Andy Murray signs up for Madrid...
Friday 10th April 2020
In your Ones to Watch email today:
Somebody must have heard me…
Last week we spoke about the surge in virtual sporting events, Esports and online gaming.
It’s important to make the distinction here between something like a virtual horse race, which is entirely computer-generated and programmed. And to an actual online game, where human beings are controlling the action…
The former is on a par with online slot machines. Outcomes are down to ‘the system.’
The latter is what I’m much more interested in. Because where there are human players involved, there will be strengths, weaknesses, form and - yes - talent to consider and monitor.
The Madrid Open goes online...
After recent televised and live-streamed online events such as football’s FIFA20 Quaranteam tournament, Esports Formula One Grand Prix races. This week we’ve seen cricket join the fray with the E-Cricket Quarantine Cup. And darts legends going head-to-head online via specially-designed darts boards and video connections.
I said that surely it was just a matter of time before someone got tennis involved in the new online playing field…
Well, somebody must have heard me (!). Because this week, the Madrid Open has announced that it will be running an online tournament at the end of the month, from 27th - 30th April.
Money raised by the event will go to good use, including a fund for tennis players out of work right now, and a COVID-19 charity scheme.
The online tournament will be played on the Tennis World Tour game. That’s the same title I mentioned last week, which has been used for online French Open gaming events in the last couple of years. I really should get myself a copy (and a PlayStation 4 to play it on).
Andy Murray signs up...
None other than Andy Murray has signed up as one of the confirmed ‘real life’ pro tennis players to compete in the Madrid event.
The good thing from Andy’s point of view is that a sore hip can’t hold you back if you’re playing from home and using a PlayStation controller instead of a racket…
It’s not surprising that Murray has got his name down. The Madrid Open tournament director is veteran Spanish player Feliciano Lopez. Murray & Lopez won the Doubles together at Queen’s last summer, for Andy’s first trophy since his injury comeback.
Of course... E-Tennis is never going to replace the real game that we love. And just as soon as the pro tour comes back - July, hopefully - the weekly tournaments will once again be our 100% priority and focus.
Esports as a genre are here to stay, though. And the current coronavirus situation has really pushed things forward in terms of household-name ‘real life’ players getting involved in online versions of their sport.
The bookies have had markets up for Esports F1, cricket and football in recent weeks. So we can expect some Madrid Open betting markets too, I would imagine. I’ll be keeping an eye out.
That’s all from me today, but look out for an email on Saturday when I’ll have details of a great tennis competition that’s free to enter, with a prize worth over £1,500.
Ones to Watch