Steve Flink On The Decline Of American Men’s Tennis: “We Need To Start Attracting The Best Athletes Again” - UBITENNIS
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Steve Flink On The Decline Of American Men’s Tennis: “We Need To Start Attracting The Best Athletes Again”

UbiTennis CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta is back with a new video to talk about the crisis hitting the country that used to dominate the game until less than 20 years ago.

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After Mark Winters’ contribution, here is a new entry in our website’s enquiry into US tennis. This time another American, the Hall-of-Famer Steve Flink, tries to answer some recurring questions? Why are there no US players left at the top of the ATP Rankings? Could the trend be bucked? This and more in the following video:

 

00:00 – “The best American player is 35 and outside the Top 20, and the only up-and-coming standout appears to be 19-year-old Brandon Nakashima.” Is this the lowest point for US tennis?  

02:30 – “In 1973, there were 23 Americans in the world Top 100, six in the Top 20 and three in the Top 10.” What happened? Flink: “We had perhaps our greatest decade in the 1990s, and that is probably when things went awry…”

06:10 – Could this be a financial stability issue? “There aren’t many tennis players with a huge income, while in basketball, football, ice hockey or baseball the situation is different.”

07:40 – “The road to success and wealth in individual sports is certainly tougher, but Europe has the same issue vis-à-vis football, so what could be another factor in the decline?” The role of private investments: “The USTA federal programme was created in the late 1980s, but I do not think that an emphasis on public spending is the problem.” Could this be just a cyclical fluke?

14:00 – What if the issue was commitment? “You need to really want to succeed in tennis.”  

18:42 – Mark Winters’ theory revolves around this last theme, that there is no drive to reach the top of the game: “I’m not sure I agree, but he is an insider and certainly knows what he’s talking about.”

20:40 – “Tennis players now start to make real money between 23 and 25 years of age, how many can afford to wait that long while relying almost exclusively on prize money?”

24:15 – “There might be a continuity issue, because the USTA changes its president every four years, and that doesn’t allow the creation of a stable system.” The role of deputy chiefs.

27:45 – How much money is devoted to the development of youths in the US?

30:27 – “Over the years, I’ve noticed that coaches who are on a federal payroll tend to lack a little bit of that hunger…” Can a national movement rely on the investments of young players’ parents?

35:15 – Why is women’s tennis doing so much better in the US than the male counterpart? “Nobody really believed in Sampras, Agassi and their generation, so there is still hope for a sudden comeback…”

39:10 – The changing role of the college game in the US: “Does it still work as a preparation for high-level tennis, and do the players have the patience to wait before they start making money by turning pro?” Flink: “I think that the shifting towards success at an older age might help in this sense.”

42: 20 – The raging debate of American sports – should university athlete receive financial support besides scholarship money?

44:15 – “Could we interview Stacey Allaster, the USTA’s president, on these issues?”

47:00 – Is it be important for the game to have a successful player from a country hosting a Major?

48:15 – “It’s a shame that American and Australian tennis are lagging this far behind, but we need to recognise that the game wasn’t as global and globalised when they used to dominate…”

Transcript by Filippo Ambrosi; translation and editing by Tommaso Villa

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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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