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

 

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Steve Flink: “Naomi Osaka Will Win At Least A Dozen Slams”

The American tennis writer comments on the women’s singles event at the Australian Open. Can Brady win a Major? Is there any hope left for Serena Williams’ quest to clinch her 24th title?

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Naomi Osaka has been crowned as the queen of Melbourne for the second time. The 23-year-old beat Jennifer Brady in the final, conquering her fourth Slam title (all of them on hardcourts), and looks poised to dominate women’s tennis for years. Conversely, current world N.1 Ashleigh Barty couldn’t find her best tennis when she needed it most, bowing out as soon as she met some resistance. These are some of the themes that Ubitennis CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta and his Hall-of-Famer colleague tackled during the second part of their chat.

 

Here’s the video: 

00:00 – “Osaka’s success was hardly a surprise…” 

01:55 – “The only time she struggled was when she had to rally from two match points and a break down against Muguruza in the fourth round – did she raise her level or was it the Spaniard who went missing in the clutch?” 

06:07 – What can the Japanese player still improve in her game? 

09:15 – “I don’t see why she shouldn’t win at the French Open or at Wimbledon as well, although she might struggle a little more on the clay.” How many Majors can she win? 

12:05 – Jen Brady had a dream run to the final despite not being able to train for two weeks prior to the Aussie Slam – can she make it in the future? 

16:34 – “Barty wasn’t able to find her rhythm again after Muchova called an MTO in the second set, that’s too bad because she could have played the final two matches in front of her home crowd.” 

18:28 – “Serena Williams was distraught after her defeat to Osaka, but she had an excellent tournament, beating both Sabalenka and Halep.” Was she perhaps too hard on her chances? 

25:30 – To get her 24th Major, Serena will need to play seven great matches in a row – can she still do it? “My dream is to see a Williams-Osaka match-up in a Wimbledon final…”

31:53 – Was Kenin the biggest letdown of the event? “She had an appendicectomy a few days after the event, and the pressure may have been too much for her, but I think she will keep being a contender for the biggest titles.” 

Transcript and translation by Gianluca Sartori; edited by Tommaso Villa

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Grand Slam

Steve Flink: “Djokovic and Nadal will end up with more Slams than Federer”

A final word on the 2021 Australian Open. Thiem was the biggest letdown of the fortnight, but which was the best match or the biggest upset?

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The men’s singles at the Australian Open ended in the most predictable way, with Novak Djokovic clinching his ninth title. However, the road to victory was laden with difficulties, as Hall-of-Famer tennis writer Steve Flink highlights in his third video chat about the tournament with Ubitennis founder and CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta. How close is the Next Gen to pushing out the Big Three? Was this Karatsev’s one shining moment or will he keep shocking the tennis world? This and more in the following chat:

 

0:00 – The men’s final: “I wasn’t sure Djokovic would be able to pull this off after his injury against Fritz, but after he beat Zverev I knew he’d win again.” Was such a trouncing of Medvedev at all predictable though?

5:00 – The keys to the Serbian’s masterclass win.

8:10 – “Medvedev had won most of his last meetings with Djokovic, but a Major final is a different story…” Did Djokovic actually tear an abdominal muscle?

14:30 – How close is the Next Gen to actually taking over?

17:30 – What was the impact of the 2-week quarantine on the tournament? “Many players struggled with injuries throughout the fortnight, but others, like Nadal, were already ailing at the beginning of the event.”

20:40 – Can Federer make another comeback? “His serve is so good that he can win many quick points, that will help him even if his fitness level isn’t up to par.”

24:30 – The best match of the tournament was…

29:45 – Who was the outbreak star? This is an easy one…

32:20 – What about the biggest letdown?

37:20 – A look into the future: will Djokovic end up surpassing Federer and Nadal’s 20-Slam tally?  

41:30 – The Serbian is also about to break the record for the most weeks spent at the top of the rankings – will he remain the world N.1 for much longer?

Transcript by Antonio Flagiello; edited by Tommaso Villa

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Steve Flink: “Why would Djokovic fake an injury when he’s two sets up?”

A preview of the second week of the Australian Open, from the physical issues bothering Djokovic and Nadal to the Russian trio in the quarter finals. Was the Osaka vs Muguruza match-up an early final?

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We are over halfway through the 2021 Australian Open, and Ubitennis veterans Ubaldo Scanagatta and Steve Flink have met on Zoom for the usual recap of what has happened so far, as well as for a preview of what’s to come in the last few days of the Happy Slam. Here’s their friendly debate:

 

VIDEO SCHEDULE

0:00 – Fognini was beaten by Nadal – could he have poached a set away from the Spaniard?

4:30 – “Fognini staged a great comeback against Rafa in New York in 2015, but this time the French Open champion came firing out of the gate…”

7:00 – Berrettini’s retirement: the right choice? “Just like Stefan Edberg in the 1990 final against Lendl…” Will the walkover give Tsitsipas more of a chance against Nadal?

10:30 – Three Russians in the quarter finals of a Major for the first time ever – can Karatsev keep going?

14:40 – His next opponent will be Grigor Dimitrov: “He surely has more to lose in this match…” The Bulgarian just beat Dominic Thiem – did the intense Kyrgios match weigh on the Austrian?

16:20 – The Medvedev-Rublev derby: will the world N.4 have the edge once again? “He needs to keep his emotions in check – they almost cost him the match against Krajinovic…”

20:50 – Djokovic vs Zverev: what’s the status of the Serbian’s fitness?

26:10 – Predicting the men’s semi-finals…

29:00 – The women’s draw: is Barty the overwhelming favourite in the top half of the draw? The great performance of American up-and-comers like Brady and Pegula.

32:10 – The world N.1 will face Muchova, who has survived a tough draw so far – will this help the Czech?

35:30 – A look at Serena Williams’ showing against Sabalenka: “Her experience prevailed in the key moments.” Up next, a rematch against Halep, who beat her handily in the 2019 Wimbledon final – were the match to go the distance, who would come out on top?

39:00 – Naomi Osaka struggled against Muguruza, coming back from the brink of defeat – is she still the favourite to win it all?

Transcript by Antonio Flagiello; translated and edited by Tommaso Villa

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