Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou has declared that his academy will be organising a five-week-long tournament that is aimed at keeping players in touch with the sport so they aren’t out of practice when the tennis resumes. Also Read - Naomi Osaka Hits Back at Critics For Slamming Tennis Star on Posting Swimsuit Pics, Says It's Creeping me Out
Called the Ultimate Tennis Showdown, its inaugural edition plans to start in May and intends on filing the gap in the tennis calendar caused due to the pandemic. The tournament is expected to take place without fans at the facility in the south of France and as per the organisers, will be broadcasted live. Also Read - Roger Federer Edges Out Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi to Become World's Highest-paid Athlete in Forbes' List
“The UTS is simply meant to be an alternative to what already exists,” tournament co-founder Mouratoglou, said in a statement. “It’s a platform created to showcase the incredible talent, athleticism and personalities of the wide range of players. It offers a new and innovative approach, targeting a younger tennis audience and proposes a different way to distribute the money among the players.” Also Read - Naomi Osaka Pips Serena Williams to Become World's Highest-Paid Female Athlete
The tennis season was suspended in March due to the coronavirus outbreak, which continue to grapple the world and all walks of life. But the tournament will comply with the rules of physical distance and only a handful of important people, including staff members will be present.
It starts May 16 and a total of 50 matches be played with 10 matches held each week for the next five. The entire list of players is yet to be announced but for the opener, Australian Alexei Popyrin is confirmed to face world number 10 David Goffin. Furthermore, fans will be able to listen to conversations between players and coaches and the code of conduct for players will be light to encourage them to express emotions more freely.
“Fans watching at home will feel closer than ever before to the stars of tennis through our engaging format,” Alex Popyrin, Alexei’s father and co-founder of the academy said. “There’s no doubt the UTS, with thrilling single matches and millions of US dollars in prize money, has the potential to be the world’s most exciting tennis competition.”