By Tyler Aki SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Tennis fans may know Gill Gross for his popular Monday Match Analysis YouTube videos, but his path to loving tennis is another story.
Gross grew up without sports fans in his immediate family, but still immersed himself in the sport at the age of five. He played tennis through his local club and worked his way up to being a varsity tennis player in high school. But his competitive tennis days did not last for long.
“I knew I wasn’t going to be the next Roger Federer,” Gross said.
That’s when the current SU sophomore knew he would have to mix tennis with another love of his: broadcasting.
Gross attended a sports broadcasting camp in New Jersey when he was in sixth grade, which was when he figured out that he wanted to be a sports broadcaster when he grew up.
Eventually, his passion for the sport got him onto the big stage. While he was in high school, Gross was a ball boy at the US Open, which was a proposition that always intrigued him.
“I turned on the US Open and saw kids running around the court and I’m like OK, how can I make that me?” Gross said. “So I think I just looked it up and it’s a tryout. About 400 people try out every year, about 80 make it every year. I tried out as soon as I was of age, which is 17, and I made it the first year.”
From there, Gross furthered his passion by creating his own YouTube show. But the primary focus wasn’t tennis when he first started. Gross’ initial program was called “Keeping Score with Gill Gross,” which focused on a bevy of sports topics. But early on, he figured out that his tennis analysis drew the biggest crowd after his 2017 Australian Open analysis.
“It got 25,000 views,” Gross said. “Before that, my most viewed was maybe 300 views. So at first I thought, ‘that’s a lot of views, it’s probably just a coincidence.’ But as time went on, whenever I did a tennis video it would get way more traffic than any of my other stuff and I transitioned to a tennis only YouTube channel.”
When Gross got to college, he had a decision to make. Would he keep up with the channel or focus on other things. But for him, it was a no brainer.
“We do this for an audience at the end of the day,” Gross said. “I’m so appreciative that when I watch a tennis match, there are actually people who would like to know what I think of the tennis match. I couldn’t abandon that. I felt like that was the coolest thing in the world that people care what I think about tennis.