Category Archives: Uncategorized

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 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 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 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, 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.

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 (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.


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


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.