Several months ago, American tennis star Frances Tiafoe delivered a hot take when asked about tennis crowds.
The World No.12 declared that he believes world tennis needs to loosen its rules around spectator conduct, explaining that fans should be able to walk around and talk during matches.
“Imagine going to a basketball game and not saying anything,” the 25-year-old exclaimed.
Funny that, because this July, the UTS is having its American debut in Los Angeles. With the LA Lakers well and truly out of the 2023 NBA playoffs, tennis will have its opportunity to test out what raucous basketball-like crowds will be like for the players.
In a recent interview, Gael Monfils has weighed in on the topic.
Tentative Monfils Curious About Crowd Regulations
Named as one of the eight big stars that will be playing at UTS Los Angeles from 21 to 23 July, former World No.6 Gael Monfils is in many ways a perfect match for this new style of tennis.
UTS is all about innovation, making the game of tennis more engaging for younger audiences. Part of this is by making the sport highly interactive, with live streamed coaching, mic’d up players, and crowd regulations much more relaxed.
When asked how he felt about tennis fans being able to walk around and call out during matches, Gael Monfils was tentative at best.
“Obviously tennis is a little bit quieter, and you need to be a little bit less [noisy in the crowd]. It’s totally different [to basketball], different vibes,” said Monfils. “I don’t know to be honest, because it’s such a different sport.”
The Frenchman did go on to say that if a shift in audience engagement was ever to happen at the ATP Tour level, then a transition was necessary.
“I feel like this is exactly the format to try different stuff, to see if you can put something in to change,” explained Monfils, referring to the new regulations in UTS events.
UTS Format Suits Monfils Style in Los Angeles
Gael Monfils has also shared his thoughts about how the format of the upcoming UTS Los Angeles event will suit his personal style of tennis.
“Well, eight minutes is quite fine for me. I like this format. I like this play against the clock, it’s always fun,” said Monfils, speaking about the length of matches. “It’s a little bit like playing basketball and I quite like playing basketball. So yeah, really looking forward to seeing how it is playing against the clock.”
However, one concern that the 36-year-old has is regarding the serves in this format. With the UTS rules only allowing one serve in order to maximize rally time, players must rely on getting their first serves into play consistently.
“For me it is going to be a huge problem to have only one serve,” stated Monfils. “But I will make it, and I have still time to work on it. I need to work on my second serve.”
UTS Los Angeles will be the first non-European event for the UTS format, and is expected to draw big crowds for its three days. Tickets are available online, and will guarantee that spectators on Day 1 and 2 see each of the eight players in action.