Fabio Fognini and Benoit Paire join Patrick Mouratoglou’s Ultimate Tennis Showdown.
The Frenchman has launched a courageous initiative during this Coronavirus outbreak. The Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS) is a league that will initially be played without fans to respect the current lockdown. Patrick wants to bring the sport to a different level with players allowed to show their emotions instead of repressing them to follow a strict conduct code. In addition, Mouratoglou will allow the coaches to interact with players during the matches to give more insights to the fans.
Talking to Sky Sport, Patrick commented:
“One of the goals is to have more emotion more passion on the tennis court. Players have passion but they’re not allowed to show it otherwise they get penalized. I think this should change. I want players to be open to discussion at changeovers either with the host of with the fans directly through a headset and the code of conduct is going to be much lighter, it’s not that I want them to swear but I want them to show emotion.
I came to tennis in the ’80s when you had McEnroe and Connors who were very expressive and that’s what made tennis fun at that time.”
Of course, Patrick is very careful not to harm the health of anyone to comment:
“It’s a tournament without a crowd. We don’t want to take a risk with COVID-19, but it will be live. We’re going to make sure we take no risks with the players and staff we’ve thought of the whole tournament with distance and all the requirements we’re supposed to take into consideration.”
The matches will be played at the Mouratoglou Academy for 5 consecutive weekends and they are scheduled to commence the 16th of May that is 5 days after France should cancel or ease the current lockdown.
David Goffin and Alex Popyrin were the first 2 players that agreed to join the new competition. However, Patrick managed to have on board 2 “emotional” players on board such as Fabio Fognini and Benoit Paire. Since he is already training at the Academy, Stefanos Tsitsipas is also widely expected to take part in the league. However, that needs to be confirmed as there could be some other clauses or agreements that may prevent him from doing so.
This will be interesting.
Fabio Fognini’s ranking and performance in 2020
At the moment ranked no.11, Fabio played his last match on the 6th of March when he defeated Duck Hee Lee 6-0 6-3 in the Rubber 1 of the Davis Cup.
Benoit Paire’s ranking and performance in 2020
Ranked no.22, Benoit played his last match on the 26th of February when he lost to Richard Gasquet 6-4 6-4 in the 2nd round in Dubai.
Benoit Paire’s best accomplishment of this season was reaching the final in Auckland.
Fabio Fognini and Benoit Paire played each other 5 times. The head to head is 3-2 for Paire. The last time that they played, Benoit Paire won 7-63 4-6 6-3 3-6 6-3 in the 2nd round in Melbourne (Australian Open) in January 2017.