Wimbledon, England – At a time when Amelie Mauremso, director of the French Open, said that women’s tennis was no longer as attractive as men’s tennis, there was no doubt that she was listening.
Against it was a British woman named Catherine Whitaker, who presented Mauresmo’s sharp, 10-minute, 35-second dress in an increasingly influential show, “Tennis Podcast.” Whitaker was somewhere between angry and furious that the former number one player in women’s singles would say such a thing to explain why he appointed men out of the tournament’s 10 featured overnight sessions at nine. He called Mauresmo because of his “unconscious bias” towards some of the world’s biggest and most famous female athletes.
The next morning, a member of the French Open’s communications staff approached Whitaker with a question: Would he like to join a select group of journalists to talk to Mauremso?
Whitaker’s words caught the attention of Mauresmo – who later tried to leave his comments behind – it might have been hard to imagine in 2012 when Whitaker and his boss, David Lowe, were sitting at a dining table at their parents’ house. Record the first episode of their podcast.
“Maybe five people listened to him,” Lowe, a longtime tennis communications executive and BBC radio commentator, said in a recent interview. Over the years the show has stalled and started all over again, with episodes shrinking irregularly and appealing to a small audience.
A decade later, the “Tennis Podcast” regularly tops Apple’s charts in this sport in the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and Spain. He is a favorite of game viewers and commentators like Billy Jean King, who listened to the entire archive, Chris Evert, Pam Schreiber and Mary Carrillo. In the United States, he recently ranked 40th among all sports podcasts. At certain moments, for example during the Maresmo crisis, the sport speaks to itself in this way.
“I’m nervous,” Carillo said in late May, before filming his 10th anniversary show, at Roland Garros’s main courthouse, above Philippe Chatrier. “These guys know their business. And they are funny. You can not fake funny. ”
Every sport has its handful to definitely listen to. Most depict hosts who have come up with platforms based on their podcasts or have major media companies.
Whitaker, Lowe and Matthew Roberts, who started a paid internship on the show on Twitter in 2015 while he was still in college, are a fascinating garage group of the genre that has passed, though they are not sure why. Maybe the tennis debate sounds more correct with British accents? The “Tennis Podcast” has become an exciting test case for a crowded podcast market where it is difficult to develop an audience and an even more difficult source of livelihood as all three try to do.
Roberts, 26, is still unsure whether this is a legitimate career choice.
“Maybe I should write more?” Thought one evening in Paris.
At big events like the Little Tournament held this week at every English club, the group stands from time to time with microphones and a picnic table, though with a growing legion of fans, especially at Wimbledon, this is the deal. It becomes more problematic.
In the show (and in their lives) Lowe, 48, plays a stupid but thoughtful father. He has no information about most of the pop culture references. She often walks with 36-year-old Whitaker as if she were a much younger stepmother. Roberts is a wise son beyond his age who often resolves their disputes.
“And he can do this annoying, backpack jump,” Whitaker said of Roberts, who has played in youth tennis tournaments and has a degree in modern languages.
At this year’s French Open, podcast fans nervously approached to praise Roberts.
“He’s the one they like the most,” Lowe Roberts said. “I know because I read all the letters.”
They now earn enough to travel to every Grand Slam tournament, though Wimbledon is a kind of home game. Lowe, who is married with two children, recently quit his job as communications director at the Queen’s Club’s annual grass court tournament in London, about 120 miles south of his home near Birmingham.
Whitaker, who lives in London, sent an e-mail to Lewis after he graduated from university, telling him he was desperate to work in tennis. He was hired to help work with retired players on the Champions League.
He also liked his voice and eventually put forward the concept of a podcast. Whitaker was skeptical but left.
Lowe was introduced to podcasts like many Britons – listening to the “Ricky Jersey Show” in the middle. As the medium grew, Leo realized that each sport seemed to have a podcast that became The One and quickly gained the title of “Tennis Podcast”.
It was a good name, he thought. “And there was no other tennis podcast, so it really was,” he said.
In 2013, when the podcast was mixed with several hundred weekly listeners, Whitaker went to work and wrote news releases about crime and punishment in the Crown Prosecution Service. He knew in a month that despite his longing for stability, he had made a terrible mistake. It took him a year to go and get a podcast, as well as a few side concerts in tennis.
The enterprise cost the law money for the first four years. In 2015, he sold a small sponsorship to BNP Paribas, a French bank.
The following year, Lowe, Whitaker, and Roberts launched their first annual Kickstarter campaign, which, along with their newsletter subscriptions, kept them at 5 5 a month or 50 50 a year, or about $ 6 and $ 61, respectively.
They have 3,000 subscribers and about 35,000 listeners per week. Their success helped Whitaker hire an Amazon Prime tennis coverage host.
Carlos owes a lot. Five years ago, he approached the Lowe tournament and asked if he was David Lowe from the “Tennis Podcast.” He said it was so, then found Whitaker and told him that the strangest thing had just happened.
Carillo spread the word. He told King, who told Evert, who told Shriver, or something like that. No one in the order knows. Now all are loyal listeners. King joined the show’s hosts at Whitaker’s apartment last summer to watch the door-to-door and European Championship football matches.
After Shriver publicly announced that his longtime coach, Don Candy, had sexually abused him as a teenager, his first interview was on a “tennis podcast.” Steve Simon, head of the WTA Tour, also came to discuss sexual violence.
Most of the shows have no guests. The troika talks about the latest results from Estoril, in Portugal or Istanbul. They make fun of each other’s food choices or unlimited delivery opportunities.
The law said that over the years, errors and research have given us valuable lessons such as the importance of a new podcast being released weekly, launching it on a particular day (usually Monday), limiting weekly shows to about one hour, and doing 45-minute daily episodes. During the Grand Slam.
Things went on shortly after Mauresmo got involved in him at the French Open earlier this month, thus giving Whitaker proper time to remove him. He described Mauresmo as a product of a system “designed and maintained almost exclusively by men”, telling anyone who might believe that men’s tennis was inherently more attractive than women’s tennis to “get in the trash”.
More than five people were listening.