Taylor Fritz earned a massive payday for his chosen charity on Sunday without having to leave his living room. The American and Addison Rae defeated Kei Nishikori and Steve Aoki 6-4 in the final of the Stay at Home Slam, a live virtual tennis tournament on Nintendo Switch’s Mario Tennis Aces that featured celebrities and pro tennis players teaming up to raise money for charity.
The one-day event was streamed exclusively via Facebook Gaming and the IMG Tennis Facebook page. Former World No. 1 John McEnroe provided commentary for each match with popular YouTube personality iJustine (Justine Ezarik).
Competing Tennis/Celebrity Partnerships
Taylor Fritz and Addison Rae
Kei Nishikori and Steve Aoki
Kevin Anderson and Ryan Tannehill
Serena Williams and Gigi Hadid
Naomi Osaka and Hailey Bieber
Venus Williams and DeAndre Hopkins
Maria Sharapova and Karlie Kloss
Madison Keys and Seal
Fritz/Rae will donate their $1 million winner’s prize to No Kid Hungry, which works to end child hunger in the United States. All of the participants, who played the video game from their homes, each received $25,000 to be donated to the charity of their choice.
“I was more nervous there than in any of my real matches,” Fritz joked. “This was so much fun. Addison absolutely carried the team.”
What a finals match 😂🙌
It was a close one, but @Taylor_Fritz97 and @whoisaddison beat @keinishikori and @steveaoki for a $1M donation to @nokidhungry! 🎥: @FacebookGaming pic.twitter.com/NgIBTrHxr9
— IMG Tennis (@IMGTennis) May 3, 2020
Fritz/Rae broke Aoki in the opening game off four winners from Rae and maintained their slight advantage the rest of the way. Nishikori/Aoki held five break points with Fritz serving for the championship at 5-4, but the American erased all of them with aces and fired another ace to wrap up the match.
“I play a lot of video games and recently got back into it because there’s been a lot of virtual athlete tournaments,” Fritz said before the event. “I’ve never played Mario Tennis, but I want to win this really bad.”
We were lucky to get out of that one 🙏🏼 Thank you Kei…… still trying to repay you for 2016 Memphis & 2020 Barcelona/Rome 😂. #0-3 https://t.co/GxBWMiL61D
— Taylor Fritz (@Taylor_Fritz97) May 3, 2020
Kevin Anderson and Ryan Tannehill scored a 6-3 win in their opening match against Maria Sharapova and Karlie Kloss, while Nishikori/Aoki defeated Naomi Osaka and Hailey Bieber. In the semi-finals, Nishikori/Aoki cruised past Anderson/Tannehill with a convincing 6-1 victory.
“I’m going to have to hang up my controller,” Anderson joked. “That was too good for us. I’ll guess we’ll have to train harder and come back next year.”
In Mario Tennis Aces for Nintendo Switch, Mario steps onto the court for matches against a variety of Mushroom Kingdom characters including Luigi, Peach, Donkey Kong and Bowser.