The Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS), co-owned by Patrick Mouratoglou, longtime coach of Serena Williams, will bring together Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, Italian Matteo Berrettini and David Goffin from Belgium, joining six others to participate in a round robin. more than five weeks.
Thiem, who has reached three Grand Slam finals, will however miss the tournament start weekend and play his opening match on June 30 after engaging in a charity event hosted by world number one Novak Djokovic in the Balkans.
Frenchman Elliot Benchetrit will replace Thiem for the first two rounds of the tournament, which will take place without fans at the Mouratoglou academy in Nice, and will be broadcast live on the subscription platform utslive.tv.
Mouratoglou has teamed up with Alex Popyrin, the father of world number 103 Alexei, to create the league which he says will introduce “new tennis”.
“The first goal is to have people like that,” Mouratoglou told reporters on a teleconference Thursday, adding that they were targeting 50,000 subscribers for the first season. “Many people are going to be against it, but it’s okay. ”
Among the changes from the professional tour, the code of conduct will be lenient towards players’ behavior on the field while fans will also be able to question them during the changes as they watch a live broadcast of the matches.
Each match will have four 10-minute quarters, with a two-minute break between them, and the player with the most points will win the quarter. The format will be like a tiebreaker in traditional tennis with each player having two services in a row.
In other innovations, coaches will be given 30 seconds per quarter and fans will be able to hear the coach-player conversation, which must be in English.
(Report by Sudipto Ganguly; Edited by Muralikumar Anantharaman)