On top of the opening qualifying matches at the Mutua Madrid Open, fans can also enjoy watching some of the first players who will be competing in the twenty-first edition of the event. Some of the stars to have inscribed their name on the trophy have already set foot on the Caja Mágica’s practice courts, as well as a number of past Grand Slam champions.
Paula Badosa was the first to appear on Monday. The 2021 semi-finalist arrives in Madrid spearheading the home challenge in the WTA competition and spurred on by recent results in Charleston and Stuttgart, where she reached the antepenultimate round. Other Spaniards who have already taken to the Madrid clay are Pablo Carreño, Roberto Bautista and Albert Ramos, as well as wildcard Rebeka Masarova.
Andy Murray and Alexander Zverev know what it is to claim the trophy in the Manolo Santana Stadium, with two titles each. The Brit, champion in 2008 and 2015, is preparing for his opener, where he will face a qualifier. For his part, the German player (2018 and 2021) has longer to fine tune his game as his seeding allows him a bye in the first round.
No less noteworthy are Victoria Azarenka’s first shots in the Caja Mágica. The two-time MMOPEN finalist (2011 and 2012) always draws a crowd thanks to her two Australian Open titles. The same is true of the current Wimbledon champion, Kazakh player Elena Rybakina, as well as the Latvian Jelena Ostapenko and Czech player Barbora Krejcikova, both with a French Open title to their name, in 2017 and 2021, respectively.
Also seen training were last year’s runners-up in Paris, the Norwegian Casper Ruud, third seed in the ATP draw, and US player Coco Gauff, sixth in the WTA event. Other seeded players, such as the Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime (7), Greek player Maria Sakkari (9) and Karen Khachanov (10), have also already graced the Caja Mágica’s practice courts.
Estonian player Anett Kontaveit, the American Amanda Anisimova, Canadian player Leylah Fernández, the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, Argentinian player Diego Schwartzman, Britons Cameron Norrie and Daniel Evans, and Polish player Hubert Hurkacz are just a few of the other names to have already practised in the Caja Mágica.