Prize Money: $5,189,603
Tournament Director: Manolo Santana http://www.madrid-open.com/en/Tournament Info
WTA tennis in Madrid dates back to 1996, with an event held the week before Roland Garros through 2003. Also, the Spanish capital hosted the WTA Championships in 2006 and 2007. What is now known as the Mutua Madrid Open, one of four Premier Mandatory tournaments on the calendar, debuted in 2009 running alongside the ATP event that launched in 2002.
The venue that hosts the tournament, La Caja Mágica (The Magic Box), was unveiled in 2009 at a special ceremony attended by the Spanish Prime Minister and Mayor of Madrid. The facility houses three clay courts with retractable roofs. Center Court - Manolo Santana Stadium - can hold 12,500 people, and Court 2 - Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario Stadium - and Court 3 seat 3,500 and 2,500, respectively. That allows for up to three matches to be played simultaneously in the event of rain, a luxury that none of the four Grand Slams currently offer.
Since its inception, the tournament has been a leader in innovations. Those have included having models work as ball boys and ball girls, showing the finals in 3D at Spanish cinemas, having Elena Dementieva and Caroline Wozniacki play 'Underground Tennis on the tracks of one of Madrid's busiest Metro stations in 2009 and having Maria Sharapova square off with Spanish motorcycle rider Fonsi Nieto in a speed competition of her serve against his bike in 2010.
However, the idea that received the most attention is the event becoming the first-ever to be played on blue clay - switching from its traditional red clay - starting in 2012.
"Blue will now be its distinctive color, its trademark but because of that it doesn't mean it will cease to be one of the top clay court competitions like Roland Garros, Monte Carlo or Rome," said Mutua Madrid Open owner Ion Tiriac. "The tournament will continue to belong to the same circuit because the courts are not grass or hard courts, they are clay."
"All we are doing is making it easier for fans at the venue and those watching on television to follow the game," said tournament director Manolo Santana. "In a world where the competition in gaining audiences is ferocious, tennis must also evolve. It must protect its screen quota and increase the use of methods at its disposal without going against its philosophy."
The female category of the competition has only had three editions, however, of the six players to reach the finals, four of them have led the WTA rankings, such as Dinara Safina, the first woman to triumph here. Petra Kvitova, for her part, picked up the title in 2011 and since then has seen her career rise meteorically, winning Wimbledon and the WTA Championships as well as being voted as WTA player of the year.
2009 Dinara Safina d. Caroline Wozniacki 6–2, 6–4
2010 Aravane Rezaï d. Venus Williams 6–2, 7–5
2011 Petra Kvitová d. Victoria Azarenka 7–6(7–3), 6–4
2009 Cara Black/Liezel Huber d. Květa Peschke/Lisa Raymond 4–6, 6–3, [10–6]
2010 Serena Williams/Venus Williams d. Gisela Dulko/Flavia Pennetta 6–2, 7–5
2011 Victoria Azarenka/Maria Kirilenko d. Květa Peschke/Katarina Srebotnik 6–4, 6–3