The ATP Media Day brought together some of the favourites for the Madrid Open title, who provided several interesting reflections on the tournament ahead.
The world number one is enjoying being back in the Spanish capital: “I’m really happy to be here again. The last time I was here was three years ago and I missed the city and being part of the tournament,” Djokovic said.
“This is, definitely, one of the best tournaments in the world,” the 2011 Madrid Open added.
The defending champion, Andy Murray, explained how his recent encounters against Milos Raonic and Rafael Nadal in Monte Carlo have served to give his confidence on clay a boost: [Those games] have given me some assurances but I still think I can play better and reach the level I was at last year,” said the world number two. “My expectations are different than they were last year. Obviously winning is important but so is the way you play.”
Murray also talked about Novak Djokovic, with whom he practiced on Sunday morning and who he cannot meet until the final in Madrid. “I think practicing with the best player in the world is great preparation.”
Currently sixth in the ATP ranking, Kei Nishikori said that after reaching the final in Miami and Barcelona he was very motivated going into the Mutua Madrid Open: “I’ve been training for a couple of days and I’m feeling really good, so I think if I can play some more aggressive tennis I’m confident that I have a chance to do good things this year,” Nishikori said. The 2014 Madrid finalist added that he has enjoyable memories of the Caja Mágica. “With my game, I feel comfortable on clay.”
Stan Wawrinka spoke of the importance of the next three weeks in terms of the season’s second Grand Slam at Roland Garros. “I’ve been training for the last two weeks on clay and I’m feeling pretty strong,” said the reigning French Open champion. “I’m prepared and motivated [for the clay season].”
However, the world number four said Rafael Nadal is one of the main favourites to lift the trophy next Sunday: “He is one of the best on clay and after the results he got in Monaco and Barcelona, he is one of the favourites for the tournament.”
The French player also highlighted the good results he has had in this tournament, meaning he has good memories of the Caja Mágica. “It’s great to be back and I hope to do well this year”, said the 31-year-old. “I want to have good results here, but even though I’m feeling good, other factors play a part.” Regarding Rafael Nadal, Tsonga said that “he is the best on this surface and has been for the last 10 years.”
The Czech player, who has trained completely as normal after a few niggles, said that he is raring to go in his opener in the Spanish capital. “I’m looking forward to playing my first opponent and I hope to do as well as possible.”
Berdych also mentioned that the battle between the tour’s veterans and the new generation of young guns bursting onto the scene is a very interesting one, and he has no doubt that his faction are still capable of putting up a fight.