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: “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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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?

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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

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Steve Flink: “Why would Djokovic fake an injury when he’s two sets up?”

A preview of the second week of the Australian Open, from the physical issues bothering Djokovic and Nadal to the Russian trio in the quarter finals. Was the Osaka vs Muguruza match-up an early final?

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We are over halfway through the 2021 Australian Open, and Ubitennis veterans Ubaldo Scanagatta and Steve Flink have met on Zoom for the usual recap of what has happened so far, as well as for a preview of what’s to come in the last few days of the Happy Slam. Here’s their friendly debate:

 

VIDEO SCHEDULE

0:00 – Fognini was beaten by Nadal – could he have poached a set away from the Spaniard?

4:30 – “Fognini staged a great comeback against Rafa in New York in 2015, but this time the French Open champion came firing out of the gate…”

7:00 – Berrettini’s retirement: the right choice? “Just like Stefan Edberg in the 1990 final against Lendl…” Will the walkover give Tsitsipas more of a chance against Nadal?

10:30 – Three Russians in the quarter finals of a Major for the first time ever – can Karatsev keep going?

14:40 – His next opponent will be Grigor Dimitrov: “He surely has more to lose in this match…” The Bulgarian just beat Dominic Thiem – did the intense Kyrgios match weigh on the Austrian?

16:20 – The Medvedev-Rublev derby: will the world N.4 have the edge once again? “He needs to keep his emotions in check – they almost cost him the match against Krajinovic…”

20:50 – Djokovic vs Zverev: what’s the status of the Serbian’s fitness?

26:10 – Predicting the men’s semi-finals…

29:00 – The women’s draw: is Barty the overwhelming favourite in the top half of the draw? The great performance of American up-and-comers like Brady and Pegula.

32:10 – The world N.1 will face Muchova, who has survived a tough draw so far – will this help the Czech?

35:30 – A look at Serena Williams’ showing against Sabalenka: “Her experience prevailed in the key moments.” Up next, a rematch against Halep, who beat her handily in the 2019 Wimbledon final – were the match to go the distance, who would come out on top?

39:00 – Naomi Osaka struggled against Muguruza, coming back from the brink of defeat – is she still the favourite to win it all?

Transcript by Antonio Flagiello; translated and edited by Tommaso Villa

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