TENNIS.com Podcast: Inside the pressroom, Zverev, & US Open wild cards


Alexander Zverev expressed his displeasure over his Toronto quarterfinal loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas. (AP)

In the midst of the US Open Series, the podcast co-hosts Nina Pantic and Irina Falconi dissect the press’ relationship with players, which has an air of negative stigma around it.

There’s a new face in town named Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nina saw his success coming, sort of. He’ll be a young player everyone will want to watch closely going into the US Open, but there’s a group of American youngsters that may make an impact and Irina’s got an inside perspective on them, plus she shares what it’s like to win a Grand Slam wild card the hard way.

Here are the timestamps:

01:00

—Let’s go inside the pressroom. What’s Irina’s take on player obligations to do press at every tournament? Players get asked the same question over and over again, but reporters have certain criteria and deadlines as well—it’s truly a two-way street.

4:10

—What’s Nina’s point of view on being the one asking questions in the pressroom? In Toronto, Alexander Zverev gave the quote of the week and not in a good way, based on a positively-spun question Nina sent his way about his opponent, Tsitispas.

7:10

—Not all reporters are looking for a juicy quote or to grow their Twitter following, but there are rules to follow. Irina shares her first experience in the US Open interview room.

11:00

—Stefanos Tsitsipas has shot up to No. 15 over the past few weeks. Nina interviewed him in Washington before he reached the Citi Open semifinals and Toronto final. She explains why one-on-one time is sacred for journalists, while the main press room can be…really awkward.

13:32

—Nina and Irina share the struggles of behind-the-scenes life for a reporter and player just trying to eat lunch together at a tournament. There are a lot of rules in place for player privacy that you may not know about.

16:24

—Zverev is going to get used to the concept of playing someone younger than him. At just 21, he had the spotlight wrestled away by 20-year-old Tsitsipas. How tough is it to face someone younger?

19:03

—Tsitsipas is a breath of fresh air on the court and in the pressroom, as well as on his vlog. His rapid rise was a surprise, even to himself.

21:00

—Federer is the most well-spoken player on tour, taking his time and putting thought into each question. It’s a habit that hasn’t faded even into his late 30s, while some players put minimal effort in front of the mic.

22:00

—The US Open is just around the corner, so Irina gives her insight on which young American players you should keep an eye on. There’s no stage quite like the New York major for local hopes to make a name for themselves.

25:30

—Wild card announcements weren’t made before the recording of this episode, but the US Open Wildcard Challenge was clinched by Asia Muhammad and Bradley Klahn. Irina has won a wild card this way two times and shares what it’s like to withstand the drawn-out anxiety and pressure.

That’s it for this episode of The TENNIS.com Podcast: Inside Tennis. Subscribe on iTunes and follow the TENNIS.com Podcast on SoundCloud so you don’t miss a single second.


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