Tennis podcast featuring casual, semi-respectable conversations about the ATP & WTA.
The Leaning Tower of Visa: Aus Open Preview
The 2022 Australian Open is around the corner and guess what is still dominating headlines: visa cancellation 2.0, appeal 2.0, and the various foibles and f- er, muck-ups of Djokovic and co. After discussing that for a moment, we focus on some of the excellent stories coming out of the Australian lead-up tourneys: Ash’s domination, Kokkinakis’ brilliant stretch, and statement wins from Andy, Madison, Amanda, Simona, and Elena R. We finish up with perhaps our most equivocal draw analysis ever, as Djokovic’s shadow looms large.
02:00 Hawke strikes upon the hour: Immigration Minister cancels Djokovic’s visa, citing the “public interest”
09:04 Djokovic’s various fumbles have made grace an impossibility here
14:56 Week 1 Winners: Vets Rafa, Simona, Gael; plus Anisimova is back and Barty steamrolls
26:17 Week 2 gives us a day to remember: Keys-Gauff, Murray lobs Opelka, and BathroomGate is decidedly not behind us
33:23 Odds and ends: Bernie wins a bet by getting Covid; Rafa & Vee step in it; Reilly, dude … let it go
43:40 Our breakout picks for 2022: no, I will not be explaining myself
46:42 Women’s draw: that first quarter is rude and it ruined James’ dream final
58:13 Men’s draw: an Australian judge will decide who fills the no. 1 slot. Could the men’s bottom half see a major breakout?
Playing In Our Faces
The Australia v. Djokovic saga has dominated new cycles for the past week in and outside of the tennis world; it highlighted many of the anxieties and political squabbles of the COVID-19 pandemic, spurred infighting between various levels of Australian government, and most importantly, was completely avoidable. There is plenty of blame to go around here: to Djokovic, to his family’s increasingly bizarre statements, to the Prime Minister's cynical political maneuvers, and to the head of Tennis Australia, who committed an astonishing number of unforced errors. We give you a timeline and the cast of characters as we attempt to contextualize this debacle as best we can.
00:30 Setting the scene, and why we don’t do emergency episodes
12:40 Jan 4-6: Today I’m heading Down Under with an exemption per-.... oop
22:30 Jan 8: The zero-sum game resulting from the positive PCR test
29:30 Jan 10: The hearing none of us understood
37:05 The dramatis personae: starting with Craig Tiley and Tennis Australia
40:20 The Victoria Government (and why state governments shouldn’t get immigration advice from a sporting organization)
45:00 Prime Minister Scott Morrison scoring political points, or; “rules are rules”
49:25 Learning about Australia’s refugee crisis and draconian immigration policies
58:00 Hubris, extremism, and strange bedfellows
Party Like It’s 1999
Many of us look back at 1999 as the dawning of the modern golden age of women’s tennis, a season that saw four different Slam champs, the abrupt exit of one GOAT, and the breakthrough of a new one. Lindsay, Martina, Venus, Serena, and Steffi battled for the biggest titles and crafted historic, enduring storylines at every major event of the year. There was a changing of the guard, sure, but the shift from one era to the next is never quite as cut-and-dry as it seems. Plus, of course, the memes -- or, in this era before memes -- the off-court controversies and clownery that we still talk about: BeadGate, the formal education argument; and more darkly, the homophobic insults thrown at Amelie Mauresmo and the persistent, racialized "muscles vs. brains" narrative. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and discuss a season of women’s tennis that quite literally changed the sport forever.
03:10 Setting the scene: What is happening in women’s tennis and the culture at the fin de siècle? What does the teen pop explosion and Y2K have to do with tennis?
08:10 The WTA’s struggles with investors and why anonymous “analysts” doubted the marketability of women’s tennis
19:30 So what makes the ‘99 season so special?
22:55 Themes of the season: the Williams sisters are coming, and not everybody’s happy about it
29:55 Martina is #1, but the dominance is slipping
37:40 Australian Open: Hingis three-peats, Mauresmo comes out, and we endure BeadGate
55:25 Roland Garros: Graf wins final major in an almighty mess of a final
62:50 Wimbledon: Lindsay ain’t just a hardcourt wonder
69:45 Steffi calls time on one of the greatest careers in tennis history
72:25 US Open: Serena bags the first Williams singles Slam, beating a befuddled Hingis in the final; plus, why the ‘formal education’ dust-up is even more instructive than we remembered
83:50 The year-end rankings, some fun facts about the Slam season, and the signs of what’s to come
Dire Strai(gh)ts: ATP Wrap
In our season seven finale, we’re recapping this odd and transitional year on the ATP Tour, a year in which Novak Djokovic came very close to winning the first Grand Slam since 1969 and a bunch of youngsters shook the table of Big 3 hegemony. We take an honest look at our breakout predictions – not great, Bob – and reminisce about some truly wild (and some depressing) Remember When moments. Although there’s much levity, you know us – we’re not going to recap the ATP season without talking about the dark shadow cast by the ATP’s repeated fumbling of the Zverev & Basilashvili abuse allegations.
Thanks for your support this year and every year – see you in 2022!
04:00 In Australia, Russians make history and Djokovic wins his 9th
14:00 The spring gives us a sign of what’s to come (Rublev, Karatsev, Hurkacz, Sinner) plus a quick chat on PTPA progress this year
20:55 Clay season: Tsitsipas announces himself as a favorite for Roland Garros alongside Nadal & Djokovic
22:35 Novak screams and hollers his way to the Roland Garros title, beats Tsitsipas from 2 sets down
27:20 Grass season: Djokovic’s Wimbledon win seemed kinda … easy? Golden Slam Watch is on
41:40 US Open: BathroomGate went on way too long; breakouts galore; Medvedev kills the dream
46:15 Fall season: Norrie wins IW, Frances captures our attention, Russia bookends its year with a dominant Davis Cup win
49:00 Let’s look at the receipts: titles and rankings
52:50 How’d we do on our breakout picks?
55:15 Remember When? Hecklers, innocent bathroom breaks, the code-cracking racquet launch, YawnGate, and the unfortunate trend of ATP players using homophobic slurs
65:05 The ATP’s Integrity Problem
Holy Spirit Activate: WTA Wrap
Friends, we’re finally at the end of our WTA season. So much of what we recapped didn’t even feel like it happened in 2021. Kenin signing with Motorola but tweeting about it from her iPhone? 2021, really? Badosa and Kostyuk broadcasting from their Fox News bunker in Australia? Feels like forever ago. Nonetheless, we try to make sense of a truly unique year in tennis, in which the sport learned to live with the pandemic to varying degrees of success. We asked for help with our “Remember When” segment and boy, did y’all deliver. We finish with our mini-review of “King Richard” and then a taste test of Mariah Carey’s venture into Irish creams: her latest stone cold smash hit wonder!
Above all, we are so incredibly grateful for all your support and sticking with us through seven seasons. To the OG listeners, we can’t even know what to say. To those who just joined us, it’s a privilege we don’t take lightly.
02:10 An update on our GoFundMe: We can’t even know what to say
08:10 The princesses and the paupers: a super quarantine and one persistent mouse almost derail the Australian Open
17:20 Mugs, Sabalenka, Jabeur, Gauff, and Badosa steadily build their impressive seasons in the spring
25:55 Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from Roland Garros, plus … you thought Barbora Krejcikova was just a great doubles player?
35:15 Grass season: vets find success but Barty cements her #1 status
46:30 Still reeling from that wild US Open
56:00 Stats in review: A not-so-clear-cut POTY and year-end rankings
66:40 Remember when: tennis players can’t control God, talk to Him
77:00 How’d we do on our breakout picks?
81:10 A dispiriting Peng Shuai update
87:55 It’s time to finally make good on the calls for #TennisUnited
89:20 Our King Richard review: It OUTSOLD!
97:35 A nutty taste test: Black Irish Mimi edition
First things first: we are officially announcing the launch of our GoFundMe campaign! Thank you to our listeners for the past 7 amazing years, and we’re looking forward to great stuff to come. Since our last episode, the Peng Shuai story has received widespread coverage in US media, with Chinese state media offering some video clips as “proof” of Peng’s well-being. The WTA has done a great job pushing the issue, but we wonder what's next if the WTA's demands are not met. We also celebrate the successful Guadalajara WTA Finals, spend a good 10 seconds on the ATP Finals, chat about WTA historiography and why they’re so good at, and cover a few odds and ends about Australia and Federer.
01:50 GoFundMe - it’s awkward to ask for money but here we go!
04:20 Peng Shuai situation -- Story blows up in US media; Chinese state media offers some seemingly orchestrated appearances. What’s next? What can we do from here?
16:35 Muguruza’s win caps off a fun and diverting WTA Finals in Guadalajara; much praise to her opponent, new #7 Anett Kontaveit
23:00 Ever notice that the legends of women’s tennis are always around to promote the sport? Here’s why (at least in our view)
32:50 ATP Finals: If a tree falls in a forest . . . anyway
38:50 Australian Open confirms vax stance and Novak demurs
42:15 Roger Federer updates his fans, and it’s tough to hear
Spot on best tennis politics in the biz 👍🏻
Thoroughly enjoy the Body Serve Podcast!
I randomly came across the Body Serve podcast late last year, binged the older episodes within the span of a couple of months, and have been a loyal listener since! The dramatic readings are too funny, the research episodes are enlightening, and off course the normal tennis episodes are simply amazing! The two hosts James and Jonathan, definitely have pedigree! I hope to see you both grow within the tennis world!
Love the podcast
Just wanted to say that I really enjoy the podcast! I have been listening to some older episodes during the pandemic and have been enjoying them just as much as normal episodes when there is actually tennis on. I love your humour and jokes, you guys make me laugh so much. Thanks for making this podcast :)