Patrick Mouratoglou Exclusive: Tennis Must Stop Relying On The Past And Be More Authentic - UBITENNIS
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Patrick Mouratoglou Exclusive: Tennis Must Stop Relying On The Past And Be More Authentic

The prestigious tennis coach speaks to UbiTennis about the upcoming launch of the Ultimate Tennis Showdown that he has co-founded.

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In the world of tennis Patrick Mouratoglou is one of the most recognisable and high-profile names when it comes to coaching.

 

The 50-year-old Frenchman has mentored some of the best players in the sport for more than a decade. His resume includes stints with Marcos Baghdatis, Grigor Dimitrov and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Although he is best known for his long-time collaboration with Serena Williams since June 2012. During that period he has overseen the American win 32 WTA titles, including 10 at Grand Slam level.

Speaking to the latest edition of UbiTennis’ video chat series, which is co-hosted by founder Ubaldo Scanagatta and hall of Famer Steve Flink, Mouratoglou explains why he is hoping his new event will help revive the sport. Revelling that same of the rules was inspired by ideas from Williams and what happened when he spoke with the ATP.

00:00: introduction

02:00: Mouratoglou explains why he believes the UTS could be a way to help reinvent and save tennis in the future. Warning that the sport could be ‘in trouble’ over the coming years. During one part of the interview he said ‘The average age of a tennis fan is 61 and it is basically getting older every year. A fan base that is getting older is one that could disappear one day. This shows that tennis is just living on the fan base created during the 1970s and 1980s.’

07:00: The ATP: In the wake of the brand new event coming to life, there is yet to be any public reaction from the governing body of the men’s Tour. Although Mouratoglou has spoken with the organisation about his plans and insisted that the two are not in competition.

“They (the ATP) just said they are going to look at it. I told them that I am not trying to build a competitor at all. I just want it to be a success and bring new fans to tennis. If you want in the future to be under the umbrella of the ATP and WTA, I’m fine with that.”

10:00: ‘A sprint, not a marathon:’ With there still questions over what the exact format of the UTS competition will be, Mouratoglou explains the ‘global idea’ and why he believes his idea for one-hour matches will help attract new fans. He also outlines the reason why he thinks the sport has been unable to renew its fan base.

1545: Will UTS be a one-off? Taking place during the Tour suspension, it has been much easier for Mouratoglou to attract top names to his event. However, how likely will this happen in the future once the calendar is returned back to normal?

“It (the Tour break) gives us a window to showcase tennis differently and we are doing it. If it is a success, we will try to find a solution with a very positive mind with both the ATP and WTA. There is space (in the sport) for different formats to happen. But if it doesn’t work, then we will disappear.”

23:28: Why the men’s Tour is lacking authenticity in the eyes of the French coach

25:20: Mouratoglou explains why he thinks there needs to be more player’s similar to Stefanos Tsitsipas on the Tour to expand its appeal.

27:00: The process concerning how player’s were persuaded to play in the UTS involved a 30-minute discussion between them and Mouratoglou, who said he would rather they not play if they weren’t excited about the event. But how many said no to him?

“After these discussions and I explained the rules, nobody said no. I had two or three say no before those conversations mostly because they felt they were not ready to play a match (for UTS 1) due to confinement.”

29:30: What did Serena say? It has been confirmed to Ubitennis that some of the rules for UTS were made following some ideas from Serena Williams. Although there was no mention of what specific rules she advised. The former world No.1 also called for a female equivalent to be worked on.

34:00: ‘Pressure highlighted Serena’s weaknesses’ – Speaking about his work with Williams, Mouratoglou gives his assessment about her performance over the recent months and her ‘unlucky’ results in the grand slams.

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Steve Flink: “Jannik Sinner Will Be a Top 10 Player by the US Open”

The Hall-of-Famer journalist comments on Hurkacz’s surprise win in Miami and previews the clay season. Who was the biggest letdown, Medvedev or Zverev? Nadal will soon be world N.2 again, while Andreescu is striving to stay healthy.

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The first Masters 1000 event of the season wrapped up on Sunday, but another already looms in wait in Monte Carlo, and on a different surface. To comment on the situation of the two tours, Ubitennis CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta was joined by his colleague Steve Flink: they focused on Hubert Hurkacz’s surprise win as well as on Jannik Sinner’s great run in Florida – Asheigh Barty’s permanence atop the rankings was also discussed. Here’s their chat:

 

00:00 – The man of the hour is Hubert Hurkacz: “He had an amazing run, defeating five players with a better ranking than his!” What was the key strategy in his final win over Sinner?

07:30 – This was the first Masters 1000 event since 2005 not to feature either Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, or Murray – a wasted chance for Daniil Medvedev? He started as the clear favourite, but his attitude against Bautista Agut left something to be desired…

12.50 – What lies ahead for Sinner? Some of the greatest names in the game did well in Miami in the past – a sign of things to come?

16.20 – Hurkacz betrayed some nerves against Rublev and Sinner, but held on to serve those matches out. Sinner, on the other hand, wasted a 6-5 lead in the opening set – what can he do to improve?

22.50 – Whose great champion does Hurkacz’s serve remind Ubaldo and Steve of? A look at the other players who underperformed in Miami, starting with Tsitsipas and Rublev.

32.00 – “Alexander Bublik reminds me of Safin, he’s an entertainer and he is not boring in press conferences!” What about Sebastian Korda – does he have the mettle of a champion?

40.00 – The women’s tournament: “I expected a great final, but Andreescu was clearly spent – I hope she’ll manage to stay healthy.” Was Osaka’s no-show against Sakkari a worrying sign?

45.30 – If the Canadian is healthy, will she join Osaka and Barty as the defining players of the decade? Who else could make a run to the top?

49.30 – This week, 10 Italian players feature in the ATP Top 100 – will at least one of them feature at the ATP Finals in Turin?

Transcript by Antonio Flagiello; translated and edited by Tommaso Villa

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(VIDEO) Miami Open Final Preview: Jannik Sinner Is The Favourite But Don’t Underestimate Hurkacz

UbiTennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta analyses the Miami Open final where a brand new Masters 1000 champion will be crowned.

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Jannik Sinner - ATP Miami 2021 (via Twitter, @atptour)

Earlier this year Jannik Sinner and Herbert Hurkacz were on the same side of the court playing doubles on the ATP Tour. However, today in Miami they will be facing off against each other with the biggest title in their careers at stake. Both players have already shown impressive tennis in the tournament with 19-year-old rising star Sinner fighting back from a set down to beat Roberto Bautista Agut in the semi-finals. Meanwhile, Poland’s Hurkacz has beaten three top 10 seeds en route to the final.

 

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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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