MADRID, Spain – WTA World No.5 Elina Svitolina and three-time Grand Slam semifinalist Johanna Konta are the latest players to sign up to the women’s draw for the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro.
With the coronavirus pandemic forcing the clay court event to be called off, players are instead being invited to play for charity on PlayStation 4 game Tennis World Tour.
Players most affected by the stoppage will be the primary benefactors of the competition, with 16 players set to test their skills virtually.
And though the format might be unique, Svitolina has lost none of her competitive edge.
“I’m really excited about the Mutua Madrid Open’s initiative,” she said. “When we can’t compete on court, let’s challenge each other online. No doubt everyone will fight for the title… and I will!”
Konta, too, is eager to win the €150,000 prize, of which they will be able to decided how much they donate to players suffering financially, while another €50,000 will be directed towards reducing the social impact of COVID-19.
“I loved the idea because it puts us back in competition mode and it is for a good cause as well,” she explained. “I have started practicing to show the best of my skills and I shall be ready for it. Watch me play!”
The competition will see 32 players compete in two draws of 16, one for men and another for ladies. There will be four groups of four players that will be competed in a round-robin format, with the top two progressing to a knockout round.
As well as Svitolina and Konta, Kiki Bertens, Angelique Kerber, Madison Keys, Kristina Mladenovic, Carla Suárez Navarro, Victoria Azarenka, Fiona Ferro and Eugenie Bouchard have all confirmed their participation in the tournament, with the remaining stars to be unveiled before a draw next week.