This is Stephanie, tennis nerd extraordinaire, and I am so pleased to be covering the Mutua Madrid Open for the awesome team here at The Changeover.
I arrived in Madrid yesterday and mere hours later I was onsite to pick up my credentials and get my first glimpse of red clay since 2011. This is my first time at the Madrid Open (as well as Madrid itself) so it’s always extra exciting to attend a new tournament. And what could be better than watching tennis inside a complex called the “Magic Box” (La Caja Mágica)?
Onsite, I felt like a new kid in school trying to find my locker. I was wandering around trying to figure out how to get to the back practice courts (not speaking any Spanish is not ideal here) but I made it, and saw lots of players including Peng Shuai, Monica Niculescu, Marina Erakovic and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.
Just look at that beautiful clay!
This tournament gets its fair share of criticism each year amongst tennis fans on Twitter, but I’m trying to stay positive about the days ahead. I’ve been a regular at many tourneys around the world (as my tennis blog clearly demonstrates) so I’m keen to see for myself what makes Madrid tick.
The main draws came out today, and the women’s draw certainly gave us some shocks. How’s this for a section?:
OMG I just noticed this section. pic.twitter.com/dASSIprk2E
— SB (@SamsBiceps) May 1, 2015
In addition to the first round match between Venus Williams and Victoria Azarenka (I mean!!!!), here are some other intriguing first round matches of note:
- Maria Sharapova vs Timea Bacsinszky
- Genie Bouchard vs Barbora Strycova (stay for the handshake)
- Andrea Petkovic vs Flavia Pennetta
- Ekaterina Makarova vs Svetlana Kuznetsova
- Angelique Kerber vs Samantha Stosur
The potential semifinals are Serena vs Petra Kvitova and Simona Halep vs Maria Sharapova. To view the whole women’s draw, please click here. It’s TASTY!
On the men’s side, with the withdrawal of Novak Djokovic (for the second year in a row) Roger Federer is the top seed and he either faces Nick Kyrgios or a qualifier in his first match. Rafael Nadal has fallen into Federer’s half so we’ll see if these two will meet on red clay for the first time since the Rome final in 2013. The bottom half features 2nd seed Andy Murray (still playing in rain-plagued Munich) and 4th seed Kei Nishikori (who’s coming off a win in Barcelona last week.)
The top eight men get byes here (the women here don’t – why is that?) so honestly there are not many first-round matches that really jumped out to me as ones to watch, but these could be good:
- Gael Monfils vs Victor Troicki
- Jack Sock (Houston winner) vs Pablo Andujar (Barcelona runner-up)
The full men’s draw is available here.
So stay tuned here for regular posts during the Mutua Madrid Open – I’ll be onsite daily starting tomorrow and I am excited to see how it all unfolds. I honestly have no idea who’s going to be holding up the trophies.
Who’s going to win Madrid? Any other matches you see that excite you? Leave your thoughts in the comments…