(EXCLUSIVE) Mats Wilander: “Lendl Had Nightmares Playing Me And Djokovic Meant No Harm With Adria Tour" - UBITENNIS
Connect with us


(EXCLUSIVE) Mats Wilander: “Lendl Had Nightmares Playing Me And Djokovic Meant No Harm With Adria Tour”

Spanning from his unforgettable 1988 season to his thoughts about the public role of professional athletes, the Swede is never trivial in his comments. Now an Idaho resident, the seven-time Slam champion talks about Bjorn Borg’s influence on his game, the epic Davis Cup tie against McEnroe in ’82, and the behind-the-scenes of his infamous quote on Federer’s balls.




UbiTennis’ latest exclusive video chat with Ubaldo Scanagatta and Steve Flink’s includes a guest who really needs no introduction.


Mats Wilander is one of the most recognisable tennis figures. He is arguably the greatest player to speak with Ubitennis in our special series so far and is also the face of tennis on Eurosport. His résumé includes 33 singles titles, 7 Slams in the singles (plus one more in the doubles), he was the 1988 world champion, when he clinched the first-ever Australian Open played on hardcourts as well as the French and the US Open, winning the longest final in Flushing Meadows history (tied with the 2012 one).

A three-time Davis Cup champion, he spent 20 weeks at the top of the rankings after becoming the youngest Slam champion ever (he was subsequently overtaken by Becker and Chang), and was just the second man to win a Slam on three different surfaces after Connors (he and Nadal are the only ones to have won multiple titles on each surface, though) – the list could go on. In addition, he had a decisive role in the creation of the ATP Tour, starting the Parking Lot Revolution just outside the US Open’s grounds in 1988, when he announced the split of the players from the Grand Prix, spear-heading the first ATP Tour edition in 1990. Nowadays, when he isn’t anchoring “Game, Schett & Mats” on Eurosport, he coaches at a club in Hailey, in Idaho.




Minute 00: Introduction. A quick glance through Wilander’s resumé while he talks about his life in Idaho.

5:51: Moving from New York to Greenwich thanks to some unexpected advice from a rival… Why did he move to Idaho next?

6:51: Djokovic and the Adria Tour fiasco – who’s to blame, and will the tennis season suffer from this mishap?

11:18: Why is Djokovic alone getting most of the criticism?

13:21: US Open or US Closed? Will it be a proper Slam tournament?

15:18: On Kyrgios and his sudden moral high ground…

17:07: Should Djokovic resign from the presidency of the Player Council? Why the political engagement of the Big Three is a good thing…

20:16: 1988, the best year of his career…

22:18: … followed by a sharp downturn – what happened? Mats reminds us that all players are human…

25:28: How his game changed through the years, and his best match – an impromptu hit…

29:14: Why did he often beat Lendl in Slam finals? Also, go to the 31:17 mark to catch his impression of the Czech champion…

31:43: Borg’s influence on Swedish players, and what the two had in common…

34:30: The respect that the greatest players have for each other, plus an infinite Davis Cup tie against John McEnroe that sent his confidence through the roof…

39:11: His great record against Jimmy Connors, countered by a subpar tally against Miloslav Mecir…

42:52: An unprecedented moment of sportsmanship at the 1982 French Open, which his brothers didn’t take well… Also a few words about fellow countryman and friend, Stefan Edberg.

49:08: How was it to coach Marat Safin? His broadcasting job on Eurosport, and the type of player he sympathises with, as well as a few missteps vis-à-vis his choice of words in the past.

59:17: Mats concludes with a passionate manifesto of what he looks for in the game, and what the players should do as public figures.

Article written by Tommaso Villa


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.





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

Continue Reading


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?




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

Continue Reading

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?





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

Continue Reading