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Episode 217: Talking Dudes (With Ricky Dimon)

October 31st, 2018

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With Courtney covering the end of the women's season in Zhuhai, Ben is joined once again in Washington with friend of the show Ricky Dimon to talk about all things men's tennis. 

After a quick look back at the season as a whole, Ben and Ricky look ahead to London, which is coming down to a two-horse race between Kei Nishikori and John Isner. Which would make for a more intriguing participant?

Then, we look at the players from last year in London who came nowhere near qualifying this year, most notably Grigor Dimitrov and Jack Sock. On Sock especially, how did he manage to plummet so badly this year?

We then weigh in on the current debate over whether or not Pete Sampras was boring (or the boringest), and what makes a player boring. And then we discuss other superlatives by going over the ATP award nominees, and we imagine who would be on the ballot for antonymous awards (like least sportsmanlike).

We then eulogize retiring players like David Ferrer and Mikhail Youzhny, and raise a #FreeDimonator rallying cry.

As always, thanks for liking us on Facebook (leave comments on the episode thread! Engage with other listeners!), following us on Twitter (discuss this episode with hashtag #NCR217!), and subscribing/reviewing on iTunes on iTunes or whatever your podcasting app/platform of choice may be!

Episode 216: Julie Heldman

October 11th, 2018

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On the heels of the release of her new book, "Driven: A Daughter's Odyssey," Ben speaks with Julie Heldman about her journey and the legacy of her mother, Hall-of-Famer Gladys Heldman.

Heldman, one of the "Original 9," details the formative days of professional women's tennis and the factors that helped it off the ground. We discuss her mother's role, Billie Jean King's role, and how the story is remembered today.

We also discuss the sport today and her struggles with mental health, which were worsened by often cruel treatment by her mother.

It's a compelling read and you should check it out, for sure.

As always, thanks for liking us on Facebook (leave comments on the episode thread! Engage with other listeners!), following us on Twitter (discuss this episode with hashtag #NCR216!), and subscribing/reviewing on iTunes on iTunes or whatever your podcasting app/platform of choice may be!

Episode 215: Laver Cup with Liz Clarke

September 26th, 2018

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With Courtney in China for a bit, Ben was delighted to meet up in D.C. with The Washington Post's Liz Clarke, who recently returned from Chicago where she covered the second Laver Cup, the novel new event which seems to defy expectations and definitions in tennis in first two successful editions.

Ben and Liz discuss her impressions of the event and how players and crowds have taken to it, what makes it work, the definition of "exhibition," and her take on the competing interests in men's tennis now.

Liz also shares her experience and wisdom on what makes tennis' struggles so uniquely frustrating and self-sabotaging (and please do go buy her great book on NASCAR if that bit piques your interest whatsoever).

And, of course, The Boss plays her out. 

As always, thanks for liking us on Facebook (leave comments on the episode thread! Engage with other listeners!), following us on Twitter (discuss this episode with hashtag #NCR215!), and subscribing/reviewing on iTunes on iTunes or whatever your podcasting app/platform of choice may be!

Episode 214b: Shutting the U.S. Open, Part 2: Everything Else

September 15th, 2018

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After spending the last episode on Naomi Osaka and what happened in her final against Serena Williams, Ben and Courtney move on to the rest of the U.S. Open.

Well, after an explanation of what "Pique" is, a bit more on Serena: what do we make of her not being the closer she once was deep in Slams?

Then, other topics include: the heat and the slow courts, the impact of moments when non-tennis media becomes interested in the sport, women's top-10 fleeing Slams early, champion Novak Djokovic, runner-up Juan Martin del Potro, and Mo Lahyani's absurd intervention into the Kyrgios-Herbert match. 

As always, thanks for liking us on Facebook (leave comments on the episode thread! Engage with other listeners!), following us on Twitter (discuss this episode with hashtag #NCR214b!), and subscribing/reviewing on iTunes on iTunes or whatever your podcasting app/platform of choice may be!

Episode 214a: Shutting the U.S. Open, Part 1: Osaka, Serena, Ramos

September 11th, 2018

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The 2018 U.S. Open was absurdly eventful, and the women's side finished with tremendous controversy, so we devote most of this first wrap-up episode to that.

But first, we spend ample time on our new breakthrough champion, Naomi Osaka, and her stunning performance.

Then we dive headlong into everything that happened in the second set of her win over Serena Williams, which sparked worldwide discussion about officiating, sexism, and more. It was a whole big mess, and we hope we're able to clean it off and sort it out pretty well for you here.

Part 2, on everything else that happened at the U.S. Open, coming later this week.

As always, thanks for liking us on Facebook (leave comments on the episode thread! Engage with other listeners!), following us on Twitter (discuss this episode with hashtag #NCR214a!), and subscribing/reviewing on iTunes on iTunes or whatever your podcasting app/platform of choice may be!