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By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday December 21, 2016

 
Patrick McEnroe John McEnroe

Plotting the future: Patrick McEnroe has been named Co-Director of the John McEnroe Tennis Academy.

Photo credit: Getty

A brotherly reunion could boost New York City tennis.

Patrick McEnroe has shared a home, the court and the broadcast booth with older brother John McEnroe.

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Now the McEnroe brothers are joining forces again in a major player development partnership.

Sportime and The John McEnroe Tennis Academy (JMTA) today announced the appointment of Patrick McEnroe as Co-Director, alongside longtime JMTA Director Lawrence Kleger.

“I am very pleased that my brother Patrick has decided to join us at JMTA, as we continue to refine our model and expand our impact,” John McEnroe said. “There probably isn’t anybody that understands American tennis and New York tennis better than Patrick and nobody in the world that has better or more experience coaching talent at the highest levels of the game. Patrick is going to help us make a difference.”

The John McEnroe Tennis Academy now has two former U.S. Davis Cup captains on staff—Patrick succeeded John as captain and led the U.S. to the 2007 Davis Cup championship—and two Grand Slam champions who both learned the game locally at the Port Washington Tennis Academy.

Patrick McEnroe, who lives in New York City with wife, Broadway actress Melissa Errico and their three daughters, is expected to serve in a variety of roles. The Academy announced Patrick will “impact a variety of areas in his position with Sportime and JMTA, including curriculum, corporate engagement, and fundraising for scholarship and community-based programs, as well as coach and staff recruitment and training, calling on his many years of working with and managing other great coaches, and learning from them.”

Patrick McEnroe and his older brother were once player development rivals when the younger McEnroe served as General Manager, USTA Player Development working crosstown at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Now, they're allies aiming to grow the game and cultivate a major champion in their hometown.

“My brother John, Lawrence Kleger and the entire team at JMTA have set a new standard in New York with the quality and breadth of what they offer, and with their charitable efforts for young players of both genders and all backgrounds,” Patrick McEnroe said. “I am looking forward to bringing my lifetime of learning, as a player, coach and program manager, to my new role. I think that JMTA is just getting started and that my involvement can be a great addition. I am excited to work on my brother’s team! ”



Prior to launching his own Academy on Randall’s Island, John McEnroe lobbied the USTA for years to open a John McEnroe Tennis Academy at the National Tennis Center, a location McEnroe once asserted was "wasted" because the White Plains, N.Y.-based Tennis Association did not use it for elite player development in the past.

When Arlen Kantarian was USTA Chief Executive Professional Tennis, it was believed Kantarian backed the idea though some insiders said other execs within the USTA were wary of working with the sometime temperamental McEnroe, who served as U.S. Davis Cup captain for one year, 2000.

Launching his academy six years ago, John McEnroe said he envisioned JMTA "as good or better than the facility at the National Tennis Center."

"I notice (the USTA) say there are more kids playing at least which is a good sign. The USTA makes an obscene amount of money from one tournament," McEnroe said duing a 2010 interview about the academy. "They have an obscene $150 million portfolio. I’m not sure what they’re doing with that (money). For many years I talked about the USTA about doing this very type of thing at the National Tennis Center and naming it the John McEnroe Tennis Academy.

“I was unable to get through to them and I’m thankful I’ve been given this tremendous opportunity at Randall’s Island by Claude (Okin) and his people in a facility that’s as good or better than the facility at the National Tennis Center. Having said that the tens of millions of dollars that they make every single year it would be in the sport's best interest to welcome us with open arms and provide us the type of money they provide numerous other programs."

The McEnroe brothers faced off in the 1991 Chicago singles final and partnered to win the 1992 Paris Masters doubles title.



In an interview with WFAN last week, John McEnroe said apathy contributed to a decline in American men's tennis.

“We were spoiled," McEnroe told WFAN. "We just kept expecting it. Well we’ve got Connors, we’ve got Agassi, we’ve got Sampras, we had myself. They just kept thinking the next guy was going to be there.”

The seven-time Grand Slam champion said his ultimate aim is to develop a Grand Slam champion from New York City.

“Wouldn’t it be nice if the best tennis player in the world was from New York?” McEnroe said. “The sport is being hurt, the last 10 years, by the fact there really hasn’t been a top American player. (Andy) Roddick was the last guy that won something. He won the Open in 2003. Since then 13 years and counting, none.

“So we need to sort of do something about that otherwise it becomes this… I don’t want to say cult, but it’s big in Europe. And you see a lot of European basketball players are having success here. And so athletically, the best athletes in other counties in western Europe, they go to tennis a lot sooner. It’s more available and it’s got more of a history than it does here.”

 

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