Top tennis players including Serena and Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, and (known Overwatch fan) Naomi Osaka will compete in a live-streamed Mario Tennis Aces doubles tournament this weekend. The players will be paired with other celebrities and athletes, including Karlie Kloss, Steve Aoki, and Gigi Hadid, in a tournament that’s meant to offer a fun alternative to the pro sports that have gone missing due to the pandemic. The tournament is being called the “Stay at Home Slam,” and it’ll stream on Facebook Gaming.
With professional sports shut down across the globe, esports tournaments have become a common replacement for viewers and networks. While that’s meant pro gaming in a lot of cases, it’s also increasingly meant seeing how professional athletes can handle themselves on a digital field. The NBA, MLS, and Premier League have all had players participate in tournaments for their respective sports.
The difference with this weekend’s tennis tournament is: those other matches are usually on licensed, simulated sports titles like FIFA and NBA 2K. In this tournament, participants will be playing as Mario characters and dealing with flaming rackets and trick shots that let players bounce, slide, and teleport to the ball.
There’s a $1 million prize that will be donated to a charity of the winner’s choosing. The full lineup of players includes:
Serena Williams & Gigi Hadid
Naomi Osaka & Hailey Bieber
Venus Williams & Deandre Hopkins
Maria Sharapova & Karlie Kloss
Kei Nishikori & Steve Aoki
Madison Keys & Seal
Taylor Fritz & Addison Rae
Kevin Anderson & Ryan Tannehill
The tournament will stream on Facebook Gaming starting Sunday, May 3rd at 4PM ET. Facebook has been building out its gaming features during the pandemic as it increasingly tries to take on Twitch and Mixer. It launched a dedicated gaming app last week, and it launched a tournaments feature earlier in the month.
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