Patrick McEnroe speaks to UbiTennis: “Had I beaten John, he would have stopped talking to me!” - UBITENNIS
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Patrick McEnroe speaks to UbiTennis: “Had I beaten John, he would have stopped talking to me!”

Patrick McEnroe beat 13 Top 10 players throughout his career, reaching the 28th spot in the ATP Rankings. Now a brilliant sports-caster, he is currently confined to his basement after being infected by the Coronavirus. In an exclusive video-chat, he talks about his new podcast and reminisces over his time as Davis Cup captain, and his memory is rife with anecdotes about Sampras, Agassi, Roddick, and of course his brother John.

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Patrick and John McEnroe (photo Art Seitz)

UbiTennis has been talking to some of the most eminent figures in the game. In the latest instalment, Ubaldo interviews Patrick McEnroe – a singles title won out of four finals, with a best ranking of N.28 in the world – and is joined by their mutual friend and colleague Steve Fink, a member of the Hall of Fame.

 

McEnroe tested positive to Covid-19, but has recovered and now feels a lot better, while still self-isolating in his New York home. Notoriously, Patrick is John McEnroe’s younger brother. Over the course of his career, he defeated 13 Top 10 players (including former and future ones): Boris Becker, Goran Ivanisevic (these two are the only ones who were actually among the best when he beat them), Richard Krajicek, Jimmy Connors, Alex Corretja, Brad Gilbert, Thomas Enqvist, Wayne Ferreira, Guy Forget, Henri Leconte, Andrei Chesnokov, Mikael Penfors and Marc Rosset. However, he never managed to get a win against his sibling, who held a 3-0 head-to-head record against him. Particularly notable is his semifinal run in the 1991 Australian Open, surviving a five-setter against an Italian, Cristiano Caratti, before bowing out against tournament winner Becker after winning the opening tie-break.

 

Video schedule

  • Minute 00:00: Patrick talks about self-isolation in his New York home after testing positive for Covid-19.
  • 08:00: He reminisces about defeating Italian Cristiano Caratti in the quarter finals of the 1991 Australian Open, coming up with the quote of the year during the press conference. His career is summarised.
  • 11:00 / 14:00 – McEnroe vs Becker and why he beat him twice.
  • 16:00 – The famous US Open 1st round match against Jimmy Connors all’US Open ‘91, and how his daughter still taunts his about how things went down that day.
  • 17:20 – “John didn’t want me to train with Connors!
  • 19:00 – “I was invited to a wedding that weekend, and I was forced to watch Connors on TV, taking the stage that could have been mine.”
  • 18:20: Patrick is facing John in the Chicago final, when a phone rings: “Dad, mum’s calling!”
  • 21:00 / 24:00 – He and Hlasek face Korda and John in the Basel final… John tells Korda to serve to Patrick’s forehand, but… after that match John wouldn’t talk to Patrick for a while…
  • 24:00 – More Chicago: “Had I won, John wouldn’t have talked to me for God knows how long. I won the first set…
  • 25:00 – Gianni Clerici said: “I’m not gay, but John’s volleying touch is so delicate…”
  • 26:00 – Patrick talks about his podcast, “Holding court with Patrick McEnroe”.
  • 26:00 / 30:00 – Is it harder to partner John on-court or in the press-box? His brother’s great team spirit.
  • 30:00 / 36:00 –His tenure as Davis Cup captain. His anecdotes on Sampras, Agassi, Roddick, Blake. His sole home-soil defeat against Croatia and how it is to work with the USTA.
  • 36:00 / 42:00 – How he managed to be a captain for a decade (more than anybody else) while John only lasted a year and a half. How to get along with the players without treating each of them the same way.
  • 41:00 / 47:00 – His podcast with tennis-loving celebrities, such as Alec Baldwin and Ben Stiller.
  • 47:00 – Patrick’s predictions on resuming play.
  • 48:00 / 52:00 – “I’d have the US Open behind closed doors if it were possible.” Which is likelier, that the French Open or Flushing Meadows will actually happen?

McEnroe is the latest in a series of tennis stars to have spoken with UbiTennis during the Tour shutdown. Previous interviews include discussing how tennis is like The Godfather with Mary Carillo, why Rod Laver wanted to kill Martin Mulligan and why cancelling Indian Wells was the right move in the view of owner Ray Moore. UbiTennis also learned about the match that destroyed the ‘winning will’ of Emilio Sanchez

 

Grand Slam

US Open, Steve Flink: “Djokovic’s loss had more to do with fatigue than pressure”

A recap of the last Major of 2021, from Raducanu’s triumphant journey to Berrettini and Zverev’s improvements. What was Rod Laver’s prediction for the men’s finals?

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The 2021 US Open was historical from many points of view, starting with the full-capacity crowd coming back to Flushing Meadows. On court, we witnessed Djokovic’s bid for a Calendar Year Grand Slam fall short against Daniil Medvedev in the final, while Emma Raducanu took the tennis world by storm, winning as a qualifier and without dropping a set. These were just some of the topics of the tournament recap by Hall-of-Famer Steve Flink and Ubitennis CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta. Here’s their chat:

 

00:00 – Emma Raducanu’s historical feat: “She had an easier draw than Fernandez, who had to defeat many great players, but she was very impressive nonetheless!”

06:18 – Barty and Osaka’s premature exits: “Hadn’t she lost to Rogers, Barty would have won the whole thing…”

09:35 – Was Fernandez too tired during the final?

20:17 – The Canadian defeated Aryna Sabalenka, who once again missed out on a big chance: “She seems to have a split personality…”

25:24 – The men’s final – how distant was Djokovic from his best form?

28:59 – “Djokovic is the best at handling the pressure, I don’t think that was the main reason behind his defeat…”

35:05 – Was the crowd actually on Nole’s side or did they just want to witness history being made?

39:16 – What was the secret behind Medvedev’s winning tactics?

41:50 – Djokovic fell short of the Grand Slam in a similar way to Serena Williams – how similar are their performances?

50:16 – Rod Laver’s prediction for the final…

52:25 – Who is the best claycourt player, Djokovic or Federer?

55:05 – Carlos Alcaraz won over the hearts of the crowd – how quickly will he reach the Top 10?

56:29 – Is Zverev on the right track to win a Major? What about Berrettini and Sinner?

62:48 – The Canadians: who will have a better career between Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime?

Transcript by Giuseppe Di Paola; translated and edited by Tommaso Villa

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Grand Slam

US Open, Steve Flink on the Murray-Tsitsipas Controversy

A recap of the first week of the last Major of 2021: will Djokovic clinch the Grand Slam? Who will win the women’s title with Barty and Osaka out of the picture?

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The 2021 US Open has reached its halfway point, with many wonderful five-setters and a few upsets. Ubitennis CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta discussed the events of the first week with Hall-of-Fame tennis writer Steve Flink, from the elimination of Barty and Osaka to the toilet break controversy involving Stefanos Tsitsipas, from Alcaraz’s breakout performance to the chances of Novak Djokovic to complete a Calendar Year Grand Slam. Here’s their chat:

 

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US Open, Steve Flink: “Djokovic will defeat Tsitsipas in the final”

A preview of the last Major of 2021. Will Zverev and Osaka be able to withstand the pressure? Barty appears to be the favourite in the women’s draw.

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The 2021 US Open is less than two hours away, with Novak Djokovic on the brink of making history – the Serbian could surpass the number of Slam titles of Federer and Nadal, while at the same time clinching the first Calendar Year Grand Slam in the men’s singles since 1969 and the first in the singles since 1988.

 

These two lofty objectives were the first subjects tackled by Ubitennis CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta and Hall-of-Famer tennis writer Steve Flink in their usual tournament preview, although they touched on many other themes such as the chances of Berrettini and Medvedev, the women’s draw, and the debate on whether COVID vaccines should be mandatory for the players. Here’s their chat:

00:00 – Djokovic is close to a Calendar Year Grand Slam – will he be able to hold up physically after picking up an injury in Tokyo?

07:40 – Matteo Berrettini couldn’t go to the Olympics at all because of muscle injury, and has only played a couple matches before the US Open – could he give Djokovic a run for his money in the quarter finals?

13:20 – On Zverev: “He won in Tokyo and in Cincinnati, so he has a lot of pressure on his shoulders. In the past he tended to cave when people put him among the favourites for a Major win…”

15:50 – Zverev could play Jannik Sinner in the fourth round – could the Next Gen pull off an upset?

20:30 – “Denis Shapovalov could also beat Zverev in the quarter finals, but he’s had a disappointing summer so far after doing great at Wimbledon.”

23:45 – On the weather and Djokovic’s activism: “Sometimes we should accept that he is someone who will always give an honest opinion and take a stance, even when we disagree with him.” Should the vaccine be mandatory for the players, and will the top brass in the tennis world make a decision about it?

32:25 – Stefanos Tsitsipas will face Andy Murray in the first round – can the Brit still beat a top player in a best-of-five encounter?

33:35 – Could we be in for an all-Russian semifinal between Medvedev and Rublev? “I think Medvedev wouldn’t be happy to play Diego Schwartzman in the quarter finals, he doesn’t like to have to go on the offensive.”

39:45 – A final prediction on the men’s tournament’s outcome.

43:20 – The women’s draw: “Barty has just played one of her best tournaments ever in Cincinnati, she is by far the most reliable player in the WTA Tour!”

49:00 – “Svitolina has just won a title and did well in Tokyo, she could take on Osaka in the quarter finals, although Gauff, Kerber, Halep and Giorgi are also in that section of the draw.”

52:00 – Will Osaka’s mental health be a factor throughout the New York fortnight? “If she’s fine, then she’s still the best hardcourt player in the world.”

1:00:40 – Camila Giorgi won in Canada – can she be a dark horse in New York? “She appears to have developed a Plan B now…”

Transcript by Giuseppe Di Paola; translated and edited by Tommaso Villa

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