Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament
This week has seen the return of top-flight professional tennis in Spain, with the Mutua Madrid Open bringing the world’s best men’s and women’s players to the Caja Mágica, the Spanish capital’s home of tennis since 2009.
In the men’s draw, the rivalry between the top three players Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal (above) and Roger Federer will play out once again, since all are participating and have secured their place in today's second round.
Other top players looking to cause an upset include, in order of ranking, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Kei Nishikori, Juan Martín del Potro, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Marin Cilic, Fabio Fognini and Karen Khachanov; all of whom are in the top 15 in the world.
In fact, only two of the world’s top dozen players (South African Kevin Anderson and American John Isner) are not playing in the Mutua Madrid Open, while the seeded players Daniil Medvedev and Borna Coric were the only top 15 world-ranked players to fall at the first hurdle in the event.
In the women’s draw, the field is even stronger. All of the top 10 players in the world started the event, including this season’s current WTA Tour leaders Naomi Osaka (above), Petra Kvitova and Simona Halep, while the only absentee within the top 15 was two-time champion (in 2012 and 2013) Serena Williams.
Despite the high-ranking turnout, there have been some upsets. Fourth, fifth, sixth and tenth seeds Angelique Kerber, Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina and Aryna Sabalenka have all bowed out of the tournament without reaching the third round, while former finalist (in 2009) and world number 12, Caroline Wozniacki, was forced to retire after just 30 minutes of her first-round encounter.
Order of play
Today sees the men’s second round and women’s third round matches disputed. Tomorrow is the men’s third round and women’s quarter finals, while Friday’s action includes the quarter finals and semi-finals in the respective categories.
The men’s semi-finals as well as the women’s singles and doubles finals will take place on Saturday, while Sunday is reserved for the men’s singles and doubles finals.
Tennis in Spain
There are few sports bigger than tennis in Spain. In terms of popularity, it is right up there along with a cluster of sports including football, basketball, golf, cycling and (in many ways its sister sport) pádel.
According to figures from way back in 2016, there were an estimated 85,668 federated tennis players in Spain. Of course, it is not necessary to be affiliated to an official body to play tennis in Spain – indeed most people play socially – but a licence is needed in order to compete in regional and national tournaments.
Tennis on the Costa del Sol
Due to its excellent climate, the Costa del Sol is the perfect place to take part in outdoor activities and sports like tennis.
You will find many private clubs and municipal sports centres with tennis courts up and down the Coast, with the former typically offering higher quality facilities and the latter being considerably cheaper by comparison.
And this time of year is perfect for playing tennis. Now that springtime is here and the weather is pleasant until at least 9pm, you can play at any time of the day; without having to either play first thing in the morning or last thing at night to escape the heat of the day like you would in summer.