Madrid Open: 5 things you need to know
Following the tournament’s 20th Anniversary, join Tennishead as we give you the low down on one of the biggest professional clay court tennis tournaments in the world and why it is so special.
1. When and Where
As part of both the ATP and WTA’s professional tours, the Madrid Open began back in 2002. Originally, the tournament was held at the Madrid Arena until 2008, however was changed to the La Caja Magica in 2009 – which means ”magic box” in Spanish.
The multi-purpose stadium, as well as the home of the Madrid Open since 2009, has been the home of the Davis Cup since 2019. There are three courts under the one structure, and a series of retractable roofs, reaching a total official capacity of 17,137.
The Caja Magica has produced many moments of ‘magic’ throughout the years, with many players waxing lyrically about the event in Madrid.
Interestingly, for the 2012 tournament, the court surface was renovated from the famous red clay to brand new blue clay. Due to heavy criticism from the players, they switched back to red clay the following year.
2. Ranking points broken down
The Madrid Open one of most important professional tennis tournaments for both the men’s and women’s tours. For the ATP Tour, the Madrid Open is one of nine Masters 1000 tournaments. For the WTA Tour this tournament is one of four Premier Mandatory events.
For every champion at the Madrid Open will receive 1000 ranking points. However, men singles and doubles finalists and semi-finalists will receive 600 and 360 ranking points respectively. However for women’s singles and doubles they will receive 650 and 390 respectively.
Men’s quarter-finalists and losers of their last 16 matches will earn 180 and 80 points, whereas for the women’s matches they will gain 215 and 120 points.
Interestingly, ranking points for the round of 32 matches also differ but this time between singles and doubles as well as gender. In men’s singles they will gain 45 points, whereas women’s singles will receive 65. But for both men’s and women’s doubles in the round of 32 and 64 they all gain 10 ranking points.
3. Meet the boss
In 2019 Feliciano Lopez, alongside his playing career, was named as the Madrid Open tournament director. The 40-year-old Spaniard played at the tournament for a consecutive 17 years and with his best result at the tournament coming in 2011 when he reached the third round.
When officially announced as the new tournament director, Lopez spoke of his main aims for the role, “My goal is for them [players] to feel as comfortable as possible during the time that they are competing on our excellent clay courts and this tournament continues to be a priority for them and a favourite for the fans, press and sponsors.”
“I’ve been given to direct one of the tournaments I always dreamt of winning. Now it is time for me to provide, from the offices, all the things I always wished for as a player, taking over from the excellent work that has been done ever since Madrid became the world capital of tennis in 2003. My job is nothing more than to conserve the seal of quality that sets our brand apart.”
4. Rafael Nadal’s dominance
It may come as no surprise that it is of course the ‘King of Clay’ who holds the record for the most amount of titles at the Madrid Open. Nadal is a five-time winner of the event, with his first ever victory coming all the way back in 2005. The 2005 final against Ivan Ljubicic is widely considered to be the best final in the history of the tournament, with Nadal coming from two sets to love down in a display of unbelievable grit and determination to claim his one and only ever indoor title.
Since then, the 35-year-old Spaniard has won the title in 2010, 2013 and 2014, with the latest of his titles at the La Caja Magica coming in 2017. In the final he beat Austra’s Dominic Thiem in straight sets to clinch a record-equaling 30th ATP Masters 1000 singles title.
5. Petra Kvitova’s record
Petra Kvitova has never made the final at the French Open, yet has had remarkable success in Madrid over the last decade.
In 2011 she claimed her first title in Madrid after beating Victoria Azarenka, with the Czech following up with her second title in 2015 defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final. Her record third title came in 2018 against unseeded Kiki Bertens where she won 7–6, 4–6, 6–3. Interestingly, Kvitová has never made it past the fourth round of the French Open in the years she’s won in Madrid.
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