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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 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...


Episode 287: Working in Tennis (With Katie Spellman)

Ben and Courtney are delighted to be joined by Katie Spellman, a communications expert who joins for a companion episode to her Instagram series highlighting what it takes to make it working in the world of tennis, particularly on the media sides both independent and corporate. What are the keys to breaking into the business? What do you need to do to stay afloat? And what are particular challenges facing women in the industry? All this, and more. Thank you again for the incredible support...


Episode 286b: Remember When? 2020, Part 2

Ben and Courtney wrap up their wrap-up of the uniquely weird year that was 2020 with this episode, which focuses on everything that happened after the pandemic first stopped the tours. How do we look back on how tennis players handled the stoppage, both as players and as citizens? Is it fair to make generalizations? And how did we feel about the tennis once it came back? Also, Courtney is on Twitch, as she mentions several times. Thank you again for the incredible support for NCR we've...


Episode 286a: Remember When? 2020, Part 1

What was it like to form memories in 2020? For Ben and Courtney, things were far more vivid when we were still able to travel, so this first half of our annual "Remember When" is heavy on January. Have our thoughts on ATP Cup changed with the passage of time? And how about those donations to the Australian bushfire relief? Where were we when we realized coronavirus was going to be serious? And how did our outlook on the year and our lives shift? Part 2, which covers April to the present,...


Episode 285b: A 2021 Roundtable, Part 2

We're delighted to bring you the conclusion of the roundtable with Reem Abulleil, Tumaini Carayol, and Alex Gruskin on our (sometimes myopic) 2021 vision for tennis. Topics the gang cover on this back half include the new WTA "rebrand," continuing media access shortfalls (particularly during quarantine), how Roger Federer might take to playing in empty stadiums, and what Tumaini's experience was like watching the ATP Tour Finals in empty O2 Arena in London. Thank you again for the incredible...


Episode 285a: A 2021 Roundtable, Part 1

Staring into an uncertain future, Ben is joined by an all-star panel for a roundtable about what 2021 might and should look like in tennis. Reem Abulleil, Tumaini Carayol, and Alex Gruskin all return to NCR to discuss the 2021 outlook, starting with the Australian Open's apparent shift to February, which could majorly disrupt the first two months of the season. Is all the upheaval worth it? (A column by Richard Hinds which we discuss is here.) We then discuss how tennis' challenges this year...


Episode 284: What's Up Down Under: Australian Open 2021 Outlook

The 2020 tennis off-season has begun, but we don't have a very confident idea just how long it will be before the 2021 season begins, with the Australian Open having to navigate a complex landscape in a place that has stood out during the pandemic for its success. To help explain the context of the conversation about holding a major event in COVID-free Melbourne, Ben is joined by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Tim Callanan to discuss the journey Melbourne and Victoria have been...