Monfils, Fognini To Compete At Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro
Event to take place from 27-30 April
As the starting date draws nearer, the organisers of the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro announced on Wednesday that Gael Monfils and Fabio Fognini will take part in the pioneering tournament, which 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 racquets 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).
World No. 9 Monfils enjoyed a spectacular start to the season, winning two titles (Montpellier and Rotterdam), giving him a total of 10 ATP Tour titles in his career. Now, the 33-year-old Frenchman will start out as one of the favourites in the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro thanks to his love of video games.
“I have been playing a lot of video games during the lockdown, so I will be glad to meet up [with] my fellow players again during the Tennis World Tour tournament organized by the Mutua Madrid Open,” said Monfils. “We will be back in competition mode but more importantly we will play for a great cause.”
Fognini, last year’s Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters champion, will also 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 in the pioneering online charity competition. The tournament will include a purse of €150,000 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 that will all go towards reducing the social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m very curious about this new event. I will try to do my best to win it, but I have heard some of my colleagues are very good and are practising hard,” said Fognini. “Let’s see who will come up on top! [It is a] great idea and initiative from the Madrid organisers.”
The format for the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro will be as follows: 16 singles players in each of the 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, 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.
Eight ATP Tour players have confirmed their participation so far: Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Monfils, David Goffin, Fognini, Karen Khachanov, John Isner and Lucas Pouille. The WTA draw includes Kiki Bertens, Angelique Kerber, Madison Keys, Kristina Mladenovic, Carla Suarez Navarro, Victoria Azarenka, 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.