The Hologic WTA Tour heads to the Mutua Madrid Open for the first in a pair of back-to-back WTA 1000 events on European red clay. With a loaded field that includes Spain's top-ranked player, World No.2 Paula Badosa and former No.1s Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep. Madrid is set for a high-octane 10 days of action.

Here's what you need to know about the clay season's first WTA 1000 tournament:

When does the tournament start?

The Mutua Madrid Open is a WTA 1000 event held on outdoor red clay at the Caja Magica. Madrid features a 64-player singles draw and 30-team doubles draw. The tournament will use the Dunlop Fort Clay Court ball. Madrid is played over 10 days and is followed by the second WTA 1000 of the clay swing in Rome.

Qualifying begins on Tuesday, April 26, and main-draw play begins on Thursday, April 28. The day session starts at 11:00 a.m. during the first week before shifting to a noon start. 

The Round of 16 will be split across two days on Monday, May 2 and Tuesday, May 3. The quarterfinals will be played on Wednesday, May 4, and the semifinals on Thursday, May 5.

When are the finals? 

Mark your calendars for a Championships Saturday. Both singles and doubles finals will be played on Saturday, May 7. The doubles final will kick things off at 1:30 p.m., with the singles final played not before 6:30 p.m.

Who are the Top 16 seeds?

Read: Osaka, Puig receive main draw wildcards in Madrid

Projected Top 16 seeds:

1. Iga Swiatek
2. Paula Badosa
3. Aryna Sabalenka
4. Maria Sakkari
5. Karolina Pliskova
6. Danielle Collins
7. Garbiñe Muguruza
8. Ons Jabeur
9. Emma Raducanu
10. Jelena Ostapenko
11. Belinda Bencic
12. Jessica Pegula
13. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
14. Coco Gauff
15. Victoria Azarenka
16. Elena Rybakina

UPDATE: Top seed Iga Swiatek withdrew from the tournament on Wednesday due to shoulder injury

Aryna Sabalenka and Ashleigh Barty faced off in back-to-back finals in Stuttgart and Madrid.

Photo by WTA/Jimmie48

Who are the defending champions?

Aryna Sabalenka captured her first clay-court title and fourth WTA 1000 title last year, edging Ashleigh Barty 6-0, 3-6, 6-4 to win the title. 

In the doubles, Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova defeated Gabriela Dabrowski and Demi Schuurs 6-4, 6-4 to win their second title of the season. 

What does the draw look like?

Read: Badosa set to rise to World No.2 - "It's a dream come true"

What is the prize money and ranking points on offer?

Madrid offers a total player compensation pool of €6,744,165.

First Round: €22,000/10 points
Second Round: €45,095/65 points
Third Round: €90,745/120 points
Quarterfinals: €169,650/215 points
Semifinals: €331,025/390 points
Final: €568,790/650 points
Champion: €1,041,570/1000 points

Champion's Reel: How Aryna Sabalenka won Madrid 2021

2021 Madrid

Key Storylines

Paula Badosa returns home as World No.2: Last year, Badosa made good on a main draw wildcard to becoming the first Spanish woman to make the Madrid semifinals and she hasn't looked back. Twelve months on, the 24-year-old has rocketed up 60 spots in the rankings to sit behind Swiatek at No.2. Badosa's consistency has been remarkable. She has made the quarterfinals or better in seven of her last 11 events, including recently at Indian Wells and Stuttgart. 

Chasing down Swiatek: The Pole has a lead of over 2,000 points on the field and she will have an opportunity to add to that tally in Madrid, where she bowed out in the Round of 16 last year. But having won Rome and made the Roland Garros quarterfinals last season, Swiatek will be defending a large set of points over the remainder of the clay season. That opens up some potential opportunities for players like Badosa (who skipped Rome last year), Maria Sakkari, and Anett Kontaveit to close the gap over the next weeks with deep runs in Madrid and Rome.

Naomi Osaka gets her clay season underway: With the confidence gained from her run to the Miami Open final to close out the spring hard-court season, Osaka returns to Madrid. Three years ago, the former No.1 made the quarterfinals at the Caja Magica.

Monica Puig returns: The 2016 Olympic champion is set to make her return to the tour after undergoing shoulder surgery last summer. Having also battled an elbow injury, Puig has played just three matches since 2019.