on the ground in Miami: Mmoh, Eubanks, Tiafoe
30:35 What does your 'S' stand for?
31:45 Chad's insights on Serena and Venus' play in Miami
38:15 Our guest's opinion on "pushers" are his own and do not necessarily reflect the positions of this podcast
40:40 Sloane Stephens def. the steadily maturing Alona Ostapenko - a win for WTA "Rising Stars"  

Mar 21, 2018

Um, Hi, I’m Naomi Osaka: Indian Wells Recap

We begin episode 115 with a breakdown of Serena's return to professional tennis and her 3rd round loss to Venus, before segueing into a  celebration of Naomi Osaka's star-making performance to take the title. Juan Martín del Potro is your men's champion; he defeats Federer in the final to solidify his position as nemesis of the world #1. Among the other topics on offer: Sharapova's current dilemma, more McEnroe mess, the Miami wild card debate, and we wade into new mothers returning to the WTA Tour. We then finish with a few thoughts on 9-1-1, RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars, and Black Panther.


03:14 Serena is back! We take stock of where her game is at

12:33 Um, her name is Naomi Osaka...YA HEARD?!

21:02 Kasatkina put in one hell of a week

24:41 Asking the right questions: Venus in press

31:47 Nole makes an unsteady return

37:34 Contextualizing Pissy Federer

44:55 Sharapova's burden to validate pre-meldonium career

47:30 These f*@%ing McEnroe brothers

55:20 Wading into the Miami wild card drama

58:56 Discussing a WTA maternity leave policy

63:06 The wild 9-1-1, fraudulent RPDR All Stars, & smart Black Panther

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