If you’re reading this then it’s fair to say that you’re a big tennis fan and if you’re not listening to The Tennis Podcast, then you need to take a long, deep look at yourself in the mirror. Hosted by tennis commentators and TV folk, Catherine Whitaker and David Law, the weekly show brings you all the latest from the ATP and WTA tour and draws upon genuine debate around the tennis world.
So what makes it a staple for every tennis fan?
The show started five years ago, just before Roland Garros, and it’s gone from strength to strength ever since. The hosts have grown in confidence, haven’t been afraid to address controversy and have been at the core of all of the biggest stories in those five years. Last year, the podcast smashed a Kickstarter campaign showing that there is a need for this show, so here’s why you need to join the club.
The Tennis Podcast is hosted by David Law and Catherine Whitaker and you’ll find it difficult to find a better double act hosting a tennis show. Not afraid to make bold predictions (Catherine’s Serena Williams moment particularly stands out), the pair bring a chemistry that instantly makes you feel welcome that you’re joining them at the Puckney Exchange.
So who are the hosts?
Describing David Law is pretty simple. He’s simply the biggest Dan Evans fan in the world. A tennis nerd, he has grown up with tennis at the core of his life and often reminisces about his favourite tennis memories. Law is the Media Director of the Aegon Championships at the Queen’s Club and you’ll also hear him provide his expert commentary on BT Sport and BBC Five Live. “Two Beers” Law isn’t afraid to go with his heart and is often heard making bold statements about the game (listen to what he has to say about Jelena Ostapenko following the French Open final!).
Catherine is quite the contrast to David. A Reading football fan, she often has to hold back the laughter when Law makes his predictions and is a prime example of a great sports commentator. She keeps a steady ground when providing analysis but isn’t afraid to speak up and defend the treatment of women, both in tennis and the media, when necessary. And while this doesn’t define Whitaker as a host, it’s refreshing that we have a voice that truly speaks up – her reaction to the Maxime Hamou and Maly Thomas at this year’s French Open was epic.
Ultimately, the hosts are huge tennis fans and it comes out when you listen to their show. Their ability to discuss their personal lives (Catherine’s random quest for tennis balls over the Easter weekend) doesn’t get boring or frustrating and just shows what a great rapport their building with their listeners.
Over the years, Catherine and David and the wider team have brought us some fantastic interviews. From gauging Sue Barker’s reaction following Great Britain’s ill-fated trip to Romania in the Fed Cup to the predictions and insight from Mats Wilander, John McEnroe and Goran Ivanisevic, the pair are always on hand to bring the best interviews to us listeners.
And since the podcast paired with Eurosport and The Telegraph earlier this year, we have been blessed with even more. Tennis writer and commentator Simon Briggs has provided another level of interview – take a listen to his chat with Nick Kyrgios earlier in the year. He has also brought us fantastic dedication from the tour. Just listen to the show following the Fed Cup weekend, which was then followed with a trip to Stuttgart for the Sharapova Show. Tiring.
It’s safe to say we are becoming more and more spoilt with great interviews and as the show continues to grow, I’m sure we can look forward to even more in the not-so-distant future. We’re also hearing breaking news – the first indication of Andre Agassi’s appointment to Novak Djokovic’s coaching team was literally broadcast live on the show!
It’s fair to say that most tennis coverage is swayed towards the men’s game. As a fan, it can get quite frustrating when the WTA tour doesn’t get the equal coverage it deserves and it’s a shame that it takes a returning Maria Sharapova to make people talk about the tournaments (think about the Stuttgart circus). So, what if I told you that there was a podcast that dedicated as much time to the WTA tour as it does the ATP tour?
From trying to pronounce Cagla Buyukakcay’s name following her triumph in Istanbul last year to being one of the only platforms in the British media to truly touch upon and celebrate Francesca Schiavone’s remarkable success this year, the team cover the WTA tour and provide excellent analysis. Their coverage of the French Open had the correct balance women’s tennis so desperately deserves, especially at a time where the women’s game is seen as ‘weak’ due to the ‘lack of star names’.
Don’t get me wrong, the show is ATP heavy, but it’s also WTA heavy and that’s so important in a year where the women’s tour has lost ground on the men’s side with live coverage and streaming. Keep it up, Tennis Pod!
The poll vaults
The bane of Catherine’s life, when David Law discovered polls on Twitter, it’s safe to say the show has never been the same again. Don’t worry though, it’s all good as it has ensured that the relationship between the two hosts has strengthened!
When David brings his loose-ended questions and asks Catherine to provide her answer, Whitaker doesn’t disappoint with her disapproval and eye-rolls (even though it’s a podcast, you just know Catherine’s facial expressions whenever the Poll Vaults are brought up). This relatively regular slot of the podcast (much to Catherine’s dismay) has helped develop the relationship of David and Catherine and provides genuine laugh out loud moments.
At last year’s Wimbledon, the team produced daily podcasts rounding up all of the action on each day of play. And after their successful Crowdfunding project, we have been treated to daily podcasts at each of the Grand Slams. They have shown their dedication at both the Australian Open and Roland Garros, producing in-depth analysis and top class interviews.
These daily shows have propelled the podcast to becoming a true great in the sport, and while the team are still learning, the show is getting stronger and stronger by the week. The dedication was clear in Paris, where Catherine was producing podcasts even after working all-day shifts on Eurosport, some of which were recorded past midnight!
And there’s no rest for the wicked, either! Catherine and David have promised the same during the Aegon Championships at the Queen’s Club as well as Wimbledon, so we’re bound to get all of the biggest scoops during the grass season.
All in all, if you’re a tennis fan and not listening to The Tennis Podcast then you need to get your act together. Seriously, give it a listen! You can subscribe to the Tennis Podcast on iTunes and is free to download. I also recommend following the team on Twitter: @TennisPodcast @CWhitakerSport and @DavidLawTennis