The 2016 Wimbledon Championships drew to a close this past weekend with Williams and Murray taking their respective crowns and bringing to an end two weeks of spectacular tennis. I’ve never felt quite so on top of all the Wimbledon action as I have this year, well not since I once took a whole week off to watch nothing but the tennis.
There are two reasons why I’ve managed to stay so informed. One is the brilliant Live at Wimbledon radio, which provided all day every day coverage either of everything going on across the grounds, or more specific channels for Centre Court and Court One. The other weapon in my knowledge arsenal was the fantastic Tennis Podcast.
An independent, but associated with the Telegraph, production, the show features long-time tennis correspondents David Law and Catherine Whitaker chatting about recent events, often alongside a rotating stream of guests. They get the interviews, provide the insight, and follow the news in all its detail.
Usually sticking to a weekly schedule, the show was upped to a daily podcast release across the Wimbledon fortnight, and it was fantastically done - although you could tell the whole team weren’t entirely convinced they’d make it to the end!
There are three things I particularly love about it:
- They’re not afraid to dive into the details. Particularly with reference to the Sharapova doping situation, I really welcomed the coverage of her hearings. Catherine made sure to lay out the findings as they were documented, regardless of how long it took to do so, because we all need to be on the same page when discussing the situation.
- The bickering. At first it put me on edge a little, when the two presenters seemed to get snippy with each other at least once per episode, but after listening for a while it became clear it’s simple that affectionate banter you have with someone you work with or hang around with for a long time. I admire Catherine’s ability to express her opinions and stand her ground against David, and I love the references to their one and only tennis match against each other.
- Their great knowledge. Working as full time tennis reporters and broadcasters, the pair really know their stuff. Law commentates and presents on Radio 5live, and Whitaker presents for ESPN and the Live at Wimbledon video channel, so they really know what goes on in the tennis world. For situations like Murray’s coaching changes or how Serena is dealing with the pressure, it’s great to get some insight from experts who aren’t just shouting out for the headlines.
I could add a fourth reason, in that the pair are also very brave in making their predictions, and often happy to revisit their predictions whether right or wrong. As someone who has done plenty of sport podcast predictions, I know how awkward that can be!
The podcast is taking a much deserved rest after their Wimbledon extravaganza, but if you watch tennis at all, I recommend giving it a listen to keep up to date on what’s happening from all around the globe.