As we near the debut of Ion Tiriac’s controversial blue clay courts in Madrid, several top players have voiced their concerns over the initiative. But today, a few players have actually come out in support of the move away from the traditional red.
Tweeted WTA star Sorana Cirstea, “Im pro blue clay.Its a big step forward,an improvement in our sport,a way to grow and push our bounderies to progress!”
Worth noting is that Cirstea and Tiriac, the impresario behind the blue clay, are both from Romania.
Spaniard Fernando Verdasco also seemed to like the courts initially, but he needs more time on them. “Coming to Madrid is always different because of the altitude, it’s harder to control the ball, but as far as the court is concerned, in terms of mobility, I liked it a lot,” Verdasco said. “It’s easy to move around it and the mark the ball leaves on the surface is crystal clear. Perhaps the surface is not quite as bouncy as normal, which will make the courts slower, but that could just be a result of us having trained on an indoor court in the cold.
“I’ll have to try out an outdoor court when it’s sunny to verify that, but from today’s experience the courts seemed slower than on previous occasions and the ball seemed to lose a lot of speed when it hit the surface. It’s clear that when you hit the ball it doesn’t stop dead and in Madrid you need a few days to get used to that, but that’s more to do with the altitude than anything else. In general I liked what I saw, but I’m hoping to be able to test the courts out with some different weather conditions.”
And following a big Stuttgart title over the weekend, Maria Sharapova approved of the new hue. “It’s a little bit different. I’m here for the first time, but I think it’s unique. It’s obviously what the tournament wants. It’s all about being unique and different. I think that for the show and the excitement of the tournament. It’s very nice.”
Canadian Milos Raonic had his first hit on the smurf turf today but didn’t sound overly impressed. “Hitting on the Smurf clay, the bounce is lower and the 2 courts I practiced on were a bit more slippery than usual” he tweeted.
Clay King Rafael Nadal is expected to test the new courts out tomorrow upon his arrival in Madrid.
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