This year, the 2013 Madrid Open will be played on red clay instead of the blue Smurf dirt that No. 1 Serena Williams won last year's tournament on.
Like Williams cares.
After defeating Maria Sharapova at the Sony Open in Miami, Williams was asked on which surface she prefers to play the Russian.
“Anywhere. It could be ice, grass, clay. It could be — I don’t care. Just give me a racket and a ball. I’m ready.”
The No. 1- and No. 2-ranked players on the WTA tour enter the Madrid Open with the top spot on the line.
Williams must defend 1000 points. With only 250 points to defend, if Sharapova wins in Madrid, she is the new No. 1.
In no way are either of them a lock to win the title. But let's be real: the Madrid Open is all about Serena and Maria. Everyone else just blends into background noise. To be heard, they need to knock off one of these two tennis titans.
Still, it's time to take stock of who's rising and who's falling ahead of the Madrid Open.
Serena Williams rolls into Madrid ranked No. 1 and trying to hold onto the spot going into the French Open.
Since her devastating first-round loss in the French Open last year, Williams has been on a mission. The French Open is the only Grand Slam she's won just once.
She needs to defend this title to get that coveted No. 1 seed at the French.
Williams has said nobody hates losing more than she does.
Not losing her No. 1 ranking, and rebounding from that embarrassing loss at the French, could be all the motivation Williams needs to repeat as champion in Madrid.