Beyond the Baseline, with Jon Wertheim — World No. 3 Petra Kvitova on the 2019 Season



On this week’s episode of Beyond the Baseline, world No. 3 Petra Kvitova joins the podcast in between practices in Prague to talk about her runner-up finish at the Australian Open, taking a break in mid-April, her 2019 season goals, her thoughts on Tiger Woods and his Masters victory and more. Host Jon Wertheim and Jamie Lisanti also discuss some tennis headlines and the Mailbag question of the week: What are the best tennis accounts to follow on social media?


Inside the Tour with Nina and Irina — Jared Hiltzik explains the ITF World Tennis Tour



Last year towards the end of the season, I put myself in a good position. Had the changes not occurred I’d be close the Top 300 right now… You don’t know what your next tournament is going to be. It’s really hard to keep up that motivation. I go through practice days just existing out there.”

This week’s episode of Inside the Tour takes an in-depth look at the new ITF World Tennis Tour with American pro Jared Hiltzik. Like a lot of people, podcast co-hosts Nina Pantic and Irina Falconi are still trying to make sense of the new tour that started in January 2019.

Players at Hiltzik’s level (largely in the No. 300 – No. 500 range) now have two pro rankings: one for the ITF World Tennis Tour, and one for the ATP Tour. Each ranking is determined by ranking points earned at tournaments on the respective tours (with some exceptions). Hiltzik is currently ranked No. 381 on the ATP (with 43 points) and No. 309 on the ITF (with 240 points)—a “no man’s zone.” His ATP ranking isn’t high enough to get him into Challenger tournaments, which are needed to boost his ATP ranking, so he’s forced to drop down into the $15,000 and $25,000 ITF events, where can only earn ITF points, or extremely minimal ATP points.

Players and coaches, including Toni Nadal, have spoken out against the new ITF tour. Hiltzik, still trying to figure out his schedule under the new rules, will be the top seed at the men’s open in Ojai next week.


Beyond the Baseline, with Jon Wertheim — David Epstein on Roger vs. Tiger and Generalization vs. Specialization



Ahead of the release of his new book, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, out on May 28, 2019, David Epstein joins the Beyond the Baseline podcast to discuss the opening chapter on Roger Federer vs. Tiger Woods. Wertheim and Epstein dive deep into the sports science of generalization vs. specialization, specifically in terms of Federer in tennis and Woods in golf and how Federer grew up playing a variety of sports, from skiing to wrestling to swimming and more, while Woods was surrounded by golf from a very young age. Why did Federer benefit from a generalist childhood vs. a specialization one? Epstein discusses Federer’s characteristics and reveals how his specific skills and experiences have helped him climb to the top of the sport.


Beyond the Baseline, with Jon Wertheim — Felix Auger-Aliassime and Miami Open wrap-up



Beyond the Baseline host Jon Wertheim talks with rising Canadian star Felix Auger-Aliassime and recaps with Miami Open with Andrea Leand. Now up to No. 33,  the 18-year-old Auger-Aliassime discusses his rise in the rankings, his goals for the future, why family is important to him, his relationship with fellow young Canadians Denis Shapovalov and Bianca Andreescu and much more. On the second half of the podcast, Andrea Leand recaps the pros and cons of the “new” Miami Open tournament and location, Roger Federer and Ashleigh Barty’s win and more.


Inside the Tour with Nina and Irina: Charleston tournament director Bob Moran on Southern success



“That’s what we hold our hat on: We’ve got to work a little bit hard than everyone else to be successful.”

Charleston tournament director Bob Moran joins the TENNIS.com Podcast with Nina Pantic and Irina Falconi. He shares the biggest challenges in running the Volvo Car Open (3:50) and all the ways the WTA Premier has been innovating each year like using the Volvo Car Open app to provide an in-seat concessions service (5:53).

Speaking of innovation, this February they held a UTR-based pre-qualifying event, allowing any female with a 10.0 or higher to compete for a spot in the qualifying draw. Jessica Ho, a 22-year-old Floridian who had a WTA ranking of No. 516 and a UTR of 11.79, won the wild card.

Moran talks a lot about how important building tennis in the community of Charleston is, and one much-loved member of that Southern community is Shelby Rogers. The 26-year-old made her comeback from knee surgery this week after 13 months off the tour (15:52).

The largest WTA-only clay event in the U.S. has a reputation for being the go-to spot to catch future stars. Past champions and finalists include the likes of Kiki Bertens, Sloane Stephens, Daria Kasatkina, Angelique Kerber and Jelena Ostapenko. Moran looks out for which youngster might be the next star, and even named Bianca Andreescu as one such potential act—notably before she won Indian Wells and withdrew from Charleston (24:31).


Inside the Tour with Nina and Irina — Shelby Rogers ready for tour return in Charleston



“There’s no real moment where you’re 100 percent sure you’re ready to play again. You just kind of have to jump back in and go for it.”

Shelby Rogers joins Nina Pantic and Irina Falconi on the TENNIS.com Podcast this week. The American is ready for her return to the tour at her hometown event, the Volvo Car Open in Charleston. The former world No. 48 has been out for just over a year after undergoing left knee surgery, and explains the ordeal she went through and how the new protected ranking rules are helping her (02:53). She was ranked No. 78 when she played her last match in the first round of Indian Wells in 2018.

Time away from the tour hasn’t been all bad though as the 26-year-old got to live a normal life and embraced online school with Indiana University East (06:23). While she was injured, Rogers also tried her hand at working for the Tennis Channel as a commentator, interviewer and host (08:04).

It’s Rogers’ first significant injury, so she shares what she learned and what goes into plotting a comeback schedule, which may include a return to Roland Garros (14:31).

We take a break from the serious stuff to dig up her falsely edited Wikipedia page from years ago which claimed she lost several toes in a car accident and credited power lifting for her comeback (17:33).

Back to business—she explains how her life changed after she reached the quarterfinals of Roland Garros in 2016, including entry into the Elite 8 Club (19:41). And now that she’s had experience working in working for media, she tells us how her perspective has changed (21:36).


Beyond the Baseline, with Jon Wertheim — James Blake on the new-look Miami Open



After being named the Miami Open tournament director in January 2018, James Blake joins the Beyond the Baseline podcast to talk about the tournament’s move from Key Biscayne to its new location at the home stadium of the Miami Dolphins. Blake talks about what his role entails; what fans should expect from the new location and tournament; whether the rivarly between Indian Wells and Miami has now resumed; how he is managing the various requests from players; his thoughts on the results from Indian Wells; and much more.


Inside the Tour with Nina and Irina — Judy Murray on building a legacy for Andy and Jamie



“You need to prepare for a legacy. You can’t just say, ‘Oh they stopped playing. We need a legacy.’”

TENNIS.com Podcast hosts Nina Pantic and Irina Falconi are thrilled to have Judy Murray on this week. Though best known as the mother and former coach of Andy and Jamie Murray, the Scot has her own vibrant story to tell as she continues to do everything she can to promote tennis in Scotland and around the world.

Her book Knowing the Score came out in 2017, telling the story of her life and how she raised two future world No. 1s in a country that had no tennis infrastructure in place (1:10). She describes how tennis back home has changed over the past few decades, pushed largely along by the success of her sons—who have nine Grand Slams between them and were No. 1 at the same time at the end of 2016 (07:18).

With Andy’s return to competition uncertain, and Jamie turning 33 last month, Judy wants to establish their legacy before their playing days are over so tennis can grow larger back home (11:21). She didn’t realize the powerful impact Andy could have on the sport until he won Wimbledon in 2013, when she says everything changed (14:41).

Like everyone, Judy wants to see more coaches in tennis, particularly women, but there are many challenges including the way many think a coaching career is a failed playing one (16:55). She gives her advice to anyone looking to get into coaching (23:12), and tries to answer why there aren’t many women coaches or hitting partners (25:10).

She has her hands in many different projects including Miss Hits for girls ages 5-8, Tennis on the Road to bring tennis all over Scotland, Tennis Everywhere to encourage everyone to play even if they don’t have a court, her new role with WTT’s Philadelphia Freedoms and what she says is her main focus right now: opening a tennis and athletics center just outside of Dunblane (32:00).

And of course, we had to ask: how is Andy doing after undergoing hip replacement surgery and how hard has the injury struggle been on him, and the entire family (45:15)?


Beyond the Baseline, with Jon Wertheim — Checking in from Indian Wells



From the grounds at Indian Wells, Jon Wertheim checks in with Jamie Lisanti to discuss the top storylines and results from the BNP Paribas Open, including: Naomi Osaka’s recent comments on Twitter about becoming a role model for young tennis players around the world; Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s comments on the announcement that ATP president Chris Kermode will not continue as ATP president beyond his current contract, which expires at the end of 2019; and much more.


Beyond the Baseline, with Jon Wertheim — Kevin Anderson on sustainability in tennis



From his home in Florida, Kevin Anderson joins the Beyond the Baseline podcast to talk with Jon Wertheim about his ongoing recovery from an elbow injury, how he’s managing his time and when he is expected to return to tournament. Following up on his guest appearance in the Mailbag, Anderson also talks about tennis’ sustainability efforts and his suggestions for how the sport can improve parts of the game to help the environment. Anderson and Wertheim also talk about the Rafael Nadal–Nick Kyrgios match and more.


Inside the Tour with Nina and Irina — Nicole Gibbs opens up about depression, motivation and life outside of the court



“For all of the trolling we get on social media, I find it fascinating how positive and supportive people are when you talk about mental health issues.”

Nicole Gibbs comes on the TENNIS.com Podcast this week with Nina Pantic and Irina Falconi. Gibbs, a former Stanford multiple NCAA champion, has been ranked as high as No. 68 in the world and has reached the third round of two Grand Slams. Last week, she won the $25,000 ITF Pro Circuit event in Rancho Santa Fe, marking her seventh career ITF title.

With Indian Wells just around the corner, the American is excited to get back to the site of her best result, which was the round of 16 in 2016 as a qualifier (01:23).

The 25-year-old shares what keep her motivated, especially when tournaments don’t go her way and when her ranking dips (03:14). She talks about the importance of work ethic and how she recently changed her perspective of what her game style should look like (09:05). She also dives into why she connected so strongly to Andre Agassi’s book Open (11:32).

Gibbs tells us about her Behind the Racquet post about her battle with depression, and stresses the importance of managing your mental health (18:20). She has got a huge platform on social media and isn’t afraid to use it, yet even she was surprised by the support she has gotten after opening up (27:54).

While tennis is the focus of her season, Gibbs also has a huge personal milestone coming up in 2019. She’s getting married to her longtime boyfriend Jack Brody in November. He proposed with one of the most well-thought-out videos of all time and she reveals her expectations for the wedding (30:13).


Beyond the Baseline, with Jon Wertheim — Former Player, Daily Show Correspondent Michael Kosta



A former ATP player with a career-high ranking of No. 864, Daily Show correspondent and comedian Michael Kosta joins Beyond the Baseline’s Jon Wertheim to talk about his tennis and comedy careers. Kosta discusses his transition from playing ATP Challenger events on the tennis tour to pursuing a career in comedy. Kosta talks about why he made the decision to switch career paths; the comparisons between tennis and comedy; and how he worked his way up to appearances on shows such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Seth Myers; and much more.


Beyond the Baseline, with Jon Wertheim — Rowan Ricardo Phillips on the Year in Tennis in 2017



On this week’s Beyond the Baseline episode, poet and writer Rowan Ricardo Phillips joins the podcast to talk about his Nov. 2018 book, The Circuit: A Tennis Odyssey, which chronicles 2017 as seen through the unique prism of its historic tennis season. Wertheim and Phillips discuss his inspiration behind the book, what he learned about tennis and himself through examining this particular season, how tennis touches the world in many ways and much more.


Inside the Tour with Nina Pantic and Irina Falconi — From Team Stephens and now Team Puig, Othmane “Coach OG” Garma



“You’ve got their back, that goes both ways for a male or female tennis player. You have to earn their trust in the beginning.”

This week, the TENNIS.com Podcast’s Nina Pantic and Irina Falconi chat with Othmane Garma, better known on tour as “Coach OG.” With Kamau Murray, Garma was a part of Sloane Stephen’s team for 16 months as an assistant coach and hitting partner. After a stint coaching juniors in the D.C. area, Garma joined Monica Puig’s team two weeks ago, again alongside Murray.

The former No. 1 at Howard University has worked with the likes of Dominic Inglot, Somdev Devvarman, Treat Huey and Max Myrni before moving over to the WTA.

Garma talks about his time on Team Stephens, in which he saw her win the US Open and Miami Open, and reach the French Open final (03:04). Part of the reason the Moroccan native took a break from traveling on tour was because he had a daughter, which changed his life completely. (04:55)

He lays down the key difference between working with men and women (08:36), and the transition from working with doubles to singles players (12:34).

And like most people, Garma’s career path wasn’t a straight line—he worked as a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley before reconnecting with his true passion, tennis (16:04).


Beyond the Baseline, with Jon Wertheim — Pam Shriver’s Proposal for the USTA



A few weeks after the Australian Open, Pam Shriver joins Beyond the Baseline to discuss the latest tennis news and an outside-the-box proposal for the USTA to augment its place in the sports world and bolster American tennis. After Gordon Smith announced his plans to step down as CEO and executive director of the USTA at the end of the year, Wertheim and Shriver believe that there is an opportunity to reassess and rethink the way the organization is operated. What started as a fun conversation turned into an idea that could actually be feasible and successful, and Shriver and Wertheim lay out the details of their plan, which involves the NBA’s involvement in the organization and management of the USTA.


Inside the Tour with Nina and Irina — Embracing the grind with Bjorn Fratangelo



“I just try to do as well as I can every week and make the most of what I can and can’t control. I’ve learned a lot over the past year with how things have kind of gone and where my faults were.”

Bjorn Fratangelo joins the TENNIS.com podcast with Nina Pantic and Irina Falconi not long after his girlfriend, Madison Keys was a guest (she also semi-crashes his episode). The world No. 130 has won eight ITF Futures titles and three ATP Challengers, and he’s one of three American males to ever win the junior French Open.

He laments the grind of traveling and jet lag after coming back from the Australian Open, where he qualified for the main draw (02:15). At least the 25-year-old gets to experience life on the tour with a crew of fellow top American players and his girlfriend (3:53). He talks about his relationship with Keys, describing themselves as “low-key about it” and “oldish news” (4:41).

What’s it like planning a tournament schedule with his ranking just outside of the Top 100 (08:32)? He reached his career-high in 2016, ticking off a career milestone that he wants to surpass this year (10:07). Not that long ago, Fratangelo would have been a huge recruit for colleges and was considering Ohio State, but he ended up taking his talents straight to the tour (12:58). That doesn’t mean school is over for him. He’s going to pursue a degree with the Indiana East online program, and Keys will likely join him for dual homework sessions (14:52).

But wait, is he actually named after Bjorn Borg? The story behind his name is more complicated than just pure idolization of the Swedish legend (18:43).

Fratangelo shares his favorite moments from his career so far, which includes winning a set off of Novak Djokovic at Indian Wells in 2016 (21:27). And he opens up about how dating Keys, a Top-20 stalwart and 2017 US Open finalist, can be really motivating (27:39).


Inside the Tour with Nina and Irina — A look at the most memorable storylines from the ’19 Australian Open



The Australian Open was memorable to a lot of players and for a lot of reasons. Inside the Tour co-hosts Nina Pantic and Irina Falconi dissect the fortnight by pointing out the storylines that grabbed their attention.

Of course, we must first give accolades to the two champions left standing: Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic (01:13). But some credit should go to the finalists, Petra Kvitova and Rafael Nadal, for not dropping a set before their seventh matches (02:35).

Serena Williams made a lot of headlines early, but fell in the quarterfinals after holding four match points against Karolina Pliskova. A foot fault was called in her first match point and it was largely brushed off, but raises the question: Should players be able to challenge a foot fault using Hawk-Eye? (05:25)

After all the hoopla over changing the rules, only six matches came down to a deciding set super tiebreaker. (07:35) Pablo Carreno Busta may have made the biggest headlines of his career with a meltdown after losing a fifth-set tiebreaker to Kei Nishikori. But who was in the wrong in that controversial call? (08:33)

Though Garbine Muguruza’s win over Johanna Konta didn’t get to a deciding tiebreaker (it was 6-4, 6-7 (3), 7-5), it was arguably the match of the tournament—that finished at 3:15 a.m. Should there be a rule restricting late-night match start times? (12:35)

Americans really made their mark in Melbourne this year with University of Virginia grad Danielle Collins reaching the semifinals, Frances Tiafoe making the quarters on his 21st birthday and 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova getting to the fourth round—to name a few. What is it about the Happy Slam that works for players? (15:32)

And last but not least, why do a lot of the sponsored players wear the exact same outfit? It’s confusing to new fans that are just trying to learn who is who, but there’s a pretty good reason behind the matching madness. (22:10)


Beyond the Baseline, with Jon Wertheim — Martin Blackman on the state of American tennis



From the grounds of the Australian Open during the second week of the tournament, Beyond the Baseline’s Jon Wertheim sits down with USTA general manager of player development Martin Blackman to discuss the breakout performances and disappointing results from the American contingent in Melbourne, including the remarkable run of Danielle Collins and the impressive showing from Frances Tiafoe. Blackman talks about how he (and the USTA) define and measure success for American tennis; the new installation of Mardy Fish as U.S. Davis Cup captain and why he believed he was the right person for the job; and much more. Blackman also addresses the 2019 ITF Transition Tour—now called the ITF Pro tour—and shares details on how the USTA is dealing with the changes; what impact he thinks the changes will have, both on the rankings and U.S. tennis; and more.


Inside the Tour with Nina and Irina — An in-depth chat with Madison Keys



“I have gotten to a point where if I don’t make make a quarter of a Slam or a tournament, it wasn’t good, and even then it’s still not great, it’s barely acceptable. So I’m pretty tough on myself.”

This week, Madison Keys joins the TENNIS.com Podcast Inside the Tour with Nina Pantic and Irina Falconi. The world No. 17 talks about life in Lake Nona, Fla. (00:49) and how she went about furnishing her brand new home—which happens to be two doors down from Irina’s house (02:55).

Keys reveals the places she dreams of one day visiting as a tourist (06:20) and laments the struggles of New Years Eve colliding with the start of the season (08:25). The American, a 2017 US Open finalist and two-time Slam semifinalist last year, gives her brutally honest take on her past two years and lists her 2019 goals (09:49) as well as how she deals with her anxiety over tournaments (11:37).

We then get a little personal diving into the 23-year-old’s relationship with fellow pro Bjorn Fratangelo (13:31). She shares how she has adapted to becoming more famous, though she shies away from the term “celebrity” (17:37). The young American is using her growing social platform for good (19:35) and she tells us why she got involved with Fearlessly Girl (20:22) along with how she deals with keyboard warriors (21:56).

With her growing fame has come more commercial and photoshoot opportunities, as well as a spot on Forbes 30 Under 30 (26:49). We close the episode on her strong friendship with 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens (30:18).


Beyond the Baseline with Jon Wertheim — Chris Evert on 2019 Australian Open, Mental Health



At the start of the 2019 season ahead of the Australian Open, Chris Evert joins the Beyond the Baseline podcast and gives an update on her own life, including what it was like to attend the funeral of George H.W. Bush in December; her thoughts on mental health issues and her own personal experience with depression and anxiety; how she has re-established herself as a commentator and voice in the tennis community after her career and more. Also on the podcast, Wertheim and Evert discuss the 2019 Australian Open and make picks and predictions for the first major of the year.


Inside the Tour with Nina and Irina — Jarmere Jenkins on being part of Team Serena



“Being Serena—she doesn’t just wake up and she’s Serena. Every single day there’s a purpose for the training, there’s an objective for the fitness—and she’s so much more than the tennis.”

Serena Williams’ hitting partner Jarmere Jenkins joins the TENNIS.com Podcast’s Nina Pantic and Irina Falconi to dish on all things Serena. Jenkins, a former world No. 190 and University of Virginia multiple national champion, joined Team Serena in late 2017. 

He shares what day-to-day life with Serena is like (01:13), and explains how he got got the job—his older brother Jermaine was on Team Venus (02:48). Jenkins’ first-ever practice with Serena was captured on camera for the docuseries, Being Serena (07:20). 

Was the 23-time Grand Slam champion all what he expected she’d be (10:08)? The 37-year-old surprised him with her laid-back personality and tendency to break out into dance during practice (12:32). 

The 28-year-old also talks about his own pro dreams (14:15) and his struggles going from a homeschooling upbringing to being part of a college campus lifestyle (15:47). 

Back to Serena—Jenkins describes what life was like traveling the world with his brother and both Williams sisters (19:47), his favorite moment from the 2018 season (20:38) and off-court life with Serena, including taking part in Spartan Races with the Kryptonians (24:11).


Beyond the Baseline, with Jon Wertheim — Discussing the 2019 ITF Transition Tour with Geoff Grant



Geoff Grant joins the Beyond the Baseline podcast to discuss the details of the new ITF 2019 transition tour, which is a part of a major restructuring of professional tennis. Grant and Wertheim discuss how the creation of the transition tour—which includes a new worldwide tournament structure between the ITF, ATP and WTA and is expected to reduce the number of professional players with ATP and WTA rankings from 3,000 players to approximately 750 men and 750 women—will impact tennis, at the professional, college and junior levels, particularly in relation to match-fixing.


Inside the Tour with Nina and Irina — Living legend Nick Bollettieri



“In order to do what I’ve done, you have to be a little crazy. You can’t listen to people that say you can’t do it.”

The world’s most famous coach, Nick Bollettieri, guest stars on the TENNIS.com Podcast with Nina Pantic and Irina Falconi. He previews his upcoming book, A Coach’s Journey, which he wrote entirely himself—by hand with a pen on paper (01:23), and reflects on the Showtime documentary about his life and academy, Love Means Zero (04:37).

Bollettieri has coached numerous world No. 1 champions including Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Monica Seles and Maria Sharapova. He explains how he reads different players and describes what he says is a God-given ability to predict which youngsters will become champions (05:32).

The 87-year-old throws it back to his humble beginnings creating the first ever live-in tennis academy, in Bradenton, Fla., some 40 years ago (07:38) and updates everyone on his relationships with the players featured in Love Means Zero (08:31), particularly Agassi (11:10).

Bollettieri also dives further into his book (set to release in February) and shares his mission of helping players, parents and just people in general (13:23). He even reads an excerpt (20:53).


Inside the Tour with Nina and Irina — The art of coaching with Sven Groeneveld



“What kind of computer system am I running here—is it Apple or is it Microsoft? We need to speak the same language and the language of the player is more important than my language.”

Longtime ATP and WTA coach Sven Groeneveld joins the podcast in the midst of the busiest time of the year for players announcing coaching changes. His lengthy coaching resume includes the likes of Monica Seles, Michael Stitch, Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic, Tommy Haas and Fernando Verdasco, to name a few. In March, Groeneveld parted ways with Maria Sharapova after four years of working together.

Groeneveld explains how he got into coaching, including how he got paired up wth Seles in the early 1990s (05:28). The 53-year-old shares who he learned the ropes from (07:27),  what players should look for in finding the right coach (12:38) and how he has dealt with abruptly switching player boxes (19:17). He also addresses the reasons behind the fast-moving coaching carousel, especially on the WTA tour (22:12), and adds his opinions to the on-court coaching debate (24:21).

A program for teaching and licensing pro coaches doesn’t exist to his standards, and Groeneveld hopes the tours will invest in making a pathway for current playing pros to transition into coaching (26:46). He is already doing his part to connect coaches with the right players and clubs as he helped create OrangeCoach.com, a job placement site with over 20,000 registered coaches (29:39).

And finally, sourcing from his three decades of experience touring the world as a professional coach, Groeneveld shares his Top 5 career moments (32:56).


Beyond the Baseline, with Jon Wertheim — Mike Bryan on Twin Brother Bob’s Comeback, 2019 Season



Mike Bryan joins the Beyond the Baseline podcast to talk about his successful six-month partnership with Jack Sock, which saw him win doubles titles at Indian Wells, Wimbledon, the US Open and the ATP Finals, what he had to do to adjust to a new doubles partner, how he would feel if he were sidelined and watched his twin brother Bob succeed with a new partner and more. After a hip injury and subsequent surgery forced Bob to miss the majority of the 2018 season, Mike discusses his brother’s rehab and recovery from injury, what he’s expecting of his comeback and what it’s been like to readjust and reunite with Bob after playing with Sock for several months. Bryan also gives some updates on his personal life and forecasts his 2019 season and beyond.


Inside the Tour with Nina and Irina — Life in Lake Nona and the future of American men’s tennis with the USTA’s Kent Kinnear



“Tennis has been unbelievable to me—I’ve had the opportunities to experience it at a lot of different levels and places.”

Recently appointed head of men’s tennis at the USTA, Kent Kinnear joins the TENNIS.com Podcast to talk about his new role (02:21) and the future of American men’s tennis (04:16).

Kinnear is one of the many involved in U.S. tennis that has had to make the move to the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona, Fl. (05:22). The 100-court facility near Orlando caters to players of all levels, but has a lofty goal of producing the next Grand Slam champion.

Kinnear is more than qualified for the task having reached as high as No. 24 in doubles and No. 163 in singles after a college career at Clemson (07:48). He’s even competed against the likes of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi (09:43). He answers the question: Do coaches with past pro experience have a lot more credibility working with players than those lacking it?  (11:31)

The Illinois native has some personal insight into the recent surges of John Isner and Kevin Anderson, the latter of which he worked with briefly when he was the assistant coach at the University of Illinois (06:27). He was the director of Player ID and Development at the USTA before stepping into his current role, where Kathy Rinaldi is his counterpart as head of women’s tennis (17:24).

Irina and Nina then discuss Irina’s own transition to Lake Nona and what is life is like in the up-and-coming Floridian neighborhood. (19:22).


Beyond the Baseline, with Jon Wertheim — Mary Carillo Talks 2019, New Davis Cup



Mary Carillo joins the Beyond the Baseline podcast with Jon Wertheim to answer reader questions and discuss various topics, including her opinion on the fall season and why her interest tends to fall off during the final months of the year; what she expects from women’s tennis in 2019, including the chances of Serena Williams winning a major, Caroline Wozniacki’s future, Naomi Osaka’s response after winning her first major and more. Carillo also talks about attending Billie Jean King’s birthday party, her thoughts on Olympic tennis and Tokyo 2020, the new Davis Cup format and much more.


Inside the Tour with Nina and Irina — The business side of the sport with UTR’s Stephen Amritraj



“I think you’re essentially starting a business when you turn pro.”

Stephen Amritraj, a former player and coach with a rich tennis resume, joins Nina Pantic and Irina Falconi this week to talk about the business side of the game. He gives his take on attending the recent Fed Cup final (01:16), what being professionally really means (10:16), what Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) adds to the sport (18:00), the upcoming 500-player draw California Championships (24:42), his 2019 wedding to WTA pro Alison Riske (27:15), growing up in a tennis family (29:29), and more.

His family tree includes former world No. 18 Vijay (uncle), former world No. 74 Anand (dad), former world No. 154 Prakash (cousin) and former world No. 201 Ashok (uncle).

Stephen played college tennis at Duke and had a brief pro career (04:35) before getting into coaching—he’s worked with Rajeev Ram and Mardy Fish, to name a few (08:05). In 2014, the 34-year-old joined the USTA as a national men’s coach and then the head of collegiate tennis. This year, he was named the chief tennis officer of UTR, which is rapidly gaining traction for rating all ages, genders and nationalities across every tournament level in the same system, focusing solely on the opponents played and games won.


Beyond the Baseline, with Jon Wertheim — Jimmy Arias on Coaching Tennis’s Next Generation



Just a few weeks after being named as the new director of player development at the IMG Academy, longtime pro Jimmy Arias joins the Beyond the Baseline podcast to discuss his new role and his experiences with the top young, 10 to 18-year-old players at the IMG Academy. Arias was one of the original tennis students at the academy when it was the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy and he discusses how things have changed since he was playing and practicing there and how methods of training and approaches to recovery, fitness and more have modernized. Wertheim and Arias also discuss how his new role will impact his coaching with individual players, the 2018 tennis season and more.


Inside the Tour with Nina and Irina — Pro life from the perspective of The Little Giant, Danielle Lao



“I told myself, Danielle, if you can make a Grand Slam qualifying [draw] you are totally overachieving in life.”

American pro Danielle Lao turns her writing skills into podcasting magic to share her story with Inside the Tour co-hosts Nina Pantic and Irina Falconi. The University of Southern California alumna (Class of ’13) just hit a career-high of No. 169 after five years on tour thanks to her recent results, including reaching the final of a $60,000 ITF in Stockton, Calif.

She’s had a strong last few months highlighted by qualifying for her second straight US Open by beating the same player in the last round, Jana Fett (01:18). The 27-year-old explains how her college career helped her mature as a person (07:25) and how she came to write her Amazon eBook The Invaluable Experience (08:41) as well as how she learned to not compare herself to anyone else and just keep chasing her dream (12:54).

As Danielle gets ready to play the Australian Open for the first time, she has a painful story to tell about her history with the not-always-so-happy Happy Slam (19:55). It’s the tale of being an alternate for a Grand Slam qualifying draw and going through hope, heartbreak and, eventually, validation.

The Californian also shares some fun facts about herself like how her boyfriend, Nam Gip, holds a Guinness World Record for fastest 4-person marathon in a costume (25:33), her passion for baking—nothing is off limits, even French macarons (26:24), how she would have worked in finance had she not given pro tennis a chance (30:15) and why her Twitter handle “@TheLittleGiant” is appropriate because she’s 5’3” — just like Irina. (31:40).


Beyond the Baseline, with Jon Wertheim — What We’ll Remember from the 2018 Season



As the women’s season comes to a close and the ATP prepares to start its final tournament of the season at the ATP Tour Finals, Beyond the Baseline host Jon Wertheim and Jamie Lisanti look back on 2018 and hand out awards, including the top moments of the year, the men’s and women’s MVPs, newcomers and breakout stars, matches of the year and more. The pair also gives a lookahead to the 2019 season with some quick-hitting predictions and wishes for the next year in tennis.


Inside the Tour with Nina and Irina — Previewing the Fed Cup with Alison Riske



“In my experience, not even one week, it’s one match—if I’m able to get through that one match to give me the confidence back—honest to God, that’s usually all it takes to turn something around.”

Podcast co-hosts Nina Pantic and Irina Falconi met up in Lake Nona, Fla. to chat with American pro Alison Riske. She was preparing for this weekend’s Fed Cup final against the Czech Republic in Prague where she will be the veteran on a team that includes newcomers Sofia Kenin, Danielle Collins and Nicole Melichar.

Riske shares behind-the-scenes facts about what it’s like to play Fed Cup—from finding out who made the team and being part of the 2017 title-winning team to choosing opening night outfits and making rookie speeches (00:40).

The world No. 63 talks about her off-seasons plans (11:00) and reflects on her 2018 season (18:25)—her highlights include reaching the Nurnberg final, winning a $100,000 ITF title in Surbiton and scoring three Top-15 wins. She opens up about overcoming doubt throughout her career (21:38), why she turned pro (29:53) and how influential her dad was in keeping her in the sport (33:38).

The 28-year-old adds in some tips for being witty on Twitter (26:00) and gives her no-nonsense strategy for dealing with keyboard warriors (28:00).


Beyond the Baseline, with Jon Wertheim — Taylor Fritz on Innovations in Tennis



Ahead of his appearance at the ATP Finals Next Gen in Milan, Taylor Fritz joins the Beyond the Baseline podcast to talk about the year-end event; his thoughts on innovations such as on-court coaching, towel racks on the court, the shot clock and more; his expectations and goals for the 2019 season; his approach when it comes to coaches; his experience with Paul Annacone and what he’s learned from him; his relationship with other players on tour, particularly the young Americans; his plans for the offseason and more.


Beyond the Baseline, with Jon Wertheim — Reem Abulleil on Tennis in the Middle East



On this week’s episode, Reem Abulleil joins the podcast to discuss the current year-end championships in women’s tennis, her time spent with Naomi Osaka after she won the 2018 US Open, whether or not winning a major has changed Osaka as a person and what she expects for her during the 2019 season and more. Abulleil also offers insight into her own career, discussing her unique story of how she became a tennis journalist and the challenges she faces covering sports in Dubai. Wertheim and Abulleil also talk about the upcoming exhibition match between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic that is planned for Dec. 22 in Saudi Arabia and whether or not the men should cancel their participation and what the possible implications are.


Inside the Tour with Nina and Irina — Defending points, ranking drops and on-court coaching



Tennis giveth, and tennis taketh away. The end of the season is finally in sight, and with so many players defending—or losing—huge chunks of points in Singapore, Zhuhai and London, podcast co-hosts Nina Pantic and Irina Falconi discuss the art of defending points (02:14).

It’s no secret that Jack Sock has struggled on the singles court this year (his record is 7-19). He could lose 1,400 points in the next few weeks—but instead of focusing on the negative, it can all be about perspective (06:28). Let’s also not forget his two Grand Slam doubles triumphs this season.

Two players, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Kyle Edmund, won their first career ATP titles last week (13:26). It’s a big deal because…you never forget your first. Irina looks back at her WTA title win in Bogota in 2016, and tells an unforgettable story about her semifinal drama (14:04).

In Singapore, one of the biggest storylines (aside from the matches, of course) has been the on-court coaching debate. Nina and Irina give their opinions on what coaching should look like in the future, on both tours (18:55).

 


Beyond the Baseline, with Jon Wertheim — Mats Wilander on the Future of Tennis



Current Eurosport commentator and seven-time Grand Slam champion Wilander joins the podcast to discuss various tennis storylines, including Novak Djokovic’s resurgence this season and the obstacles he faced over the last year; Roger Federer’s 2018 season and where he could fit into tennis after he is done playing; what tennis will be like without stars like Djokovic, Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams; and much more. Wilander also talks about his work with Wilander on Wheels and his new wearable technology NeuroTennis, which provides instantaneous auditory feedback from a wrist-based device.


Inside the Tour with Nina and Irina — Wheelchair champion Gordon Reid



Eleven-time Grand Slam champion Gordon Reid joins the podcast to talk about his career and the growth of wheelchair tennis, and he settles some of the most common misconceptions. He’s been ranked No. 1 in both singles and doubles, won a singles gold medal at the 2016 Paralympic games and has captured two singles Grand Slams and nine doubles Slams, including the US Open and Wimbledon this year.

In the episode, the 27-year-old Scot talks about the misconceptions of the sport (1:30), the rules of the game (2:30), making a career out of wheelchair tennis (3:30), the hardest part of his sport (4:20), the progression of the wheelchair tour (6:20), getting recognition in Scotland (8:10), being the first-ever singles wheelchair men’s Wimbledon champion (10:08), a fun fact about his legacy back home (13:56), how some wheelchair players can stand and walk (15:46), the challenges of traveling in a chair (17:21), and prize money discrepancies (18:53).

Nina Pantic and Irina Falconi discuss wheelchair tennis from their perspectives, the importance of watching wheelchair tennis live and the growth of the game.


Beyond the Baseline, with Jon Wertheim — WTA CEO Steve Simon



Following the WTA’s decision to cut the U.S. part of its worldwide rights deal with beIN sports, the Tour’s head Steve Simon discusses the move to Tennis Channel, which includes a five-year deal for television and digital streaming broadcast rights, and what it means for American fans, how it can help build excitement and growth around the sport and more. Wertheim and Simon also talk about the future of the WTA in Asia, what Serena Williams means to women’s tennis and what will happen when she decides to move on from the sport, the tour schedule and impact of injuries, and much more.


Beyond the Baseline, with Jon Wertheim — Discussing the Fall Season’s Top Storylines



In the midst of the fall tennis season, host Jon Wertheim and Jamie Lisanti discuss some of the sport’s current hot topics and storylines, including the success of Naomi Osaka during the Asian swing after her US Open triumph; Serena Williams’s decision to skip the fall tournaments and withhold any comments on the events during the final against Osaka in New York; the U.S. Davis Cup team captain vacancy and possible candidates for the position; Fernando Verdasco’s unfortunate incident with a ballkid and the debate over towels in tennis; and much more.


Inside the Tour with Nina and Irina — Sitting down with two-time major finalist Kevin Anderson



The podcast’s Nina Pantic caught up with world No. 9 Kevin Anderson in Chicago ahead of the Laver Cup (which Team Europe would win over Team World). The 32-year-old talks about choosing to go to the University of Illinois (00:50), his website RealLifeTennis.com (02:30), why he thinks his best tennis is still ahead of him (03:21), Novak Djokovic’s comeback (4:24) and what it’s like to spend time with Rod Laver (06:00).

Co-hosts Pantic and Irina Falconi discuss the aging trend on the ATP tour and ask: What is old anyway (07:45)? They talk about the pressure for young teens to choose to go pro or go to college (08:49), how Irina ended up leaving Georgia Tech early for the WTA tour (11:17) and the stress of the sport’s unforgiving calendar and how it leaves little room for celebrations (17:20). Irina also shares why she’s taking a break from the pro tour (25:12). 


Beyond the Baseline, with Jon Wertheim — Paul Annacone on Laver Cup 2018



After attending the second annual Laver Cup in Chicago, Paul Annacone joins the podcast to recap the tournament and discuss the events of the weekend, including the match play, memorable moments between players, the overall grandeur of the event and much more. Wertheim and Annacone discuss why Laver Cup has been so successful so quickly; what the event could look like and if it can be sustained after Roger Federer retires from tennis; what drives the players’ passion and emotion on the court; if this type of event would have worked in the era Annacone played in and much more.


Inside the Tour with Nina and Irina — An interview with living legend Rod Laver



It’s not every day you get to speak with one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. The podcast’s Nina Pantic met with Rod Laver in Chicago the day before the second annual Laver Cup took place (13:55).

Laver talks about the honor of being the namesake for the event (14:43), who he thinks the GOAT is (16:25), will someone win a calendar-year Grand Slam again (16:45), who his favorite player was (18:10) , his relationship with Roger Federer (18:51) and his greatest memories from winning all four Slams in 1969 (20:24).

Hosts Pantic and Irina Falconi also share what it was like to watch the Laver Cup action live in Chicago (00:40), break down the 2018 Laver Cup format (1:28), discuss the definition of an exhibition (6:46) and share insight into “Coach Federer” (10:20).

 


Beyond the Baseline, with Jon Wertheim — Canadian Doubles Specialist Daniel Nestor



Just a few days after playing the final match of his career at Davis Cup, Canadian doubles specialist Daniel Nestor joins Jon Wertheim to discuss his why he made the decision earlier this year to retire in September, what he thinks about the average age of tennis players getting older in today’s game, his thoughts on Canada’s up-and-coming players Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime, his opinion on the new Davis Cup format, his thoughts on Novak Djokovic’s resurgence this summer and more. The 46-year-old also talks about what’s next for him after his tennis career.


Inside the Tour with Nina and Irina — Catching up with former world No. 8 Mark Philippoussis



Former world No. 8 Mark Philippoussis joins the podcast to give his thoughts on life after tennis, his latest work with the clothing company Jacques, rising young Australians, playing Roger Federer in the ’03 Wimbledon final, the new Davis Cup changes, his passion for surfing and a lot more.

—04:28

Mark shares how he got involved with his latest project, a tennis collection capsule with the clothing brand Jacques.

—06:15

What was his transition to post-playing life like? Mark says he basically retired at the age of 28 in 2004. Multiple knee surgeries ultimately ended his career early.

—15:08

He shares his proudest moment of his career: winning two Davis Cup crowns for Australia (in 1999 and 2003). He also talks about his 2003 Wimbledon final loss to Roger Federer.

—23:35

Let’s talk Davis Cup. Mark is vehemently against the changes that will be in place for 2019.

—25:57

Who is he most excited about coming up the ranks from his home country?

—37:00

Mark and his wife Silvana are both from Melbourne, where they’re moving back to next year. He shares what his family life is like these days.

—43:27

The retired tennis star has a huge passion for surfing, but how good is he?


Inside the Tour with Nina and Irina — Special guest Bethanie Mattek-Sands completes comeback with US Open title



A wild and unpredictable US Open just wrapped leaving many in disbelief over how the women’s final ended between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka. Your Inside the Tour hosts Nina Pantic and Irina Falconi give their take on the controversy involving Serena and chair umpire Carlos Ramos.

In any case, Serena is back inside the Top 20, while the men’s champion, Novak Djokovic has solidified his return to the Top 3. Comebacks complete, to say the least. One more US Open champion has completed her own comeback: Bethanie Mattek-Sands. She won the mixed doubles crown with Jamie Murray for her eighth major and her first since her horrific knee injury at Wimbledon last year.

The 33-year-old talks about her philosophies on dealing with injuries, how she stays positive, her relationship with Wimbledon, how long she sees herself playing and more.


Beyond the Baseline, with Jon Wertheim — Serena Williams, umpire Carlos Ramos and the 2018 US Open women’s final



In a special edition episode from the US Open, host Jon Wertheim discusses the controversial US Open women’s final between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka on Saturday, including the superb play from 20-year-old Osaka, the actions of umpire Carlos Ramos and their thoughts on what actually played out during the second set of the final, how the situation escalated, how Ramos could have handled the situation differently and much more.


Inside the Tour with Nina and Irina — Special guest Daniela Hantuchova



“It’s beautiful when you close one door how many new ones open up.”

Recently retired former world No. 5 Daniela Hantuchova joins the podcast while in New York for the US Open. She’s transitioned quickly from her retirement last summer to a broadcast and reporting career. The 34-year-old’s newest project is Downtown Dani, a series with Tennis Channel where she talks fashion, food and off-court trends with the tour’s biggest stars. The two-time US Open quarterfinalist also shares her experiences from her career including her love for Indian Wells (where she won twice), winning the Fed Cup title for Slovakia in 2002, her best US Open match and winning a career mixed doubles Grand Slam.