What do Taylor Swift and World Team Tennis have in common? How does it feel to cash a large paycheck, like the $54,000 that main-draw players are guaranteed at the US Open? Is college tennis the right choice for aspiring juniors?
WTA pro Irina Falconi and TENNIS.com editor Nina Pantic talk all things tennis as the hard-court swing gets rolling.
Here are the timestamps for Episode 2:
— Nina and Irina connect Taylor Swift and World Team Tennis (WTT) thanks to a concert they attended with the WTT's Boston Lobsters in 2015.
— We're in the midst of the 43rd season of WTT, and Irina shares some of her experience playing team tennis.
— WTT can make you feel a rockstar, especially with the paycheck players are receiving both per match and per season.
— The US Open just announced a record-breaking prize money purse with $54,000 going to first-round losers. How big of a deal is this for players trying to budget out their seasons, and what are costs really like for players in the US Open?
— What's it like to actually cash a huge paycheck? Sloane Stephens certainly seemed excited about it at last year's US Open.
— Irina lives at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona, which is essentially a brand-new city near Orlando, Fla. She'll be a house owner in November and explains how Lake Nona is coming up in the world.
— Back to the US Open, juniors and college players will have to say "no" to $54,000 if they want to retain amateur status this year. That is not an easy decision to make.
— Both Irina and Nina played Division I college tennis after trying a few years on the pro circuit. Irina shares her story with Georgia Tech and turning pro after her sophomore year.
— Irina finished her bachelor's degree online with Indian University East, thanks to a deal the WTA has set up for players to take advantage of. She's an alumna with Venus Williams and Stephens, to name some notable few.
— Irina's next tournament is San Jose. Ever wonder how players figure out where to fly into, where to stay and all those little details that come with planning out a tournament trip? She breaks it all down.
— Surely Irina will be feeling the support from the crowds as an American player? It's not guaranteed, she says, as players have surprisingly not been feeling the fan love.