Coronavirus: Rafa Nadal Academy considers competition, Serena's coach launches Ultimate Tennis Showdown

By Sports Desk April 18, 2020

Rafael Nadal's academy is considering launching a competition at its campus with the ATP Tour suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ATP and WTA Tour seasons are on hold until at least July 13 due to COVID-19, which has killed more than 160,000 people worldwide.

But having held talks with ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi to offer facilities for training, the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca is looking at becoming "a campus where elite players can reside, train and compete between themselves in matches that will be televised so that fans around the world can enjoy them".

"Right now tennis takes a back seat and the most important thing is everyone's health, but if in the coming months the academy can be used to help other professional players, I'd be delighted if they could come to train and also to compete," Nadal said in a statement on Saturday.

"Although we have no upcoming tournaments, I think that competing among ourselves would help us maintain our game for when the Tour restarts."

Similarly, Serena Williams' coach Patrick Mouratoglou announced the launch of the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS), starting without fans in attendance on May 16.

In a statement, it said fans would be able to interact with players in real time and listen to every conversation between competitors and coaches.

"The UTS is simply meant to be an alternative to what already exists," Mouratoglou said.

"It is a platform created to showcase the incredible talent, athleticism and personalities of the wide range of tennis players. It offers a new and innovative approach, targeting a younger tennis audience and proposes a different way to distribute the money among the players."

World number 10 David Goffin is scheduled to play Alexei Popyrin – whose father Alex is a UTS co-founder – in the opening match.

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