MADRID, May 4 (Xinhua) -- Rafael Nadal will again be the favorite when the big names begin their matches in the Mutua Madrid Tennis Open on Monday.
The Spaniard is top seed in Madrid, despite a recent slump in form which has seen him lose to fellow Spaniards, David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro in Monte Carlo and Barcelona in his last two tournaments and he can count on the unconditional support from the stands in the Caja Magica, where he has already been champion on three occasions.
"Spain is my country and every time I play in any tournament here it is something special. The crowd always make a big difference here," said Nadal.
Nadal could be knocked off the top of the World rankings if he fails to reach the last eight and Novak Djokovic is crowned Champion in Madrid, but the Serb is still doubtful with a wrist injury and won't make a decision on whether or not he will play until late on Sunday.
Meanwhile the Swiss pair of Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka, who won in Monte Carlo, could also pose a threat with the ever-elegant Federer continuing to defy the passing years, while David Ferrer will also count on strong home support.
Serena Williams is number one seed in the women's competition and comes to Madrid to defend the title she has won with ease over the past two years.
Williams is back in competition after taking a month off tennis, citing tiredness after a defeat in Charleston.
"I had just been playing for such a long time non-stop. It was actually really good for me to get that off. I feel really good and very positive, and I think that's what matters most."
China's Li Na is also in contention as she warms up for another assault on the French Open later this month. Li Na has started the year in excellent form, adding the Australian Open to her long list of titles.
Agnieszka Radwanska is third seed, while Maria Sharapova looks to build up her form after recently defeating Ana Ivanovic in Stuttgart.