Clay court season is upon us, and the players have their eyes set on the second grand slam of the year: Roland Garros. But before playing the French Open, players have two ATP/WTA 1000-level tournaments in Madrid and Rome to navigate. Performing well in these two events is crucial. Not only does it help get match preparation under their belts, but wins mean ranking points and therefore a boost to players’ seeding at the French Open at the end of May.
So, who wins the Madrid Open 2023? We use our tournament win predictor to find out.
We’ll also use our Opta Power Rankings to analyse the top-rated players in the world at the moment and highlight some players to follow throughout the tournament.
Madrid Open: The Quick Hits
- In the women’s draw, Iga Swiatek is our highest-rated player and our model’s favourite to take the title (13.5%).
- On the men’s side, Carlos Alcaraz is our top-rated player of the tournament and the favourite to repeat his win from last season (13.6% likelihood).
Who Are the Top Players in the Tournament?
To work out the probability of each player winning the tournament, we start by analysing each player’s Power Ranking. Just like in football, Opta Power Ratings in tennis are a way to measure a player’s current performance on a scale from 0 to 100.
To calculate a player’s Power Rating, we take each player’s OpenSkill rating*, normalise the distribution of all the Skill ratings on the ATP and WTA tours, and finally scale the ratings to be between 0 and 100.
To no surprise, Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina are currently the Power Ranking’s strongest women’s players. Over the past year, they’ve proved to be pretty much the best on all surfaces and, in 2023 alone, have won five tournaments between the three of them.
Over in the men’s draw, both Alcaraz and Medvedev have an Opta rating of 99 overall, but on a clay surface, the Spaniard has the slight edge. Medvedev has never won a tournament on clay and – as we’ll reveal – that’s important for his overall tournament win probability.
In both the men’s and women’s draw, three of the top four rated players are in the top half of the draw, which indicates a stronger field. You’ve got to consider yourselves a little unlucky to find yourself in that half of the draw.
With top-heavy draws on both the WTA and ATP side, it means a difficult road to the final for our top-rated players. In the women’s draw, world No. 1 Iga Swiatek could face Rybakina (Opta Rating: 96) or Krejcikova (90) in the quarter-finals, and Pegula (92) in the semi-finals. So far this year, she has only lost to those three players. No one else has beaten her head-to-head in 2023.
On the men’s draw, defending champion Alcaraz could play Sebastian Korda (Opta Rating: 88) in the fourth round, Andrey Rublev (92) or Karen Khachanov (87) in the quarter-finals, and Holger Rune (93) in the semi-finals. Both Rublev and Rune have been in great shape since the beginning of the clay court season, each winning a title on the surface.
Who Are the Favorites to Win the Tournament?
Using the players’ Skill Ratings at the beginning of the tournament and all the players’ positions in the draw, we can estimate the probability of each match result in the tournament.
Our tournament win predictor model considers the strength of the players and opponents and simulates the outcomes for each player for the remaining rounds of the tournament thousands of times.
Here are the top five players most likely to win the whole tournament.
Our model is backing Carlos Alcaraz (13.6%) to win back-to-back tournaments in his home country. The world number two is the defending champion in Madrid and the teenager has already won three out of the five titles he’s played in 2023, including at the Barcelona Open last week.
Defending his title will be far from easy, with a stacked draw, but our predictor gives him a 20% probability of making the final. Nor is a tough draw unfamiliar territory for Alcaraz who took out Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev – all ranked in the top five in the world at the time – on the way to victory last year.
Daniil Medvedev has never won a title on clay before. But, because his overall skill level is so high, he’s our predictor’s second favourite, giving him a 11.6% chance of emerging victorious in Spain.
World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas and No. 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime are the only two players inside the top 10 who have not won a title so far in 2023. Our win predictor gives them a 5.6% and 3.2% probability respectively of breaking their ducks. The pair could potentially meet in the quarter-finals, too. Tsitsipas has a 33% likelihood of making it to that round while Auger-Aliassime’s chances are slightly lower at 23%.
Taylor Fritz is fifth mostly likely to win, given a 5.3% of doing so.
Is Iga Swiatek already the Queen of Clay? With a record of 18 wins, 1 loss and three titles on the surface last year (Stuttgart, Rome and the French Open) and an undefeated record so far in 2023, which includes a title last week in Stuttgart, Swiatek is our clear favourite to take the title in Madrid with our model gives her a 13.5% chance of doing so.
Despite potentially facing tough opponents in her half of the draw, Swiatek has a 21% probability of being a finalist in Madrid, by far the highest of all the players in the draw.
For the third year in a row, Sabalenka lost in the finals of Stuttgart, the tournament preceeding Madrid. In 2021, she was able to bounce back and win the title in Madrid, but she lost in the first round last year. Our tournament win predictor gives her an 8.3% chance of redemption this year, making her our second-favourite as the Belarusian has a 24-4 record this year having already won the Adelaide International and Australian Open.
About the Madrid Open
The Mutua Madrid Open is the first WTA 1000-level and second ATP Masters 1000 event on clay of the season.
Last year’s winners:
— Women’s singles draw: Ons Jabeur (defeated Jessica Pegula)
— Men’s singles draw: Carlos Alcaraz (defeated Zverev in the final, after beating Nadal in the quarter-finals and Djokovic in the semi-finals)
What is OpenSkill Rating?
— As a reminder from our explainer piece, OpenSkill rating is a skill-based ranking system that aims to assess and track a player’s skill throughout the season. These ratings are updated after each match, considering the current rating of the player and their opponent.
— Each player’s OpenSkill rating is characterized by a normal distribution (with a unique mean and variance).
— The big advantage of using a rating system like Openskill compared to other traditional ranking systems (e.g. Elo) is that the variance for each player is different (in Elo, all the players have the same variance). This means inconsistency and uncertainty in a player’s level are represented in their Skill rating. As a result, the variance can help us be more confident about a player’s true skill strength.
— For example, a player who has played many matches and has consistent results will have a small variance which means that we are more certain about theirskill, and vice-versa.