Thursday, May 10, 2012

Nadal out of Madrid, Top players in trouble with blue clay

It was certainly one of the worst matches played by Rafael Nadal on a clay court. This afternoon, Fernando Verdasco claimed his first win in 14 career matches with Rafael Nadal after rallying from 2-5 and a double break in the 3rd set in Madrid to win 63 36 75, reports the ATP Tour.

Photo: Mutua Madrid - Verdasco upsets Nadal  for the first time in 14 matches 
Awkward misses, failed volleys, and, in sum, what it seemed a terrible adjustment to the blue clay court surface dictated Nadal's elimination in the 1/8 round.

Earlier this week, the world nº 2 criticized the Madrid Open organization and the ATP World Tour for allowing the blue clay surface in the ATP Masters 1000. The "King of Clay" was not happy about it, but other top players like Djokovic and Federer are also having trouble adjusting on this court surface. According to the players, the court is slippery and it bounces differently. On Facebook, tennis fans also dissatisfied with the court surface are calling it the "smurf clay".

After the game, at the press conference, Nadal guaranteed that he will not play in Madrid next year if the court surface continues to be blue clay.

Tennis specialists believe that Nadal's elimination and all the criticism around blue clay will likely make the Madrid's organization change their mind about the surface, and go back to red clay in next year's tournament.

The event is also being disapproved by tennis fans because of the poor television coverage of WTA matches, and problems with the official website (order of play is not updated in time) and online tickets sale. Also, the selection of models to work as ball boys and ball girls is being criticized.

Nadal's defeat opens up the competition for world nº2 position in the ATP ranking. If Federer and Djokovic make it to the final they will hold the first two positions of the ranking and Nole will consolidate is place as the number 1 top player.

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