TopCourt Review - the MasterClass Series for Tennis

TopCourt has launched! The new "Netflix for Tennis"

A tennis project backed by the Bryan Brothers, Sloane Stephens, and other world-class players. Tennis lessons demonstrated by some of the best in the world.

Marriage of Tennis and Tech

In 2020, the fundamental way we enjoy our sport gets redefined. Indian Wells was canceled, and suddenly the tennis world found itself having a LOT of extra time on their hands. Equipped with 4K cameras, drones, and a tech-savvy team (led by fellow ACC tennis alums) - TopCourt was born.

The tennis platform designed to bring the player and fan at home onto each pro's tennis court.  Its Hollywood production value and an All-Star lineup fuels the new gold standard for entertaining students of the game.

Our Tennis-Bargains Exclusive Preview -
(Link shared exclusively for Tennis-Bargains fans)

The secret reasons why we go to pro tennis events

Going to any Major like the US Open, I value these 2 bucket list experiences above all else:

1) Watching the 5th set Grand Slam match live on center court
2) Seeing and *listening* to the Tennis Pros prepare and practice from courtside

For #1, we can still rely on ESPN and Tennis Channel for all the big matches on our TV.
For #2, fans won't be allowed on the US Open grounds this year. We will miss all those special moments of exhibition genius and every off-camera funny insight that the World comes to NYC for.

Privately we want to train, feel, and hit like our tennis heroes.
Even for the lucky few who manage to squeeze into a front seat at a US Open practice, it isn't always comfortable. Waiting around P1-P5 all day patiently in a queue, they peek behind a wall of fans for a glimpse of one or two favorite stars.

Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible at the noisy event to ever catch all the tips thrown around in a drill or understand the coach's subtle advice to the player. Even if you could hear over the crowd noise and not get blocked, it would be really nice for once not to suffer the risk of being suffocated by a giant tennis mob crowding over you.

Now in 2020, there's a better way to "be there"...

Up Close and Professional

This is the unique first-person experience that makes TopCourt so unique and special. You are the "fly on the wall" with overhead drone shots, intimate camera angles, and personalized commentary speaking directly to you as the student in a private lesson.

TopCourt offers 30+ different pros and coaches - all gathered together, then recorded and mic'd up for one reason - to show you their inner game and shots that shaped them. Each pro has a different skillset and specialty which makes the TopCourt campus so diverse.

Watching the Lindsay Davenport documented series is like following a well-choreographed story with each chapter of her career. During her drills, you never feel the pro is holding back or the shots she explains are too imposing to try yourself. The edits are well done with many enhanced cues (such as the mini-court icon at the bottom revealing where each player and ball bounce is placed).

You get the benefit of their years of experience on tour, which distills differently with each pro's own style and humor in their teaching role. Chapters are bite-sized enough to absorb a few key ideas and then go out to implement, without feeling you have to binge-watch everything in one sitting.

Hitting Well: both the How and the Why

On their TopCourt show court, you learn straight from the pro's own descriptions. It covers both the nuts and bolts technique down to the internal intent involved to maximize each shot.

On TV, we get so focused on just the beauty of a great play or follow a slow-mo shot replaying the last winner, but almost never does anyone explain the subtle mental mechanics that go into creating that point. Agassi did this beautifully as a guest commentator on ESPN once. When you see the Flash play on screen, you should get to understand the Dazzle that goes behind setting it up.

Presence of Professors

Those few precious moments alone, just standing in awe on one single square-foot of real estate, was worth my flight ticket halfway around the World. I'll never forget standing next to Rafael Nadal. Last year, I found myself on the same red clay court as Rafa (twice) in Spain.

If I had to do it over again, I would go back to Barcelona or Mallorca again without hesitation. My Spanish isn't even that great - and even so, I enjoyed watching Moya and Nadal dialogue back and forth through every tennis ball so much that I was in a trance. Just being there within earshot of your tennis idol will exceed your greatest expectations. 

When you get *this* close around these top pros, you also receive what I describe as an Education by Osmosis, byway of sheer proximity.

Given press credentials as a journalist and photographer to cover any pro event, even I would prefer to arrive during qualifications or early rounds. All the top guys are still loose and comfortable. When revisiting any of the four Grand Slams, if I could only be there for just one hour, I would beeline straight to the practice court of Federer or Nadal. Hanging out on the side of any Indian Wells practice court for an hour simply feels just so relaxed. It gives you everything else, outside of center court matches.

Upfront and center is exactly the seat where TopCourt aims to keep its viewers every time.

Stories from the Locker Rooms and Behind the Press Interviews

Be it their parents or coaches influence at an early age or a major turning point in their career, we see what fueled them early on. The interviews and stories on TopCourt take you beyond the spotlight. Very might like ESPN's 30 for 30 series, it adds a lot of humanity to each player's journey.

Another big bonus is that fans also get to relive the drama of their biggest wins and losses, truer to life than any tennis biography. They can speak in a clear zen-like state from the heart, sharing their life's ups and downs since childhood. Away from the constant pressures of competition and media probing at most tournaments for a sound byte, they have time to reflect deeply and showcase their favorite moments.

Top ATP and WTA players include many former and present champions:
- Bryan Brothers
- Lindsay Davenport
- Taylor Fritz
- Belinda Bencic
- Fernando Verdasco
- Genie Bouchard
- Ajla Tomljanovic
Sloane Stephens (available on 7/18)

(The bolded names, are the video series I recommend watching first)
Coming up next in August will be two legendary coaches:

- Paul Annacone
Coached Roger Federer and Pete Sampras

- Brad Gilbert
Coached Andre Agassi and Andy Murray

Every 2-3 weeks will be another player video chapter released:
- Sofia Kenin
- Petra Kvitova
- Sam Querrey
- Elina Svitolina
- Reilley Opelka
- and many more

Free Limited-Time 14-day Trial

We can offer a 14-day free trial this week exclusively for our fans, are you interested to try?

Since no fans are allowed into the US Open this year, this was the closest experience we can offer to replicate the player's practice experience. As our valued reader, we are so proud to offer our free trial - as a "TopCourt Ambassador" immediately after its June launch. We signed up with our own company credit card to test the sauce and it doesn't disappoint.

Just as with every tennis product that has ever been reviewed on, we put our personal money at risk first before our readers. TopCourt even sends you an email notification 2 days in advance of the trial expiration to remind you, in case you are not happy before the 14 days are up.

Reviewing every product firsthand is the only way to give the Tennis-Bargains seal of approval - on every racket, string, ball, event ticket, or tennis gadget. If we did not put up my own money to research and try it first, we would not expect you to do so either. At any later time, if a better product eclipsed it or felt it hasn't lived up to hype or expectations over the long run, then it would not stay on this site very long. This is Tennis-Bargains and we stand by the products we recommend.

Summer is here. Tennis is back for 2020.

US Open 2020 Schedule and Dates

7/21 Update:
Citi Open in DC has announced it has to cancel. Just one week after the WTA decided it had to split from the main event location. All eyes are now on NYC and the US Open. Will new global travel restrictions and recent spikes of COVID-19 cases hamper efforts with 1 month to go?


Welcome back. It's now officially the Summer of 2020. What a strange time these last 3 months!

The (Tennis) World has been in a cryogenic state of suspended animation. It has been a very tough time and I am sure we're all excited to know when we can thaw out (safely and fully, of course)!

Our last grand slam of the year, the US Open, is now going to be the second calendar grand slam with the French Open happening afterward in the Autumn. Each day/week, the Tournament Plans and Procedures are still in flux as we count down towards 2 months before our beloved US Open.

Breaking News about US Open
We are receiving news every week about how the US Open will be special this year for both the players and the event.

Please subscribe for 2020 US Open news about the latest news, unique VIP fan experience offers and discounts for fans spectating this year's US Open! 

The new, abbreviated US Open Series calendar is now:
  • 3 Weeks of tennis on hard courts with both Men and Women completing:
    • Citi Open at Washington DC on Aug 13-21
    • Cincy Open relocated to NYC on Aug 22-29
    • US Open happening Aug 31-Sept 13.
For now, there will be a "no fans" plan in place for these tournaments.
The Citi Open in DC has said that as conditions evolve in Washington, they may allow for "limited fans" to attend. The events in Europe are also in a wait-and-see mode to follow their local safety guidelines.

Citi Open - 1st Pro Tennis Officially Restarts in 2020
Since many ATP/WTA players have not played a single professional match in over 3-4 months, there is a higher chance that some higher ranked players who are serious about winning a US Open title will be in attendance at this warmup event. This would be just 2 weeks before the US Open grand slam starts and it is more likely this year that we will see a first-time grand slam champion crowned.

Please subscribe to our DC Citi Open email newsletter if you want inside info about our US Open 2020 preview and on how to get VIP tickets (if and when they become first available).

The Top 3 - missing or postponing?
Roger Federer had another knee surgery and will be out for the rest of 2020. Rafael Nadal might be hesitant to play on the hard courts if the clay-court season is starting immediately after the US Open in Europe. Novak Djokovic has expressed his reluctance to attend. He recently had to end the Adria Tour (the event's Final was canceled and the last 2 stops were canceled). Several players, including Novak were diagnosed with Covid-19. A lack of social distancing and safety protocols during the event were blamed for the spread.

Safety questions on how to create a "Tier 1 inner bubble" at the "US Open World"
In order to make up for over 50% of the annual budget income missing for having live fans at the US Open with tickets, the USTA will need to be very creative about how it generates revenue. New US Open changes have been explained in last week's video but updates will be in flux. It sounds like mandatory testing will be conducted for anyone prior to entering the US Open grounds.

Updates will be posted here as more tennis news comes in over the next couple of months. Please subscribe for 2020 US Open news updates here.

Health is Wealth: Find Internal Strength in times of External Crisis

“He who has Health has Hope and he who has Hope has Everything.” - Arabian Proverb

Spring Forward 2020 Newsletter

I wanted to spend a bit of time to talk about Tennis as it relates in this time of the Coronavirus.

A few days ago, the BNP Open was canceled due to the global COVID-19 outbreak that has now impacted our international sport here in the USA. Today the Miami Open was canceled as well, leaving at least a 6-week gap in the Pro Tour schedule.

While disruptive and tragic, the safety and health of the fan are paramount to the game.
Without us the spectators attending events, the sponsors will lose money and drop. In turn, the prize pools at tournaments would shrink and all players would suffer. It is a vicious cycle. Protecting fans, communities and players should be #1.

Let’s take a page from Roger Federer’s playbook.
Invest in Longevity and Sustainable High Performance. Seek to create a lasting legacy. When his career was at risk from overplaying, he shortened his travel schedule and kept in tune with his body.

Last month, he announced he will be out for at least 3 months with his recent knee surgery. This summer he announced another surgery and plans to take the rest of 2020 off to give his future self another chance. He puts health in front of the long list of external demands for his time and presence.

He has awareness of the things he can control, the serenity to accept what he cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference. Panic does not help and only robs us of our mindfulness; create a balanced plan and know that Stillness is the Key.

Only Roger knows how much playing is “enough”. For him, not his ego, that is the slim difference between retiring early or winning another Olympic gold or a grand slam.

Making use of an extended break
Top athletes take recuperating sabbaticals (Serena Williams), it is important to note only they know their own bodies and minds. Their limits and priorities. A few unique souls can push those limits past breaking several times (Rafa Nadal) and steeled their will so deep that we forget they need the benefit of Rest and Recovery too. There is no one right way to be. Step back today in order to better Spring forward tomorrow.

During this Tennis Sabbatical from the pro tour, I urge readers (we fellow “human” tennis player reading this at home) to seek some of this same reflection time to rediscover our own purpose. Find your inner child of the game and your reason to play. 

Hope Springs Eternal
With Daylight Savings, we all “sprung forward” as a nation last week together. We should all be enjoying that extra hour of sunshine. What a precious gift! Something money cannot buy.

Let’s not squander it glued on the news or social media.  I encourage all players to get outdoors, go for a short hike, and if possible, to get back to hitting those tennis balls!

If stuck indoors and cleanliness is your thing, pick a day to do some “Spring Cleaning”.
Open up some windows and let some fresh air in. Detox and de-clutter your room; even if that starts with just half of your desk – commit to removing those distractions in your view so you can maximize your performance are ready to go back to work.

Seek to become Anti-Fragile
We can build up better resistance and keep our homes/minds/bodies clean and healthy. Those are things we can control. When you are sick you cannot do much. So while you are well, make preparations. Be courageous and make your own health the paramount priority.

“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men." - JFK

Deep Breath Challenge:
Take a long, deep breath in and hold it for 10 seconds, then exhale slowly for 20 seconds. Build up that extra lung capacity today. Go running or swimming. We can all inhale openly and store a deep breath of fresh air as you read this right now.

We take these little things for granted until we see an illness like COVID-19 rob victims of breathing. Is there ever a more universal yet basic human function. Because when you cannot breathe, literally nothing else matters. Think about this fact while you step outside today and treasure a few deep, conscious breaths to relax.

Don't just observe sports - go out and play it
Sure, it is a pleasure to watch tennis points on Youtube. But it is even better to play some tennis with a friend. Individual sports like playing singles in a tennis offer a way to minimize large group contact yet get in some critical socialization and exercise. You maximize your cardio in a very short period of time while being many feet away from your nearest opponent or even your doubles partner outside. Alternatively, you can opt for hitting against the wall a few times a week to groove your strokes.

Spectating any professional sport is too easy in our digital world. You have to experience that magic for yourself on your own racquet. That's how we live an active and fully engaging life. At some point, we cannot stay in passive mode – is living vicariously through our sports heroes really the only way we want to experience the joy of victory or the anguish of almost-winning?

Learn a new hobby or practice an old one yourself. We have to know sports kinetically to find ourselves and find true peace to escape our own busy heads. Just do it.

Look for ways to be healthier overall in small steps one day at a time.
Instead of seeking a 100 mph serve on day 1, try to get 1% more consistent on your groundstrokes each week. Add just an extra 10 mins to improve your footwork and cardio – it will pay off many times over down the road! Not only in your tennis game but your overall health.

Getting ready for the tennis season can be as simple as adding 10 minutes of extra power walking a hill or climbing a few more flights of stairs each day. Enjoy and savor your practices - that way you will be more eager to return again. Sweat, recover, and repeat.

We need to appreciate these small things during times of trial. Disease tests not only our immune system but our mental courage to be proactive.

Keep Good Hygiene while still Keeping in Touch
Even in this era of “social distancing”, we should seek to build closer relationships. Even if it is just one person. Find the time for that 1on1 chat or in-person meeting to connect. Without large group gatherings, we can still keep our close bonds strong and avoid becoming anti-social.

Think about the top 3 people you haven't spoken to in a while or miss the most. Send them a message or better yet have a chat with them to catch up. Then, remember to give your mom a call!

Be healthy, be happy, be safe.
- JC

Facebook Updates