Monthly Archives: February 2019

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 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 and Irina — 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 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 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).