Some high-octane action is guaranteed for next week as the 79th edition of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia or the Italian Open will be held in Rome from 8-15 May.
It is the second of the two combined ATP and WTA 1000 tournaments held on outdoor clay ahead of the French Open, with the first one currently going on in Madrid this week.
The women's competition, which kickstarts on Monday, May 9, will see the return of World No. 1 Iga Swiatek as she looks to add to her incredible 23-match winning streak.
The defending champion leads a stacked field that will see 19 of the world's top 20 women's players vying for the title at the Eternal City.
Without further ado, let's take a look at everything you need to know about the highly-anticipated Italian Open:
What is the Italian Open?
One of the most important stops on the European tennis calendar, the Italian Open was established in 1930 in Milan. The tournament moved to the Foro Italico in Rome in 1935.
Following a gap, the championships resumed in 1950 in the Italian capital, with the exception of 1961 when it was hosted by Turin. In 1969, the tournament took a major step by becoming open to professional players.
The women's event was initially played in Perugia and Taranto before Rome became its permanent home in 1987.
Currently, the men's competition is an ATP Masters 1000 event while the women's competition is a WTA 1000 event. The two were combined in 2011.
Chris Evert is the most successful player in the Italian capital, having lifted the trophy five times. Serena Williams, Gabriela Sabatini and Conchita Martinez are a close second with four titles each.
2020 French Open champion Iga Swiatek triumphed in Rome last year.
The Italian Open will be held on outdoor red clay at the Foro Italico in Rome, Italy.
The 56-player field has the top eight seeds getting a first-round bye.
All eyes will be on top seed Iga Swiatek, who has been irrepressible this year, winning four titles in a row. The Pole will be keen to keep going and win her second crown in the Italian capital as she looks to build a rich vein of form ahead of the French Open.
World No. 2 Paula Badosa, who reached the Roland Garros quarterfinals last year, is the second seed. Having been bundled out of Madrid early by Simona Halep, the Spaniard will be eager to get back to winning ways in Rome.
It's been a season of struggle so far for the Italian Open third seed Aryna Sabalenka. Apart from a runner-up finish in Stuttgart, the Belarusian hasn't done much of note this year.
Sabalenka was shown the door in the Madrid first round by Amanda Anisimova last week. It will be quite a challenge for her to test her fast-paced game on the slow conditions at the Eternal City.
World No. 5 Maria Sakkari, meanwhile, had an impressive campaign on hardcourts earlier this year, reaching the final in St. Petersburg and Indian Wells. However, the Greek has failed to find her rhythm since the tour moved to clay, suffering second-round exits at both Stuttgart and Madrid.
As the fourth seed in Rome, the 2021 Roland Garros semifinalist will hope to rediscover her touch.
Anett Kontaveit, Karolina Pliskova, Danielle Collins, and Garbine Muguruza round out the top eight seeds.
Ons Jabeur, Emma Raducanu, Jelena Ostapenko, Belinda Bencic, Jessica Pegula, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Coco Gauff and Victoria Azarenka comprise the rest of the top 16 seeds.
In a mouthwatering showdown between the reigning and former US Open champions, Raducanu will face Bianca Andreescu in the first round. Former champion Simona Halep and Alize Cornet have set up a rematch of their Australian Open clash in the first round.
Other players who could make an impact include Naomi Osaka, Amanda Anisimova, Ekaterina Alexandrova, Jil Teichmann and Leylah Fernandez.
The qualifying rounds in Rome will be held on Saturday, May 7 and Sunday, May 8. The main draw action kicks off on Monday, May 9 at 11 am local time, with the night session scheduled for 7 pm local time.
Both the singles and the doubles finals will be held on Sunday, May 15.
The prize money for the upcoming edition of the Italian Open is €2,527,250, with the winner set to earn 1000 points and €332,260.
Where to watch
Viewers from the US can catch all the action at the Italian Open live on the Tennis Channel, while fans in the UK will be able to see it live on Amazon Prime Video.
Canadians can watch the matches live on TVA Sports, DAZN & TSN. In Australia, one can view the action on beIN Sports.
Fans in Italy will get extensive coverage on Super Tennis. Live action can also be followed on TennisTV.