If you're a podcast listener AND a passionate tennis fan, we have generated the list you've been waiting for. Here are our five favourite podcasts which each have their own angle and approach to commentary about the game we all love.
In no particular order:
Why we listen
The dynamic duo’s love for the game comes out in their podcast which consists of a wide variety of topics and featured guests. We first found Ben Rothenberg via Twitter and knew from his incisive and often comedic tweets (as he consumes an inordinate amount of matches) that a podcast he was involved with would be first-rate.
Ben and Courtney were just a couple of passionate tennis bloggers when they met in Mason, Ohio in 2010, but their love of the wacky personalities that make up the sport of professional tennis has made them tennis besties ever since. They enjoy talking about tennis at all hours of the day on any topic that suits them and once a week they turn on a microphone for an hour during one of those chats and post the results.
Frequency: Weekly (every Tuesday-ish)
Episode 195: Burning Topics With Lindsay Gibbs (August 1, 2017)
In their words: ‘Long-time friend of the show Lindsay Gibbs joins Ben this week to discuss the intersection of all sorts of societal issues--which she covers in her work as the sports reporter for Think Progress--specifically as they apply to the world of tennis, which has plenty of layers of equality and inequality, both visible and invisible. From equal pay to LGBT visibility, from WTA streaming to athlete activism, from Ilie Nastase to Andy Roddick, we touch it'.
Episode 194: Wimbledon a Wimbledud? (July 16, 2017)
In their words: ‘Wimbledon 2017 is done with two great champions in Garbine Muguruza and Roger Federer...but why does it still feel unsatisfying? On the letdowns that defined the second week of this tournament too often. Ben and Courtney talk about what their wins mean, why scheduling remains a crucial variable for both, and other various stories from the undercard draws at Wimbledon.’
Episode 193: Wimbledon Manic Impressions (July 10, 2017)
In their words: ‘With four rounds of Wimbledon in the books, Ben and Courtney chat about what has happened and what will at a Wimbledon that hadn't been super eventful, really, until Manic Monday clarified some things. What do we make of Angelique Kerber, who will depart the #1 ranking? Should Bernard Tomic face scorn for his comments? Why is Gilles Muller such a dad? All this and more.’
Why we listen
Jon is a great conversationalist and the podcasts make for entertaining listening. While there is a slight American focus to his content (he does work for Sports Illustrated, after all) he manages to secure all sorts of noteworthy guests. Of particular note are the exchanges with Paul Annacone whose analysis of players, matches and the game in general is on point from our perspective.
Sports Illustrated executive editor Jon Wertheim takes fans ‘beyond the baseline’ and between the lines with tennis commentary and exclusive interviews with the top players and newsmakers on the ATP and WTA tours.
Ana Ivanovic on retired life in Chicago
Perennial crowd favourite and former #1 Ana Ivanovic talks about embracing her post- professional tennis life. Struggling with injuries late in her career and failing to get the same ROI from her dedication to training as she had in the past, she decided to hang up her rackets. She’s still looped into the tour and following the progress of her friends, but now she has more time for reading, going to art exhibitions and supporting her husband who plays for MLS team Chicago Fire.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands on injury recovery process, & more
Bethanie suffered a horrific knee injury rupturing her patella tendon during her second round singles match at Wimbledon this year. Speaking from her bed with an impressively positive mindset, she recounts the incident, talks about the rehabilitation process she is going through and what’s next for her.
Paul Annacone from Wimbledon 2017
During the conversation Paul reveals he’s more worried about Novak than Andy in relation to bouncing back to peak performance because his challenges are more mental than physical in character. He thought that Djokovic should’ve given Wimbledon a pass this year to see just how much he missed it. Paul also reflects on Federer’s exceptional year and thinks it’s down to a combination of talent and grit (derived from persistence and work ethic) which is quite a rare combination at the top of the tour. He points out that Fed’s mental toughness is drawn from his ability to not let challenging moments linger on the court. Instead he regains focus and digs in. Fundamentally he ‘understands his mind, body and style of play and he trusts that’.
Why we listen
We rate this quirky podcast very highly because although the topics are often unpredictable and somewhat unconventional (casting a Bond movie using tennis stars?! Caitlin tries Meldonium?!), they are reliably entertaining. The length of the episodes - they’re all around 30 minutes - make it super easy to fit into your day.
A (short) tennis podcast, hosted by Chris Neary and Caitlin Thompson
Caitlin takes Meldonium (Maybe) (August 5, 2017)
In their words: ‘A chance encounter gives one of us a shot at performance-enhanced greatness. But at what cost? Plus: we rave over WTA TV and give an update from the start of the American hardcourt season’
Casting Tennis' Bond (July 18, 2017)
In their words: ‘Sure, we talk about Wimbledon, but The Main Draw is for people who like to imagine which tennis stars will populate James Bond's universe or make up the next Battle of the Network Stars. You're welcome’
Wimbledon in Person (July 10, 2017)
In their words: ‘How much better is seeing tennis live in person? It's hard to overstate. Caitlin's back from London with a blow-by-blow’
Which tennis podcasts do you listen to? Any great episodes you would like to share? Let us know in the comments below.
We’ve all been there. You need to find a gift for a friend, partner, sibling or parent who loves tennis. But you’ve already bought the tennis-themed cuff links, the necklace with the racket and ball charm and a DVD of the 10 best matches of all time (which are surely collecting dust somewhere now).
To help you find the perfect tennis-related present, here’s a list of fresh ideas organised by price band...