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TENNIS.com Podcast

TENNIS.com Podcast/Tennis Channel Podcast Network

42 episodes

Mar 19, 2021

Jeff Salzenstein on reaching as many players as possible 

"If anybody has a dream or a passion to start something that is the key. You just have to start and you just have to get going and just take one step at a time."

This week's guest is former ATP pro and CEO of Tennis Evolution, Jeff Salzenstein. His tennis story is a special one as he reached exactly No. 100 in the ATP rankings at the age of 30, then started a successful YouTube channel helping teaching tennis to thousands of people. 

Salzenstein was a top-ranked junior in Colorado before going to Stanford where he’d work his way up to play at No. 1. After school, he gave himself three years to make it as a pro, but serious ankle and knee injuries ruined his timeline.

Instead of giving up, he kept chasing his dreams and would win five ATP Challenger titles and reach a career-high ranking of exactly No. 100 in 2004. The feat made him the first-ever American to break into the Top 100 after the age of 30. 

After retiring a few years later, he put all his focus into coaching back home in Colorado. In 2010, he started Tennis Evolution, an online destination for tennis lessons and coaching videos with a YouTube channel that has more than 85,000 subscribers. 

Every day he uses his decades of playing and coaching experience to help players of all ages and abilities in Colorado and all over the world online. As everyone knows, standing out on YouTube is no easy task. 

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Mar 5, 2021

Marcus Daniell on the importance of effective giving 

“What I landed on was starting an organization and trying to leverage my connections and my relationships in the sporting world to try and bring effective giving into the total sporting arena."

This week’s guest is Marcus Daniell, a world No. 41-ranked doubles star with a much bigger purpose in life than just tennis. The 31-year-old has made it his mission to help others through charitable work, and founded High Impact Athletes last year to help athletes give back more effectively.

Daniell hails from New Zealand and opted against college tennis to turn pro. He began focusing on only doubles in 2015, and has won five ATP doubles titles. Just last month, he broke through at the Grand Slam level by reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open (with Philipp Oswald).

Philanthropy has always been a part of Daniell’s life and as his tennis career earnings grew, so did his donations. He has been donating a portion of his earnings each season, and this year, he became a member of Giving What We Can, where members pledge to give 10 percent of their income to charities. Daniell explains it’s not just about how much you choose to donate, it’s also about where.

During the tour shutdown in 2020, he discovered effective altruism, a philosophy that advocates using evidence and reasoning to determine the most effective ways to benefit others. That same year, High Impact Athletes was born. The purpose of Daniell’s organization is to connect athletes and the general public with the most effective, evidence-based non-profits in the world. Over 30 athletes have joined HIA including Stefanos Tsitsipas, Milos Raonic and Rajeev Ram. The main areas of focus are animal welfare, extreme poverty and climate change, all of which Daniell is passionate about.

He explains how he got into tennis and philanthropy, how he’s combined those two loves, and why effective altruism is so important to helping better the world.

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Feb 26, 2021

Blair Henley on getting the best out of players virtually and inside the stadium 

"It’s those times where you’re sort of sitting there figuring out what can we do to make the most of this tournament in terms of publicizing our sport? It's just finding the different avenues to tell people about our game."

Though a lot of focus has been on the players and all of the obstacles they’ve had to endure this past month and year, reporters like this week's guest Blair Henley have had to adjust, too. Henley is a recognizable face on the tour as one of the top digital media creators and stadium hosts out there.

After her own playing career wrapped up at Rice University, Henley got her start making instructional videos for Tennis Now and writing for outlets like TENNIS Magazine. Since 2015, she has been a stadium host at some of the most popular calendar stops like the US Open, Cincinnati, Indian Wells and Delray Beach.

Her job is to put the players, and the tournaments, on the map. She tells us all about her career and what it has been like to get quality time with big names like Roger Federer while building relationships with new faces like Coco Gauff and Sebastian Korda. 

To start of the year, she was one fate lucky few on site at Delray Beach. Then during the Austrian Open swing, she did online interviews called “Quarantine Chronicles” with Victoria Azarenka, Stefanos Tsitsitpas and Rajeev Ram for her YouTube channel. 

She explains how her work has been impacted by the pandemic, though it hasn’t been all bad: Zoom has made reporting and content creation possible from anywhere in the world.

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