The Australian Open will launch a new AO Tennis Series eSports competition next month, according to the tournament website. As part of a preview of the same, Australian players Alex de Minaur and Alexei Popyrin faced off against each other in an eSports match of the AO Tennis 2 game which is also available on the AO YouTube website.
With the current professional tennis tour shut down, the Australians took part in the AO Tennis 2 game during the current lockdown period - De Minaur from Spain, and Popyrin from France. The players stepped onto a virtual Rod Laver Arena as themselves to play the match and also provided their own commentary along the way.
De Minaur, who missed the Australian Open in January earlier this year, commented, “This is the best thing that has happened for me this year. It was a very close match, we both had a clear game plan out here. We were trying to take the ball on, take the net on, use our big first serves to our advantage”.
Popyrin commented, "I don’t want to give the result away, but it was a close match and we had a lot of fun. I’m really excited to play more of the game, and improve my skills. Although it’s not the same as being able to get out on court in the real world, it’s definitely the next best thing”.
Tennis Australia CEO and Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley commented, "It’s been great to see Alex and Alexei ‘back on court’, albeit virtually, in this preview of the AO Tennis Series. In these difficult times, when our priorities must be to keep everyone safe, to isolate and stay at home, it’s also important to find new ways to engage with our players and our fans.
The AO Tennis 2 game, and upcoming AO Tennis Series, is an innovative platform to do this”. Below is the link to the video of the match.