Monthly Archives: December 2018

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 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 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 with 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, 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 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.