Patrick Mouratoglou is never too far away from the drama.
During the 2018 US Open Final, Serena Williams received a code violation for coaching but she never instigated the on-court coaching. Minutes after the final in a interview in the stands Patrick told ESPN he was coaching but didn’t think Serena saw him.
Patrick believes that on court coaching should be a part of tennis and is now hoping to “reinvent” the game with his Ultimate Tennis Showdown.
The hope of the event is to bring the game into a new light for younger fans. According to Patrick in an interview with his UTS social media page that the average age of a tennis fan 10 years ago was 51, now it is 61 and in 10 years up to 71, is it though??
Just have a listen to what Patrick says for yourself:
Does Patrick believe what he is saying? Is this just a massive PR stunt to give his tournament more coverage?
What changes will help “reinvent” tennis?
Well, there isn’t much being changed…
There won’t be fans there due to the social distancing rules but fans who are watching from home will be able to interact with players at changeovers.
Do these changes re-invent tennis? Is it needed?
In all honesty relaxing the code of conduct to allow players to lose their temper without repurcussions has no more meaning to it than leaving a supply teacher in charge of a class and I’m not to sure it will engage a younger viewer.
I think the problem runs deeper than this blinded view that tennis has failed to adapt.
A sport like football has stayed the same and done well and it all comes down to exposure to the sport from a young age.
As kids we played jumpers for goalposts, all we needed was a jumper and a ball but to play tennis you need the court, net, racket & ball etc… Courts have been proven difficult to find and are expensive.
Even at secondary school the PE lessons weren’t exactly inspiring. Over 5 years at secondary school we probably played not even 20 hours of tennis and had to fight over broken tennis rackets!
We had four hours a year of tennis so no time to get to grips with it, we had no choice in learning to love the sport from an early stage. It wasn’t until I was 13 when I began to play more and watch more.
As kids we had different sports shoved down our throats at school without choice, we spent the same amount of time doing softball and bench-ball as we did tennis.
If we had better equipment, available facilities and a choice then maybe more younger people would follow the sport?
Following the sport also means watching it. You fall into love with sport by watching. I remember loving watching Manchester United play in 2003 and I immediately took to Giggs and Van Nistelrooy. It created a love for the team and for the sport but it was easy to view.
To watch tennis year round you need multiple subscriptions for the different tours, Australian Open and US Open are on other streaming services and the social side of the sport is getting there but the content is still lacking.
I think it is quite a blinkered view to say this is tennis problem and an inability to adapt when its a deeper problem and has been for some time. It goes back to grassroots and exposure as a kid to the sport.
It is a good field of players: Goffin, Paire, Tsitsipas, Brown, Popyrin, Gasquet, Pouille, Berrettini, Feliciano and one more. Auger-Aliassime was due to play but pulled out injured and was replaced by Lopez. Many of the players have spent time at Patrick’s Academy in France.