Patrick McEnroe and his U.S. Tennis Association bosses on Wednesday night insisted that his exit as the organization's general manager of player development is the result of mutual agreement to fill the job with someone who will be based full-time at a $60-million-dollar USTA center to open in Orlando, Florida, in two years.
McEnroe will be leaving the post "for reasons professional and personal," he said. Both USTA executive director Gordon Smith and president Dave Haggerty emphasized that the move "is not a change in direction" from McEnroe's player-development plan, formed since he was hired in 2008.
Furthermore, they said, McEnroe will serve as an adviser in finding a new GM. McEnroe, younger brother of John McEnroe and former coach of the U.S. Davis Cup team, has been an omnipresent figure in the sport.
Among his jobs are president of the USTA's charitable and philanthropic foundation, television commentator and talk radio show host.
"Obviously I do some other things," McEnroe said, "but this is more about location than time commitment. I felt -- and Gordon felt -- the person in this position needed to be in Orlando full-time," and his move from New York "wasn't going to happen."
Smith flatly denied any connection between McEnroe's impending departure and the faded power of American men's tennis, evidenced by the failure of a single U.S. male player to get past the U.S. Open's third round for the second year in a row.
"I wanted to put a structure in place" to find elite players, McEnroe said. "The world has caught up to us. You can't just create a Serena Williams or John McEnroe or Pete Sampras. But you can create a good system" that identifies and supports young players.