Tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou planning ‘Ultimate Tennis Showdown’ tournament amid coronavirus hiatus

the COVID-19 pandemic, but both Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou announced plans on Saturday to host numerous matches at their respective tennis academies in Europe.” data-reactid=”25″ type=”text”>It may not be an official event, as tennis is shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but both Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou announced plans on Saturday to host numerous matches at their respective tennis academies in Europe.

Mouratoglou announced the “Ultimate Tennis Showdown” on social media on Saturday. His academy, near Nice, France, is planning to play host 50 matches over five weeks starting May 16, with 10 matches each weekend without spectators present. 

[ Coronavirus: How the sports world is responding to the pandemic ]” data-reactid=”27″ type=”text”>[ Coronavirus: How the sports world is responding to the pandemic ]

They also teased “millions of US dollars in prize money,” though didn’t specify how much would be awarded to the winner. On-court coaching and video coaching will reportedly be allowed, and fans will be able to interact in real time with the players.

“There is no doubt that the Ultimate Tennis Showdown, with thrilling singles matches and millions of US dollars in prize money, has the potential to be the world’s most exciting tennis competition,” UTS co-founder Alex Popyrin said in a statement. “Fans watching at home will feel closer than ever before to the stars of the world through our engaging format.”

They didn’t specify who all will be competing in the competition, however, teased the first match — Alexei Popyrin vs. David Goffin — on May 16.

according to The New York Times. The country’s current lockdown is scheduled to end on May 11, which would allow players and others to travel through the country to get to the event. No mass events will be permitted by then, however, which will prohibit fans at the competition. ” data-reactid=”34″ type=”text”>France is currently under lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, and had more than 111,800 confirmed cases as of Saturday afternoon, according to The New York Times. The country’s current lockdown is scheduled to end on May 11, which would allow players and others to travel through the country to get to the event. No mass events will be permitted by then, however, which will prohibit fans at the competition. 

Mouratoglou said they will “operate in full compliance with local physical distancing requirements to ensure the safety of players, coaches and a limited number of UTS staff onside.”

“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.”

Rafael Nadal hoping to open academy for training

Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal is planning something similar with his training academy in Mallorca.

to the AFP, and is considering becoming “a campus where elite players can reside, train and compete between themselves in matches that will be televised so that fans around the world can enjoy them.”” data-reactid=”42″ type=”text”>Nadal’s academy is currently in talks with the ATP about how to proceed, according to the AFP, and is considering becoming “a campus where elite players can reside, train and compete between themselves in matches that will be televised so that fans around the world can enjoy them.”

Like France, Spain was hit incredibly hard by the coronavirus. There were more than 191,700 confirmed cases in the country as of Saturday afternoon, the second-most among any country in the world behind only the United States. Spain is also in a similar lockdown. 

“Right now tennis takes a back seat and the most important thing is everyone’s health, but if in the coming months the Academy can be used to help other professional players, I’d be delighted if they could come to train and also to compete,” Nadal said, via the AFP.

“I think that competing among ourselves would help us maintain our game for when the tour restarts.”

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