With three days to go until the draw for the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro, the organisers have confirmed that Dominic Thiem and Kei Nishikori will also participate in the innovative tournament.
The best tennis players in the world will face off with one another virtually from their homes from 27-30 April. The biggest ATP and WTA stars 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 video game (Nacon Gaming).
Thiem, a two-time Mutua Madrid Open finalist (2017 and 2018), is currently the No. 3 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings. The Austrian, who started 2020 by reaching the final of the Australian Open, will clash against some of his biggest rivals in the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro, including Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev.
“I’m looking very much forward to the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro tournament,” said Thiem. “Of course this won’t be the same to play virtual compared to the real one, but it’s a great initiative and I’m very excited about it, still. It’s my first time ever to play an event like this. Again, I’m really looking forward to my first match! It’s going to be great.”
Nishikori, a 12-time ATP Tour titlist, has accepted the challenge of the new tournament, thus contributing to the competition’s main cause.
“Excited to help the Madrid tournament with this unique experience,” said Nishikori. “We are all hoping to be back on court soon, but as we are all staying safe inside for now… this will hopefully provide fans with some much needed positive entertainment.”
They will both have the chance to help the tennis players most in need at this time, to help those without income get and those affected by the virus get through these months of inactivity 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.
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.
The other previously announced ATP Tour stars competing are Nadal, Zverev, Andy Murray, Gael Monfils, David Goffin, Fabio Fognini, Diego Schwartzman, Karen Khachanov, John Isner, Lucas Pouille, David Ferrer and Frances Tiafoe. The WTA field will consist of Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina, Bianca Andreescu Belinda Bencic, Kiki Bertens, Angelique Kerber, Madison Keys, Kristina Mladenovic, Carla Suárez, Victoria Azarenka, Johanna Konta, Fiona Ferro, Eugenie Bouchard and Sorana Cirstea. The organisers of the Mutua Madrid Open will soon reveal the remaining participants, as well as other news of the competition.