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No Challenges Remaining

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Ben and Courtney were just a couple of passionate tennis bloggers when they met in Mason, Ohio in 2010, but their love of the wacky personalities that make up the sport of professional tennis has made them tennis besties ever since. They enjoy talking about tennis at all hours of the day on any topic that suits them and once a week they turn on a microphone for an hour during one of those chats and post the results. No Challenges Remaining is that podcast, and it drops Tuesdayishly Your hosts at NCR are Ben Rothenberg (a freelance writer for outlets including the New York Times) and Courtney Nguyen (previously a blogger for Forty Deuce, Sports Illustrated, and now Senior Writer at WTA Insider). All opinions on the podcast are our own.








Episode 198b: U.S. Open - Rafa, Sloane, Battle of the Sexes, Unstoppable

The 2017 U.S. Open wrapped up with an unsurprising men’s champ in Rafael Nadal and a very surprising women’s champ in Sloane Stephens. How did we get there? We discuss. What do we make of how the draw broke in Rafa’s favor? And how was Kevin Anderson the one able to seize the opportunity on the bottom half? On the women’s side, how did Sloane Stephens go from not being able to walk to playing her best tennis ever so quickly? What’s next for her? Also, how should the other Americans in...

Duration: 01:16:56

Episode 198a: U.S. Open Day 1 - Sharapova Beats Halep

In one of the biggest and best Slam first rounds ever, Maria Sharapova beat #2 Simona Halep in three thrilling sets. Ben and Courtney didn’t quite see that coming, so we break it down in this special Day 1 episode from the U.S. Open. What are Sharapova’s chances going forward in what’s turned into a very open quarter suddenly? There were some other upsets, too (Ferrer? Konta?). Also, Aleksandra Krunic is a delight. As always, thanks for liking us on Facebook (leave comments on the...

Duration: 00:17:03

Episode 197: U.S. Open Preview!

It’s our U.S. Open preview show! Ben and Courtney catch up on the happenings of the hardcourt season, and make all the tough picks as we breakdown the women’s and men’s draws in New York this year. With Andy Murray’s withdrawal the last of five from the ATP top 11, how should we feel about the men’s field? And just how open is the women’s draw, really, with eight women who can reach #1? Lots of fun tangents, as per. As always, thanks for liking us on Facebook (leave comments on the...

Duration: 01:44:05

Episode 196: Paul Annacone and Giri Nathan

To set the table for the upcoming US Open, Ben chats with two guys who see tennis through very different lenses. First up is Paul Annacone, a former ATP #12 and a past coach of Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, Tim Henman, and Sloane Stephens, who is out with his first book Coaching for Life. We talk all sorts of aspects of coaching relationships, and how they evolve with a player’s age and experience. Next, Ben chats with Giri Nathan, who has taken the helm of Deadspin’s suddenly robust...

Duration: 00:39:17

Episode 194: Wimbledon a Wimbledud?

Wimbledon 2017 is done with two great champions in Garbine Muguruza and Roger Federer…but why does it still feel unsatisfying? On the letdowns that defined the second week of this tournament too often. Ben and Courtney talk about what their wins mean, why scheduling remains a crucial variable for both, and other various stories from the undercard draws at Wimbledon. As always, thanks for liking us on Facebook (leave comments on the episode thread! Engage with other listeners!), following...

Duration: 00:32:50

Episode 193: Wimbledon Manic Impressions

Second week already? I was just in the middle of a dream (about flying ants, probably). With four rounds of Wimbledon in the books, Ben and Courtney chat about what has happened and what will at a Wimbledon that hadn’t been super eventful, really, until Manic Monday clarified some things. What do we make of Angelique Kerber, who will depart the #1 ranking? Should Bernard Tomic face scorn for his comments? Why is Gilles Muller such a dad? All this and more. As always, thanks for liking us...

Duration: 00:55:47

Episode 192: Wimbledon 2017 Preview (From Centre Court!)

Ben and Courtney are full of Wimbledon joy as they inhale the vaunted fumes of Centre Court, where the 2017 tournament will soon start. They start breaking down the men’s draw by discussing Sasha Bublik, the highly-entertaining Russian-turned-Kazakh who lucked into a spot playing Andy Murray in R1. You’ll hear some of his pre-tournament press, then we break down the paths of the top-four seeds, who happen to be the Big 4 again. We both agree on who’s tournament this is to lose, which...

Duration: 01:20:41

Episode 190: French Fortune Favors Brave (and Guy Who Won Nine Times Before)

Ben and Courtney have a lot to catch up on after the French Open. Well, maybe a little bit less on the men’s side, where a fairly lackluster men’s tournament ended in obvious fashion–albeit in style! Rafael Nadal is really good, but we knew that. Elsewhere in the men’s game, things look much better for Andy Murray and much worse for Novak Djokovic. What should Novak do to give himself a chance to be competitive again? On the women’s side, it was perhaps an even wilder one than expected,...

Duration: 01:43:05

Episode 189: Draw Me Like One of Your French Opens, 2017

It’s Slamming time again! Ben and Courtney break down the French Open draws for both the men’s and women’s. On the women’s side, where there are many favorites to choose from, who got the best and worst draws? And whose great draws and good recent forms could lead them to a second consecutive semifinal (or better)? There are multiple correct answers to that one. On the men’s side, could this be a tournament to get Murray or Djokovic back on track? Or is Rafael Nadal just too far ahead of...

Duration: 01:14:55

Episode 187b: French Open Shuns Sharapova

In a decision that had been anticipated for months, French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli surprised many by not granting Maria Sharapova any wild card–not even into qualifying–for Roland Garros, locking out the two-time champion there as she continues to work on rebuilding her ranking following her 15-month absence due to a positive test. In this short episode, Ben discusses the style, cause, and correctness of the decision with two French tennis journalists: our beloved...

Duration: 00:18:19

Episode 187a: NCRvision Song Contest Revisited

It’s Eurovision season again, and it’s NCRvision season again! One year after we launched the NCRvision Song Contest, we’re happy to be able to bring it back to you to gear up from the results show, which will be coming in a few days. It’s possible that some of these amazing songs have faded from your memory (or that you missed them altogether), so we’re bringing you this refresher of the show, a bit condensed, with a new intro and outro. And in the grand Eurovision tradition of terrible...

Duration: 01:17:57

Episode 186: Jamie Hampton

We are delighted to be able to fulfill a wish of many of our listeners for years now by bringing on Jamie Hampton (a.k.a. Julie Hamilton) as a guest, who has been out of sight as she rehabs various injuries but not out of our minds of many listeners. Ben and Jamie discuss her mindset as she copes with setbacks, the perspective she’s gained on tour issues from being away, the current landscape of the tour, dealing with attention from traditional and social media, her more supportive stance...

Duration: 01:19:53

Episode 185: What to Expect When Serena’s Expecting

With best wishes, Ben and Courtney convene after Serena Williams’ announcement that she is expecting her first child this fall, and may already be as far as 20 weeks into her pregnancy. Does this change how we look back on her title at the Australian Open in January, when she already would have been roughly two months pregnant? And what does this mean for the tour going forward? And what is the state of the women’s field now? We don’t quite agree on this one, as you’ll quickly learn. And...

Duration: 00:38:52

Episode 184: Resembling an Ensemble

With a quarter of 2017 now complete, Ben and Courtney try to make sense of it all. But does it make sense, really? Daria Kasatkina won Charleston in an all-teen final, which should be a big result. But what are results anyhow, when every player seems to have a roughly equal share of success and failure these days? Which characters and plotlines are really relevant? Does TV have the answers? The men’s side is a completely different coin, because one beloved old dude (Roger Federer) has...

Duration: 01:55:09

Episode 183: Shade in the Desert

Wrapping up the happenings in Indian Wells, Ben and Courtney cover the popular champs and the odd ways their matches were pitted against each other. First, is the surprising win of Elena Vesnina reflective of a current landscape of opportunity in women’s tennis? And where might this title lead her? And for Roger Federer, how much is about him surging and how much is about the others atop men’s tennis receding? What to make of the impatient foot-tapping during men’s tennis-centered folk...

Duration: 01:29:09

Episode 182a: Maria Sharapova: The Ice Woman Cometh

With Maria Sharapova’s ban set to end in just over a month, we’ve assembled an all-star lineup to discuss her impending return and the many questions it raises in this our fourth episode (here are 1, 2, and 3) about Sharapova’s saga. First, Ben speaks with Markus Günthardt, the tournament director of the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart where Sharapova will be making her comeback on Wednesday, April 26. We discuss why this tournament has grown so popular with top players (the car-as-trophy...

Duration: 01:55:59

Episode 182: Dipping Into Indian Wells

If you can’t see stars on a clear desert night, are they still there? Ben and Courtney contemplate these quandries and more as they reunite in Indian Wells, where lumpy draws made for exciting clusters of fun, the #1 dude lost to a guy outside the top 100, and Madison Keys returned for her first tournament in five months. We discuss patience with young prospects who might seem to fall short of the hype, the once-and-possibly-again concept of Slamless #1s, and moderate opinions about...

Duration: 00:58:35

Episode 181: Gulf Claps with Reem Abulleil

With the tours spending three weeks in the region, there’s no better time to check in with NCR’s Middle East correspondent, Reem Abulleil, for a quick catch-up on the doings over there. After a rough go of things last year, Caroline Wozniacki made good, despite some rain on her parades. And what to make of Elina Svitolina, who has stealthily piled up some very impressive scalps? Also, Roger Federer’s stunning loss to Evgeny Donskoy and Andy Murray dropping trou. And as always, thanks for...

Duration: 00:43:39

Episode 180: Getting Turned Around

It’s been a slowish month of tennis, anthem nightmares notwithstanding, so Ben and Courtney turn to the ever-reliable mailbag to fill out most of this week’s show. With the popularity of the Australian Open, should hard court tournament directors adjust their court speeds accordingly? What are fair expectations for Maria Sharapova’s return to tour in a couple months? And why don’t people talk more about women’s matches in the greatest matches of all time conversations? Also, because we...

Duration: 01:13:01

Episode 179: Making a Racquet

There was an eye-catching ending to Davis Cup this weekend, so Ben and Courtney open by discussing Denis Shapovalov’s howitzer into the face of chair umpire Arnaud Gabas, and all the various conversations it starts. Should tennis players drastically rein in their tantrums? Should rules change? Or would an overreaction clamp down on a sport that needs big personalities? Then, Ben chats with the founders of the gorgeous Racquet magazine, Caitlin Thompson and David Shaftel, about starting up...

Duration: 01:39:03

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