Patrick Mouratoglou's post-containment mini-championship

Patrick Moratoglou and Serena Williams during the Wimbledon tournament in July 2019.

Stefanos Tsitsipas' forehands can again be scrutinized during the weekend of June 13 and 14 on a tennis court, while the men's ATP circuit will not resume until the beginning of August because of the pandemic from Covid-19. The Greek will be one of the attractions of the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS), a brand new competition created by the French trainer Patrick Mouratoglou, whose first stage is held in Nice, within his academy.

The principle ? Ten players gathered, behind closed doors, over five weekends (June 13 to July 11): Stefanos Tsitsipas, Matteo Berrettini, David Goffin, Benoît Paire, Lucas Pouille, Richard Gasquet, Félix Auger-Aliassime, Dustin Brown, Alexei Popyrin – and a tenth headliner to be announced soon.

Each player will face the other nine, the two players who have won the most matches will qualify directly for the semi-finals (the difference in sets will be taken into account in the event of a tie), and the players ranked from third to sixth place will play the quarter-finals. A winner will be announced at the end of this mini-championship.

Shorter matches

"If you like Benoît Paire, but he loses in the first round in a classic tournament, you don't see him again, hence the format of the UTS", explains Patrick Mouratoglou, who designed this confrontation with the Australian Alexei Popyrin.

"Tennis is not going well!, continues Mr. Mouratoglou. The average age of fans is 61, and he is unable to attract new audiences: the show is not at the level, the games are flat, without emotion … Today, players can just touch the forehead… and again! "

Read also Australian Open: giant Tsitsipas

With UTS, the matches will be shorter (less time-out) and the code of conduct will be reduced: players will be able to break their rackets without taking fines, for example. The entire tournament will be streamed. Sanitary measures will not be neglected: ball pickers with gloves, direction of traffic, no contact between players …

"No competition" with the official circuits

If he takes advantage of the vacuum created by the coronavirus epidemic in a small world of tennis at a standstill – Nice will host the first tennis competition in France since mid-March -, what will be, ultimately, the place of the 'UTS – if it continues – in the world circuit governed by ATP, for men, and WTA, for women?

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