Is virtual tennis, the future?

By Naomie Happi

One day, two friends went to watch a tennis match together. With the score standing at 40- 40 in the final moments of the game, the atmosphere was tense, as expected. One friend then turned to the other and said, “please never marry a tennis player.”, filled with curiosity, the other friend replied asking “why?” His friend then looked him in the eyes and answered, “because to them LOVE means nothing” This might be, one of the best tennis jokes ever told because of the pun on the word “Love” however, for some reason l find, the revised quote below to be more impressive.

“Love is nothing in tennis, but in life it’s everything.”

– Unknown

In the world of tennis, the beginning of May has always welcomed many of us tennis fanatics, with a great line up of exhilarating games from the Madrid Open. However, due to COVID -19, the majority of sports events and competitions including the ATP (Association of tennis professionals) and WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) tours have been adjourned to a later date in the year, with some even being postponed to the year 2021. Living in a world with no sporting entertainment is a world, not many of us deemed possible. In all fairness, no one could have known that the biggest stars of the ATP and the WTA would have to play the 2020 Mutua Madrid Open online.

From the 27th of April till the 30th of April, Feliciona Lopez the director of the Madrid Open and his team organised a virtual charity tennis tournament for professional tennis players around the world. The online game had characteristics which resembled that of the live tournament in the past. Madison Keys was quoted saying “It’s a great way to bring us, players, together in “online” whilst staying at home.” The tournament was accepted with positive thoughts from the players and the fans as well, some even started a trend of hashtags such as #playathome and #if not onsite then online.

Andy Murray (on the left) with Kiki Bertens (on the right)

As the tournament came to an end last week, the two winners of the tournament were Kiki Bertens and Andy Murray who will be donating half of his £35,000 prize money to the National Health Service and the other half to the tennis player relief fund, whilst all the proceeds raised during the tournament will be donated to the Madrid Food Bank to help reduce the social impact of COVID- 19. This brings me back to the above quote. “Love is nothing in tennis, but in life its everything” This initiative was made to help cushion the social impact of COVID-19 and l think this is a clear demonstration that in life, having or showing love towards others especial during such a time as this, is everything.

Andy Murray and Stefanos Tsitsipas playing in the finals

Do you think virtual sports will be the future for all sporting games during this pandemic? Comment down below and let us know if you would follow sports that are played online.

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