So I’ve made it to the Caja Magica for the first time in seven years and the venue is as bizarre as I remember it to be.
The venue, which literally translates to “Magic Box”, is more mysterious than magical, with its confusing design and excessive use of steel, but the tournament itself is a great one to cover, with all the top players of the WTA and ATP united just three weeks before Roland Garros.
I’ve had my first sighting of Novak Djokovic here on Friday after the bombshell he dropped on everyone. The Serb has parted ways with his long-time coaching staff of Marian Vajda (head coach), Gebhard Gritsch (fitness trainer) and Miljan Amanovic (physio).
He isn’t flying completely solo here however, the 12-time Grand Slam champion has his brother, Marko with him.
Aga says she hasn't missed a slam in 10 years. She's out of Madrid & Rome and is hoping she'll be okay for the French Open pic.twitter.com/c2xfvi9Kfv— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) May 5, 2017
The practice courts were loaded all day, with Rafael Nadal taking to the court in cold, windy and drizzling conditions, in front of a packed grand stand.
The set up for the outside courts here is actually one of the nicest things about this tournament. You can talk a stroll at the top of a platform with courts scattered to your left and right and move seamlessly from one piece of the action to another.
I’ll be here all week so stay tuned for some behind-the-scenes coverage of the Mutua Madrid Open.
*Note: Here’s the Madrid Open runner-up trophy. As one friend said: “It might be better to lose in the semi-finals.” Joking. Kind of!