Facebook Gaming hosts Mario Tennis tournament with Serena and Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova

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The best tennis players, including Serena and Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova and (known Overwatch fan) Naomi Osaka will participate in a live broadcast Mario Tennis Aces double tournament this weekend. Players will be paired with other celebrities and athletes, including Karlie Kloss, Steve Aoki and Gigi Hadid, in a tournament that aims to provide a fun alternative to professional sports that have disappeared due to the pandemic. The tournament is called “Stay at Home Slam” and it will be broadcast on Facebook Gaming.

With professional sports closed worldwide, esports tournaments have become a common replacement for viewers and networks. While this means professional play in many cases, it also increasingly means seeing how professional athletes can manage themselves on digital terrain. The NBA, MLS and the Premier League have all involved players in tournaments for their respective sports.

The difference with this weekend’s tennis tournament is: these other matches are usually on simulated licensed sports titles like FIFA and NBA 2K. In this tournament, participants will play Mario characters and manage flaming rackets and shots that allow players to bounce, slide and teleport to the ball.

A million dollar prize will be awarded to a charity of their choice. The full range of players includes:

Serena Williams and Gigi Hadid

Naomi Osaka and Hailey Bieber

Venus Williams and Deandre Hopkins

Maria Sharapova and Karlie Kloss

Kei Nishikori and Steve Aoki

Madison Keys & Seal

Taylor Fritz and Addison Rae

Kevin Anderson and Ryan Tannehill

The tournament will be broadcast on Facebook Gaming starting Sunday, May 3 at 4 p.m. ET. Facebook developed its gaming features during the pandemic as it increasingly tries to take Twitch and Mixer. He launched a dedicated gaming app last week and launched a tournament feature earlier this month.

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