After the WTA draw was made, the Mutua Madrid Open welcomed the eight best players of the moment to WTA Media Day, an event in which journalists had the chance to interview the players.
All the players were full of praise for the tournament, the season’s first Premier Mandatory on clay, and the superb quality of the courts in the Caja Mágica, where ball speed is slightly increased because of the altitude of the Spanish capital. Regarding the favourite to lift the Ion Tiriac Trophy, most agreed that the strength of Carla Suárez and Garbiñe Muguruza, who are playing at home, will be hard to beat, although Angelique Kerber and Victoria Azarenka also sound like challenging for the title.
The Spanish Armada
One of those pretenders to the throne, Garbiñe Muguruza, called the tournament “the biggest we have in Spain and one of the biggest four events after the Grand Slams, which shows you how important it is”. The player spoke of her satisfaction at playing in the Caja Mágica, where she has the “motivation to play a great tournament”. Although Muguruza is well aware that “you can lose any game, the circuit is very tight so I will have to be focused”.
For her part, Canary Islander Carla Suárez said that she was feeling good in her first training sessions and that for her “it is one of the best tournaments in the world where the fans are going to have a great time”. Regarding her first opponent in the tournament, Timea Babos, Suárez was cautious as it will be a match “in which I’ll have to be very alert and try to make sure the points are long”. As for her position as one of the favourites, she seems unaffected by it, “I’m not feeling any pressure, just motivation” she stated.
Angelique Kerber was another of those singled out as a favourite by her rivals, although the German did not want to get ahead of herself, “anything can happen, you have to play your best tennis and in the end sometimes it depends how you are feeling when you play and I don’t have a list of favourites to take the title”.
For her part, Victoria Azarenka said that she is feeling good because she has worked hard preparing for the clay, but the Belarussian has her reservations because “sometimes you feel good but don’t get the results, but I’ll be doing the best I can”.
Simona Halep feels “very good now, because I have nothing to lose here”, because, as the player pointed out “this is one of my favourite tournaments because I played well here two years ago”. This means the Romanian is in a confident mood as “I am familiar with the courts and I can compete to a good standard”.
A strong tournament
“It is a very strong tournament and really tough”, these are the words of Roberta Vinci, Agnieszka Radwanska and Petra Kvitova, the winner of last year’s Mutua Madrid Open. Kvitova is feeling good and hopes “to play my best tennis” on courts where “I have really good memories from last year”.
The Italian Roberta Vinci is also optimistic about the event, “I hope to produce my best, but it is a difficult tournament. It is a great tournament, the courts are quick and I hope to play good tennis”.
Another of the players who also confirmed her good form was the tournament’s number one seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who was cautious as she evaluated her first match against the Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova as “first rounds are always tough so I will have to be very focused on the competition”.