Courtney Nguyen – From attorney to tennis writer

Reporting from fan's perspective helped gain fame

WTA Insider writer Courtney Nguyen
WTA Insider writer Courtney Nguyen is a leading voice in tennis journalism. Nguyen gained a following due to her unique perspective and witty writing style. (Courtney Nguyen photo) 

As a tennis journalist who has worked across multiple platforms, Courtney Nguyen never chased fame — she just focused on writing about the sport with complete dedication.

A journalist for WTA Insider, and former reporter for Sports Illustrated, she has been honest with herself by focussing on bringing out the story, whether paid or not.

“If I wasn’t paid, I would write about it on my blog,” she said, on a video call from Florida, while covering the Miami Open. “When I started podcasting in 2007 with friends, it was just friends talking about tennis; we were never trying to be polished.”

Nguyen is a senior writer and digital media producer for the Women’s Tennis Association website, and is well-known for exceptional writing skills and insightful analysis of the world of women’s tennis.

She recently appeared on ‘Break Point,’ a tennis series on Netflix that takes fans behind the scenes of life on the ATP Tour, and the Hologic WTA Tour, during the 2022 season.

Born and raised in California, Nguyen graduated with a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, then worked as an attorney for seven years in San Francisco at a large firm.

She then started her tennis blog called “Forty Deuce” in 2007, which quickly gained a following due to her unique perspective and ability to connect with readers as friends. People who loved tennis built a community in a live chat box.

Nguyen points out she was never applying for jobs in tennis journalism, and one day out of the blue, she received a job offer from Sports Illustrated to do the tennis coverage for them. After that, she built connections with players, gatekeepers, media managers, and communication coordinators.

Having a good relationship with the gatekeepers and media managers can help journalists get player access for interviews, she believes.

“This is a relational job. Be nice to communications officers and understand that they are juggling many different things because, ultimately, they are the ones who can help you with the access.”

Ons Jabeurs of Tunisia during an interview with Courtney Nguyen after the final of the 2022 Mutua Madrid Open WTA 1000 tennis tournament. Nguyen is a senior writer for WTA Insider. (Courtney Nguyen photo)

Nguyen is one of the prominent female voices in tennis journalism, and while talking about the coverage of women’s sports, she noted that things are better than they were 10 years ago, but still, a lot more can be done.

“In terms of the landscape, there are more resources generally devoted,” she said. “But the only time the media talks about women’s tennis is when there is a scandal unless you are one of the icons of the WTA who gets coverage all the time.”

As we are working in a digital era, there are ample opportunities to connect with an audience, and Nguyen believes that originality is key. She emphasized it’s important to find one’s voice and not copy anybody else’s style of writing or speaking.

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Posted: Mar 26 2023 11:59 am
Filed under: Sports Tennis