No Challenges Remaining

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A humorous and informative podcast discussing the weekly happenings in the wacky world of professional tennis. Hosted by Ben Rothenberg and Courtney Nguyen.

No Challenges Remaining Tennis Podcast


    • Jan 14, 2023 LATEST EPISODE
    • monthly NEW EPISODES
    • 58m AVG DURATION
    • 482 EPISODES

    4.3 from 316 ratings Listeners of No Challenges Remaining that love the show mention: best tennis podcast, ncr, tennis world, informed and funny, great tennis podcast, know the players, wta and atp, rants and raves, tennis fans, courtney's, always a must listen, entertaining and interesting, tours, serena, tournaments, listening to ben, nevertheless, matches, murray, watches.



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    Latest episodes from No Challenges Remaining

    Episode 348: Australian Open Draw Show, 2023

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 14, 2023 111:33


    Ben and Tumaini Carayol break down the women's and men's draws at the year's first Grand Slam event, and also discuss some of the early season storylines like United Cup and Netflix's "Break Point" that have dominated discussion in the build-up. Is Iga Swiatek clear favorite to win this tournament against the field, or are rising threats like Jessie Pegula or Aryna Sabalenka ready to thwart her? And on the men's side, is Novak Djokovic ready to resume business as usual in Australia? And what is the outlook for Rafael Nadal's future? We also discuss Naomi Osaka's baby news, and Craig Tiley's lack of accountability. Also! Ben's forthcoming book about Naomi Osaka is now available to preorder!

    Episode 347: Netflix's ”Break Point” Hits and Misses

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 9, 2023 60:10


    To start our 12th(!) season of NCR, Ben and Reem Abulleil preview and review the highly anticipated Netflix tennis docuseries "Break Point," which features a group of young challengers on the tours in the first half of the 2022 season. Ben and Reem (who also reviewed the show for The National) discuss the sport's hopes for the show to recreate the magic of "Drive to Survive," as well as the format, where it succeeds and where it disappoints. There are spoilers in this episode, so to speak, but really not many if you know what happened in tennis last year.

    Episode 346: Men of the Year (With Ricky Dimon)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 1, 2022 53:28


    Ben is stepping back briefly from book writing hiatus on the occasion of being joined by Ricky Dimon of The Grandstand for a look back at the year that was in men's tennis, and how it's setting up for the finals. We talk about each of the top eight guys, and also Novak Djokovic, whose Wimbledon title will leapfrog him into the field in Turin. It's been an odd, transitional year in men's tennis, and it's not clear quite where anything is heading in the near future, so we decide it's a good time to make predictions.  Thank you for listening to NCR, we've missed you and we'll be back more often soon!

    Episode 345: Swiatek, Alcaraz Reach New Heights at US Open

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 14, 2022 110:16


    Ben and Tumaini Carayol reconvene a bit after the U.S. Open to reflect on the tournament that was, with two winners who capped off great seasons with their first titles in New York. And they've only just begun? First, Iga Swiatek won on the women's side, overcoming a doubt-filled lead-up and solidifying her position as a bona fide star in the sport. What impressed us most about this win, and where does she go from here? Also thoughts on Jabeur, Pegula, and, of course, the fantastic farewell of Serena Williams. Then on the men's side we discuss Carlos Alcaraz's ascendancy to the top, the "oatmeal stallion" that is Casper Ruud, the long-awaited breakthrough of a player like Frances Tiafoe, the missed opportunity by Nick Kyrgios, and more! Thanks for listening!

    Episode 344: U.S. Open Draw Show 2022!

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 28, 2022 84:38


    Ben and Tumaini Carayol are courtside at the U.S. Open to give you the outlook on how the year's last Grand Slam and Serena Williams' last tournament is shaking up. We start with the women, where we discuss Iga Swiatek cooling off from her lava-hot spring swing, her complaints about the balls, the Azarenka-Kostyuk situation, Emma Raducanu, Osaka-Collins, and more.  We finish, of course, with a discussion of Serena, and what her last singles matches could look like. On the men's side, it seems like a very open draw due to notable absences, except for that Rafael Nadal guy who seems to win every time he's overlooked this year.

    Episode 343: Serena's Sunset

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 10, 2022 48:37


    Ben and Tumaini Carayol convene to discuss Serena Williams, the greatest women's tennis player of our lives, calling time on her career. Well, she didn't exactly call Time; she called Vogue, and penned a first-person cover story explaining her thoughts and making it clear that she believes the end of her career is in sight. Ben and Tumaini discuss Serena's decision to retire at long last, what she said--and didn't say--in her essay about the decision and the context around it, some of our favorite Serena memories, and what to expect from her send-off in New York, which figures to be a massive cultural event. Let's enjoy this last dance, y'all!

    Episode 342: Rybakina and Djokovic Win Wimbledon

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 10, 2022 56:46


    Ben and Tumaini Carayol (before he turns into a pumpkin) wrap up the Wimbledon that was, which featured both some feel-good and some uncomfortable storylines across the fortnight. We begin with the women, with Elena Rybakina making good on her potential and breaking through for the title with a win over Ons Jabeur. We talk about the Kazakh tennis strategy, and what it says about Russia, particularly in the wake of Wimbledon's ban. We also talk about the delights of Jabeur, the shock run of Tatjana Maria, how to measure expectations for the suddenly returned Williams sisters, and the end of Iga Swiatek's stellar streak. On the men's side, Novak Djokovic continued his increased dominance of this tournament with a seventh title at Wimbledon, beating Nick Kyrgios in the final. We talk about the odd feelings around both runs, the ugliness of Kyrgios-Tsitsipas, the anticlimactic finish to Rafael Nadal's Grand Slam bid, and Cam Norrie rising to the occasion. We finish, as Tumaini puts on his glass slippers, with a quick chat about the legendary Women's Invitational Doubles field. Thank you for listening to NCR!

    Episode 341: Walking Around Wimbledon's Century

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 26, 2022 48:50


    On the 100th birthday of Centre Court, Ben is joined by Alexandra Willis, the director of communications and marketing for Wimbledon, and the two of them take a walk into Centre Court's most hallowed places. Along the way, we discuss Wimbledon's continuing balancing between retaining history and progressing to the present, plans of growth ahead, and the circumstances and consequences of the ban of Russian and Belarusian players this year. Spice up your ears and enjoy!  

    Episode 340: Wimbledon 2022 Draw Preview

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 24, 2022 83:41


    Ben and Tumaini Carayol are back together again at Wimbledon for another look ahead at a Grand Slam draw, looking at the men's field, the women's field, and a concerning hole on the side of Court 14.  After a general look at the draw balance--and the intrigue missing from the field because of the ban of Russian and Belarusian players--Ben and Tumaini dig into the men's draw, in which balance emerged despite some misleading seedings, with Hubert Hurkacz and Matteo Berrettini landing in separate quarters from fellow contenders Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. On the women's side, we discuss Serena Williams' unexpected return and her prospects, Ons Jabeur's comfort in this world, Bianca Andreescu reasserting her gifts, and Iga Swiatek's chances of extending her streak of dominance. Also, justice for Julia Pegula.  Thanks for listening, as always! 

    Episode 339: The Book on Emma Raducanu (With Mike Dickson)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 18, 2022 43:44


    As Emma Raducanu readies for her first Wimbledon as a Grand Slam champion, Ben chats with Mike Dickson, the man who literally wrote the book on the young British sensation's origin story and remarkably meteoric rise to stardom last year. Emma Raducanu: When Tennis Came Home tells the story of Raducanu's origins and walks through the brief career she had until being thrust into an international spotlight in an unprecedented way. We discuss Raducanu's remarkable rise, and the uncertainty surrounding her near and long-term future as her sophomore season brings struggles with Wimbledon on the horizon.

    Episode 338: Swiatek and Nadal Roll Roland Garros

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 6, 2022 60:56


    Ben and Tumaini Carayol meet back up just hours after the men's final at Roland Garros to discuss Rafael Nadal's record extending 14th title here and Iga Swiatek's streak extending 35th win and second French Open title. We start with Swiatek, who has just been so dominant. Is the field anywhere close to her now? What will it take for a challenger to emerge? And what to make of the strong run by teen phenom Coco Gauff to the final? Then we switch to the men--how to reconcile Nadal's dominance and his injury malaise? How much longer do we think he has left? And what will Djokovic regret about letting this one slip? We wrap up with a look at why night sessions were not ready for prime time in Paris, and what to look for as the grass is green on the other side of the English Channel. Thanks for listening, folks!

    Episode 337: Draw Me Like One of Your French Opens, 2022

    Play Episode Listen Later May 21, 2022 86:11


    We are delighted to return to you, and to return to Paris, and to return our favorite annual episode title! Ben and Tumaini Carayol start this French Open draw show with a bit first on the big news of the day, which was the ATP and WTA deciding to withhold ranking points from this year's Wimbledon Championships because of the tournament banning Russian and Belarusian players. What effect will this have on the tournament, the players, and the outlook for the #1 ranking in men's tennis? We then break down the French Open draws, starting with the women and prohibitive favorite Iga Swiatek. Who or what can stop her from cruising onward to her second French Open title? We also discuss two of the most compelling floaters, Naomi Osaka and Bianca Andreescu. On the men's side, we discuss the top-heavy draw, how the three-horse race of Djokovic, Nadal, and Alcaraz has set up, and who can take advantages of the openings on the bottom half. Thank y'all for listening! Bonsoiree! 

    Episode 336: Was Wimbledon Right to Ban Russians and Belarusians?

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 22, 2022 55:56


    Wimbledon took the drastic step of banning all Russian and Belarusian players from this year's tournament, escalating the impact that Russia's invasion of Ukraine has had on the world of tennis. Tumaini Carayol joins Ben to discuss this decision, where it fits into the British political context, and how it might further divide an already fractious sport. Is fairness a possible concept amid a war? What can we learn from past precedents? And what might tennis authorities have to do next as this war shows no sign of abating? Thank you for listening to NCR! We are on Patreon, Twitter, and your favorite podcast apps.  

    Episode 335: José Morgado on Tennis Twitter

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 15, 2022 49:40


    Taking the face of your tennis scrolling into your ears, Ben is joined by José Morgado, the Portuguese reporter and commentator who has become the most complete and comprehensive stop on Tennis Twitter for news and information about this never-stopping sport. José discusses the state of tennis in Portugal, how he got into the sport, building a presence on Tennis Twitter, and the prizes and pitfalls from being an increasingly visible figure in this strange space. Thank you for listening to NCR!

    Episode 334: Harvey Fialkov, Miami Maven

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 3, 2022 26:05


    Harvey Fialkov, a veteran sportswriter who covers the Miami Open with more gusto than anybody, joins Ben to share his contagious excitements for all things tennis. Chatting before the women's final, Ben and Harvey discuss the pros and cons of the move from Key Biscayne to the Dolphins' stadium, memories of tournaments past, South Florida's status as a hotbed of world tennis, and who catches his eye on the current tour. Harvey is a delight to share a press room with, and we hope you also can feel his effervescence in this audio medium. We have paused our crowdfunding efforts while Ben's focus is taken up by his book project, but we thank you for your support!

    Episode 333: Rick Macci on 'King Richard'

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 1, 2022 28:17


    In a week where the Williams family got a bizarre twist on what should have been a Hollywood ending for their cinematic journey, Ben traveled to the Rick Macci Tennis Academy in Boca Raton to chat with Rick Macci, whose work with the Williams family is portrayed in 'King Richard.' Rick discusses the impact of the film on his life, working with the family, how actress Saniyya Sidney was able to portray Venus so well on court, that slap, and the other tennis story he'd most like to see made into a movie. We have paused our crowdfunding efforts for the time being, but we thank you for all of your support!

    Episode 332: Ash Barty Goes Out On Top

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 23, 2022 35:35


    Emergency Episode! Top-ranked Ash Barty's surprise announcement that she is calling it a career at only 25 years old and less than two months after winning the Australian Open was urgent cause for our first emergency episode in a long while, folks! Reem Abulleil joins Ben to discuss our immediate reactions to the news and Barty's initial explanations, how we process it, Barty's legacies of looking out for herself and maintaining firm control over her career, and what the tour now looks like in its sudden post-Barty era. We're gonna miss you heaps, Ash.  Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our ELEVENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers Pam Shriver and J O'D!)

    Episode 331: Indian Wells - Fritz Breaks Through; Swiatek Soars

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 22, 2022 62:30


    Just back from the desert, Ben chats with David Avakian about the weeks that were at Indian Wells, with culminated in a surprise triumph for Taylor Fritz over Rafael Nadal, and an increasingly expected victory for Iga Swiatek, over Maria Sakkari. For the men, we discuss Fritz and where American men's tennis is at globally right now, what lies ahead for Nadal and the field, Kyrgios' strong run and awkward finish, Norrie's banishment to Stadium 5. On the women's side, we discuss Swiatek emerging as a dominant force on the tour and the room she might have to go even higher, if Sakkari can push higher, and some other breakout performances from the week. Oh, and Holland's Got Tallon, in case you missed it. Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our ELEVENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers Pam Shriver and J O'D!)

    Episode 330: Dayana Yastremska on Escaping the War in Ukraine [Reupload]

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 3, 2022 34:50


    (Reuploading this episode as a duplicate because of issues with iTunes and Apple Podcasts services) With war suddenly raging in Ukraine after Russia's invasion, Ben is joined on this episode by Dayana Yastremska, the 21-year-old WTA player who had to flee her hometown of Odessa, Ukraine, after the bombs began dropping on her city. Yastremska tells her journey of escaping via boat to Romania alongside her 15-year-old sister, her attempts to focus on tennis this week at a WTA tournament in Lyon, France, and her hopes and fears for what is happening back home in Ukraine, where her family remains. Organizations you can support to help people in Ukraine include Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, and The Kyiv Independent.

    Episode 330: Dayana Yastremska on Escaping the War in Ukraine

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 2, 2022 34:50


    With war suddenly raging in Ukraine after Russia's invasion, Ben is joined on this episode by Dayana Yastremska, the 21-year-old WTA player who had to flee her hometown of Odessa, Ukraine, after the bombs began dropping on her city. Yastremska tells her journey of escaping via boat to Romania alongside her 15-year-old sister, her attempts to focus on tennis this week at a WTA tournament in Lyon, France, and her hopes and fears for what is happening back home in Ukraine, where her family remains. Organizations you can support to help people in Ukraine include Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, and The Kyiv Independent.

    Episode 329: The Men in Mexico (with Mike Cation)

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 25, 2022 41:54


    Acapulco has turned into one of the biggest tennis destinations on the ATP calendar, and our buddy Mike Cation is there this week, checking in on a week of festive fun, new highs, and distressing lows. We discuss the atmosphere at this unique resort, night-time event, the wild day Stefan Kozlov had that contributed to the latest finish in ATP history, the violent outburst that got Alexander Zverev kicked out of the tournament, Daniil Medvedev's ascent to the No. 1 ranking, and more. Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our ELEVENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers Pam Shriver and J O'D!)

    Episode 328: Our Woman in Dubai (with Reem Abulleil)

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 20, 2022 49:21


    Ben is joined by NCR's intrepid Middle East and North Africa correspondent Reem Abulleil to discuss the tennis happening in Dubai this month, where she enjoyed more access to players than she has been able to get at any time before since the pandemic began. Reem discusses the women's week that was in Dubai, starting with her interview with Danielle Collins and Collins' mentor, and then Jelena Ostapenko storming through a loaded field. We then discuss the week ahead in the men's draw, and what questions might still remain as Novak Djokovic returns to the tour (and interviews).  Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our ELEVENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers Pam Shriver and J O'D!)  

    Episode 327: Adiós, Delpo

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 15, 2022 56:41


    With Juan Martín del Potro playing what is set to be the last match of his career last week in Buenos Aires, Ben and Courtney reflect on the career of the gentle giant who had an outsized presence and popularity in the sport to match his enormous on-court gifts. Ben then has a longer chat with Alfredo Bernardi, a longtime Argentine tennis correspondent who closely followed Delpo's career from its beginnings, about his rise, triumphs, struggles, and future. Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our ELEVENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers Pam Shriver and J O'D!)

    Episode 326: Australian Open - Nadal and Barty's Fairytale Endings

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 4, 2022 114:14


    The stormy lead-up to the Australian Open ended with two great resplendent victories, with Ash Barty becoming the first Aussie champ in Melbourne in four decades, and Rafael Nadal winning just his second Australian Open to win a record 21st Grand Slam men's singles title. On Barty, we discuss her win, the catharsis after a lack of tension, parallels to Andy Murray, and how the field could try to disrupt her dominance. We also discuss runner-up Danielle Collins, who breaks into the Top 10 after a run of self-driven power tennis. We then move to the men's side, where Nadal's win was seen as obvious from the outside but as a longshot inside the sport. What does this remarkable comeback win mean for him and the sport? Was Medvedev right to be aggrieved at the crowd? And what should be done to police mid-match coaching after seeing the Tsitsipas sting operation in the semifinals? Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our ELEVENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers Pam Shriver and J O'D!)

    Episode 325: Australian Open - Semifinal Showdowns

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 27, 2022 47:43


    Ben and Tumaini Carayol are back to discuss the four women and four men still in contention to win this Australian Open, which has held up to set up for some surprisingly unsurprising semifinals. On the women's side, can anyone derail Ash Barty, or even approach the dimension of her game? How much has the heat been a factor in the success of Madison Keys and Danielle Collins? And what is Iga Swiatek showing us that she didn't during her French Open run? On the men's side, why are folks sleeping on Matteo Berrettini? Can Rafael Nadal win 21? Why is Daniil Medvedev such a troll, and why is Stefanos Tsitsipas so cold? Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our ELEVENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers Pam Shriver and J O'D!)

    Episode 324: Australian Open - The Slam After the Storm

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 23, 2022 26:12


    Now that the Djokovic debacle has ended and the tennis has begun, Ben and Tumaini Carayol wrap up the big stories of the first week of the Australian Open. What did we see from Naomi Osaka in how she won and in how she handled defeat? How did Emma Raducanu manage to slice her way into Romanian hearts? Can anyone stop Barty and Medvedev? Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our ELEVENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers Pam Shriver and J O'D!)

    Episode 323: Djokovic's Deportation Debacle is Done

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 17, 2022 45:38


    The Djokovic deportation drama dragged deliriously Down Under, feeling a whole 'nother Grand Slam's worth of drama and intrigue before finally resolving itself on Sunday with a panel of judges upholding a second deportation order and sending Djokovic on a flight out of Australia soon after. Paul Sakkal, whose coverage of the political sides of this story has been extraordinarily insightful, and who got rave reviews for his first appearance on NCR at the onset of this saga, joins Ben once more to explain what happened, and to contemplate questions ahead. Why did the government change its tactics so drastically for Round 2 of proceedings? Does this case raise civil liberties concerns? What will the fallout be for Tennis Australia? And will this do anything to help the plight of the refugees? Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our ELEVENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers Pam Shriver and J O'D!)

    Episode 322: 2022 Australian Open Draw Preview

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 16, 2022 73:58


    Ben and Courtney(!) know that a whole lot else has been going on in the world of tennis, but now that Novak Djokovic is on a plane out of Australia (which wasn't yet settled when we recorded), the coast is clear to talk about the draws ahead for the year's first Grand Slam. How is Ash Barty's ambition clearer than before, and will that eagerly awaited match with Naomi Osaka happen? How do last year's surprise success stories look early on this year? Also, Ben's been imagining a specific surprise champion on the men's side, and we send some love to friends in the tennis world.   Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our ELEVENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers Pam Shriver and J O'D!)

    Episode 321: Deciphering Details of Djokovic's Deportation Drama

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 7, 2022 51:00


    Novak Djokovic's Australian Open fate changed drastically while he was up in the air during the recording of our last episode, but luckily for us Paul Sakkal, Victoria Political reporter for The Age, is here to break everything down with incredible knowledge, depth and detail. What went wrong with Novak Djokovic between his exemption being granted by Tennis Australia panels and then his being rejected by Australian Border Force? On what grounds was his application rejected? How much was the politicization of his arrival a factor in the decision? How much blame does Tennis Australia bear? What is the appeal process now? What is the history of the building where he's being detained alongside refugees? Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our ELEVENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers Pam Shriver and J O'D!)

    Episode 320: Djokovic's Exemption and The Vibes

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 5, 2022 43:26


    Ben and Tumaini Carayol reunite in Melbourne's newest arena (which could have better acoustics, sorry) to discuss the great vibes at the tournament, and the news which harshed them considerably. Novak Djokovic's announcement that he had received a medical exemption which would allow him to play the Australian Open without the required coronavirus vaccination. This has caused considerable anger in Australia, and we discuss why it has been such a buzzkill. We also talk about why the ATP Cup isn't resonating with viewers, and the happy comeback of Naomi Osaka.  Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our ELEVENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers Pam Shriver and J O'D!)

    Episode 319: Wrapping Up Tennis in December (With Reem Abulleil)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 8, 2021 71:54


    Ben is rejoined by NCR's Middle East and North Africa correspondent Reem Abulleil for a discussion of the very late and fairly busy finish to the tennis season, which went into December and will have less than a month of full off-season before resuming again in 2022. We discuss the new Davis Cup format and the good vibes on the winning Russian team, led by mascot Andrey Rublev, as well as the negative kneejerk reactions to the news that Abu Dhabi could be the next host city. We also discussed the endless saga about Novak Djokovic's vaccination vacillations. Also, where does tennis go now that the WTA has suspended ties with China, and where does the WTA go from here and who can help them out? Lastly then we talk about our own journeys covering this long year, our fatigues, and our hopes for Australia.   Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our TENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers Pam Shriver and J O'D!)

    Episode 318: WTA Stands Up Against China For Peng Shuai

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 3, 2021 31:04


    After the WTA backed up its strong talk by suspending all of its tournaments in China because of the continued censorship of Peng Shuai, Ben is joined by Human Rights Watch's Senior China Researcher Yaqiu Wang to discuss how Peng's case fits into the wider landscape of issues in China.   What made the WTA's stance so unique? How should we see the International Olympic Committee's solidarity with China? And how pervasive is the restriction on free speech in Chinese life? Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our TENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers J O'D, Pam Shriver, and Nicole Copeland!)

    Episode 317: Peng Shuai, China, and the End of WTAsia?

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 18, 2021 69:05


    Ben is joined by The Guardian's Tumaini Carayol to discuss the fallout of the accusations made by Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai against a senior government official, the WTA's strong stance, and the impact on tennis in China going forward. Was the WTA's partnership with China always doomed to fail, as Tumaini predicted in 2019? And what would a reset of the tour without China look like for the future of women's tennis? Plus, the new-look WTA year-end championship event in Guadalajara and the same-look-new-venue event for the ATP in Turin. Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our TENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers J O'D, Pam Shriver, and Nicole Copeland!)

    Episode 316: NCR Movie Club - KING RICHARD (2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 11, 2021 75:36


    Ben and David Avakian are delighted to bring you an NCR Movie Club installment on what is set to be the biggest tennis movie in a long time, and perhaps ever: KING RICHARD, which stars Will Smith as Richard Williams and shows his early journey raising Venus and Serena into perhaps the greatest story in tennis history. The movie comes out on November 19, so if you want to hold off listening until then you can (but since this is almost all based on a true story we don't think it's necessarily spoilable). Ben and David discuss their opinions on the movie (which are very positive!) and what role the Williams family's involvement in it should play in how we watch it. We also discuss what the movie gets right, what it gets wrong, and what it leaves out. Also, what responsibility does a movie have to its audience when it says it is "based on a true story"? Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our TENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers J O'D, Pam Shriver, and Nicole Copeland!)

    Episode 315: Prague Progress Report (with Jannik Schneider)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 5, 2021 69:40


    The first edition of the Billie Jean King Cup (née Fed Cup) is happening this week, and so Ben is joined by the German reporter Jannik Schneider, who was there in Prague covering the event. We discuss how the event's atmosphere and organization has been, the impact of Billie Jean King's legacy on the competition, and why Russia is doing business as "RTF" at the event.  We also discuss how the accusations against Alexander Zverev have been covered in Germany, and what challenges reporters there including Jannik have faced covering them. Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our TENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers J O'D, Pam Shriver, and Nicole Copeland!)

    Episode 314: Backroom Business (With Bret McCormick)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 27, 2021 44:15


    There's been batches of backroom brouhahas brewing this year in tennis as the sport continues to be in a moment of flux and transition during the pandemic. To make sense of the landscape, Ben is joined by Sports Business Journal's Bret McCormick, who discusses his reporting on many issues. Could changes to the calendar made because of the pandemic become long-term shifts? How are the men's and women's tours already coming together? How are the new leaders in men's tennis faring so far? Does the PTPA look poised to succeed? And what does this hotly debated long-range plan entail? And more. Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our TENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers J O'D, Pam Shriver, and Nicole Copeland!)

    Episode 313: ATP is Investigating Zverev; What Comes Next?

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 7, 2021 59:06


    Nearly a year after Olga Sharypova publicly accused tennis star Alexander Zverev of repeated physical and emotional abuse during their relationship, the ATP announced this week that it is opening an investigation into (one of the) accusations, which Zverev has repeatedly denied in blanket terms. Ben, who has interviewed Sharypova and investigated the story for both Racquet and Slate, is joined by Mary Carillo and Jessica Luther to discuss the accusations and their impact on the sport. What took so long for the ATP to act, and why is their scope limited to Shanghai 2019? Should we have faith in the ATP to do a proper investigation? What does an investigation need to do the job correctly? How important is Sharypova's continued participation and cooperation? How has tennis dealt with the cloud over the sport in the past year? Why are tennis broadcasters so reluctant to discuss difficult topics? What to make of the select input from other players? And more. Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our TENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers J O'D, Pam Shriver, and Nicole Copeland!)

    Episode 312: Starting up in San Diego (With Dani Vallverdu)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 4, 2021 26:52


    The tennis map has been redrawn this year as the world continues shifting during the pandemic, bringing the tours to many new stops that it previously left out. This has included many major American cities such as Chicago, Cleveland, and San Diego, where there was a first-ever ATP event this week. Dani Vallverdu, managing director of the new San Diego Open, joins Ben to discuss what it took to make a new ATP tournament in only six weeks, the shifting sands of the calendar and where they might go from here, traditional vs. non-traditional markets, and the persistence and appeal of Andy Murray.  Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our TENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers J O'D, Pam Shriver, and Nicole Copeland!)

    Episode 311: Bridging the App Gap

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 23, 2021 31:12


    On this episode, Ben chats with Lewis Simmons, creator of the TNNS Live app, who has helped fill the void left by the sudden disappearance of the simple but essential ATP-WTA live score mobile app last year, which left many tennis fans and followers marooned without the compass they'd used to navigate the tennis tours for about a decade. We discuss the chasm left by the old app's departure, trying to replicate its simplicity while adding various enhancements, and what the challenges were of making the app a success. Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our TENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers J O'D, Pam Shriver, and Nicole Copeland!)

    Episode 310b: Medvedev Beats Djokovic for U.S. Open Title; the Grand Slam Is Hard

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 18, 2021 94:33


    Ben and Courtney begin "Boys' Time!" at the U.S. Open with a discussion of Novak Djokovic falling one match short of his historic bid for the Grand Slam (which means a specific thing, y'all). What signs were there that Djokovic was in trouble, looking back? And how does Djokovic, 34, move on from this? We then salute our new major champion and Troll King, Daniil Medvedev, who had established himself as an heir apparent in recent years and deservedly took the throne in New York. What makes him so much fun among the problematic ATP Top 5? We also discuss semifinalist Felix Auger-Aliassime, who still hasn't quite been convincing, the effervescent joy of Frances Tiafoe, the potential of Carlos Alcaraz, and the breakthrough run of Bob Van de Slap. We end by finally flushing the Flushing furor over bathroom breaks, and how both Andy Murray and Stefanos Tsitsipas reacted to it all in unideal ways. Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our TENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers J O'D, Pam Shriver, and Nicole Copeland!)

    Episode 310a: Emma Raducanu Wins U.S. Open; What, Like It‘s Hard?

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 17, 2021 97:59


    Ben and Courtney dive right into the paradigm shifting, generational groundshaking moment that shocked the tennis world this week in New York: the photo of Maria Sharapova with the Williams Sisters at the Met Gala. After that, we turn our sights to the new star born in New York, Emma Raducanu, who won history as the first qualifier to win a Slam. What made her such a juggernaut on court? And how will her broad base of support in strong markets like Britain and China make her a force off court? We also discuss the thrilling underdog run of runner-up Leylah Fernandez, Barbora Krejcikova's still-remarkable year, Ash Barty's disappointing exit, and the first week MVP that was Sloane Stephens. We also have a long chat about Naomi Osaka, and how a break from tennis might be just what she needs to recalibrate and recontextualize her career. Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our TENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers J O'D, Pam Shriver, and Nicole Copeland!)

    Episode 309: Mardy Fish‘s Breaking Point

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 9, 2021 30:40


    Ben and Courtney both took the time during this U.S. Open to watch the new Netflix documentary "Untold: Breaking Point" about Mardy Fish and his struggles with anxiety and mental health during the end of his elite tennis career. We both loved it, and heartily recommend it to you as a very timely watch for many reasons. Mardy joins Ben for a discussion about various things raised by the documentary and his career, including media sensitivity, American tennis, and more. Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our TENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers J O'D, Pam Shriver, and Nicole Copeland!)

    Episode 308: Live, From New York, It's US Open Draw Show!

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 29, 2021 133:45


    Reunited for their first in-person show together in more than 18 months, Ben and Courtney chat in New York on the eve of the U.S. Open about storylines from the men's and women's draws, including: Who, if anyone, can derail Novak Djokovic? Why is Stefanos Tsitsipas a good draw for Andy Murray? What do we make of Barty's increasingly impressive reign at #1, and can Osaka or Andreescu contend without much match play? And what about all the top players who are missing? Tangents on Venus Williams in Chicago, Jil Teichmann, and the surprising person whom Ben spoke to this week about a fast-rising qualifier. Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our TENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers J O'D, Pam Shriver, and Nicole Copeland!)

    Episode 307: Tokyo Takes a Toll (With Tumaini Carayol)

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 2, 2021 70:00


    Our guy Tumaini Carayol joins from Tokyo, where he's covering the Olympics for The Guardian, for a discussion of the happenings in tennis and elsewhere at the Games. What happened to Novak Djokovic, who was cruising toward a Golden Slam before suddenly crashing out with three defeats and a withdrawal in a nightmare 36 hour stretch? And how did Pablo Carreno Busta become the breakout achiever of the Olympic singles? And how about the big surprises in some doubles draws? We also discuss Naomi Osaka, and the parallels between her, Simone Biles, and Serena Williams, and what happens to athletes when they're hyped as inevitably flawless queens. Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our TENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers J O'D, Pam Shriver, and Nicole Copeland!)

    Episode 306: Checking Back in in the Capital

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 31, 2021 22:36


    As the Olympic results surprise on the other side of the globe, we take a moment to check back in more locally on the tennis scene stateside, where the Citi Open in Washington is set to begin this weekend with Rafael Nadal as a surprise headliner. Tournament owner Mark Ein, who was a three-time guest on NCR last year as he discussed the uncertainty of having an event in the flux of the pandemic, joins to talk about the challenges and opportunities this year, and what it takes to get a tournament back up and running after missing a year. Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our TENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers J O'D, Pam Shriver, and Nicole Copeland!)

    Episode 305: Ringing in the Olympic Tennis Draws (With Alex Gruskin)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 22, 2021 58:52


    The Olympics are on the horizon at last in the Land of the Rising Sun, and so Ben is joined by Alex Gruskin of Cracked Racquets to break down the women's and men's singles draws for the fast-approaching Tokyo tennis turn-up. On the women's side, is Ash Barty ready to be seen as a dominant clear favorite in women's tennis yet? Or could other surging players like Barbora Krejcikova or Aryna Sabalenka stop her before the final? And what should we expect from Naomi Osaka's return to competition under this intense spotlight? On the men's side, can anyone stop Novak Djokovic but himself? And is it actually a sneakily straightforward time in the rest of men's tennis as well? (We also did a companion Olympic episode of sorts to this over on Great Shot Pod, talking about more big picture Olympic tennis concerns.) Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our TENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers J O'D, Pam Shriver, and Nicole Copeland!)

    Episode 304: Barty, Djokovic Win Wimbledon; Olympic Exodus

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 14, 2021 82:17


    Back stateside, Ben reconnects with Courtney to discuss the Wimbledon finals, which saw Ash Barty win her 2nd and Novak Djokovic win his 20th. On Barty, what does her win say about the current conversation around mental health? And on Djokovic, is he destined to win a Calendar Golden Slam? Also bits on Pliskova, Berrettini, and our thoughts on the increasingly large numbers of top players opting out of the Olympics (we don't love it!) Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our TENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can this year! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers J O'D, Pam Shriver, and Nicole Copeland!)

    Episode 303d: Wimbledon's Second Week, With Tumaini Carayol

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 10, 2021 44:00


    On the eve of the finals, Ben and Tumaini Carayol catch up on the second week that was at Wimbledon, which has set up two pretty strong finals: Djokovic-Berrettini and Barty-Pliskova. Plenty else happened along the way to those showdowns, of course, so we discuss men's happenings including Federer's dramatic fade against Hurkacz, Felix Auger-Aliassime's strong showing,  and the wackadoodle fifth set of Korda-Khachanov. On the women's side we discuss things like Aryna Sabalenka breaking her Slam duck, Ons Jabeur's magnificence, the attention on Emma Raducanu, and the prime scheduling of Coco Gauff. It may or may not be coming home, but we're very happy you're listening wherever you live!  Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our TENTH(!) ad-free season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can during the Wimbledon! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers J O'D, Pam Shriver, and Nicole Copeland!)

    Episode 303c: Wimbledon, on the Last Middle Sunday

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 4, 2021 35:52


    Ben and Courtney convene for the last of what has been a tradition: a Middle Sunday episode from Wimbledon. What do we make of this tradition being phased out? And how about this first week at Wimbledon, which seemed to have found its footing as a great tournament after some early slips? We discuss our favorite moments so far, and how both the men and women are set up for the second week. Also, Courtney prepares for her adventures in ghostbustin' as she tries to pick Casper Ruud out of a lineup...check that out over on our Patreon.  Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our TENTH(!) season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can during the Wimbledon! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers J O'D, Pam Shriver, and Nicole Copeland!)

    Episdoe 303b: Wimbledon Round 3: On Being Here, With Tumaini Carayol

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 3, 2021 30:16


    After five days together at Wimbledon Ben and Tumaini Carayol chat about what it's been like to be back at a Grand Slam in person for the first time in well over a year, what's the same, and what's different about being at the All England Club once more. We also discuss Andy Murray's fatalistic finish to his press conference, and what we can see among the many aging stars openly contemplating their futures. Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our TENTH(!) season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can during the Wimbledon! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers J O'D, Mike, Pam Shriver, and Nicole Copeland!)

    Episode 303a: Wimbledon Round 1: Falling Stars (With Pam Shriver)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 1, 2021 13:39


    Wimbledon is back up and running, but many of the top players have been falling down. Serena Williams was the biggest casualty of the slick Centre Court, aggravating an injury that forced her out of her third round match. To get the low-down on the ground, Ben is joined for a quick chat by NCR's Charm City correspondent Pam Shriver for her take on the lush lawns, and what might be done to make them less treacherous. It's been a busy Wimbledon for Ben so this is a fairly tapas-sized meal, but we hope you're feasting on all the tennis! Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR Patreon which has powered us into our TENTH(!) season! Please consider joining in as we bring you the best shows we can during the Wimbledon! And thank you to the many listeners who have already given their support! (And thank you to G.O.A.T. backers J O'D, Mike, Pam Shriver, and Nicole Copeland!)

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