The best tennis players on the planet have descended upon Madrid this May in preparation for the year's second Grand Slam event, the French Open, set to begin later this month from Roland Garros.
While clay-court master Rafael Nadal will likely dominate headlines in Spain this coming week, the biggest story coming in on the men's side is the return of Swiss legend Roger Federer, who will look to defend his 2012 title as the No. 2 seed in the men's draw.
Fed has won this event three times, and twice since it became an outdoor clay-court tournament back in 2009.
On the women's side, the top-ranked trio of Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka will each square off against a talented field. Like Federer, Williams will look to return from a layoff to defend her crown in Madrid.
Here we'll get you set with everything you need to know to make sure you don't miss a minute of the action at this week's tournament.
Where: Manzanares Park Tennis Center, Madrid, Spain
When: Sunday, May 5 through Sunday, May 12
Watch: Tennis Channel
Live Stream: TennisTV.com
Madrid Open 2013 TV Schedule
|Monday, May 6||Men's 1st & 2nd Rounds||7 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.||Tennis Channel|
|Tuesday, May 7||Men's 1st & 2nd Rounds||5 a.m. - 4 p.m.||Tennis Channel|
|Wednesday, May 8||Men's 2nd Round||5 a.m. - 4 p.m.||Tennis Channel|
|Thursday, May 9||Men's Round of 16||8 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.||Tennis Channel|
|Friday, May 10||
9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
6 p.m. - 10 p.m.
|Saturday, May 11||
5 a.m. - 9 a.m.
9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
|Sunday, May 12||
7 a.m. - 9 a.m.
10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
*delayed coverage. Information courtesy of TennisChannel.com.
Predictions For Women's Draw
Serena Williams enters this year's Madrid Open as the female world No. 1 and the top seed in the women's draw. She defeated Victoria Azarenka easily in straight sets in the final last year, and I look for Williams to power past her again in a semifinal clash this time around.
Which top-ranked female has the best shot to win it all in Madrid?
Azarenka has come so close in recent years, losing two consecutive finals in Madrid. But following a two-month layoff, I look for a rusty Vika to fall short yet again.
She prefers faster courts, and that's bad news for her chances on clay this week.
In the women's final, look for defending French Open champion Maria Sharapova to meet Williams in an almost Grand Slam-like atmosphere. Though Williams is coming off a layoff of her own, she's proved as recently as March that she is a step ahead of the Russian star.
Williams has defeated Sharapova 11 straight times, including two consecutive wins on clay. With Williams rested and looking to redeem herself after an early exit at the 2012 French Open, I like the women's world No. 1 to get it done in Madrid this May.
Predictions For Men's Draw
Tennis fans will be thrilled to know that the big boys will be back in action this week in Madrid.
Novak Djokovic, who won this tournament back in 2011, will be the top overall seed in the men's draw, followed by Roger Federer (No. 2), Andy Murray (No. 3), David Ferrer (No. 4) and Rafael Nadal (No. 5).
Who is the man to beat in Madrid this May?
Nadal has won this tournament twice in the past, most recently in 2010. But Rafa has momentum on his side in 2013, having won four singles titles this season and looking like his usual dominant self on clay. He did come up short in the Monte Carlo final against Djokovic, but he bounced back beautifully at the Barcelona Open.
With Rafa back on top of his game, I look for him to beat out a loaded field in Madrid this week. With the French Open just a few weeks away he'll be as locked in as ever, and with the return of the red clay at this year's event, how can you give the edge to anyone else?
Fed will have to break through the rust and, at 31, will be at a disadvantage on the more demanding, slower-playing surface.
Expect Nadal to face off against Djokovic in the final in a rematch of last month's championship showdown at Monte Carlo. This time, though, it will be a confident, surging Nadal flexing his clay-court muscles.
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