Nadal, Goffin, Khachanov & Isner Join Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro Field
With less than two weeks until the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro, the player field is taking shape. Rafael Nadal, David Goffin, Karen Khachanov and John Isner have joined the ATP draw for the virtual event, to be played from their homes from 27 to 30 April.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has prevented the 2020 Mutua Madrid Open from taking place from 1 to 10 May, the biggest ATP and WTA stars will clash in Manolo Santana Stadium, recreated in exquisite detail in the Tennis World Tour video game (Nacon Gaming), while swapping their racquets for a PlayStation 4.
Nadal holds the record for most Mutua Madrid Open titles with five (2005, 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2017), and now he will try to add a different kind of Madrid victory to his resumé. The Spaniard will try to conquer the first online tennis tournament between professional tennis players.
“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”, said Nadal. “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”.
World No. 10 Goffin reached the championship match of the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals, and the Belgian player enjoyed his best performance at the Mutua Madrid Open in 2017, when he reached the quarter-finals. Goffin will be trying to go even further; virtually of course.
“I'm very excited to play this e-tournament!", said Goffin. "It's the very first time for me and I'm going to give my best to win as much as I can, although I'm not very used to theses games! I hope you will support me and I already look forward to meet you all online!”
World No. 15 Khachanov earned his first Madrid match win last year, and he will look to continue the momentum in this competition.
"I like to play tennis, be it on court or online", said Khachanov. "This initiative is interesting and it will bring back some competition in our sport. I'm looking forward to challenging my fellow players and showing my skills to the tennis fans around the world. I'm super pumped up to get winning again and get on court".
Isner, who has made the Madrid quarter-finals in his past two appearances (2015 and 2018), is not an avid gamer, but he will give his all to entertain fans worldwide.
“I am excited that the Mutua Madrid Open is hosting a virtual tennis competition”, admitted Isner. “Although I am not much of a gamer, I will be practising so I won't embarrass myself! Love the creativity by the organisation and it's a huge plus that the proceeds will be going to fight the virus”.
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.
The format for the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro will be as follows: 16 singles players in each of 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 (quarter-finals, semi-finals and final) the tournament will be played in a knock-out format. 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, highlights and interviews with the winners after each match.
Twelve players have confirmed their participation so far: Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, David Goffin, Karen Khachanov, John Isner, Lucas Pouille, Kiki Bertens, Angelique Kerber, Kristina Mladenovic, Carla Suárez, 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.