David Goffin, Kristina Mladenovic, Karen Khachanov and Eugenie Bouchard. These are the latest four players to confirm their participation in the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro, the innovative tournament that will replicate the tennis event in a virtual format where 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).
David Goffin, currently the world number 10, has picked up four titles in his career. The Belgian player enjoyed his best performance at the Mutua Madrid Open in 2017, when he reached the quarter-finals (he lost to Rafa Nadal in a great match that still lives on in the memories of many fans). This time, Goffin will be trying to go even further, virtually of course.
“I’m very excited to play this e-tournament!”, admitted Goffin. “It’s the very first time for me and I’m going to give my best to win as much as I can! Though I’m not very used to theses games! I hope you will support me and I already look forward to meet you all on line!”.
Kristina Mladenovic will also be playing in the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro. The French player, who was very close to winning the Mutua Madrid Open in 2017, when she lost the final to Simona Halep after three tight sets, has enjoyed victory in the Caja Mágica alongside Caroline Garcia in the doubles (2016). In a few days, Mladenovic will be trying to evoke the good feelings she has always found in Madrid in a bid to win the virtual competition.
“I’m delighted to take part in the first edition of the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual tennis tournament”, said Mladenovic. “We all need to adapt in these challenging times and we can only appreciate this initiative which will help players struggling financially”.
The other new players to confirm their participation are Karen Khachanov, the current world number 15 and four-time ATP Tour champion, including a Masters 1000 at Paris-Bercy (2018), and Eugenie Bouchard, ex-number five in the WTA Rankings. Like the other players in this pioneering online charity competition, 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.
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 like to play tennis, be it on court or online”, said Khachanov. “This initiative is interesting and it will bring back some competition in our sport. I’m looking forward to challenge my fellow players and show my skills to the tennis fans around the world. I’m super pumped up to get winning again and get on court”.
The format for the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro 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.
12 players have confirmed their participation so far: Rafa Nadal, Andy Murray, David Goffin, Karen Khachanov, John Isner, Lucas Pouille, Kiki Bertens, Angelique Kerber, Kristina Mladenovic, Carla Suárez, Fiona Ferro and Eugenie Bouchard. The organisers of the Mutua Madrid Open will soon reveal the remaining participants, as well as other news of the competition.