The WTA 1000 tournaments are the pinnacle of the women’s tour, events that every player will circle in red on their calendar at the start of the season. The one held on the clay of Madrid is no different, with players at both ends of the age spectrum dreaming of lifting its trophy. However, only a select few have what it takes and a place in its winners’ circle is a privilege reserved for the greats.
In the race to have their names etched into the history books, there are players who have dedicated decades to their goal. The fans exploring the corridors of the Caja Mágica will have no need for grand presentations to identify many of these stars.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has made history this season by becoming the first player ever to play in 100 final draws at WTA 1000 events. Her 13 appearances at the Mutua Madrid Open form part of her record-breaking legacy, which is a reflection of her commitment to the highest level of professional tennis. An ever-present on the clay of Madrid, her best runs in the Spanish capital came in 2021, when she reached the semi-finals, and in 2011, when she bowed out in the quarters. It is a record that she will be hoping to build on at this year’s event.
Over this fortnight, her centenary achievement will be matched by Czech player Petra Kvitova whose love affair with the courts of the Mutua Madrid Open continues as she reaches yet another memorable milestone in her career. The three-time champion (2011, 2015, 2018) will become the second player to notch up 100 participations in WTA 1000 tournaments when she takes to the Madrid clay. Her presence has left an indelible mark in the memories of the fans who are now anxious to enjoy her tennis up close once again.
Her ton of appearances are the result of unquestioned professionalism, maintaining the fitness required to compete for the biggest trophies year after year. The triumphs, validating all the work that came before are a confirmation of her talent under the watchful gaze of millions, never shying away from the spotlight and producing the shots that matter on court.
The most successful players in the Caja Mágica have been able to convert the pressure of a WTA 1000 into their greatest ally. Two-time finalist Victoria Azarenka this year became the player with the most straight-set victories at events of this category (135), surpassing the previous record set by Polish player Agnieszka Radwanska (132).
Some of the biggest names to take to the Manolo Santana Centre Court, such as the Danish Caroline Wozniacki (124), runner-up in the first edition of the Mutua Madrid Open, Romanian player Simona Halep (123) and Serena Williams (117), both double champions in the Spanish capital, have demonstrated their sporting prowess on the biggest stages and come out unscathed.
Madrid is putting on its glad rags as it prepares to welcome the best players in the world, who will not be short of motivation; a field replete with legendary opponents and a huge stage on which to show off their repertoire.