Caira Conner

18 items
Caira Conner is a writer based in New York. Her work has ap­peared in The Atlantic, GQ, New York Magazine, and The New York Times, among oth­ers.

America Has Made a Monster Out of Pickleball

The Atlantic
The coun­try’s hottest sport was all fun and games—un­til celebri­ties got in­volved. Read More

How Will We Remember Roger Federer?

The Atlantic
Tennis is un­der­go­ing a dra­matic change be­cause even god­like play­ers are prov­ing to be hu­man. Read More

Carlos Alcaraz Is the New King of Tennis

The day af­ter win­ning the U.S. Open, his first grand slam ti­tle, the 19-year-old Spaniard spoke with GQ about em­u­lat­ing Nadal, liv­ing with his par­ents, and look­ing to the fu­ture. Read More

Don’t Sleep on Tommy Paul

NY Magazine
It’s not that shirt­less pic­tures of Tommy Paul stand­ing next to a trac­tor on his mother’s New Jersey farm don’t ex­ist. It’s just that, con­trary to the im­pli­ca­tions of an ar­ti­cle that ap­peared on the ATP’s web­site dur­ing his ca­reer-best run at this year’s Wimbledon, he knows noth­ing about farm­ing be­yond what he’s seen on Yellowstone. When he does make it home to visit, his mom and step­dad are al­ways busy tend­ing to the an­i­mals — horses, sheep, chick­ens — and Paul can’t help but chip in. Read More

Why Serena Williams’s Retirement Is Different

The Atlantic
Unless Serena Williams pulls off the kind of feat typ­i­cally re­served for Hollywood end­ings at this year’s U.S. Open, 23 is the num­ber of Grand Slam sin­gles ti­tles with which she will re­tire. It is a num­ber that makes her the all-time win­ningest, slam­mi­est sin­gles cham­pion, of any gen­der, in the mod­ern in­car­na­tion of ten­nis (Rafael Nadal did re­cently inch closer to her record, cap­tur­ing his 22nd at this year’s French Open, but still). Read More

Boxing leg­end Christy Martin — ‘My hus­band told me for 20 years he would kill me’

The Guardian
The newly minted Hall of Famer opens up about her tri­als out­side the ring: sub­stance abuse, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and an at­tempted mur­der by her hus­band, who left her to die on their bed­room floor. Read More

Taylor Fritz Is the Great (and Slightly Reluctant) Hope for American Men’s Tennis

Hours be­fore the March 20th men’s fi­nal at Indian Wells, the biggest and toni­est of ten­nis tour­na­ments out­side of the four Grand Slams, 24-year-old Taylor Fritz was seen limp­ing out of a warm up. He was on deck to play Rafael Nadal, the ven­er­ated Spaniard and peren­nial fa­vorite, un­beaten for the year and two months off his his­toric 21st Grand Slam sin­gles ti­tle. In the semis the day be­fore, Fritz had tweaked his an­kle dur­ing the match against world num­ber 7 Andrey Rublev. Read More

Rafael Nadal Stakes His Claim as the Greatest

In September, Rafael Nadal was on crutches. After pulling out of the U.S. Open and the re­main­der of his 2021 sea­son, the Spaniard un­der­went surgery for the chronic is­sue that had plagued his left foot for years. He’d been side­lined with in­juries be­fore —in 2005, he fa­mously won the Madrid Open fi­nal with a bro­ken foot—but this was dif­fer­ent. Read More

My Father, the White Supremacist

My fa­ther col­lapsed in his own back­yard in the early spring of 2019, all 6 feet 5 inches of him, struck down in a thun­der­bolt of car­diac ar­rest. Read More

Women’s Tennis Had to Stand Up to China

NY Magazine
Before the Chinese ten­nis player Peng Shuai went miss­ing on November 2, the most no­table sources of ten­sion be­tween Western sports leagues and China usu­ally ended with those leagues do­ing their best not to of­fend the ris­ing su­per­power. Read More

Rafael Nadal Is an Artist Too

NY Magazine
On Friday, Rafael Nadal, the undis­puted de­ity of clay, will face Novak Djokovic in the French Open men’s semi­fi­nals. Should Nadal win and then tri­umph again in Sunday’s fi­nal, he will sur­pass Roger Federer in to­tal Grand Slam cham­pi­onships and sit alone at 21. Since June 2005, when a baby-faced, long-haired 19-year-old Nadal in Capri pants played and won his first French Open, he has lost only twice at Roland-Garros: once in the fourth round to Robin Söderling in 2009 and again in the quar­ter­fi­nals in 2015 to Djokovic. Read More

The Strange Beauty of Seeing Andy Murray Lose

NY Magazine
The process of re­tire­ment from men’s pro­fes­sional ten­nis, par­tic­u­larly from the up­per ech­e­lon of the ATP tour — where the bulk of prize money and en­dorse­ment deals and cul­tural rel­e­vance ex­ist — usu­ally be­gins the same way. The player in ques­tion, no longer the phys­i­cal phe­nom­e­non he was at age 20, much less 30, is dogged by months, or even years, of sus­pi­cion about the qual­ity of his move­ments on court. Read More

USA Gymnastics Isn’t in Charge of Its Future

The Cut
Today, Simone Biles learned she can pro­tect her health first and win Olympic medals sec­ond. What did we learn? Back in 1996, the an­swer was noth­ing. That was the year 14-year-old Dominique Moceanu be­came the youngest gold medal­ist in the his­tory of American Olympic gym­nas­tics. I had her pic­ture taped to my bed­room wall. I loved her pony­tail. I loved her scrunchies. I loved how fast she flew down the 82-foot run­way to­ward the vault. I was 12, and I was cap­ti­vated. Dominique was part of the Magnificent Seven, the United States Olympic teen-dream squad for that year’s Atlanta Games. Dominique was the small­est of the group, America’s 72-pound princess, Team USA’s adorable lit­tle mas­cot. Read More

Roger Federer on Retirement, Wimbledon, and Becoming Switzerland’s New Tourism Ambassador

Roger Federer is many things. He is, de­fen­si­bly, the great­est male ten­nis player of all time. He is one of the ten high­est-paid ath­letes in the world (last year, he pulled in $90 mil­lion dol­lars, a few mil­lion more than his el­der foot­ball-play­ing friend, Tom Brady). He’s about to turn 40. He is 20 years and 20 Grand Slam Championship ti­tles into his ca­reer, and he is still some­one who, af­ter 18 months of global chaos and dev­as­ta­tion—and, for him per­son­ally, two knee surg­eries and five weeks on crutches—has high hopes: Namely, to win (at least) one more (one last?) Grand Slam. Read More

Watching the Outrage Over Cuties as a Survivor of Pedophilia

The Atlantic
In 1989, when I was 5, I spent sev­eral weeks in a chil­dren’s psy­chi­atric ward. My fa­ther, who be­gan abus­ing me sex­u­ally three years ear­lier, was out­raged by the hos­pi­tal­iza­tion be­cause he feared I’d be­come per­verted by lis­ten­ing to “all the sex talk” from the coun­selors. A so­cial worker told him I’d been ad­mit­ted be­cause of some of my new be­hav­ior: act­ing out to­ward other kinder­gart­ners, mak­ing com­ments about my pri­vate parts and theirs, telling my mom I was go­ing to kill my­self, be­fore laugh­ing un­con­trol­lably. Read More

Novak Djokovic is the Superhero and the Supervillain of his Tennis Generation

Half an hour be­fore he was due on court for his Sunday af­ter­noon Round of 16 match at the U.S. Open, Novak Djokovic was spot­ted in the stands of Arthur Ashe Stadium with a doofy, open-mouthed grin. He and his trainer, Ulises Badio, were film­ing a pre-match dance-off, later posted to their Instagram feeds. Djokovic was the epit­ome of easy con­fi­dence and ul­ti­mate dad vibes as he waved his sun­glasses back and forth in rhythm. He was also car­ry­ing a 26-0 sin­gles record for the 2020 sea­son. Read More

Me, My Relationship and PTSD

The New York Times
Sam and I be­gan the con­ver­sa­tion partly in jest. His co-worker had just eloped in Hawaii, and as we scrolled through their pho­tos I gave him an el­bow to the ribs and said in a singsong voice, “Well, maybe we should go to Hawaii, too!” Read More

The Beginner

Winter 2020
“I am stand­ing in the mid­dle” of an out­door ten­nis court on a Sunday morn­ing in Brooklyn with my eyes closed. I sway from side to side, barely hold­ing a Wilson Clash across four fin­gers of my right hand. The head of the rac­quet guides the fig­ure-eight move­ments we’re do­ing. It dips; I fol­low. After a while, my wrist re­laxes and flops in co­in­cid­ing loops. A goofy smile ap­pears on my face. I am a mere wit­ness to grav­ity’s nat­ural force, and I will stay loose, loose! and let the weight of this rac­quet head do the work. I will not force. I will not push. My neck tweaks. I open my eyes. I clench my back teeth. “Fuck this shit.” Read More