The best players in the world will be back in the Caja Mágica for the sixth edition of the tournament with all of the top players in the WTA rankings having confirmed their participation. Amongst the highlights, World No. 1 and reigning champion Serena Williams will return to the Caja Mágica in search of a historic triple.
Outside of the slams, the Mutua Madrid Open is without a doubt one of the biggest events on the tennis schedule. In the WTA, the tournament stands out for being one of just four Premier Mandatory events, in effect drawing all of the best players in the game to the courts.
The Madrid event is notorious for many reasons, including several noteworthy publicity stunts. In 2012 the competition became the first to be played on blue clay, and in previous years we've seen an 'Underground Tennis' match between Elena Dementieva and Caroline Wozniacki on Metro train tracks, and a race between Maria Sharapova's serve and the motorcycle of Spanish biker Fonsi Nieto.
Serena Williams (Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
World No. 1 Serena Williams was successful in 2014, with a straight sets 6-1, 6-4 victory over Maria Sharapova in the final. It marked her 50th WTA title, making her only the tenth woman of all-time to cross that milestone.
"I've played her several times; I just tried to focus on what I was doing. I don't know if her start was shaky, but I felt I played well in the first few games - playing such a great athlete and great tennis player like Maria, you have to come out and play well. I really had no other choice,” Williams said after the final.
"She definitely started playing better in that second set - I think she came out with a different game plan. I missed a very crucial point in that first game, but after that I just had to refocus."
The 17-time Grand Slam champion will return to defend her title in 2014. She will be vying for her third victory in a row in Madrid, after she defeated Victoria Azarenka in the 2012 final.
Joining Williams will be a string of the top women players, with Li Na, two-time champion Victoria Azarenka and last year’s finalist Maria Sharapova all confirming their participation.
Agnieszka Radwanska (Al Bello/Getty Images)
World No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska also joins the draw, as does 2011 champion Petra Kvitova. Former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki will also return. The Dane reached the final in the tournament’s inaugural year in 2009. Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic has confirmed she will contest the title and so has Australian Open runner up Dominkia Cibulkova.
The other Spaniards to round out the draw include Carla Suarez Navarro and Garbine Muguruza. Wild cards will be given to Tita Torro, Lara Arruabarrena, Silvia Soler and Anabel Medina. Fellow Spaniards Lourdes Dominguez Lino, Laura Pous and Sara Sorribes will compete in the qualifying rounds, and hopefully become eligible for the main draw.
However, it is hard to see the ever so dominant Williams being defeated though, as she searches for the historic three in a row at the Caja Magica. A rematch of last year’s final is on the cards, but Sharapova has not defeated Williams all year, losing to the American in Brisbane and most recently in Miami in March.
Tournament director Manolo Santana is confident of another successful year in Madrid in 2014. The sixth edition will offer over $4,236,425 in prize money.
The Mutua Madrid Open will take place between 3 May – 11 May 2014.