Ultimate Tennis Showdown Targeting Younger Audiences
TThe Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS), which starts in France on Saturday, is aiming to reinvent tennis and make the sport more attractive and engaging for younger audiences, according to long-time coach of Serena Williams, Patrick Mouratoglou.
Featuring three top-10 players from the men’s ATP Tour, including Stefanos Tsitsipas, Matteo Berrettini, and David Goffin, along with seven others including Australia’s Alexei Popyrin, the players will not face sanctions for emotional outbursts on court over the five weekend-long round robin competition.
Mouratoglou said fans will be able to listen to conversations between players and coaches throughout the shorter and more dynamic games.
“For many years I have been worried about the future of tennis,” Mouratoglou said.
“The average age of a tennis fan is 61, which is very old for a fan base.
“Tennis is failing to renew its fanbase.
“And that’s very worrying because the future doesn’t look bright.
“I mean different tennis.
“Taking into consideration what was better back in the 1970s and the 80 and also bringing some modernity,” he said, discussing his progress in creating the league he hopes will get adopted by the ATP and WTA.
“It’s a real competition and it’s a new tour,” Mouratoglou said.
“The players are going to win points, they’re going to earn prize money, and at the end of the year there will be a champion.
“So they’re going to really compete with the same motivation as if they were playing a tournament.
“I want authenticity, I don’t want players to make a show.
“I want players to be able to be themselves on court and express all kinds of emotions.
“The idea is to create the tennis of the future.
“I don’t plan to be a competitor to the ATP and the WTA.
“My plan is to bring new fans to the game.
“And if it works, and if the ATP and the WTA want to have the UTS under their umbrella, I’ll be happy to,” he said.
With the professional tennis circuit still suspended at least until the end of July as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, UTS will distribute a major part of its advertising and broadcasting revenue to help lower-ranked players.
The UTS competition will be help at Mouratoglou’s academy in Nice, with 10 matches every weekend over five weeks, with no fans in attendance, but matches live streamed on utslive.tv.