Patrick Mouratoglou has revealed an expansion dream for his UTS quick-fire tennis after debuting the format in June at the height of the ATP virus lockdown.
The Frenchman who is coach to Serena Williams and hosts Stefanos Tsitsipas at his academy in the south of the country, has told London’s City a.m. website that he and his partners are looking for investors to finance a re-birth of the event for 2021.
While the UTS with it’s 10-minute match quarters and ticking countdown clock, provisions for players to “steal” serves or treble their points and a general fast-paced atmosphere, the coach believes he is into a winner in a world of short attention spans.
The summer edition of the UTS played over several weekends at his academy on the Riviera attracted worldwide TV coverage from broadcasters desperate to get some sport onto their screens as much of the world shut down due to COVID-19.
Moratoglou believes the concept has legs: he and business partners including Alex Popyrin, father of Australian player Alexei Popyrin, have shifted into fund-raising mode as tennis evangelicals.
“We are working on a capital raise at the moment,” the Frenchman told the website, “We want to have a few investors to bring the cash to keep developing the concept.”
The plan seems to be to try and fit UTS into a crowded tennis calendar while hoping that the pandemic subsides or is brought under control by next year.
“We have feedback, we have data. We have a lot of information that I think makes this concept interesting business-wise.”
Moratoglou is sticking to his firm conviction that classic tennis is just too long and boring for most young audiences today.
He’s also a critic of the lack of at least some verbal aggro among the elites at the top of the game
“I think the tennis show is too long. Most of the pros I spoke to told me they don’t watch tennis at all,” he said.
“They say: ‘It’s too long. We watch highlights but we cannot watch matches.’ Because they’re young. We need action, we need emotion, we need personalities.
The 50-year-old drew upon childhood tennis memories of past decades.
“That’s (conflict and rivalries were) what we had in the ‘70s and ‘80s. I remember really well McEnroe, Connors and Borg.
“You had such strong personalities and so many things were happening on a tennis court. It was not only two guys hitting a tennis ball. There was a story.”
But now on the ATP? “Everybody has to behave perfectly. Nobody can say anything wrong. If you say anything about anyone who’s untouchable, then you’re killed the second after.
“Players are scared to be themselves. A lot of them tell me ‘we feel so good on the court when we are allowed to do what we want, to behave how we feel like”.