Monthly Archives: April 2019

Inside the Tour with Nina and Irina — Steve Weissman on getting into broadcasting

“If you can’t lift people up and help them and make others successful, then what are you? At the end of the day you need to pay it forward and try to help as much as possible.”

Sportscaster Steve Weissman joins the Podcast Inside the Tour with Nina Pantic and Irina Falconi. Weissman will be a familiar voice as he’s the on-air talent for both Tennis Channel and the NFL Network.

A graduate of Northwestern journalism school, Weissman started his career grinding in Alpena, Mich., population of about 10,000. He then made moves to Comcast SportsNet and ESPN, before becoming a mainstay on set at Tennis Channel and around the globe.

He’s interviewed the best players in the game as well as co-hosted alongside the likes of Martina Navratilova, Mary Carillo, Lindsay Davenport, Paul Annacone and many more. Weissman shares his greatest experiences and most starstruck moments, and gives advice for anyone getting into the broadcasting world.

Beyond the Baseline, with Jon Wertheim — Entrepreneur, philanthropist and tennis advocate Mark Ein

On this week’s episode of Beyond the Baseline, host Jon Wertheim talks with Washington Kastles owner, investor, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Mark Ein. As a longtime fan and player of the sport, Ein discusses how he was introduced to tennis as a child and how his experiences as a ballkid growing up have influenced some of his business ventures as an adult. As the owner of the Washington Justice, a professional Overwatch esports team, Ein talks about what tennis can learn from the world of esports and how it can attract younger fans; why he decided to take control of the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. and much more.

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 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).