Andy Murray and Kiki Bertens have prevailed in the first edition of the virtual Madrid Open! Let’s take a look at the tournament as a whole and see how the tennis world benefitted.
After 4 days of spotty internet and plenty of great moments, Andy Murray and Kiki Bertens have emerged as the first Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro champions!
Murray made his way into the finals after a walkover in the semis. Controversy struck the last semifinal match as Diego Schwartzman’s WiFi connection was bad enough that the two were forced to play a 10-point tiebreak in lieu of a full set.
NOTE: The first-to-3 format was switched to a full set for the semifinals and finals.
“I’m not allowed to let the ball bounce but you can have it bounce like four times?” Murray said. “You don’t have good internet in Argentina or what?”
Schwartzman’s WiFi led to two match restarts and enough double bounce glitches against Murray that they played the 10-point tiebreak. Schwartzman actually won the tiebreak but withdrew from the finals due to his internet problems.
“You deserve to be in the final. We need to split the prize money we share to the foundations. And then you play the final. I think it’s going to be better for TV for everyone. If you are in Europe, the transmission is better.”
The Argentinian graciously let Murray play through into the final, referencing Murray’s better internet connection, all the while keeping the most important cause at hand. Murray accepted and was into the final. In the other men’s semifinal, David Goffin prevailed over tournament favorite Stefanos Tsitsipas in a 7-6 (6) win. Tsitsipas had trouble keeping up with Goffin’s speed in the game, which took away his groundstroke advantage.
On the women’s side, eventual champion Kiki Bertens added to her two-year streak of making the finals in Madrid, as she defeated Caroline Wozniacki 7-5 in a closely contested match. Another connection issue led to a completely silent semifinal between Sonia Cirstea and Fiona Ferro, with the latter winning 6-3.
In the finals, Murray defeated Goffin in an incredible 7-6(5) victory. With the WiFi finally cooperating, the two played an intense match. Murray was down 5-4 in the tiebreak before winning three consecutive points on a forehand winner, an ace, and a running forehand on match point to seal the deal for the Scot.
“It was a great final, Andy was playing so good,” Goffin said. “I haven’t played video games for a long time, I made the final so I’m happy with my tournament.”
The women’s final was less eventful, as Bertens defeated Fiona Ferro 6-2 to defend her Madrid Open title from 2019.
The real question remains: How did the tournament go? Was it successful? Is it something to continue in the future?
The big question can easily be answered. It was a successful tournament, given the money that was raised. It was a tournament that brought together the tennis community to bring awareness and raise money for the social impact of the coronavirus and those suffering in the community. The players were into it and truly enjoyed their experiences playing against each other.
Questions do need to be raised on how to improve the little details on the tournament. With players competing from all over the world, the WiFi connection was spotty at best. Multiple matches were rescheduled and canceled throughout tournament play. In the future, if this were to take place again, it would most likely need to be at a time where restrictions would be lifted enough to be able to have people come together for tournament play. That eliminates the connection issues and will result in smoother matches.
Other than that, the tournament went very well. The players enjoyed the tournament and its principles. The fans enjoyed it, as well, but little things could be changed to help bring the fans into it more. For starters, a common fan response was regarding the announcers and how fans wanted to hear the players talking instead of the announcers. With some great trash talk, primarily from Andy Murray, fans would’ve loved to hear their favorite players in this setting firsthand.
The tournament was a pioneer in the virtual setting for tennis, and it’d be a shame if it wasn’t given a second edition moving forward.