The clay of the Mutua Madrid Open is a prime objective for many of the best duos on tour. Chemistry is key at the altitude of the Spanish capital if you are to dominate the discipline of doubles in the Caja Mágica, to which the best players on the planet return year after year. In 2023, the strongest teams will be back once again to entertain us on the red stuff.
The five crowns won by Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan continue to be the biggest doubles haul on the clay of the Caja Mágica. The US players left an epic legacy on the courts of Madrid and, one decade after their last win here, there will be many teams keen to follow their lead.
Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski claimed the crown in 2022 and they are back and determined to repeat their success in the Manolo Santana Stadium. The Dutch and British pair consolidated themselves as the best doubles partnership last season after their time in Madrid, where they now hope to double down on their win, having now made a name for themselves on tour.
Local support will once again rest on the shoulders of Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos, the kings of the 2021 edition and one of the teams with the best record together on tour. Experience as a twosome is one of the key ingredients for victory at any tournament. The Barcelona native has the honour of being the only Spaniard to have lifted the trophy in this discipline.
2023 will mark the arrival of a very exciting home player. Canary Islander David Vega has consolidated himself as one of the strongest doubles players on tour and, in the company of the Brazilian Rafael Matos, he will be sure to draw the crowds in the Caja Mágica. Multiple ATP Tour titles, including one from Mallorca in 2022, will put them among the fan favourites.
The myriad of first-class teams is a sure-fire guarantee of world-class tennis. The current Olympic champions, Croatian pair Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic, will attempt to go one better than the final they reached here two years ago; Dutch player Jean-Julien Rojer, a two-time champion, will be bidding for his third cup in Madrid alongside Salvadoran player Marcelo Arévalo.
In addition, well-established partnerships such as those of Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury, Austin Krajicek/Ivan Dodig, and Lloyd Glasspool/Harri Heliovaara promise to light up the courts. The biggest representatives of the South American continent will be the Colombians Juan Sebastián Cabal and Robert Farah, last year’s runners-up, and the Argentine team of Máximo González and Andrés Molteni.
This year’s women’s event looks wide open. No team has managed to defend their crown on the clay of the Caja Mágica so last season’s winners are faced with a significant challenge in 2023.
The defenders of the throne are Gabriela Dabrowski and Giuliana Olmos, and they will have the privilege of taking on that challenge in the Spanish capital. The Canadian-Mexican duo arrive in Madrid as the hottest names in women’s doubles; if anyone can do it, they can.
It will be no easy task, though, with the likes of Katerina Siniakova and Barbora Krejcikova in the draw. The seven-time Grand Slam winning Czech team won the trophy in Madrid in 2021 and they will return more than ready to reclaim their throne. They are the latest dominant force on tour and the Spanish capital may bear witness to their dominion.
The prowess of the partnership between Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff will be well worth admiring in Madrid. The best two players to divide their time between doubles and singles, the Americans will be keen to rekindle their love affair with clay. The New Yorker was a singles finalist a year ago in the Caja Mágica, while the Florida native came close to claiming the trophy at Roland Garros in 2022.
However, there is also a raft of other first-class teams who will be doing everything in their power to stop them. Kristina Mladenovic and Timea Babos have reformed to rediscover their magic, Japanese pair Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara, former Grand Slam finalists, are sure to bare their teeth in Madrid, while last year’s runners-up Demi Schuurs and Desirae Krawczyk will be excited to return to familiar ground, and the new team of Liudmila Samsonova and Veronika Kudermetova promise to provide plenty of thrills.