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Tennis Stars RAFA Nadal, Andy Murray, Bianca Andreescu Are Among Contestants Playing In Virtual Madrid Open

Photo by Mutua Madrid Open via Facebook

By Ricky Dimon

The Mutua Madrid Open begins on Monday.

Well, something like that….

Turning to the world of video games during these times of coronavirus, tennis will present the Mutua Madrid Ope Virtual Pro from April 27-30. A total of 32 players–16 men and 16 women–are taking their talents to gaming while the actual tennis tours are suspended at least through the grass-court swing.

The men’s field consists of:

Rafael Nadal
Andy Murray
Denis Shapovalov
Benoit Paire
Dominic Thiem
Diego Schwartzman
John Isner
David Ferrer
Stefanos Tsitsipas
Fabio Fognini
Kei Nishikori
Frances Tiafoe
Alexander Zverev
Karen Khachanov
David Goffin
Lucas Pouille

The women’s field consists of:

Karolina Pliskova
Belinda Bencic
Carla Suarez Navarro
Fiona Ferro
Bianca Andreescu
Madison Keys
Kristina Mladenovic
Caroline Wozniacki
Elina Svitolina
Johanna Konta
Victoria Azarenka
Sorana Cirstea
Kiki Bertens
Angelique Kerber
Donna Vecic
Genie Bouchard

On both the men’s and women’s side, there are four round-robin groups with four players each. The top two players in each group will advance to the quarterfinals. Round-robin matches are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday before the knockout rounds take place on Wednesday and Thursday.

Lo and behold, even in the virtual world players are being forced to withdraw from tennis tournaments. Yes, it’s basically virtual reality. Instead of being hit by an actual injury this time around, the oft-injured Monfils withdrew on Sunday because of…wait for it…streaming rights. That’s right; the Frenchman apparently has a contract with Twitch, but this event is being streamed on Facebook.

“Sadly I will not be able to participate in the Virtual Mutua Madrid Open due to conflicting rights between streaming platforms,” Monfils wrote on Twitter. “I wish all the best to all players and I hope to be able to play next time.”

Monfils had been in a group with Nadal, Murray, and Shapovalov. Now that foursome includes Paire instead of Monfils.

“We’ve had a great response from all the players,” said Feliciano Lopez, the director of the real Mutua Madrid Open tournament. “From the first moment when the initiative was conceived, they were prepared to help. It’s the first virtual tournament. It’ll be a fantastic tournament, the bar is high, the players are ready and it’s certainly going to be spectacular.”

“Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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