A Stay-At-Home Challenge For All Players And Fans

WASHINGTON, April 11, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

Following in the footsteps of Roger Federer’s wildly successful “hat trick” volley challenge and in the spirit of camaraderie during the global pandemic, Andy Murray and his wife Kim created a volley challenge of their own. On Thursday, they issued a “100 volley challenge” to all tennis players and fans. However, instead of using a wall, it would require needing a partner. In a 60-second video posted on Twitter, set to a soundtrack of Ram Jam’s 1997 hit “Black Betty,” the Murrays are seen completing a sequence of 100 back-and-forth volleys filmed outside in the couple’s garden of their Oxshott, Surrey home in England.

In his tweet to promote the stay-at-home challenge, Murray wrote: “There was no bickering during the filming of the video … although I think the last volleyball was aimed at my head. … I can’t be the only one that wants to see Rog and Maria hitting a few balls together.” 

As it happened, on Friday Novak Djokovic and his wife Jelena beat Roger and Mirka Federer to the punch and posted their own video in response to Murrays’ stay-at-home challenge. “Thanks for the nomination,” Novak Djokovic wrote on Twitter.

Also, Kim Clijsters and her husband Brian Lynch completed the stay-ay-home challenge, which the Hall of Famer from Belgium posted on her Instagram account.

View this post on Instagram

@andymurray, challenge accepted! 💯 💪 #100volleychallenge #tennisathome #StayHome #allemaalsamen #blijfinuwkot

A post shared by Kim Clijsters (@clijsterskim) on

A virtual Mutua Madrid Open

Earlier this week, the Mutual Madrid Open Virtual Pro, an online gaming and fundraising tournament, was announced. It is designed to be a virtual replica of the annual Madrid clay-court event – including a colorful recreation of Manolo Santana Stadium – that takes place in Caja Mágica, Madrid, the week of May 3. Only, this time, players will swap their racquets for PS4 video game controllers.

Thus far, the virtual tennis event has received commitments from Rafael NadalAndy Murray, Lucas Pouille, John Isner, Kiki Bertens, Fiona FerroCarla Suárez Navarro and Angelique Kerber. More details, including a full list participating players and the draw, will be forthcoming.

What they’re writing

Simon Briggs, London Daily Telegraph tennis corespondent – “As the new ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi gave his first public comments on the Covid-19 pandemic, a plan is emerging for the back end of the 2020 tennis season. It sounds far-fetched, but it is all that the professional game has to work with at the moment. 

“The first plank in this model is that the United States Tennis Association is absolutely desperate to stage the US Open, in any form. Which would well involve playing behind closed doors. 

“The tournament – which is still scheduled to run on its original dates of Aug. 24 to Sept. 13 – earned almost $400 million in revenues in its last published accounts. And, unlike Wimbledon, it is not covered by insurance against “infectious disease.”

What they’re podcasting

Match Point Canada – This week, Canadian tennis coach Rob Steckley opens up about his coaching experiences and talks about life on the tour.

Tennis With An Accent – This week, guest Magnus Norman talks about his rise as a player, the first generation of open-stance players and his partnerships with Stan Wawrinka and Robin Söderling.

What they’re tweeting

ITF salutes Andre Agassi on becoming World No. 1 25 years ago

US Open Tennis celebrates National Siblings Day

Garbiñe Muguruza, Spain, ranked No. 16