If you have heard of the Madrid Open tennis competition and if you have heard of esports, then it isn’t too difficult to understand what is the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro. Below we go in-depth about everything there is to know about the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro.
What is the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro?
It is a tennis-based video game competition managed by the Madrid Open organisers and will be played by some of the best men’s and women’s tennis players in the world in 2020.
It can also be termed as an example of esports of tennis.
Why Madrid Open Virtual Pro?
With the coronavirus outbreak having forced ATP and WTA’s hand into cancelling all tennis competitions till mid-July, the Madrid Open Virtual Pro is an innovative way to keep the players and fans involved.
However, that’s not it. One of the issues tennis is facing in the absence of any competition at any level is the financial burden on the lower-ranked players who rely on the weekly cheques from these tournaments.
Unfortunately for such players, the lack of competition time has meant those pay cheques have stopped and hence many of them have taken a financial hit.
So, the winners of the Madrid Open Virtual Pro will be encouraged to contribute a part of their winning, which is €150,000 ($164,150), to help lower-ranked players out. The organisers of the Madrid Open Virtual Pro will also chip in a further €50,000 ($55,000) which “will go entirely to reduce the social impact of the Covid-19 pandemic”.
In addition to this, there will also be a charity competition held at the same time during which tennis stars will join some of the top gamers to help raise more funds for those affected by the coronavirus shutdown.
So How will the Madrid Open Virtual Pro be Played?
More details on this are obviously still awaited but at the core of the plan is to have the top 16 male and female players participate in an esport-like tennis competition from the comforts of their homes. Players will obviously swap their tennis racquets with gaming controllers.
The players will clash at the Manolo Santana Stadium, which, according to the official ATP website, will be “recreated in exquisite detail in the Tennis World Tour video game”.
What about the Format of the Madrid Open Virtual Pro?
In each section of the draw, men’s and women’s, 16 players will participate. They will be distributed over four groups of four players apiece and every player will then be involved in three virtual tennis matches against their opponents in their own groups.
The top two players at the end of the league stage of this competition, will then qualify for the quarterfinal – the winner and the runner-up of the group. That will be followed by the semifinal and the final on April 30.
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Who is Going to Participate at the Madrid Open Virtual Pro?
It’s early days still and things are fluid for now but some of the top players can be expected to take part in the Madrid Open Virtual Pro. So far, four players have agreed to feature in the competition so far and more will join in soon. These include Andy Murray, Lucas Pouille, Angelique Kerber and Carla Suarez Navarro.
Can the Madrid Open Virtual Pro Live Streaming be Watched?
Yes obviously. This tournament will be telecast on various television channels across the world and it would also be live streamed online on different platforms. The official ATP and WTA websites would be the place to be if you are looking to watch it streamed.
You can also get a lot more information about the live streaming of the Madrid Open Virtual Pro here.
What to Expect in the Future?
It’s interesting to note this tournament has been organised in a bid to keep the tennis fans interested during what seems to be a long-ish time away from the sport because of a very serious issue.
However, if the Madrid Open Virtual Pro turns out to be a solid success, other tournaments might take cue from it and organise their own version of a pro tennis tournament till at least the tournament suspensions are lifted.
That said, if this does dish out positive results, it could be an indicator to the organisers to have regular events like these even during times when things have come back to normal and the tennis season is in full flow.
Interestingly, the French Tennis Federation (FTT) was to hold an esport series connected with the Tennis World Tour during the French Open. That was the first time a tennis event had shown interest in esports to be a part of their package offering.
In that competition, the top esports players from around the world, including UK, India, Belgium, China, Germany and Brazil were to face off in the final on May 25.
In short, we might not have seen the last of esports in tennis.
What Happened at the Madrid Open Virtual Pro 2020?
This section will be updated at the end of the competition on April 30, 2020.