MADRID, Spain - With just 15 days to go until the start of the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro, tournament organizers have added Kiki Bertens and Fiona Ferro to the innovative gaming event’s lineup.
With the continuing global coronavirus pandemic leaving the WTA season on pause until mid-July, the Mutua Madrid Open has recreated the Manolo Santana Stadium in exquisite detail in the Tennis World Tour video game (Nacon Gaming). Some of the best players in the world will swap their racquets for a Playstation 4 as they square off from their homes from April 27 to 30.
“I think the Virtual Project is a fun initiative for a great cause,” said 2019 champion Bertens. “I will certainly miss not playing in Madrid this year as I really like the tournament but I will do my best to compete from the couch at home in the Tennis World Tour game.
“I will try my best to perform as well in the virtual game this year as I did last year on-court in Madrid.”
Ferro, who was a part of France’s Fed Cup winning squad, will also join the lineup, which includes retiring Spaniard Carla Suárez Navarro and three-time Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber. The men’s draw sees Spanish great Rafael Nadal and John Isner joining Andy Murray and Lucas Pouille.
“I am looking forward to participate in this great event and show my skill in this high level competition,” Ferro said. “I like as well the charity angle given to it to help our player colleagues in need.”
The online competition’s charity goal is 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. The tournament includes 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 their fellow players, and another 50,000 euros that will all go towards reducing the social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The tournament also unveiled the format of the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro: 16 singles players in each of the draws (ATP and WTA) are divided into four groups. Each group’s champion and runner-up will progress to the quarter-finals, which will then be played out in a knock-out format.
In addition to the official competition, a series of benefit matches will pit some of the biggest content creators in the gaming world against the professional tennis players to raise funds to help those affected by COVID-19.