WATCH: Kasatkina has been in full flow at Roland Garros, striking a spectacular tweener in her second round.

PARIS—Anastasia Potapova is giving an interview in the player restaurant at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. Plate of pizza in hand, the world No. 25 is casually discussing the rising prices of player hotels and how she began dating boyfriend and fellow player Alexander Shevchenko.

As Shevchenko approaches, Potapova exclaims in Russian, “You will have an exclusive! We’ve never given an interview together.”

The lucky outlet is Zabiiako & Kasatkina, not a newspaper or established member of the media but instead a bourgeoning YouTube channel run by the sporting power couple, 2018 Winter Olympian Natalia Zabiiako and world No. 9 Daria Kasatkina.

Documenting each week of the WTA tour calendar, Zabiiako & Kasatkina have already amassed over 10,000 subscribers and are putting Netflix’s Break Point to shame with its raw presentation and real conversations about the daily lives of tennis’ top-ranked athletes.

“I actually had my own YouTube channel a few years ago, and it was about figure skating, but I accidentally deleted it!” Zabiiako, also called Natasha, told me in Miami. “But this autumn, I decided with Dasha that we would do a new YouTube channel.

“It was going to be about our lives but because most of our lives are on the tennis tour, we decided to make videos about tennis tournaments. It’s not so much about the game as much as the facilities and the atmosphere on the grounds—and also about our lives, of course!”


A former pair skater who won silver at the Pyeongchang Winter Games’ figure skating team event, Zabiiako confirmed her relationship with Kasatkina last summer on social media after the latter came out on another YouTube channel hosted by Vitya Kravchenko. Kasatkina raises her arms in triumph when the channel, which averages between 15-20K views per episode, is brought up in her post-match press conference on Friday.

“[Vitya] was giving advice more about how to run a YouTube channel, not with the idea how to make a tennis vlog because he has no idea about tennis, to be honest,” she laughed, having just made the round of 16 at Roland Garros.

Zabiiako & Kasatkina first launched in November with a recap of Dasha and Natasha's off-season vacation in the Maldives. Kasatkina was fresh off of a career year, one that saw her not only reach her first major semifinal in Paris but also clinch a maiden berth at the WTA Finals.

“Natalia is taking it very serious,” said Kasatkina. “She's really editing music, cutting everything, trying to implement new things always to see if it's the problem with the sound or with the picture. Like, she's really taking a lot of care.”


Though Zabiiako and Kasatkina speak primarily in Russian, Zabiiako takes painstaking care to add English subtitles—which seamlessly change to Russian whenever the pair slip into English—making the channel an essential, high-value part of a complete tennis media diet.

“All these parts are always behind the scenes,” Kasatkina says in press. “Nobody knows about it: 95% of the fans, they see us as tennis players on the tennis court. They don't know who we are outside of the court and how we live and what's going on, actually, behind the tennis court doors.”

Where social media has taken on a toxic edge in recent years—prompting Roland Garros to pioneer an AI program tasked with eradicating and reporting abusive comments—players like Kasatkina, Yulia Putintseva and Aryna Sabalenka all credit social media with allowing fans to show a lighter side of themselves.

“If I would be, for example, the fan of some sport, I would definitely like to see more about it, more about the personalities of the players,” said Kasatkina. “Because we are definitely one person on the tennis court as a tennis player and completely different person outside of the court, and not many people know that.”

“I like being able to show athletes’ lives, and how it’s not so easy,” Zabiiako said back in March. “It can look beautiful because of all the travel, but there are tough moments.”


This is how I get away a little bit from the pressure thinking about the matches and everything, so I'm taking it as a little bit of not distraction; distraction in a good way. Like a little bit of an art thing. Daria Kasatkina

Those tougher moments emerged early into the channel’s run when a slumping Kasatkina made a surprise announcement that she had split with longtime coach Carlos Martinez during a Q&A portion of their Middle East episode.

“I always was pretty comfortable to share things and everything,” said Kasatkina, who first opened up about life on tour in a wide-ranging interview with Sofya Tartakova back in 2021.

“Just growing up a little bit, I become more open, got a bit fixed with my head…I was actually always pretty open and not a very closed person.”

Despite a subpar start to the 2023 season, Kasatkina kept the cameras rolling through the spring, spurred on by the acclaim from fans in the comments, and began securing high-profile interviews with players like Elena Rybakina, Ons Jabeur, and Matteo Berrettini.

As their following grew, so too did Kasatkina’s results: solid finishes in Madrid and Rome foreshadowed a flawless first week in Paris, dropping just 15 games through three matches—culminating with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Peyton Stearns in 55 minutes flat.

“This is how I get away a little bit from the pressure thinking about the matches and everything, so I'm taking it as a little bit of not distraction; distraction in a good way. Like a little bit of an art thing.”


At 26, Kasatkina has already locked down a perfect post-tennis career, but the Barcelona-based Russian, who has advocated against the war in Ukraine and for LGBTQ+ rights, has a bigger vision of what retirement looks like.

“I would like to do charity stuff,” she muses. “I want to help young athletes. Let's see where and how because now it's very —you know, the situation in the world sucks, so let's see. But, yeah, I want to help and maybe to do something that's creative, in the media, because I realize that actually I like to be in front of the cameras especially

“But not the photo shoots,” she adds with a laugh. “Photo shoots I hate. It's not my thing at all!”

With Zabiiako looking up at her partner on the dais, Kasatkina quickly pivots into promoting Zabiiako & Kasatina’s forthcoming Roland Garros episode, teasing an interview with teen sensation Mirra Andreeva—“She’s not shy at all!”—while taking her moment at the microphone to invite on an extra special guest.

“I was thinking to talk with Amélie Mauresmo here,” she said, all vlogger as she shouts out the former No. 1 and current Roland Garros tournament director. “So, Amélie, if you are listening to this, maybe we can arrange something. It's going to be fun.”