When former tennis pro and TV/radio sportscaster Patrick McEnroe of Bronxville put himself in the basement in March to keep his family safe while he battled the coronavirus, he figured he had two options: “I could either watch Netflix all day, or I could start that podcast I’d been thinking about.”
Luckily, he was weathering the virus fairly well, with just a lingering fever and heavy fatigue, while that sophisticated recording machine with the four microphones he’d bought was “staring me in the face.” He started to fiddle with it, in between naps, determined to learn how to use it.
Although McEnroe has been reporting on the world of tennis for ESPN television for the better part of two decades, “I love the radio forum,” he admits, reminiscing about his days talking tennis on the Don Imus radio show.
Hoping that a podcast would help scratch that radio itch, McEnroe started emailing people he knew who share his love for tennis but are not actually “in” tennis. “My plan was to delve into their passionate love for the game, how it relates to their lives and their illustrious careers,” he says. And delve he did, with the likes of actors Ben Stiller and Alec Baldwin, screenwriter Brian Koppelman, and Oscar-winning lyricist Alan Bergman answering his call to chat over the phone and be recorded.
Naturally, he also secured talk time with actual tennis icons, like Chris Evert, Pam Shriver, and Mary Carillo. “I did some solo podcasts, too, which were like a state-of-the-union on tennis,” he says.
All told, McEnroe spent a month quarantined in the basement and recorded four or five Holding Court With Patrick McEnroe podcasts per week, each running about 20 to 25 minutes in length. They are available online (holdingcourt.buzzsprout.com) and free.