With three days left until the full Madrid Open draw is officially announced, two more players have been announced to be picking up their PS4 controllers for the first virtual tennis tournament: Dominic Thiem and Kei Nishikori.
Thiem, the ATP world #3, is a two-time finalist in Madrid (2017 and 2018) and will be facing off in this virtual tennis tournament against both of the players who defeated him (Rafael Nadal in 2017 and Alexander Zverev in 2018).
“I’m looking very much forward to the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro tournament,” said Thiem to the ATP. “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 is a 12-time tournament winner on Tour and appeared in the Madrid Open finals in 2014, only to lose to 5-time champion, Rafael Nadal. Nishikori will look to provide fans with the needed entertainment during these times.
“Excited to help the Madrid tournament with this unique experience,” Nishikori said. “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.”
The virtual tournament is scheduled to begin April 27th with 16 ATP and 16 WTA Tour players competing. Each 16 will play in group stages of four, with the top two moving on into the single-elimination knockout round. The winner will be given 150,000 euros, in which they can decide how to give it to the players on tour who are in need (due to the stoppage of tournament play). An additional 50,000 euros will be donated to help the social impact of COVID-19 and its effects. There will also be charity matches with some of the gaming world’s biggest content creators facing off against the players in the tournament. The tournament will be broadcasted on television, as well as online and on the Madrid Open social media platforms.
Madrid Open field (April 21st)
ATP: Rafael Nadal, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori, Gael Monfils, David Goffin, Fabio Fognini, Diego Schwartzman, Karen Khachanov, John Isner, Lucas Pouille, David Ferrer, Frances Tiafoe
WTA: 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, Sorana Cirstea