Mouratoglou: I knew 'loyal' Serena would not fire me after US Open turmoil

The dramatic scenes at last year's US Open did not leave Patrick Mouratoglou fearful that he would lose his role as Serena Williams' coach.

Published : Jan 21, 2019 20:15 IST

Serena Williams and Patrick Mouratoglou at the 2019 Australian Open
Serena Williams and Patrick Mouratoglou at the 2019 Australian Open

Serena Williams and Patrick Mouratoglou at the 2019 Australian Open

Patrick Mouratoglou said he never feared the controversy of last year's US Open would lead to him splitting with Serena Williams, as he hailed the loyalty and intelligence of the 23-time grand slam singles champion.

Williams was beaten in straight sets by Naomi Osaka in the 2018 final at Flushing Meadows, but the encounter was overshadowed by the American's remarkable row with chair umpire Carlos Ramos, which stemmed from her receiving a coaching violation early in the contest.

A furious Williams went on to receive two further code violations, losing a point and then a game as a result, and expressed bemusement after the match when it emerged Mouratoglou had admitted to providing advice from the stands.

'Didn't worry about it'

Following Serena's absorbing three-set victory over Simona Halep in the last 16 of the Australian Open on Monday, Mouratoglou addressed the media and was asked if he feared the incident would "irreparably damage" their relationship.

"No, I didn't worry about that at all," insisted the Frenchman.

"First of all, I hope that every time a coach gets a code violation for coaching he doesn't get fired, otherwise there will be guys fired every two days, a problem. Second, I hope that our seven-year relationship is a bit stronger than a chair umpire.

"Third, if she would have done something, I think that would be an emotional decision, and she doesn't do that. She's much too smart to do that."

Loyal person

Pressed on the strength of his bond with Williams, he added: "She's a very loyal person. She's incredibly loyal. I think also she's very responsible. She doesn't blame others for her problems.

"She would never blame me. She takes everything on her, because she's strong enough and courageous enough and confident enough to be able to look at herself and say, I failed. Not that many people do that. It's easier to put it on somebody else. I think we trust each other. We have been very successful."

Focus on tournament

Mouratoglou insisted he had no desire to go into detail regarding events in New York, adding: "I'm really okay to talk about that, believe me, more than you can think, but I want Serena to be into her tournament. I don't want all these things around that everybody tries to bring back.

"We have a tournament to win. I want her to win it. She wants to win it. So let's talk about it after the tournament. Believe me, I'm okay to talk about it. I'm happy to."

Asked if he believes Williams - a beaten finalist at the last two majors - will go on to triumph at Melbourne Park and equal Margaret Court's record of 24 slam singles titles, Mouratoglou replied: "Of course I believe she will win. If I don't believe she will win I should coach somebody else."

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