With one week to go until the group draw for the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro, on Friday the organisers announced the participation of four more players: Alexander Zverev, Elina Svitolina, Diego Schwartzman and Johanna Konta, who will form part of the competition that will see the best tennis players in the world will square off from their homes from 27 to 30 April. The players will swap their rackets for a PlayStation 4 to clash in a Manolo Santana Stadium that has been recreated in exquisite detail in the Tennis World Tour videogame (Nacon Gaming).
Alexander Zverev, the world number 7 and champion of the 2018 Mutua Madrid Open will be taking part in the new event. The German player has claimed 11 titles so far in his career and he will now be bidding for victory in the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro, this time without leaving the comfort of his own living room.
“It’s great to be part of this innovative initiative with the Mutua Madrid Open”, said Zverev. “I think this is a great opportunity to bring the world of tennis together during this time. We hope to entertain tennis fans from our homes. Fingers crossed for a good draw!”.
Elina Svitolina, number 5 in the WTA rankings and winner of 14 tournaments, will be one of the main attractions in the women’s Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro, where she will meet many of the players she normally faces on court on tour.
“I’m really excited about the Mutua Madrid Open’s initiative”, said Svitolina. “When we can’t compete on court, let’s challenge each other online. No doubt everyone will fight for the title… and I will!”.
In addition, Diego Schwartzman and Johanna Konta will be taking part in the event. The Argentine player is currently at number 13 in the ATP Rankings, and has been enjoying some of his best results. The Briton, the world number 14, has three titles to her name, and in a couple of weeks she will be trying to conquer the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro, having been quick to accept the challenge.
Like the rest, they will both have the chance to help the tennis players most in need at this time, those that have no income to help them through these months of inactivity and those affected by Covid-19 in the pioneering online charity competition. The tournament will include a purse of 150,000 euros in both draws (ATP and WTA), from which the winners will be able to decide on how much they donate to the tennis players currently suffering economically, and 50,000 euros that will all go towards reducing the social impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I can’t wait to play in the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro”, admitted Schwartzman. “I often play videogames, and I hope to be ready to do it well in the tournament, with which we hope to help all those affected by the current situation”.
“I loved the idea because it puts us back in competition mode and it is for a good cause as well”, stated Konta. “I have started practicing to show the best of my skills and I shall be ready for it. Watch me play!”.
The format for the Pro Virtual Mutua Madrid Open will be as follows: 16 singles players in each of two draws (ATP and WTA) initially divided into four groups. The champion of each group will progress to the quarter-finals, which will also include the runner-up of each group. From there (quarter-finals, semi-finals and final) the tournament will be played as a knock-out. In addition, in parallel with the official competition, there will be a series of benefit matches that will see some of the biggest content creators in the gaming world take on the professional tennis players to raise funds to help those affected by Covid-19.
All fans will be able to follow the tournament online, on television and on the Mutua Madrid Open’s social media, with a spectacular production that will include commentary on all the matches, analysis and highlights programmes and interviews with the winners after each match.
20 players have confirmed their participation so far: Rafa Nadal, Andy Murray, Alexander Zverev, Gael Monfils, David Goffin, Fabio Fognini, Diego Schwartzman, Karen Khachanov, John Isner, Lucas Pouille, Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens, Angelique Kerber, Madison Keys, Kristina Mladenovic, Carla Suárez, Victoria Azarenka, Johanna Konta, Fiona Ferro and Eugenie Bouchard. The organisers of the Mutua Madrid Open will soon reveal the remaining participants, as well as other news on the competition.