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Hold On to Your Racket with Josefina Gurevich and Shravya Pant

Welcome to “Hold On to Your Racket,” the podcast for Gen Z tennis fans, hosted by Josefina Gurevich and Shravya Pant. Shravya and Josefina are two highschool gals and tennis fanatics united together by their on-the-court and off-the-court companionship. Their episodes include the latest tennis news, tournament developments, and fun tennis-themed games and tidbits, never without a good laugh. They’re the female Gen Z voices in modern day tennis you’ve been looking for, so get ready to serve it out.

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Welcome to “Hold On to Your Racket,” the podcast for Gen Z tennis fans, hosted by Josefina Gurevich and Shravya Pant. Shravya and Josefina are two highschool gals and tennis fanatics united together by their on-the-court and off-the-court companionship. Their episodes include the latest tennis news, tournament developments, and fun tennis-themed games and tidbits, never without a good laugh. They’re the female Gen Z voices in modern day tennis you’ve been looking for, so get ready to serve it out.

Episode 108: Damn, Gravy, USO Vicious

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It’s a magical weekend at the US Open as we’ve got two exciting finals upon us. We discuss what to expect with Carlos’ electrifying game, Iga’s continued dominance, Casper’s solid play and admirable humility, and Ons’ impressive consistency on the big stage. With a new era of ATP tennis peaking through and 2022's top two in form WTA players facing off in the last grand slam of the year, the US Open once again does not disappoint! Be sure to also tune in for Hot Headlines, where we bid a final farewell to Serena and discuss Fiona Ferro’s brave words about being sexually assaulted by her former coach. Last few nights of tennis in the Big Apple; show us what you got.

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Sep 10 2022

36mins

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Episode 107: Big Apple, Big Dreams

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HOTYR’s favorite slam is finally here and we couldn’t be more excited. My dear co-host, Josefina, is away on a well deserved vacation this week so instead I, Shravya, am joined by a HOTYR local, dear friend and loyal Nolefam member Miller. We begin our lively conversation with a rundown of some of the latest headlines, namely Djokovic confirming his absence from the US Open (a tough pill to swallow for my crocfam guest cohost) and Victoria Azarenka being booted from the Tennis Plays for Peace exhibition. As is HOTYR tradition, Tennis Talk this episode is dedicated to unpacking the men's and women's singles US Open draws; Daniil and Emma’s title defense, pressure on Iga and Carlos, and exciting potential for the likes of Pegula, Coric, Fritz, Garcia, and more are all topics we discuss in this segment. And of course, fingers crossed for a promising Serena run; it’s the GOAT’s last dance.

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Aug 29 2022

51mins

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Episode 106: Rockin' With Robin

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We are so excited to share this interview with you all. For the first time in HOTYR history, we got to sit down with a real life professional tennis player (yes, they actually exist): Robin Montgomery! What better perspective to hear from than a fellow tennis obsessed GenZ-er? We discuss Robin’s young tennis career, including her impressive 2021 US Open girls singles and doubles championship double whammy and the transition from the junior to the pro circuit. We discuss the day in the life of a pro athlete, building a supportive team, and the WTA's mental health efforts, as well as Robin’s favorite memories on tour, including the times she got to hit with Venus and Naomi, World Team Tennis, her US Open main draw experience, and being graced by a particular Italian’s presence. It’s always a pleasure to highlight GenZ talents, and we are so grateful to have gotten the chance to speak with Robin – enjoy!

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Aug 25 2022

47mins

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Episode 105: Having a Ball

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Cincy tennis baby! We start with a little blast from the past; while getting ready to leave for college, Shravya discovered a little elementary school project, a book she wrote in first grade titled “How to Be a Good Tennis Player.” Next time your fave is in their flop era, lend them this book. We then chat about the action in Cincy this week, with a resurgent WTA field (and some drama about balls?) and an exciting array of ATP players coming through strong this year. Caroline Garcia's hot streak, Madison Keys' strong play, Carlitos' reliable Masters 1000 game, and our favorite octopus' pre-US Open defense journey are all on the list in this episode. As the US Open is upon us, the stars in Cincy are sure to guide us to Flushing Meadows’ next success stories.

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Aug 20 2022

33mins

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Episode 104: O Canada! O Serena!

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Another classic episode of HOTYR with your two favorite teenage mutant ninja turtle hosts, minus the mutant ninja turtle part. This episode has an extra layer of pizzazz because Shravya made a little trip up to Toronto to watch some tennis, so we have some up-close and personal accounts of the tennis in the Maple Leaf Country. We open up with a heartfelt discussion of an icon leaving the sport, that icon being Serena Williams. We go into her article with Vogue, and what role gender has played in the circumstances that led her to choose between her family and her athletic career. A really prevalent issue today, we feel it is important to highlight that Serena’s freedom to make the choice to retire was awarded because of how hard she has worked for it. Either way, definitely a tough conversation to have considering we are saying goodbye to the woman who has shaped the modern tennis world; simply put, there will never be another Serena. We could talk about Serena for hours on end, but we then get into some Canadian Masters tennis thats taking place right now and who to look out for as we move into the semis in both Montreal and Toronto (especially PCB aka Mr. Solid). From British baes to Brazilian breakouts, this bonkers bunch brings the banter.

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Aug 13 2022

44mins

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Episode 103: The Blair Flair

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It’s like we’ve met our idol…because the one and only Blair Henley was our guest this episode! Blair has become one of the most recognizable faces in tennis media, working at some of the top tournaments (including the Grand Slams, tour finals, Masters 1000 events, and much more) to bring the player content we know and love. We chat with Blair about her career, all the way from her college tennis experience, freelance tennis writing days, and first tournament media trips to jet setting around the US and world to interview the ATP and WTA’s biggest stars as she does today. As we go-over her career overall, we hone in on her unique perspective of the sport and unique experiences that came with it, for example what her experience covering the USA vs. Ukraine BJK Cup match just days after the Russian invasion. What makes working in tennis so special? Who have been some of her favorite and most difficult players to interview? We discuss all this and more, including, of course, some of Blair’s insights into the tennis going on this week at the Citi Open and in San Jose and Los Cabos, as well as a fun rapid fire at the end. The two of us were so grateful to be able to sit down with Blair, someone who we are truly inspired by and whose passion for her career is evident in all of her content, including this episode. Come for the lively conversation and hard court swing chatter, stay for the laughs.

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Aug 06 2022

1hr 8mins

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Episode 102: Little Miss Random Clay Swing

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Seriously…we thought we were done with the dirt. Nevertheless, we persisted. This GenZ tennis podcasting duo is back to chat some of the best tennis highlights, both on and off the court, of the past two weeks. Recent action has shown us Musetti magic, Bernarda on fire, Fran’s title debut, Domi’s return to form, and some strong play from Anett, Matteo, and Casper; faves doing well all around! Off the court, we have some important developments to discuss, namely Daria Kasatkina and Andrey Rublev’s bombshell YouTube interview. The Russian tennis stars discussed issues ranging from Russia-Ukraine to homosexuality, with Kasatkina coming out as gay and Rublev discussing his openness towards changing citizenship if it means being able to play on the pro circuit without facing restrictions. We talk about the role of independent media, censorship, and the press in Russia, all topics that became relevant to the tennis world following this vlog. We also chat about the success of Iga Swiatek’s charity event for Ukraine, Serena and Venus’ impending returns to the US swing, a certain petition for a certain unvaccinated someone, and a hardcourt swing wishlist…Soak up the July sun with this episode as we eagerly await the US Open swing – enjoy!

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Jul 25 2022

52mins

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Episode 101: In a Wimby Tizzy

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We’re wrapping up Wimbledon in classy fashion with this episode and an awesome event thrown by Wimbledon, the Hill in NY, featuring live viewing of the finals at an NYC replication of Henman Hill. We dive right into the conversation that needs to be had, the Kyrgios allegations. We discuss victim erasure in the media and different conversations (or lack thereof) that are being had regarding Chiara Passari, Nick’s ex-girlfriend, taking him to Canberra court. It’s disappointing how little the issue has been discussed in tennis media due to Nick’s recent success in making the men's final at Wimbledon. After wrapping up that necessary discussion, we get into the tennis. The women's final brought plenty of entertainment with Ons’ big grand slam breakout performance and Elena’s cool as a cucumber celebration (?) after the biggest win of her young career; an awesome women’s tournament and classy final duo. When we move to the mens’ final, we talk about the ghost finalist that could have been Berrettini and the birth of a cringe worthy bromance. Instead, we have Novak Djokovic eating grass and effectively dapping up Nick Kyrgios. So that’s that for Wimbledon 2022.

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Jul 11 2022

56mins

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Episode 100: Who Will Win-bledon?

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A monumental episode for Hold On to Your Racket! ONE. HUNDRED. EPISODES. We hit this big step in the HOTYR journey with a stellar episode. We discuss mostly Wimbledon, since it is currently happening in case you didn’t know. We start it out with some unfortunate withdrawals due to Covid from Matteo and Marin, then close out Hot Headlines with some talk about what Iga has been doing with her spotlight. She’s been organizing a charity to aid with Ukrainian relief efforts. Of course, the talk of the United States is the decision to overturn Roe v Wade. As the podcast has evolved, we’ve made an effort to implement current affairs into tennis and tennis news as well as results, this includes our experience as GenZers growing up in the modern world, so we felt it was the right thing to do - discussing the current situation. After that we dive into Wimbledon talk and who has the best chances on both sides. In true HOTYR- fashion we dedicate just a bit more time to the WTA rundown. Tune in! This one’s historical! *note: we made an error when discussing ADF’s match. He received a point penalty when he was facing match point, not when he had match point.* *note: we also misunderstood the scheduling of Raducanu’s match. She opened on Monday, not Tuesday, which is when the tradition for the women’s defending champion is supposed to be. Iga Swiatek received the honor.*

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Jun 30 2022

53mins

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Episode 99: Touch Some Grass

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Summer has officially started and the grass is greener than ever; welcome to the grass season! As we soak up the summer sun and embark on two months of tennis coaching (oh boy), we turn from our Red Ball classes to the professional level, discussing the latest on the ATP and WTA tours when it comes to the grass. A celebration of Serena’s return and Rafael Nadal’s baby are both in order, as well as a look at the 2022 grass champions so far and some special love for Tim van Rijthoven. Who’s in form for a deep Wimbledon run? Who could surprise us with some strong play at SW19? From Matteo to Beatriz, from Hubi to Ons, we’re excited to dive into the grassy action. Tune in for an enthusiastic embrace of grass court play.

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Jun 21 2022

50mins

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Episode 98: Expect the Expected

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Roland Garros has ended and we are here to wrap it up. We discuss some notable headlines, ranging from WTA players speaking out about menstruation to protestors walking on to Court Philippe-Chatrier to fabricated locker room beef. We also chat about Rafa’s historic #22 in 2022 and Iga’s continued win streak, while highlighting the impressive runs of Coco, Casper, and more. Also catch a glimpse of the latest updates on Josefina’s love life ;) Enjoy.

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Jun 07 2022

34mins

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Episode 97: Merci, Jo

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Bonjour, mes amis! We are back with a quick turnaround to celebrate the fun and chaos of the French Open! Join us as we discuss the action in the early rounds in Paris (Stef’s routine comeback, OJ and Barbie K’s early exits, Shapo’s rush to get back to rapping, and more), the ATP and WTA’s formal decision about Wimbledon, player responses to the point drop (Naomi, don’t just quit the grass!), and a tribute to Jo-Willy. It’s rare we get to bask in the fun of the early stages of a slam, so tune in for a good one.

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May 25 2022

45mins

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Episode 96: Point-Drop Mic Drop

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We’re coming close to a huge HOTYR milestone: 10k plays!! Very exciting and what an episode to close it out… juicy hot headlines and an in-depth Clay Slam preview await. We hit it off with the big topic: the ATP and WTA stripping Wimbledon of ranking points in response to their Russian/Belarussian player ban. We discuss the impact and grounds behind this move and what role politics play in the sports world today. In addition to that, we emphasize a few exciting announcements, including the Elina-Gael baby news. The other big discussion in Hot Headlines is the stigma that players, especially male, have to keep up the appearance of seeming invincible. This conversation is brought about by Rafa’s decision to play through his chronic foot pain in the French Open. We close out the episode with a nice preview of the French Open WTA and ATP draws, quarter-by-quarter. Top contenders, such as Iga…and Iga, Novak, Tsitsipas etc. are mentioned here, as well as the usual dark horse highlights. Tune in for all the latest French Open and tennis world updates in one listen!

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May 20 2022

1hr 8mins

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Episode 95: Dramarama Roma

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Buongiorno! HOTYR takes Italia in this episode covering the action at the Italian Open in Rome. We discuss who’s remaining in the field on the ATP and WTA sides of the tournament, including Shapo’s surprising victory (plus a theory we have about what exactly led to his success...) and our favorite cup of OJ’s (Ons Jabeur, if you didn’t get the joke) continued clay success. We also highlight the Italian Open’s egregious pay inequality between its WTA and ATP prize money, as well as Naomi Osaka’s departure from IMG and subsequent business venture, Johanna Konta’s pregnancy, and Roger Federer’s comeback. Enjoy!

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May 13 2022

44mins

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Episode 94: Spain With the 'S'?

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After a bit of rest since our last episode, we are back! Thank you to everyone who tuned into Episode 93 and shared the love; we really appreciate it and are excited to welcome some new listeners to HOTYR! This episodes dives into the ATP And WTA clay season action so far, particularly in Madrid, but we also explore some important off-court discussions. For example, what’s up with the Wimbledon ban? Is it effective? How can the tennis world ensure that we’re being empathetic towards Ukrainian players (and people) while also acting fairly? What role does sport play in politics? After that fruitful discussion, the two of us move on to what we feel is one of the most important conversations we’ve had on the podcast. We discuss Pam Shriver’s recent Telegraph article about her emotionally abusive relationship with her coach, Don Candy, when she was 17 years old and he was 33, highlighting some of the feelings she experienced during (and in the aftermath of) their relationship and messages she shared for young women, as well as our own ability to relate to some of what Shriver was discussing. Hang around for a Naomi shoutout and a celebration of one of our favorite ATP dilfs. Enjoy!

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May 05 2022

50mins

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Episode 93: Riddled With Morgan

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Special guest alert: Morgan Riddle! The woman on a mission to make tennis cool again, social media influencer with nearly 50k followers on Instagram and over 230k followers on TikTok, “Tennis Tour 101” TikTok creator, and girlfriend of Taylor Fritz (ATP #13, highest ranked American male player) joins us on this very special episode of HOTYR. We discuss Morgan’s career, how she got into influencing and found herself in the world of tennis, and advice for fellow badass, ambitious females like her. Morgan talks to us about everything from social media hate, internalized misogyny, and the importance of speaking openly about mental health to the behind the scenes of the upcoming tennis Netflix show, what the professional tennis tour’s social circle looks like, and how she has acclimated to the ATP tour life. We end with a fun game of Would You Rather (strawberries and cream or Honey Deuce, the ultimate question) and some dating tips for anyone looking to meet a professional tennis player. Take this opportunity to learn more about Morgan’s impressive career and what’s to come in her travel-busy life as a tennis influencer. Enjoy, hotties!

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Apr 24 2022

1hr 22mins

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Episode 92: Coach Poach

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It’s clay season, baby! We discuss the biggest ongoing and upcoming clay tournaments of recent, Charleston and Monte-Carlo, predicting our clay standouts (and dropouts…) of the season. We also talk the PMou coach poach, Serena’s comeback at Wimbledon, Matteo’s unfortunate injury, and Ons’ impressive return to form. We’re one with the clay today! Just listen to Josefina - you can hear it in her voice ;) Enjoy, hotties.

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Apr 10 2022

35mins

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Episode 91: Hard Rock or Chris Rock?

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Chris Rock, Hard Rock, drama, oh my! From the Oscars fiasco and its unfortunate tainting of the King Richard movie to the finals in Miami, we’ve got you covered on the latest news on and off the court. Domi’s (brief) return and continued bad luck, an exciting new WTA partnership, and news around the ATP’s investigation into Alexander Zverev are also part of our Hot Headlines discuss. Josefina discusses her exciting weekend excursion to Hard Rock Stadium and then we survey the finals. Four faves left, who’s gonna take it?

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Apr 02 2022

40mins

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Episode 90: This One's for Ash

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Well! You already know what this episode is about. The Barty Party has now come to an end (that was hard to type). We unpack Ash’s retirement and her wonderful video farewell, discussing all things balance, passion, and breaking down the barriers of what it means to be a “successful” professional athlete. We don’t hesitate to lay all the (sometimes misogynistic) critiques of her decision to bed and reflect on Ash’s career and inspiring attitude, one that can teach us all a few things. We also discuss Iga Swiatek’s victory in Indian Wells, plus her likely rise to #1 and words about Barty, Taylor Fritz’s magical run, Nadal’s injury, and all the action that is to come in Miami (including some...kind words about Raducanu/Draper's agent ;) ). Soak up some of that 305 sun because this episode is sure to be a good one.

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Mar 25 2022

58mins

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Episode 89: This Desert Isn't Dry

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On this episode of HOTYR, we speak not only from expertise but also experience, because we had our very own Shravya at Indian Wells for the week!! Before we get to tennis though, we get into our Women’s Month shout-out: Oracene Price, the severely underhyped superwoman in the lives of icons Venus and Serena Williams. We also discuss Nick Kyrgios and his most recent behavior (or lack thereof), as well as a recent announcement from Wimbledon regarding Russian participation in their tournament. Within Hot Headlines, Shravya contributed with a personal account of hearing Dayana Yastremska speak of her experience as a Ukrainian war refugee. Next up is the actual tennis: a recap of the semifinal action, an analysis of the upcoming Iga/Maria final (so excited!) and the impressive state of WTA tennis, and also some ATP (Rafa) talk, including a debrief on Taylor Fritz's love affair with the desert. Iganators, Sakkattackers, Rafans, and Fritzies, this one goes out to y’all. Tune in for the ultimate inside scoop!!

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Mar 20 2022

56mins

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