In short, Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS) is a groundbreaking tennis league created by Patrick Mouratoglou, the well-known coach of tennis star Serena Williams, and mentor of promising players such as Stefanos Tsitsipas, Coco Gauff, Alexei Popyrin, and Holger Rune.
The league’s first showdown series event (UTS1) will feature 10 of the world’s best and most spectacular players. Players competing are Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Matteo Berrettini, David Goffin, Feliciano Lopez, Alexei Popyrin, Benoit Paire, Richard Gasquet, Corentin Moutet, and Dustin Brown. The goal? Win UTS’ prestigious crown.
UTS1 will take place from June 14 to July 12, 2020, at the Mouratoglou Academy, on the French Rivera. 10 “showdowns” will be livestreamed on the UTS Live platform for 5 consecutive weekends, accounting for a total of 50 showdowns. Selected matches will also be broadcasted around the world for millions of fans to enjoy.
UTS will adopt a unique and innovative format, that will mostly consist of fast-paced matches and a lightened code of conduct. More details about the showdowns’ format and rules will be announced a few days prior to the event.
Even though UTS is a no-spectator league, it will put its fan at the center of the action, trigger heightened emotions, and present tennis in a way that’s never even been thought of before. Fans will experience live tennis like never before.
“UTS aims to appeal a younger, more engaged new generation of fans in order to grow its fanbase community” – Patrick Mouratoglou
As the average tennis fan is 61 years old and that number is increasing each year, tennis is currently in a danger zone. As a sport, whether practiced or consumed, tennis is failing to renew its fan base and appeal to younger generations. Why?
First, modern-day tennis has a strong lack of emotion and diversity. Due in part to the evolution of the code of conduct, which has become increasingly rigid over the years, players have been forced to polish their personalities and fit into a certain mold that the sport has created for them. As a result, there are currently no McEnroe or Connors, players that truly share their personality and emotions with the fans, and that the fans, in turn, can genuinely relate to.
Second, there is a lack of modernity in the sport. Tennis has been stagnant for more than 40 years, sticking to the same rules and traditions. It has failed to adapt to a changing reality and to appeal to new generations who completely stand out from previous ones. New generations, for instance, don’t want to sit still in silence for 3 hours to watch a tennis match; they want faster, more intense, and ready-to-consume content.
Basically, there is an urging need to reinvent the way tennis is played, watched, and consumed.
Patrick Mouratoglou transformed the challenges resulting from the COVID-19 situation into a window of opportunity. With the tour being on pause, he quickly took action to introduce a completely novel concept that aims to give tennis the breath of fresh air that it desperately needs.
Ultimately, UTS’ goal is to build a long term, international league of showdown series events that will offer an alternative to the traditional tours. Eventually, events will take place all over the world. UTS is not designed to be a one-time hit; If UTS is a movie, we mean to make it a saga. Or think of it as the Netflix’s next binge-worthy TV show.
On a deeper level, UTS’ aim is to bring new generations and other sports fans to discover and appreciate tennis, in order to grow and solidify the tennis fan base.
UTS is looking to take a step back from the traditional tennis experience and engage fans in an entirely different way. UTS will not present just tennis match, it will present showdowns. Adapted for younger generations, UTS will create a virtual show inspired by e-sport.
Through an engaging and interactive format, fans will inevitably feel closer and better connected to tennis stars, and experience heightened emotions. Viewers will hear conversations between the players and their coaches, as on-court and video coaching will be allowed. With a lightened code of conduct, and a more laid-back and playful atmosphere, players will carry themselves more freely on-court and show their true personality. UTS will profile players in a completely different way, with a focus on behind-the-scenes and storytelling.
UTS will adopt a unique format, which will be announced a few days prior to the event.
Although there will be a stronger emphasis on entertainment, UTS remains a serious competition, not an exhibition.
All in all, there is no doubt that UTS will be tennis’ most exciting and innovating league.
UTS1 will feature 10 of the world’s best and most spectacular players. As of now, 9 players have already been publicly announced, with 3 current Top 10 players yet to be revealed.
The line-up is the following:
The players who have been selected are necessarily some of the world’s best tennis player. The line-up is composed of 4 current Top 10 players, 2 former Top 10, and two up-and-coming Next Gen players. Most importantly, each UTS participant was picked because he could be a movie character. They’re all flamboyantly different; all spectacular in their very own way.
UTS’ official match format and rules will be announced a few days before the start of the event. UTS’ groundbreaking format will stand halfway between entertainment and competition, and is inspired by key elements responsible for the success of other sports.
As of now, what we can tell you is that the playing format will consist of faster games, and a lightened code of conduct. Two rounds will take place each weekend starting June 13, and end with a thrilling final scheduled for July.
UTS does not serve as a replacement for neither the ATP nor ITF tours, or any pre-existing professional tennis tournaments and circuits. Instead, it provides an alternative to what is already offered, and will operate independently from other organizations and circuits. Although not an exhibition, UTS will offer a greater amount of entertainment value.
The first round of UTS1 showdowns will take place on the weekend of June 13-14, 2020. Showdowns will be played on weekends only, over five consecutive weekends. There will be 10 showdowns per weekend, accounting for a total of 50 showdowns. A thrilling final is scheduled for the last day of the competition, on July 12, 2020.
More information will be released shortly.
The first showdown series event (UTS1) will take place on-site at the Mouratoglou Academy, in the South of France. However, the league will not host spectators.
Every match will be streamed live on UTS’ Live platform. For 10€ a month, viewers can purchase UTS’ Premium Pass, which will give them unlimited and exclusive access to all of UTS’ showdowns year-round, starting on June 13-14.
To subscribe, head to UTS’ streaming website: www.watch.utslive.tv.
As UTS’ intention is to become a year-round league, we can expect future competitions to take place in all parts of the world.
The UTS prize money system is not a winner-take-all system. Instead, it will follow a 70:30 ratio where the match winner will receive 70 percent of the showdown prize pool, while the loser still receives 30 percent of that pool.
This win-win formula will help lower-ranked players generate a sustainable income playing tennis. Although the financial stakes remain high and the motivation to win is omnipresent, it will lift some stress off players ranked outside the Top 100.
Safety, as always, comes first and is UTS’ top priority. UTS will comply with locally enforced social distancing requirements to ensure the safety of players, coaches, and a limited number of UTS staff on site.