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No Challenges Remaining


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

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


United States


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








Episode 299: Barty, Bianca, and Boys in Miami

Ben and Courtney(!) join forces once more to discuss the breakout stories of the Miami Open, of which there were many. We lead off with a long chat about Ash Barty, the WTA #1 who seemed to prove her claim to that mantle more than ever with her title. Why did this title feel so big for a player who has already achieved so much? We then discuss Bianca Andreescu and her remarkable charisma and stage presence, which feels singular and retro. We also discuss Naomi Osaka, whose win streak...


Episode 298: The Empty Miami Open (with Michelle Kaufman)

The Miami Open, which has been in a state of flux in recent years, is underway this week in the parking lot of the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens in front of a scant crowd and limited media, and with an especially depleted men's player field. To get a feel for how it's going on the ground, Ben checks in with Miami Herald columnist Michelle Kaufman, who discusses the vibe on the ground, how it fits into the South Florida sports landscape currently, and how it feels to cover this unusual...


Episode 297: The Broken Economics of Tennis

Think tennis could work better? So does pretty much everyone who works in tennis. Ben is joined by David Yaffe-Bellany of Bloomberg News, author of a recent piece exploring the long tradition of dysfunction and underperforming within the business side of tennis. What are the roots of the disorganization and the animosity? What are possible fixes to the sports poor earnings and its short payroll? What do we know about the still largely undefined PTPA and the role it could play? Thank you...


Episode 296: The Voids to Fill

As the tours spend another week in the Middle East, the region's tennis queen Reem Abulleil joins NCR once more from (nearly) on-site in Dubai. First, Reem shares her impressions of having been on site at a tournament this week for the first time in more than a year, at ATP Dubai. How different does the empty bubble atmosphere resonate in person? Then we discuss Aslan Karatsev, who keeps winning and soaring up the rankings at an incredibly steep rate, all while we really haven't learned...


Episode 295: Muguruza Wins; Federer Returns; Djokovic Reigns

It was a newsy week in tennis, and Ben is joined by our MENA correspondent Reem Abulleil to discuss it all. Garbiñe Muguruza won her first title in two years at WTA Dubai, and seems to be building meaningful momentum as a top player week-in, week-out. What impact could that have on the tour? Roger Federer returned to competition at ATP Doha for his first matches in more than a year; what is he still targeting? And speaking of targets, Novak Djokovic hit one of his big ones, reaching 311...


Episode 294: Our Man in Rotterdam

With the tours continuing onward amid the pandemic, we welcome NCR's Dutch Lowlands and Caucasus Highlands correspondent David Avakian joins from Rotterdam to update us on the tournament there, which has long been a jewel of the indoor circuit. We discuss what the tournament has done to not look sad despite being empty, the role of appearance fees and entry list uncertainty, and the beautiful syllables of the Dutch language. Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received...


Episode 293i: Australian Open 2021 - Novak's Ninth

Ben and Courtney (the #ATPOutsider) are back to discuss the men's final in Melbourne, which was weighted with high hopes of a classic but ultimately turned into a pretty one-sided win for Novak Djokovic. We discuss Djokovic's incredible match management skills, Medvedev's disappointing performance, if expectations were unrealistic, how this sets up the GOAT conversation in terms of the race to most Slams won, and more! Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on...


Episode 293h: Australian Open 2021 - Naomi Osaka Wins Her Fourth (and Counting...)

With a second Australian Open title and fourth Grand Slam win overall, Naomi Osaka is into what feels like the beginning of the resume-padding phase of her already illustrious career. Ben and Courtney discuss Osaka's impressive run in Melbourne that ended with a win over Jennifer Brady, where she goes from here (particularly on clay), and the current state of the top of women's tennis. We also discuss the quirks of Jennifer Brady, our feelings about fully automated officiating, the...


Episode 293g: Australian Open 2021 - Finals Set: Osaka-Brady, Djokovic-Medvedev

Both the men's and women's finals are set at the Australian Open, and we're thinking they'll be pretty good! Reem Abulleil joins Ben to discuss the semifinals that were and the finals that they set up, starting with Jennifer Brady backing up her U.S. Open run to book another blockbuster match against Naomi Osaka. Also, what do we make of Serena's exit from Melbourne, which many perceived as a possible farewell? Then we discuss the men, and how we both think Daniil Medvedev has a real shot...


Episode 293f: Australian Open 2021 - Semifinal Showdowns Set

The wonderfully multitalented Nick McCarvel joins NCR now that the Australian Open semifinals are set, with Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka set to face off in a blockbuster clash, and Jennifer Brady and Karolina Muchova following as a compelling undercard on the women's side. On the men's side, Novak Djokovic faces previously unknown Aslan Karatsev, while the interesting dynamic of Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas facing off a day later for the other spot in the final. Thank you...


Episode 293e: Australian Open 2021 - Day 7: Women's Star Power Shines

It was a blockbuster day of women's tennis at the Australian Open, and Ben, Courtney, and Reem had a great time watching and discussing Osaka-Muguruza, Serena-Sabalenka, Halep-Swiatek, and the magical run of Hsieh Su-wei. What to make of these great matches? Which was the best? And how does the top half compare? Also a bit on Thiem-Dimitrov, Olivia Gadecki, 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(!)...


Episode 293d: Australian Open 2021 - Round 3 Round-up

As we reach the end of the Australian Open's first week, saying goodbye to Nick Kyrgios, the crowd, and Novak Djokovic's lock status, Ben is joined by Tumaini Carayol to wrap up the week that was and set the stage for the prize fights looming. How does this tournament feel so far? What were our impressions of Thiem-Kyrgios? How would the tournament change if Djokovic can't compete? And what is making the women's bottom half so special? Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR...


Episode 293c: Australian Open 2021 - Day 4: Kenin Falls, Barty Stumbles, Kyrgios Rises

After a pretty flat opening round (and week before at Melbourne Park) the Australian Open seemed to be jolted to life on Wednesday night by Nick Kyrgios, and several other intriguing moments emerged on Thursday as well. Ben and Courtney discuss their concerns about #1 Ash Barty, who struggled down the stretch. They also discuss the strangely self-defeating attitude of #4 Sofia Kenin, who bowed out under a blanket of pressure which seemed to be entirely of her own knitting. Then Ben chats...


Episode 293b: Australian Open 2021 - Day 3: The Passion of Venus

Venus Williams showed such staggering resilience, toughness, and determination on Wednesday that it almost didn't matter that she won only one game. Andrew Eccles, founder of The Spin, joins to discuss Venus' loss to Sara Errani, what it showed us about her, and why he has such love for Errani. We also discuss Hsieh Su-wei's win over Bianca Andreescu, Stan Wawrinka's five-set flameout, and the unsettled vibe of this Australian Open. Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've...


Episode 293a: Australian Open 2021 - Round 1 Round-up

It's been a different feeling Australian Open so far, with more scant crowds than anticipated, but also emphatic early performances by contenders on the women's side. Ben is joined by three tremendous women on this episode to get a sense of the tournament so far: NCR's Middle East and North Africa correspondent Reem Abulleil (who is delighting in the first ever Egyptian win in a women's Slam main draw), Jessie Pegula (who upset two-time champion Victoria Azarenka) and Ann Li (who routed #31...


Episode 292: Australian Open 2021 Draw Show

Another Slam is around the corner, and, in a surprise to no one, there are many players who seem wildly competitively relevant in the women's draw. Serena and Osaka are very good! Barty and Andreescu are back in action! Kenin and Halep remain legit! And then a whole bunch more people! On the men's side, there's Djokovic, who just about always wins in Melbourne. And then, we guess, Nadal? Thiem? Medvedev, maybe? Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've received on the NCR...


Episode 291: Stefanos Tsitsipas

Amid his busy schedule of creating photos and music, ATP #6 Stefanos Tsitsipas joins NCR this week, chatting with Ben about all sorts of things in a wide-ranging interview from his hotel room in Melbourne. We discuss topics including how he's handled the quarantine so far, his lifelong interest in creating things on the internet, his relationship with Nick Kyrgios, the pressures of the junior tour, being grounded from his travel-loving lifestyle, his fracas with Daniil Medvedev in Miami,...


Episode 290: The Complaint Department (with Reem Abulleil)

With conditions tougher than many players had expected for the mandatory quarantine period in Melbourne, and with gripes about how unevenly players have been treated, there were plenty of complaints to be heard from players, and then even louder complaints from the Australian public about those complaints. Ben and Reem Abulleil discuss what's been going on in Melbourne, whether or not players are entitled to being upset, the perception from the public, the Melbourne-Adelaide divide. And,...


Episode 289: Locked Inside, with Taro Daniel

The Australian Open lead-up has hit more snags than players expected, with 72 of them (and counting?) facing a hard lockdown that could keep them from leaving their hotel rooms at all for 14 days, presenting major challenges to their Grand Slam preparation. To discuss that predicament, Ben is joined by one of the 72, ATP player Taro Daniel, who was on a flight from Doha where another passenger tested positive for coronavirus. Taro discusses the mental and physical challenges of being stuck...


Episode 288: Remembering Tom Perrotta

The small world of tennis media lost one of its most beloved last week with the passing of Tom Perrotta, who had earned the love and admiration of practically everyone lucky enough to meet him. Since it's going to be a while before we're all able to come together again to properly raise a glass in Tom's honor, Ben and Courtney decided to use this space to "gather" together somewhat virtually with a series of spoken remembrances from a dozen of the folks who knew Tom best from his...