[EXCLUSIVE] Patrick Mouratoglou: “I’m A Salesman, Not A Liar" - UBITENNIS
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[EXCLUSIVE] Patrick Mouratoglou: “I’m A Salesman, Not A Liar”

Speaking to UbiTennis, the French coach and creator of the Ultimate Tennis Showdown touched on many subjects, including on-court behaviour, the Adria Tour fiasco, and Serena Williams’ future.

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The Ultimate Tennis Showdown ended a few days ago with Matteo Berrettini’s victory against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

 

A few hours before the semi-finals, UbiTennis’s Ubaldo Scanagatta and Alessandro Stella interviewed via Zoom the man behind the event, Patrick Mouratoglou, to discuss the success of the first iteration of his experiment (the second is already in the works, and will take place before the US Open), a subject that was covered in a separate piece, which can be read here.

However, Mouratoglou is notoriously outspoken, and delved into several themes, including some of the hot topics circulating around the tennis stratosphere, which are summarised in the next few lines.

THE COMPLETE INTERVIEW

VIDEO SCHEDULE

3:45 – Was the UTS a success? Mouratoglou has no doubts whatsoever.

7:15 – A few technical notes: how were the viewers profiled? Was a new viewership lured in by the rule changes? What was the impact of social media? “I’m a salesman, not a liar,” he quipped.

9:19 – “The ATP and the WTA weren’t happy about my comments on the age of tennis fans growing higher? We have data to back it up, so I’m surprised they took it that way.” Are the people who go to watch tennis the same who follow the game on TV?

13:45 – More comments on social media: “I’m not saying they will be our future, but we certainly need them…”

17:38 – A few decades ago, it was easier for journalists to gain access to the players – is this the kind of proximity that the game has lost?

21:51 – Should the players be allowed to express their emotions and perhaps lose their temper? Wouldn’t it be counterproductive for their game? “Well, just look at John McEnroe…”

23:55 “According to my staff, 80-90% of a tennis match is “dead air”, mostly revolving around the players’ routines – the ball is in play for just 10-20% of the time.”

27:45 – “The players need to understand that press conferences are vital to their personal brand…”

30:14 “We’ll be hosting the second round of the UTS before the US Open. We want to have some female players in there.” Can the UTS run besides the main tours?

31:53 “Everybody wants to play a Slam, but will the players have to quarantine once they get back from New York? If that will be the case, I believe that many will skip the US Open.”

SERENA WILLIAMS

34:45 – Was she a little too optimistic when she was asked about the US Open? “When she spoke, the situation was looking far better than it does now…” Will the tournament actually happen now?

36:00 – “She’s planning to play the Cincinnati Masters in New York; it can be dangerous to play a Slam without some match time in your legs…”

39:00 – Will he go to New York to coach her? “There are no restrictions for Europeans going to the US, so I should be able to go. I believe she can still win a Major; however, she needs to be at her best.” Is she training now? Does Patrick have any way to oversee her preparation?

THE MEN’S GAME

42:35 “Berrettini really impressed me during the UTS. I didn’t know him beforehand, but his motivation level is outstanding, and his backhand has improved a lot…”

44:20 – Will there be a new Slam champion in 2020? “I heard that that Spanish bloke is going to play in Paris, so the only question is who he will win against! However, if Nadal and Djokovic don’t go to New York… I think that Medvedev and Thiem might have a chance. The issue is that to win a Slam you need to beat at least two of the greatest of all time…”

47:18 – The Djokovic affair now: “Life in Europe has almost gone back to normal, but if you’re a superstar like he is, you are supposed to be a role model. I think he made a mistake, but who doesn’t? It’s far too easy to criticise him while sitting on a couch.”

50:52 – On Kyrgios: “This is him; he tends to exaggerate and to be incendiary. That is why people gravitate towards him, he’s interesting and people love that – how many players can sell out a stadium crowd besides him?” Would he be a good fit for the UTS?

BACK TO THE WTA

54:30 – Who would be his picks for a female version of his league? “You know who the first one would be – a hint: I work for her! Then Coco Gauff, Cornet, Putinsteva, Giorgi… The idea is to have players with different playing styles, that’s why I called Feliciano Lopez.”

56:25 – Is it true that female players tend to have more interesting personalities? “Coaching is allowed, and that’s the key…”

59:30 – Closure with Serena – did motherhood change her? – and some banter about the infamous Mouratoglou-induced rant during the final against Osaka in New York…

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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