Patrick Mouratoglou's Ultimate Tennis Showdown Draws Criticism Over New Rules And Format - UBITENNIS
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Patrick Mouratoglou’s Ultimate Tennis Showdown Draws Criticism Over New Rules And Format

Not everybody is a fan of the brand new event and it’s unique format.



This weekend will be the start of a brand new tournament which Patrick Mouratoglou hopes will help increase the popularity of tennis among the younger generation.


The Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS) will be a men-only event that is set to take place over five consecutive weekends. Stefanos Tsitsipas, Dominic Thiem and Matteo Berrettini are some of the stars set to take part. It will be played in what organizers describe as a ‘classic league format’ with the six highest scoring players progressing to the knockout stages (top two qualify automatically for the semi-finals and the other four will play in the quarter-finals).

“The first goal is to have people like it,” Mouratoglou told reporters on a video conference call on Thursday. “A lot of people are going to be against it, but that’s okay.”

Unlike traditional tennis, UTS has a completely brand new format. There will be no warm-up, players will exchange serves after every two points and matches will be broken down into four 10-minute quarters. If the match is tied at two-all, a decider will be played. Furthermore, on-court coaching will be allowed with one 30-second timeout per quarter allowed.

Besides the rules, there is something called ‘UTS Cards’ which can only be described as the tennis equivalent of the community chest cards that is used during a game of monopoly. Organisers say these cards will make the event ‘more exciting’ with the coach of the player choosing two out of four cards. There are a total of seven cards but only four will be provided to a player based on an algorithm that will be used. The cards are the following :-

-1 serve: Your opponent gets one serve instead of two.
– Winners count x3: Each of your winners counts triple.
– Next point counts x2: Next point counts double, only if you win it.
– x serve points in a row: Player serves x times consecutively.
– +1 serve: You get three serves instead of two (one extra first serve).
– Serve & volley: Your opponent is forced to serve and volley (or at least move towards the net after the serve).
– Win in 3 shots max: Your opponent is forced to win the point with 3 shots or less (serve or return + 2 shots).

Mouratoglou’s motivation for co-organising the event is based on his concern that the sport is struggling to attract a younger demographic of fans. On various occasions he has said that the average age of a tennis fan is 61 and increasing. Although that claim that isn’t entirely true. The study which concluded the average of 61 was conducted two years ago and based solely on Nelson TV viewing figures in America alone. Therefore the assumption can’t be applied to the entire sport worldwide.

Not a great start

After confirming the UTS rules on Thursday, many took to social media to voice their opposition. Including some well known people related to the world of tennis. Stuart Fraser is the tennis correspondent for The Times. On Twitter he wrote ‘June 13th will be remembered as the day that tennis was bastardised…’ making reference to the date the competition will get underway.

Another critic was veteran Australian broadcaster Craig Gabriel, who has worked in the tennis industry for many years on behalf of numerous publications. He has also been the media manager at Apia International Sydney and Shanghai Rolex Masters.

Kris Soutar is a consultant at Tennis Scotland and the project manager of the Judy Murray Foundation. An organisation set up by the mother of former world No.1 Andy Murray. Soutar has criticised the UTS over how they have changed the scoring system.

“UTS – Ultimate Tennis Shitshow. I’m all for experiments within tennis and creating a show around the match but the scoring system in tennis is amazing. Create entertainment in other ways in my opinion.” He tweeted.

Despite the critics, there are also some who are staying upbeat over the proposals. USA Today reporter Dan Wolken said he is intrigued by the prospect of having timed quarters. Something that it best associated with other sports such as American football and ice hockey.

“This is wild. No wonder Patrick wouldn’t tell me much about the format. And they got Thiem to join the field. Will be a must watch if you like tennis,” Wolken commented.
“The more I’ve thought about this, I’m really pumped to see this format. I’ve never considered the idea of tennis on a game clock,” he added.

Mouratoglou has said he is targeting 50,000 subscribers for his new event during the first weekend.

A copy of the UTS Rule Book can be viewed here

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Nick Kyrgios Slams Thiem Over Defence Of Controversy-Stricken Adria Tour

The world No.40 has accused the Austrian of lacking an ‘intellectual level’ to understand his view.



Australian star Nick Kyrgios has continued his public criticism of the Adria Tour by taking aim at two-time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem.


The 25-year-old has repeatedly hit out at the exhibition event, which Thiem participated in. Organised by world No.1 Novak Djokovic, the event took place in Belgrade and Zadar before it was scrapped following an outbreak of COVID-19 among both players and coaching staff. Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov and Borna Coric all got infected. The outbreak came after the Adria Tour was criticised for a lack of social distancing and players attended various public events together. Although at the time, all of their actions were done in accordance with local regulations. Something the Serbian Prime Minister now admits was a mistake.

However, Thiem has called out Kyrgios over his vocal criticism of fellow Adria Tour competitor Alexander Zverev. The German attended a party in southern France less than a week after the COVID-19 outbreak despite issuing a statement saying he would go into self-isolation.

“It was his mistake, but I don’t why a lot of people want to interfere. Kyrgios has done a lot of mistakes. It would be better for him to come clear instead of criticising others,” Thiem told Tiroler Tageszeitung.

Continuing to defend the actions of his fellow players, Thiem also jumped to the defence of Djokovic. Who has been under heavy criticism over the event with some going as far as questioning his position as president of the ATP Players Council.

“He didn’t commit a crime. We all make mistakes, but I don’t understand all the criticism. I’ve been to Nice and also saw pictures from other cities. It’s no different from Belgrade during the tournament. It’s too cheap to shoot at Djokovic.”

The comments have now been blasted by Kyrgios, who stands by his previous criticism of players. Accusing Thiem of lacking an ‘intellectual level’ to see his point of view.

“What are you talking about @ThiemDomi? Mistakes like smashing rackets? Swearing? Tanking a few matches here or there? Which everyone does?” Kyrgios wrote on Twitter.
“None of you have the intellectual level to even understand where I’m coming from. I’m trying to hold them accountable.”
“People losing lives, loved ones and friends, and then Thiem standing up for the ‘mistake,'” he added.

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 500,000 people worldwide and some players have voiced concerns over travelling to America which has recently seen a rise in cases. On Wednesday Alexi Popyrin became the first player to say he won’t play the US Open due to health concerns.

The ATP Tour is set to resume next month but it is unclear as to what events Thiem and Kyrgios will be playing in.

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Roger Federer Eyeing Olympic Glory At The Age Of 39 In 2021

The Swiss tennis star isn’t ready to step away from the sport just yet.



20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer has vowed to play at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo after undergoing two surgeries on his knee.


The former world No.1 hasn’t played a competitive match since his semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open in January. Since then he had twice undergone arthroscopic surgeries which is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to diagnose and treat problems with the joints. Federer announced shortly after having the procedure done for a second time that he will not be returning to the Tour again this year.

Despite the setbacks, the 38-year-old has vowed to return to action at the start of 2021 with Olympic glory one of his main targets. He is already a two-time Olympic medallist after winning gold in the men’s doubles back in 2008 followed by silver in the singles draw at the 2012 London Games.

“My goal is to play Tokyo 2021. It’s a wonderful city. I met my wife in my first Olympics in 2000. It’s a special event for me,” Federer said on Monday during the launch of ‘The Roger’ shoe with Swiss brand ON.
“I had two surgeries and I can’t hit at the moment, but I’m very confident I will be totally ready for 2021.
“I do miss playing in front of the fans, no doubt. Now, I think if tennis comes back we know it won’t be in a normal way where we can have full crowds yet.”

Federer will be 39 when he returns to action, but is yet to speculate as to when he may close the curtain on his record-breaking career. He is currently the second oldest man in the top 200 on the ATP Tour after Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic, who is 41.

Besides the Olympics, the Swiss Maestro is also setting his eye on Wimbledon where he has claimed the men’s title a record eight times. However, he hasn’t won a major title since the 2018 Australian Open. The Grass-court major has been cancelled this year for the first time since 1945 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Of course I miss Wimbledon, of course I would like to be there currently playing on Centre Court for a place in the second week,” he said.
“Clearly, one of my big goals, and that’s why I do recovery work every day and work so hard, and why I’m preparing for a 20-week physical preparation block this year, is because I hope to play at Wimbledon next year.”

Even though he is not playing for the rest of the year, Federer incredibly still has a chance of qualifying for the ATP Finals due to recent changes in the rankings calculations. Due to the pandemic, players are now allowed to use their best results at 18 tournaments based on a 22-month period instead of 12 months. Something that could enable him to remain inside the top eight until the end of 2020 depending on how his rivals fair.

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ATP Announces 22-Month Ranking System To Support Players Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Parts of the changes have been done to help support those who prefer not to or can not travel to tournaments due to safety concerns.



The ATP Tour has revised their calculations for this year’s ranking system with the governing body admitting that the new changes could also be applied in 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


Players on the men’s Tour have been given a wider period where they can select their best tournaments to determine their ranking. Prior to the suspension of competitive tennis, male players were allowed to select their 18 best performances in tournaments within a 52-week period. This has now been expanded to 22 months (March 2019-December 2020). Although they are not allowed to use the same tournament twice.

In a press release the ATP says their new measures allows ‘flexibility and fairness’ with players on the tour. Furthermore, it has been designed with the possibility of the rules continuing into 2021 should the ongoing pandemic continue to disrupt the Tour in some degree. Outlining their objectives, the ATP says one of their goals is to protect those who ‘cannot or prefer not to compete in 2020 due to health & safety.’ A point recently raised by Australian player Alexei Popyrin who has voiced concerns about playing at the US Open.

“There are talks regarding the US Open but I really don’t want to go with the situation in America right now,” Popyrin said at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown over the weekend.
“But we have to see if we would be forced to go because of ranking points.
“If the ranking points won’t be frozen, then most of us would be forced to go play cause our ranking will drop and we wouldn’t have any say in it.
“But if the rankings are frozen, then I am staying here.
“I will stay in Europe where it’s safe with my family.”

As a result of the changes, it remains to be seen if this will have any effect on other players concerning their decision to play at the New York major which will be held behind closed doors for the first time in history. Some parts of America have reported a surge in COVID-19 cases with 52,228 New Cases being reported on July 5th.

Under the new calculations, no player will have less ranking points than what they currently have at present. The ATP rankings have been frozen since March 16th but will resume on the Monday after the first tournament in the revised calendar concludes.

There are exceptions to the new 22-month ruling. Qualification for the ATP Finals will still be based on 52 weeks because the event is classed as an ‘additional tournament.’ Therefore it doesn’t count as one of the 18 key events to determine a player’s ranking. Points from last year’s tournament will drop off on November 9th after the Paris Masters. The reason for doing so is to make the chances of qualifying more fair. Furthermore Challenger and ITF events will also be based on the 52-week rule because ‘events are scheduled on a one-year basis and do not have consistent spots in the calendar.’

The ATP Tour is set to resume at the Citi Open in Washington during the second week of August.

A full FAQ of the new ranking system can be read here.

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