Not so Nice: Men's Ultimate Tennis Showdown postponed until June 13; No call yet on women's matches set for this weekend in West Palm Beach
I’d been looking forward to this weekend for the better part of a month, since Patrick Mouratoglou, along with his partner Alex Popyrin, announced the formation of the Ultimate Tennis Showdown, a brand-new vision for professional tennis – both men and women playing best of three set matches based on no-ad scoring, with only an umpire, two players calling their own lines, and a television audience. There would be minimal prize money, but no ranking points.
I’ve wanted to watch players call their own lines for a very long time now, so I spent many hours searching for where to watch the matches, when they’d be on, who would be playing aside from David Goffin and Alexei Popyrin, and any other information about this new league that I might have missed previously. Surprisingly, I could find absolutely nothing.
Although UTS had been plugging its first match for the past month, it just announced that due to certain problems “…with obtaining all necessary authorizations…” the first weekend of men’s tennis had been postponed to June 13th. Left unsaid was next weekend’s West Palm Beach women's segment was also cancelled.
If the women start as advertised next weekend, we will stand to be treated to some potentially great tennis, and the exposure to some real compelling personalities of the WTA Tour. Next weekend’s players include last year’s French Open semi-finalist, 18-year-old Yank Amanda Anisimova, former NCAA Women’s champ, UVA’s Danielle Collins, newlywed American Alison Riske, and Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic. These four women are currently ranked between 19 (Riske) and 56 (Tomljanovic) which highlights just how competitive these matches should be, if and when they take place.
Additionally, with the reduced conduct code the UTS is offering, it wouldn’t be surprising if each of these players adds a little spice to the matches. After all, Collins never lacks for confidence and is never shy to try to get her way on the tennis court.
The UTS has announced that other men’s players who have committed to playing in this new event include Fabio Fognini, Benoit Paire, Lucas Pouille, and Dustin Brown. One genuine concern, however, arises over travel availability for players who are not currently living on The Continent, since these matches are supposed to be played at Mouratoglou’s Academy located on the French Riviera in Nice.