A The Athletic tennis graphic. A The Athletic tennis graphic. (The Athletic.)

Over the years, we’ve seen lots of coverage shifts from The Athletic. The latest is ramping up their coverage of tennis. The company announced that move Tuesday amidst the qualifiers for the French Open, which has its main event begin next week.

Here’s more on that from a release:

Not only will The Athletic offer readers results and updates from matches, its coverage will bring fans inside the sport, focusing on human interest and cultural impacts of tennis. Data and captivating visualizations will be a notable part of its on-court coverage, explaining the mechanics, miles per hour and metrics behind the visceral experience of a Carlos Alcaraz forehand, a Coco Gauff backhand, a gossamer drop-shot or a rocketing serve, and more.

“At The Athletic, our goal is to connect fans with the players, matches and stories they are passionate about through revelatory and insightful journalism. We are thrilled to expand our coverage of the world of tennis and our relentless team of reporters and editors will provide in-depth stories, while also uncovering the unique culture surrounding the sport,” said Steven Ginsberg, executive editor of The Athletic.

The Athletic has assembled an impressive team of talented journalists to drive the expansion of its tennis storytelling. The vertical will be led by James Hansen, senior editor for tennis, whose formidable knowledge of how tennis fans think about the sport and its growing influence in society will elevate the coverage. Matthew Futterman, one of the most profound journalists covering tennis today, joined The Athletic last year and has consistently delivered sharp enterprise and analysis. Charlie Eccleshare, The Athletic’s former Tottenham Hotspur correspondent who fans have come to love for his incisive reporting on beloved soccer clubs and the Premier League writ large, is moving over to tennis full time. Charlie has contributed to The Athletic’s tennis coverage for quite some time, including the 2023 Wimbledon Championships; he will now examine important human interest and business angles, in addition to covering the action on the court.

Hansen has more in an introductory piece:

As tennis reckons with the retirement and decline of its most brilliant and famous players, with an internal battle to remake its very fabric and with an 11-month season that makes it a global spectacle and a confusing injury factory all in one, The Athletic is making a transition of its own: taking you beyond the baseline, and into the heart of tennis.

Joining the fantastic Matthew Futterman is Charlie Eccleshare, former Tottenham Hotspur correspondent, key figure on the celebrated Football Cliches podcast, and a tennis writer in his time at the Daily Telegraph. Nothing is changing about the brilliant coverage the two have brought you so far, from exclusive insights into how players view their own games and breaking news stories about the fight to control the sport, to in-depth profiles of the greats and scouting the rising stars.

There’s just going to be even more of it, with even more focus on the human interest and cultural impact of tennis — on the places it intersects with politics, the law, business, money, fashion, art, culture, and film.

…Matt and Charlie will also continue to ask difficult questions. Whether matters of inequality on-court, players able to take the court despite facing trial, or lawsuits from players against tennis associations, they will not shy away from seeking the truth and helping people understand tennis, the world, as much as tennis, the sport.

Tennis coverage will extend far, far beyond the four Grand Slams and key tournaments, but coverage of those events will bring you every big moment, and everything that they mean once the trophies are lifted and the stadiums are empty. At the French Open, which starts in earnest next week, we’ll bring you live coverage of the biggest moments, and the on-the-ground color that makes a Grand Slam tournament such a special occasion.

It’s interesting to see The Athletic emphasizing tennis this way, and doing so at a time (as Hansen notes) where the sport is in a transition from some of its currently prominent names. But there certainly is worldwide interest in tennis, especially around the majors. We’ll see how this new coverage focus looks shortly with The Athletic’s French Open coverage.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.