Patrick Mouratoglou | Time to Reach Your Star

The tennis coach of today's stars shares advice on empathy, determination and potential

Written by

Brendan Le

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Behind every tennis star is their team—an exclusive group of insiders who are keen to witness and cultivate a player’s growth. At the forefront of that ensemble stands the coach. And no coach in the tennis world has had more pomp and publicity in recent years than Patrick Mouratoglou. In addition to a successful coaching career, he has ventured into other avenues like hosting his own TV show and launching a foundation to assist underprivileged tennis players. Swiss luxury watch brand Zenith named him Friend of the Brand in 2020 for his entrepreneurship and influence on and off the court. Established in 1865, Zenith's longevity is owed to a willingness to innovate as the industry presses forward, crafting durable, inventive watches that stand the test of time. "Time to reach your star," the watchmaker's motto, parallels Mouratoglou's commitment to his players' professional and physical development.

In 1996, Mouratoglou opened the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy to train prospective talents, and in 1999, he began coaching players on the professional tour. In 2012, he had the opportunity to work alongside an all-time great: 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams. For the last 10 years of her legendary career, Mouratoglou coached her to 10 major singles titles, 186 consecutive weeks at World No. 1, and an Olympic gold medal in singles.

Mouratoglou’s roster has expanded since Serena. He has since sat in the player boxes of two-time major finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas, U.S. teen sensation Coco Gauff, two-time major champion Simona Halep, and current men’s World No. 6 Holger Rune. Over his three-decade career, Mouratoglou has provided invaluable advice to his players, but he has also learned several lessons himself. That is the mark of a good mentor—an openness to new wisdom.

Flaunt sat down with Mouratoglou to glean some wisdom—both old and new—from one of the most recognizable tennis coaches in the world.

What reignited your love for tennis, and how do you keep the passion alive?

My love for tennis has never left me. I fell in love when I was four and I am still in love 50 years later. Tennis is so diverse, so powerful, that fans rarely lose this passion in their lifetime.

Zenith’s ethos is “Time to reach your star.” How do you stay brave and determined against all odds?

The only way to reach one’s star is to constantly keep your eyes on the goal. It is usually a long journey until one reaches its star. There are a lot of ups and downs, and it is easy to lose track of the goal and to start to doubt one’s abilities to make the dream come true. I believe in my players. I know how good they are. I also know that there will be some difficult moments. Accepting them and helping them go through these challenges is part of the journey. I always keep believing with the same strength because I trust the process and I trust them.

As a coach, how do you find a balance between empathy and discipline? What’s the best advice you have given and received?

I think the best advice is what life teaches you. It is an asset to be able to receive lessons and accept them. In order to do it, no excuses are accepted. It is never somebody else’s fault. Fully accepting the responsibility of what is happening is the only way to make progress. I learned a big lesson when I coached Marcos Baghdatis in the early 2000s. At the time, I took things personal, and doing so, I forgot to be a coach. It led to destroying our relationship and it is a mistake I never made again.

When working with professional athletes at the top of their sport, how do you find room for improvement? Do you feel that anyone has truly met their full potential, or is there always room to grow?

Whatever the level of the player, nobody is perfect and there is always big room for improvement. But the goal of coaching is not always to fill up the gaps, but rather to build on people’s strength to make them even stronger, more confident, more efficient. Good coaching is to erase the flaws. Great coaching is to develop the strengths and make them exceptional. Players don’t win Grand Slams with reducing their flaws but with their qualities, that have raised to a great level.

How are you feeling about approaching the US Open in August? What should we expect from you and your players?

The US Open is the last Grand Slam of the year and a tournament in which all players want to show their best tennis. It is always an incredibly exciting moment. For our players, I always expect the best. Stefanos has shown a much better form in Wimbledon. I feel that he is on his way going back to his best level. Holger has had an incredible season breakthrough and expects for more. Coco has started a new coaching collaboration and I am sure it will pay off.

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Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Coco Gauff, Simona Halep, Holger Rune, Zenith, Brendan Le