Coronavirus: Serena Williams among stars to compete in Mario Tennis tournament

Coronavirus: Serena Williams among stars to compete in Mario Tennis tournament

Serena Williams

Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Maria Sharapova are among the tennis stars who will compete in a Mario Tennis Aces live streaming tournament.

The best tennis players will associate celebrities and play as game characters on the Nintendo Switch.

E-sports have increased in popularity as the Covid-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of live events.

Facebook Gaming will stream the event. The social media giant is pushing towards hosting online games.

Competing couples include Serena Williams and Gigi Hadid, Naomi Osaka and Hailey Bieber, Maria Sharapova and Karlie Kloss, Kevin Anderson and Ryan Tannehill, Venus Williams and Deandre Hopkins, Kei Nishikori and Steve Aoki, Madison Keys and Seal, Taylor Fritz and Addison Rae.

With live sports pending due to blocking and social distance requirements, players and leagues have turned to online gaming as a way to keep fans involved.

The Premier League, Formula 1 and the National Basketball Association have hosted all e-sport competitions.

These competitions, however, have had professionals playing as virtual versions of themselves. In Mario Tennis Aces, athletes and their celebrity partners will compete as game characters.

In the Nintendo version of the game, players can gain energy by performing trick shots and can use ice rackets, shells or fire shoes.

Contest winners will receive $ 1 million (£ 801,000) to be donated to their chosen charity. The other contestants will receive $ 25,000 each to be donated to charity.

Last week Facebook launched its new dedicated gaming app – ahead of schedule – trying to take advantage of the spike in online games caused by the Covid-19 blockades.

The app allows users to watch live game streams, follow other players and comment on games without accessing other Facebook platforms.

Live streaming games are predominantly dominated by Microsoft-owned Twitch and Mixer. YouTube has also expanded its presence in games.

The tournament will be broadcast on Sunday 3 May.

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