Serena Williams’ longtime coach Patrick Mouratoglou will launch a new ‘digitally friendly’ tournament in southern France this weekend, with four top 10-ranked players involved.
Mouratoglou hopes the Ultimate Tennis Showdown, featuring Stefanos Tsitsipas and Matteo Berrettini, will change the way tennis is viewed.
His plan would allow younger fans to access the ‘raw feelings’ of players through better access to the game.
“I would like the fans to benefit from better access to the players’ emotions, especially on the court where the code of conduct is a significant obstacle to that,” Mouratoglou said.
“UTS aims to appeal to a younger, more engaged new generation of fans in order to grow its fanbase community.”
Players will compete every weekend for five weeks in a round-robin format and their their matches will be streamed on a live platform.
According to Mouratoglou multiple screens, cameras and speakers will be use to capture ‘every sight and sound’.
Mouratoglou founded the UTS with Australian player Alexei Popyrin, who is also playing in the event.
They want to change how tennis is experienced through a faster-pace format featuring more interaction, where on-court coaching is encouraged rather than frowned upon.
“(Players) will interact in real time with their fans, share conversations between themselves and coaches and carry themselves more freely on court,” a UTS official said.
“Spectators play a role in what unfolds; they interact with the players and can ask questions on changeovers, see what’s happening behind the scenes in the lives of players, and hear every word exchanged between coaches and players.”
The event is being held at Mouratoglou’s academy near Antibes on the French Riviera. Because of coronavirus restrictions no fans are allowed on site. A safety protocol with social distancing and a limited amount of staff has been established.