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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(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) ITF President David Haggerty ’Satisfied’ With Davis Cup Format Despite Issues

During an interview with Ubitennis in Bologna, the tennis chief addressed some of the concerns raised about the event.

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MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 24: David Haggerty during the press conference of Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals 2019 at Caja Magica on November 24, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Diego Souto / Kosmos Tennis)

The head of the International Tennis Federation believes the development of the Davis Cup in recent times has been positive but admits there are still areas to work on during an interview with UbiTennis.

 

Davis Haggerty, who has headed the ITF for seven years, stated that there was nothing about the team event that he is ‘unsatisfied’ with. In recent years the historic competition, which started in 1900, has undergone significant changes. In 2019 the Davis Cup was changed to an 18-team event held at the end of the season at one location. However, further changes to the structure were made in 2022 with the four group stages being held in various European cities in September and the top two of each group then progressing to November’s finals in Malaga.

“This year with the four group stages it has added a new dimension which I think is very good. You have a home and away atmosphere in four different cities, we’re taking the Davis Cup world wide and the finals will be in Malaga. Every year we will continue to look at the Davis Cup and say ‘what can we do better?’” Haggerty told UbiTennis.

As with every event, there are issues and the Davis Cup is no exception. Earlier this week Andy Murray called for ties to begin earlier after Great Britain’s clash with America didn’t finish until 0100 BST. There are also concerns about low attendance to some of the ties which involve teams playing at a neutral location.

“We have to continue to work on making sure that we have the fans in the stands. Some matches we do, some matches we don’t and will continue to work on it (addressing attendance issues).”

David Haggerty


It appears that the current format is one that the ITF aims to keep for the foreseeable future. Citing player fatigue at the end of the season, Haggerty ruled out the idea of reintroducing best-of-five matches in the finals. Something that had for so many years been a pivotal aspect of the Davis Cup.

Ubitennis’ full interview with David Haggerty can be watched below:-

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(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Novak Djokovic Wins 7th Wimbledon Title Over Kyrgios

Novak Djokovic won a 21st Grand Slam title after beating Nick Kyrgios in four sets.

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Novak Djokovic (@rolandgarros - Twitter)

Ubitennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta and hall of famer Steve Flink reflect on Novak Djokovic’s four set win over Nick Kyrgios. Djokovic completed a 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6(3) victory over the Australian to seal a 7th Wimbledon title, a fourth in a row and a 21st Grand Slam title.

 

Scanagatta and Flink reflect on Djokovic’s achievement and where that puts him amongst the sport’s greats. They also talk about Pete Sampras and his effect on Djokovic as a role model and they also praise Nick Kyrgios’ fighting spirit as they talk what’s next for him.

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(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Elena Rybakina’s Wimbledon Win Was Good But The Level Wasn’t Great

Tennis Hall of Famer Steve Flink joins Ubitennis to reflect on what was a historic Wimbledon women’s final.

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Image via https://twitter.com/Wimbledon/

Elena Rybakina has become the first Kazakh player in history to win a major title after fighting her way back from a set down to defeat Ons Jabeur.

 

The 23-year-old had only ever beaten a top 10 payer on the grass once before going into the final but held her nerve to claim the biggest win of her life. But how does the level of this final compare to others in the past?

Ubaldo Scanagatta and Flink analyze the match, as well as preview a mouth-watering clash in the men’s final between Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios.

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