Buying one of these 5,555 NFTs from tennis star Stan Wawrinka will give you a chance to play in the first-ever metaverse tennis tournament

Buying one of these 5,555 NFTs from tennis star Stan Wawrinka will give you a chance to play in the first-ever metaverse tennis tournament
Stan Wawrinka. Frank Augstein/APFrank Augstein/AP
  • Stan Wawrinka is launching an NFT collection of 5,555 digital tennis players who can compete in metaverse tournaments.
  • NFT owners can train their players and improve their stats to make them more valuable.
  • Wawrinka, the three-time Grand Slam champion, is the latest prominent athlete to join the NFT space.

Looking for a spot in the first-ever metaverse tennis tournament? One of the 5,555 NFTs from three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka could be your ticket.

The 36-year-old Swiss tennis player has forged into the world of non-fungible tokens with his launch of the Ballman project, an NFT collection of 5,555 unique digital tennis players that give owners the chance to play in virtual tennis tournaments for prizes, including ethereum, according to the website.

"The NFT Open series aims to be the largest virtual tennis tournament circuit bringing together fans of NFTs and Tennis alike," the whitepaper said. The first sale is February 7 with more to follow.

In a Wednesday Zoom call announcing the project, Wawrinka said NFTs are "roaring" and that he wants to build community with his collection, Bloomberg reported. He's right -- NFTs have surged in popularity in the last year, with sales topping $25 billion in 2021. The term NFT refers to a digital collectible or piece of art tied to blockchain technology.

As for community, Wawrinka has stayed in touch with fans through a Discord server about the project by frequently checking in with messages to the more than 1,500 players in the channel.


For Wawrinka's collection, the NFTs, or digital players, have randomly assigned traits like technique, conditioning, power, mindset, tactics, and luck, that help determine how they perform in virtual tournaments, which will be held in a virtual arena called the "Ballman Meta Stadium."

Players progress through different levels like daily training, weekly tournaments, the super series, and the final four. Winnings include prize money in the form of ether and boosters. "Just like real tennis players, you can enhance your player's skills (better tennis gear, better shoes, training, rest or even a coach)," the site said. The more a player trains and wins, the more valuable the NFT becomes.

Wawrinka, whose Twitter and Discord profile picture features a bored ape from the well-known NFT collection, is the latest professional athlete to enter the world of digital collectibles. Others, including NBA superstar Steph Curry and NFL legend Tom Brady, have entered NFT space with offerings of their own.