The Caja Mágica clay has entertained the fans with some unforgettable moments throughout the years and they have grown accustomed to applauding the exploits of the world’s greatest tennis players. Living legends of our sport have graced its courts, the greats of the game whose names will live on for decades to come. The joy of victory and the despair of defeat go hand in hand in the Spanish capital, where triumph comes at a high price for pretenders to the throne.
The many editions of the tournament have created a history of blood, sweat and glory in every corner of the courts. Both young players jostling for their place and veterans unperturbed by the passing of time share one goal; to leave their mark on the clay of Madrid. With the 2023 edition about to get underway, we take a look back at 10 historic Mutua Madrid Open moments.
A spectacular inauguration: With the Caja Mágica as the backdrop, Madrid was gifted a dream finale on its clay. In 2009 and 2010, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal squared off in the first two finals of the tournament at the current venue, bringing one of sport’s classic encounters to the Spanish capital. The Swiss took first blood, but the Spaniard reaped his revenge a year later, making the city one of the key stages for their encounters.
Serena discovers Madrid: Few cities of the world missed out on the talent of Serena Williams throughout her career, and she always had Madrid circled in red during the clay season. The American was the first player, of either gender, to successfully defend a title in the Caja Mágica, underscoring a seemingly endless capacity to convert her huge talent into results. The 2012 and 2013 events have her name stamped all over them.
Zverev’s perfect week: Few performances in Madrid have been as dominant as that of the German in 2018. The Hamburg native lifted the trophy without facing a single break point in the entire tournament, making him only the second player capable of winning a Masters 1000 without dropping a serve. His authority in Madrid has since continued to grow.
Kvitova dominates a marathon: Ruling over the clay of Madrid is a task that requires patience and perseverance. The Czech Petra Kvitova has the honour of having won the longest final in the history of the WTA tournament (two hours and 52 minutes) against Dutch player Kiki Bertens in 2018, in a classic encounter in the Manolo Santana Stadium. She is the only woman with three titles on the Madrid clay.
David says adios: Rarely has the affection of the Madrid crowd been felt as intensely as when David Ferrer said his goodbyes. In 2019, the Alicante native brought his career to an emotional end in Madrid before a packed stadium of appreciative fans, it was a well-earned send off after a long career on tour. The grand ceremony paid tribute to one of the greatest players in modern Spanish tennis.
Halep reaches the top: The Mutua Madrid Open has played a key role in Simona Halep’s career. The Spanish capital has witnessed her grow from a wildcard into a multiple winner of the event. Champion in 2016 and 2017, the Romanian climbed to the top of the rankings shortly after claiming her second title in the Spanish capital. Her record four finals in Madrid, a true mark of her ability to adapt, are as yet unmatched in the women’s competition.
Rafa meets Carlos: on the day of his 18th birthday, as if it were written in the stars, Carlos Alcaraz achieved his dream of playing Rafael Nadal on tour. The special encounter, which culminated with the presentation of a birthday cake on court, signified the coming together of two generations before the eyes of the fans in the Caja Mágica. There are iconic moments in the history of our sport and Madrid witnessed one for the annals in 2021.
Sorribes unable to hold back the tears: The excitement of competing at home sometimes overwhelms the stars. In 2022, Sara Sorribes claimed one of the greatest victories of her career by felling ex-world No. 1 Naomi Osaka in front of her family and friends. The Castellon native, visibly emotional and covering her face with her towel, created one of the most touching moments in the recent history of the Mutua Madrid Open.
A prodigy has arrived: The 2022 tournament will always be remembered for the coming of age of Carlos Alcaraz. The Murcia native produced a monumental performance that included the consecutive defeats of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev, all multiple champions of the tournament, to consolidate his breakthrough into the elite in front of the Spanish fans. And what better place than Madrid to mark his arrival?
Jabeur breaks down barriers: One year ago, the eyes of the world were on the Caja Mágica. Tunisian player Ons Jabeur’s achievement was hugely significant. She became the first Arabic and first African player to win a WTA 1000 event. Her versatile brand of tennis has provided inspiration for an entire region, where she aspires to break down barriers and teach the power of tennis.