Ultimate Tennis Showdown: A Grand Experiment Reaches Its Zenith

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

Patrick Mouratoglou’s grand tennis experiment – the Ultimate Tennis Showdowncomplete with its quirky but special format and unique rules, reaches its zenith this weekend. After a final day of group play Saturday, the exhibition tournament’s semifinals and finals will take place on Sunday at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy near Nice, France. One of these four – Stefanos Tsitsipas, Richard Gasquet, Matteo Berrettini or David Goffin – will be crowned champion of the UTS Sunday evening. All but Gasquet are currently ranked in the Top 20.

First, on Saturday, 2019 junior world champion Holger Rune of Denmark will substitute for Berrettini for the last round-robin match while the Italian is away in Kitzbuhel, committed to the Thiem’s 7 event.⁣ However, Berrettini will be back on Sunday to compete in the UTS final four.

World No. 6 Tsitsipas, who enters Saturday with a 7-1 win-loss record and sits atop the standings, will be seeded No. 1 in the semifinals if he beats Goffin and/or Gasquet loses to fellow Frenchman Benoit Paire.

Fans who have enjoyed UTS1 – and overall, it’s been pretty well received by fans and broadcasters – there’s good news! Mouratoglou confirmed to Simon Cambers, writing for Tennis Majors, that there will be a UTS2. “I can confirm UTS2,” Mouratoglou said. “I don’t know exactly what the dates will be but it’s definitely going to be close to UTS1.”

What was Dayana Yastremska thinking?

On Thursday, 20-year-old rising Ukrainian star Dayana Yastremska attempted to show her support for the ongoing fight for racial equality around the world. On the surface, supporting for Black Lives Matter is admirable. However, what she did in posting pictures of herself with half of her body painted to look like a Black person – her face darkened in “blackface” – backfired. What Yastremska failed to consider is this: Blackface is considered offensive and racist, certainly in the United States. It showed her ignorance and insensitivity to the matter. Big double fault, indeed. Her social media post showing her “blackface” was quickly and widely condemned.

Honest mistake? Maybe, but … the 25th-ranked Yastremska should have known better.

Later in the day, Yastremska took down the controversial post and released a statement – an apology – in which she claimed she never wanted to offend anyone:

“Earlier today I posted pictures that I thought would spread a message of equality. It clearly did not and has been misunderstood.

I have been warned about the negative impact but I did not – and still don’t – consider it a ‘blackface.’ I did not intend to caricature but to share my feelings about the current situation: we should all be treated as equals.

I am so disappointed my message has been corrupted: these pictures divided people when they were meant to unite. That’s why I deleted them.

I sincerely apologize to all the people I have offended.”

Hopefully, Yastremska has learned a life lesson from all of this.

Game. Set. Match. 🎾 With Sir Andy

Marking what would have been the start of finals weekend at Wimbledon, Andy Murray spoke to young tennis players from Bond Primary School in South London as guest of the Duchess of Cambridge.

Remembering Arthur Ashe

The late Arthur Ashe was fondly remembered Friday on what would have been his 77th birthday.

What they’re sharing on social media

Elina Svitolina / Waiting for the weekend …

Petra Kvitova / Still got to wear her Wimby whites …

Tennis Podcast / Nick Kyrgios smoothing things …