File photo of Rafael Nadal | @usopen | Twitter
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New Delhi: Rafael Nadal, who has won the Mutua Madrid Open five times, made a winning start at the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro title Monday.

With professional tennis courts being forced to shut due to the coronavirus pandemic, an esports version of Madrid’s tennis competition is being held online from 27 to 30 April, involving a number of world’s top players.

Nadal played his first video game match against Canadian tennis player Denis Shapovalov in a virtual Manolo Santana Stadium in Spain and defeated him 4-3(3). His victory stroke was a backhand and he led Group 1 with a 1-0 record on the first day.

World champion Andy Murray was also winning for Nadal’s group. Murray beat Frenchman Benoit Paire 3-1.

Also read: Djokovic right to be anti-vaxxer. Federer or Kohli didn’t just wake up one day as champions

Swapping racquets for PlayStation controllers

More than 32 of the world’s best tennis players have agreed to take part in the four-day Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro event that promises viewers some tennis action despite lockdowns.

These tennis players are bidding a temporary goodbye to their racquets and taking onto PlayStation 4 controllers instead.

Sixteen men and as many women, with two knockout singles tournaments will be digitally represented in Spain’s Manolo Santana Stadium. The event will be streamed on Madrid Open’s Facebook page and its new gaming app.

Feliciano Lopez, who became the Madrid Open tournament director last year, has been quoted by BBC as saying: “This idea is based on two things: firstly, to give something to the fans while they are at home and let them watch their favourite players. And secondly, to help players who are struggling right now.”

“Players individually can give their support and then there are initiatives like ours, where we are asking them to give all the prize money to the fund,” he added.

The tournament has a prize pot of 150,000 euros and the champion will decide on how to send this money to different relief funds to support low-ranking players who are not earning adequately due to the pandemic.

Also read: Covid shut IPL, Olympics, but sports will return in bubbles, with drones, bigger screens


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