Tennis might not be resuming soon but the Madrid Open organisers have come up with an interesting solution to get the tennis players and fans back into the game, and at the same time raise money in trying times like these.
Some of the top tennis players will be swapping their tennis racquets for game controllers and consoles at a time when all ATP and WTA tournaments have been cancelled till the second week of July at the very least. Some experts reckon we might not see any tennis at all this season.
Madrid Open, schedule to be held in the first week of May, was one of the first clay court competitions to be postponed after the outbreak of the coronavirus but now they are also the first to come up with what sounds like an exciting solution.
While more details are still awaited, an e-sports-like tournament is set to be organised, called the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro.
The date for the competition are April 27-30 and a prize money of €150,000 (£132,000) will be won by the winner of both, the men’s and women’s competitions. Some portion of that money will go towards alleviating the hardship faced by the lower-ranked players who have now been struggling financially because of the cancellation of tennis.
The organisers will add a further €50,000 “that will go entirely to reduce the social impact of the Covid-19 pandemic”.
The tournament director, Feliciano Lopez announced on the official Madrid Open website:
“The birth of the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro reaffirms the technological, young and innovative character that has marked the steps of the tournament since 2009 and responds to current circumstances.”
Andrea Gaudenzi, the ATP President added:
“The Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro will be the first online tournament on the ATP circuit, offering players and fans alike an exciting new way to connect with our sport.”
“This is a victory for everyone: the Mutua Madrid Open, the players and the fans. We are especially pleased that the benefits obtained from this initiative contribute to the support of the rest of the players who are in a critical situation at this difficult time.”
More information about this tournament will be released soon on these pages but if this does prove to be successful in getting the fans to follow it, we could be looking at one of the pathways for tennis during these distressing times.