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A highlight from Tennis.com Podcast 12/1/21: Donald Young & Sabrina Santamaria
"Santa Maria, the pride of SoCal. Welcome to the show. Thanks Kamala. Thanks for having me here. So when I meet people from that area, always am curious as to how you guys choose. Between SC, UCLA, Berkeley. How did you choose between those three schools? Because I know they all wanted you. Well, I grew up in Los Angeles. I grew up in Griffith Park. So I growing up, I always idolized USC, UCLA. I love that rivalry. And I thought I looked better in red to be honest. I'm just kidding. No, a lot of my friends went to SE and my best friend Kaitlyn Christian, she committed before me and I just loved the coaching staff, loved the girls on the team. Loved the school. And I just knew in my heart that that's where I wanted to be. Now was juju there when you were there as well? Yeah, we were the same year, so same recruiting class. So that class there, your group all three of you guys making a living on tour in doubles. And so, you know, when I talk to parents, I always think about programs that historically can actually put a player in college onto the tour. And SE you see LA like those schools are at the top of the list. Yeah, definitely. Tell us live tell us about life on double store because I think that from a viewer's perspective, we look at the grand slams. We look at to have a link, halo, you know, muguruza, right, but there's this whole other life like juju now in the final 8, right? You are making a living on tour, but it's a different living than something. Tell us about the grind. It's tough. I remember when we all first started out me, juju, Caitlyn Christian does red craft Jack. We were fresh out of college and decided, you know, we're going to stick to doubles and I remember we would all share hotel rooms going to Beijing going to Shenzhen anywhere in Europe. We would all share hotel rooms just to cut down on costs. We would fly budget airlines. We would if one of us lost first round, or if a couple of us lost first round, we would all pile into one room. You know, you got three girls sharing a king bed. It was a grind. We would take sandwiches from the breakfast. We were trying to just save as much money as we could because realistically doubles players don't make half as much as singles players. The prize money difference is huge. So for us starting out, we just really had to save as much as we could. And then once we started making grand slams, you know, going deep quarterfinals, and my finals here and there, you're starting to make a living. It's still not as much as single spears make, but we're making a good living as of right now. And you're gonna split it in half. And you gotta slid in half. Yeah. Now, did you split coaches because you know a lot of double players don't travel with a code? So I see the four of you guys kind of like working out with each other. And I'm always honestly impressed because when I look at people who actually know how to practice, I would say doubles players have more sort of ability to facilitate their own improvement in their own practice because they have to tell us about that. Yeah. I think it's definitely true. We have to do it ourselves because it's so hard to take a coach, especially when you're first starting out. It's so expensive. You have to pay for all their expenses and their fear and everything. So for us, we really learn to make our doubles practices as effective as they can be just simply because we don't have as much resources single players do. So we got really good at that. And we are our own coaches, essentially. At the moment, you know, now that we're starting to make a living a lot of us are starting to split coaches. So per week, you know, you just split with your doubles partners and that's definitely helping a lot. But in the beginning it was tough. Now how does that work? Because you might want a guy and she might want a guy like, I don't like that dude. He likes me. Weird vibe. How do y'all decide and agree? It's tough, I think, you know, you just gotta work out that compromise, honestly, doubles teams. It's really like a marriage, you know, you gotta compromise here and there and you just have to find the best fit for both players in order to make it work. Or I've seen teams have their separate coaches and do well with having their own coaches, and that's what works, but I think definitely just gotta find the right fit for you. So speaking of coaches, your dad was your coach, and your dad is a tennis coach. Tell us about how you got started. Was it like mandatory in your house? Like, if you're gonna eat dinner in this house, you're gonna play tennis. Yeah, it was definitely I grew up big tennis family, my parents immigrated. My dad immigrated from Panama and my mom immigrated from the Philippines. And they actually met on a public tennis court in LA. So tennis is just kind of run in the bloodline and when I was born, they just put a racket in my hand as soon as I could grip and my dad would tie a tennis ball to our ceiling in our apartment and just have me whack balls back and forth when I was four years old. And that was his dream to mold me into a tennis player. And his goal was always to get me to college, and then the pro thing kind of came from within myself, but he's been my coach since I was in diapers. So we have a really good relationship. He knows when to turn the coaching on when to turn it off. One to be dad, so it's worked out really well. So he doesn't travel, which is I, because I've never once seen him on the road, I always see him like in the corner with that like raggedy SE hat. Like sweat from like four years and I'm like, who do it in the corner with that raggedy SE hat on? Yeah, that's sad today. I'm like, oh, okay, okay. But I'd never see him on the road. He comes to all the grand slams typically. And sometimes the local ones like San Jose sometimes. But what the pandemic has been really tough because travel wise and everything like that. But I think he'll come to Australia, hopefully. It's a long trip, but his back is starting to hurt. But yeah, hopefully most of the grand slams, but as soon as the pandemic kind of winds down a bit, then it will be much easier for him to travel more. So when you graduated, you graduated, right? Yeah. So you graduated college and you know it probably wasn't a sure thing that you would make it on tour. Yeah. 'cause you probably didn't think you'd have the single success. It wasn't like top ten in the country in singles, whatever. So how did you decide, you know what? I know it's going to be tough. Was there like a coach that said, hey saps, you can make it, right? Or were you like, you know what? Let me give myself 8 ones out there. Let me take ten grand to see if I can do this. Yeah. And then if it doesn't work then I'll go take it down. What made you think you could believe? Well, you could do it. Definitely my parents have been the driving force. The whole time after college. But I would say there are a couple of people. Definitely a couple coaches that come to mind that really helped me right after college, Dustin Taylor, and Stephen amortized. When I was fresh out of college, they were a big college guys too. They really try and help college players, especially once they finish college. So they definitely helped me have the belief in myself. But my dad, again, it always comes back to my dad. He always believes in believes in me and pushes me. So those I think were the main people that tried to help me after college and here I am,
A highlight from Davis Cup Finals - Croatia and Germany win doubles deciders to reach semis
"Four quarterfinals of the 2021 Davis Cup are done and dusted the non Madrid based portion of proceedings are done and dusted the erode to Madrid as it is written on the courts or has been written on the courts in Turin and Innsbruck. Has been traveled and it has been traveled in its entirety by Croatia. He won through over Italy last night in Turin and most recently just minutes ago by Germany who won through in very dramatic fashion over Great Britain in Innsbruck will be covering both of those ties, but we will also be covering the bitter business from Sunday Night that we were unable to bring you because it finished so darn tooting late in the evening. And that was that Russia ended up beating Spain in the doubles Feliciano Lopez David was not able to do a queen's 2019 now he sort of did it until we pulled the plug. I think you must have sensed that we just
A highlight from The Tour Catch-Up: Davis Cup drama; Abu Dhabi madness; Peng Shuai 'sightings'; Raducanu's Royal Albert Hall day out; 2022 - the year of timed toilet breaks; Zverev & Muguruza reign at EOS finals
"We are back. I am back. The passing shot is back. We had a little bit of an extended break. I was on my sick bed all of last week unable to record, but we are back and ready to go. Looking back on, well, what's going on so far in the Davis Cup with the group stages happening quarterfinals happening at the moment, as well as talking about the Alexander zverev and garbine muguruza wins in Turin and Guadalajara, as well as looking at all of the latest news stories, including the news, the exciting news that use everyone wanted to hear, I guess, what pop from stephanos it's about that time toilet breaks will be a feature of the ATP tour from next season. Absolutely, Joel, welcome back. I hope you're feeling a lot better. It was weird, not having you, you know, not recording with the last week. I know it was so sad. I was so sad that we could have record. I know I sent you a little WhatsApp voice though being like, we can not record and yeah, it was just not going to happen, was it? No, but, you know, thanks everyone for wishing wishing Joel back for a speedy recovery and we're pleased to say that you are a lot better, so that's the main thing. And we have got a lot of tennis to catch up on from the last fortnight. You know, as we sort of before we head into the off season and Christmas will be on us before we know it. So this is kind of the last big bumper edition I would say. We've got the Davis Cup going on at the moment. So we will be back again to finish off the Davis Cup. But we're kind of at the quarterfinal stage Joel. I think we should probably begin with all the news coming out of the Davis Cup. And I mean, before we get on to the actual tennis itself, there's been an announcement that the Davis Cup finals will potentially be moving to Abu Dhabi for the next 5 years. And this is a big deal that's come about by cosmos. You know, the parent group, the kind of owns the Davis Cup now headed up by Gerard Piqué and they've apparently brokered a deal, which would, yeah, move it to the Middle East. What do you make of that? I think there's quite a lot of controversy around this. Yeah, I don't think it's particularly happy about it. He described it as it would be selling the soul of the Davis Cup if they move to Abu Dhabi. It hasn't happened just yet. I think it needs the ITF to give the seal of approval, which is expected, I think to go through next year. But I don't feel like the reception so far from people in the tennis community from fans as well has been positive to this reaction that our understanding is that it's a deal that's going to last the next 5 years. And I mean, this is going to be, I mean, can you imagine kids? I just feel like there's going to be no crowd says. We know atmosphere, which players are going to want to kind of go to the Middle East after a long season, you know, potentially playing in Europe at the end of season finals to go from one continent to another. It just feels like a big, big stretch and with the Middle East as well in Abu Dhabi, just it just doesn't feel like a place where it has a lot of tennis heritage either. It just feels it just feels very, very much like a probably to be expected given what's kind of happened previously. It's gone. It's gone where the money's gone. Yeah, it does feel like a very corporate and clinical decision. Purely money focused. However, I would say that a lot of players do actually go to the Middle East at this time of the year for their preseason, a lot of them do train out there and obviously we have the exhibition in Abu Dhabi right after Christmas. We have usually the Doha event at the start of the year. So I don't think it's completely an alien concept that players wouldn't want to go to the Middle East. I think it's just, you know, they would normally go, yeah, I guess after the holidays, whether you're celebrating Christmas or not, so whether they want to go and stay for like a good month or so and make it part of a big preseason and off season. I don't know. But I think yeah, for me, it's it feels like, you know, the World Cup being there next year in December this sort of very much corporate quite cynical decision and I don't know how it's actually going to work on the ground with fans and atmosphere. You know, I think later here, he doesn't really like the Davis Cup in its current format, you know, where it's in the sort of that kind of final year. Yeah, he wants home and away ties where you've got the home crowds and all the sort of raucous atmosphere. So which we've kind of, you know, there was a bit of debate when it kind of switched to the current format. But I think, you know, we went to David's cup two years ago, we enjoyed it. There were, you know, there was a good atmosphere there. I think, yeah, going to the Middle East, where I just don't think you're going to get as many people traveling out there. No. Obviously, with COVID, who knows what's going to happen with travel. But yeah, it is quite a cynical move. I think it's quite a corporate led decision. I'm not a fan of it. Overall.
A highlight from Davis Cup Finals - Group Stages done, bring on the knockouts
"While folks, it is 9 47 p.m. in London I'm Solihull and ten 47 p.m. in Madrid, which is obviously where matters and where a lot of the tennis community is right now a lot in Innsbruck and in Turin as well, of course. And just moments ago we watched 40 year old Feliciano Lopez walk out onto court in Madrid to play a decisive doubles rubber for his country, a rubber that is decisive, precisely because he couple of hours earlier when he was also 40 years old, beat 24 year old Andrei Rublev to keep Spain's hopes alive of qualifying for the quarterfinals. He is alongside muscle granose. They're taking along they're taking on the Russian team of Aslan karatsev and Andrei Rublev. The scenario here is very simple for Spain. If they win their through to the quarters, if they lose their out, the scenario is rather more complicated for Russia and various other teams that will be affected by this result. I really wish for your sake in mind that I could tell you very simply right now who through to the quarterfinals and why but that is so far from being the case. Yes, how are we enjoying round Robin people? I'm hating it with
A highlight from Davis Cup Finals preview - Matt's in Madrid!
"Well, thank you very much, jolanda for that. Brilliantly elegant intro there what a wonderful way to start the podcast and what a high bar to set us all for the next hour of content that you're about to hear, which will I'm sure be significantly less elegant. We are, though, myself, David and Matt, all together, not in the same room, far from it. But together on Zoom, which is what together means these days, isn't it? We are in three different locations to different countries. But it's Madrid calling. When was this? Well, you've just created a very tough act for David to follow Matt, well done. Dropped him right in. What was it I said to you earlier when I came on here? It was something really weird David that I chose to ignore. I said it in a tent, didn't I? I think you said hello, but in a dodgy. Sounded more like Borat. What you did then? What does that mean? Good. I mean, hello. Does it? Yeah. Hello. Good day. In Italian. All right, good. Well, there you are. See? And actually, when we get on to discussing the Davis Cup finals, I've got the Italian group to talk about. So, you know, all fits. Anyway, back to you Buenos Aires, mat. How are you? How is Madrid? How are all things? Very well. Thank you, yes. I like Madrid a lot. So it's been fun to be here. I have had some technological issues, which I've had to solve. I've made a trip to the Apple store in Madrid already. Yeah, for people that weren't already convinced of Matt's brilliance. Please know that today he communicated the words broken headphone Jack on my MacBook. To
A highlight from Tennis.com Podcast 11/24/21: Caroline Dolehide, Darian King & Ulises Blanch
"And we've got a lot to talk about this week. We've got a lot of tenants happening around the world. A lot of tennis related news that's become global headlines. But first, let's talk about Alexandra's Vera. When they have second year end championships, we saw him this year have some the most consistent results he's ever had in grand slams. And now finishing the year where he proves to be the top dog. We're only the best of the best at present. Congratulations to Alex. Who knows? Next year we can finally see him get that grandstand title. It all starts with some consistent results of going deep and slams what you did this year. And then now playing a year in and coming out. I think he's positioning himself well to have his best season yet. And then Guadalajara. We saw the best woman in WTA Tour show up to action packed Grand Slam atmosphere and Guadalajara. It was so great to see all the fans come out and see. Probably the best tennis crowd we've seen all year. And we saw, honestly, the best player of the second half of the season muguruza rest the top. We started have a good deep run at U.S. open with the loss there was some questionable medical time outs and injury timeouts that probably sort of ended her run sooner than it should have. We saw her win a title at the 500. And then we saw her lose the first round against Karolina Pliskova and end up coming out on top at the end of the day holding trophies off. Congratulations to gardenia. I don't think there's any surprise that seeing her emerge and hold their trophy at the end. And our first guest is somebody that's very familiar to me. It's a player that I'm watching tennis ball since she was ten years old. Always knew she had world class talent. But again, and big cities like Chicago, one wrong turn, one wrong move can really stunt your growth and end your career. And I think that carolin Doha, who we're going to sit down and chat with now is an example of staying with one coach in one situation, her entire junior career before she's raised a sort of expander wings and turn pro. But I'm happy to see her asking a lot of success on the double side so far. And then now, starting to show some consistent results. On a single side. So Carolina and I sit down and we talk reminisce about some Chicago days, what went right? What could have went wrong and
A highlight from ATP Finals - Zverev's title - what happens next? Peng Shuai latest, and some news from us
"So the ATP finals are over, Catherine Whitaker spent most of the day. Asleep. But she's here. Awakened just the Nick of time. Hello, Catherine. Just about scrambled myself into the land of the living in time for the podcast. You're welcome. Well, it's obviously to see you. How's your week been? Tiring, tiring, but good. Successful. Good. Yep. Yeah. Well, we've enjoyed watching you, Matt and I, you know, we watched on the TV and we say, oh, we know her. And yeah, no, it's been, it's been an interesting week of tennis that we can bring you up to date with obviously last time we were with you with Friday night. We'd just seen all the group stage matches apart from Novak Djokovic against Cameron nori, which in all honesty didn't mean an awful lot and as expected Djokovic sailed his way through that. And so that left us with semifinals and final to catch up on. And good to also have Catherine on for the first time because she's been a swanning around on TV for the last week and not enough time for us. So, you know, it's nice to see her again. Yeah. Blame the extra hour gap between sessions, David and the hour later. Much start time in Turin. Do I sense Catherine that of all the things that you experienced of Turin's staging that maybe that's the one that has got to go? The session timings. Yes. Yeah, I mean, spoiler alert, I wasn't out in Turing. Our studios in hounslow, we had done about Croft out there for us and we were similar. Crossing out there frequently, but I wasn't out there. So the time difference meant that night session much in the night session. Singles match for us in the UK was starting at 8 p.m., but locally they were starting at 9 p.m. and I know that cultures are different in I'm not quite sure what it's like in Italy. I know in Spain, you know, everything's different people go out for dinner far far later than they do here. But I just think that's too late. I think it's too late. It's too late the year after new session starts too early, and the evening session starts too late. And there's a big old gap in the middle. Yep. And well. And now it's an app. So it's always a time. That's perfectly perfectly sort of packaged. It's you can't nap when you've got two mic packs and an ear pack attached to your waist. And you can't lie down because there's all sorts of stuff going on in your hair. Anyway, get the violins out for all my first world problems. There was a lot of could have been nap time that wasn't. Although I have to say if Catherine can't nap through that, then nobody can. Matt's not here today. He's in Madrid. We'll be catching up with him in a couple of days time when we are building up to the Davis Cup finals. He's out there for that. He's all right. He's successfully got himself over there and he's raring to go. So I can't wait to speak to math about what all that's like. Before we get on to talk about the actual ATP finals, we should bring you up to date with the latest as we know it at least, regarding punctual, because obviously it's a story we've been following all over the last week. And the very latest is that we've at least seen pictures of her. We've seen video footage of her at first of all a dinner and then at a tennis event, what we're told was in Beijing and then finally in a video called which was shown and pictured on the Olympics, the official Olympics website with punctual apparently having a conversation via video link with the IOC president Thomas Bach and in that 30 minute call as it was detailed. She said to have thanked him and the IOC and everybody who's inquiring about her well-being and informed them that she is safe. Well, at home in Beijing and requesting privacy at the end of the article, we are told that he invited her to dinner in the call and that she's accepted. In that article, there is no mention of any of the allegations that she made on her Weibo account, which started this entire situation and the concern over her well-being and the fact that all of her post and subsequently lots and lots of search references to her into tennis seemed to disappear from the Internet in China. And it seemed that they had been in the words of many of the China correspondents for the BBC that they had been scrubbed to use that terminology. This has not put the minds at rest of the WTA. Steve Simon, again, has been, or at least the spokesperson for the WTA is again set today that this is an insufficient information for us. We still want to be able to speak and for us to be absolutely assured that she is speaking without any influence over her. And that an investigation can take place into the allegations that she initially made. So they are still concerned. The AOC Catherine seemed to take a very different approach to this throughout. They've talked about quiet diplomacy being their way forward. I heard a lord co this morning talking on ready a four on the today program. And being pretty defensive of that position and kind of warning against the more combative adversarial, I suppose approach that the WTA have taken the ultimatum really that they've thrown down. But really this is not over the ad. I mean, it's great to see that she's at least seemingly if those are current pitchers and if they are reliable that she is okay physically. But that isn't enough, is it? No, no. No one near. I feel like I've learned more about the IOC and Thomas Bach in the last 24 hours than I have about punctual status. It is, as you say, these developments are. Reassuring of her physical state. But there's still no certainty in that because there is no absolute guarantees of the verified ability of the timing of these images, but assuming that it is reassuring of her physical state and nothing more and there is an awful lot more to this. That I admire and respect Steve Simon for it would be so easy now with the IOC and with Thomas Bart getting proof of life as it were and let's be honest, it would be very easy to go, okay, great. We've done we've pat ourselves on the back. We've done a good thing. We've done our bit. We can still salvage all our relationships and all our financial interests. And move on. And I think, you know, the easy bit is at the start saying, hey, this isn't right.
A highlight from ATP Finals - Medvedevs yawn, Ruuds rise, Djokovic vs. Zverev preview
"In the evening of Friday with the final group stage match about to get underway between Novak Djokovic and Cameron nori a late alternate replacement for the injured player in that particular group, which was Stephanie sits a pass. And frankly, nothing can happen of note in it, that's because Djokovic has already qualified Cameron nori has already well lost his out. So basically, it's a dead rubber for the second night in a row, although last night's dead rubber was pretty good. So we'll get onto that in a little while. And yeah, basically the locals in Turin are putting, I guess you might say that the popular player in Yannick sinner and the big name in Novak Djokovic in prime time regardless of whether the match is mean anything. I think that pretty much sums it up. So Catherine's chatting away at the moment ahead of the Djokovic nori match and here we are in the tennis podcast to bring you up to date with it all. But before we do that, we'll bring you up to date with the latest involving punctual. As you know from, I guess, a lot of the media coverage you will have been following and certainly from our podcast over the last week, she still hasn't been heard from or spoken to or seen it certainly not from a verifiable source. We have seen some screenshots from of her within a tweet, but once again from somebody from the China state media so frankly, I don't think many people are taking that too seriously. But what they are taking seriously Matt is the ongoing story in itself and how distressing and worrying it is. And more and more players seem to be speaking out and Steve Simon, the WTA CEO is taking every chance he can to make his and the WTA's position about her and about their business in China, very, very clear. Yeah, absolutely. It's been quite tough, I think, to actually enjoy the tennis that's going on at the moment with this cloud hanging over the sport, although I say that, and it's a much bigger issue than a tennis issue. So it's an international incident now, quite frankly with the UN Amnesty International law demanding evidence of her whereabouts and safety yeah, I mean, I would say, again, how impressed I've been, we are with Steve Simon's leadership on this issue. His courage to take on China and his integrity to do the right thing. I think, you know, he sort of doubled down on all that on his latest appearance, public appearance, which was on CNN. Last night where he said, we're at a crossroads for our business with China, too many times in our world, we let business politics and money dictate what's right and wrong. And you know, I just think it's an incredible message that he's sending with this approach and this sort of hard line approach. Who knows? It may end up changing the way sporting governing bodies end up dealing with China. I don't know. Obviously, the other side to all this, as you said, is many, many more players speaking out about it. The vast majority of WTA players lots of ATP players as well. Been impressed by how quickly they've all mobile eyes and got behind it as well. You just won the sort of how much good it will do. It's obviously a very frightening and scary situation, but you've got to try everything you can to put as much pressure on, I think, and the tennis community is really doing that. That's certainly my instinct as well. I didn't know today that the IOC have taken a very different approach and they actually they said quite diplomacy is the way forward and the best way to achieve results which personally I don't buy. I think that sir Steve Simon and tennis is doing the right thing and I regard it as refreshing and I'm pleased that they're not just karate, frankly, and letting business and money get in the way of what they believe is right and wrong. They're being very clear about that. I did notice in an interview that the BBC did with Steve Simon today. They kind of put that to him in the interview and said are you at all worried that taking such a hard line approach might not yield the results you want? And quieter, more gentle negotiations and diplomatic efforts might be a better way. And Steve Simon was not having it. He his view is that this is he has no reservations about the way the way he's handled it so far and the way he will continue to handle it. It's just a little bit difficult and it's impossible really, but I have a hard time working out where it goes next and at what point if everybody's had their sign, everybody's spoken up and today, several of the big name players Andy Murray, lots of others and organizations as well, keep saying it, you know, what happens in a few days time, if everybody's had to say and we still don't know anything, or we still not confident about her whereabouts. The guy I don't know. But I'm just hoping for the best, really, which is kind of a horrible position, horrible powerless position to be in. But that's where we are. Yeah, I think certainly punctuates safety is of Paramount importance and that is the primary issue at the moment which everyone is getting behind. But I share your concerns in terms of where does this go if, you know, if so many people have already spoken out and there's been no answers. What's going to happen in a few days time a week's time? That's why I think it's important that we continue to talk about it, continue to put the pressure on, and I think the larger question of Tennessee's relationship with China I mean, it seems pretty untenable at this point, doesn't it?
A highlight from Peng Shuai fears grow; WTA Finals bliss for Muguruzaand Catherine
"Is over and we'll get on to talking about Gabon garus win over and at cultivate in a moment or two because there were some incredible scenes and scenes I don't think I'll ever really forget actually from over the course of the last week Matt's here alongside me David lore and we're going to be talking about everything that's gone on over the past couple of days in the semifinals and the finals of the finals and also what's gone on at the ATP finance because there's been some change there with injuries and replacements and alternates coming in and we'll update you with where we are with all of that. But I think we have to start with the ongoing story about the Chinese player pung Shui and the story that just continues to develop. And the concern that continues to grow over her whereabouts and the the lack of verifiable knowledge that she's okay and that she is in going to be in a position to have her allegations investigated. Just to bring you up to date with what happened yesterday we saw a tweet from I think I first saw a tweet from Naomi Osaka Matt that made me think, oh, well, she's speaking up on behalf and asking where is she? And this comes a day after Steve Simon and said that they'd received some assurances albeit not directly from her or not directly from anybody that directly knows her from the tour that she was okay and there was nothing to worry about. But he made it clear that he still wanted to hear more. Then suddenly in the afternoon, a letter was posted by a China state affiliated media organization, which said the following, and it was coming from or at least purported to be from punctual. It says this. Hello everyone. This is punctual, regarding the recent news released on the official website of the WTA, the content has not been confirmed or verified by myself, and it was released without my consent. The news in that release, including the allegation of sexual assault, is not true. I'm not missing, nor am I unsafe. I've just been resting at home and everything is fine. Thank you again for caring about me. If the WTA publishes any more news about me, please verify it with me and release it with my consent. As a professional tennis player, I thank you all for your companionship and consideration. I hope to promote Chinese tennis with you all if I have the chance in the future. I hope Chinese tennis will become better and better. Once again, thank you for your consideration. What was your immediate reaction upon reading that first map? Extremely disturbed and unsettling. And just didn't think it was punctual, writing that to be quite honest. We understood that that was sent to the WTA. And the way it starts with hello everyone, this is punctuate. It just doesn't sound right. There's people picked up on the fact that there's a cursor visible in the middle of the letter, just that isn't how an email ends up being sent. And frankly, what was really quite sickening, actually, there was a lot of concern about punctual at this point. You know, I mean, as they're already had been, but this just ramped it up even more for me. Yeah, and I think what you're saying there is what most people within the sport of tennis felt and were saying. We then received quite shortly afterwards, a statement from Steve Simon, the WTA's chairman and CEO, which read as followers. The statement released today by Chinese state media concerning Peng Shui only raises my concerns as to have safety and whereabouts. I have a hard time believing that punctuate actually wrote the email we received or believes what is being attributed to her. Punctual, despite incredible courage in describing an allegation of sexual assault against a former top official in the Chinese government. The WTA and the rest of the world need independent and verifiable proof that she is safe. I have repeatedly tried to reach her via numerous forms of communication to no avail. Punctual must be allowed to speak freely without coercion or intimidation from any source. Her allegation of sexual assault must be respected investigated with full transparency and without censorship. The voices of women need to be heard and respected, not censored nor dictated to. That's what Steve Simon had to say in response. And I mean, it continues to escalate really Matt, doesn't it? Based on that, more and more people are taking an interest in this story. I've seen China correspondence on the BBC and on CNN who are normally covering non sports stories are all focused now on this issue on this issue. There's no suggestion that we're going to hear from her in from anybody. We seem to be at a bit of a standoff right now. But quite clearly, Steve Simon is not for backing down and here. I think I think that's really refreshing and that the leader of a sport that has such a financial stake in China is not budging on this particular issue, not fudging his words, not hedging, not using management speak, not talking about, you know, the tournaments that he needs to bear in mind. Obviously this is way, way bigger than that. This gets down to the, you know, this is life.
A highlight from Episode 317: Peng Shuai, China, and the End of WTAsia?
"Welcome to no challenges remaining. I'm Ben rothenberg, thrilled to be joined for what's been too long of an absence from NCR's Intrepid Spain and sub Saharan Africa correspondent to Monte carryall of The Guardian. Welcome back to NCR. Thanks for having me back. I'm glad to be here after my extensive travels in Spain and sub Saharan Africa. Really? We've been there recently. That's my case. My speech was not being on the podcast ever happened. In the field doing field work for us, steel reconnaissance and keeping the beat warm, all those important things. It's an interesting time in tennis. It's been a fairly new zeal November. I feel like in a very interesting sort of November as the tour remains sort of in flux, this tennis rains and flux during the pandemic, everything feels new and shifting and certainly we see that on the women's side on court with the new pop up urine championships that have emerged in Guadalajara, which we'll talk about will also talk about the ATP having its first edition in Torino, which is a less spontaneous development that's been telegraph for years that term is going to take over for the from London for that sanction for the year in championships. And I will pick if I refer to it as both either turn or Torino at some point. I'm not going to alternate those constantly. But we'll get to those. But the first one I want to get to is touch on. I do think it's sort of some bigger picture ramifications potentially for the tour is the story that's been in a lot of navy lately and increasingly from players on social media Naomi Osaka just posted about it within the last hour or so of us recording this. That punctual, the Chinese player, who's not played on tour since 2020, I'm not sure if she's officially retired or not, but she was a longtime fixture in the tour in the top 50 certainly. Singles and got to number one in doubles, the one some grand slams and doubles game made a U.S. open semifinal in singles in 2014. Famously had the heat issue and his fans who were close watchers of women's tennis will definitely never punctually. And her two handed style on both sides. She suddenly made news after, obviously, like I said, sort of being afraid or not playing for a while, she made a post on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo detailing her accusations against a government official in China, a former senior government official Jean gaoli, who is a vice premier in China in the Chinese Communist Party and part of the government there. One party government they have in China, accusing him basically of after having had a consensual relationship with him accusing him of sexual assault that happened in 2017. She said she did not have ways of proving this and compared herself to a moth flying into a flame, knowing through a danger ahead of her in the post, but she put it up and then within 20 minutes or so or less than 20 minutes I believe it was taken down tonight. Yeah, yeah, around ten minutes of her ten 12. I don't know the exact number. But pretty quickly it was taken down and all sorts of wider spreading censorship. Was carried out across Chinese Internet in 2017 as its own sort of ecosystem in a lot of ways, the great firewall of China they call it, you know, it's its own sort of rules apply there and great much more censorship. Searches for punctual for tennis for Cenk Ali's name all were sort of redacted heavily and continue that continues throughout the month of November. This had been posted and there certainly news reports about it in The New York Times and Washington Post another outlet and it got the attention of really being a Chinese political story more than a tennis story. But then it sort of broke into the tennis consciousness over the weekend, I guess, as some, honestly, this is my framing of it, feel free to dispute this. Some more sensationalist stories about it came out including from daily mail and that made it punctual I disappeared. Where is she no one knows when that didn't seem to from my reading to be based on anything? Except for the fact that she hadn't posted on social media and people equated that with her being a missing person. I can not confirm or deny that people don't know where she is, but that conjecture seemed to be somewhat out of nowhere, but it did really amplify the story and make seemed to raise the stakes for the story for a lot of people, and it caught on much more widely spread to people tennis players, including how they say cornet, famously frequently outspoken allies, their name was one of the first on it to amplify it went to Chris Evert, other figures in the sport and the WTA actually came out with a statement about it over the weekend. Before I read some of the statement in a bit of a monologue, a bit there, just you want to chime in on any of the things I've detailed at the timeline of this two weeks of story. Well, the first thing I guess we'll go into more detail about this, but what about the timeline of it? Description of being I come off to a flame. It's obviously an incredibly kind of courageous and bold for her to only speak out about it initially in her way by account. But also to reading the translation just how detailed and how just how in depth there was, it was quite a shocking account and what it must have taken for her to press post knowing what the consequences could be. And following up on that, I was speaking about the daily mail to go because yeah, I think what had happened was that a French publication, I think it was Lebanon. One doesn't mean, had kind of explicitly said, it would have just followed up saying she hasn't posted on her social media since the initial post. And that should be and for very good reason there's a lot of worry about where she was issue a safe issue is okay. What's a shot by everyone and also people when she initially posted? And then yes, the daily mail kind of vanished and the LeMond article had disparate, which means disappeared in the headline. And they were using similar sort of language about she's missing. And it struck me just you know, and I completely I coached on what you said. I understand completely the concerns about her safety in her well-being and her whereabouts and all those things are fair. I just didn't get the sense from the Le Mans reporting, or from the daily mail reporting that either of those outlets and other people followed suit, certainly on social media, had made any effort to locate her before declaring her missing. That was my sort of feeling. No, I agree. There was no reporting or anything aside from she hasn't posted on social media and we're rightfully. Concerned. And yeah, it was definitely since I mean, as you said, although it was, I mean, those titles were there, so that people could view them. It has had the kind of positive effect of seemingly pushing everything forward. And when everyone discussing it even more to people talking about her and kind of, you know, it's a coincidence that the doctors statement as well discussed as well came out soon after that. So I mean, it's just a very kind of curious timeline, how things have played out, but I mean, I'm not good, but I mean, it's correct that we've reached a point where the WTA has had to speak out. Yeah. And you don't want this. I totally agree. It's messy and it's an imperfect way to get there, but I think through the end justify the means of this sort of media outcry that it did lead that did spur action and did spur voice from the WTA who still took 11 days, I think after her initial post to put out their statement. So there was not speedy compared to the 11 months it took, for example, for the ATP to respond to Olga share public posts and even then it was much less direct. But anyway, so I want to read from Steve Simon statement, which came out after myself and other people had asked to be tape for statements, which they got several requests over the last previous 24 48 hours. Since the conversation got amplified, Steve Simon in his statement says, I'll read this and folks. It's not that long. The recent events in China concerning a WTA player punctual or a deep concern as an organization dedicated to women, we remain committed to the principles we were founded on equality
A highlight from Tennis.com Podcast 11/16/21: Brandon Nakashima & Holger Rune
"Interesting episode, a lot of action this week in tennis with the next gen finals, which although it is an alternative format with four game short sets, sideline coaching on the men's tour, which we rarely see. The results from tournaments like this have proven to be dependable indicators of what's to come. We saw Sasha's Vera make his name here. We saw Rublev make a name here. We saw center make a name here. And within two years time, these boys are in the top ten. So let's not take the results from this lightly. Let's continue to view it as an indicator, and I'm interested to see which one of these young guns emerges. Ultimately, we saw alcaraz be said quarter in the final. Will this be his breakthrough? Will he be the first of that pack to get top 25 in the world? Well, stay tuned and see. Last week, we also saw Alison risk, doing what she does. Stand out there on the road, sneaking in a way and at the end of the year and lands when everybody else is at home. We saw TP, Tommy Paul, with a real good win over Francis TFO. Francis probably knows he let one get away there. And ultimately went on to hold the title on Stockholm. Always a good win at the end of the year right there. And then some jaw dropping news on the WTA side. Paying Schwartz comes out talks about sexual misconduct allegations of Chinese delicate. Whenever we hear that on a woman's door, number one, we get concerned. Number two, we are shocked. So it's going to be interesting to see how that one unfolds. I want to intro our first guest. Brandon nakashima, California NATO, be not. A kid that I saw play number four at UVA when they were in Chicago practicing. And even if playing number four, I was like, that dude can ball. We're gonna learn about his journey. What makes him tech? And what was his first big purchase? He said some good wins. It's made two of you finals. He got nothing his bag now to make a few purchases. So let's see what he did. What's up, B? What's up? How are you doing? Good man. Good, you look good out there. Thanks, thanks. So when I met you last summer, you had less than a thousand Instagram followers. Now you got 11,000. Yeah. How is life change for you? Yeah, it's definitely changed a lot. You know, since a year over a year ago, you know, I think everything has changed, really. Kind of both on and off the court, especially with my game. And also, you know, just kind of the lifestyle off the court with the professional life here. Okay. I'm never going to detail because that's private. We can have that offline conversation. So, you know, I look at you and I look at like Jim Brady. And you didn't even play number one for UVA before leaving college. And now you're in the next gen finals. How do you explain that transition from not playing number one on your college team to now being one of the best up and coming stars on the ATP tour? Yeah, I think you know in the juniors, I kind of always knew that I had the game to turn professional at some point. And you know, maybe in college, you know, it's just kind of a different experience. With the format and the matches there. So maybe I was feeling a little bit uncomfortable at the beginning or took a while for me to kind of get my bearings there and you know, we had such a great great team there so, you know, all the matches were at a high level and you know, if you're playing one or two in college ten is, I mean, you're pretty much playing all the top guys in college tennis. So I think the transition from college to professional has been pretty smooth so far. You know, after I decided to turn professional I quickly got some results on the ATP tour and started doing well on a bunch of challenges. So from there the ranking has just been improving and just trying to develop my game as much as possible on the court. So I was commentating for tennis channel during the Atlanta tournament. And I don't know if you heard. I bet on you versus big John Isner. Now that you have been on tour for a year or almost 18 months and had, you know, some some success been in like two or three finals now. What is your perspective on the game now? You know, when I watched that match against the big server like that, it was going to come down to one or two points at the end. I wanted to, will you stay down on the forehand ride or something like that? What is your perspective now on the difference in those matches? 'cause you're competing with all of them out grand Isner, et cetera. You beat it isn't there in Acapulco, right? So what is your what do you think the game is about now versus what you used to think it was about when you were in college? Yeah. You know, I think at the professional level, I mean, all the guys in the top hundred or even top 200, I think are super solid from the baseline, you know? And, you know, most of the matches it just comes down to a few points, like you said. You know, kind of who's better, better mentally in those critical points. So, you know, sometimes it works out to your advantage and sometimes it does it, but you know, those in those moments you just try to learn from as much as possible and just try to gain experience from those moments to help you in the future when you're playing out this. When you're playing out here, like on the biggest stages. So what do you think has been the biggest reason for your progression? Like, when I looked at, you know, team tennis, I looked at when Sloan played team tennis in 2017, she went on to win the U.S. open. We look at Jim Brady played team tennis last year and went on to the semis of a Grand Slam a U.S. open. What do you think has been, I mean, dusan's been by your side, literally by your side, right? 24 7. In the same hotel room, making you hit volleys across the bed, right? You know, so what do you think has been the biggest sort of reason for your in my opinion rapid success, rapid Ascension into? Yeah, I mean, it's tough to tough to pick one certain thing that's kind of been kind of key factor in the progression here. You know, I think it's just the mentality. I think, especially when I turn right off the bat, what I turned pro, you know, just knowing that I'm going to have some good and bad matches out there and sometimes the travel is going to be tough, but you know, just try to take every opportunity as best as possible out there and just try to learn from learn from different experiences. When you're out there competing, I think is key. So and then, you know, also the also always try to improve mindset when you're on the practice core. I think it's pretty key to feel more confident and comfortable in these matches. All right, so I've got two more questions. Lighthearted questions.
A highlight from Semi-finals set in Guadalajara; Turin feels a lot like London
"If you would like to be introducing a show in 2022, you can do so when we launch our next round of crowd funding, a so crowdfunding, it's all going to be a bit different this next time. We'll tell you about that next week. David. 30 seconds into the pod. Yeah. However, rest assured, we will still be doing shout outs. We'll still be doing intros. We'll still be doing pet mascots all the rest of it. And yeah, if you want to have a reminder when we launch all of that in early December, go to our show notes and you can have a link there and we'll send you a reminder if you stick your email address in. But anyway, thank you to Andy because it is at the stage where the WTA finals semifinals are complete. And that's why we're back there because we've had a few days. I have to say, I don't know about you. I'm slightly struggling to keep across when we're supposed to do podcasts at the moment because we wake up to two matches having played at the WTA finals and then two hours later after we've recorded the podcast the ATP final starts in Turin. Oh, dear, dear. We've, you know, we've spent about half an hour this morning. Just trying to work out when we should record podcasts. So every other day is more or less the plan. But it's messing with my mind. Thank goodness we got yours, let's back up. Yeah, there are very few windows in the day to actually record a podcast when there's not tennis happening because of the two times ends. But yes, every other day we will be here for the rest of this week covering both events. Okay. Well, right. Well, we'll start with the WTA finals and let you know what the semifinals line up is. And it is going to be gardeny muguruza against Paola badosa. And it is going to be Maria Zachary against Annette. We will tell you about everything that went on over overnight and on the night before in those matches. In just a minute. But before that, I've just got to draw your attention to some sorcery from that Roberts in our newsletter. We do like to blow our own trumpeter on so it's broadcast when we get something right. Sometimes you have to. Sometimes you have to, and it's such a rare occurrence in my case that I take every advantage when I can. But this from Matt is quite extraordinary. In the last newsletter, from a few days ago, just before the WCA finals took place, started up. Matt wrote a WTA finals preview in the newsletter and he wrote the following. The four players I think will reach the semifinals a pile of dosa Maria Zachary and at conservators and gardenia. I mean, what? Frankly, it all feels like guesswork until we see how they adapt to the conditions. Well, not guesswork for you. But I've gone with players who I think can battle through hardship. I'm also hoping that badass and in particular muguruza with her Latin American roots, not South American David. Feed off the crowd support and energy. I mean, nailed it. That's as though you've cheated or something. So you've come back from the future. And just sort of done the newsletter with not with complete hindsight. I mean, newsletter readers will know that I am last in our predictions composition for the year. I've had a shocker. I mean, I've not got one right for months. And I've and the irony is I've made four predictions here. I've got them all right. Don't get any points for them whatsoever. But do you know often I look at a WTA draw and I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen. I mean, it's easy to say in hindsight, I actually felt fairly confident about those predictions. Just given where quite cheek if I was, given how where sapal lenka was I didn't think would really relish these conditions and Schwann tech was a real unknown. I almost put you on ticket, I suppose. But yeah, I think we've had some good matches. We've had some exciting matches, but it has panned out. I thought it would. Amazing. Amazing. We've reached that stage with it being the final group stage of the WTA finals where you get that kind of all or nothing feel to the matches. When it was Zachary against samba Lanka last night, and it was winner take all the winner goes into the semis, the loser goes home. You can not avoid that match. You can not, you need to rearrange your life in order to see that match. Whereas the other one, but user against Schwann tech with everybody known that boss was already qualified and couldn't shrink couldn't qualify. I didn't even bother watching that. I don't know what happened. I mean, I noticed 7 5 6 four. I didn't watch it. It was irrelevant, really, in terms of what goes on. Is that how you feel? Or do you just watch them all anyway if you can? I would have watched it if there was nothing else on, but of course, with the ATP finals happening at the same time, I ended up watching sits and pass Rublev, which was on it exactly the same time last night. That's infuriating. I mean, both of them starting at 8 o'clock UK time. Yeah. I know. It just sort it out. But yes, I know I didn't watch so should be on tech. Either I know it was I think it was badass birthday, wasn't it? And she was in this awkward position of knowing she was through and knowing that her match was the next day her semifinal. No, no day off. So I think from the sound of things, it was quite a physical match, you know, second set in particular was there was some grueling games in it. But I think, you know, not the worst thing in the world, but also that it didn't get stretched to three sets. Physically, yes, but I always think this is a really tough position for the player who's one two and is through already. We've seen it so many times in London at the ATP finals. Where, and you've got this player is coming out and I'm in a towel once being in this position. And it's no chance he's going to be able to kind of give a sort of 75% effort. I mean, do you remember that one where I think Andy Murray played a couple of times in the third rubber having already qualified? And then just the competitive juices kicking in and him just absolutely destroying himself ahead of the semifinals that he'd already qualified for. Yeah, it's not an ideal situation. Is it? And actually, we had a little bit of it in muguruza cultivate. It was already through the interesting thing there was muguruza had to win that match to get through to the semifinals.
Djokovic opens ATP Finals beating Ruud
"We are in the thick of it. The WTA finals is heading to the semifinals stage. The ATP finals has just got started so we have got a lot of top quality tennis to talk about across the world, really, including the events in Stockholm and linz on the final events on the ATP and WTA tours. We've also got to talk about the Peng Shui controversy, the news coming out at the moment. All of the situation in the context between China and the WTA. So even though we're again at the end of the season once again, we've got so much tennis to talk about. And where better to start where no better to start than Guadalajara in Mexico, which I thought, you know, I wasn't really expecting a lot from this, you know, it felt like a loss, sort of a last minute decision to change it to Mexico and actually it's turned out to be a pretty fun event so far. It has, yeah, especially the night Sessions, the crowd are loving it, and I think it's a strong case to keep it at over in Mexico and Guadalajara. And I think, you know, the two Spaniards Spanish players doing very well, both in semifinals, perhaps it's the whole Hispanic culture there. They're loving being out in Mexico, perhaps that's
A highlight from WTA Finals - Badosa & Sabalenka soar, Swiatek out but still a winner; Where is Peng Shuai?
"Why Chrissy is introducing the tennis podcast, it's because it is one of the categories of crowdfunding that we included at the end of last year, the start of 2021, when we crowdfund the whole season and so many of you stepped up to show your support for the tennis podcast. Chrissy was one of them. And yeah, she came in at the intro level, and will be reconvening at the end of this year standing in December in order to have people supporting us hopefully next year for 2022. So you'll get your chance to show your support for the show. And yeah, maybe you could be introducing a show, having a shout out or have any a pet involved. Because these are the important things, Matt. You know, they sure are. They are to us, otherwise we wouldn't be able to do all this. And we want to see your donkeys, et cetera and here your lovely voices at the start of our show. So Chrissy, thank you so much. We are convincing without Catherine today because she is currently in a TV studio or a hair and makeup room getting all ready for the ATP finals, which are due to start today this afternoon in Turin and Catherine's going to be presenting all of it on Amazon Prime Video in the UK. We are going to talk mainly about the WTA finals which is continued with another couple of days of play of the last 48 hours in Guadalajara, and a lot's happening. We're trying to do it group stage by group stage and we'll continue this theme if we can all the way through the ATP finals as well, given that they are overlapping, which, I mean, marvelous that they're all being played, but my word, not even Matt and I, with basic blanket viewing and multiple screens up, are able to keep across all of the tennis that's gone on in the last few days. Is that accurate math? I mean, what's been the most tricky juggling act? Was it when was it when Stockholm started and then the next gens and then the WTF finals last night all at once? Oh, and you also had to keep across strictly come dancing. Of course, yes. I think we've had to invent a sort of new thing. Haven't we? Every other daily has become our means of trying to keep across these events. But I think it's working. It's a shame that the hardest one to keep up with for us is the night session in Guadalajara because that looks a really fun time, doesn't it? Guadalajara should say North America, let's get out in front of the old. Well done. Yeah, I'm an emails have we had? How many tweets? It was me, everybody who got that wrong. I was trying to paraphrase guardian Maguire, saying how exciting and wonderful it is to have a tournament of this ilk in Latin America and of course I had said South America and Catherine tried to dig me out of trouble by saying, oh, I think that might be Central America, and she got it wrong as well. It is North America. So sorry, everybody in Mexico or anybody who actually understands geography. I don't. I did actually get thrown out of a levels, geography, not just failed it. I wasn't allowed to take it. Now we know why. Yeah, multitude of errors from all of us, strong apologies for that. I think two days ago, we were convinced by the potential of Guadalajara. We'd seen a little glimpse of it with muguruza Pliskova of what it could be. That first night session match, which was electric and really strong quality, but I think the other matches weren't brilliant on the opening two days. Now I'm just convinced by the whole thing. I mean, the last three singles matches have been superb, the crowd has been loud and generally it's been a triumph, I think, not least because of the way it's been staged at such the last minute. And yeah, I mean, the best thing I can say is that I have, I have fomo, and not many tennis events during the pandemic have really given you that, I think. What's fomo? Fear of missing out. You know, basically just want to be there and I think I felt that during the U.S. open and I'm feeling that doing Guadalajara as well, especially those note Sessions. Just a fun time. Yeah, really fun time. Actually reminded me in therefore perhaps shouldn't be that much of a surprise of when Nick curios was having his running Acapulco. And how warmly he spoke of that tournament. And the revelation that happened for a renesha last night in front of that that night session crowd really told you everything about what this event has done for the sport really and what it is doing for a night out in Guadalajara right now. I mean, let's just go through yesterday's matches. First of all, and I think one thing we did see, I don't know whether you caught this, but it was Saturday yesterday and it felt like that things were even elevated more because it was Saturday. And because the afternoon crowd with Paolo barossa beating Maria Zachary 7 6 6 four, that had a good crowd and a sort of building crowd and it ended up with a really good atmosphere. I mean, I think, but also is another very popular player there's obviously Spanish and Spanish speaking and I think that that was a factor.
A highlight from WTA Finals so far, altitude, ATP Finals preview and a misunderstanding
"You're presenting right David? Oh, hi. I thought you were. How long could this have gone on for? Oh, sorry. I thought you said, do you want me to present and that's what I was replying? Yes, I think. I'm happy the way you said, yes, I think so. I thought that was do you want me to present? Okay. I can present nothing. Happy to present as well. What would you prefer? How long would we have? I thought you were hearing the interference that my phone was causing in my ear. But apparently not. Well, hello folks, and welcome to our first WTA finals tennis podcast or should I say Akron WTA finals Guadalajara? Tennis podcast, I think that's the full title of the event. We are reunited the three of us. For the first time in a little while, it feels like a little while. Does it feel like a world to you, David? It does a bit, yeah. Yeah, 'cause I get a bit confused about who I'm talking to. And who's presenting? Sometimes. Anyway, we work it out at the end. And yeah, I think you should say it like that once and never again. No offense to the sponsor, it's just that it's a bit of a mouthful, isn't it? Do we know what Akron does? Matt is my first opportunity to ask you a question that you don't know the only hope that wasn't going to be coming to me. Google. Do we know what Akron does? Akron? Free adds to these people. It's a city in Ohio. It's a children's hospital. It's a movie of 2015 movie. It's a seascape resort in Greece. Oh, I hope it's that. It's a beach bar in Greece. Even better. I would say that Akron, whoever they are need to improve their Google search optimization. Okay, they seem to have a website that's entirely in Spanish Matt. Oh no. To me again, isn't it? Hang on. You need to put him Akron, Mexico to get, I think, where you need to be. Otherwise you'll end up in Ohio, which I don't think is where we want to be. Just talk about yourselves. Oh, hang on, it seems to be, is it engine oil? Looks like it might be engine oil, which I have to say is it is an unusual brand association, but thank you Akron for supporting tennis. Yeah, bringing an opportunity for this event to actually happen out of the blue. Come on, people are on the edge of their seat here. I'm not sure I'm on the right thing. Okay, acheron, more than most Al mundo. Is there sub pedal header? We move the world. There's a big claim. Yeah, I think it's and I think it's sort of halfords type paraphernalia. Okay? Well, welcome acron. They open their first gas station in 2018. All right, okay. Big dogs. Well, anyway, thank you for supporting the WTA finals. Hey, look, this event came close to not happening, didn't it? It really did. And it's a triumph that it's on. It's a triumph that it seems so far to be a success. We've had a full round of group stage matches as we come to you. The night session crowd seemed to be really, really good. The day session crowds are a bit more sparse. That is very often the case in tennis. The quality of the tennis so far seems to broadly be very good. I think the altitude is perhaps less of a mayhem causing feature than some people feared. I think generally. Everyone's feeling pretty positive about the accor on WTA finals Guadalajara. Well, no body more than Gauguin marguerite, who I listen to all the pre tournament press conferences and listening to her talk about the moment she found out that it was going to be held there was the highlight of all the pre event press conferences because it reminded me of muguruza, maybe 5 years ago, when you'd ask her a question and she would light up, she would really be engaged and she would really let you know how she feels and she's seriously moved by the fact that it is being played in South America. And, you know, she thought she would never see the day. She really said, it would take such a lot for this to happen. I mean, frankly, it's taken a global pandemic ultimately is what she was saying. And for her, it just means the world, because she's obviously got Venezuelan roots as well. And she said she heard Steve Simon announced it. She kind of needed confirmation that that was that she wasn't reading it wrong. And you could tell in the match she played the other night. I mean, she got an amazing reaction from the crowd, and it was absolutely capacity. And she just lost a heartbreaker and yet she was smiling as she walked off and patting her heart, you know, because of what it meant to her. So I think it is really well received. And I think the players are and everybody there seems really happy to be there. Can I just get ahead of the people that email us or tweet us to say that Mexico is not in South America? Technically it's Central America, but we are following our business lead here with this. Sorry, I just thought I should point that out. Because otherwise other people would. I think she might have said Latin America. That's what she said. Yeah, sorry everybody. Yes, I know where it is really. That was the, so we've had four singles four doubles matches as we come to you on Friday morning. That was very clearly the match of the tournament so far, mat, wasn't it? It was, yeah, deciding set tiebreak. Box ticked for brilliant match. Yeah, and sometimes you get matches which end up in the deciding set tie break and that feels completely inevitable because no one's getting close to breaking serve, and it just sort of meanders to a final set tiebreak. And that's great. You know, because that's a great climax. But this one actually, there were lots of close games and lots of drama on route to the final set tiebreak. So you sort of had the best of both. You had a really exciting final set with this great crescendo as well. It reminded me a bit stylistically of place of as much against anissa mova at the U.S. open, which was a highlight of that tournament, just big hitting, you know, not particularly long rallies, but loads of winners, you know, whoever can get on the front foot in charge of the match. And Pliskova again has come through another another tight one, just as she did against them over. I think, well, muguruza saved three match points, didn't she, but I also felt like she probably should have won it. You know, she was up a mini break, I think three times in the tiebreak, and every time she looked like she had it, she just made some errors or please give her came up with something brilliant, so I think muguruza loved the occasion, loved the crowd. She really had a lot of support. She was sort of feeding off their energy. But ultimately, you know, she also said it's a massive disappointment, not to have won that match. I think she felt like she probably should have done, even though the head to head, I hadn't realized this so dominant in favor of her against muguruza I think that's 9 of their 11 matches that pisco has won now. But yeah, muguruza, this feels like one that one that got away, especially after winning that first set and having those chances right towards the end of the match, her forehand really let her down. I think for the last 5 points of the match were muguruza forehand unforced errors. But yeah, it was by far and away the best match of the tournament so far.
A highlight from Episode 316: NCR Movie Club - KING RICHARD (2021)
"Welcome to episode three 16 of no challenges remaining. I've Ben rothenberg. This is going to be an installment of the NCR movie club, something I've wanted to get going for a long time talking about movies that are about tennis and the movie we're talking about on this installment of the interior movie club is one of the big movies that's coming out this fall in the world, not just in the tennis space, but in the whole Oscar race movie, buzzy, you know, Oscar season kind of movies, king Richard, the story, the biopic about Richard Williams, who was the patriarch of the Williams family, the father of Venus and Serena Williams, origin story for their profess careers. And I'm very delighted to be joined for this topic by David of Aki and CR's Dutch lowlands and Caucasian highlands correspondent who's also a major cinephile in his own right, David. Thank you for being on here. Thank you for having me. Once again, finally, we can talk about movies. I know. We can hopefully do a lot more of this. You'll be a regular part of what I'm hoping will be a robust and rich into our movie club experience going forward. So we're talking about king Richard, which comes out on November 19th in theaters and on HBO Max streaming in the U.S., probably other streaming services I'm hoping in other countries. Can Richard is directed by reynaldo Marcus green, written by Zack baylen for the screenplay and stars Will Smith as Richard Williams ingenue Ellis as Williams, John bernthal's Rick Macy, Sinai Sidney as Venus Williams and Demi singleton as Serena Williams are the main principal cast. This movie was notably made with the collaboration of the Williams family with Venus Williams Serena Williams and their older sister isha price, all serving as executive producers for the movie. This is a movie that is pretty faithfully based on a true story of what the Williams challenge was doing during the time frame of roughly 1991 to 1994 during the time which they moved from their base in Compton California to Florida to start really intensify, I think they're training at the Rick Macy academy. David and I have both attended advanced screenings of king Richard. So we know that happens to this movie and we're going to discuss the whole arc of the movie, including the ending. I don't think this isn't really a movie that can be spoiled quote unquote per se, if you know the history of the Williams family, this chapter of their history at least, you probably know most of the plot details will happen this movie. But if you want to stay unspoiled, clean for the movie, you can wait until after you've watched the movie to listen to this episode. And I think we both would recommend the movie, people to watch certain, if you're interested in tennis enough to listen to NCR, then I think you're very much in the target demo. I think a lot of also non tennis fans were really appreciate this. So we're not going to do too much in terms of spoiler alert. There is one dramatic sequence in the movie, which I don't believe is as factual or certainly not as part of the lore. Anyway, we'll put it forward before that section and you can probably skip ahead like a minute or so in the episode if you want to skip that moment and we get to that if you want to avoid learning about that cinematic sequence. But big picture, David first before we get into the specifics like that, you saw this movie, what did you think of king Richard? As a movie. It was good. It was very good, I thought. As a tennis fan, as a movie fan, I think all the boxes were hit properly, and I think when you just saw it, which was before me, you immediately tweeted out something like you're gonna like it to the world. Yeah. And I agree. Fully, because it's just a very good movie. It's nice and long. It has great performances. It looks great. Yeah. And early shout out by me to Robert elswit, the cinematographer. My one of my favorites, the man who shot my favorite movie of all time there will be blood. Also, that this movie, so just an extra kind of a great piece of information about this movie for a movie lovers. Great performances, as I said, Will Smith obviously at the center of it. The girls playing Venus and street and I did an unbelievable job. I thought, especially the girl who plays Venus and I mean, we can say that now it's more about Venus than it is about Serena. The movie. There's so much tennis in it, which is also great for us. Much more than I expected to be fair. It's very technical. There's a lot of training footage and open stance and wrist action and snap the wrist and that kind of thing. Like, all that stuff is in there, which again surprised me, but I was happy to see, for sure. So that was wonderful and there was much in it. Like so many episodes from about three years that the movie is about, yeah. I mean, what did you think? I really enjoyed it too, like you said, I walked out of the theater and made a tweet saying you're gonna like this and I fully believe it almost everybody who watches this movie if not everybody will like it. As a movie, it's just a good movie. It's a really pleasing cinematic experience. It's a crowd please and kind of movie. It's a positive movie all in all it's a success story. It's a true story. It's a feel good movie, big picture for sure. And it has great performances. And it's a very well shot cinematic movie, like you said, like, it's a good movie. It's a well acted movie. It's a well written movie. It's punchy. It's got like from a pure movie perspective. Really, really high mark. And I go in this, knowing that I'm one of the toughest possible audiences for this movie. Being just on a factual level, being someone who is a tennis reporter who is a student of tennis history, especially this kind of era of tennis history. I mean, I grew up as a huge Williams sisters fan when they were first coming on tour. My tennis origin story I have told people before. But the moment I first got really into tennis, was watching Venus Williams make her run at the 97 U.S. open to the final. That was like the first tennis story that captured me and you know read all the literature and stuff about that. So I know a lot about this part of even this is before they were in the spotlight really. I've read a lot, I've read Serena's book about this time, which definitely covers this chapter on the line. I've read Rick Macy's book, I've read Richard Williams book, you know, and all the contemporaneous coverage. So I definitely have factual quibbles with parts of this movie and we'll get into those in terms of we'll do a section of the movie gets right where it gets wrong, what it leaves out that could be important. We'll get to that. But I think from a pure cinematic, what do you think of this movie? Very fresh tomato here. I think that it's like a really, really solid movie. And we'll deserve the praise it gets. Go ahead, David. Yeah, I mean, for sure. And also the casting.
A highlight from Tennis.com Podcast 11/9/21: World Team Tennis Coaches Roundtable
"Today we have four legendary coaches and players. This is probably the majority of doubles titles and mixed doubles titles from 1978 to the year 2000. JL two time mixed doubles grandstand finalists and the man in South Africa and a legendary coach on the WTA Tour. I see him in the bar often drinking his sorrows away. Being right next to me, we've got my fellow Midwest boy. Luke Jensen. Former number one junior in the world in singles and doubles. Who didn't take his talents to south beach? He took his talents in USC, with that. Speaking of UFC, Rick leach, a legend in the game, 5 time Grand Slam doubles champion and from 88 to 91, had been to the finals of every doubles Grand Slam. And then the most famous one of us all, the pretty boy. Lloyd. There we go. That's lambda was champion. The first male British player to reach a grandstand final. And with the only male British Grand Slam finalist for 20 years. He carried all the pressure, which we know that you can't tennis community can load that pressure up on you. Ask him what right economy. And Helen like a champ. So guys, this is this 2021 version of the world team, tennis coaches poll. How y'all guys doing? Great. So good. So great thanks for you guys. Awesome. Ready to go. Ready to roll. So guys, last year was my first team tennis experience. And it was by far the best. I mean, we were all in one location. No late night playing rise with next day matches, food at our fingertips. Booze at our fingertips, plenty of practice courts. What do we think about this new venue at Indian Wales this year? Yeah, jail, you go ahead. Lloydy? Well, go ahead. I think I mean it's amazing. I mean, for me, off the slam, it's the biggest and best event Indian Wells in the world's garden is known. I mean, it's spectacular. So I think it's a great setting for world team tennis. I think the players enjoy being at one site. Yes, it's tough for the home crowds that we don't have home matches anymore, but it's most important that we do have a season. And you know, for everybody that's worked behind the scenes to get this going and I look forward to this three weeks every year, hanging out with all these great guys and Friends of mine that I've played with. And then with the players, it's awesome. So what a great league. What a great format. So it's just called wait for the season to start. Yeah. Rick, did you just go and drive there? You know, this is like no fair. We all gotta hop on planes and Danielle's got to go halfway around the world and Rick gets to like, he can coach a match and go home tonight. You know, that's not a thing. He's got home court advantage. No, I think I want to be staying down in the desert. You know, it's a treat to be down there. You know, it's such a destination vacation for people. And I always enjoy playing the tournament Indian Wells. You know, it's a two hour drive, but you feel like you're out in, you know, so far away from everything. And the tennis garden is a unique place. Stadium court two is a beautiful court, too, where we're playing. A couple years ago, I got to open the McEnroe challenge on that court. And it's a beautiful court. So I'm looking forward to it. Yeah, me too.
A highlight from The Tour Catch-Up: Novak notches No.1 year end ranking (again); Russia rules BJK Cup; Murray's Parisian heartbreaker; Timed toilet breaks (!) at Next Gen. Finals; Raducanu ready for Linz; Stockholm Sinnerdrome
"Djokovic sells the yearend number one ranking yet again. Russia capture the Billie Jean King cup. At the end of season fields are set for Turin and Guadalajara. Kim, what a week it has been on the ATP and WTA tours we have just had the Paris masters. The last masters of the ATP tour this season and we have a familiar face as our champion, Novak Djokovic coming through against Daniel Medvedev. We are also looking forward to the WTA end of season finals as well in Guadalajara. They're all going out there in a moment. I see they are touching down in the airport at a mariachi band is a greeting them on arrival. And we've also got all the latest tournaments in Stockholm for the men and ATP two 50 and linz as well for the women on the WTA side with Emma Fragonard and Simona Halep playing. So even though we're at the end of the season, we've still got so much tennis to look forward to. I haven't even spoken about the fact that we've got the next gen finals as well. Let's start in Paris. Novak Djokovic seals a year end number one, wins Paris for what I think 6, 7th time. It's one of his favorite masters, masters to play, I think. And yeah, he beats Daniel Medvedev in a three set thriller coming through and getting a bit of revenge from the U.S. open final. Yes, 6th Paris masters for Novak Djokovic. 7th year end number one. Normal service has been regime. I feel oddly comforted by the fact that Novak Djokovic has won a master series and, you know, because it's just so obvious that he would win and it's almost yeah, like this weird kind of, I don't know, it's things felt right of the world because Djokovic, you know, did what he was supposed to do and won. Yes, it was three sets, four 6, 6, three, 6 three. So coming through against, yeah, the man who beat him in that year's even final a couple of months ago. And, you know, Djokovic said afterwards that he had gone back and obviously looked closely at that final to see what went wrong for him and what he should implement this time around in the next match. And you know, he did certainly make some changes. You know, he came into the net a lot, which proved very fruitful for Novak. I think, you know, points one four shots and less in the rally. You know, he was significantly up on those and obviously a very effective strategy from that kind of end of the first set onwards. And yeah, coming through as Novak does. So you know, remember that I've had a great week, but Djokovic back on top as I guess he should be. Yeah, it was, I think people were quite reassured, I think with a final between the top two players and they are, I think the top two players this season in terms of what they've shown us on a tennis court. And I think everyone was really excited to have that as the final. And I think, you know, it was interesting because it was a rematch from the U.S. open final. When for Novak Djokovic, it was, you know, he still had those hopes of a perfect season. And, you know, his tactics in that final, you felt like you know, he felt that maybe he could beat Daniel Medvedev at his own game, just trading baseline to baseline. He would have been able to kind of wear him down. But that didn't happen. And he didn't obviously he ended up as a runner up at the U.S. open. So he did change his tactics, didn't he? And it was quite obvious, I think, in this match in terms of, as you said, he tried to shorten the points I feel come into the net. He was doing a lot of serving volley as well. And I think one of the reasons for that was Daniel Medvedev is kind of position on return is quite far behind the baseline. I feel like he likes to take a few steps further back so that when that ball is coming towards him, there's less speed on it, the further he stands back to his less chance that he creates an error for himself. So it was quite interesting, I think, to see that from Djokovic. And I think worked really, really well for him. I think his first percentage as well was another kind of point of difference between him and Medvedev, particularly in the second and third sets, but yeah, I think it was a very it was a very, very good performance from Djokovic because he just really kind of scraped through against hub at her cash in the semifinals. And watching Medvedev kind of ruthlessly thrash as I think for the 5th time in a row, 6 two 6 two. I was sort of thinking, you know, Novak Djokovic, if he wants to get this revenge on Medvedev, he is going to need to up his game, but yeah, I was quite happy because yeah, he went and learned his lessons. And I think, again, it just shows you even though you're considered one of the greatest of all time to step foot on a tennis court. There are still many things you can learn. And I think this is an example of that. And how it has changed, I guess, from flushing meadow to Paris mercy. Yeah, much more variety. You know, he said, afterward, that is what wins against Medvedev. You can't just sort of play him at his own game and Novak did that. And I think it was sort of classic Djokovic. It was sort of two all in that last set and he managed to get the break and then sort of one 9 of the next 11 points. Suddenly, be up 5 three, and it's just, you know, you can't let that happen critical point in the final set decider. So, yeah, I mean, know that will be in prime position, I guess for the terrain event, like he's come back, played Paris, which he may not have even really been expecting to win, perhaps he might have just wanted to get a few matches under his belt before the finals. But here he is with the title and perhaps they'll meet again. I think it's probably quite likely that we'd see at least one match in two room between these two. Yes, definitely. I mean, they're both, I mean, they're both as well on an indoor hard court, very, very impressive. I mean, never dev is 19 and two on indoor courts since start of last year's tournament in Paris. So, you know, he's no fool on it on a indoor hardcore and I wouldn't be surprised if we end up with a final intern between Djokovic and Medvedev because it does feel like they are a cut above everyone else. And, you know, a lot of it was a lot of interesting talk about going into this match around the head to head and this rivalry and people talking about this this is the rivalry that has really kind of I think captured people's imaginations more than any other rivalry I think over the over this season. We haven't had as many or if any really Federer, Nadal matches. Yes, we've had Djokovic. Nadal in parts, but it feels like this is a rivalry that has really this season, I think, cemented itself as certainly one of the marquee matches for fans to look forward to and it will be I would be curious to see how they go. Because I still think that Medvedev has, you know, the weapons to beat Djokovic, but I think he's going to now need to he's now going to need to do a Novak Djokovic and reassess this match and go and watch it back to understand you know what he needs to do in Turin because it does feel like Djokovic is answer to Medvedev's wall like play from the bass line is to shorten the shorten the points by coming into net and doing a bit of serving volley.
A highlight from Paris - Djokovic goes where no man has gone before
"Katharine Whitaker is back. Hello Catherine. Hello David. Yeah, how's your root be? Long, long, but good, very good. Yeah. Yeah, we thought we'd better get Catherine back on because Paris has happened in all the time that Matt's been there infiltrating press conferences and talking to teams about goodness knows what over the last week at the Billie Jean King Cup final. So Matt's got the day off. In fact, he's gone to a family event, which leaves Catherine and me to do it old school before anxious about this. Yeah, I'd like to write my own agenda. We've got no Matt available to us if we have a fallout or if we or if we need to ask a question to which he can't reasonably expected to be knowing the answer to. And we're going to go wrong. We did this for about 6 years. I don't know how. Yeah. 6 years. And yeah. It's nice occasionally to have another go and then Matt quickly come back. No, it's delightful to see you. And yeah, you've had some week to report on. With Paris. So let's start and talk about that, shall we? Because Novak Djokovic is one his 6th Paris masters title his 7th year that he's ended as the world number one. What was your take on his route through the week? I feel like we saw a lot of different sides to him over the course of the week with all the sort of pressure that was on him. And then the pressure being released and then the different level that he kind of came up with in the final once that was released. Is that how you saw? Yeah, absolutely. The contrast between the Novak Djokovic that we saw in the semifinals against Hubert hork hatch, which of course was the much that took him over the line to secure his 7th year and number one. And the Djokovic that we saw in the final was just immense. It was the two opposite ends of the Djokovic spectrum and for clearly for very, very obvious reasons. Look at he wanted the title definitely. He was I wondered yesterday in the final against Medvedev, whether it would be one of those matches that we've occasionally seen, and we've seen them at various points, but I always think of a couple of ATP finals, performances from him, you've always been good at describing where he's just not prepared to go to those dark places to win. He's not tanking, he's trying. He wants to win, but he's not prepared to drag himself to those Djokovic defining places. I wondered if yesterday if the final might be one of those performances, but actually Medvedev played so well that he was required to drag himself to some pretty extreme places. And he was prepared to go there. But he just went there without without the stress that we saw on Saturday in the match against you but her catch, which was tough to watch actually, it was so stressful. I mean, her couch was stressed as well. He had just secured his qualification spot for the ATP finals the day before. So I wondered if we were going to see a completely liberated huber her catch and we did for a little while. They split sets and then it all comes down to a deciding set tiebreak, and it's just a stress off between the two of them. Yeah, I mean, her catch is forehand. In fact, in terms of tennis, stress manifests itself for both of them in the forehand the four hands suddenly starts looking stiff and it starts dropping short and it was really edgy and Djokovic was, you know, telling the cameraman he was getting too close and getting irritated with the distribution of balls and all of that stuff. All of the telltale signs of intense stress you could see it in his breathing. It was shallow and labored. It was oozing out of him the stress and how badly he wanted to secure that year and number one. And there was an enormous visceral reaction from him when he won that much. And hauled himself over the line. He almost, well, I could have done himself a mischief with the chest beating. It was so hard and aggressive. It all came out. You could see the stress lift with that achievement. So the fact that he came out less than 24 hours later and took himself to the places that he needed to go to beat Daniel Medvedev is incredible really. And I think because it was Medvedev, his determination was heightened, wasn't it? Because he's the man who got in the way last time at the U.S. open. I mean, they clearly get along, and they're clearly having an enormous amount of mutual respect. But they are proper rivals now these two that they've got a very close rivalry in terms of matches one and lost. And something one of our Twitter followers said to us in response to his achievement was that it's a classic sort of big three move to win the next match after a massive setback and massive loss like Djokovic had had against Medvedev that they just won't let anybody else get one up on them in the long run. They'll sock it to them the next time. And Medvedev absolutely knew that in his press conference before the final he was asked about, you know, what he beat him in straight sets in one of the biggest matches of his life in their last meeting, that must give you so much confidence going into this one. And he said, uh uh, that is not the way it works with Novak Djokovic. She said, actually, this is a nightmare. I've made him angry, and it makes him a lot more dangerous in this next meeting. He knew exactly how that psychology worked. And he was expecting Medvedev the Djokovic that we saw on Sunday. And there is so much respect between them. And I think I think Djokovic recognizes that Medvedev could kind of keep him young that this rivalry could keep him young in the game and keep him motivated. You know, he is going to he's going to almost certainly watch his greatest rivals retire. And, you know, the famous one is always John McEnroe, isn't it talking about how hard it hit him when Bjorn Borg retired. Now obviously that was borgo tied young, didn't he? It was a surprise. There was probably a shock element there. But, you know, athletes losing their greatest rivals is demotivating for them. I think he's, I think Djokovic on one very important level is extremely pleased and relieved that Medvedev is there and that he's as good as he is and is genuine