The first day of the virtual Madrid Open has come to an end, and there’s plenty to keep up with. Let’s take a look at some of the day’s best (and worst) moments!
Day 1 of the first-ever virtual tennis tournament has been concluded, sort of. With a fair share of problems towards the end of the day, the tournament was cut short due to technical problems and the matches were postponed until tomorrow morning. To add insult to injury, Gael Monfils, who I had picked to win the tournament, withdrew from the tournament prior to his start. Benoit Paire was selected to replace Monfils in the tournament.
Monfils was ecstatic to be playing the Madrid Open and was commonly regarded as one of the tournament’s favorites. We’ll see how Paire fares as his replacement. With that out of the way, let’s get into the best of the day!
The best of Day 1:
- Rafael Nadal’s alleged back injury (and clutch victory)
Nadal started things out with a bang at the Madrid Open, winning the first-ever virtual match 4-3 (3) in a tiebreak over Denis Shapovalov. In a tightly contested match with a third contestant entering the match (spotty internet connection), Nadal prevailed with a backhand winner on match point to win the tiebreak 7-3.
Note: The format for the virtual matches are as follows:
The players will face off in one set in a first-to-three format. In the event of a 3-3 tie, a 7-point tiebreak is held to decide the winner.
Following Nadal’s clutch performance, he was set to play YouTuber Djmariio before asking tournament director Feliciano Lopez to play the match at a different time due to a ‘lingering back issue’.
“Guys, I was joking, of course…” Lopez tweeted. “I said Rafa had a back injury from the pressure of playing on the PS4. We might need some sense of humour please!”
Nadal’s delaying of the match was likely due to wifi connection issues, but still provided a needed laugh amongst players and fans on this otherwise up-and-down first day.
2. Andy Murray: Grunts, trash talk, victories
Andy Murray had his own share of fun throughout the day. He took his real-life grunting to the virtual court, doing so on every shot of the match. He also added in some cheeky commentary that, for fans, was arguably better than the commentary from those covering the event.
Murray, also in Group 1 along with Nadal, defeated Frenchman Benoit Paire 3-1.
3. Belinda Bencic’s comedic walkout
Belinda Bencic, current WTA #8, gave tennis fans a laugh prior to her victory against Carla Suarez Navarro. She posted a ‘walkup’ on Twitter a few minutes before her match, coming up the stairs in her home in full tennis gear before going to take her controller out of her tennis bag.
WTA #53 Fiona Ferro also played on the women’s side, defeating the outmatched Karolina Pliskova 3-0.
Throughout the light-hearted day, one thing stuck with the players and held them back from competing as time went on: spotty internet. Only a handful of matches took place due to the technical difficulties that occurred towards the end of the day. Many matchehttps://twitter.com/BelindaBencic/status/1254755466825076736s were postponed to the morning and are scheduled to be played offline.
“It was a little bit ‘laggy’ on my side,” said Shapovalov, currently ranked 16th on the ATP Tour. “It seemed like the internet wasn’t great.”
It’s expected that some of the logistics will change for the upcoming days due to the lag of the game and the various streams on social medial with hope that better days are ahead.
Excited to hear more about the virtual tournament? Follow us on Twitter @lobandsmashfs to stay updated with the event!