Pop-Culturalist Chats with Vasek Pospisil
Tennis is one of the most grueling sports in the world. For eleven months out of the year, players leave their blood, sweat, and tears on the court. Week in and week out, they’re expected to adapt their game to a variety of surfaces while managing the wear and tear. And fans are rarely given a glimpse into what life is like behind the scenes. One player hoping to change that is Vasek Pospisil. The third highest rank Canadian and 2014 Wimbledon Men’s Doubles Champion recently launched his YouTube Channel, Bounce. Every Friday, he gives fans a peek into the life of a professional tennis player. We spoke with him about his newest endeavor.
P-C: You’re one of the world’s elite tennis players and you recently launched a YouTube Channel. Have you always been passionate about creating original content?
Vasek: I’ve always really enjoyed making videos on my iPhone, but I never thought I would do anything like this! When the opportunity presented itself, I felt like it was a great fit. For one, I just really enjoy doing these kinds of things, and I do it as an “escape” from my profession. I don’t look at it as work in any way. Doing videos for Bounce almost forces me to have fun and to get my mind off of tennis, rather than sitting in the room and just stressing over what I do. My brother and I have been taking similar videos for years when he joins me on the road. It’s been a smooth transition, and it was easy to say yes to the project.
P-C: We love the name of the channel, how did you decide on Bounce and what were some of the other contenders?
Vasek: I love it, too. I think it’s the perfect name for it. Bouncing tennis balls and bouncing around the world! The decision was an easy one once we came up with the name. We had a few others we were leaning towards until Bounce came up. Then, it was an easy decision.
P-C: How do you find time to film with your grueling schedule? And how did you decide that now was the right time to launch the channel?
Vasek: Actually much easier than one might think! My brother travels with me quite often, and he loves recording videos and playing with the iPhone. He always has! So most of the time he will just be recording, and I won’t even necessarily be thinking about it at all. Just going through my day like I normally would and being myself. As a result, we get some raw and genuine footage which is what I think people will enjoy most about the channel. When I have a day off or afternoon off from tennis is where we might add some variety to the footage we have, and the only reason I can do it is because I have fun with it, so it remains a ‘day off’ for me so to speak. If I felt like it was hard work, then I’m not sure I could do it with how busy my schedule is, and I probably would have said no to the whole thing.
P-C: You released three videos on Friday, we’ve seen you throw the first pitch at a baseball game, and play music, what else can fans expect to see?
Vasek: Oh that’s just the starter pack! Like when you buy a gaming console and have a few games to start you off but then need to buy the top games. We have some great footage coming. Some very funny moments, footage from Wimbledon, fun off court activities, goofy videos in the hotel room, honestly just a really good variety. And what you see is real, it’s not set up. Sometimes we’ll plan specifically what we want a segment to be, but then the actual footage is natural. You get to see what I’m like off the court, some hilarious moments, improv on guitar, interactions with other athletes or entertainers, just overall what the tour is like behind the scenes and how a professional athlete like myself lives their life.
P-C: What’s more nerve-wracking: playing on Centre Court at Wimbledon or having your life filmed?
Vasek: Playing on Centre Court at Wimbledon for sure! I am super relaxed in these videos and throughout my Channel. Like I said, I don’t look at it as work. Playing on Centre Court at Wimbledon is more intense, and I put more pressure on myself when I am on the tennis court. Even though I was fairly relaxed the times I played on Centre Court at Wimbledon :).
P-C: Did you feel nervous or vulnerable about having your life filmed?
Vasek: It’s strange because I actually do consider myself a very private person. I do not let people in close to me unless I really know them well or trust them. Maybe it’s a bit ironic or hypocritical to say that, but I think it’s because my brother did a lot of the camera work that I didn’t even realize how many people would see all this footage! It can be a bit misleading haha. But I’m comfortable and happy with who I am as a person, so I don’t mind if people get to see the real me. Again that’s why I think this Channel can stand out as something a bit different and why I hope people will enjoy it. It’s almost like you’re hanging around my team and I as if you’re an invisible person, so sometimes there’s no filter on what I say or do. Since many videos are recorded on the iPhone, I sometimes don’t even realize the camera is on.
P-C: YouTube is known for its collaborations. Who is someone you’d like to work with in the future?
Vasek: Honestly I haven’t really thought about it that much, but I would say doing something with some of my favorite bands like Arcade Fire, The Lumineers, The Shins, etc. would be amazing! Maybe even crossing over to other sports and doing something like Crosby on the Channel would be pretty sweet. That’s thinking big of course :). I’ll be happy either way.
Pop-Culturalist Speed Round
P-C: Guilty pleasure TV show?
Vasek: Jerry Springer
P-C: Guilty pleasure movie?
P-C: Favorite book?
Vasek: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
P-C: Favorite play or musical?
Vasek: I’ve only ever been to one! Moulin Rouge
P-C: A band or artist that people would be surprised is on your playlist?
Vasek: Vasek Pospisil (my own songs).
P-C: Favorite social media platform?
P-C: Go-to karaoke song?
Vasek: “Cleopatra” by The Lumineers