In what was the final French Open tune-up tournament for many of the top players in the world, the 2014 Rome Masters, otherwise known as Internazionali BNL d'Italia, is the second-most-famous clay event behind Roland Garros.
Novak Djokovic won on the men's side and Serena Williams won on the women's side.
The tournament took place at Foro Italico in Rome, and this event was about so much more than just tennis. In one of the cultural capitals of the world, the best tennis players in the game performed in front of the high-fashion Italian crowds.
On the men’s side, the field was absolutely stacked. Seven-time champion Rafael Nadal came into the event as the favorite, but he was forced to contend against the likes of Novak Djokovic, Stanislas Wawrinka, Roger Federer, David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych and Andy Murray.
This was an incredibly tough road to a tournament championship.
After beating Kei Nishikori in the finals of the Madrid Open, Nadal told BBC Sport about his opponent’s injury:
I'm sorry for him. When you suffer something like that, it's really tough. I suffered a similar situation in Australia this year. So I know what I'm talking about and how bitter it is, especially when you're playing an important match.
On the women’s side, defending tournament champion Serena Williams was the focus for many fans. After withdrawing from the Madrid Open with leg issues, how Williams performed heading into the French Open was important.
The women’s field was just as intense as the men’s, though. Not only was Williams looking for another tourney victory, but former champion Maria Sharapova also joined Li Na, Sloane Stephens, Ana Ivanovic, Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova in their attempt to win the title.
With both the men’s and women’s tournaments filled with Grand Slam hopefuls who were looking to build momentum heading into the French Open later in May, the Rome Masters lived up to the lofty expectations.