Even if major sporting events are halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the trend nowadays is for our favourite athletes to still play sports, albeit in a video game setup.
SBOBET fans have seen that already in the NBA where stars join in an NBA 2K tournament before. And perhaps this time around, our WTA players will have their turn as they swap their racquets for video game consoles.
According to the latest WTA 2020 news provided by the federation’s official website, various high profile stars will compete in the Mario Tennis Aces game exclusively for Nintendo Switch. The tournament will be named as the “Stay at Home Slam” that will be held starting on Sunday, May 3 in Facebook Gaming.
On the other side of the fence, other tennis standouts will be competing in a different gaming competition altogether. Tennis stars will converge to play in the Virtual Madrid Open in Playstation 4 where several ATP and WTA players are to be headlining the event.
Who will compete in the “Stay at Home Slam”?
Naomi Osaka, Kei Nishikori, Maria Sharapova, and the Williams sisters will headline the playing field for the Stay at Home Slam. But what will make the competition more colourful is the mix of celebrities that they will compete against in the event.
Hollywood personalities such as Gigi Hadid, Seal, Hailey Bieber, and Steve Aoki will be joined by American fashion model Karlie Kloss, social media celebrity Addison Rae, and NFL standouts Ryan Tannehill and Juju Smith-Schuster.
Commentating the matches will be none other than legendary tennis icon John McEnroe and YouTube sensation iJustine.
Competitors for this event will play in their respective homes where they will choose which Mushroom Kingdom character they’ll play. Characters include Mario, Luigi, Peach, Donkey Kong, and Bowser.
Each participant will receive $25,000 for them to donate to the charities of their choice. The winner of the tournament will come home with an additional $1-M in donation as well.
“I am proud our IMG tennis clients came together so quickly to support a multitude of great causes. It is a testament to the people we work with across all out divisions that we were able to bring this to life in such a short amount of time,” said Max Eisenbud, SVP of tennis clients in IMG.
“Gaming’s superpower has always been bringing people together, and right now that’s the case more than ever. Blending that superpower with pro athletes and epic entertainment to raise money for COVID-19 relief and research efforts is a natural fit that we’re proud to be a part of,” said Leo Olebe, Global Director for Games Partnerships in Facebook Gaming.
Who will be the king and queen of “Clay-station?”
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are no longer strangers to holding charity events, and this one is no different.
They will be joined by the likes of Caroline Wozniacki, Bianca Andreescu, Johanna Konta, Dominic Thiem, and Stefanos Tsitsipas to compete in the Virtual Madrid Open.
Participants will get to play characters of themselves in the 32-player tournament which should compensate for now given that the real Madrid Open is postponed.
There will be a men’s and women’s division for this tournament, and each has separate prize pots of 150,000 euros that are expected to be given away for COVID-19 relief efforts.
As early as now, these players have been doing all they can to be competitive in this event. For one, Kiki Bertens — who supposedly owns one of the biggest WTA 2020 odds of winning this year’s Madrid Open — have already devised some tactics as if she was defending her actual crown.
“Winning last year was the biggest title of my career so I have such great memories from Madrid. I wanted to defend my title. Now I’m not sure if I will be able to, because I’d rather play a tennis match in Madrid than a computer game! But I’m practising hard and we will see how it goes,” said Bertens.
In fact, the 28-year-old also shared that she has already played friendly matches against Belinda Bencic, Carla Suarez Navarro, and Fiona Fierro to get her acclimated with the game.
“On court I scream a lot and show my emotions, but I think my competitive spirit will come out even more when I’m playing the game. It is hard not to let my emotions go. Once already the controller was almost flying across the room,” bared Bertens.
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