Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic lead the field as one of the biggest events of the clay-court season is played at Madrid's Caja Magica: Madrid Masters tennis is live from 7-14 May 2017.
Madrid Masters 2017 tournament schedule
Who is playing the Madrid Masters in 2017?
Although Roger Federer, indisputably the best player of the first quarter of the 2017 season, won't be appearing at the Madrid Masters as he rests his 35-year-old body for the grass-court season, the field for one of the biggest clay-court events of the year will still be packed as befits its status.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic heads the draw as he looks for his third Madrid Masters title at the Caja Magica after triumphing in 2011 and 2016. It's been a poor season so far by Djokovic's outstanding standards, with just one title to his name at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha, and his failure to defend his Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami titles has seen him lose ground in his bid to retake the world no. 1 ranking from Andy Murray (although Murray has had problems of his own). Djokovic, though, is one of the best clay-courters of his era - and his era includes the greatest clay-courter of all time. Could he crown a return to form ahead of his French Open title defense by successfully retaining his Madrid title?
Also looking to crown a return to form? Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal. The former has found his 2017 season so far blighted by an elbow injury, but as we saw in 2015, when he beat Nadal in the final to claim a first clay-court Masters title in Madrid, and in 2016 when he reached a first French Open final, Murray's clay-court game has got better and better and he could be a serious threat at the Caja Magica. And Nadal? The King of Clay may not have managed to win the French Open for the last two years, but his 2017 season so far, with runner-up finishes at the Australian Open, Acapulco and Miami, has promised that Nadal is almost back to his bullish best. Madrid has never been where Nadal has played his best tennis but he's still won four titles there and with Djokovic and Murray both struggling for form and Federer absent, Nadal might just be the man to back.
Former Madrid Masters runners-up Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori will also be in the field, while young guns Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Nick Kyrgios look to continue to impress. French stars Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils always add to the entertainment and charisma value of a tournament, and big-serving Milos Raonic should thrive on the quick clay. The stage is set for another thrilling instalment of this golden age of men's tennis at the Madrid Masters.
Madrid Masters 2017 seeds
Check back here for a definitive list of seeds once the draw for the Madrid Masters is released.
About the Madrid Masters
The Caja Magica – or 'Magic Box' - in Madrid, Spain, hosts a combined ATP and WTA tournament that has attracted masses of fans in its relatively short lifespan. Both tournaments are the second-highest calibre in tennis rank, and offer 1000 ranking points to the tournament victor. Thus, the WTA's Mutua Madrid Open is a Premier Mandatory event – requiring the attendance of all the game's elite – whilst ATP's Madrid Masters is part of the Masters 1000 Series in men's tennis.
The Madrid Masters debuted on tour in 1990. The tournament was played on indoor hard-courts from 1990 up until 2008, and during that time toured locations. Held in Stockholm, Sweden for its first five outings, it moved to Essen, Germany in 1995. From 1996 to 2001 the tournament relocated to Stuttgart, before finally coming to Madrid in 2002. It has remained there since, staying at the Madrid Arena from 2002 to 2008, and arriving at its current home of the Caja Magica in 2009.
Boris Becker won that first edition of the tournament in 1990, and continued to claim triumph in 1991. Ending his career with four titles (1990-91, 1994, 1996) the German is still tied in first place for titles won in the tournament's history. That is a record he shares with Rafael Nadal - who, for all his 2015 flailing, could have achieved the all time record with one more win in 2015. The four-time event champion (2005, 2010, 2013-14) lost to Andy Murray in the final - the Scot claiming his first triumph at the event with a 6-3 6-2 win.
Murray, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are the only players of Nadal's era to have won the event multiple times. Federer did so in 2009 (defeating Rafael Nadal) and 2012 (defeating Tomas Berdych), while Murray first triumphed at the event in 2008. Federer's latest triumphant season was the lone year in which the event was played on blue clay – a controversial experiment which drew mixed reception from fans and players alike. Novak Djokovic stated: "I'm not really too happy about it... There is a certain rule within the ATP that the president is able to make decisions for himself without having players agree. That rule has to be changed because it is not fair... We need to feel that our opinion matters. That was not the case this time." No other tournament in the sport's history has ever opted for blue clay, and the Madrid Open's move back to traditional clay in 2013 set the event back on a positive track.
Djokovic joined Murray, Federer and Nadal on the list of multiple Madrid Masters champions when he captured his second title in 2016, defeating Murray in the final in what would be a preview of the French Open final.