This week will see some of the ATP Tour top tennis players face off in the Madrid Masters 1000, the Mutua Madrid Open, the second 1000 clay tournament of the season after Monte Carlo. In the tournament, among the top 10, the great absent is the world number one Novak Djokovic who surprisingly decided not to participate in the tournament that saw him reigning champion in the last edition two years ago.
More predictable is the absence of Roger Federer, who initially signed up for the draw but in the end preferred to abandon this possibility and the Swiss will return to his home tournament in the Geneva tournament. The Mutua Madrid Open has decided to rely on home tennis players and in addition to obviously betting on home idol Rafael Nadal has assigned wildcards to Carlos Alcaraz, Jaume Munar, Pedro Martinez and Fernando Verdasco.
Intrigues the possible clash in the second round between Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz, who, in case of victory in the first round, will lead to a generational match that intrigues all tennis fans. To see this match, the young Spanish talent will have to beat the French opponent Adrien Mannarino.
During the press conference in preparation for the tournament, the director of the Mutua Madrid Open Feliciano Lopez spoke about Rafael Nadal and the absences of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. On Rafa, Feliciano stated that Nadal will still be able to continue playing for a few more years and that even he can even improve with age.
Regarding Djokovic and Federer, Lopez said: "We expected Roger Federer's decision while the absence of Novak Djokovic is more surprising, unfortunately the schedule is what it is and we have to accept that there will be some players who don't want to come and participate."
Among the most interesting matches of the day today in Madrid is the match between Karatsev and Humbert while there will be the debut in the tournament of Fabio Fognini who will face Taberner, executioner of Lorenzo Musetti in the qualifications of the Iberian tournament.
Rafael Nadal talks about his difficulties playing in Madrid
After the quarter-finals reached in Monte Carlo and the victory obtained in the Godò Tournament in Barcelona, world number 2 Rafael Nadal is ready to make his debut in the home Masters 1000 in Madrid, where he has already won five career times.
In a press conference organized before the official start of the Spanish event, Rafa said: "It is true that in recent seasons I have played very well in swing on clay. This surface probably fits my game very well. I love this time of the year.
I love all tournaments. Events are held that are not too far from home and which at the same time are an integral part of the history of our sport. Personally, I always have a lot of fun playing in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and of course at Roland Garros, I am very familiar with all these places and I like to play them from first to last."
Nadal also commented on the one week postponement of the French Open, believing that it doesn't make too much difference: "In terms of preparation, I have always trained very well for Roland Garros, even last year which was a bit of a season's difficult.
The one week postponement of the tournament affects everyone equally. Perhaps the less positive is that we now have one week less between Roland Garros and Wimbledon, right? I think this is the main topic, rather than the preparation for Paris."
Rafa then spoke about the match in Madrid: "It is the most difficult event for me. Everybody knows. At the same time it is also one of the most exciting from my point of view, because I play at home. We will have the opportunity to compete with the crowd again.
This means a lot to me. I'm really happy. As for tennis, it is certain that the situation here is a bit more complex. I have less control over the points, but I still managed to win several times." Finally, the champion from Mallorca concluded: "If the tournament had been held elsewhere, maybe I would have played anyway this week.
I have a few tournaments this season. This will be the fourth and my timetable is clear. If there are no setbacks I will play here, in Rome and Paris. There is no need to go back to it. This is the time to push and do my best in the three months on clay. I hope to be ready and to be able to give my best in every match here in Madrid."