Did Mouratoglou’s Unwanted and Unneeded Coaching Ruin US Open Final?

By Scoop Malinowski

Patrick Mouratoglou is now a prominent tennis figure because of his renowned tennis academy in France and his coaching association with the greatest female player in history, Serena Williams.

He is charming, intelligent, handsome with a nice accent and way with words. He serves as an excellent mouthpiece for the Serena camp. As far as coaching, actual coaching, it’s hard to say just how good of a coach he really is.

He founded his MTA facility outside Paris in 1996 which was later relocated near Nice.

According to his Wikipeda page, Mouratoglou’s first prominent player was Marcos Bagdhatis.

Mouratoglou started coaching the ATP player from Cypress in 1999 when Mouratoglou invited him to his Tennis Academy in October 1999, on a one-week basis. Baghdatis was, according to Mouratoglou, “not an athlete at all”, however within seven years he would become a junior World No. 1, win the 2003 Australian Open boy title, reach the final of the same tournament in 2006 as well as the ATP top ten.

In July 2007 Patrick began coaching top Russian junior Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Within two years, Pavlyuchenkova reached the World’s Top 30. “Pavs” has reached two Grand Slam quarterfinals and achieved a WTA career high ranking of 13. The two cut ties in the summer of 2009 and then Mouratoglou began working with French WTA player Aravane Rezaï and Yanina Wickmayer. Rezaï managed to accomplish one good season in 2010, reaching the top 20 and winning Madrid. The muscular Belgian Wickmayer did even better, getting to 12 in the world in April of 2010. Mouratoglou stopped working with both Rezaï and Wickmayer in August 2010 and April 2012 respectively.

In December 2010, Mouratoglou started coaching British lefty Laura Robson, who was ranked 217 at the time and encountering difficulties finding success in the WTA after a highly decorated junior career. They worked for six months together. Robson did not ascend under Mouratgolou’s wing, falling to 257 in the world. Around this time, Patrick also coached Jeremy Chardy at his academy.

In March 2012, Mouratoglou got a big break when he began working with Bulgarian star Grigor Dimitrov. Super G was still outside the top 50 back then but he finished the year ranked at 48. Patrick and Dimitrov split after the 2012 US Open but then Mouratoglou got the biggest break of his career, the chance to work with Serena Williams exclusively.

The two have been a dynamic duo for six years, with Mouratoglou becoming a major name in tennis. He also landed a job as an ESPN analyst at Grand Slams. Serena also profited from the collaboration. She has won eight majors with Mouratoglou, two of each of the four.

Serena won fifteen majors before Patrick and eight with him for a total of 23. It’s debatable just how good or qualified Mouratoglou is as a coach, or if he’s more of a Nick Bollettieri type, especially skilled at creating and operating an academy than actually coaching a world class player to win on the Tour. Serena already knew how to win majors without Patrick’s guidance.

I looked up Patrick’s playing career on the ATP site and it says he never held a ranking or played any Futures or Challenger or Satellite events. According to the ATP site he never earned an ATP point. I saw him hit once in Miami with one of Serena’s hitting partners and he looked like a 5.0 level player at best with an elegant one handed backhand. But it’s hard to tell with light hitting.

Which brings us to Saturday at the US Open, when Patrick was caught illegally coaching Serena with his hand gestures to move forward and get to the net against Naomi Osaka in the final. Serena responded to the gesture but did she really need it? We all know Serena knows how to play on her own and never uses on court coaching from Patrick. So could it be possible that Patrick’s coaching gestures were just for show? To make himself look valuable and useful?

Serena vehemently denied the coaching gestures meant anything to her. She emphatically expressed that she has never been coached by Patrick during a match, but of course Patrick confessed to Pam Shriver of ESPN he was indeed coaching her with those hand signals. Could it be Serena didn’t really value those hand signals but she played along with the charade as it added value to Patrick’s image and coaching reputation? And then she erupted in rage about being wrongly accused of taking or needing the unnecessary coaching?

Is it possible, this entire drama was ignited because of mere image enhancing gestures by coach who actually could be overrated and actually not very important to Serena?

This would explain why Serena exploded in anger at the illegal coaching charge from the chair umpire Carlos Ramos.

It will be interesting to see if Serena decides to keep or jettison Mouratoglou because of this. Or if the real truth about the value (or lack there of) of his coaching gestures and acumen will ever come out.



  • catherine · September 11, 2018 at 3:08 am

    Scoop – have you seen Patrick’s autobiography which came out in an English translation earlier this year ?

    It’s called ‘Coach !’ and is available on Amazon if not in bookshops in the US. I haven’t read it. But it may explain a lot about Patrick.

  • Duke Carnoustie · September 11, 2018 at 10:38 am

    I doubt Serena would fire Patrick over this. Didn’t they sort of have a romantic relationship at some point? I feel they are still close. He’s not ready yet to jump on the Tsitsi bandwagon.

    Nobody commented on my Djoker post and the irony of Istomin winning in Chicago. I think it’s a great angle.

    Patrick also threw Nadal under the bus. The nadal camp can’t be happy about that.

    Some players have supported Ramos. Benneteau, Clement, Cibulkova.

  • John T Drnec · September 11, 2018 at 11:02 am


    I have 2 observations…1) Serena overreacted to the code violation for being coached. She felt she was being accused of cheating. She wasn’t accused of cheating as coaching is simply not allowed. 2) Her coach wasn’t gesturing for her to come in. IMO he was gesturing for her to bring Naomi into the net where she wasn’t comfortable. Proof of that can be seen after a 2nd set rally when Serena hit a drop shot and won the point outright and soon thereafter she hit another that Naomi got to but didn’t handle well allowing Serena the easy passing shot.

    My second point suggests that she did, in fact, get coached from her box.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2018 at 11:15 am

    John, two newspapers from England supposedly found the videos that proved Serena was indeed looking at Patrick and saw his coaching and responded to it. Daily Mail and Express I believe. I saw the tweets but didn’t go to the links at those two newspaper sites from my phone to confirm the video evidence, just assumed it was legit. Let’s hope Serena has the good sense to apologize for this debacle.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2018 at 11:23 am

    Duke, Istomin’s achievements have been a little overshadowed lately 🙂 He is a dangerous player and his reemergence now at exactly the same time Djokovic is reviving is ironic when you consider their Aus Open classic won by Isto Man. Serena could dump Patrick, he made two major errors, confessing to the coaching (cheating) and dragging Nadal and his team into this. You rarely see a prominent tennis figure make two massive blunders like this in one swoop. there are some serious black clouds over Mouratoglou right now. Federer and Sharapova have been curiously quiet about this incident.

  • catherine · September 11, 2018 at 11:54 am

    Probably neither Federer nor Sharapova saw the match, so it makes sense they would not be making any comment.

    If you are expecting an apology from Serena I fear it will be a long wait.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2018 at 11:59 am

    Catherine, I can guarantee you Fed and Maria both watched it, live or delayed. And surely the mens final too.

  • Duke Carnoustie · September 11, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    Scoop, good article on Serena. Yet you didn’t mention she has a daughter. Did you not know that?

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    Forgive me Duke, some how I didn’t get that news. Sticking to topic, I wonder if Mouratoglou is overrated. What can he possible say or do to help Serena? She’s won 15 majors without him, he’s never held an ATP point and maybe didn’t even play in college. I might be as qualified as him to coach a pro player. Besides running a big academy probably funded by his dad, what are his coaching credentials?

  • catherine · September 11, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    Scoop – if you read Patrick’s book you might find out a bit more about him.

  • George · September 11, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    “Didn’t they sort of have a romantic relationship at some point?”

    If true, says a lot about this man’s judgment, and taste…

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    Catherine, the book will be what he wants us to know about him. Need to find the objective perspective. There is very little on the internet and wikipedia page.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    If they did have an affair I doubt they’d want to be together after one was rejected. Seemed more like a business relationship and a great opportunity for Mouratoglou.

  • catherine · September 11, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    Scoop – you can always learn something from an autobiography, even if it’s just how someone sees themselves. Can tell you a fair amount.

  • catherine · September 11, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    Scoop – Serena has talked about their relationship, and how it changed from the personal to professional, I’m surprised you missed that. Patrick hasn’t denied it but he’s been chivalrous and doesn’t go into details in his book.

  • Donnie G · September 11, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    Hey Scoop how can anyone take you seriously when you don’t know that Serena won 10 majors with Patrick not 8.2 in 2012,1 in 2013,2 in 2014,3 in 2015,1 each in 16 and 17.And where is a video of Serena looking at Patrick because if there was one believe me the world would have seen it.Ramos had an agenda that was obvious.He should have worked the men’s final and the woman who has done 2 other Serena finals should have done the women’s final.Ramos has never done a women’s US open final in his life.Why now? That coaching violation was pure bullshit and insured Serena would lose the match.They should do an investigation into this match.Something smells really bad.

  • Duke Carnoustie · September 11, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    Catherine, you are correct. I did some digging and Serena and him were together romantically for some time. They also split and got back together. It is obvious he cares about her deeply. I wonder what the husband thinks about this but that’s off topic.

    I think the qualification is simply that Patrick has coached for some time. And that he has a deep relationship with her from being so intimately linked. That is not something you can throw away for a Tsitsipas.

    Even if Serena wanted to get rid of him, she would be unable to once she looks at him and what they both mean to each other. It’s why she didn’t throw him under the bus because her feelings still run deep too. It’s clear that Patrick did what he did out of love and he should be blameless.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    Donnie, Thank you for taking me seriously enough to read this site and post at it. I got that eight majors info from wikipedia or a misread it. Wiki says she won eight majors since the beginning of 2013 which was her start with Mouratoglou. The videos of them coaching and listening was posted by the Daily Mail and Express of London, which I saw in twitter. Ramos did not have an agenda, he has never ever shown any agenda, he is an acclaimed umpire of high repute. He did everything right in the match and handled Serena’s abuse and tirades and bullying exactly how a good umpire should. There is no motive for the USTA to rig this match against American Serena in favor of a foreign athlete. It makes no sense motive wise to intentionally cheat Serena. Your theory makes no sense. I would agree the infamous bad call vs Serena vs Capriati on Ashe a few years ago was highly suspect. You sound like a very passionate and loyal Serena supporter and I commend you for that. Welcome to the site.

  • jg · September 11, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    Patrick was doing commentary of the Baghdatis match at the Open and said he still coaches him, if thats the case Baghdatis was an underachiever–a great striker of the ball, bigger serve than most think but his biggest achievements were getting to the AO finals (not bad) and losing to Agassi in that great match–Baghdatis seemed to get into great 5 set matches but lose them, so Patrick couldn’t get him over the finish line. By admitting to coaching he seems kind of tainted and I wonder how the other coaches will feel about him now, besides throwing Uncle Tony under the bus he also threw Osaka’s coach and Serena’s former hitting partner under the bus, saying he does it too, rest assured if Sasha was doing it there would be video. Also why not also name Tipsi’s father–that would surely be the end of that relationship. I would like to hear Brad Gilbert’s take on this coaching issue.

    I do like the coaching in the qualifying rounds, it was great watching Estrella Burgos talking to his coach throughout the match, and last year I sat near to Felix’s coach during qualifying

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    jg: Bagdhatis was never the same after that Agassi match, if he won that he might have been a top 5 stalwart. Killer loss. Mouratoglou looks and sounds like a good coach maybe even a great coach but it’s all about results. Serena’s results are undeniable but who knows who is really riding coattails. Serena knows how to play, she plays every match the same to my eyes. What can any coach really communicate from the stands besides go to net or hit to his/her bh or fh? I think coaching from the box is very overrated and maybe more of a distraction. How do we really know Uncle Toni was only doing it to look useful? Instead of just being a mannequin riding on Rafa’s coattails? Seriously, what can a coach say from the players box without looking blatantly obvious? JG, I liked the quali coaching too, it’s a lot better visual than to see the constant towel pointing monotony. The coaching adds variety to the player and the fans.

  • Duke Carnoustie · September 11, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    Ramos will be chair umpire during the big USA-Croatia Davis Cup tie this week.

    Hope he can keep SteveJo and Mike Bryan in line!

    (That’s a joke for those who don’t understand humor, Steve and Mike are totally fine on court)

  • Duke Carnoustie · September 11, 2018 at 11:56 pm

    Don’t know where to post but we have a rematch of DY vs. Opelka in NC after Opelka beat him last week in DY’s hometown of Chicago and let out a warrior scream while DY threw his racket.

    Should be another good one.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 12, 2018 at 8:50 am

    Young is fighting for survival now too, he’s ranked outside the top 250. Another loss to young Opelka would be devastating to his fragile psyche.

  • Hartt · September 12, 2018 at 11:44 am

    Wow, I hadn’t realised Young’s ranking was that low. He might even get into Slam qualies with that ranking.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 12, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    Young’s career is in peril right now. He had a good win vs Stan this summer and he won three quali matches at US Open to make main draw where Delpo destroyed him. Two straight early losses to Opelka in Challengers would be further devastation to his confidence tank. It’s crazy sometimes how confidence can come and go. Nico Massu told me at US Open he did not win one hard court singles matches all year in 2004 and then he went to the Olympics and won gold medals in singles and doubles. Go figure.

  • Hartt · September 12, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    Obviously I meant Young might NOT get into Slam qualies with that ranking.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 12, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    Hartt, strong possibility Young losing to Delpo could be his final major appearance. Tough road back into the top 100 ahead for DY.



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