Nadal and Konta amongst many new names announced for Madrid Open
As previously reported here, this year’s Madrid Open is being replaced by a virtual tournament with players competing online from the comfort of their homes on the Tennis World Tour video game. Andy Murray was one of the first participants announced and since then the organisers have released the names of many more who will be joining him.
The tournament, running from 27th-30th April, will be comprised of 32 players split into two draws of 16, one for the ATP and one for the WTA. So far, 10 players have been announced for each draw.
The ATP players competing, and their current world rankings, are: Nadal (2), Zverev (7), Monfils (9), Goffin (10), Fognini (11), Schwartzman (13), Khachanov (15), Isner (21), Pouille (58) and Murray (129). The impressive line-up includes 7 of the world’s top 16 but is so far missing the finalists from last year’s Madrid Open proper, Djokovic and Tsitsipas. Eight of those competing are featured as playable characters in the video game, with the exceptions being Schwartzman and Murray.
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As it stands, the Madrid Open WTA draw will feature: Svitolina (5), Bertens (7), Keys (13), Konta (14), Kerber (21), Mladenovic (42), Ferro (53), Azarenka (58), Carla Suarez (68), and Bouchard (332). Bertens won in Madrid last year, claiming her first Premier Mandatory title, and did so in style by winning the tournament without dropping set and beating four former Grand Slam champions along the way (Ostapenko, Kvitova, Stephens, and Halep). There are only six WTA players featured in Tennis World Tour and four of them are already signed up; Keys, Kerber, Mladenovic and Bouchard. The other two are Garbine Muguruza and Caroline Wozniacki, who is now retired.
“I loved the idea because it puts us back in competition mode and it is for a good cause as well”, said Britain’s Konta. “I have started practicing to show the best of my skills and I shall be ready for it. Watch me play!” Meanwhile, Nadal, the five-time champion and local favourite, has said, “From isolation and with the strength and encouragement we are all giving each other, I’m happy to play in Madrid’s virtual tournament and, as always, I will be trying to give my all. I’m not sure how good I’ll be at it, but I hope to be with you all and feel your support as is always the case when I play at home, this time virtually”.
The virtual tournament will receive coverage online and on television and will be accompanied by full commentary, analysis and interviews. The tournament is being billed as a “charity competition” and, as stated on the official website, “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.”
The draw is set to take place on Friday 24th April with the remaining 12 players to be announced between now and then.
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