The European clay court swing is well underway as the march to Roland Garros aka the French Open is on. The first Masters 1000 event is in the books where Andrey Rublev won the title in Monte Carlo. There were a couple of lower-level events on the European clay. The big event was in Barcelona, where Carlos Alcaraz returned to the court defending his title from a year ago.
Next up on the ATP Tour schedule is the second of three Masters 1000 on clay with Mutua Madrid Open. Alcaraz will look to continue his high level of play on the clay. He will look to defend another title in Madrid. Alcaraz won the title last year and with a major already under his belt, there is a good chance he could add the French Open to his collection in a month.
However, like with the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, the Mutua Madrid Open will be missing some big names. Rafael Nadal continues to deal with a hip injury and pulled out of the tournament last week. Another Grand Slam champion followed suit as Novak Djokovic announced he has withdrawn. Djokovic is also dealing with an elbow injury. His game has been off this year, especially his serve. Both of their statuses for the French Open are in jeopardy.
It is the first time since the tournament’s inception that Nadal, Djokovic, and Roger Federer will not partake in this event. In addition, Jannik Sinner wi
Thus Carlos Alcaraz is the favourite to win the Madrid Open again. This should come as no surprise to anyone. However, there will be some stiff competition as the tournament begins.
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First-round action is already underway in Madrid. The Mutua Madrid Open runs from April 24th through May 7th.
This is one of the best events on the ATP schedule leading into the French Open. It is played at altitude so the play is a bit different than in Paris. The conditions at the Italian Open are more similar to what players will deal with at the French Open.
While Carlos Alcaraz is the favourite to win at (-100). As we stated earlier no surprise, the 19-year-old sensation continues to marvel on the red dirt. However, Rublev is in his quarter of the draw, and he is proving to be a tough out on the red dirt. Rublev won in Monte Carlo and then made the final in Srpska Open. Also in his section of the draw of Alexander Zverev. Zverev made the quarterfinals of Monte Carlo losing to Daniil Medvedev. So he is another good player Alcaraz will have to deal with.
We know Medvedev is not a fan of the clay, but he is playing well on it despite his love-hate relationship with the surface. He is always a threat. Again it all depends if he can get his footing under him. Then there are Stefanos Tsitsipas and Taylor Fritz. Both Tsitsipas and Fritz are playing well.
Tsitsipas made finals in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and we have seen his ability to play well on any surface. He just needs to close the deal. Meanwhile, Fritz has made back-to-back semifinals in Monte Carlo and Munich. The number-one-ranked American continues to improve each and every week. He is due to win another Master 1000, especially on this surface.
Other notable players to make a deep run are Karen Khachanov, Casper Ruud, Holger Rune, Lorenzo Musetti, Hubert Hurkacz, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Frances Tiafoe.
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