Let the Madrid Madness Begin!

The French Open is on the horizon, but first, the WTA and ATP makes a stop in Madrid, Spain for the Mutua Madrid Open. The draws are packed full with the top players, the clay is back to red and the tennis is sure to heat up! So let’s take a quick look at what’s going on at the Mutua Madrid Open!

photos by Mats Merkel

photos by Mats Merkel


Last year, Madrid experimented with blue clay and it was not a favorite for many of the top players who found the blue clay to be slippery. Both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic had early exits in 2012 and threatened to boycott the Madrid tournament if the courts didn’t return to the natural red clay. So no excuses this year, yes, I’m talking to you Rafa and Nole!

From what I have heard so far, the clay is playing pretty slow, however, Madrid is at a higher altitude, so the balls will be flying through the air faster.

The men’s draw is filled to the brim with talent this week with all of the top players ready for battle. The one player exempt this week is Juan Martin del Potro, who had to withdraw last minute because of a viral infection. However, defending champion, Roger Federer, is back from being noticibly absent over the past two months and looking to defend his points, but will have a challenging draw along the way.

Tommy Haas is coming in with a bit of confidence after winning at the BMW Open last week in his home country of Germany, while Stanislas Wawrinka took the title in Portugal.

Andy Murray arrived in Madrid early to get some extra practice in on the clay and has a challenging road ahead for him being in the same half as Nole and with dangerous Tomas Berdych as a potential quarterfinal match up. And lets not forget the David Ferrer or Nicolas Almagro. So much talent, so many great match-ups from the first round on!

Rafa practicing with Murray at Madrid. Photo by Mats Merkel

Rafa practicing with Murray in Madrid. Photo by Mats Merkel

On the women’s side, it will be the first time since February that Serena, Vika, and Maria are all in a draw together. Madrid provides a bit of a showdown between Maria Sharapova and defending champion Serena Williams to see who takes the world number 1 spot at the end of the week. Serena has won her last two events and Maria is back on track after winning another title in Stuttgart, Germany on the red clay.

Vika has been working to get back in the mix and stay injury free so we will see what kind of shape she seems to be in early, as she is playing talented Russian, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (who’s just came away from Portugal last week with the title with some help from her current coach, Martina Hingis) right out of the gates. With some upsets already underway, both of the Radwanska sisters are already out, Laura Robson had a big win over Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki was taken out early by Yaroslava Shvedova, and American Madison Keys is off to a great start with an upset over Li Na.

Photo by Mats Merkel

Flamenco fun at Cafe de Chintas. Photo by Mats Merkel

This year Mats Merkel, who is currently in Madrid with the adidas team, will be helping to keep us up to date on some of the goings on over there, including pictures from on court practices to some off court fun! His team had a chance to check out some of the local flavor and made a stop at Fernando Verdasco’s family restaurant — Cafe de Chintas. Authentic Spanish food, tapas, Flamenco singing and dancing make this a must¬†on your places to enjoy if you are in Madrid!

That’s it from me for now. I’ll be glued to the Madrid coverage and will be blogging about any exciting match-ups or happenings that take place in Madrid – enjoy the tennis!

Play with heart,

Michelle

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