Rafael Nadal: The Blue Clay Is In The Past, My Goal Is Now Rome!
by Staff | May 14th, 2012, 2:28 pm
  • 33 Comments

After a controversial week in Madrid, Rafael Nadal met the press at the Rome Tennis Masters on Monday. Nadal, who lost the 2011 final to rival Novak Djokovic, discussed a wide range of topics including his fishing, the blue courts last week in Madrid and his ranking/seeding thoughts.

Nadal will play Florian Mayer in his first match.

His unedited transcript from Rome below:

Q: Rafa, how was your fishing day the other day.
NADAL: Good. I had a day off in Majorca the other day. My first feeling after the match was to come to Rome to the next day but after talking to the people around me we decided to come home for some days and spend some time with my sister. She lives in Barcelona and I don’t have a lot of time to see her so I spent some time with her and with my family and fishing on Friday morning early. Being in the middle of the sea with fantastic weather and I was able to swim a little and so it was fantastic for me.

Q: What do you expect form your fishing week here in Rome?
NADAL: Just the same. Try my best – try to play my best and if I am able to do it then I will have the chance to have a good result…..but just to do the same and try to play like I did in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and we got back to normal conditions and that makes the ….. readapt to play and I have 3 practices in the clay – once in Majorca and yesterday here — today is was very windy and difficult to practice but the feeling is there and I am happy how I am playing.

Q: …[inaudible]….
NADAL: I didn’t understand nothing.

Q: Do you compare your opponent to a type of fish.
NADAL: A lot of history about my fishing day. The fishes are there – I cannot see nobody when I am there – and I can see the opponent – it is a different history – I don’t understand rivals – we are here in the same tour and we are colleagues and we have to play against each other and I try my best to compete and beat as many as I can.

Q: Before coming here – you met Novak – did you talk to him about soccer or about the blue clay the other day.
NADAL: We have always a good relationship with each other. We always talk about things but when I talk about someone I don’t say what I talk about …. The blue clay is past and I said what I had to say in Madrid about my feelings about that. My feelings are there .—– my goal now is Roma and I don’t think about blue clay I think of Roland Garros. I lost and I didn’t have the level that I needed to win. I am here in Rome and it is one of my favourite tournaments and I love playing here – I always have a fantastic feeling playing here I love the crown and its always a big emotion to come back to this fantastic place – I am motivated to play my best.

Q: We has such a fantastic final with yourself and Novak..
NADAL: For him
…[Laughter]….

Q: Well, it was a great match to watch.
NADAL: Well, 64 64 – it wasn’t such a great match to watch.

Q: I’d like to know what you have to do to beat Novak or whoever you might have if you want to win this time.
NADAL: I will think about Mayer – I lost him in Shanghai last year and so let me think about the first round. It is stupid to think about the final now –I don’t know any tournament that starts with the final. You know – here we are in a Masters 1000 and so you have a lot of good players and every point is difficult but I will try my best since the first round and if I am able to play my best I will go to the final.

Q: Given that the conditions were so different last week, was it that Federer was able to adapt better that a lot of players and does this show how the conditions can affect a tournament.
NADAL: I said before about last week – its over and I think about Rome ……..Federer is a fantastic player – probably the best in history and probably the best to adapt to every court but that is the sport and tennis… That is the real thing and the problem is not to adapt to the court but the conditions have to be similar to every court. If we think about changing the balls to play every tournament with the same balls for the clay court season and then this is possible but then we play on different courts. How strange is that. I don’t know why we are talking about the tournament. I want to congratulate Roger and that’s it.

Q: Now with the Olympics, you are the only current player to have a gold in the singles. Would it be particularly special to win another at Wimbledon.
NADAL: No – Wimbledon aren’t an Olympics.

Q: No, I wasn’t going to say. Would the gold medal be more of a priority that winning another Grand Slam.
NADAL: I am thinking of Rome now and that is the real thing. Every tournament is very important. Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the Olympics and to win any of these is fantastic and so I cannot say I prefer the Olympics so Wimbledon and I will be there and try my best in every moment and have the right result to compete then this will be a dear form. Wimbledon is difficult because you play the best of five sets and you play on a surface where sometimes the match is decided in a few balls – you can imagine how I will be playing the best of thee in the Olympics. It is the perfect tournament for surprises and for perfect scores and so it is going to be a big challenge for everyone. The Olympics are probably the most important event is sport – in tennis we are lucky to have a fantastic tour – Olympics are probably the most difficult event to win for a tennis play. When you start your career you can probably have one change or two change to win the Olympics – you can have three but you have a very long career and the timing has to be good. This is why it is difficult and I am lucky to have won.

Q: Is it important to get into second place before Roland Garros.
NADAL: I don’t know how things are in the race. I know I am 100 points behind Roger with is like 500 points or 550 behind Novak. My positions not bad – I had a good start of the season – 2 or 3 hard matches – the final in Australia – that made a big decision with 100 points and semi finals in Miami I didn’t play for an injury of the knee and last week with the conditions. That is a tournament which is usually a favourite for my game. That is why I am number 3 in the race and not number 2. I am happy I am in Rome to keep playing as I play – to arrive with number 2 or 3 isn’t going to change my game. If you are number 2 or 3 then that doesn’t change. You just have to win. You have to win in the semi finals – even if you are number 2 or 3 doesn’t make a big difference and I want to keep playing and end the clay court season and start the grass court season.

Q: Rafa – you seem to track the rankings. You seem to know what points you have and what the other players have. Do also the other players do this?
NADAL: I think everybody follows. I don’t know much about the entry – seriously but the race says what you have been doing during the season. When I start the season in January I see it like a league – a soccer league – you start and then you finish and the entry is there bit the race is when you know how you are doing – but the race is the real points that you are playing …. That is the real thing that I follow. You start from zero and you finish at number 6 or number 5 and then you come back to zero again, that is my way of seeing sport.


Also Check Out:
Nadal, Djokovic, Murray Give Thumbs Down On Madrid’s Blue Clay Courts
Rafael Nadal Is Still Mad About Madrid’s Blue Clay, But At Least His Knee Is “Perfect”
Rafael Nadal Likes The Red Clay Courts In Madrid: They “Cannot Be Better”
Novak Djokovic: I Was Very Close To My Grandfather, It Was A Big Loss For Me And My Family
Nadal Reigns In Rome, Beats Djokovic For Second Straight Time To Win Sixth Title At Foro Italico

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33 Comments for Rafael Nadal: The Blue Clay Is In The Past, My Goal Is Now Rome!

Skeezer Says:

“That is the real thing and the problem is not to adapt to the court but the conditions have to be similar to every court.”

Really? Well, talk to GOD. Tell him to make sure the weather is perfect every match for you and that you should never adapt…..remember IW? Btw…If you want perfect conditions, just play indoors.

“If we think about changing the balls to play every tournament with the same balls for the clay court season and then this is possible but then we play on different courts.”

If anyone can decipher the above sentence I would be very grateful.


the mind reels Says:

@Skeezer: I’m not really sure about the second sentence either, though my read is that he’s suggesting the following: if you try to keep conditions as similar as possible (same balls, same sized courts, same height of the net — in other words, the obvious stuff), then it’s possible to adapt to a surface (like clay). But if you do all of that and then have variation within the same surface, then you can’t adapt because you have no “standard,” so to speak.

I really don’t know, nor do I profess to have any magic abilities to decipher his English, but if he is saying that all clay courts should play the same, then…well, that’s news. He can’t really be so narrow-minded to suggest that, so I welcome other interpretations.

Someone needs to teach the non-native-English speakers on tour another word besides “fantastic.” How about “rad” or “awesome”? Think of how refreshing it would be to hear Nadal say:

Being in the middle of the sea with rad weather and I was able to swim a little and so it was awesome for me.


jane Says:

skeeze, I think he means that last year, except for at the FO, players used the same balls throughout the clay season, but there was discussion to keep them uniform even at the FO this year as there were concerns last year that the ball switch could lead to injury. But now he’s saying that even though they solved that issue, now they have a new thing to contend with: a different clay surface. I could be misinterpreting it, though?


dari Says:

hmmmmm, i’m gonna hope that rafa does not mean that he want’s all clay courts to be the same. no way, right?

he just means not slippery, all the same as in all allow safe movement, RIGHT?!!?!


Kimmi Says:

OK, my interpretation is he is saying you can change the balls but not the court.


Kimmi Says:

Q: Do you compare your opponent to a type of fish.

LOL, some question they come up with..


jane Says:

I don’t know Kimmi. He says ” If we think about changing the balls to play every tournament with the same balls for the clay court season and then this is possible” – which I interpret as meaning that they have discussed playing “every tournament with the same balls for the clay court season” and that they determined “this is possible.” So they solved the problem of different balls (which they had last year for the FO).

But then he says “then we play on different courts. How strange is that” which to me suggests that to Rafa, they solved the changing ball problem only to have a new issue to deal with this year: a new clay court surface.

And I guess in particular for him, because the clay season is so crucial to his success generally speaking, these sorts of changes are frustrating. I guess he would like to see some uniformity through the clay season in ball sizes and surface. It’s true that Madrid would never have played like Monte Carlo or Rome anyhow, due to the altitude, but I guess you throw in the colour dye and it becomes something else. To me he just sounds frustrated.

I interpret is quite similarly to how players were talking during IW and Miami about the hard courts being slower – also during the USO last year. After playing Dubai, players like Andy M and Roger commented on how fast those courts played compared to Miami in particular.

The players will probably always have something to say about changes – be it to balls, courts, schedules, ranking, prize money and so on.


skeezer Says:

Trying hard to understand Rafa’s pressers as always but TMR nailed my English interpretation language skills;

“Being in the middle of the sea with rad weather and I was able to swim a little and so it was awesome for me.”

Thanks all for the help everyone :)

———————-

You know I am of the fan that WANTS more variety, not less….traditionally, that is the way Tennis has been played and it is one of the things that sets it apart from other International sports. Don’t want all Fast, Slow, High Low….keep mixing it up and keep it exciting..just give the players time to practice on it……the most complete player will adapt and find a way to win. Even Rafa, who is currently whining about the Blue Clay stuff, has adapted his Clay built game to win successfully at Wimbledon, where many years ago NO one thought that would ever happen. When they changed Wimbledon in 2001, he didn’t complain about that. They have also changed the balls for the betterment of the TV Viewer. They were traditionally a White color, and back in the day that was a huge controversial change to change them to Yellow. The Tour and tennis survived…..ok I am babbling …..getting close to a post the length of Dave, now that can’t happen….


Brando Says:

@Skeez:

I UNDERSTAND your argument. i know your not a rafa basher anyhow- you have given him credit in the past. And i agree with you re wanting difference- i too would like that.

BUT my take on what i THINK rafa is trying to say, is that basically last year they changed the balls at FO w/o giving due time to players in the pre RG tourny’s to adjust to the ball. I remember Andy murray stating how such a change can actually cause players an injury.

What rafa is saying, i feel, is that the Madrid change was a sudden one that can abrupt people’s prep for the main prize at this time of the year: RG. Now when i say sudden, it relates to the slippery nature of the surface at madrid.

We ALL KNEW going into the madrid tourny that there is the altitude, it shall be blue this year, BUT NO ONE knew/ predicted that it shall be a slippery surface. i think THAT is what annoyed rafa and nole.

ULTIMATELY though, like rafa said in his presser, i think it’s time we leave madrid 12 where it now belongs: in history, and move onto the tennis this week at Rome.

Hope it shall be good- and wish that i top my debut bracket:-)


Dan Martin Says:

How many players actually got hurt in Madrid? The Aussie Open on rebound ace was hurting ankles from 1988-2007. We heard less complaining from the field over 20 years of Australian Open tennis than we heard from #1 and #2 in a week about court conditions in Madrid. I mean the Aussie shift from grass to a slow hard court that was a legitimate safety issue on very hot days was far more extreme. Rafa and Nole can not like the court, but it was not like working in a coal mine or something in terms of workplace safety.


the mind reels Says:

Brando says: “ULTIMATELY though, like rafa said in his presser, i think it’s time we leave madrid 12 where it now belongs: in history, and move onto the tennis this week at Rome.”

While I understand your desire to put a bad week for your guy behind you, it’s likely easier said than done on a forum like this. Fans of both sides have a hard time forgetting the other’s weaker moments, be it a loss or what have you.

That all said, happy to try to look forward, as well.


trufan Says:

Yeah right, If Nadal could have his way, he would only want to play on slow red clay.

I wish they introduce a “shot clock”, just like in basketball. If you don’t serve within the legal time limit, you lose the point. Period. I guess Nadal and Djokovic will be the biggest whiners again.

Come on you rich losers – stop complaining, start adapting. Djokovic seems to be quite washed out already this season. I don’t think he is winning any other slam. Nadal looks likely to win another French. After that, its going to be all Federer.

BUt you can be sure that, as soon as Nadal loses next, he will JUST HINT at his knee injury, or something else, just enough to create a doubt and let people blame the loss on his injury.

Get fit. Being fit is as much a part of being a sportsman as actually playing the sport. Learn from Federer – almost 31, more than 1,000 ATP matches, and he looks as Fresh and fit as ever.


Makeda Says:

A lot of Rafa haters here. Jealous much? I guess it may be hard someone who has 8 Monte Carlo, 7 Barcelona, 5 Rome and 6 Roland Garros titles.


Makeda Says:

*hard to like someone.


Skeezer Says:

Trufan

Gotta agree Fed at 30 looks fit as ever(it makes me ponder what is Rafa and Novak gonna look like at 30?). His movement now looks great, and if Fed is gonna win, he needs his legs. He was lackin them a year ago. In tennis and footwork its all about can you do with little steps in prep to hit a shot. Sprinting to a ball is not the issue, the little steps going coming into the shot after the sprint is everything, and Fed is one of the best ever at it( he dramaticly proved it in the slip and slide of Madrid ).


Skeezer Says:

Makeda,

go to TT, you’ll find alot of Rafa loves there, and jealous Fed haters…..here……..at tennis x…… is like resting your head on a perfect down feathered pillow in comparisan. Please go and compare. Its pretty obvious. Unless you love Rafa and forget about the rest of the tennis world.

IMO this is got the most diverse fans….

We have Murray( margot, jane, colin ), Nole ole ole ( jane again, wog boy, nims, jamie, sar, duro and many others ) and Rafa ( Kimberly, alison, brando, marky girl, roy, queen, etc ) and the Fedtards magnimous ( ME, and…..ME, Haha, madmax, dave, gannu, trufan, kimmi, dari, and more )(carlo and polo are hide under the pillow but they love Fed)

Sorry if I missed names, you are all loved ( uh mm… well ..l mostly )

There are a plenty of Fed haters here, and Rafa haters here….but if you are patient enough to read through the crap, you’ll see some good stuff. Stick around….


Skeezer Says:

My favorite summation of the Blue Clay Madrid Masters 1000 Tournament comes from a Woman, not man, named Serena Williams;

“Women are way tougher than men. That’s why we have the babies, you guys could never handle kids,” Williams said. “We ladies don’t complain we just do our best. On the WTA (tour) we are real performers, we are not about going out there and being weenies.”


Michael Says:

Skeezer,

“That is the real thing and the problem is not to adapt to the court but the conditions have to be similar to every court.”

On hindsight this remark is looking very absurd to say the least. Like you I am too wondering as to what Rafa is really trying to say here ??

But by his intemperate outbursts against Blue clay, Nadal has lowered his reputation in my opinion. When players like Berdych can adapt, why can’t Nadal ?? Or is this the real difference between the Greatness of Roger and Nadal – the willingness to adapt ???


Lisa Says:

It’s sad to see that the contravacy in Madrid has taken the win away from Fed…. However that saying, there is no doubt what so ever, that when it comes to adapting to conditions, his proven to be the best in the game….

But is Federer the GOAT??…….. I’d say ‘maybe’……even Fed himself woundn’t dare say it, that’s for the people to decide.

But I think everyone and even He knows it….in his heart….that theres only ‘one way’ that he can truly own the GOAT…. There is ‘one way’ that they’ll be no more question marks that he is trully, undoubtedly the GOAT…..and that is…………HE MUST BEAT NADAL AT FRENCH OPEN, NO WHERE ELSE……

Respect everyone, cheers!


Lisa Says:

It’s sad to see that the contravacy in Madrid has taken the win away from Fed…. However that saying, there is no doubt what so ever, that when it comes to adapting to conditions, his proven to be the best in the game….

But is Federer the GOAT??…….. I’d say ‘maybe’……even Fed himself woundn’t dare say it, that’s for the people to decide.

But I think everyone and even He knows it….in his heart….that theres only ‘one way’ that he can truly own the GOAT…. There is ‘one way’ that they’ll be no more question marks that he is trully, undoubtedly the GOAT…..and that is…………HE MUST BEAT NADAL AT FRENCH OPEN, NO WHERE ELSE……


trufan Says:

Makeda,
Yeah, all clay titles those. Nobody disputes Nadal’s clay credentials. Its outside of clay that he melts like warm ice.

He can keep on piling up clay titles all he wants (actually even that will slow down next year onwards, and perhaps dry down in a couple of years). He is already clay GOAT – what else is there? More titles on clay doesn’t further his credentials for true GOAT.

And now with all the whining on a clay court in his home country? Boy, he really can’t adapt his game at all.

But after all, how can you adapt your game much when it is largely built around moonballing and running like a rabbit to get balls back??

Seriously, tell me if Nadal does much else than the two things above…


alison hodge Says:

I have to say i love watching a number of players even though Rafa happens to be my fav,although im with Jane,Carlo,Brando etc when they all say that the goat discussion in tennis,is one talking point that i couldnt care less about,so why do some fans have to beat it to the ground looking for an argument thats not even there,hell it even grates when the commontators keep repeatedly rabbiting on about it,why cant there be a number of greats not just one,surely thats the whole point,makes the sport more exciting that way IMO,tennis doesnt just have to revolve around any one player.


Polo Says:

The GOAT debate will never die. Tennis is a sport and just like any other sport, there will always be speculations as regards who is the best in the field. Suffice it to say that when tennis GOAT is discussed, Federer is the name that will be most frequently mentioned. Others will argue against him but his will be the name that will be mentioned most frequently.


racquet Says:

If moonballing and running like a rabbit is all it takes to win 10 GS titles I bet everyone would try it.


Lulu Iberic Says:

Aaaargh…
First off — major props to Federer. He’s played fantastic and better than most people (certainly I) expected since USO 2011 and gotten back to #2. Also, yeah, he has the most adaptable game. We already know this. This is why he’s been the 2nd best claycourter of this era, while also being the best on grass and hard, and absolutely blowing the competition away indoors. So, congrats to him for mastering the conditions at Madrid, and kicking the youngsters’ butts.

HOWEVER — T-bird and a lot of others did not have to “adapt” to the court conditions because they can’t move for crap anyway and what they do best is hit hard and fast and this court rewarded that. I guess you could applaud Ferrer for adapting — he’s a mover. Anyway, what do you mean by “adapting”? Merely shutting up about the conditions and playing or actually winning matches?

I don’t think Novak or Rafa wanted to adapt to these conditions anyway, because their goal is to win RG and these courts played nothing like RG. And it’s one thing to adapt to different types of surfaces over time, but another to do so when the nature of the court is a surprise until just before the tournament. Novak and Rafa rely more on defense and court coverage than most anyone, so it makes sense that slippery courts would bother them the most.

And as for “fitness” a freaking damaged knee is not something you can repair by hard work, so I don’t know what the heck that was about!

Finally, I will say if Fed wins RG then I will be the first to applaud his amazing adaptability.


the mind reels Says:

@Lulu: I don’t quite understand your point when you say that Berdych “and a lot of others (who?) did not have to ‘adapt’ to the court conditions because they can’t move for crap anyway and what they do best is hit hard and fast and this court rewarded that.”

Unless Berdych had been practicing on blue clay for weeks or months, I’m pretty sure he had to make the same adjustment everyone else did. Perhaps what you mean is that the blue clay affected his game less because he can hit through most any court (this is your hitting fast and hard point). This claim seems to miss the point, which is that for him to be able to play the way he does (i.e., crush balls from either side of the court), he has to move well, be in position, and strike balls with balance. That he played so well is indicative of the adjustments he made on the novel surface, I think. If,as you say, he’s not a good mover, then he should have tumbled out at the start of the week in Madrid.

Adapting is about understanding the nuances of a new surface/ball/racquet/whatever and figuring out how to make your style of play mesh with the new variable(s). Some guys can never do this (like American men not quite figuring out how to adapt their games to clay, though Isner has shown he can hang a bit), but Nadal and Djokovic have shown that they are more than capable of adapting to various surfaces over the years. Last time I checked, Nadal has won a major on every surface, and Djokovic holds grass/hard court major titles and Masters 1000 clay titles over Nadal. If they didn’t *want* to adapt, as you suggest, well, OK, but that (a) leaves the door open to criticism, which has poured in by the gallon, and (b) gives them very little right, I think, to complain or boycott because, by your claim, they made a decision. They weren’t asked to play on some incredibly new surface like an aqueous solution or a mine field.

“And it’s one thing to adapt to different types of surfaces over time, but another to do so when the nature of the court is a surprise until just before the tournament. Novak and Rafa rely more on defense and court coverage than most anyone, so it makes sense that slippery courts would bother them the most.”

Again, all of the players had the same amount of time to adjust, so it’s not like the few days of warm-up that Djokovic and Nadal had to adapt was any shorter than what the other guys had.

Not sure I’d put Djokovic and Nadal in the same bucket re: defense, btw. True his defense is amazing and keeps him alive in points, but in this way I think he and Federer are more alike. Both guys are primarily aggressive from the baseline but use their defense effectively to turn offensive. Defense doesn’t win titles on fast surfaces — offense does.


Lulu Iberica Says:

the mind reels,

Of course all the players have to move well enough to be balanced, etc, but T-bird, JMDP are not sprinting around the way that Rafa and Novak do. I think the nature of Rafa & Novak’s games makes it more difficult to adapt to a faster and slippery surface. Just my opinion. Rafa just said in his pre-tourny Rome press conference that on clay the winner should be the one who moves better and makes fewer errors, and that if someone struck a great shot on the Madrid court, that was it, he couldn’t get to it. This court rewarded aggression more than defense, which is not typical of a clay court. That’s all I’m saying.

And of course Rafa and Novak can be faulted for not wanting to adapt;however, I don’t fault them too much (other than for being overly vocal) because adapting to these courts was not going to help with the rest of the clay season.

I said, “And it’s one thing to adapt to different types of surfaces over time, but another to do so when the nature of the court is a surprise until just before the tournament” because Rafa and Novak have obviously adapted over time, winning on grass, clay and hard courts.

Bottom line is, I think some people are just happy that this court didn’t play like a typical clay court and also prefer first-strike tennis over defense. Fine, but don’t pretend that someone like T-bird is a freakin’ better tennis player than Nadal.

I don’t understand who you’re talking about here, Djoko or Nadal: “True his defense is amazing and keeps him alive in points, but in this way I think he and Federer are more alike. Both guys are primarily aggressive from the baseline but use their defense effectively to turn offensive.”

No doubt this is true: “Defense doesn’t win titles on fast surfaces — offense does.” I think Rafa would say clay isn’t supposed to be a fast surface.


Lulu Iberica Says:

^Sorry, Rafa did not say that in his pr-tournament presser at Rome. Must have been after the loss to Verdasco. I’ll look it up. Been reading too many blogs and it’s all blending together!


Lulu Iberica Says:

Hmmm… all I have is a random poster on a blog with a list of quotes from Nadal and Djoko. Unsurprisingly, the Madrid tournament doesn’t seem to have this presser on its site, and the You Tube video I found is only 35 seconds long and doesn’t contain these remarks. Why is it so difficult to find presser transcripts?


Dan Martin Says:

Even in its red clay days Madrid played faster due to altitude right? How much faster did the blue clay make it?


Dave Says:

Pete Bodo’s views are insightful:

“When Lepchenko was asked how she liked the blue clay of Madrid, she merrily pointed out that it was a lot like the green Har-Tru on which the players in the USTA training center headquarters in New York practice every day….

The blue clay seems very similar to the gray-green Har-Tru (a.k.a. “American clay”) that has been used at dozens of tournaments, albeit most of them in the U.S., since the beginning of the Open era. The U.S. Open was played on Har-Tru from 1975-77; the three champions were, respectively starting in 1975, Manolo Orantes, Jimmy Connors, and Guillermo Vilas. You’ll note that two of those three were Spanish-speaking, clay-court experts, Connors being the exception. What he talked mostly was trash.

So forgive me if I think this hue and cry over the blue clay of Madrid is absurd, and that the players who criticized it most vocally are way out of line. This is neither the first nor most significant (historically) attempt to depart from what has become to many the tedium of red clay, and I think it would a pity if Rafael Nadal’s carping and Novak Djokovic’s borderline tank-job against his Serbian pal Janko Tipsarevic forced Madrid to return to the old, rust-colored stuff. Something very much like that could happen, though, given that red clay is the default-surface (actually, the only surface) at this time of year, and in the end, who wants to rock the boat, or trigger a boycott by two of the top three players?

There’s no need to reiterate the shortcomings of the blue clay in Madrid, but it’s worth pointing out that none of the criticisms had much to do with the fact that it was blue. The complaints had to do mainly with the density of the foundation and the “slipperiness” of the top coating, shortcomings that probably have less to do with the color of the clay than with the fact that the courts have to be dug up and re-planted after each tournament. To that end, Tiriac has been assured by the Madrid government that the courts will stay and be maintained until next year’s event (the rest of Tiriac’s comments in the piece are also worth reading).

This raises the question, do we really want a blue clay court that plays just like a red one? I mean, heaven forbid that Nadal or Djokovic would have to adjust and adapt to playing on a court that plays more like Har-Tru than the same-old, same-old red clay, the way Connors, Vilas, Bjorn Borg and others were obliged to do at the U.S. Open.

And let’s add a little more perspective here: Connors was defending champ at the U.S. Open the first year it was played on Har-Tru (he had demolished Ken Rosewall in the final of the previous year, on grass). As well, Pat Cash won Wimbledon on grass in 1987, and he narrowly lost the Australian Open final on grass to Stefan Edberg. Cash had a terrific grass-court game, but in 1988 the Australian Open moved to Melbourne Park and the event was played on the now familiar hard courts. Cash sucked up his disappointment and still made the final, where he lost a terrific match, 8-6 in the fifth, to Mats Wilander.

It’s hard for me to muster much sympathy for Nadal and Djokovic; I just hope that together they haven’t killed what seems to me a promising respite from the glut of red-clay events at this time of year. Each in his own way was being a little slippery last week, too.”
http://blogs.tennis.com/tennisworld/2012/05/the-racquet-scientist-species-of-clay.html


Lulu Iberic Says:

Well, Bodo makes a reasonable argument, although not everyone thinks there is a “glut” of red clay events. My take is that Rafa and Novak should arrange their schedules as they see fit and not complain so loudly. I have heard Fed praised many times for his “wise scheduling,” and avoiding injury and fatigue, so I think everyone should take a page from his book and play a schedule that maximizes the chance of winning big events.

Annnnd, now on to the red stuff that some of us love!

Anyway,


Lulu Iberic Says:

^ Mystery how that “anyway” got there. iPhones!

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