Tennis

2024 Madrid Open: Men’s and Women’s Picks

The clay courts of Madrid play host to a star-studded lineup for two weeks. Check out our overview of the tournament on the men's and women's sides.

April 22, 2024

The men and women will both be on the clay courts of Madrid this week for an ATP Masters 1000 and WTA 1000 event. Both singles draws consist of 96 players, with 32 seeds getting byes directly into the second round. Women’s singles main draw play begins Tuesday while the men’s main draw starts Wednesday. The top title hopefuls at the Mutua Madrid Open are listed below, along with their odds from Tipico Sportsbook:

Men’s Preview

Carlos Alcaraz (+200) is looking to achieve the first ever Madrid Open three-peat, as the Spaniard became the youngest ever champion here when he won just before his 19th birthday in 2022, then he defended his title in 2023. This will be Alcaraz’s first action of the 2024 clay court season, as he has been sidelined by an arm injury.

With Novak Djokovic having withdrawn from this tournament, Alcaraz will be the No. 2 seed behind Jannik Sinner. If Alcaraz can find his top form, this will be his tournament to lose, but the recent lack of match play lowers his floor.

Jannik Sinner (+250) will be the No. 1 seed at a Masters 1000 tournament for the first time in his career. His 25-2 record in 2024 includes Sinner’s first career Grand Slam title at the Australian Open and a Masters 1000 title in Miami, both on hard courts. In his first clay court action of 2024, Sinner lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinals at Monte Carlo.

Casper Ruud (+1400) has looked as impressive as anybody on clay in 2024, reaching the final of the Monte Carlos Masters two weeks ago, then avenging his loss to Tsitsipas there with a straight-set win in the Barcelona final last week.

The 25-year-old Norwegian reached the French Open final each of the past two years, and Spain is like a second home to Ruud, who spent his formative years living in Mallorca while training at the Rafa Nadal Academy. Ruud’s mix of power and spin on the forehand are the closest we have seen to a right-handed version of the shot that has helped Nadal capture 14 French Open titles. The fifth-seeded Ruud is on a quarterfinal collision course with Sinner.

Stefanos Tsitisipas (+1200) has a similar profile to Ruud, with a mix of strong clay court results in recent years and excellent results on the surface so far in 2024. Tsitsipas’ Monte Carlo title earlier this month was the third of his career, and he also reached the French Open final in 2021, in addition to clay-court Masters 1000 runner-up finishes at the 2019 Madrid Open and 2022 Italian Open.

The sixth-seeded Tsitsipas has a clear path to the semifinals, as he would be favored against No. 3 seed Daniil Medvedev should they face off in the quarters.

Alexander Zverev (+1100) has won this tournament twice, doing so in 2018 and 2021. Those pair of titles put him in elite company, as the list of players to win the Madrid Open men’s singles title since 2007 is: Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Alcaraz and Zverev.

The fourth-seeded German has a well-rounded all-surface game, and Zverev’s level has finally come all the way back from a devastating 2022 ankle injury. He’ll be the clear favorite in every match until shifting to underdog status in the semifinals against Alcaraz, should both players get there.

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Daniil Medvedev (+1700) is seeded third, but he’s far from the third-best clay court player in this draw, as the Russian is far more comfortable on hard courts. Medvedev has a .518 career win percentage on clay compared to a .751 mark on hard courts. He could face a tough early test in the third round against talented American Sebastian Korda. They have split four previous encounters 2-2, with Korda winning seven of 11 sets across those matches.

Rafael Nadal (+2000) has played only five matches this year and dropped outside the top 500 in the rankings, but don’t be too quick to discount the clay court GOAT’s title chances at a tournament he has won five times before. Nadal should make short work of 16-year-old American Darwin Blanch in the first round, setting up a rematch with No. 10 seed Alex de Minaur, who cut Nadal’s comeback bid short in the second-round last week in Barcelona.

A victory over de Minaur would give Nadal a much-needed confidence boost and allow him to start building momentum ahead of a potential fourth-round clash with Tsitsipas.

Men’s title pick:

Carlos Alcaraz. Alcaraz should get a chance to play his way into form in the second round. While his potential path after that includes some tough clay court specialists such as Lorenzo Musetti and Jan-Lennard Struff, Alcaraz’s mix of speed, power and shotmaking can carry him as far as his body and mind allow, especially with his electric highlights and the energy of the Spanish crowd forming a symbiotic relationship in his home country’s capital.

Women’s Preview

Iga Swiatek (+120) is a slight underdog against the field but heavily favored compared to any other individual, which is par for the course on the world No. 1’s favorite surface. The three-time French Open champion surprisingly has yet to win a title in Madrid, but that could well change this year, as Swiatek’s off to a 26-4 start in 2024.

Elena Rybakina (+400) is coming off a clay-court title in Stuttgart, which included a win over Swiatek. Clay is the big-serving Rybakina’s worst surface, but the world No. 4 is no slouch on it, and Rybakina’s 26-4 overall record in 2024 is identical to Swiatek’s mark. Rybakina is in the same half of the draw as No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka and could face an early test with a potential rematch of the Stuttgart final against Marta Kostyuk in the third round.

Aryna Sabalenka (+700) has excelled in these conditions over the years, having won the Madrid Open in both 2021 and 2023. She’s a nice value pick given her substantially longer title odds compared to Swiatek and Rybakina. Despite having looked far from her best in 2024, Sabalenka is still 15-5 overall, showing just how tough of a competitor she has become.

Coco Gauff (+1200) is in Swiatek’s half of the draw, so she’ll be facing an uphill battle if they meet in the semifinals as expected. The No. 3 seed has played arguably her best tennis over the years on clay, where Gauff’s excellent movement shines.

She lost to Swiatek in the final of the 2022 French Open, which marked the 20-year-old American’s lone trip past the semifinals of a Grand Slam prior to Gauff’s 2023 US Open title and subsequent 2024 Australian Open semifinal result.

Danielle Collins (+1500) is riding a 13-match winning streak, having won her first career WTA 1000 event on the hard courts of Miami before adding a 500-level clay court title in Charleston, but she’s an obvious fade at these odds. The 30-year-old American has always been a tough out on hard courts, but she has been past the second round of the French Open only twice in six tries.

Collins’ drop off from hard courts to clay isn’t quite as extreme as some other Americans, but her winning streak will likely be snapped soon, especially since she faces a tough draw with 2021 French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova in her path in the third round before a possible fourth-round clash against Sabalenka.

Ons Jabeur (+8000) is an intriguing sleeper pick, considering the No. 8 seed usually gets rolling right around this time of the year. Jabeur has had a disappointing start to 2024, but she’s far better on clay and grass than hard courts and showed signs of stirring with a top 20 win over Ekaterina Alexandrova in Stuttgart last week.

Jabeur won the Madrid Open in 2022 and reached the quarterfinals of the French Open in 2023. The tricky Tunisian could face No. 9 seed Jelena Ostapenko in the fourth round and Gauff in the quarterfinals.

Women’s title pick:

Iga Swiatek. Swiatek has three French Open titles in the last four years and is 40-4 on clay since the start of 2022. She reached the final here last year and should do herself one better at the 2024 Madrid Open to capture a trophy that has surprisingly eluded her thus far.

Sasha Yodashkin
Sasha Yodashkin has been contributing NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and Tennis content to RotoWire since 2015, with an emphasis on DFS. He is a huge New York sports fan who has been playing fantasy sports since middle school.
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