As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced tennis officials to cancel all events at least until July 13th, the Mutua Madrid Open, originally scheduled to run from 2nd May to 9th May, has found a way to go ahead with the tournament — online!
The Premier Mandatory event, taking place in Spain, one of the countries most affected by the coronavirus outbreak, has announced that its 2020 edition will be played in a virtual environment, as players will participate from their own homes in the Manolo Santana Stadium replica recreated in exquisite detail in the Tennis World Tour videogame.
The innovative tournament will be called the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro and will take place over four days, from 27th to 30th April. The list of participants is yet to be announced, but so far we know that the draw will consist of 16 singles players divided into four groups. The most successful player from each group will move into the quarterfinals, together with the runner-up from each group. Then we’ll have regular quarterfinals, semifinals and the final match.
The participants in both ATP and WTA draws will play for a purse of 150,000 EUR. The winners will donate a portion of their earnings to the tennis players currently struggling financially. Moreover, an additional 50,000 EUR will all go towards reducing the social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fans will be able to follow the tournament online, on television and on the Mutua Madrid Open’s social media. There will also be commentary on all the matches, analysis and highlights programs, and interviews with the winners after each match.
What do you think about this initiative? Is it a good idea for keeping tennis alive in these difficult times? (source: Mutua Madrid Open)