The Sports Entrepreneurs Podcast by Marcus Luer

Patrick Mouratoglou, “The Coach”

July 20, 2021

Patrick Mouratoglou, also known as “The Coach”, currently the most influential coach in tennis, sharing his incredible journey with us, starting with his difficulties in his childhood to overcoming them and turning his passion for Tennis first into a business (Academy) and then into a profession (Coach).  Amazing stories and incredible learning on multiple levels.  Best warm up story ever on the Sports Entrepreneurs Podcast. I am certain you will enjoy it.  

 

Key Highlights

  1. Early childhood stories and challenges (from low self esteem and panic attacks) and the lessons from it
  2. Winning the fight against his body and mind at the age of 11 – (first little victory) – lesson, we are the product of our life lessons (have a little win every day)
  3. Started playing tennis at the age of 4, playing 8 hours per day – Court was only place where he felt safe and confident 
  4. Age 15, parents “forced” him to stop playing against his will – another turning point in his life – his dream was destroyed
  5. Age 17, started psycho therapy for 10 years – developed tremendous skills how to read people due to his in-ability to interact with people 
  6. Working in his father’s company to learn the trade from the ground up – but wasn’t for him – pursued his passion for tennis again
  7. Great life Lessons from his meetings with his parents 
  8. Starting his first academy – renting two Courts (for E$ 3 per court per hour) – putting flyers on cars – after one year 40 “average” players taking lessons
  9. Next step – approached Bob Brett (at that time Boris Becker’s coach) to partner with him for the “Bob Brett Academy”
  10. Had two months to put it all together before Bob Brett showed up. Patrick was the “manager” and running the academy, unfortunately, after six years Bob leaves. 
  11. Worst business decision to build a name for someone else and now the “brand” disappears on him – luckily his young players stayed on
  12. He decided to put his own name on the “door”. Only problem was, he was not a Coach (yet).  
  13. From that decision onwards, it took him 10 years to win his first Grand Slam as a Coach – we unpack that incredible journey
  14. Marcos Baghdatis, first protégé, next lesson (from bad coaching)
  15. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, just made French Open Final  – 16 years old when she joined him, struggling together, great story 
  16. Serene Williams, she was going through a tough moment when they first met, hadn’t won a Grand Slam for two years and lost in first round in Paris 
  17. Called him to train in his tennis academy in Paris (at that time he was coaching Grigor Dimitrov) – “talk to me” story 
  18. He showed her what he thought she was doing wrong, working for 3 days and she loved it – next meeting in Wimbledon (which she won while Patrick coached her)
  19. Massively successful year in 2012, winning Grand Slams, Olympic Gold, etc at the age of 30 – and 10 Grand Slams later 
  20. Patrick Mouratoglou Academy  - from Nice, France to Greece & Dubai (Tennis Centers within top resorts)  
  21. Schooling and sports program – 200 students, 40 different nationalities – also for families, hotel, medical center, seminar area, etc 
  22. UTS – Ultimate Tennis Showdown – amazing new concept, shorter format, adapted rules, focused on digital audiences, players love it 
  23. Patrick talks us through his vision for UTS and what he thinks is right and wrong with tennis right now – must listen for anyone in the business of tennis
  24. UTS formula - short, dynamic, immersive and authentic content – started in 2020 in height of pandemic – coverage across 100 countries, 20 mil viewers, 10 invited players 
  25. Raising US$ 50 million right now, to build a League, 10 events per year in amazing locations across the world – like F1 (only same 10 players)

 

About

Patrick Mouratoglou is a French tennis coach and sports commentator of Greek descent. He has been the coach of Serena Williams since June 2012.

He founded the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in 1996 near Paris (later relocated to the outskirts of Nice), and has coached many up-and-coming players, including Marcos Baghdatis (whom he coached to the final of the 2006 Australian Open), Julia Vakulenko, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Aravane Rezaï, Irena Pavlovic, Jérémy Chardy, Laura Robson, Yanina Wickmayer and Grigor Dimitrov.

Mouratoglou started coaching the ATP player Marcos Baghdatis 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 boys' title, reach the final of the same tournament in 2006 and reach the world's top ten.

In July 2007, he started coaching Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Within two years, Pavlyuchenkova reached the world's top 30 and has since made two Grand Slam quarterfinals and reached a career-high ranking of world No. 13. They ended their association in August 2009, and Mouratoglou moved onto coaching both Aravane Rezaï and Yanina Wickmayer. Rezaï enjoyed a successful 2010 season, entering the world's top 20 and winning the Premier event in Madrid whilst Wickmayer reached a career-high ranking of world No. 12 in April 2010. Mouratoglou stopped working with both Rezaï and Wickmayer in August 2010 and April 2012 respectively.

In December 2010, Mouratoglou started coaching Laura Robson, who was world No. 217 at the time and still struggling to break into the senior tour. They worked together for six months before separating shortly before Wimbledon in 2011, when Robson was still struggling to make any progress on the WTA Tour, having slipped further to world No. 257. During this same period, Mouratoglou also coached Jérémy Chardy within his academy.

In March 2012, Mouratoglou started coaching Grigor Dimitrov and set about guiding him back into the world's top 100, having dropped to No. 102 by the time he started. This association ended in September that year and Mouratoglou moved on to coaching Serena Williams.

By the time Mouratoglou started coaching Williams, she had just suffered her first-ever opening round defeat in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament, losing in the first round of the 2012 French Open. Since then, Mouratoglou has guided Williams to her fifth, sixth and seventh Wimbledon titles, the Olympic gold medal, her fourth, fifth, and sixth US Open titles, her second and third French Open titles, three consecutive year-end championships titles, her sixth and seventh Australian Open title and lifted her back to world No. 1 in the WTA rankings.

 

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