MADRID, Spain - A two-time Grand Slam champion and a US Open finalist are the latest WTA players who are set to plug into the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro.
Victoria Azarenka and Madison Keys were revealed on Wednesday as the seventh and eighth women's entries into the innovative lineup, which will see top ATP and WTA professionals compete in an online Manolo Santana Stadium in the video game Tennis World Tour.
Azarenka is a two-time finalist at the Caja Mágica, finishing runner-up in 2011 and 2012, while Keys has appeared in the main draw in Madrid in every year since 2013 -- and will continue her streak virtually this year.
With professional tennis presently suspended until mid-July due to the ongoing global pandemic surrounding the coronavirus, the online tournament's goal is to raise money for those players most affected by the stoppage.
"I’m excited to play the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro this month and have an opportunity to compete against some of my fellow players virtually," Azarenka said.
"It’s a great opportunity to still find some competition and I hope everyone will enjoy watching us compete."
Following Monday's announcement of the additions of Eugenie Bouchard and Kristina Mladenovic, the virtual gaming tournament has now revealed eight of its WTA players.
Also currently confirmed in the WTA bracket are Angelique Kerber, Carla Suárez Navarro, reigning Madrid champion Kiki Bertens and Fiona Ferro.
Started my preparation for the @mutuamadridopen virtual pro charity event. Be prepared @andymurray @KikiMladenovic @rafaelnadal @AngeliqueKerber @geniebouchard I’ll be ready! Just won my first tournament 😎🎾 pic.twitter.com/o4jNAdIa0B— Kiki Bertens (@kikibertens) April 15, 2020
"I’m very excited to be participating the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro game," added Keys. "It’s a great way to bring us players together and get some ‘competition’ in online while staying at home."
The Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro will see the 16 men and 16 women divided into four groups. Each group’s champion and runner-up will progress to the quarterfinals, which will then be played out in a knock-out format.
Each draw will award a purse of 150,000 Euros to the winner, from which they will be able to determine how much to donate to their peers. Another 50,000 Euros will all go towards reducing the social impact of COVID-19.
First serve of the online competition is set for April 27, with the tournament to run until April 30. In addition to the competition between players, top influencers from the world of video gaming will feature in charity matches against the players to raise more funds to help those affected.
All fans will be able to follow the tournament online, on television and on the Mutua Madrid Open’s social media. Production efforts will include commentary on all matches, analysis and highlights, and interviews with the winners after each match.