US Tennis Open jobs
Well, it wasn't very humorous for ESPN tennis commentator and soon-to-be former USTA head of player development Patrick McEnroe. But it's a moment that perfectly illustrates how inbred the sport is.
In the late afternoon Wednesday, the New York Times broke the news that McEnroe, the man in charge of developing the U.S.'s next generation of champions, was to be relieved of his duties after the U.S. Open, after six years on the job.
The Times story indicated that, in light of the USTA's decision, McEnroe would step down, which would keep it all civilized for everyone involved. More clarity would come at a press conference.
Shortly before that news broke, McEnroe was on a U.S. Open practice court hitting with his brother John, as if nothing else were going on. More ironic, one of McEnroe's soon-to-be former coaches, USTA head of women's tennis Ola Malmquist, came by to speak to him during the practice session, and McEnroe asked Malmquist about a match involving one of the junior girls, Catherine Dolehide.
Here's what McEnroe looked like (both of them), during that hitting session.
If head of player development is a results-based job, the last two years of poor American results on the men's side – for the second straight U.S. Open, and only the second time in the 134-year history of the event, no American man reached the fourth round in singles – would make it easy to make a case. The women fared poorly this year as well, even though there are many more talented, rising players on the women's side from Sloane Stephens, to Madison Keys, to Jamie Hampton.
McEnroe was also criticized for his high salary, averaging about $1 million a year for the four years through 2012 for which records were available, the Times reported.
But here's where those incestuous tennis conflicts show up: the press conference, which was to include two USTA execs and McEnroe himself, was delayed and delayed – because McEnroe was on ESPN, doing television commentary about the crown jewel tournament of the organization that had been planning to fire him.
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