Tennis podcast featuring casual, semi-respectable conversations about the ATP & WTA.
Is It Worth It?
It remains to be seen if Tennis Australia's logistical balancing act to host the Australian Open will be worth it, but here we are. Amidst the tightest safety protocols yet, a nation grudgingly welcomes hundreds of tennis personnel into its borders, who promptly kvetch about the (free) food, the (free) accommodations, and the quarantine rules. Not all has changed, though: top players get special treatment and American men continue to embarrass us at home and across the globe. Buckle up: pandemic tennis enters year two, with (some) lessons learned.
4:00 Tennis Australia launches vast logistical plan in action - Tennys Sandgren tries to undermine it in about five minutes
11:15 Players begin to arrive in Melbourne on chartered flights, two flights must isolate for 14 days, complaints ensue
25:35 Here is a picture of my terrible food, in my free hotel, during my free trip, during a pandemic, in which I will earn a minimum of $100,000 even if I lose
29:05 The actual legitimate complaint: the potential inequity between the elite players in Adelaide and the rest in Melbourne
34:50 Notable qualifiers
42:35 Tennis results already: Sabalenka is on 15-match win streak; Hurkacz wins Delray Beach but is overshadowed by anti-mask grandstanding
53:30 Dayana Yastremska provisionally banned for an anabolic steroid. Ma'am, give us a week off from the drama?
61:20 Sam Querrey has resurfaced!
67:15 Another person who craves attention - Ion Tiriac (and tennis' continued failure to stand up to misogyny and racism)
To open our 7th season, we dive into the career of Stefanie Maria Graf, one of the game's most decorated champions and still, somehow, one of its most elusive. Graf's staggering achievements -- beyond the iconic Golden Slam -- are in some ways poorly understood and lost to recent history, likely because she has so determinedly removed herself from the tennis world. Instead of seeing her just as Monica's rival or the goalpost to pass for Grand Slam glory, we look to understand Graf's career as it was, in its own time. What didn't we get about Steffi Graf? What about her game made her the best? Who were her important rivals outside of Monica? What was the state of women's tennis when she arrived, and how did she leave it? What's clear: Steffi was a whole lot more than just "German precision."
0:25 Intro and taking aim at the myths and misunderstandings
10:30 So, about those career stats . . .
13:00 Graf as child prodigy - staggering early seasons in 1985-87
18:15 What was the WTA like when Steffi arrived? The Chrissie-Martina duopoly, burnt out child stars, the next Czech generation
23:20 Gaby and Steffi: "glamour" vs "automation"
29:35 Steffi's peerless game: how was her dominance perceived in its day? (1988-89)
36:50 Becker, Graf, German identity, and the question of patriotism: let's talk about history for a minute
48:00 Peter Graf, a dominating and difficult father, but at times a "shield"
53:05 Monica Seles asks the question again and again, and Monica's removal from the game asks even more
65:00 The rest of the 1990s: more Slams, myriad injuries, and the humiliation of a private life becoming tabloid fodder
73:05 What is Steffi's legacy as a player, and as a member of the once highly political WTA?
79:55 Rivalries: Gaby is the dark horse
82:52 Steffi's iconic matches -- too many to mention, but here are a few
The Ending of That Was Iffy: 2020 ATP Wrap
Episode 215 is our season 6 finale and the ATP companion piece to our WTA Wrap. In this episode, we spend some time discussing the on-court highlights, like Djokovic's stellar start, Nadal's 20th Slam, and Thiem's US Open crowning. But, the pandemic threw tennis for a loop; while women players went mostly quiet, several men engaged in bizarre and selfish behavior, peddling conspiracy theories, spreading pseudoscience, and flouting safety protocols and plain common sense. This year, the off-court noise demands as complete a retelling as the tennis itself. All that and James takes a quiz on the ATP season! Thanks for joining us for a sixth season of The Body Serve, and take care of yourselves.
01:30 James takes a quiz on the ATP 2020 season
12:19 The ATP Cup? Remember that? James is still not a fan
18:27 Revisiting the Djokovic default at the USO
24:47 That USO final and comparing it to Novotna’s ‘98 Wimbledon
27:41 Nadal achieves yet more history at Roland Garros
32:00 What else stood out to us inside the lines this year?
35:35 The Zverev family has A LOT of curious things to say
43:32 Djokovic kicks off the 2020 covidiocy
47:32 Thiem dodges Covid-19 while traipsing all over the globe
56:35 We’ve got to stop treating grown men as stuffed animals
65:08 An update on Bernard Tomic’s fingers
67:15 Keeping ourselves honest: revisiting our breakout picks for 2020
70:19 A reflection on what we did this year and crowdfunding the show
Smile Because It's Over: 2020 WTA Wrap
It's now a cliché to say that the events of 2020 are unprecedented, and that we feel unstuck from time itself, but early 2020 does seem of a different era. After a packed January and February, which saw a new Slam winner and two high-profile retirements, the COVID-19 pandemic threw our lives (and the tennis season) into disarray. How tennis responded tells us a lot about the sport: at times remarkably agile and resilient, and at other times inequitable, clunky, and slow. Some players shone on the court, others took the year off, and at the end of the year, there's merit in simply getting through.
4:30 January: Tennis' reaction to the Australian wildfires offers a glimpse at the sport's inequities and its inconsistent reactions to a crisis -- who suffers?
11:30 Also in January: Pliskova wins Brisbane, Asia Muhammad kicks off one of the few feel-good stories of 2020, Sofia Kenin stuns the Australian field
18:55 A scattered February, as usual: Kim's comeback, Rybakina's great start, Sharapova retirement
27:15 March changes everything - Indian Wells the first domino to fall
31:30 What was the WTA up to during the pandemic break?
42:40 Women's tennis returns in August: Brady and Azarenka break out
46:50 US Open goes forward in a sort-of-bubble: Osaka's win seemed fated
51:20 Roland Garros follows 3 weeks later and gets a shocking winner
57:25 October & November . . . not much happening
60:40 WTA unveils a huge rebrand, reclassifies tournaments and debuts new logo
69:10 Keeping ourselves honest: how were our predictions for 2020?
sTaY sTrOnG, guys
Since we last came to you, Daniil Medvedev continued his impressive end-of-season run to capture the ATP Finals in London. We take you through the paces of the final hosting of that event at the O2 Arena. After recapping the actual tennis on court, we pick up where we left off last episode with Alexander Zverev and the domestic assault allegations made against him. This time we’ve got an actual response (or lack thereof) from the ATP, a further statement from Zverev himself, and another misstep from Novak Djokovic. Have you been wondering what Bernard Tomic has been up to? Well, we’ve got answers!
01:29 Medvedev bookends Davydenko’s opening win at the O2 Arena
07:03 Dominic Thiem falls short in London, but he is all the way THERE
14:31 James’ optimism that this would have been Rafa’s year
19:05 Sabalenka, like Medvedev, doubles up to end the WTA season
21:31 The latest, ever changing developments with the 2021 Australian Open
29:44 Vasek Pospisil and Novak Djokovic resurface with the PTPA
40:00 Wading back into the Zverev waters
54:54 sTaY sTrOnG, guys
58:29 Gimelstob resurfaces with a little help from his friends
64:19 Bernard Tomic is up to what? A SCAM!
The Sound of the ATP's Silence
We're delving into the serious allegations of domestic abuse against Alexander Zverev. Many in tennis -- including Sascha himself -- are invested in painting this as Zverev "overcoming adversity" on his way to growing up, diminishing and erasing Olya Sharypova's story. The ATP has failed to send a clear message; indeed, they have not sent any message at all. We ask: why is tennis so inept at handling situations like this? Why hasn't the ATP followed the NFL and developed a robust domestic violence policy? What happens when we as a community treat intimate partner violence as a private matter?
01:12 Where this story begins
09:32 Why do we believe women?
16:08 Zverev's glib, narcissistic response to the allegations
21:59 The appalling social media fails from big tennis orgs
29:10 The ATP's deliberate failure to meet the moment
42:40 For example: where is your internal investigation?!
46:06 Zverev's management, Team 8, asleep at the wheel