Virtual Mutua Madrid Open Begins Monday

WASHINGTON, April 25, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

With the men’s and women’s fields set and the draw ceremony completed, the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro play at home tournament is set to begin on April 27 and continues through April 30. This innovative online tournament will take place in a virtual Caja Mágica Manolo Santana Stadium, using the video game Tennis World Tour (Nacon Gaming). Each participant will compete using a PlayStation 4 controller.

Among the men’s participants in the 16-player draw are: Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev. Competing in the women’s 16-player event are: Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina, Bianca Andreescu and Kiki Bertens.

The Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro can be followed in English on the Mutua Madrid Open Facebook page and in Spanish on PlayStation España’s Facebook page.

Play begins Monday at 3 p.m. (CEST) and at the same time on the other days of the tournament. The online broadcast will include a presentation for each match, commentary, post-match interviews and a summary program with daily highlights.

The tournament includes a total purse of 300,000 euros (150,000 in the ATP competition and 150,000 in the WTA competition). Winners will decide how much they donate to their fellow tennis players currently suffering economically during the global coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro will donate a total of 50,000 euros to the Madrid Food Bank to help reduce the social impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Le Parisien: Roland Garros to move dates, again

Le Parisien’s Sandrine Léfevre reported late Thursday night that this year’s French Open will change its dates for the second time since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis. While nothing has been officially announced on the Roland Garros website, the new dates would push the start back an additional week to September 27 with the final day of the tournament scheduled for October 11.

Originally, this year’s French Open was scheduled for May 18 to June 7. However, the French Tennis Federation unilaterally switched the dates for Roland Garros 2020 last month, to start September 20 and continue until October 4. The move drew a lot of criticism because it meant there would be only one week separating the end of the US Open and the start of the French Open. It also meant that the first day of Roland Garros would coincide with the final day of the Tour de France bicycle race, which concludes on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

The new dates would allow for a week of French Open qualifying and, perhaps, the addition of up to two additional European tournaments. It would also mean two weeks separation from the end of the US Open and the beginning of the French Open.

Andreescu reveals her keys to success

Canada’s Bianca Andreescu credits daily meditation and visualization rituals for her on-court success, which culminating in winning the 2019 US Open women’s singles crown. During a Skype interview on Tennis Channel Live, broadcast Thursday in the U.S., the 19-year-old from Mississauga, Ontario, explained:

“It’s called creative visualization. Picture yourself in a moment in the future, what you want a certain moment to look like.

“For me, that was the US Open. I’ve been visualizing that since I was fifteen. It’s funny because I literally wrote myself a winner’s check for the year 2019. It’s mind boggling but it shows how effective this technique is. The key is to actually feel yourself in that situation in the future.”

What they’re saying 

• Bethanie Mattek-Sands, co-host of Tennis United, the joint online production of the ATP and WTA, was recently interviewed by Chris Oddo for Tennis Now on the value of the show: “Sometimes showing this honest, vulnerable side of yourself really is engaging and it’s authentic. I think really on the global scheme of things right now that is what people are identifying with. We need something real. If you’re having a breakdown fine. If you want to go have happy hour at noon, fine. If you are training in your gym for like four and a half hours—show us, we want to know.”

• In an exclusive interview with CNN, reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep told Danielle Rossingh, “I have not been going out at all,” she said said from her home in Bucharest, where she’s been staying inside and maintaining a sense of positivity. “I am definitely a person who takes these things very seriously and is nervous about them. The lockdown has been very strict here in Romania, we have had military on the streets and are not allowed to go outside.

“…It has been a scary situation here in Romania. I try not to watch too much or read too much in the news as I find it very worrying; I prefer to focus on helping where I can.” Halep has donated medical equipment to hospitals in Constanta and Bucharest.

What they’re sharing on social media

JC Aragone, United States, currently ranked No. 276 / Tennis court appreciation

Coco Gauff, United States, currently ranked No. 52 / Book recommendations, anyone?

Dominic Thiem, Austria, currently ranked No. 3 / Enjoying the mountains with his brother

View this post on Instagram

A day in the mountains with @moritzthiem 🏔

A post shared by Dominic Thiem (@domithiem) on