The Southern California tennis calendar is picking up steam, from early Pro Circuit events to The Challenger Series, leading to the BNP Paribas Masters and a new season of World Team Tennis. These international, domestic, and regional tournaments bring hoards of familiar faces to SoCal – yes, that’s Patrick McEnroe talking to Mary Carillo in front of you in the Starbucks line.
But it’s the kid in line behind you, the one you don’t recognize, who is shaping up to be a major player in the tennis world. His name is Will Weinbach, a 16-year old from Westlake Village, Calif., and he’s a young media mogul already making an impact on the modern game through his own media platform, Cross Court TV. The online destinations have already eclipsed 200k subscribers, and while it may be easy to overlook Weinbach in passing, it’s rather clear that his influence is gathering momentum in the tennis realm.
That’s not to say Weinbach is permanently stationed behind a keyboard. A tennis enthusiast since he was 8-year old – not that long ago, really – Weinbach is accomplished on court as well. Long before focusing on organic searches and post-game press conferences, the teenager established himself as a competitive USTA junior inside SoCal’s Top 200, nationally ranked and corporate sponsored.
“When I was younger it was always my dream to become a professional tennis player,” Weinbach admits, “but as I got older I realized that long term that isn’t necessarily what I would want to be doing… I love the sport, and to be able to connect directly with tennis fans around the globe through my (match) commentary would really be something special.”
Interestingly, Weinbach doesn’t view tennis as a conduit to celebrity or riches, either on court or on camera. Instead, the game is a nod to his childhood and family roots. “Growing up I had always watched my dad play tennis,” he remembers. “He would take me to the courts on some of the week nights to watch him play… The reason tennis appeals to me over other sports is because it gave me the opportunity to bond with my family and have fun all at once.”
As a USTA member, Weinbach has been consistently involved with the local game. Sooner than later, he’d undoubtedly like to see his gig expand on a national and global scale. “Without the USTA… I would have never gotten to the point I am today, as I have spent eight years playing tournaments. I am also being given amazing opportunities by the USTA such as the US Open and becoming a Net Generation Ambassador,” he said.
Opportunity was especially gracious last year in Flushing Meadows, where Weinbach found himself commentating on camera at the 2017 US Open, a “kidcaster” representative of the USTA’s Net Generation. But this young man has sights set much further than “kidcasting,” with high school graduation on the horizon and more opportunities on the way. Ultimately, he’d like to find his niche with the likes of Tennis Channel, ESPN, and other in the tennis broadcasting world.
“I think that I just need to keep doing what I am doing and try to inspire others to play the sport which is so special to me,” Weinbach says of his future plans. “I know (tennis) can be so special to others.”