World No.3 Dominic Thiem has become the latest ATP star to join Patrick Mouratoglou’s Ultimate Tennis Showdown in France this weekend.
The UTS will see Stefanos Tsitsipas, Matteo Berrettini and David Goffin play, along with six others in a round-robin format over five weeks.
Thiem will miss this opening weekend of the tournament and play his first match on June 30, having previously committed to a charity event hosted by Novak Djokovic in the Balkans.
Frenchman Elliot Benchetrit will be Thiem’s replacement for the opening two rounds of the tournament in Nice.
“The first goal is to have people like it,” Mouratoglou told reporters on a video conference call on Thursday, of the event.
“A lot of people are going to be against it, but that’s OK.”
Each match will have four 10-minute quarters, with a two-minute break between them, and the player with most points will win the quarter. The format will be like a tie-breaker in traditional tennis with each player having two serves in a row.
Coaches will be allowed one 30-second timeout per quarter and fans will be able to hear the coach-player conversation, which must be conducted in English.