[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…

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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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