Serena Williams Coach is planning is set to hold a ‘risk-free’ tennis tournament in May.Patrick Mouratoglou says he wants the Ultimate Tennis Showdown to start in May.
Getting live tennis back on TV and fighting for a more equal distribution of wealth in the sport are two subjects that Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou has been thinking a lot about during lockdown.
Professional tennis has been on hold since March due to coronavirus but he’s come up with the ambitious project of the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS) to get the tennis ball rolling again – real matches, top players and prize money, but there’ll be one major difference to a regular tour event.
“It’s a tournament without a crowd,” Mouratoglou told Sky Sports News. “We don’t want to take a risk with COVID-19 but it will be live.”
“We’re going to make sure we take no risks with the players and staff we’ve thought of the whole tournament with distance and all the requirements we’re supposed to take into consideration.
“It’s every weekend for five weekends in a row and it’s by invitation at the moment. We have confirmation of three already, David Goffin, Benoit Paire and Alexei Popyrin, but we’re discussing with the top ones and we’re going to get answers very soon.”
The venue for the matches will be Mouratoglou’s own academy just outside Nice, France, with the tournament starting on May 16, five days after the country’s lockdown is scheduled to be lifted.
Mouratoglou is aware that – to begin with – travel restrictions will result in a reliance on local talent, but luckily for him, neighbouring Monaco just happens to be home to some of the best tennis players in the world.
“Even if we focus on the players in the region we have enough,” Mouratoglou said. “We have had a lot of players who want to play. Players really want to play matches, they need to make some money. And this is a new format, completely modern, we want to be attractive to a younger audience.
“One of the goals is to have more emotion more passion on the tennis court. Players have passion but they’re not allowed to show it otherwise they get penalised. I think this should change. I want players to be open to discussion at changeovers either with the host of with the fans directly through a headset and the code of conduct is going to be much lighter, it’s not that I want them to swear but I want them to show emotion.
“I came to tennis in the ’80s when you had [John] McEnroe and [Jimmy] Connors who were very expressive and that’s what made tennis fun at that