APRIL 21 - MAY 4, 2025

The favourites appear on the clay of the Caja Mágica

Activity is ramping up in the Caja Mágica as the Mutua Madrid Open qualifiers kick off and the stars are touching up their games on the practice courts in preparation for their openers in the WTA and ATP main draws.

The first player to take the clay in the Spanish capital this morning was Aryna Sabalenka. The world No. 2 arrives in Madrid as the defending champion (2021 and 2023) and she will be very much in the spotlight after reaching the quarter-finals last week in Stuttgart.

This year’s Australian Open champion is preparing for an opener in which, because she has a bye through the first round as the second seed, she will face the winner of the clash between Polish player Magda Linnette and the Italian Elisabetta Cocciaretto.

The defender of the men’s title also showed his face today. Carlos Alcaraz will open his clay season at the MMOPEN as he bids to become the first player in history to win the trophy in the Manolo Santana Stadium in three consecutive years (2022 and 2023).

The Spaniard, champion this year at the Masters 1000 in Indian Wells, now knows his route to the final. Also seeded number two, he will play his first match against the victor from the encounter between France’s Arthur Rinderknech and the Kazakh Alexander Shevchenko.

Rafa Nadal, who in Madrid is picking up from where he left off last week, continues to work on his game in practice. The five-time champion and holder of the most titles at the event (2005, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2017) will be one of the biggest attractions at a Masters 1000 he has not visited for two years due to injury.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion reappeared last week in Barcelona, where he reached the second round and is looking to continue his recovery process against promising 16-year-old American Darwin Blanch.

Paula Badosa is also in the Caja Mágica. The Spaniard with the best result in the Madrid WTA 1000, when she reached the semi-finals in 2021, will be the flagbearer for the home players at the event.

After some niggles in Stuttgart, the Catalonian is doing everything she can to be fully fit for her opener against an opponent who will come through the qualifiers that are now underway.

The first seed in the men’s competition, Jannik Sinner, was also seen on court today at the MMOPEN. The Italian’s impressive start to the season, during which he won in Melbourne and Miami, mean he will be a player to watch in the Spanish capital after recently reaching the semis on the clay of Monte Carlo.

The current ATP world No. 2 is waiting to find out who will be on the other side of the net in his first match. The mystery opponent will come from the match between his compatriot Lorenzo Sonego and a player from the qualifying phase which takes place today and tomorrow.