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Bianca Andreescu headlines Canadian tennis trio competing in virtual Madrid Open

Spanish star Rafael Nadal and lately retired Caroline Wozniacki are among the 32 players who will compete in the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro, which started yesterday.

The four-day event includes 16 ATP players and 16 WTA players. The virtual matches will be streamed on the Madrid Open’s Facebook page as well as Facebook Gaming.

It is the first virtual event featuring tennis professionals.

The men’s and women’s tours have been shut down for six-plus weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic and will continue to be until at least June 7.

In addition to Nadal, the other 15 men’s players competing are Andy Murray, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Gael Monfils, David Goffin, Kei Nishikori, Fabio Fognini, Diego Schwartzman, Denis Shapovalov, Karen Khachanov, John Isner, Lucas Pouille, David Ferrer and Frances Tiafoe.

Wozniacki, 29, retired after January’s Australian Open. Joining her on the women’s side are Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina, Bianca Andreescu, Belinda Bencic, Kiki Bertens, Donna Vekic, Angelique Kerber, Madison Keys, Kristina Mladenovic, Carla Suarez Navarro, Victoria Azarenka, Johanna Konta, Fiona Ferro, Eugenie Bouchard and Sorana Cirstea.

Play started at 3 p.m. Madrid time (9 a.m. ET) on Monday with Schwartzman facing Ferrer. There will be a total of 26 matches — including two for charity — on the opening day.

Quarter-finals are slated for Wednesday with the semifinals and finals being held Thursday.

The prize money is just more than $162,000 for both the ATP and WTA draws, with one-third of it going toward coronavirus relief in Madrid. The men’s and women’s champions will decide how much of the prize money will go to help lower-ranked players who need financial assistance.

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