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Ben and Courtney(!) join forces once more to discuss the breakout stories of the Miami Open, of which there were many. We lead off with a long chat about Ash Barty, the WTA #1 who seemed to prove her claim to that mantle more than ever with her title. Why did this title feel so big for a player who has already achieved so much? We then discuss Bian…
 
The Miami Open, which has been in a state of flux in recent years, is underway this week in the parking lot of the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens in front of a scant crowd and limited media, and with an especially depleted men's player field. To get a feel for how it's going on the ground, Ben checks in with Miami Herald columnist Michelle Kauf…
 
Think tennis could work better? So does pretty much everyone who works in tennis. Ben is joined by David Yaffe-Bellany of Bloomberg News, author of a recent piece exploring the long tradition of dysfunction and underperforming within the business side of tennis. What are the roots of the disorganization and the animosity? What are possible fixes to…
 
As the tours spend another week in the Middle East, the region's tennis queen Reem Abulleil joins NCR once more from (nearly) on-site in Dubai. First, Reem shares her impressions of having been on site at a tournament this week for the first time in more than a year, at ATP Dubai. How different does the empty bubble atmosphere resonate in person? T…
 
It was a newsy week in tennis, and Ben is joined by our MENA correspondent Reem Abulleil to discuss it all. Garbiñe Muguruza won her first title in two years at WTA Dubai, and seems to be building meaningful momentum as a top player week-in, week-out. What impact could that have on the tour? Roger Federer returned to competition at ATP Doha for his…
 
With the tours continuing onward amid the pandemic, we welcome NCR's Dutch Lowlands and Caucasus Highlands correspondent David Avakian joins from Rotterdam to update us on the tournament there, which has long been a jewel of the indoor circuit. We discuss what the tournament has done to not look sad despite being empty, the role of appearance fees …
 
Ben and Courtney (the #ATPOutsider) are back to discuss the men's final in Melbourne, which was weighted with high hopes of a classic but ultimately turned into a pretty one-sided win for Novak Djokovic. We discuss Djokovic's incredible match management skills, Medvedev's disappointing performance, if expectations were unrealistic, how this sets up…
 
With a second Australian Open title and fourth Grand Slam win overall, Naomi Osaka is into what feels like the beginning of the resume-padding phase of her already illustrious career. Ben and Courtney discuss Osaka's impressive run in Melbourne that ended with a win over Jennifer Brady, where she goes from here (particularly on clay), and the curre…
 
Both the men's and women's finals are set at the Australian Open, and we're thinking they'll be pretty good! Reem Abulleil joins Ben to discuss the semifinals that were and the finals that they set up, starting with Jennifer Brady backing up her U.S. Open run to book another blockbuster match against Naomi Osaka. Also, what do we make of Serena's e…
 
The wonderfully multitalented Nick McCarvel joins NCR now that the Australian Open semifinals are set, with Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka set to face off in a blockbuster clash, and Jennifer Brady and Karolina Muchova following as a compelling undercard on the women's side. On the men's side, Novak Djokovic faces previously unknown Aslan Karatsev…
 
It was a blockbuster day of women's tennis at the Australian Open, and Ben, Courtney, and Reem had a great time watching and discussing Osaka-Muguruza, Serena-Sabalenka, Halep-Swiatek, and the magical run of Hsieh Su-wei. What to make of these great matches? Which was the best? And how does the top half compare? Also a bit on Thiem-Dimitrov, Olivia…
 
As we reach the end of the Australian Open's first week, saying goodbye to Nick Kyrgios, the crowd, and Novak Djokovic's lock status, Ben is joined by Tumaini Carayol to wrap up the week that was and set the stage for the prize fights looming. How does this tournament feel so far? What were our impressions of Thiem-Kyrgios? How would the tournament…
 
After a pretty flat opening round (and week before at Melbourne Park) the Australian Open seemed to be jolted to life on Wednesday night by Nick Kyrgios, and several other intriguing moments emerged on Thursday as well. Ben and Courtney discuss their concerns about #1 Ash Barty, who struggled down the stretch. They also discuss the strangely self-d…
 
Venus Williams showed such staggering resilience, toughness, and determination on Wednesday that it almost didn't matter that she won only one game. Andrew Eccles, founder of The Spin, joins to discuss Venus' loss to Sara Errani, what it showed us about her, and why he has such love for Errani. We also discuss Hsieh Su-wei's win over Bianca Andrees…
 
It's been a different feeling Australian Open so far, with more scant crowds than anticipated, but also emphatic early performances by contenders on the women's side. Ben is joined by three tremendous women on this episode to get a sense of the tournament so far: NCR's Middle East and North Africa correspondent Reem Abulleil (who is delighting in t…
 
Another Slam is around the corner, and, in a surprise to no one, there are many players who seem wildly competitively relevant in the women's draw. Serena and Osaka are very good! Barty and Andreescu are back in action! Kenin and Halep remain legit! And then a whole bunch more people! On the men's side, there's Djokovic, who just about always wins …
 
Amid his busy schedule of creating photos and music, ATP #6 Stefanos Tsitsipas joins NCR this week, chatting with Ben about all sorts of things in a wide-ranging interview from his hotel room in Melbourne. We discuss topics including how he's handled the quarantine so far, his lifelong interest in creating things on the internet, his relationship w…
 
With conditions tougher than many players had expected for the mandatory quarantine period in Melbourne, and with gripes about how unevenly players have been treated, there were plenty of complaints to be heard from players, and then even louder complaints from the Australian public about those complaints. Ben and Reem Abulleil discuss what's been …
 
The Australian Open lead-up has hit more snags than players expected, with 72 of them (and counting?) facing a hard lockdown that could keep them from leaving their hotel rooms at all for 14 days, presenting major challenges to their Grand Slam preparation. To discuss that predicament, Ben is joined by one of the 72, ATP player Taro Daniel, who was…
 
The small world of tennis media lost one of its most beloved last week with the passing of Tom Perrotta, who had earned the love and admiration of practically everyone lucky enough to meet him. Since it's going to be a while before we're all able to come together again to properly raise a glass in Tom's honor, Ben and Courtney decided to use this s…
 
Ben and Courtney are delighted to be joined by Katie Spellman, a communications expert who joins for a companion episode to her Instagram series highlighting what it takes to make it working in the world of tennis, particularly on the media sides both independent and corporate. What are the keys to breaking into the business? What do you need to do…
 
Ben and Courtney wrap up their wrap-up of the uniquely weird year that was 2020 with this episode, which focuses on everything that happened after the pandemic first stopped the tours. How do we look back on how tennis players handled the stoppage, both as players and as citizens? Is it fair to make generalizations? And how did we feel about the te…
 
What was it like to form memories in 2020? For Ben and Courtney, things were far more vivid when we were still able to travel, so this first half of our annual "Remember When" is heavy on January. Have our thoughts on ATP Cup changed with the passage of time? And how about those donations to the Australian bushfire relief? Where were we when we rea…
 
We're delighted to bring you the conclusion of the roundtable with Reem Abulleil, Tumaini Carayol, and Alex Gruskin on our (sometimes myopic) 2021 vision for tennis. Topics the gang cover on this back half include the new WTA "rebrand," continuing media access shortfalls (particularly during quarantine), how Roger Federer might take to playing in e…
 
Staring into an uncertain future, Ben is joined by an all-star panel for a roundtable about what 2021 might and should look like in tennis. Reem Abulleil, Tumaini Carayol, and Alex Gruskin all return to NCR to discuss the 2021 outlook, starting with the Australian Open's apparent shift to February, which could majorly disrupt the first two months o…
 
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