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.

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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