To put it mildly, 2020 hasn’t been the best year for major sports events. With public gatherings banned practically everywhere on earth, competitions large and small – from local games to Wimbledon and the Olympics – have been cancelled or postponed. But one plucky tennis tournament is going ahead, and it’s all thanks to the power of video games.
The annual Madrid Open, scheduled to take place in the Spanish capital in early May, has of course been cancelled. But some of the world’s top tennis players have signed up to play each other virtually instead, using the Playstation 4 game ‘Tennis World Tour’. It’s believed to be the first time that IRL tennis pros have taken part in an e-sports competition.
The inaugural Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro will take place over four days from April 27, in a virtual rendering of Madrid’s Caja Mágica arena. Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Eugenie Bouchard and last year’s women’s singles champion Kiki Bertens are among the ATP and WTA players confirmed to compete from home. Fans will be able to watch the matches (complete with commentary, analysis, highlights packages and player interviews) via Mutua Madrid Open’s Instagram page.
Oh, and it’s all for a good cause: the tournament’s champions will be encouraged to donate their prize money to tennis players unable to earn a living during the global lockdown, while an extra €50,000 will go to charity. Ace!
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