The Tennis Podcast that Champions, and Hosts, Black Pros

Black Spin Global found an audience with its cheeky coverage of the growing number of ranked Black tennis players. It also offered them a forum.

Eugene Allen was an 8-year-old Black boy growing up in southwest London when he first started to nurse hopes of one day playing professional tennis. It was 1997, and there were no Black men ranked in the top 100 on the ATP Tour. Venus Williams had just made her U.S. Open debut that year, and she and Chanda Rubin were the only Black women ranked in the top 50 in the world; Serena Williams was at No. 99.

About 10 years later, Allen put down his rackets to focus on his education. The costs of the game — coaching sessions, travel to tournaments, equipment — were piling up. His family could no longer afford to help him prepare for the pro circuit.

“I kind of fell out of love with it,” he said. “There was almost a resentment.”

Now, Allen is the center of an online community focusing exclusively on Black tennis players worldwide, at a time when there are more pros and juniors on tour than ever before. As of July 1, there were five Black men ranked in the top 50: Ben Shelton (No. 14), Felix Auger-Aliassime (No. 17), Frances Tiafoe (No. 29), Gael Monfils (No. 33) and Arthur Fils (No. 34). On the WTA Tour, there were four women: Coco Gauff (No. 2), Jasmine Paolini (No. 7), Madison Keys (No. 13) and Sloane Stephens (No. 50).

Since 2019, Allen has run Black Spin Global, a digital media brand that encompasses a podcast, blog and social media accounts where he and Lucy Tezangi delve deep into the tennis universe. “It’s not just, ‘Oh, they won,’” she said. “It’s match updates, breaking news, coach updates, player updates and so on.”

Allen, 35, was lured back to the sport in the mid-2010s, when both Williams sisters were routinely ranked in the top 20 and James Blake, Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga were fan favorites breaking through on the men’s tour.

Since leaving high-level competition, Allen had majored in journalism and taken jobs at The Daily Mail Online and The Telegraph, while writing freelance soccer articles. He founded Pitching It Black, a website dedicated to covering Black soccer players in Europe, in 2016 and thought, what if he did something similar for tennis?

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Source: Tennis -


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