Former world no. 7 Richard Gasquet became the seventh player to join the newly-launched Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS). The 50th ranked Gasquet is also the third Frenchman after world no. 22 Benoit Paire and world no. 58 Lucas Pouille to join the event’s playing field.
On his participation in the event, Gasquet said, “I am thrilled and honoured to take part in the first edition of the 2020 UTS. I believe that tennis fans have been missing our great game of tennis and this new and modern format of play will be fantastic for them and for us”.
The four other players who have committed to playing the tournament are the 10th ranked Belgian David Goffin, the 20th ranked Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, the 103rd ranked Australian Alexei Popyrin, and the 239th ranked German Dustin Brown.
The rationale behind the Ultimate Tennis Showdown?
The brainchild of Patrick Mouratoglou and Alex Popyrin, UTS will be played at the Mouratoglou Academy and will feature live broadcast. The event will, however, not have spectators.
Speaking about the event’s concept, the French coach said, “The origin of UTS came from a simple observation: tennis today needs to reinvent itself. The average age of a tennis fan is now 61 years and continues to increase.
The world around us has changed and the way young people consume sport and tennis has not changed in a decade. We live on the basis of fans from the 70s and 80s but do not attract young people at all”. One of the event’s unique features is that players will be allowed to express their emotions freely without restrictions.
Elaborating on this aspect, Mouratoglou said, “During the “golden age” of tennis in the 1980s, fans watched tennis because there were, for simplicity, the good guys (Bjorn Borg, Mats Wilander, Yannick Noah) and the bad guys (John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl).
Like a film, the success of tennis rested on the strong antagonisms between the best players. In addition, the players did not hesitate to share their emotions – positive or negative – with the public, and by extension the viewers”.
Finally, he added, “By giving players a platform to express their emotions without restraint, UTS has the dual objective of attracting a large audience and younger tennis fans”. Two more players will be joining in the ranks of the 10-man Ultimate Tennis Showdown in the coming few days.