APRIL 21 - MAY 4, 2025

Alcaraz, primed for action at the MMOPEN

The Manolo Santana Stadium has witnessed him claim its throne at the last two editions of the tournament and the Spanish capital now awaits his return with bated breath. Carlos Alcaraz’s opener on Friday against Alexander Shevchenko is one of the most highly-anticipated moments of the 2024 Mutua Madrid Open.

The Madrid fans have been showering their home hero with affection from the moment he set foot in the Caja Mágica, where he is fine tuning his game as he hopes to leave behind the injury problems that have so far prevented him from playing on the European clay swing.

Alcaraz’s love affair with the MMOPEN could take on another dimension this year. If the Spaniard manages to become the first player to win the title in three consecutive years, he will do so on the day of his twenty-first birthday.

First though, the second seed will have to take on a Shevchenko whom he has never seen on the other side of the net. The 23-year-old Kazakh player, who saw off France’s Arthur Rinderknech in his opener (6-4, 5-7, 6-3), will be bidding to equal his third-round finish last year in Madrid.

For his part, Alcaraz has a chance to extend his unbeaten run of 11 matches at the Spanish Masters 1000. Since 2022, the Murcia native has beaten, chronologically, Basilashvili, Norrie, Nadal, Djokovic, Zverev, Ruusuvuori, Dimitrov, Zverev again, Khachanov, Coric and Struff on the clay of the Caja Mágica.

The understudy of Juan Carlos Ferrero, champion of the Mutua Madrid Open in 2003, picked up a title this year in Indian Wells, as well as reaching the semis in Buenos Aires and the quarters at the Australian Open and in Miami.

Shevchenko, meanwhile, picked up a significant scalp in Rotterdam where he defeated Dane Holger Rune to reach the quarter-finals, his best finish in 2024 along with that of Montpellier.