Patrick Mouratoglou, the coach of Serena Williams, has announced a planned Ultimate Tennis Showdown league which will stream live matches between players without spectators at his academy starting next month.
The brainchild of Mouratoglou and Alex Popyrin says it aims to create a new way to consume tennis in the absence of the WTA and ATP Tours, both suspended until at least mid-July because of coronavirus.
Fans worldwide will be able to interact with the players and listen to live conversations as on-court or video coaching will take place at the Mouratoglou Academy, located near the French Riviera.
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French president Emmanuel Macron this week banned large public events in the country until July 11 but the league says it will abide by social distancing requirements to protect players and coaches, with minimal on-site staff.
Ten matches are scheduled to be held every weekend for five weeks, starting from May 16.
“The UTS is simply meant to be an alternative to what already exists,” Mouratoglou said.
“It is a platform created to showcase the incredible talent, athleticism and personalities of the wide range of tennis 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.
“The UTS defines itself as a player-centric league, and therefore features a system focusing on the redistribution of income among the players. This system could be particularly beneficial for lower-ranked players.”
World number 10 David Goffin and Alexei Popyrin, the son of co-founder Alex, have been announced as the first match competitors.