Nadal Chokes On Blue Dirt In Stunning Loss; Federer, Djokovic Cruise; Sharapova v Serena Friday

by Sean Randall | May 10th, 2012, 7:34 pm

Irrespective of court color or surface speed, Rafael Nadal cannot blow a two-break, 5-2 set lead to a guy he’s beaten all 13 times. But that’s exactly what happened to Rafa today in a stunning loss at the Madrid Tennis Masters. Nadal choked twice serving for the match in the third set allowing Madrid resident Fernando Verdasco to steal a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 victory over his countryman.

”After losing so many times against honestly the best player on clay ever, to beat him on clay is the maximum,” said Verdasco to the AP. ”I don’t have words. I am happy for the win, although it is difficult to hold myself together now. I need to calm down, rest and get ready for the next match.”

The puzzling loss ends Nadal’s 22 match win streak on clay and it will go down as one of the great chokes in Rafa’s career.

“I knew I was in control of the match [at 5-2 in the third set],” said Nadal. “I lost because I deserved to lose today, even if I was winning 5-2. When the moment came to close [out] the match I didn’t know how to do it. I made a big mistake with a smash at 5-2 and 15/0, but that is just anecdotal. That’s what happened, he played better than me and he beat me.”

While Nadal gave credit to Verdasco, afterward he fired a major blow to the tournament’s fleeting hopes that the blue clay would return in 2013. Nadal vowed to boycott the event next year if the tournament didn’t switch back to red.

”Being able to move is very important for me and if I can’t move well, I can’t hit the ball well either,” said Nadal said to the AP. ”If things don’t change, this will be one less tournament on the calendar for me.

”This surface destabilizes the game. It is a completely different game and I don’t want to take risks.”

Later in the day, Novak Djokovic, who was so outspoken about the surface on Tuesday, followed Nadal in threatening to skip the event if it remained true blue.

“You are tripping and slipping and sliding all the time and the winner will be the one who doesn’t get hurt until the end of the week because a lot of players fell down,” Djokovic said to the BBC.

Perhaps motivated by Nadal’s upset, Djokovic put on a good performance dismissing Stan Wawrinka 7-6, 6-4. No Chuck Norris help needed today as he advanced to face countryman Janko Tipsarevic who looked really good in beating Gilles Simon.

In between, Roger Federer followed up his fine win last night by ripping Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-2 in under an hour. Federer moves on to meet David Ferrer tomorrow in the quarterfinals.

Federer leads Ferrer 12-0 but on these slick courts the Spaniard’s going to make Roger hit a lot of balls, so it should be a good match.

“This is a tough task ahead of me but I feel like I’m playing pretty good the moment and I expect myself to play better each match so we’ll see how it goes tomorrow,” said Federer.

And if Federer wins the title he’ll return to No. 1 No. 2. Again, with Nadal out it’s a great opportunity for someone to grab the points and prize.

While the Big Three grab the headlines, Juan Martin Del Potro continues to dominate. The Argentine won his 9th straight match on clay pounding Munich finalist Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-4. Del Potro takes an 18-set win streak against the tricky Alexandr Dolgopolov tomorrow. I think Delpo stays hot but with the Ukranian’s unpredictable nature it figures to a tough test.

Tomas Berdych also appears to be in fine form on the blue. The Czech chunked Gael Monfils 6-1, 6-1 and he’ll next face Verdasco. And after Fernando’s big career win I like Berdych to come through.

The women’s quarters are also up tomorrow and the highlight is a showdown between divas Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. Serena, who beat Caroline Wozniacki today, has been dominant on the clay this year while Sharapova, who calls herself a “cow on ice” on clay, has also been playing well – she just won Stuttgart. Given the slick courts I think I’ll lean to Serena in this one. Serena’s the better mover and has the edge in power.

“She’s been playing really well and has the upper hand going into tomorrow’s match with so much momentum in winning in Stuttgart,” Williams said of Maria who she leads 7-2. “I’m going out there with nothing to lose and that’s always a good position to be in.”

As for the topic of the day/week, the blue clay, it’s safe to say this will be the last week we see it. The risks far outweigh the rewards in this case – and the reward really was only a better fan viewing experience which wasn’t under scrutiny on red clay. So with Nadal and Djokovic both talking boycott and with the other complaints it’s a safe bet the blue is toast for next year. The tournament and Ian Tiriac had their one chance and they…Blue it.

Personally, I’m OK with the courts being blue, but it’s not right that they are playing this dissimilar to the French Open. That’s not fair to players and that’s really why this tournament will likely have little bearing on what we’ll see later this month from the men in Paris. And that’s too bad because the event has an incredible field with potential still for many more great matchups. But in the end it will all feel just a little hollow.

Tennis Channel has complete coverage starting at 7am ET. Women’s quarterfinals at 5pm ET on tape.


MANOLO SANTANA start 10:50 am
[1] V Azarenka (BLR) vs [8] N Li (CHN) – WTA
[9] S Williams (USA) vs [2] M Sharapova (RUS) – WTA
Not Before 3:30 PM
[6] T Berdych (CZE) vs [15] F Verdasco (ESP) – ATP
Not Before 7:00 PM
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs [7] J Tipsarevic (SRB) – ATP
[3] R Federer (SUI) vs [5] D Ferrer (ESP) – ATP

STADIUM 3 start 1:00 pm
[10] J Del Potro (ARG) vs [16] A Dolgopolov (UKR) – ATP
Not Before 4:00 PM
[4] A Radwanska (POL) vs [Q] V Lepchenko (USA) – WTA
[5] S Stosur (AUS) vs [Q] L Hradecka (CZE) – WTA

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Rafael Nadal Is Still Mad About Madrid’s Blue Clay, But At Least His Knee Is “Perfect”
Serena Rips Up Azarenka At WTA Championships, Lifts Sharapova’s No. 1 Hopes
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334 Comments for Nadal Chokes On Blue Dirt In Stunning Loss; Federer, Djokovic Cruise; Sharapova v Serena Friday

Brando Says:


”The blue clay is extracted from crushed brick, and the material is stripped of its iron oxide before being dyed. The process involved has made the blue court feel much slicker than the traditional red clay.”

So basically the COMMON AGREEMENT about the court for most players is that it is too slippery. Based on this above explanation- that is down to the colour.

Pretty much means the organisers can kiss blue goodbye after the final on sunday.

majorfedfan Says:

You mean Federer will got back to #2, not #1 (though hopefully that will eventually happen).

And I don’t think in the end it will be a bit hollow. Part of tennis is about adjustments (to different surfaces, different players, etc.) There was no reason Nadal should have lost that match today being up 5-2, whether he likes the blue clay or not. It looks to me like a lot of the other players are doing a good job on it.

racquet Says:

One minor correction: Federer would be No. 2, not No. 1.

Dave Says:

Nore of Nadal’s comments in this article (as well as Federer and Verdasco)

Dave Says:

Excerpts from Jon Wertheim’s SI blog yesterday:

Question: “Just read Novak Djokovic’s comments on the blue clay, which are very consistent with Rafael Nadal’s complaints. I took particular exception to Djokovic saying, “If you don’t have, especially, top players testing the court and agreeing for this change, that should mean something.” Why should it only be up to the top players? There are many players who will either participate directly in the tournament or who endeavor to qualify for the main draw. Are they less important than the No. 1, 2 or 10 players? I think Nadal, Andy Roddick and lately Djokovic are often guilty of trying to bully the top tennis officials when a decision is made that they don’t agree with. Thoughts?
— Jonathan, Chicago”

Wertheim: “We just saw it from a different point of view, Tangled up in Blue” …

I admit to mixed feelings to this hulla-blue (sorry). My first reaction: Get it over, guys. I was looking at the sports ticker last week and there were blurbs about Junior Seau’s suicide and NFL head trauma. The Miami Heat looking like a lock to win the NBA’s Eastern Conference. The upcoming Floyd Mayweather fight. Some baseball. Under tennis: “Players see red over blue courts.” Oy. Them’s some bad optics, as they say. (Speaking of bad juxtapositions, if we really want to get carried away: At a time when Spain, the host country, has a record 24.4 percent unemployment rate, is it especially poor form for players to complain about their work conditions?)
While it’s probably regrettable that the Madrid promoters chose a different type of clay than other events, including the forthcoming French Open, big deal. Courts always play a little differently from event to event. (You think the speed and bounce at Queen’s Club is a perfect facsimile of the Wimbledon grass?)

And while I respect players’ willingness to use their acquired capital to voice their grievances, I sometimes wish they picked their battles more judiciously. You only get so many bullets. You really want to fire away here? As Blair of Atlanta so nicely put it: “I think [this whole situation] deserves a ‘seriously’?”

Plus, this all bodes ill for the ongoing mandate to embrace change, a point that’s Pete Bodo made as well. We talk about playing let serves and no-ad scoring and radically altering the calendar. When changing from red clay to blue clay practically incited a riot, how is the sport going to do anything meaningful?

Then, however, I heard the cavalcade of objections by the players, uniformly citing concern about injury issues. I also read the quotes in this article, one that Jonathan referenced above and more, and, when finally through laughing, sympathized a bit more with the athletes. Tournament chief Ion Tiriac and his lackeys know better than anyone that the players lack real power, the ATP is in a compromised position, and that he can spin a publicity stunt as “innovation.”

Let’s reserve judgment until after the tournament. Let’s make sure no one gets hurt. Let’s see if the “improved visibility” lives up to its billing. Meanwhile, inasmuch as Nadal and Djokovic feel a bit like pawns for an enterprising promoter, it’s not hard to see why.”

About 85% of all Madrid’s mens and womens singles and double matches have been completed — yet there has not been one report of even one player being injured due to the blue clay surface. The plsyers who remain for the remaining matches are mostly the most experienced and best movers in tennis.

jane Says:

I think someone is jumping the gun: “And if Federer wins the title he’ll return to No. 1. Again”

harry Says:

@Sean, Like racquet said earlier, I am assuming that you meant Fed to move up to No2.

But I am not sure even that is correct: Fed (without last year’s and this year’s Madrid points) is now at 8520 points, while Rafa is at 9615. So even if Fed wins it, he “only” gets 9520; still behind Rafa (who will get a few points for this).

rcm Says:

So because Rafa doesn’t play well on the blue clay – or wait – doesn’t play well after being up 5-2 in the third set, this means that wins for the players who adapted aren’t worth as much? Huh?

Player safety should NOT be jeopardized for better viewing, or whatever the reason for the blue. But, as someone mentioned above

“About 85% of all Madrid’s mens and womens singles and double matches have been completed — yet there has not been one report of even one player being injured due to the blue clay surface.”

It’s too bad that Rafa said the previous day that if he’d lose here, it wouldn’t be because of the blue clay. It makes his comments after his loss seem almost like sour grapes.

Brando Says:

IF harry is correct then post madrid:

Nadal = 9615 (Present points) + 90 (madrid points) = 9705

federer = 8520 (present points) + 1,000 (for a win) = 9520.

So nadal WOULD REMAIN NO.2 by 185 points!

I find this strange since i thought on the system points are deducted/ added POST TOURNY not prior.

Wog boy Says:


I don’t know who comments where you are watching but Koenig and the other commentator said just that “it is not same clay as it was last year” full stop. That was few days ago. There is argument it is same for everybody but that is not true, it suits only one style of game and that is not the game of top players, not just top4.

sheila Says:

werent there 2 big injuries in barcelona where 2 of the players got their feet stuck. forgot his name, but he was playing murray and he fell & had to go to hospital. i’m not an expert & certainly dont ? the players who feel the blue clay is slippery but have there been injuries as there were in barcelona on red clay?????

steve-o Says:

Love all the tough talk and hectoring threats about what’s supposedly gonna happen to Tiriac and the Madrid organizers.

We’re three days in, and already it’s supposed to be a disaster. Because of what? Because Nadal lost, and some other players have a few misgivings.

Tomorrow Djokovic may be singing a different tune, especially if he makes semis. If he wins the title he will not be boycotting next year or ever, I guarantee you that. If he really feels his safety is being put at risk, he can lodge a formal complaint with the ATP.

As far as we know, the players are not being asked to risk their safety. If they were, that’s a much more serious matter, but no one has accused the tournament of violating safety regulations.

Tiriac is a smart guy and I’m sure he knew that a severe player injury would be the end of his experiment, and he probably had his people check and double-check to make sure the surface was safe.

Barring health and safety, the players are paid to play. Tennis is their job. They are not being asked to play in 120 degree heat. They are not being asked to play in the midst of a monsoon. They are not being asked to play barefoot on live coals. They are being asked to play on a clay that feels a little different. No one’s rights are being violated.

Compared to the days of Laver when they played in mud in the aftermath of torrential rain this is nothing.

No shit, the players have trouble playing on a novel experimental surface and the initial response is bafflement. I’m pretty sure the players of yesteryear had trouble playing on the first hard courts, too, until they figured it out. You aren’t going to swim like Michael Phelps your first time in the water.

The players could look at this as adversity or a challenge. How can they adapt? What new tactics do they have to come up with? What new dimensions does this add to the game?

Surely, the point of sport can’t be to do the same old thing over and over again. New techniques, new methods of play, must be introduced to keep things fresh and interesting, otherwise it gets stale.

I find it truly rich that Nadal, who more than any other active player is the beneficiary of changes in the game (innovations in racket technology and the slowing of the courts which favored baseline play and uber topspin), is now griping about a new change.

He of all people is least entitled to complain about changes in the game. If the grass had stayed the same speed it was in the 90s I doubt he would have even made one Wimbledon final, let alone have two titles.

Now he loses one clay Masters match and he threatens to boycott the tournament–this from a man who’s won 15 clay-court Masters!

He’s supposed to be the King of Clay, let him prove it by figuring out how to win on clay that feels different from what he’s used to. Is this how a King acts? Takes his toys and goes home when he doesn’t get his way? He’s not even willing to try to figure out this puzzle? Does he not have any professional pride to motivate him to tackle this challenge?

I thought he was the ultimate fighter and NEVER gave up, and here he is threatening to pack it in after one loss.

We got a great serve-and-volley match from Federer because of the blue clay. Even if Tiriac didn’t intend for that to happen, it’s an interesting side-effect and it may stimulate novel changes in the game in the future.

Del Potro bested Cilic. Berdych hammered Monfils. Federer dispatched Gasquet. Despite his griping, Djokovic beat Wawrinka in straight sets. Matches are being played as normal, and the higher-ranked players are mostly winning–as one would expect.

It’s not like Thomaz Bellucci and Thiemo De Bakker are cleaning up while the top four all tumble in the first round. If that were the case there might be a legitimate argument that the blue clay is throwing everything into chaos and should be abolished.

But that didn’t happen. Only ONE top-four player got upset–and that by a very talented but underperforming opponent who has come very close to beating him on a couple previous occasions.

So contrary to what Nadal would have you believe, it appears that it is possible for good players to not only survive but thrive on the blue clay. Just not him, maybe. But why should his sole whims decide the fate of this experiment?

There is too much of people talking shit in media venues where they shouldn’t talk shit. Press conferences aren’t the right venue to air grievances. Things get distorted and taken out of context.

There is a system to handle disagreements, and so far as we know, it works reasonably well.

Mouthing off and slinging mud and threatening to boycott after a loss does a disservice to the sport and only makes it harder to deal with the genuine issues are there. It’s counterproductive and unprofessional.

Kimmi Says:

just watched the third set of rafa/verdasco. verdasco was hitting the lines in the last 3 games. he was going for big returns and the balls were just in. rafa was caught late most of the time.

Instead of blaming the surface for rafa’s loss, we should also give credit to hot sauce. I think he played very well in those last few games.

harry Says:

@Brando, i thought so too — with respect to how atp shows points. but it seems otherwise. for eg., if you go into their ranking breakdowns madrid is not listed.

Rita Says:

no no no… :)

Nadal still gets 500 points deducted since he made the final last year.


Nadal = 9615 (Present points) – 500 (madrid points) = 9105

federer = 8520 (present points) + 1,000 – semifinal ponts from last year (for a win) = 9430.

If Fed loses the final he will have 9030, 75 points behind Nadal’s 9105

I think this is correct.

Brando Says:

@Wog Boy:

Hi there- hope all is well for you. I agree with what you say in your post. A few points about this surface:

– Players- including federer- have said it plays as one of the fastest surfaces on tour.

– Simon even went as FAR as saying madrid is the worst surface on tour.

– Djokovic after his first match said ‘this is not tennis’ and after the wawrinka match supported nadal’s views saying ‘whoever wins this will be the last one standing’.

– Nadal- as we all know- is not pleased with this surface at all.

The surface is SLIPPERY, the points are short, ALOT of players are serving brilliantly- all attributes NOT COMMONLY associated with a clay tourny.

This tourny suits an OFFENSIVE, short points style- hence : del potro, berdych, verdasco, tsonga, tipsarevic have ALL made last 8.

One commentator- Mark Petchey- even said that this court plays FASTER than wimbledon.

It’s EASY to say that conditions are same for all- they obviously are.

BUT EQUALLY EASY it is to RECOGNISE that this court:

1- this court DOES NOT support players who RELY on movement such as nadal and djokovic- due to the slippery nature of the court (which is a danger to them and all).

2- is NOT ideally placed at a couple of weeks before the FO. Would anyone want to play in an indoor court a week before wimbledon? NO. So why has a major clay tourny produced a surface like this before FO?

Rita Says:

Live ATP Rankings – Last update: Friday, 11 May 2012, 03:34 CEST

harry Says:


please check:

it shows rafa at 9615 without madrid. to confirm, i added all the points below and it gives 9615… i would be really surprised if rafa’s points are reduced ;)

Brando Says:


i checked at ATP web also and you are RIGHT. Thanks.

For those who DOUBT harry’s post, just check on the ATP website, and check your fav’s ranking breakdown.

For example, nole LOSES 1,000 points rome points on monday (14th) which is when that tourny starts. Naturally after Rome, his new points get added on.

so YES, harry is right.

Rita Says:

Unlike on the official Atp website.

In the link I provided all points for Madrid have already been deducted.

harry Says:

thanks Brando ;)

Rita Says:


I promise you, your wrong.

the Atp ranking system was last updated on 07.05.2012

Rita Says:

On the official website I mean.

Humble Rafa Says:

If the Arrogant One wins the men’s title, he will be number 3.

If the Arrogant One wins the men’s and women’s title, he will be no. 2

Brando Says:


naturally it was. The ranking is an ATP SYSTEM.

Next update will be on monday (14th), madrid ends on sunday, the new ranking WILL REFLECT WHAT THE PLAYERS HAVE GAINED FROM THERE.

Monday (14th) players SHALL LOSE rome points from last year, rome starts on monday too.

A week later, by rome masters end, the next ranking shall reflect what players have gained in rome.

And so forth.

It is QUITE EASY to follow.

blank Says:

Since the calendar was shortened by a week or so this year, I guess all points have been dropping the week prior to the start of each tourney.

Even though Fed can’t retake # 2 ranking this week, he has a good chance to do so at Rome where he is defending only 90 points.

Skeezer Says:


Ditto; WORD.


U need more practice and less talking.

Rita Says:


Thanks for clarifying I was getting really confused.

Rita Says:


Thanks for clarifying I was getting really confused.

And how come the Atp themselves say that Federer will become No. 2 should he win?

The 30-year-old Swiss has now reached the quarter-finals in all nine of his Madrid appearances. He won the title in 2006 on hard courts (d. Gonzalez) and in 2009 on the tournament’s transition to clay (d. Nadal). Should he reclaim the title this week, Federer will ascend to World No. 2, surpassing Rafael Nadal, who lost to Fernando Verdasco earlier Thursday.

harry Says:


Rita is right after all.

I mean, when Monday comes along, ATP is going to deduct Rome points. So the situation would be:
Rafa = 9615 + 90 – 600 = 9105
Fed = 8520 + 1000 (for a hypothetical win here) – 90 = 9430.

Rita Says:



Thank you!

So Im not crazy after all.

This is good news.

Rita Says:

Although my interpretation of the point system was wrong I admit.

harry Says:

@Rita, no problem… i did not realize that the next ATP update would include Madrid’s and Rome’s! ie madrid from this year and rome from last year…

Sean Randall Says:

Apologies for writing Fed would go to No. 1 with a title. It was a rushed typo. What I meant was No. 2 per the TV from Robbie and Jason.

Sean Randall Says:

Steve-O, this isn’t just about Nadal. You realize many of the top players have had a serious beef with this surface, not just Rafa.

And imagine what’s being said behind closed doors. What we get via the press is often just the tip or the censored version.

The point is, it’s fine to experiment with alternate playing surfaces and formats, etc. But to do so this close to a Slam and at one of the biggest tournaments on ATP/WTA is unfair.

Had they changed the clay from red to blue at lesser event like Acapulco or Casablanca you wouldn’t hear the uproar and it would have made more sense.

But this close to the French when players WANT to play on a surface similar to Roland Garros has really upset a lot of guys, including the Top 3 plus Azarenka on the WTA.

The tour, as I’m sure you know, is a partnership. Not a one way street. And in this case at a very key event this close to a Slam they weren’t consulted. The ATP approved the change without input from the players. And now we have dissent.

Then suggest the players should play regardless. If it’s a hardcourt event the week before Wimbledon then tough. They get paid! A clay tournament a few weeks before the Australian? So what! But really, does that make sense? Does that help the sport, the game?

And having watched some tennis this week, it’s been mostly crap. Federer-Raonic was so-so tennis. Nadal-Verdasco was awful for the most part. I’d rather get a root canal then be forced to watch the first set of Rafa-Verdasco again.

But I guess you saw it differently.

slicer Says:

I read that the organisers of Madrid Mutua Open are thinking of replacing the blue clay with a mix of granola and desert sand in 2013.

jane Says:

That link that racquet posted on the other thread does in fact confirm what Sean is saying, i.e., that it isn’t just Nadal who has spoken up with regards to the surface. Each of the top three have said something, and others as well. In addition, the article says the following, which strongly suggests the tournament will very likely return to traditional clay given the “feedback” we’ve heard so faR!:

“Organizers declined to comment, while the ATP said the blue courts are a one-year experiment and a decision will be taken on whether to keep them for 2013 once all feedback had been considered.”

jane Says:

^ From that same article:

“Roger Federer said he understood Nadal’s frustration.

“He was against it from the start and so was I so obviously for him to go out in the third round is disappointing,” the Swiss told a news conference.

“We never felt comfortable on the surface, it is a tough surface and that only makes you angry even more.””

blank Says:


Carlos Moya, now assistant director of the tournament, appears says otherwise.

blank Says:

sorry, meant “appears to say”

skeezer Says:

“He was against it from the start and so was I so obviously for him to go out in the third round is disappointing,” the Swiss told a news conference.”

But Fed, you played through it and are still in. YOU made the adjustment as a top player, HE didn’t.


And then Verdasco was lying on the Blue Clay after his epic win ( he thought, but from some…NOT! )and kissed the surface……so yeah….its all bad and Hotsauce shoulda never won……tell that to Verdasco!

C’mon. It was tough for everyone , no? To my eyes I saw Rafa sliding a lot less and Verdasco at times should of had ice skates on…..So don’t discredit the winners……they have to play through the same stuff…..omg

sar Says:

Verdasco, Djokovic, Nadal, Almagro, Gasquet, Stakhovsky Wawrinka and others all complained. I say they get rid of the blue clay even though it looks really beautiful.

skeezer Says:

^ great players, the really great ones, should play better than most on ALL types of surfaces, regardless.

Wog boy Says:

Hi sar, how is going.

I know I am one of very few that didn’t and don’t like watching that blue colour and players playing on it, it must be something psyhological but I felt strange, like they are playing at the bottom of the sea or at the best at the bottom of disused swiming pool. I don’t have a problem with HC blue colour but this one makes me feel uncomfortable, it is not the same blue.

jane Says:

blank, that’s an interesting link. The actual quote from Moya (not what the title says) implies he is unsure: ” We must find out if it’s the court’s fault, or the fault of the blue clay. There has been some underlying problem where material that does not hold, but I don’t think it is by virtue of it being blue ” – He says it may be “the fault of the blue clay”; he also makes it clear they want to make players happy. So I would imagine if they do determine the blue clay is the issue, then they will change it. But they sound uncertain, at this point.

Question for anyone: can a tournament go against the ATP if the ATP says it should be changed back?

jane Says:

Wog Boy, maybe it’s the uncanny aspect of it: it looks like it should be a hard court (blue) but it sort of looks like clay (there’s dust) but it plays sort of like a hard court, but players can slide and slip on it, etc. It’s in-between.

Wog boy Says:


I don’t know the reason, it could be as you say but I really don’t enjoy it watching. I will enjoy it even less of Nole is going to lose:)

BTW, that dude Milos is taking over me. I love watching him play and his personality, something fresh and new on ATP tour. I will repeat myself, he is destine to win something big if he stays healthy.

harry Says:

@Wog boy, i watched the highligghts of fed-milos. i liked his calmness during the match and his post-match interview…

harry Says:

yikes – “highlights”

Michael Says:

It would call this as a bizarre match. To analyze it, in the first set we had a resurgent Verdasco against an ordinary Nadal. While in the second set, we saw the familiar pattern of Nadal taming Verdasco who saw his game falter and this continued in the third set as well when Nadal was breaking Verdasco at will. Verdasco was serving rather poorly and infact had a near dozen doublefaults to his credit. Infact Nadal was two breaks up in early stages and then gave one break back and again broke Verdasco to lead 5-2 and was serving for the match. Then this bizarre thing happened where Nadal’s shots just refused to cross the net and his game totally collapsed. Verdasco came behind from a 2-5 deficit to win the match at 7-5. Was this bad play by Nadal, good play by Verdasco or did he lose it deliberately to register his displeasure on the court conditions with the Madrid tournament organizers ? I have never seen Nadal play so badly in all these years he has been playing Tennis. He has lost matches putting short balls but he rarely finds the net. This match was quite familiar to the Roger-Tsonga match in Toronoto when Roger led 5-1 in the final set and then lost the match due to total collapse of his form. So, these things happen in Tennis. But if Verdasco did not win today against Nadal, he never would have won in his lifetime. Nadal can beat players like Verdasco, Berdych playing with even one leg. Such has been his domination against these players. But it was a different day and Nadal lost and poor Verdasco won at last. A minor consolation to all his defeats against Nadal.

Michael Says:

I think this is the moment Roger should seize upon. He should do his best to win Madrid and become No.2. That would make his life easier in majors.

Wog boy Says:


The only time I saw Milos talking was last year after he lost against Roddick and he impessed me, he looks like a young man who knows how to conduct himself, and talk sense.

Does this, what I said, sounds good in English?:)

Michael Says:

Is Nadal threatening the Madrid tournament organizers to make the courts slow next year when he raises this prospect of boycotting the tournament ???????

harry Says:

Of course it does, Wog boy :)

Wog boy Says:



harry Says:

WB, do you play the bracket challenge?

Wog boy Says:

No, I don’t have a clue how to do it and I don’t want to embarrassed Nole fans, particulary when I read the names of the posters who are in:)

Andrea Says:

We’ll never know the answer now but I’d put money on nadal not saying he would boycott the tournament had he actually won the event. This is nadal’s money season and he’d been title less for almost a year until the clay season started again so am I surprised he’s a bit pissy? Not really. But the tactful thing was to have left and not come back next year rather than making a big dramatic “boycott” exit.

harry Says:

ha ha! some people keep their monikers from here. but others use a different one. it is a smaller group there and so the comments have a slightly different flavor.

Skeezer Says:

Winners rarely complain, they just win, but losers do. It was not unexpected to hear Rafa give the usual excuse moniker of some kind after a loss.

Sure he gave credit to Verdasco, but he couldn’t just stop there. And what got the most press? Pouting threats to not come back to defend his puny points. Typical Rafa camp stuff.

Novak, a completely different class act, after he WON, mentioned the court instability, which carried more justifiable weight than the Boy who always cries “Wolf”.

All in all, I count most who complained vehemently…….LOST, and the guys who won the complaints are much fewer. That is because there are some, who are really good, can win on any surface that is thrown at them. That, is a skill and talent few have. They don’ t need a specialized prepared surface so they can play well. They adapt. They welcome the challenge.

King Federer Says:

Again, how many injuries on this supposedly “slippery” surface? Zero.

I am guessing the number should be high or at least non-zero if we were to go by what these whiners are saying.I guess we will keep hearing about these blue courts till rafa finds another excuse to explain his losses.

It looks like people have made up their mind that they should oppose the change and then they seek reasons to justify it.

1st excuse was courts are slippery, yet we are at quarterfinals and not a peep about injury.

now that the 1st excuse is debunked, they have come up with this does not fit in the “clay season”. why not just have 3 masters on paris clay and then the french open on the same courts so that players can “adapt” to clay. or maybe rafa would want all of them in monte carlo.

the funniest comment – after all the whining, mr. humble rafa gives this gem “this day is about fernando”. LOL! how one wishes you remembered that before your whining about the courts which you have been doing for a few months or maybe even a year.

it was a breath of fresh air to see raonic put on a serve clinic. for wussies who cannot serve, they should stop whining and learn how to serve. i guess these wussies will not stop till the atp turns into the WTA, where none except a couple of players can really serve!

Rita Says:

Does anyone know, when Nadal lost in the third round of a clay court tournament?

Must be ages…

Rita Says:


when last Nadal lost.


Aravind Says:

I think this was a puzzling defeat to say the least. This reminds me of the time that Roger lost to Tsonga in Toronto after being up 5-1 in the final set. That was in a fast hard court. This is all the more baffling. Whichever way you look at it, it took a epic choke on Nadal’s part to not be able to serve out the match TWICE!! This will not affect his chances in RG, but this creates some sudden loss of momentum for Rafa. In this scenario, Rome becomes very important. I think Nadal is going to go all out trying to win it. A loss to Djokovic at RG will be really bad for him.

All the same, some credit is due to Verdasco. In the past he has been guilty of conceding defeats with poor body language, but here he stayed strong. He hit some astonishing returns of the Nadal serve that gave him the chances to win. He has always had the power to hit off Nadal but has never had the will to close the deal. Same with someone like Berdych. It is astonishing at the lopsided records of Nadal and Federer(Federer Vs Soderling/Davydenko/Roddick) and Nadal Vs Berdych/Ferrer/Verdasco etc. These are all very good players and it is only normal that they will win one match at some point.

What a God given gift to Roger Federer here. He seems to be concentrating on wining and not whining, which is the right way to go. After a 5 week break, he played a very good match to win against Raonic(in retrospect, Rafa or Djokovic might have not got out of that one). The court is slippery yes, but the players that are doing well are the ones that are getting on with the job, like Delpo or Ferrer, who relies on his movement as much as Nadal or Djokovic do. I think Federer has a great opportunity here to go up to number two and have the possibility of Nadal facing Djokovic in RG SF(the draw will be fixed of course to allow this not to happen).. But Federer has to try hard to win Madrid and go deep in Rome. He is then more or less assured of getting a second seed in RG. It will help of course if Nadal does not win Rome.

steve-o Says:

What we get in the press is mostly sensationalism. It’s easy for a few big-name players to make headlines by spouting off.

And the media is willing to oblige them by hunting for scandals. The merest whiff of controversy is blown into a monumental crisis.

You are not going to get a representative sample of opinion by listening to what the top four or five players in the world say in press conferences. By virtue of being at the top they have a bigger megaphone than the rank and file.

No one in the world has ever played more than three actual, in-competition matches on this surface. According to some here, that’s enough experience for universal condemnation and the immediate tarring and feathering of Tiriac and his management crew.

Let us at least play out the tournament before casting judgment. If it’s too slippery they can try to make some changes. It’s not like they didn’t try their best to make it like normal clay.

Regarding the history of changes made by tournaments: some time ago the All-England Club changed the grass at Wimbledon, saying it’s easier to maintain. It wasn’t to improve conditions for the players, or for the benefit of the viewing audience (as the blue clay is supposed to be), mind you: just to make it cheaper for the All-England Club to keep the courts up.

This alteration made the courts slower, favoring baseline play and negating the effectiveness of serve-and-volley. It significantly changed the way tennis is played at Wimbledon–the most sacred and traditional tennis tournament in the world.

I don’t remember hearing any players suggest boycotting Wimbledon over that, nor complaining that it was done without player input. Where was all this noise when that happened, I wonder? Where was the “this isn’t grass” and “this isn’t real tennis” and the threats to not play the next year if the grass wasn’t changed back?

So I don’t want to hear anything now about how huge an injustice is being done the players. More drastic changes have been made before and will be made again, and there’s always going to be a lot of bellyaching about changes because that’s what people do in the face of change.

Threats to boycott a tournament are not an appropriate way to deal with complaints about the surface. There are other ways to register discontent.

Threatening a boycott for anything less than a major crisis puts everyone in a difficult spot. It puts more pressure on the tournament, the other players, everyone involved. It is completely unnecessary and unprofessional, and may be counterproductive.

If a tennis tournament can be bullied into making changes by top players, the tour is really going to suffer because it means that three or four guys at the top can dictate terms to each tournament, just by threatening to quit. That hurts the journeymen players and the audience and it’s totally undemocratic.

That is the underlying issue here–one that is clouded by halfassed claims that Nadal’s claims represent the will of the majority of players. Last I checked he quit his post as VP (just before an election) so he’s no longer representing anyone but himself.

And whatever complaints players have had, the vast majority of them have not suggested a boycott. Even Djokovic’s “Yes, the same” is ambiguous.

A clay tournament a few weeks before the Australian? So what! But really, does that make sense? Does that help the sport, the game?

That’s not a valid comparison. I know Nadal compared it to changing Cincinnati to grass, but his analogy is complete nonsense.

The Madrid surface is not hard court. Or grass. It’s, manifestly, obviously, clay. It is the exact same crushed-brick material they use at RG. The grains are the same size. The only difference is a coloring process that may or may not make it play slightly differently.

The power players like Del Potro and Berdych, whose progress in Madrid is supposedly an aberration due to the new surface, both made RG semis. Both have won clay-court tournaments. So it’s not like they can’t play on “normal clay.” They are doing about as well as you would expect.

Except for one high-profile upset, the top players are still in it. They may be complaining, but they are playing–some of them, like Federer and Del Potro, quite well, despite their claimed difficulties.

Not shockingly, the higher-ranked players are making the adjustments. That one highly-ranked player wasn’t quite able to do it–despite leading by 5-2 in the final set–is not in and of itself a decisive argument against the surface. It’s just a bad day for him, pure and simple. I don’t think you need to look any deeper than that.

People always complain about change. Not because the change is bad, per se, but simply because it’s change.

Who knows how much of it is the placebo effect? Just because it looks different everyone thinks it’s really different.

Without a controlled experiment it’s impossible to separate the psychological effect of the color change from any actual change that may or may not have occurred.

Next year they should do this experiment: use the same process they used this year, except color it red instead of blue. Then we’ll see how many complaints there are. I’m guessing there will be many fewer.

The claim that this kind of inconsistency will screw up preparations for RG is laughable on its face. Players deal with such inconsistencies at all the Grand Slams.

For instance, the hard courts at Rogers Cup and Cincinnati play differently from each other and from USO. Cincinnati is generally acknowledged to be the fastest, while the Rogers Cup is a little slower.

They don’t even play Rogers Cup on the same courts every year–they alternate between Montreal and Toronto. And there is a difference between the two: for instance, Federer has won twice in Toronto but never in Montreal, and it’s probably due to differences in the courts.

ZOMG! How could anyone ever be expected to prepare for the US Open under conditions like that? They should just rip up Cincinnati, Montreal, and Toronto and install a replica of the Flushing Meadows hard courts on all three.

Oh, they’re not going to do that? Then I don’t want to hear another word of complaint about how blue clay messes up their preparations.

And as for grass, the season is so short that most players have time for only one warm-up tournament. And I’m guessing the grass at Halle and Queens is slightly different from the All-England Club grass.

Oh no! How can anyone play at Wimbledon with only one grass warm-up on grass that is not exactly the same as Wimbledon grass! Yet shockingly, they seem to have managed.

There are THREE clay Masters that serve as a warm-up for RG. USO gets two. AO gets none. Wimbledon gets none.

I never heard any complaints about that situation for AO/Wimbledon/USO. It was just accepted. And that’s fine, it seems to have worked fairly well.

Now one of those three clay Masters makes a mostly cosmetic change and it’s suddenly the end of the world. Well, there’s still two others, both of which play slow like RG, so what’s the big deal?

Mind you they already changed the calendar and switched the order of the tournaments just so that Rome, with its RG-like, sea-level conditions, would come last instead of Madrid.

Not one single argument against the blue clay holds any real water. Despite all the bellyaching about “injury”, no one has incurred serious injury. High-quality tennis is being played and top players are winning.

One major upset has occurred. And that’s about it.

The rest is just a bunch of kids making funny faces at being forced to eat an unfamiliar vegetable for the first time. It will pass.

Seth Says:

Nadal is an idiot and a congenital whiner. Ad hominem attack? Sure is. And only because the target has habitually proven deserving of it. Injuries (the knees!), surfaces, the rankings system should be two years, the the-whole-damn-world-is-out-to-get-me-so-if-I-win-I-prevail-against-formidable-odds-and-if-I-lose-I-have-a-convenient-excuse attitude. Shut up and play, Rafa. This constant parade of excuses and complaints is jarringly unprofessional for a top-ranked player and multiple Grand Slam champion.

Gordo Says:

Okay then, there is a bit of confucion as to how Federer can get to #2 on Monday. He can by winning Madrid. Here’s how…

The Rome Masters is one week later this year, meaning the points for that tournament from 2011 come off this Monday. This is important for Fed-Nadal, as follows –

Nadal now has 9615 points. He gets 90 points added for today’s loss in Madrid (His 2011 Madrid came off last week, as it did for all players)

This gives him 9705 but he also is about to lose last year’s runner up points from Rome which is 600 points. So on Monday he will have 9105 points.

Fed has 8520 points with his 2012 Madrid points still to be determined. If he wins Madrid he gets 1000 points which will give him 9520 and he only loses 90 points from losing to Gasquet last year in the third round of Rome, so he will have 9430 and he will be in 2nd spot behind Djokovic, just in time for Roland Garros!

But in order to pass Nadal and grab the number 2 spot he must win this tournament. Anything less (even as runner up) will put him close to, but still behind Rafa.

Why is this important? If Federer is #2 and Djokovic is #1 then the draw will determine that Nadal will be seeded #3 and would – should all get to the semis play one of Djokovic or Federer. I think we all agree on red clay if Nadal winds up on Fed’s side he will advance to the final. But if he lands on Djokovic’s halk Federer could have a clear run to the final and he may not face Rafa, if Djokovic beats him in the semis.

We will see.

Gordo Says:

Uh, the last paragraph above in my post is referring to Roland Garros scenarios. :)

Aravind Says:

Gordo, this is a great opportunity for Federer. He has to make a push to win Madrid. He has a tough route to the finals, Ferrer will be tough and he could meet Delpo and then Djokovic. Delpo is due a win against the big 4. He is too good a player not to. In your scenario, if Nadal faces Djokovic in the SF, even if he wins, it might be an all out war similar to the AO final and may deplete Nadal’s reserves. Except a fit and fully firing Del Potro, Federer would be the favorite to reach the final.. That would be the best scenario for Roger!

Dave Says:

Nadal the sore loser should not detract from Verdasco’s glorious moment in the sun. Verdasco was very close to pouring Feverdasco’s Hot Sauce all over Nadal in 2006 London Queens Club, 2009 Australian Open and 2011 Cincinnati. Verdasco won 51% of the 184 points in Madrid.

There’s a word for what Nadal and Djokovic are doing when they seek to change the court surface by threatening to boycott Madrid — given their status as top players — unless their demands are met. It’s called extortion.

It’s too early to presume that the blue clay dies with 2012 Madrid. It’s quite possible that once Rome and Madrid are broadcast on TV, the majority of the viewing audience will demand blue clay over the objections of traditionalists. As well a fix will probably be found to reduce the slipperiness of the blue clay (this is a very simple manufacturing process, it’s not rocket science). Nadal and Djokovic – cocky from their own marketing image and from successfully negotiating with the Slams for prize money increases — may be threatening boycott this week… but once 2013 Madrid comes around, they may be once again greedy or desperate for the ranking points. Or Tiriac/ATP may find a way to get them on board. Money often works wonders.

2012 Madrid was an experiment with a different surface… and this experiment will be over on Sunday anyway. Yet many objectors are looking too short term at immediate repercussions and consequences. Tiriac, the big sponsors and the ATP executives really don’t give a damn about how little bearing 2012 Madrid has on 2012 French Open. They are thinking about how clay court tennis will attract a bigger market for the next century. That’s what such experiments are for: you test something in the short term for application andgreater benefit in the long term, duh. Most changes in tennis have historically occurred without consulting or agreement from players. And players often play Davis Cup on surfaces that are different from the current season.

In future, if the blue clay (as it plays right now or a less slippery version) is installed on all major tournament clay courts for the 2013 season (from Monte Carlo to French Open), the players — within a few more days or weeks or months — would learn to move better on it and would use shoes designed for it. And if blue clay becomes universal from April to June, some of the arguments against it will disappear.

Slipperiness of courts is relative. If you take a bunch of good American players who have played only on gritty hard courts all their life and send them to play for the first time on clay at Roland Garros and on grass at Wimbledon… they are going to whine that these courts are unnaturally slippery and dangerous and difficult to play normal tennis on. However, as these athletes play more and more on the clay and grass courts – it may take days or weeks or months – eventually most of them will adapt and learn to move and play on these courts. They may not be able to play the way they play on hardcourts or be as successful, but they’ll be able to plsy on it.
It’s an exaggeration to claim that the risks outweigh the rewards. So far we’ve heard lots of whining – soundbites amplified by the news media — from only a small number of the 176 male and female players in the main and qualifying draws. Despite Djokovic’s hyperbole, there have been no injuries due to the blue clay after about 200 men’s and women’s singles matches, doubles matches and qualifying singles matches. Only 24 matches remain to be played featuring the mostly top players and/or best athletes left. 6 of 8 quarterfinalists on the mens side are all top 11 players (all are top 20 players), while 6 of 8 quarterfinalists on the women’s side are top 10 players.

One of the outcomes of the selfish whining and threats is that it shows everyone that this generation of top players owe their success to the relative homogenization of tennis court surfaces and balls. They become insecure and unable to adapt outside narrow court specifications.

nadalista Says:

Sean Randall says,
May 10th, 2012 at 10:47pm

Well said………….respect

madmax Says:

And having watched some tennis this week, it’s been mostly crap. Federer-Raonic was so-so tennis.

Sean Randall

Sean, seriously? Milos played astonishingly well and some of those volleys from Federer were vintage. The fact that it was also a three setter and fed won the tie break in the second set, added to the suspense. This may not have been a great match, but it was by no means a so-so match.

Imagine what your write up would have been if Raonic had won.

Steve-O, your posts have a lot of truth to them lately.

I would like someone to tell me please, WHY the addition of the colour Blue, would have made such an impact to Nadal’s game? Because if the only excuse is that it is slippy, then instead of blue, relate it to showery rain, wouldn’t this have had the same effect, but then no complaints?

I don’t get it. I really don’t.

Aravind Says:

@Dave.. “One of the outcomes of the selfish whining and threats is that it shows everyone that this generation of top players owe their success to the relative homogenization of tennis court surfaces and balls. ”

Couldn’t have said it better. The courts are slippery yes, but it is the same for all the players. It shows how much Nadal, Djokovic and Murray are reliant on grinding and defense and this is the primary difference between the top players and the rest. The surface blunts their primary weapon and makes this a level playing field, that is why you see so much whining.
This style has been made possible with the slowing down of the courts in the last few years. When they have to play first strike tennis, as it is required here against top quality players, they are finding it difficult.

grendel Says:

Serena Williams initially said she could see no difference. Now she says:””This clay is a little slippery,” she added. “I feel a little bit like an ice-skater out here, but actually I can ice-skate so it’s not a bad thing. I think I can play on any court.”

The question I want to ask is this: when Serena makes these grandiose claims, does she have a twinkle in her eye or does she not? I have a feeling that a)she doesn’t but that b)it’s beside the point because the universe had a twinkle in its eye when, after untold aeons of evolution, it remarked with a smug smile: let Serena Williams be.

Incidentally, she makes a very good point. As Carlo has said, top tennis players are pretty pampered. Their complaints when faced with the unexpected (steve-o makes the point perfectly) are frankly fodder for the satirists.

Tennislover Says:

I am just a touch disappointed that all this controversy about the surface has overshadowed some outstanding tennis. So many of the matches have been so competitive that I think I have enjoyed this event more than any any other tournament this year. The surface has kind of made it more of an even playing field for most of the players and I don’t mind that at all. I have also been struck by how well some players have moved on this surface. Raf himself looked outstanding against Davy and didn’t appear to have any obvious issues. Maybe, he is just very careful about any injury jeopardizing his clay season since the stakes are the highest for him in this part of the season.

grendel Says:

Some flashes of outrageous brilliance from Dolgopolov, but he can’t keep it up. Having broken back against del Potro, he tamely surrenders his serve. delPo – steady as she goes – takes the first set. No idea, really, where delpo is at. He’s looking good, but against a player who traverses from heaven to hell and back again within the space of minutes, form is hard to gauge.

grendel Says:

Tennislover – second what you say. It’s all an absolutely ludicrous storm in a t.c. The tennis is fun and different. What, different? Call Union Headquarters! Can’t allow this..

grendel Says:

for someone with such startling skills, Dolgopolov is a pretty woeful drop shotter – if today is at all typical. Still, he’s holding serve.

Aravind Says:

Grendel, agree with you on the Dog. He makes such outrageous shots, unfortunately, he can’t seem to string together points and games. This is why he is not an elite player. Delpo looks very very solid. Nothing spectacular, but this guy is so solid of the back of the court. Very difficult to break down any shot. He can force errors from the back of the court in a way no other player can. He always seems to play within himself, yet has such destructive power.

grendel Says:

“This is why he is not an elite player”. True, Aravind – but do we want him to change? And could he, in any case, change?

As a matter of fact, Dolgopolov apparently scored more winners than Delpo. And yet never for a moment did you feel del Potro wasn’t in control. This is his 10th win in a row. He’s beginning to look ominous. If he gets to the final, it will be no surprise if he wins.

I hope Berdych beats Verdasco – a player I like, actually, but he’s another mercurial player, and he could easily crumble. Whereas Berdych is looking mountainously solid. The prospect of a match between him and del Potro is one to savour indeed.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Grendel, great comment about Serena. She is giving competitors a lesson in how a champion comports herself. When you whine, you diminish yourself, and Serena doesn’t want other players to see that weakness. Men, take notes.

Does this affect Rafa at RG? You bet. Rafa’s inevitability on clay took a big hit last year with the Nole losses, then the Isner near-upset. This is going to give just a few more players the confidence that they can do it too. And it will weigh in Rafa’s mind as well. He’s still the favourite, but every dominant champion has to start losing at some point, this is how life is. We all look for clues and mostly the ones we see are false, but the intrigue is they could be real, and eventually, they are.

Turning into a very interesting tourney! If Rog can take #2 before RG, he could conceivably win RG without facing Rafa. This is a huge opportunity for Fed.

If Del Potro makes the final or wins it, wow, do we have a dynamic set up for ROland Garros! We’d have Rafa and Nole as strong contenders, Fed as a weak contender, Del Potro and Raonic as legit dark horses, and Isner, Berdych, Ferrer and Murray as spoilers.

wilfried-b Says:

@Sean Randall May 10th, 2012 at 10:47 pm Federer-“Raonic was so-so tennis”.
I don’t understand your critical judgement of the Federer-Raonic match, Sean. I didn’t see the match as such, but what I saw in the hightlights seems to contradict your point of view. Federer and Raonic both played apparently some outstanding, entertaining tennis.
@Steve-o and @Dave
Good arguments and comments.

Brando Says:

@TV: seriously don’t read too much into it. Let’s see at the end of Rome to see if this was a major loss. When a guy like nadal has been so dominant on a surface- even this year also remember – and he losses, people naturally are QUICK to jump to conclusions. BUT what about the man himself? Post match he states he couldn’t move properly due to the surface. He’s not alone in that deparment. Let’s just see what happens in Rome- where the surface will not be an issue for him.

Brando Says:

Congrats also to JMDP- IF nole beats tipsy (he should) then JMDP is new world no.8! Vamos delpo!

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Brando, I agree as far as the physical realm is concerned. Where the spiritual world goes, though, one never knows. I suspect any loss notches a chink in one’s mental armour, while fortifying contenders.

One more point about the complaints. I don’t like Federer or Nole’s comments, I think they’re whingey. But Rafa has gone way too far. In any other sport this would result in a fine- look at hockey, baseball, basketball, football: when any player or coach complains to the media and goes too far stating that their game itself is a joke, they are given major fines. And there’s a good reason for it, because it has us fans talking about complaints rather than the sport. Its one thing to say, I don’t like the surface, frankly, it is slipperier than others. Its another to say, This tournament should be stricken from the pages of history and never spoken of again.
That is conduct detrimental to the sport.

Brando Says:

@TV: the furthest rafa has gone is to say IF it remains the same next year he won’t show up. Nole said the same post wawa match. Post his first match he said “this is not tennis”- so HOW can you differentiate between rafa and nole here? Or is it selective criticism?

Tennis Vagabond Says:

OK Brando, they’re all being douches.

grendel Says:

right at the start, and Verdasco seems to have recovered from his victory against Nadal. They’re both hitting screaming winners off each other. This is fun – and to a degree, the surface is responsible. Up the blue!

Brando Says:

@TV: THANK YOU! It wasn’t too hard to say was it? Lol, sarcasm aside- I’m like ANY fan here. When players bitch and moan, it annoys me usually. And even though he is my fav, I do recognise that rafa does so more than most! HOWEVER, on this one I reckon he and the others are on the same page, singing the same song! And IMHO their concerns about the slippery nature of the court are valid. IF your workplace was a risk to your safety wouldn’t you also complain? I know I would. So I can understand rafa and the others in this matter.

trufan Says:

The Arrogant One is just whining after his loss to Verdasco, which is what he does EVERY SINGLE time he loses – its either injuries, or courts, or choking on a banana – something.

All Nadal wants is a SLOW SLOW court where he can moonball and bore everyone to death. Except, of course, his fans, who seem to like those endless moonballing rallies, enormous time wasting (he spends 80% of the match time either resting or picking his butt – that’s a fact guys), or just complaining (or taking bathroom breaks to throw off the opponent). Wow, that some sore loser.

Open your eyes guys. he is 26 now. He WILL blow leads like that now. Get used to him losing early, even on clay.

I can see Isner whipping his picked butt at RG this year, if they meet.

Polo Says:

Are the players really whining or is the media making it look like they are by needling them with questions that trap them into answering what they think about the blue court? It does look like only the big guys are complaining. But is it because they don’t get the opinions of the lesser players? Skewed reporting, I suspect.

jane Says:

Berdych continues to bulldoze his way past opposition, yet no one mentions him for the title. He has played well against Fed and Nole recently should one of them get to the final. Maybe Berdych is even more of a threat than Delpo? Just a thought.

grendel Says:

for MMT if youre reading

Verdasco just broken, and Cowan asks Leif Shiras if he thinks problem with Verdasco’s serve technical or mental. Shiraf replies:”I think it’s technical. Just doesn’t get the racket up into the hitting position soon enough. he’s always playing catchup so his timing is always a little off. And if you have a technical flaw anywhere in your game it just seems like pressure of the moment and what your opponent does to you on the court can gradually break that down and expose that weakness when it’s most important you execute. So when the pressure’s on, Verdasco fails to get his serve right”.

Since this is your philosophy, must be music to your ears, MMT? Incidentally, I think Shiraf’s exposition, which was spontaneous and ad lib and he’s still watching the tennis, was pretty impressive.

Verdasco just missing – he has much more variety than Berdych and is a pleasure to watch.

Tom Gainey Says:

Some developments via twitter this morning:

Richard Ingham Evans @ringham7 : Ion Tiriac stepping down from role in Madrid next year. Nothing to do with blue courts.

Lisa-Marie Burrows @tennisnewsviews ‏: Del Potro in presser said that how Nadal is feeling at the moment is more or less how all of the players are feeling with the conditions.

enrico maria riva ‏ @enricomariariva : Toni Nadal said that Murray didn’t go to Madrid because of the surface

ivo karlovic @ivokarlovic ‏: On Smurf clay Rafa is Gargamel.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Yes Brando, they all are being poor sports to my mind. But this safety issue is silly. Its a sport. You need to get used to the surface. No one is throwing knives at them or exploding bombs. No ones lives are at risk. Its a new surface, it will take some getting used to to see how much sliding one can get away with. Its obnoxious for folks to complain right away because something is new and they are unused to it. They will get used to it.
The timing before RG is unfortunate, but not the end of the world- they still have Rome. How many grass tournaments do most players get before Wimbledon? Usually one, and many even skip that. There are two weeks from Madrid clay to Paris clay. There are three weeks from Paris clay to London grass. Players deal.

jane Says:

Interesting tweet from Ms. Burrows, Tom. On one hand, someone suggested that what we hear in the media is only the tip of the iceberg. In other words, there could be lots more grumbling in the locker room but we don’t hear it. On the other hand, Polo just suggested what we hear may be skewed by needling journalists, to fan the flames. Hard to say which it is.

Lol, at Ivo’s tweet. :)

grendel Says:

well, poor old Verdasco’s variety has just gone down the sink hole in the face of Berdych’s sustained power which is very impressive in its own way. As I said earlier, I really look forward to the battle of the 2 titans in the semi – sounds a bit childish put like that, but come on, we all secretly respond like that don’t we. We like our Arnie Schwarznegger and so on don’t we? And what’s Arnie without a decent villain to oppose him…

nadalista Says:


“The court is slippery and I apologize,” said Tiriac. “We wanted to make sure that we had no player injuries, no ankle problems.

“As a result, the court experts rolled the base with too much pressure. When the blue sand was put on top it was unable to mix with the base; that created the slippery conditions.”

So Rafa was right afterall, the “blue-ing” of the court is what caused the slipperiness because it was not done properly.

and Rafa had the balls to stand up to the tyrant……….

jane Says:

Moya implied something similar – something about the base – in the link blank posted.

Does anyone have the direct quote from Delpo yet, about the surface?

Skeezer Says:

“Tiriac said that players who have complained the most might have had the hardest time adjusting to the surface. “No court in the world will improve without people playing on ”

People need to read the whole article….

jamie Says:

On another forum someone posted this long prediction according to Chinese Astrology, he had gotten this prediction from a poster who had sent him a PM, apparently someone who studied Chinese Astrology.


This year is full of water. Djokovic is weak metal person, metal likes to hog limelight too. Water stress metal, this year he will be incredibly stressed to produce, i doubt there is any slam left in him as the water year starts at feb 4 2012(Chinese regard first day of year start at feb 4th). Last year is strong in metal which aided his weak metal.

For federer Earth person. Federer chart is dominated by metal(talent) with a bit of fire(resource), where fire is never going to burn his metal. The fire in his chart makes him think of funny skills which sometimes lead to his errors and downfall. Water destroy fire in 2012, I think he will follow plan strictly to play against opponent weakness this year. The water also means indirect wealth, he will get a lot of money from commercials this year. He receive some earth this year too which is his self element(he don’t need it). Competitor is as strong and gonna share the wealth with him. But this earth also make his metal stronger, he will rep up performance, hit bigger etc.

For nadal is alot of fire in chart. He is earth person too. Overpowering Fire produce earth which means mental strength and hardwork, this year water stop the fire. His hardwork dropped and mental shape is poorer. However his chance is summer apr, may and june, the period when water is weakest. But he cannot overplay this year, will cause injury easier due to weak mental and stubborn nature to fight(alot of earth, self elements). Also his output is always shortlived due to weaker wood in chart, not enough to fuel fire.

To conclude i think strongly nadal and federer take up the 3 slams. If Nadal don’t take W and RG in summer, he will miss his biggest chance in most fav period, somebody new will take. Either fed or murray. Also Fed is more dangerous player for Nadal than Djokovic this year. The fire weakened in Fed’s chart don’t have adverse effects, in fact better, more focused mentally.

Skeezer Says:

Serena loves the stuff, T bird is playing like a monster on it….wait….they are winning…..

Mark Says:

@ Trufan. Enough of your BS. Rafa is here to stay and you better get used to it. If his matches are so boring why do you watch?

nadalista Says:

Tiriac said that players who have complained the most might have had the hardest time adjusting to the surface. “No court in the world will improve without people playing on it. But the players are correct, it is too slippery.”

Yes, skeezer, People need to read the whole article themselves………otherwise we might leave out quotes like the one at the end of the quote you picked above, the one you inadvertently left out……the one where Tiriac admits that the players are correct, it is too slippery…

trufan Says:


Oh, I don’t watch his matches anymore that much (at least not the full match), so don’t make assumptions!

“Rafa is here to stay”. Wow, he is 26 in human years, and 30+ in Nadal years given his wear and tear. He is gone buddy, get used to it!

He is just a sore loser.

Aravind Says:

Wow.. Blow out by Berdych against Verdasco.. Berdych is actually playing very good tennis this year. Pushed Rafa to the limit in Australian open and moving quietly to the semis. So we have the battle of the giants in the SF. This will be a close one to call. Both are playing well. Delpo has played a lot of matches in the last 10 days and it may catch up on him. Earlier in Rotterdam, Delpo routinely beat Berdych. This court may be more to Berdych’s liking. BTW, awesome that Delpo has a real good chacnce to become number 8. He deserves it. He is too good a player to be below the top 8. A genuine top class player..

trufan Says:

ooooh, nadalista whining again….

Nadal is just a player who plays well on a single surface – slow clay. Anywhere else, he has trouble winning ANYTHING. So he complains.

How many players have actually been injured in Madrid this week?? ZERO. Some players adjust to it fast (like Federer), some keep complaining.

It’s fast, adjust to it, Nadal – or is it too much for your game?

trufan Says:

Berdych is a choker – come on guys, don’t you remember the past?

Verdasco was physically and mentally completely drained today, from his win yesterday. Its no surprise he didn’t show up at all today.

trufan Says:

I anticipate a Delpo Federer final, with federer winning again.

Mark Says:

@ Trufan not sore loser at all. He takes his defeats on the chin more than most. Read his presser again when he says Verdasco played better than him. To me it was a freak win by Verdasco. Probably Rafa felt sorry for him and let him win. Anyway the Hotsauce was crushed by Berdie.

Mark Says:

ANYBODY but Choc Boy to win this tourney!!!

nadalista Says:

Well, at least now we know that it wasn’t blue clay Tiriac put on top of the hard-court base in Madrid, it was blue SAND………you do not need to be a genious to see why the surface is slippery….

This is beginning to have an ominous pong to it…..

grendel Says:

jane says:”Maybe Berdych is even more of a threat than Delpo? Just a thought.” Possibly so, after this impressive Berdych display. However, Berdych has been bossing around flair type players. Faced with his own medicine, he might not react well. del Potro has had his measure in their last 3 matches. And the Argentine is definitely the steadier character. Still, it could be really tight.
“In other words, there could be lots more grumbling in the locker room but we don’t hear it.” So what? They’ll get used to it, poor dearies.

Mark Says:

If anything the players should sue Tiriac for making them play on this dangerous surface!!

jamie Says:

According to Chinese astrology, Nadal, Federer will win the remaining 3 slams this year with Murray having chances of winning his maiden slam this year if they slip.

trufan Says:

This is classic double speak – when someone praises another person, and then at the same time slips in something else. Nadal should run for political office!

jane Says:

But it is interesting that there are complaints about slow hard courts and slow grass courts too, for e.g., at IW or Miami. And I remember when the AO changed to blue – lots of surface talk then as well. Players are bound to complain about surfaces – too fast, too slow, too sticky, too slippery, and so on. Not just Rafa re: blue clay. But the show goes on…

I look forward to reading Delpo’s exact quote though, re: the tweet Tom posted.

Skeezer Says:

This is beginning to have an ominous pong to it…..

Lol nadalista then don’t “ping”


Delpo vs Tbird….major match coming tomorrow, both hitting well.

jamie Says:

It would be something like this:

FO: Nadal or Federer

Wimbledon: Nadal or Federer or Murray

USO: Federer or Murray

jane Says:

Madrid should be made a grass masters methinks.

El Flaco Says:

I don’t think you will have ankle injuries with a slippery court. When you try and slide or change direction and your foot gets stuck that is when you hurt your ankle. That could happen on a sticky clay court. Players aren’t getting their feet stuck. It’s the opposite You could injure your knee, hip or groin in these slippery conditions.

trufan Says:

Mark says “dangerous surface, players should sue”.

Can someone post some evidence that this is dangerous surface, other than rich players whining??

Skeezer Says:

^read nadalistas link about that..

Skeezer Says:

That was for el flaco and mark

Mark Says:

Can’t wait for Rome to see Rafa dancing around on his beloved red clay – win or lose.

rogerafa Says:

@ jamie

The Chinese astrology predictions contradict a lot of what your friend predicted especially about Roger. What astrology does your friend practice? Spanish? Delpo or Novak were supposed to win the US Open and Roger was not going to win any major. Now he is a contender for all the remaining majors. The Chinese must love him.

“Wimbledon: Nadal or Federer or Murray”

or Novak or Berdych or Tsonga or…….

Robot Says:

@jamie wat a joke you are/the psychic friend of yours !!! Before some months you said FED wont win anything again. Now you are contradicting by tipping him as a favorite for French open , wimbledon and US open? even clay??? Get a life

Mark Says:

Here is my prediction : French Open – Rafa. Wimbledon – Rafa. Olympics – Rafa. Don’t care who wins US Open.

trufan Says:

Here is MY prediction – Mark will eventually find a way out of Nadal’s butt, for sure by the Olympics.

Nadal has two more tournaments (Rome and RG) before his season shuts down for the year.

Oleg Says:

Same old Nadal bashing from the Fedaholics (hi Dave) and people making statements about a surface they haven’t even played on (that’s all of you on this board).

All we have to rely on is the player’s statements on the blue clay. The majority of them don’t like it. The top 3 players and money generators (Federer, Nadal, Djokovic) don’t like it.

At the end of 2006, the NBA tried to change the ball (new synthetic ball vs old leather) that the players played with. A few months later, the players were not happy and they switched back to the old ball.

When you try to make a broad change, without first consulting the players or giving them some kind of testing period, you are setting yourself up for failure.

Mark Says:

Another prediction is for trufan never to be seen or heard again. Absolute IDIOT!!!

jamie Says:


These predictions are according to Chinese Astrology not my friend the psychic who is not Chinese or anything close to being Chinese.

jamie Says:

My friend never predicted Fed wouldn’t win anymore slams. I said weeks ago that was me joking trying to upset the Fedtards.

jamie Says:

My friend’s accurate predictions are done at the beginning of EACH slam. Capice?

jamie Says:

So wait until each slam begins to get the accurate prediction.

jamie Says:

Right now the only predictions are those from the Chinese Astrology.

FO: Nadal or Federer

Wimbledon: Nadal or Federer or Murray

USO: Federer or Murray

For my friend’s predictions you have to wait until each slam begins to get the accurate prediction.

skeezer Says:

Former world No. 3 Ivan Ljubicic tested the blue clay at Madrid last year and admitted it did “look a bit slippery.”

But the Croatian, who retired last month, didn’t believe it was a safety issue. Part of being a pro tennis player is adapting to different surfaces, he said.

And besides, the biggest challenge at Madrid isn’t the clay — it’s the altitude. Balls fly faster through thinner air and Madrid is 650 meters above sea level.

“I would say that grass courts and even the hard courts are a lot more dangerous than clay — any clay,” Ljubicic told CNN.

“Regarding adaptation, tennis players face different surfaces on a weekly basis, every clay court is a bit different. I would say that the altitude in Madrid creates bigger problems to players than the color of the court.”


Kimberly Says:

Skeezer–when Federer lost in Miami 2010 he complained bitterly about the humidity made the court so slow like he was playing on blue clay (of course now we know this was an incorrect anaology as blue clay would have been preferable)
They all do it. Your guy isn’t above it. And other players have compalined about how slow IW and Miami are.

Now Nadal complaining along with others here. Its a clay court tournament and its like playing something totally different 3 weeks before the French Open. Rather than focusing on improving movement and court positioning players are focusing on not falling. The bigger hitters will be rewarded.

The way I see it is Sweetpatrick had it right all along. It will be a Federer Del Potro final with the winner being the one who doesn’t have a loose service game. But other than points and confidence, I don’t see it doing anything to actually improve their game for RG.

madmax Says:

Kimberley, everyone complains about stuff as you say, but bitterly? The way that rafa has? No. And I don’t think anyone apart from rafa has actually said they won’t be playing on it next year. There’s a big difference.

grendel Says:

Did anyone manage to catch Sharapova/Williams? Sharapova has been playing well recently, and I thought maybe a good battle was looming up between them. The score line suggests otherwise. I saw a little bit of Williams against Woz, and she was absolutely awesome.

Serena Williams is a strange woman, to say the least. But one thing is undoubted – her tennis is phenomenal and also unique. I don’t think she gets proper credit for it. I remember a long time ago a political journalist who loathed Vanessa Redgrave’s politics and was always poking fun at them one day remarked that we didn’t see nearly enough of her on the stage. He was able to draw a distinction between Redgrave the posturing Trot and Redgrave the consummate actress. I think some people find it difficult to seperate out Serena the tennis player and Serena the poor loser and so on and worse.

That is a pity. My own suspicion is that she is unique in the annals of women’s tennis, and future generations will have a clearer picture of her greatness than we do today.

Kimberly Says:

Nadal’s loss biggest implication is ranking points. He is quite likely to lose the #2 to seed for RG and have to play Djokovic in the semis.

However, I say bring it on. I have faith he can win that match.

Daniel Says:

You know what surprised me the most. Madrid alaays bring the topic of altitude and that it playsd fast due to the thin air and this always favoured hard hitters and fast play. Nadal didn’t lime this at all and some suggested he should skip Madrid before the blue situation.

Seems everybody forget about this.

2 thins on the blues, yes it looks great and this main point of organiser were right, but also it looks more slippery.

Steve-o, Regarding the non injury topic, I disagree with you. Maybe the players are not going for it comcerning movement because they know they may slip. Everybody is not totally confidant on the surface and we get a lot if short points (associated with the altutued effect, which was always there). In previuos clay tourney se saw some injured and some ven said Monte Carlo courts had some major holes with lots of uneven bounce.

To me they should keeo the blue only if they can solve the slippery issue. In this tourney wrong footing is the best option. Almost zero player was able to win a point after being weong footed precisally due to slippery and not having eniugh time to recover.

Kimberly Says:

Grendel—i would rather have a root canal (to crib Sean’s line) than watch a Sharapova Williams match. The script is already written before the match begins. At least for Fed fans, fed does get some wins and their matches always have drama). For Serena Sharapova they are one sided blowouts excepting a few matches loooooooong ago.

Daniel Says:

Skeeze. I am only saw your post now and you think as I did:)

jamie Says:

Those Chinese astrology predictions make a lot of sense looking at what elements mean for each player this year.

Twocents Says:


ATP Spring is outdoing Arab Spring! LOL.

Tiriac the tyranny buried into blue clay.

Rest Well, Ion.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Serena’s story in incredible, but the current comeback won’t quite make the history books if she doesn’t cap it with a Slam or 3. That she is heads and shoulders above the current generation is obvious. That she can walk on court and win a tournament after all that time off, then come right back and spank Woz and Sharapova- how impressive is this woman? Her mental toughness is incredible. I think she beats any of the Big Three men in will to win. How she ranks historically, or would have performed against, Graf, Navratalova or Evert I can’t say, but she has kicked butt over multi-generations now.
She’s like George Foreman: she just pops up every now and then to remind people. And Foreman didn’t need to beat Holyfield to make magic, he just had to compete, and he did. That’s where Serena is. But imagine if Foreman had knocked out Holyfield or even Tyson- how much bigger the legend then?

Mark Says:

@ madmax . Djoker has said as well as Rafa that he will not be playing on this surface net year. Read press cons.

skeezer Says:

It’s well known Fed has brought up varied courts speed at times , but threaten.not to play? Regardless, fed a
has won on slow, fast med, slip stick whatever surfaces . Maybe Fed should protest to have all surfaces like WTF? Not! Fed doesn’t need anymore surface requirements. He ‘s proven be’s that good,

Rita Says:

I’m going nuts just reading this onslaught of justification for Nadal loosing.

People! Wake up! Wake up!

Nadal had a mental break down whilst leading 5-2 in the third. Probably the only time I have ever seen Nadal really choke!

And meany people have been honest enough to admit that.

I’m all for a big discussion about the blue, but that has nothing-zip, to do with Nadal losing to Verdasco.

Just accept and move on..

Mark Says:

@ Kimberley. Rafa might also be in Fed’s half of the draw that is if he loses his no2 ranking so not necessarily djoker in semis. You are right, bring it on, whoever.

Mark Says:

@skeez. Yup, your choc boy is the king of tennis. Happy??

Rita Says:

Please excuse my atrocious spelling!

I am Swiss… :)

Tennis Vagabond Says:

As a Fed fan, I do not relish his chances against Rafa on clay. I’d much prefer Fed in 2 spot and HOPE Nole does the work on Rafa. Sports is a dirty business, no?

Oleg Says:

Rita: Rafa lost because he choked, I don’t think the majority of people are disputing that, even Nadal himself. Yes, Nadal chokes sometimes. Federer too. Djokovic too. It happens.

Skeezer Says:

^like to call it nerves…choking sounds rude.

Anyways, unlike other Fed fans who seem to want to avoid a fedal, I would love to see Rafa and Fed meet in the finals of RG and Fed win. #17 on his weakest surface against his toughest rival. Bliss.

As mark would say….keep dreamin skeeze!

Mark Says:

@skeez . You got it in one!!

Rita Says:

Oleg Says:

Rita: Rafa lost because he choked, I don’t think the majority of people are disputing that.

Thanks for the reply, and I agree.

Its just frustrating(maybe cause I read comments from different web pages and condense them into one)
when I read so much about how Nadal hates the blue Clay and he lost cause of the surface.

I even read somewhere (after Nadal lost) that Tony, post-defeat, told the media he had advised Nadal not to play Madrid. Had Nadal won the match, this would not have been the case.

Nevertheless I agree there is no point in flogging a dead horse :), if you know what I mean.

Brando Says:

@skeez: 1ST BALLSY comment by a fed fan so far today! How can you be the GOAT if you Chicken out from facing someone? you can’t. I think fed would want to face rafa- and his fans should hope he does.

Rita Says:


I would be to nervous.

Another defeat to Nadal at RG and Ill start searching for a coffin.

Brando Says:

Feds got NOTHING to lose IF he were to lose to rafa at RG- no damage whatsoever! But IF he were to win…….

Tennis Vagabond Says:

I’ll take Fed winning a Slam without facing Rafa over Fed facing Rafa and losing bravely. SOrry to be such a lame fan! Of course, if Fed beats Rafa on the way to the title (as for example, Indian Wells and London in the last little while) I’m ecstatic. But, you know, we all know the clay triangle these three managed last year between them. Like Rocks, Paper Scissors. I don’t need to see my Scissors valiantly take on ROck. Let Paper wrap up Rock and I’ll be happy to slice Paper. Is that the chicken way to play the game?

Rita Says:

Yes maybe he doesnt, but I do!

jezzz I don’t know how long I can still do this.

Now I just dread the days of a Fedeless Atp tour.

Ok that sounds negative, Fed is the King and Im happy to see him..

It just seems so anatural, not to see him dominating..

Ok Im being a selfish Fan I know! But Heck!

This is my Fix lol.

Good Idea for a new App!

The Federator app.

All Fed fans in your are can see your profile-resulting in Perfect dates since there is a perfect and mutually loving topic of conversation!

Yey I’m gonna get my self a Fed lover!

the mind reels Says:

@nadalista: to your comment above about sand, *all* clay courts, whether red or blue, have a surface layer (i.e., a top layer above the crushed brick) that is, in most cases, made of fine sand. So, shouldn’t be surprising to hear that there is sand on top of this court…

racquet Says:

Is anyone watching ‘Serbs on Ice’? Jane?

van orten Says:

looks like tie break

van orten Says:

djoker is a show man …give him credit for that…

van orten Says:

we are talking about a guy here who slides on hard courts and even on grassssss !??!?!?!?!?!?!

Mark Says:

Shan’t be able to watch Fed v Ferrer. Come on DAVEED!!

nadalista Says:

the mind reels Says

…………..please read tiriac’s explanation of what went wrong in madrid……..i provided the link above…..

van orten Says:

i like tipsy and nole…a great match up …playing great intensive rallies without being boring

dari Says:

Rafa lost on a fast court that he didnt wanna play on in the first place? to a big hitter?- big deal. Up 5-2 in the third and blew it- that’s the question mark

Meanwhile, who has the haps on novak and janko, who are still in the tournament?!!

van orten Says:

tipsy takes first set 7:6

racquet Says:

Tipsy takes the 1st set 7-6. Credit to Janko for playing well but Nole isn’t moving as well as usual. He looks tentative…and those slips won’t do anything to help. Can’t count him out yet.

Epsilon Says:

This is to Nole fans:

What’s wrong with him?!!!

senthil Says:

All stand and deliver guys are making Semis..
1. Bedrych
2. Del Potro
3. Tipsarevic

Above all Supremely talented one and only – Roger Federer.

the mind reels Says:

@nadalista: thanks, I had read the article. Because the court (read: the clay layer) was initially rolled with too much pressure, the sand hasn’t yet fully mixed with it, which will slow conditions down once they do mix (which others, including Ljubicic, have said will happen with time, which seems reasonable to me).

When you say this (and I’ve quoted your entire post @ 11.08a):

“Well, at least now we know that it wasn’t blue clay Tiriac put on top of the hard-court base in Madrid, it was blue SAND………you do not need to be a genious to see why the surface is slippery….”

it sounds to me like what you’re saying is that they used sand instead of clay to make this court, which seems decidedly wrong to me. As I said before, most all clay courts have a fine layer of sand on top of the clay layer (which itself sits atop the “hard-court” layer you mention, though it’s not actually a true hardcourt beneath). What hasn’t happened here yet is that this sand layer hasn’t properly mixed with the rest of the surface, so you get this ice-skating effect that some have mentioned.

Meanwhile, Djokovic is down a set and a break to his buddy Janko. I wonder if this will be the week when the lower-ranked countrymen get their victories? Djokovic looks frustrated at times with the surface, but it just seems like Tipsarevic is weathering the conditions better.

racquet Says:

Nole broken and trails 2-4. He looks disinterested – seems to have checked out.

racquet Says:

Nole saves 3 MPs but Tipsy to serve for the match.

van orten Says:

hahahahhaa djoker saving three match points?????? now wait and see !!!! its not over till its over

van orten Says:

we can bet on it…tipsy will not win that match…if he gets broken now

van orten Says:

hahahaaa incredible djoker never never gives in,..and a little luck on his side ..and here we go djoker still there still there

the mind reels Says:

Tipsarevic responds by saving 3 break points…

van orten Says:

now mp!!!

the mind reels Says:

Nail in the coffin.

van orten Says:

ok and now fed vs ferrer

racquet Says:

Tipsy wins 7-6 6-3. Extraordinary. Would love to be a fly on the wall at the presser.

andrea Says:

ha! interesting that the two guys who complained the most about this tournament are the ones who are out early…self fulfilling prophecy? maybe its just best to keep your mouth shut and play the game.

nice win by tipsarevic!

Humble Rafa Says:

ok and now fed vs ferrer

Mr. “Won’t Shave, Won’t cut Hair” is a mental midget against the Arrogant One.

Skeezer Says:

Serbs on ice…lol.

Its obvious Djoker is not a happy camper here. His presser will be interesting…he seemed disinterested…whatever. Kudos to Janko for playingbetteron the BlueIce.

nadalista Says:

Muzza and Rafa to Nole at the Rome practice courts: What took you so long?

Nole: Got tangled up in Tiriac’s moustance, does chianti have gluten?

van orten Says:

i have just heard that wimby will be a lot faster this year…nadal and djoker are already preparing a presser in order to inform the world whether they will participate …

tell us humble rafa what is wrong about making courts faster again??? hahaha

racquet Says:

Haha…Chris Clarey from the NYT just quipped that Verdasco’s and Tipsarevic’s upsets deserve blue asterisks.

Oleg Says:

Next year the surface will be back to normal. Not having the top ranked players reach the latter stages of the tournament is a great way to lose fans/business.

Twocents Says:

Tiriac: Roger, here’s another 200 grands if you make it to final.

Fed: Nice, Ion. But my back hurts…

Tiriac: Suck off! Davee, here’s 100 grand extra if you make it to final, for you country folks!

Ferrer: Leave it here now or take it back to Romania!

senthil Says:


What happens if Delp potro starts to win more GS by beating them, then Nole/Rafa will skip next Madrid?

Noone cares about them next year.

Dave Says:

Ion Tiriac and his tournament director Manolo Santana have started their counter-offensive with the first step of a public relations campaign. They apologised for the slippery courts but defended the blue clay, which they said had nothing to do with the surface being slippery. Besides, there were bad injuries on Monte Carlo’s main show court, which proves that no clay court is perfect. In short, Madrid’s blue clay is not a failed experiment, the tournament organizers should be given the opportunity to correct any problems, and that Madrid will continue with the blue clay in future.

I know others have already posted to cherry pick what Tiriac said. But just to be clear, this is the whole picture:

– Tiriac said that the ATP must now deal with any players who have objections, deciding if they must compete or face sanctions in 2013. “It’s a pity,” he said of Nadal’s threat, echoed by Djokovic. “I don’t have a problem with Rafa or Novak or anybody and I would be very, very sad if they didn’t come and play next year” (In other words, if top players want to threaten Madrid with extortion, they will have to pay a price)

– Tiriac said that, while players have a right to criticise, with a week’s total purse of up to $11 million they should also take some responsibility as professionals to get on with matches. “That kind of money does not come from Mother Teresa. The players have to give back as well.” (In other words, this is not a charity — you rich brats need to act professionally and do the job you are paid so much for).

– Tiriac also said no one is complaining at all about the actual blue colour, which form all reports has produced brilliant television pictures around the world. “But I don’t think any player can complain about the colour. It’s better for TV, the spectators and the players. And tell me one sport that hasn’t had to change in the last 20 years? We fight with a lot of sports for that hour of television and that money from the sponsors.” (in other words, the experiment was successful as the market loved it and so Madrid should continue with the blue clay next year).

– Tiriac acknowledged and apologized for the short-term problems: “The court is slippery and I apologize.” “The players are right when they say it is too slippery” (in other words, Tiriac is a reasonable person who listens to players and even apologizes, so it’s time to show him and the tournament some sympathy).

– Tiriac said that players who have complained the most might have had the hardest time adjusting to the surface. “No court in the world will improve without people playing on it. But the players are correct, it is too slippery.” (in other words, you’re right Rafa, but it is your own fault for whining so much and losing. Your sacrifice helps the improvement and innovation)

– Tiriac and Santana claimed the problem (courts are slippery) has nothing to do with the blue clay. The problem was caused during a simple step during the laying/building of the courts from scratch five or six weeks ago before the tournament started. Tiriac: “We wanted to make sure that we had no player injuries, no ankle problems. As a result, the court experts rolled the (limestone) base with too much pressure. When the blue sand was put on top it was unable to mix/meld with the base. That created the slippery conditions.” (in other words, this problem has caused because the Madrid tournament wanted to be safer for players than Monte Carlo; the problem has nothing to do with the blue clay sand/grains/powder; and this problem is really easy to fix once the tournament ends)

In more detail: According to their explanation, the problem would have still happened even if red clay sand was used (the problem has nothing to do with the blue clay sand) since the problem was apparently caused by how the limestone base was prepared. The reason the courts became slippery was because the over-cautious court experts wanted a tighter limestone base in order to prevent ankle and other injuries (like in Monte Carlo). Thus, when they laid the courts, they over-rolled the 3-inch limestone base which over-pressed and packed the limestone pebbles too tightly… resulting in the limestone base becoming too dense, hard and slick… when the top layer of clay sand (0.1 inch or 2.5 mm) was then laid on top of the limestone base, the clay sand was unable to penetrate and grip the hard limestone base. The end-result was that the court surface was too slick. (Imagine two floors: one is a solid slick concrete floor while the other floor is packed with loose stone pebbles. What happens when you spread a thin layer of sand over both floors? The sandy floor with the concrete base will be more slippery because the sand cannot grip the slick concrete floor… while the sandy floor with the loosely packed-pebble base will be relatively less slippery because the sand can settle in, meld with and grip spaces between the packed-pebble base). Given the problem is due to the limestone base, once the tournament is over the court experts can remove the clay sand, then use jack hammers to loosen the underlying limestone base, and then re-roll the limestone base with less pressure, and finally lay the blue clay sand again on the limestone base.

– Tiriac said that the court conditions are gradually getting better and less slippery each day…. after late-night work on the courts lasting until 4.a.m. each night: “We are working daily to fix that and things are getting better. There are still three days to go this week.” (in other words, they are working their butts off and doing everything possible to improve conditions each day)

– Tiriac said that over time the courts will slowly improve further as the courts will season and start to play like traditional red clay courts. “With the blue courts now remaining in place all through the year, they will slowly become more and more playable, presumably easing player concerns.” (in other words, Tiriac implied that Madrid will continue with the blue courts for next year’s Madrid tournament).

– Tournament director Manolo Santana — a respected former French Open and Wimbledon winner (Santana was the great Rod Laver’s nemesis at the French Open) — added that his own reputation is on the line in his home country. Santana said the event has been working with clay experts from the French Open, Monte Carlo Masters and home-grown technicians. “Of course I’m upset with what some players are saying, but we absolutely did not want any injures (like in Monte Carlo last month). “I take all of the blame for what is happening. But on TV the pictures are unbelievable with the blue. We are working hard to fix everything.”

Also on site were the current and two past ATP chief executives, who backed Madrid’s choice to go blue.

_ Ex-ATP chief executive Adam Helfant said: “The ATP has a responsibility to expand the fan base and increase revenue. That doesn’t mean the ATP should throw tradition out the window. But if you don’t try it, if you don’t have innovation, you have no chance at all.”

– Ex-ATP chief executive Etienne de Villiers said he understood why players such as Federer and Nadal were eager to hang on to the traditions of the game. However, he said that with rival sports fighting hard for the television slots that guarantee millions of dollars of sponsorship income, innovation and change were important. “If you are going to be a pioneer you are going to have to take risks,” De Villiers told reporters. Pioneers either go out there and discover gold or they are found face down with a back full of arrows. There are always going to be disagreements but you need visionaries and you need change.”

Former No. 1 and French Open champion Carlos Moya, who is now the assistant tournament director and head of player relations for the Madrid Open, says the key objective has been achieved: from a TV viewer’s point of view, the ball is easier to see. Moya said the tournament organizers are listening to the players, he acknowledged the ‘slippery problem’, the problems can and will be fixed, and Madrid will continue with the blue clay for future Madrid Opens.

In any case, the blue clay hasn’t denied fans the opportunity to watch some highly competitive battles.

And Oleg: you still don’t know what you’re talking about.

Dave Says:

The ATP should investigate whether Djokovic tanked his matches at 2012 Madrid, 2011 ATP World Tour Finals and 2011 Basel in order to avoid playing Federer.

The ‘king of only red clay’ Nadal lost on his favorite hard court (Indian Wells) because the “crazy wind” and cold weather reduced the effectiveness of his game. Nadal lost in his own country’s biggest tournament because the blue clay surface and altitude also reduced the effectiveness of his game.. but as well this great athlete was too scared to slip and fall.

Even the tennis gods can’t stop the laughing of Manolo Santana — who was the biggest Spanish tennis legend before Nadal (sorry Arantxa) — and Ion Tiriac and Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors and Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall and all living tennis legends who played in the 20th century under much tougher, more risky and more diverse court and tournament conditions for much less prize money. They must be looking at today’s players as a bunch of wussy spoilsports and sore losers who want everything their way — or they can’t play (I know, it rhymes).

As I said, Nadal and Djokovic are being unprofessional in publicly disparaging the Madrid tournament and threatening a boycott, instead of addressing their concerns more appropriatekly in private and through the ATP Player Council. Their unprofessional ehavior has harmed the reputation and financial interests of the tournament. This violation of the ATP rules is called ‘conduct contrary to the integrity of the game’ and carries a maximum penalty of a fine of up to $100,000 and/or suspension from play in ATP World Tour or ATP Challenger Tour tournaments for a period of up to 3 years.

Twocents Says:

Ferrer: Nobody beats Davee Ferrer 13 times in a row. What do you say, Roger?

Fed: I think it’s 14, not 13.

Ferrer: Come on, Fed. Roddick just got his 2nd win from you. I’m cuter!

Fed: …We are Swiss.

Brando Says:

GOOD for nole i say!

His calendar for next year is fixed then for the FO:

1- MC

2- SO

3- Rome.

Thats an EXCELLENT calendar. JUST like rafa’s:

1- MC

2- Barcelona

3- Rome.

LEAVE madrid to the ones who CANNOT BEAT THEM in slams, WHICH they have to win in order to be no. 1!

nadalista Says:


Don’t forget to add Novak’s name on the offenders list to that petition you are sending to the ATP to punish Rafa for “threatening” to boycott Madrid next year………….

I mean, now the guy loses to his minion, just like Rafa………. something’s off, no?

Brando Says:


‘The ATP should investigate whether Djokovic tanked his matches at 2012 Madrid, 2011 ATP World Tour Finals and 2011 Basel in order to avoid playing Federer.’

you EXCEEDED yourself there dave, LMAO! How many times has nole BEATEN federer recently? MP down in all ?

grendel Says:

the mind reels says:” Because the court (read: the clay layer) was initially rolled with too much pressure, the sand hasn’t yet fully mixed with it, which will slow conditions down once they do mix (which others, including Ljubicic, have said will happen with time, which seems reasonable to me).”

I don’t understand the technicalities, but from what Petchey has just said (and Petchey,b.t.w., said in the same interview that he has sympathy for Nadal) the mind reels has it about right. Apparently (so Petchey says) the organizers were concerned that the surface at Monte Carlo was dangerous – it seems that owing to the softness, the foot could get stuck digging in – and they put too much top surface on to try and avoid this problem. It hasn’t bedded in properly, with one consequence being undue slipperiness.

But to abandon the surface would be a panic reaction. They now have all year to get it right – and quite obviously they will, especially with all the attention now on them. So talk about boycotting the tournament is, to say the least, premature – and questionable. As Simon has pointed out, Madrid has always been different, and that is likely to remain the case owing to the altitude

Humble Rafa Says:

The ATP should investigate whether Djokovic tanked his matches at 2012 Madrid, 2011 ATP World Tour Finals and 2011 Basel in order to avoid playing Federer.’

WOW! Your Humble Highness has no words to describe your opinion.

dari Says:

Ugh- rafa and novak out back to back days? Not good for the tournament after all this blue drama. This has turned out to be more of a fiasco than I thought.
HOWEVER, these are great opportunities for a couple of compatriots to get a match off their superstar buddies and gain some big points.
Hope no.3 doesn’t fall out tosay. Go rog!

Meanwhile Andy M has been hitting it on Rome courts all week!

Krishna Says:

Not watching the match but seeing the live scores..Ferrer with 4 DFs already! Only 3 games have been played..what is going on?

van orten Says:

just compare the footwork of fed to noles on clay…incredible movement by maestro

van orten Says:

correction : on blue clay ;-)

racquet Says:

@krishna – he’s going for too much on the serve. He just served his 5th DF.

Twocents Says:


We are in the era of, eh, awakening? If that one pseudo-blind Chinese activist could ask to fly out China with US Secretary of States, and Zuckerberg did his IPO road show in a hoodie, why can’t a few multimillionaire player boycott a sideway tournament?

What’s next? Occupy Wimbledon?

Krishna Says:

thanks @racquet..ya Federer’s service games are going by so fast..Ferrer is struggling just to hold..

Skeezer Says:

van orten,

Yeah Fed looks like he moving very well and sliding right :).
Daveed ot so bad either.

nadalista Says:

This time I will not cherry-pick sections of the article, as skeezer says, better to let people read on themselves:

racquet Says:

Ferrer’s game is purring very nicely now. More of a contest in this 2nd set.

Skeezer Says:


Read nadalista’s link thouroughly.

jamie Says:

Like I said some days ago, just give the trophy to Federer already. Pffft. Some people here had the nerve to say that some ballbasher would win Madrid. LOL. There are just 3-4 players that can win big titles like slams and masters series and none of them is a ballbasher and 3 of the 4 are not in the tournament already. The Federer Show. The other top 4 players gone.

Rita Says:

I Cant get away from the Screen!

My girlfriend is going crazy!

Go FED!!!!!!!!!!

racquet Says:

Ferrer gifts Fed the break. Won’t be long now.

the mind reels Says:

…and there’s the break. One hold away now for Fed.

Skeezer Says:


Obviously you enjoy astrology more than than the artistry Fed brings no matter who he’s playing. ;)

Skeezer Says:


Rita Says:


Love your post and enthusiasm lets hope your right!

Don’t forget you ensured Fed will win Madrid so if your wrong you take the blame!

Krishna Says:

Whoop! Federer wins!! :D

the mind reels Says:

Anyone got a quick update on what the ranking points situation looks like after today’s events? Federer can’t lose any points after defending his SF appearance, Djokovic will lose 820 points, and Nadal loses 510, I think.

andrea Says:

nice win roger. ferrer can’t seem to get past fed and nadal…although the us open win he had over nadal a few years ago was great. he out ran and out gunned him, which was incredible to watch. nadal was visibly huffing and puffing during that match and that was in his prime.

Sienna Says:

Tonight we have witnessed the true spirit of a tennis champion. A true Great. He took the conditions and has assimilated with them. The greatest can do. He has a clear min, clear path, and I might say a clear future in regaining the #1.

Looko at how he cusses on the big moments. He dug out of a hole against Raonic the real deal and this is his time.
Nadal and DJoker are lucky to have lost they would have been hurt by TMF. Because this year is resurrection of TMF.

grendel Says:

Federer was quite a sly sense of humour. He was being, I’d say, diplomatic about the blue clay row (in his interview with Marcus thingy of skysports), whilst expressing understandable disappointment that they were’t talking about forehands and whatnot. He mentionned that when he came into the sport, indoor courts and grass were lightening fast, clay was slow, and it took some doing to adapt. I thought he was implying that the rumpus today partly arises from the fact that players are just unfamiliar with different types of surface. There was surely an unspoken assumption that this is a pity, variety being an obvious desireable. Asked if he favoured innovation, he agreed he did if it was properly controlled – and he considered that the blue business has not been properly managed – and then he said he also favoured tradition. As did Rafa, he remarked. He said he wasn’t sure about Djokovic, he didn’t know him well enough, and then he corrected himself – about the blue, we all know now what Djokovic thinks: “he has been very vocal” – this said with a slight smile.

He left the possibility open that the blue experiment will continue next year – but only if properly supervised.

grendel Says:

andrea – wasn’t Nadal injured in that US Open match? I seem to remember he was in some visible pain.

Steve 27 Says:

No one has been injured due to the blue clay after about 200 matches (mens, womens, singles, doubles, qualifying). Only 24 matches remain. Compared to 2012 Monte Carlo, 2011 Wimbledon and many other tournaments, Madrid with blue clay is turning out to be one of the safest tournaments… despite the whining.

What Nadal and Djokovic are doing by threatening to boycott Madrid unless it changes back to red clay amounts to extortion. They should be disciplined for ‘conduct contrary to the integrity of the game’ in the ATP Rulebook — for disparaging the Madrid tournament and harming its reputation and financial interests. This carries a maximum penalty of a fine of up to $100,000 and/or suspension from play in ATP World Tour or ATP Challenger Tour tournaments for a period of up to 3 years.

Nadal and Djokovic are acting unprofesionally and harming the image of tennis. There is a professional way to address the issues: use the ATP Player Council to address the issues privately with the ATP and tournament owners. Until then,

Signed Dave
Nadal the sore loser and Djokovic the drama

Skeezer Says:


I was just reading that stuff also, and to conirfm you’re find I read where Novak (after his loss) does not blame the tourney sponsors/organizers per se, but the former ATP president for not doing his job in getting the players input and involvement in the decision prior.

“properly controlled”

harry Says:

@Skeezer/grendel, can you post the link?

madmax Says:

Mark Says:
@ madmax . Djoker has said as well as Rafa that he will not be playing on this surface net year. Read press cons.

May 11th, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Mark, I haven’t read this comment from Novak yet. He didn’t seem himself on court today, there was no energy. I think he is still suffering from the after effects (of course) of his grandfather’s. This was Novak out there today.

His heart was not in it. I don’t think it had anything to do with the blue at all. You don’t get over a death in a week; he will be back for definite and proper in Paris.

As for Roger, well, tonight. Master class I thought. His movement around the court was absolutely brilliant.

Roger, you are a class act. I cannot believe the way he just hits some of those shots. He makes everything look so easy.

His serving, particularly the first serve, was 81% successful. Brilliant.

He just disguises everything so well. His opponent, just has to play a guessing game with Roger’s serve. He is the best at making it look so easy. As well as this, he is so economical and efficient. He can race through a game in 57 seconds, where others will take 4 or 5 minutes. I cannot believe his footwork, especially on this controversial, brand new court.

Way to go Roger!

He is a beauty to watch.

madmax Says:

gradnfather’s *death* and this was *not* novak.

Oleg Says:

Dave your rambling diatribes are getting more and more ridiculous. You’ve outdone yourself yet again and man did you set the bar high for biased bullshit already.

Nole tanking matches to avoid playing Federer?

Suggesting suspensions for Nadal and Djokovic because they threaten not to come back if the surface sucks?

You have to stop sniffing Lindt chocolate powder. It’s not meant for consumption that way.

What is ironic is your idol Federer is one of the players who is most anti-innovation in tennis (see his opposition to hawkeye, for one of many examples).

alison hodge Says:

Madmax your posts are so sweet,i just love your passion and enthusiasm for Roger,such a refreshing change to here someone sounding so happy about there favourites win,rather than wasting nervous energy taking a pop at Rafa and Nole.

Mark Says:

Fed doesn’t just have a sly sense of humour he is a very sly human being. And as for him being able to adapt to every surface, let us be honest, he has been around longer than most. He is the OLD MAN of the party and he certainly looks out of place standing next to the younger handsome players. Retire already Choc Boy. Look after your girls!!

Dave Says:

According to the Tennis Magazine site, Madrid tournament owner Ion Tiriac “told the press that the problem might relate to having to install new courts every year, as they are torn up after the event is over. “We’ve had the same [guy] who has been working on the courts at Roland Garros for 12 years,” Tiriac said. “We know that a new court is never good, even if we keep sweeping it, they have to play on it. Here in Madrid, we have to built and dismantle it each year. There’s a reason that the court is what it is. We did not want to have so many bad bounces as before. What happens is that they have been pushing, pushing and pressing it to compress it, and have done it so much that it has become too hard.” Tournament director Manolo Santana added: “It’s my fault. I just wanted that no players got hurt, like what happened in Monte Carlo, where there were two injured (Juan Monaco and Julien Benneteau). The sliding court is getting better day by day, but I’m disappointed. There has to be a better court.”

So, if Tiriac and Sanatana are telling the truth, the supposed problem with Madrid is that — unlike Roland Garros, Monte Carlo, Rome — Madrid does not have permanent clay courts. The clay courts are temporary: the courts are torn up and removed every year, the facilities are used for other non-tennis activities and events for the next 10 months, then the temporary clay courts are re-built again about 5 to 6 weeks before the next Madrid tournament. So every year, the newly rebuilt courts are less stable (compared to permanent courts that have settled over the years)… and worse this year they did something different by over-pressing the limestone base (hoping this would protect players from the injuries they had at Madrid). This explanation should make sense to people who have paved/surfaced their driveway for the first time on a newly-built property: there will be some amount of uneven settling of a newly-paved driveway. According to Tiriac, they have made a maintenance deal with the city of Madrid to keep the blue courts in place year-round at the Caja Magica complex — so it will eventually be as similar to play on as traditional red clay in the other tournaments with permanent clay courts.

Tiriac revealed Madrid’s next innovation: “We are going to improve the ball. We’re thinking fluorescent green or fluorescent orange, which hold light better and work better in contrast to blue clay.” Serena Williams thinks this is a good idea: “Didn’t they use white balls once? I like the idea of fluorescent colors. I think it would be exciting”.


nadalista: I don’t need to send a petition. Tiriac should ask the ATP to investigate the drama queen Djokovic — losing in that way, and so quickly, in straight sets smelled of a tanking (really, would Djokovic lose like that in a Slam to Tipsarevic or Troicki?). In addition to fear of Federer, it was probably also to get to Rome early because Nadal is already there. At least Nadal tried hard against Verdasco until he choked and lost it (see link at bottom). But don’t let me stop you — as a good citizen — from sending a petition because you feel tanking is bad for tennis.

Tennis Magazine’s Peter Bodo on Djokovic’s buddy Tipsarevic beating Djokovic: “If you didn’t know better watching this one, you might have thought that Djokovic was suffering from something like sympathy pangs for Rafael Nadal. Djokovic clearly looked uncomfortable as he slid around, shook his head in dismay, stretched his legs as if he might have pulled something late in the first set (we’ll see if there’s any truth in that). There was something, well, overly dramatic about it all—as if Djokovic was determined not to make the most of what, to him, was an unfortunate situation. As if he wanted to show all of us just how awful that court is… Nole and Rafa have been the most outspoken critics of the blue clay, and now both of them have left the tournament. Thus, their criticism of the blue clay will be more credible in some quarters, and it has allowed the top two players in the world to stake out something like the moral high ground in this disagreement. After all, how would Djokovic’s criticism look if he did nothing but complain about the surface—only to win the event?…the problems Djokovic seemed to have getting traction, a good push off, and a smooth slide. But that still leaves hanging the question: Why didn’t Tipsarevic, or so many of the other competitors, have such obvious problems?”

Brando: Let’s be honest for once: close your eyes and ask yourself which player on the tour last year 2011 — when Novak was playing his best — was most likely to beat (and did beat) Djokovic at his best in the best match of the year? Now close your eyes again and ask yourself the next question: which player is most likely to beat Djokovic this year 2012, given he is not playing as consistently well as last year?


What we talk about when we talk about the end of the Rafael Nadal era

Steve 27 Says:

Nadal the sore loser and Djokovic the drama queen need to shut up… or else be disciplined by the ATP for violating the rules.

Good one Dave, another “intelligent” comment.
what is the issue here, why the hell plays a 1000 master of clay in Madrid, when other European Tour tournaments are played at sea level and the red clay. What is the sense that players will slip into the blue clay and come well prepared for Roland Garros. Federer himself said, this is one of the fastest tennis tour. So: what is the purpose of continuing playing on clay in Madrid when it is more appropriate Barcelona if they would be played in Spain. Madrid should have stayed in indoor track and not allow this atrocity and not let a rich man get away with their taste, because mighty lord Is money. It’s really a waste that ATP affects the good play in clay and goes against tradition. First time I see a player from his country to be hurt so much and given more opportunities to foreigners. Why Americans left the har tru and continued their best with hard courts? because it was easier for their players and thus have more success. And as for the Swiss, this court comes in handy though Nadal and Djokovic favorites are truly important to Roland Garros. and new surface is not saying anything. Tipsarevic, Berdych, Del Potro and Federer to win the French Open? The first two will be eliminated quickly, Del Potro not have the physique to win 7 games in clay the best of 5 sets. And Federer will not play the final again.

the mind reels Says:

Mark says:

“He is the OLD MAN of the party and he certainly looks out of place standing next to the younger handsome players.”

Haha — wow. Yes, Federer, please retire because you don’t look handsome? Very mature. I don’t see you calling for Stepanek’s retirement…

Last time I checked, the “old man” is the only of the top 5 still in the tournament, so while I’m sorry that clearly your favorite player(s) lost already, please try a little harder to add value on this thread.

dari Says:

Wow, madmax sounds like this is one to watch. Couldn’t watxh live, but will check on dvr at some point.
Keep going, maestro!

harry Says:

Thanks Skeezer :-)

Mark Says:

@ Dave. I really pity you – reading Douglas Perry’s BS. The man is a nutter.

Mark Says:

Tmr. Stepanek is a much nicer human being than Choc Boy which makes up for his age unlike Choc Boy who thinks he is God Almighty just like his delirious fans. Dave being one of them!!

Oleg Says:

Mark, don’t include Federer in the same breath as “his delirious fans”.

Federer is classy/humble 99% of the time. He’s had an overwhelmingly positive impact on tennis. His talent is also undeniable.

The majority of his fans that I’ve met in real life have also been great.

The problem is a significant minority of his fans (Dave is a great example) think they have found God on earth, and that Roger is incapable of doing anything wrong. So when Federer loses, it contradicts their world view and upsets them greatly.

jane Says:

Just got home, missed Nole/Tipsy and Fed/Ferrer. Hope Nole is on his way to Roma, to join Murray and Rafa on the practice courts.

Found a quote or two from Delpo:

“We are all suffering and talking about mobility. Next year I don’t know what they will do, but I hope that they do the best for the players.”

“The conditions are very harsh,” he said of the surface, but this applies to all players. I must be able to be aggressive and take command of the exchange before my opponent, trying to hit as hard as possible. It’s really hard to move and feel good on the court. But I must try to play my game and be aggressive throughout each match.”

Delpo versus Berdych could be a very good semi – hope so.

Kimberly Says:

Everyone, tennisxer Sienna is on the ATP leaderboard for her excellent draw challenge. She is currently #20.

Wog boy Says:


Thanks for link, i think what Nole said makes sense, don’t you think so? BTW, you asked me once if I am sure Rafa is safe at #2, well… not anymore:)

Janko, good luck in SF, if Nole had to lose there is no better man to lose from. What marriage does to man:) Biljana looks great:)

Delpo is due for a masters title, though Berdych is on fire, so is Federer but Delpo can do it.

I have no respect for those Eastern European millionaires, no respect whatsoever and I know what I am talking about but that is subject for another forum.

jane, harry since you were so kind to invite me to join bracket challenge, can you please give me detailed instruction how to do it. Keep in mind that I am a bit slow:(

NK Says:

“Stepanek is a much nicer human being than Choc Boy.”

Boy, when you don’t like someone, you have no problem getting personal, don’t you. Tells me more about the type of person you are than Federer.

But if I have to choose between your opinion versus those of his peers who actually know him, guess where I go?

But wait…all those peers that keep voting him for the sportsmanship award every year (except one)must also be his delirious fans, no?

jane Says:

Wog boy, Kimberly would probably be the best at giving you directions, but basically you just need to sign up for “Fantasy” tennis at the ATP website with an email aacount and a password. And then once you are joined in the general “Fantasy” population, then you join the “Tennisxfans” group. Some of us have different “names” on there but if so most of us identify ourselves in the chat threads. JOIN US! It’s fun.

Congrats Sienna – good picking!!

alison hodge Says:

Jane does Brando do the bracket challenge? I agree it is fun,its only my 3rd one,and i wish id done it months ago,its nice to have a nosy at everyone elses picks too lol.
BTW yeah congratulations Sienna good picking.

skeezer Says:

Wog boy
Absolutely as far as the blame. But a am on the side of variety and adaptability. You have to win not with just your strokes, but your feet as well. The way Novak moves is amazing. But it requires confident footing. The match with Ferrer and Fed today looked like 2 guys floating on top of it all, for the most part not bothered by it. Rafa runs very hard and plants hard……so I can see everyone’s view in a way. But for me….the very best players should adapt, or at least give it there best at it. I think Nole did up until this match with Tipsy…seemed there was a point where he just said F8ck it.
I know what spewing a FH to make it look like an UE looks like…..

carlo Says:

Okay, after reading the various posts and links posted on this thread, I’m compelled to throw my 2 cents in, not because I think it will be liked and perhaps better kept to myself but here goes…

Madrid, with it’s issues isn’t in a good place in the calendar or geographically, due to climate and altitude to realistically be a clay masters 1000 fitting the description of a “warm-up” masters 1000 for the French Open.

Personally, I have liked the blue clay tournament and like the idea of truly varied court surfaces throughout the tennis season and think, as said before, that making the speed, ect homogenous negates the meaning of an “all court” player, which to me, is as important as the “specialist.”

Was thinking about it this morning and thought, why not move the Spanish clay 1000 to a different climate and location that wouldn’t tear up the courts every year, maybe Seville. Or, make Barcelona the 1000 point masters and Madrid the 500 pt. fast, blue, clay court. Or better yet, have the fast, blue clay court be a non-mandatory 1000 pt one in Davos, Switzerland. I’d like these athletes adaptability tested at high altitude. I was serious saying that on another thread. A fast clay court there, say post Wimbledon would nice variety and produce the chance for a different winner altogether; maybe one that had no chance at Wimbledon or some other ATP 1000 titles, and prepares for the clay event at altitude. Perhaps Berdych, Ferrer, some others, Soderling, if he ever comes back, Delpo, and others would like it.

The thing about danger is over-hyped in Madrid this year. El Flaco’s post at 11:20 am is sensible about it:

“I don’t think you will have ankle injuries with a slippery court. When you try and slide or change direction and your foot gets stuck that is when you hurt your ankle. That could happen on a sticky clay court. Players aren’t getting their feet stuck. It’s the opposite You could injure your knee, hip or groin in these slippery conditions.”

And the knee, hip, ankle other injuries go as well for hard courts of any type, or grass; wrist injuries and shoulder injuries happen regardless. We are not talking about indoor ping-pong here – though certainly some bad injury, possibly death at the ping pong table could happen. slim chance.

Verdasco, Ferrer, Almagro, and others appeared quite ready and positive about the surface. Berdych might just be a natural on it. Federer seemed unprepared and has been improving each match, although diplomatically he sort of goes along with Rafa and Nole. According to others, like Simon, and Gulbis in 2010, the red clay was always sub-par in Madrid. Ljubicic also, I read something above about him commenting.

On the world cup downhill skiing, which might seem as technical to some as seeing which boulder makes it downhill first, it’s actually complex. There are courses that fit certain downhill racers and others that don’t, depending on degree of added technicality, or the course strictly classic, the cut on the vertical slope or angled, and of course, the weather and last minute decisions for tuning, waxing and the right equipment and training. To be a skier like Lindsey Vonn who has won all over the planet, regardless of cut of the slope, and all other variables, is truly an incredible feat.

senthil Says:

Federer will be No.2 if he wins Madrid.. WOW… Calc..

They drop Rome points by coming Monday.

9615 + 90 – 600 = 9105
8520 + 1000 – 360 = 9160

alison hodge Says:

Jane BTW sorry about Nole,still im glad this tourneys almost over,i dont know about you but i think its been a long week,too much talk about the surface,rather than the teNNIS IMO.

Dave Says:

Steve 27: On Madrid, good question. Forget about Tiriac since some other tournament organizer could have done the same (and frankly I think many of Tiriac’s ideas are good to spur innovative thinking in tennis — and that’s why he has become a billionaire).

The basic issue is really whether Madrid should have become a CLAY Masters 1000 event in the first place, so this is a good question. First, regardless of surface, there are political issues in having the more important tennis event in Barcelona since that city has been the center of Catalan separatism… while Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain (I think it’s the third or fourth largest city in Europe). So the logical place to put your Masters 1000 is in Madrid. The Madrid Masters used to be held in Germany before 2002. From a marketing standpoint, it really benefits tennis to have the Masters 1000 in the world’s biggest or well-known cities, not in places like Cincinnati or Indian Wells — but players are only thinking of their own selfish interests to play tournaments where they can win rather than what benefits the Tennis market most.

Second, the logic to switch the tournament to clay makes good marketing sense because Spain is famous for its claycourt players, not it’s indoor hardcourt players. But their problem was not just altitude, it was the lack of permanent tennis facilities (as I explained above). They tried to compensate by using the court experts from Roland Garros and Monte Carlo, but those guys were really experts at maintaining permanent clay courts… not experts at continually rebuilding , tearing down and rebuilding temporary clay courts. This lack of permanent clay courts I think has been their biggest problem — the slippery and fast quality of the clay has been the biggest complaint about Madrid since 2009.

As for altitude, I think it’s exaggerated. Why? Before Madrid became a claycourt Masters in 2009 May… in 2008 September, the Spanish tennis federation played its Davis Cup tie on clay against the USA IN MADRID (not at the same site as the Madrid Open though). Nadal beat Roddick and Sam Querrey. Nadal has played many times on Madrid clay since his junior days (even though they weren’t ATP matches), so he always knew how the ball would play in Madrid altitude. If Nadal was unhappy playing at the Madrid altitude, Spain would not have chosen Madrid as its site for such an important Davis Cup tie. As well, Nadal would not have won the 2005 Madrid Masters on indoor hardcourts if he couldn’t control the ball.

If the current Madrid Open was held on permanent clay facilities, the clay surface would have settled and slowed down enough for Nadal’s liking. The altitude would make it somewhat different, but then the clay courts of all the major clay events are slightly different in some way.

In 2012 Monte Carlo, Berdych, Murray and Gilles Simon were semifinalists. Robin Haase, Warinka and Tsonga weres quarterfinalist. In 2011 Rome, Gasquet and Murray were semifinalists. Florian Mayer, Marin Cilic and Soderling were quarterfinalists. So the quality of the 2012 Madrid quarterfinalists is arguably as good or better — except Nadal and Djokovic failed to make it, while Murray was ‘injured’. Don’t write off Federer, Del Potro and Berdych — at least one of them is likely to be this year’s French Open semifinalist at least, or more.

jane Says:

alison, no I don’t think Brando has played, but all are welcome, and I know Kimberly is always tooting the bracket challenge horn!

carlo, great and fair post. And maybe by next year they’ll have the slippery issue better under control anyhow. But I think you raise a good point about the timing of it. It seems to interrupt the flow in terms of prep for RG.

I still feel like the calendar could use a grass Masters. I always feel like the “grass season” is far too short, and just love watching tennis played on that surface.

Wog boy Says:


Thanks, I will give it a go later today, when I have more time:)

I watched carefully Nole and I think I can see where is a problem on this surface that affects mostly players like Rafa, Nole, Andy etc. It is returning in the position for the next shot, they don’t have a grip and they slipp when they have to make sudden movement back in to the position for next shot. I don’t know if this makes any sense to you.

Dave Says:

Oleg: From making rambling arguments to support pay raises for rich, spoiled, arrogant mediocre players like Stakhovsky… you’re now telling us that (a) you snort illegal powder and (b) you don’t pay your parking tickets and you litter your streets. These deductions come from your blind support of unprofessional whiny players who flagrantly violate the ATP rules.

Federer has been a top player since 2003. There have been more changes and innovations over the last 10 years than in most other 10 year periods in tennis history. Yet, all you can point to is Roger’s thoughtful opinions on Hawkeye, which was partly based on initial concerns about the accuracy of the system (which even Nadal had, e.g., at 2007 Dubai Nadal went ballistic over a Hawkeye call that went against him). However, unlike Nadal and Djokovic — Federer NEVER behaved unprofessionally such as threatening to boycott tournaments that adopted Hawkeye.

Meanwhile what I said months ago — that Federer has a good chance to close in on and possibly regain the No. 1 ranking as both Djokovic and Nadal will probably suffer unexpected loses this year to other players — is coming true faster than expected. Too bad you never could discern between BS and wisdom.

While you ponder on my words of wisdom, here is a new song to clear your head (skeezer, for you as well)


Mark: despite your denials, you again read my entire post! I know you’re hoping that reading my posts helps to enlighten you. Anyways, I pity you even more cuz nothing you write will ever be published… is that why you’re envious of Douglas Perry for speaking the truth?

Mark and Oleg: you both really need to improve the quality of your weak barbs. Hard work might pay off.

jane Says:

alison, yeah, no worries. I missed the match anyhow so didn’t even see the loss. I am excited to see how the play at Rome, mainly as a forecaster for RG! I have a feeling Delpo is going to make noise at Wimbledon this year – just a hunch.

Wog boy Says:

It took me ages to write last post, and I can see Skeezer, carlo explained it better while I was puting mine together:(

jane Says:

Wog Boy, yeah that makes perfect sense. I think ‘wrong footing’ is a key strategy this week. Or as Fed said, coming into net. Or as Delpo said, hitting as hard as possible. Basically keeping points short is key. I don’t think Tipsa has much chance versus Fed, but I think that Berdych could possibly (?) beat Delpo.

carlo Says:

Thanks jane, I have become sensitive to post, but still can’t help but post an opinion once in awhile.

The altitude does make a difference according to some, but agree Dave, it’s not all that significant in Madrid, as it would be at 7,000 ft. above sea level.

Gordo Says:

senthil Says:
Federer will be No.2 if he wins Madrid.. WOW… Calc..

They drop Rome points by coming Monday.

9615 + 90 – 600 = 9105
8520 + 1000 – 360 = 9160

You are right he will be # 2, but he is only losing 90 points when Rome comes off on Monday, not the 360 you have above. So the correct numbers should read –

Badal: 9615 + 90 – 600 = 9105
Federer: 8520 + 1000 – 90 = 9430

But he still has Tipsarevic and the winner of Berdych/Delpo to get past.

Gordo Says:

Oops – that is Nadal, sorry for the typo – that wasn’t a shot! :D

carlo Says:

Wog boy, I love your posts. And please, come on and join the bracket at least once. It’s really very easy to join; but challenging picking with luck always playing a prominent factor, it can’t be taken seriously :D I give step by step help :)

Sienna is on the leader board!! She smoked us. But the ‘Leader Board’ is kind of a running joke amongst us – we want our psuedo’s up there in neon lights, lol… I been trying since spring 2010 and have yet to make it! all in fun.

jane Says:

LOL, Gordo – I believe you – the “N” is right next to the “B” on my keyboard.

carlo, keep posting; you always have fun and insightful things to add to the conversation, though it has been a tad dramatic this week. Some reasonable debates often come out of the fray.

Gordo Says:

Gee Mark – “Anybody but Choc Boy to win this tournament”???

Were you one of those tweeters upset when the Boston Bruins were eliminated? Cause you know they were most upset not just by the fact the Bruins lost, but by the colour of the skin of the player who scored.

Choc Boy… really? Is that the best you can do? I am just going to have to give you a small ‘r’ for that one. Oh, and a big L as well.

Wog boy Says:


Thanks, I’ll give it a go but promise no to laugh !

Skeezer, I think you are right. I can see in the second set when Nole just said that, that bad word, (to himself) and decided to catch first plane to Rome.

senthil Says:

thanks Gordo

harry Says:

@Wog boy,

register yourself at:

select the group “tennisxfans”. as jane says, you need a user name, email id, and a password. do post here if you have any trouble joining ;)

Kimberly Says:

In 2012 Monte Carlo, Berdych, Murray and Gilles Simon were semifinalists.

Uh, no Djokovic, Berdych, Nadal and Simon. Amongst them two of them are likely to be semi finalists or more also.

carlo Says:

Okay this is the main link where you register:

they want your 1) email 2) username 3) password 4) repeat password 5) country of where you live aka where your IP address is located.

those steps are to get you registered in the atp masters 1000 bracket challenge. to join tennis-x group, find ‘groups’ to the right of ‘home’ and click on groups, go scroll down to where there are 31 players and your see ‘tennisxfans’ and join the group after you have registered. Or easier, type in ‘tennisxfans’ in the ‘search’ space.

but if you simply want to wait until Rome, and have a peek at us today to see, you can just go do the above without registering, it’s public. But after Madrid is done, to fill out the Rome bracket and join us, you will need to register. Cheers and good luck, let me know if I can help more :)

Hint: about your chosen ‘username’. you can use ‘Wog boy’ or make up something different like I do, so ‘carlo’ isn’t so embarrassed, lol..
but whatever name you choose, it will be forever connected to that email and you can’t change, unless you use another email address. But if for some reason you have to change email addresses, you won’t be able to use your original username attached to the original email address and loose your hard earned season points! that happened to me.

In short, either be Wog boy when you register or make up whatever username you want. :D

carlo Says:

edit: ‘lose’ not ‘loose’

grendel Says:

‘fraid it was a live inerview, so no link (that I am aware of at least).

carlo – nice post. I wonder if the homogenizing of tennis surfaces reflects the global village phenomenon. Not deliberately, of course – but just as being part of the whole sorry phenomenon which reduces everything to a common denominator. One of the things that strikes me in visiting different towns even in my own country is that everything is always the same. You enter a new place, and you look around as if expecting to be surprised, and if you look very carefully, you can be, too. But it’s not obvious.

As a matter of fact, I’m going to America with my son for a long trip this summer (will miss Wimbledon and Olympics, unfortunately) and we’re going to visit as many different sorts of places as we can find. I’m excited (never having been much of a traveller), but at the same time am deeply sceptical. We mentioned DHLawrence the other day, and he remarked that even in Wordsworth’s day, true wilderness was impossible to find. I think the idea was that the moment you have a concept of wilderness, you’ve lost it. Those who lived in wild places had no idea they were wild.

It’s a pity you can’t – shall we say – temporarily hire a new mind to take with you, so you could see everything with fresh eyes. As it it, everything one sees, no matter how apparently strange, is in a sense an extension of one’s own mind – but sometimes, you want a holiday from your mind. No doubt that’s why people take drugs, but it’s a futile path. And yet your identity is bound up with this jaded mental flotsam. If you could see through new eyes, would you be you any more? Would it matter? Its a strange thought that every person, even those you most despise and hate, are simply versions of yourself. But when you look at ancient burial mounds, or see a pile of skulls, it doesn’t seem so strange.

All this is a long way from tennis. But tennis started the train of thought, so sod it, let it stand…

harry Says:

@skeezer, jane, and carlo,
i liked your posts on the issue of fast, slippery, blue-clay courts, and here are my twocents:

personally, i like the variety and the speed that these courts bring by forcing players to either play s&v or go for their shots earlier etc. to me there is an element of nostalgia from the 90’s when pistol pete served (and volleyed) his way to multiple titles :)

on the other hand, i also appreciate the more traditionalist viewpoint which likes to preserve the red-clay season. this is after all the european clay season.

therefore, i like the compromise that jane and carlo propose — a grass court masters or a super-fast h/c tourny after the wimby!

lastly, i dont feel particularly convinced by the argument that the fact that players are not injured is a proof that these are safe courts (and that they dont slide excessively). it could simply be that players are particularly careful. there are just too many variables to come to a conclusion as to whether they are safe or not.

harry Says:

thanks grendel. it might pop up sometime later in youtube…

grendel Says:

“i dont feel particularly convinced by the argument that the fact that players are not injured is a proof that these are safe courts (and that they dont slide excessively). it could simply be that players are particularly careful. there are just too many variables to come to a conclusion as to whether they are safe or not.”

That is a sound point (about the players being careful). The question of safety is another matter. How much do you want? And where do you draw the line?

carlo Says:

grendel, how long, as in weeks are you coming?

harry Says:

true grendel — from the point of view of the players, i think the stakes involved in winning/losing a gs is very high (imagine fed/rafa/nole/muzza getting injured and missing the rest of the season). so safety is very important. but i realize that i am side-stepping your questions…

at a higher level, there are several issues here. first the color (for the traditionalists), then the speed of the courts (for variety), the timing of the tourney (before FO), and lastly the safety of the courts…

Wog boy Says:


Thanks, I don’t see what is the point for me to change my user name, it is going to be easy to pick that I am Wog boy, I cannot hide, but I will think again :)
Got to go now!

harry Says:

@Wog boy, i didnt see the point in hiding it then.
@carlo, any insights on that?

carlo Says:

this is why I am a grendel fan:

“It’s a pity you can’t – shall we say – temporarily hire a new mind to take with you, so you could see everything with fresh eyes. As it it, everything one sees, no matter how apparently strange, is in a sense an extension of one’s own mind – but sometimes, you want a holiday from your mind. No doubt that’s why people take drugs, but it’s a futile path. And yet your identity is bound up with this jaded mental flotsam. If you could see through new eyes, would you be you any more? Would it matter? Its a strange thought that every person, even those you most despise and hate, are simply versions of yourself. But when you look at ancient burial mounds, or see a pile of skulls, it doesn’t seem so strange.”

Especially the part about every person, even if you can’t stand them, are simply versions of yourself. That is deep for me this evening but I get it and have thought about it. And it is truth to me. Actually make myself think about it particularly when tempted to despise their views on politics or religion. Tolerance is a paradox and tricky to be tolerant living in a state and city in which I am a minority and my livelihood depends on a semblance of conformity or at least completely acting like I agree, even if I don’t have the proper bumper sticker or volunteer for the popular political party.

I could tell you about the west and where, if you are looking for wilderness there is some. But true wilderness is not what it used to be and is changing rapidly with the plant population. What used to be the North Idaho Wilderness where I grew up is now completely made overly expensive and developed like Aspen, Colorado. I think there is true wilderness in parts of Canada and Alaska but the time of year you will be here is very busy in the phenomenal national parks, truly worth seeing but you can expect plenty of other tourists: Yellowstone, Glacier, Grand Canyon, and some other cool places very Grand Canyon-like but just north in Utah. California is crowded but also I love so much of it; and Seattle – the San Juan islands and ferry across to Vancouver Is., Victoria.

harry, no real reason to choose a different username than the one on Tennis-x, I just like usernames – Zoncolan is my favorite Giro climb.

grendel Says:

carlo – a couple of months. It’s gonna cost an arm and a leg but then, you can’t take the damn stuff with you, so if you’ve got a bit stashed away, might as well make use of it. For some of the time, I’ll have both my sons. One of the things we want to do, especially my younger son who is a musician as well as a film afficianado, is to explore the music in the different places; jazz, blues, Latin, lots of street music hopefully – like in that Treme series, don’t know if you know it, set in New Orleans (which we will visit).

harry – safety is a strange thing. If people were really as concerned about it as they claim to be, they would instantly campaign for the abolition of the car. Thousands upon thousands slaughtered every year on the roads. But – driving be convenient, eh? And besides, accidents happen to other people…..

Time for my bed and to exercise my snoring muscles…

carlo Says:

lol, not “plant” population but ‘Planet’

though plant population is sadly changing too, particularly in some of my favorite northern forests.

harry Says:

lol grendel :-)

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Should be a relatively easy semi for Fed, but what a great heavyweight battle for the other side. Don’t want to take Tipsy lightly, but what a great result so far for Federer- a clay court masters and he’s already beyond Nole and Rafa!

harry Says:

@carlo, interesting! i did not know that you were zonco ;-)

carlo Says:

Then the big cities, grendel is where your son would likely enjoy most. Yes, New Orleans, though I’ve never been there. LA, of course; New York City, Chicago – been to all those cities. I guess Tennessee….but never been there either or a popular music place is Austin, Texas, believe it or not. So much more to see in the big cities, if that’s what your son wants – music and arts. And it will be busy and expensive. But everywhere is getting expensive. good luck.

carlo Says:

hahahaha…. that’s me, harry :D I have a different username for the tennischannel GS bracket challenge, too. You gotta get into that. Kimberly set it up too. She can tell you.

harry Says:

thanks carlo ;D you definitely got me there!

i guess playing gs would be fun too. but this time, my bracket really sucks…

harry Says:

why did i say *thanks* for the first sentence? i meant it for the second…

jane Says:

There’s that “Experimental Music Project” in Seattle which is kind of cool too and often has good film / book exhibits as well.

carlo Says:

ah, it’s all up and down. this time I won’t even meet my average goal of 100 points :/ but I like games and it’s the thrill of gambling, without losing money.

If I could pick over right now, I think I’d pick Berdych. He’s confident. But Delpo is a favorite so my thinking is infused with fear for Delpo.

Fed should make the final, would be very surprise if Tipsa beats him but Tipsa’s happy on the blue, anything can happen. It just feels to me Berdych is due and he loves a go at Federer, I think.

jane Says:

harry all of our brackets suck sometimes – it’s pretty much gambling but with no money – win some lose some. The slam ones were fine.

jane Says:

I meant “fun” not “fine,” but they are “fine” too – a little more complicated to pick with so many players though.

harry Says:

carlo, jane — that is a nice perspective; i mean “gambling with no money”.

you know, i sometimes think that they should have had the points inversely proportional to the odds.

harry Says:

carlo, if i can pick my bracket again, i would go for the-fed ;)

but you are right: i mean t-bird and del boy look like bulldozers!

carlo Says:

harry, Kimberly’s GS bracket is set up to award extra points by, I think it’s the quarters onward, she got to choose some fun rules like that setting up the bracket.

But i know what you mean, extra points all the way through for the ones with less chance but a risky guess, and more reward when lucky to get it right. the bigger the spread, the more ;)

gotta go to bed. have to be up so early for driving to the wilderness for that appointment, then try to get back for the 2nd semi-final, g’nite.

Humble Rafa Says:

I usually don’t have anything good to say about the Arrogant One. But today will be an exception.

The Arrogant One adjusts to difficult situations better than your Humble Highness. Whether it is the wind or the ugly, useless, brainless, dumb, worthless blue clay, The Arrogant One can adjust. He can fine tune his brain, he can fine tune is game to the circumstances. For some reason, he doesn’t complain himself to defeat like your Humble Highness or the Egg Lover (long time lease holder on your HH’s head).

harry Says:

good night to you too, carlo. i’ll try to catch you tomorrow…

harry Says:

lol HR.

harry Says:

@skeezer — sly fed ;)

Skeezer Says:

^typical Unc Toni propoganda. Why would he lead us all to believe he is in the tournament playing on it and knows better? He is always been a con man with double talk trying to implore gamesmenship for his man so he can gain an advantage. So where does his authority come from? Is he a member of the ATP players council? Does he have the multi millions to sponsor a tournament? Does he really know what they are trying to accomplish? He is only caring about Rafa, the game comes second. If he seems to have all the right critique, why doesn’t he sponsor one, come up with multi millions, then he can build a Rafa tourney? He is a coach, not a player or official.

nadalista Says:

Truly warped world we live in………..

Tiriac has admitted his mistakes regarding the playing surface conditions at Madrid, he has apologised for this.

Tiriac personally apologised to Rafa after Rafa’s loss to Verdasco.

Some so-called fans criticise Rafa for criticising the playing surface conditions at Madrid………a criticism the owner of the tournament has accepted as valid, hence the apologies.

What in the world……..

nadalista Says:

skeezer, let it go, the animus I mean………….the Madrid tourny has been a fiasco, the owner of the tournament himself has acknowledged that, are you saying he is wrong in this?

Calling Uncle Toni names does not change the fact ……..

I’m sure Tiriac is busy working on turning round this mess for next year, which is a more productive approach.

Djokowins Says:

Egg on haters face

Skeezer Says:


The name callin thing was a slip on my part, don’t like that stuff my apologies there. Just feel the players need to be involved in this, not the coaches, my imo. Unc Toni is well known for “controversial” quotes and “on court illegal coaching” , so his words come with a grain of salt for me. He has my respect as an off court coach, he has helped produce one of the best ever.

I don’t agree its been a fiasco….. Isn’t most everyone still watching? The better players have adapted, and the better players that haven’t seemingly didn’t want to. Agree we will see changes next year and Tiriac will make sure of it. And regardless, points will count, and there will be a Winner.

Ok I’ll let it go…tx for being civil to me nadalista….

Djokowins Says:

“The better players have adapted, and the better players that haven’t seemingly didn’t want to.”

Tell me one player who has “adapted” his game here.

Djokowins Says:

The players who are progressing here have games which suit their game game.
And there is no adaptation on anyones part here

Djokowins Says:

All the poor movers did well here, because the slippery surface doe not have any impact.
Anyway they wont move on any surface.

Djokowins Says:

Federer is doing well because there is no bounce which can expose his poor back hand.

Mark Says:

I seriously don’t think that scumbag Tiriac should get away with this fiasco. Because of the dangerous surface he has deprived Nadal the ability to compete to his full potential. Had he been allowed so to compete he would have won the tournament – YES, WON – and therefore awarded the winner’s purse. And that is my take on this unfortunate scenario.

Mark Says:

@ Dave this nutter Douglas Perry that you have taken a shine to because you liked his material – well I felt the same way too last year when he wrote a piece about Rafa. He was at pains to sing Rafa’s praises and forecast that he would win the US Open blah, blah, blah. The man blows with the wind.

Mark Says:

Tipsy almost beat the Choc Boy in Australia a few years back taking him to 5 sets. Hope that negative will be a positive for Tipsy today. GO TIPSY!!!

madmax Says:

Mark Says:
Fed doesn’t just have a sly sense of humour he is a very sly human being. And as for him being able to adapt to every surface, let us be honest, he has been around longer than most. He is the OLD MAN of the party and he certainly looks out of place standing next to the younger handsome players. Retire already Choc Boy. Look after your girls!!

May 11th, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Mark, you wrote a really eloquent post about 60 posts ago, but now? Who are you to come on and slag off Federer the way you do? DBs not the nutter here as you so kindly put it.

And is Roger the only one who is aging? You stand still do you at age 13, becuase you can’t be more than that writing stuff like this. And perhaps a different mindest would see you realise how amazing federer is to playing such fantastic tennis at “his age”. This age thing gets me going, it really does.

Ferrer, 30! (almost retired at 28 as he had lost the passion for the game). Thank Goodness he didn’t. Love seeing him play.

And who has the got the oldest knees in the business? It ain’t my grand daddy that’s for sure. Federer is efficient, super efficient in fact, has a GREAT body, a GREAT mind and a GREAT attitude to the game.

Age is just a number and always will be. It’s what you do wit hyour life at any age that counts. Where are all the other 30 year olds on the circuit? There are out there, but they don’t have the skill or the game to compete with Federer and if we are talking about age, how come a 30 year old beats one of the youngest players on tour at 21? Milos, though it was close. He is supposed to be fitter, more agile, more adept on court? I don’t believe your argument holds any weight whatever.

Oh, and I thought federer was a God? Choc boy is quite funny? I suppose he can eat all the chocolate in the world, wear all the Rolex’s in the world, drive all the mercedes’ in the world and play platinum, titanium tennis.

Federer is a joy to watch, and looks great. He is so handsome Mark. Are you jealous? His hair just swishes in th wind and I love it when he swaggers. It’s just yum yum for me. I feel sorry for you becuase he is going to be around for another 5-6 years.

Not so sure about the younger ones though.

Mark Says:

@ Madmax Rant all you like. Choc Boy is what he is – sly, arrogant and selfish to the nth degree. Do you get the impression that I am not his fan??? Correct!!

Roger Federer Fan Says:


Wow, what a great post.

You are right in saying that Federer is God and every tennis fan (infact every human being) should worship him.
And anyone who doesnt worship the great Federer doesnt deserve to live.

“Age is just a number and always will be.”

I agree with this as well.

But we have to be careful with this point, because we always bring up the age difference as one of the excuses for Federer’s poor H2H vs Nadal.

Dave Says:

carlo: I believe Madrid’s altitude is around 2,000 ft above sea level, not 7,000 feet. The ball does fly a bit more even at 2,000 feet but it’s not enough to necessitate high-altitude balls (which would be used at 7,000 feet). Besides a change in ball itself can mimic hitting at higher altitudes. In any case, Nadal has more experience playing in Madrid since young than most players (except a few Spanish players who grew up or trained in the Madrid area).


Federer: “If you want to be a good claycourt player, you must be able to play everywhere. “Madrid has taken a gamble with blue clay. It’s always a little different here because of the altitude and we must sit down with the other players to discuss it. “It is slippery, there’s no doubt about that but that has been the case here for a few years. They haven’t yet found the perfect balance. Our job each day is to adapt to the conditions that we face.”

As I said before, this generation of young top players owe their success to the homogenous tennis courts and conditions which are far more limited than the diverse conditions that players in the 20th century used to adapt to on a greater basis.


Skeezer: “(Uncle Toni) is a coach, not a player or official.”
That rule in the ATP Rulebook applies to coaches and family members as well, so Uncle Toni should be disciplined for shoting his mouth off in a way that harms this tournament. The same rules apply to the tournaments — Tiriac cannot just shoot his mouth off about Nadal and Djokovic without facing penalties — and he heasn’t.
8.04 Player Major Offenses/Procedures…
2) Conduct Contrary to the Integrity of the Game
The favorable reputation of the ATP, its tournaments and players is a valuable asset and creates tangible benefits for all ATP members. Accordingly, it is an obligation for ATP players, their COACHES and FAMILY MEMBERS to refrain from engaging in conduct contrary to the integrity of the game of tennis. Conduct contrary to the integrity of the game shall include, but not be limited to, comments to the news media that unreasonably attack or disparage a tournament, sponsor, player, official or the ATP. Responsible expressions of legitimate disagreement with ATP policies are not prohibited. However, public comments that one of the stated persons above knows, or should reasonably know, will harm the reputation or financial best interests of a tournament, player, sponsor, official or the ATP are expressly covered by this section. Violation of this section shall subject the player to a fine of up to $100,000 and/or suspension from play in ATP World Tour or ATP Challenger Tour tournaments for a period of up to three (3) years.”

Mark Says:

In view of the fiasco this week in Madrid the ATP would not dare to impose any of the penalties listed by some Fed fan.

Nims Says:

It’s a pity that so many people rant about Nadal’s attitude. Afterall he is going to be the 2012 FO Champion.

Does he care about Madrid? It’s a simple no. Would he have reached the Final if he cared? Yes, he would have reached the Final.

It’s bullshit to say Rafa cannot adapt. It’s simply he does not want to adapt. Period.

If we talk about adapting, then we should talk about how Rafa adapted to Grass and beat Roger, whereas Roger is yet to beat Rafa on FO. That’s real adaptability, not winning a meaningless Masters tournament.

Dave Says:

Mark: “In view of the fiasco this week in Madrid the ATP would not dare to impose any of the penalties listed by some Fed fan.”

The perception of fiasco was largely created by the continual whining and extortion of two sore losers who behaved like prima donnas sucking on sour grapes. If Djokovic and Nadal kept their mouths shut and dealt with their grievances the proper way — using the ATP Player Council to address the issues on behalf of ALL players — Madrid would have been a more enjoyable tournament for more onsite spectators and TV viewers.

Rules and penalties are there for a reason. No player should be above the rules. If McEnroe and Borg had to adhere to the rules, so can Nadal and Djokovic.

carlo Says:

Dave, I was not referring to Madrid. I know what the elevation of Madrid is. If you read my post, I was talking about having a tournament at 7,000 ft. and testing how they do at that altitude which actually skeezer agreed with me a 6,000 ft, an altitude at which he has played, there is a difference.

I was referring to Davos, Switzerland and a fast blue clay court there. Please read my post May,11th @7:12 pm,…if you are planning to respond to me, thanks.

carlo Says:

Just to be clear, Dave, I also was not saying Davos, Switzerland is at 7,000ft. I mentioned Davos as a significantly higher city as Madrid in a previous post on another thread. I don’t know if it still is, but years ago I was there, and at that time, I know it was considered the highest city at elevation in Europe. Stunning place.

Sante Fe, New Mexico is close to, if not 7,000 feet and there is a lot of athletes here in the US that train there. That altitude makes a big difference.

ismaell Says:

so… KING OF CLAY cant play on CLAY???
mmm… i think nadal lost at will (5-2 come on), he chose to lose to his friend that play berdych, who is playing like never before, its crushing everyone.
funny… madrid took hamburg place mainly because nadal support, it changed from hard to clay for nadal, and now nadal is asking for madrid to go in oblivion, hamburg switch anyone?
nadal lose, so what? he had not won any title outside of clay since 2010.
75% of his grand slams and masters 1000 are in clay, even more telling, half just in montecarlo and the french open.
that he loses everywhere else outside montecarlo and french open is normal.
did he blame or boycott the australian open when it changed for a surface that suit nadal game? how about wimbledon go for a lower speed?
clearly… he only complaint when changes dont go his way? what a child man.

Dave Says:

carlo: my post was a direct response to what I read in your post May 11th, 2012 at 7:35 pm: “The altitude does make a difference according to some, but agree Dave, it’s not all that significant in Madrid, as it would be at 7,000 ft. above sea level.”

I presumed you had meant Madrid was at 7,000 ft because you did not mention Davos, Switzerland in your comment to me… and, sorry, I hadn’t read your earlier 7:12 pm post about Davos… so that’s why the confusion. Anyways, no worries. I’ve read and agree with your 7:12 pm post (except for the issue on Madrid versus Barcelona because of political and economic significance of the location) so we both have similar thinking on this issue. Yeah, I would like to see more diversity in the tournaments to give others with different styles and abilities the chance to shine. Or else do a Lindsey Vonn.

madmax Says:


you are becoming boring. Seriously. Take your bashing elsewhere.

Respect the Fed.

madmax Says:

for the player and the human being he is. Fantastic.

Steve 27 Says:

Madrid replace Hamburg in 2009. Why has to change from red clay to blue “clay”? If you can not slide on clay, losing the sense of playing on this surface, and it is slippery, worse. But who care? Rome first and especially Roland Garros is what matters. Madrid 2012 is not a clay tournament anymore. phosphorescent balls? Are you kidding me?

WTF Says:

To people saying Nole and Rafa need to learn from Federer on how to adapt to surfaces, don’t give me that crap. Nadal was once called a one surface wonder. He adapted to every surface and won all four slams and completed that feat at a younger age than Federer. Djokovic has won three of the four.

I would like to see Federer “adapt” to the clay courts of Paris and beat Nadal there.

Djokovic already answered this “adapt” nonsense. Winning Madrid isn’t about adapting to it.

“You are tripping and slipping and sliding all the time and the winner will be the one who doesn’t get hurt until the end of the week because a lot of players fell down,” Djokovic said to the BBC.

Top story: Rafael Nadal Rolls In Return, Sets De Minaur Showdown Wednesday In Barcelona