A screenshot taken on Monday, April 27, 2020 shows the Spaniard Rafael Nadal (bottom left) against Canadian Denis Shapovalov (bottom right) plays a "virtual" tennis match in a tournament organized by the Madrid Open (Mutua Madrid Open via AP)
Here's a helping of realism – or surrealism – for the first corona virus pandemic video game tournament involving professional tennis players: a match was reportedly postponed on Monday because Rafael Nadal stayed behind unless the tournament director later admitted that he was just kidding.
This day 1 stupidity at the Controller-instead-of-racket-Madrid-Open came 24 hours after another professional, Gael Monfils, really retired because he had connections to a streaming service that was not there virtual company was involved.
Add these bizarre developments to technical issues, some strange announcements, and a lot of enthusiasm from attendees – including a particularly creative 2019 Open Semifinalist Belinda Bencic who posted a video of herself as she did Enters the living room to the loads of "I. Love Rock & # 39; n & # 39; Roll ”- when tennis came into play for a sports world that was largely put on hold during the COVID-19 outbreak.
"I don't know when it will be over, this nightmare, because it has been a long time ago and it feels like it will never be over," said Feliciano Lopez, a top 20 professional in singles and doubles and now oversees the Madrid Open.
The real clay court tuning for the French Open should be played from May 1st to 10th. However, it is one of more than 30 tournaments that have been canceled or postponed because tennis tours are suspended until at least mid-July. Wimbledon was canceled for the first time in 75 years.
"The first thing when we started working on this project was to give fans something they don't currently have," said Lopez.
It was Lopez who said seriously (well, apparently seriously) that he had received a text from Nadal on Monday saying "he was really worried about the injury" on his back and wanted to postpone a match . There was no evidence at the time that this was an attempt at humor.
But later Lopez wrote on Twitter: "Guys, of course I was joking."
There are 16 women and 16 men at the four-day event in Madrid, including 19-time Grand Slam champion Nadal, three-time main winner Andy Murray, and former No. 1 woman Caroline Wozniacki who left the tour retired in January – Angelique Kerber and Karolina Pliskova. Prize money totaling 300,000 euros is available. The champions decide how much they want to donate to tennis players who now have a hard time financially. Another 50,000 euros (about $ 55,000) goes to virus-related charities.
There is a round robin format with one set matches for only 3 games and tiebreakers for 3 all. Each game lasts approximately 10 minutes.
Viewers can watch streams with English and Spanish commentaries that sometimes drown out the players that can be seen and heard through picture-in-picture boxes.
Diego Schwartzman, who won twice on Monday, admitted to practicing "a few days" – and also admitted that "I'm not really good at this game".
The Bencic at 8th was the highlight. The 23-year-old from Switzerland went up a flight of stairs adorned with tennis regalia and wearing a white visor, and dragged a racket bag that she opened to grab a game controller.
There were some issues with the stream on Monday that interrupted games or interviews.
"It was a bit" careless "on my side," said Shapovalov, a 21-year-old Canadian who is currently 16th. "It seemed like the internet wasn't great."
About a minute after the tournament was drawn on Friday, a co-moderator of the English feed apologized after sitting around silently. There were more excuses from the announcers of the day, including that they didn't know how to correctly pronounce player names – not even near some – and that they didn't know much about real professional tennis at all.
On the other hand, none of this, of course, has anything to do with real tennis.
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