From individuals to organizations, weekend warriors to professional players, minute observations to big-picture ideas, tennis has been top of mind across the board over the past two years.

“I feel like this is the tennis boom part two,” says Trey Waltke, general manager of the Malibu Racquet Club in southern California. “Everyone is talking tennis. Everyone is playing. People are rediscovering how great tennis is.”

Tennis shouldn’t rest on its laurels; the first boom didn’t last forever. But this is as good of an opportunity to reflect on what the sport has gotten right, during a time when so much has gone wrong.

Over the next few weeks, we'll do just that, with a series of stories—30-Love—that highlights 30 things worth celebrating about the New American Tennis Boom. Look for past articles on the left side of each page.—Ed McGrogan


INTERVIEW: Daniil Medvedev, after winning the Toronto Masters


“Oh, people! It’s been, like, two years!”

Those were the first words out of the mouth of a delighted Daniil Medvedev upon seeing humans present to interrogate him in the US Open interview room.

Novak Djokovic had a similar reaction when he walked through the doors on Media Day: “Great to see people in the press room!”

At a time when the media and other demands on players’ time have faced intense scrutiny, those reactions spoke volumes. The gradual return of normal human contact in pro tennis has seemingly brought with it a greater appreciation among many players for all aspects of the job. It’s no secret that press conferences aren’t Naomi Osaka’s ideal means of communication, but even she admitted that pandemic-induced virtual interviews haven’t helped.

“It’s really off-putting just to be seated in front of a screen,” Osaka said in New York. “Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I feel, like, a lot of nerves. But it feels much better to be talking to a human.”

The feeling is mutual. Journalists will tell you that there’s no substitute for old-fashioned face time with the subject of a piece. But they aren’t the only subset of the tennis ecosystem thrilled with the return of player interaction. Sponsors are seeing a resurgence in the player appearances that keep clients happy and incentivize financial investment so vital to the tours’ success. Those tasked with collecting more lighthearted player content are also thrilled. I know because I am one of them.

Great to see people in the press room! Novak Djokovic


For a year and a half, my job as a stadium emcee, social media host and producer was understandably limited. Post-match interviews were often conducted from one side of the court to another, with masks. Social media content consisted of virtual interviews or “talking head” pieces devoid of creativity. But during the U.S. summer swing, as many players got their first taste of life with fewer COVID-19 protocols (and more fans), I watched as their moods lightened in real time.

“I feel very good. There is no more bubble!” Ivo Karlovic during one of our post-match interviews at the Hall of Fame Open in July.

Even something as simple as interviewing without masks proved beneficial. Though we were still distanced and outdoors, seeing facial expressions is invaluable in the delivery of more nuanced questions, not to mention the benefit of lip reading and enunciation when talking with non-native English speakers.

In Cincinnati I spoke with over 40 players, and it was the loosest I had ever seen them. They were receptive to some of the more offbeat concepts, and didn’t appear to have an eye on the clock, as is commonly the case. Of course, it could have been a coincidence, but if so, it was a welcome one.