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Sunday, Aug 25, 2019

Give me red, as I am feeling blue

Nadal and Djokovic slam the slippery blue clay, say won’t come back next year if it stays. 'Madrid clay is for Smurfs'

sports Updated: May 12, 2012 01:54 IST

Novak-Djokovic-returns-a-shot-a-tennis-match-at-the-Madrid-Masters-AFP-Photo-Pedro-Armestre( )

Rafael Nadal crashed to his first defeat on clay in 23 matches when he was upset 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 by his Spanish compatriot Fernando Verdasco in a thrilling third-round match at the Madrid Open, and then threatened not to take part in next year's event on the controversial blue surface.

Nadal had beaten Verdasco, the No15 seed at his hometown Masters event, in all 13 of their previous meetings but an error-strewn performance ended his bid for a third straight clay title this season and deprived him of a chance to avenge his defeat to Novak Djokovic in last year's final.

"The movements are very important for me and here I cannot move so I cannot hit the ball the way that I want," he said of a surface others have said is "too slippery" and only fit for "Smurfs [to] play on".

"The ATP and the tournament can do what they want," he added referring to the controversial innovation sanctioned by the governing body of men's tennis for this year's tournament.

"I tried my best to prepare but I wasn't good enough to adapt my game to this court. The only thing that I know is that if things continue like this I am very sad but next year will be one less tournament in my calendar."

Novak Djokovic also slammed the Manolo Santana centre court after his laboured second-round victory and joked that he was considering wearing football boots or enlisting the help of action star Chuck Norris to help deal with the slick surface.

He slipped and slid his way to a 7-6, 6-4 win against the unseeded Stanislas Wawrinka before announcing he would not play in the Spanish capital next year unless the red clay courts were reinstated.

"They are saying it's exactly the same as the red clay which is not true because there is a big difference," he said. Serena Williams had commented that the blue clay was like a "skating rink".

Tiriac's latest idea
Not satisfied with the uproar his blue claycourts have created at this year's Madrid Open, unrepentant tennis promoter Ion Tiriac is itching to unleash his next innovation on the world's top players - psychedelic balls.

"We are going to improve the ball," Tiriac said. His observation seemed to suggest that there were no plans to abandon the blue clay in 2013.

Hesh-Bopanna in semis
The Indian team of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna reached the semifinals of the after scoring a 7-6 (2), 7-6(5) win over Aisam-ul-haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Rojer. Indo-Czech pair of Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek reached the quarters on Thursday.

First Published: May 12, 2012 00:38 IST

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