The blue clay is still blue as all the men and women playing In Madrid fall in a sad hue. This is exactly what the scene at the Madrid Masters looks like. It has been only a day that Rafael Nadal made his exit from the tournament, Novak Djokovic comes next to leave.
Djokovic was already complaining about blue clay right from his first match. However the depth of the complaining is more than the players merely being upset about not going forward in the game. It has now come about, that players like Nadal and Djokovic will oppose the Madrid Masters from taking place next year and boycotting the blue clay format. They, along with several other players, want the standard red clay back.
Nadal lost to another Spaniard, Fernando Verdasco, on Thursday.
After his exit, Djokovic said “It took me at least a week to try to get used to this surface and somehow find a way to win matches and play a decent level of tennis”. He was perhaps happier to leave the tournament than continue on as his game wasn’t top notch right from the beginning. Winning is definitely the decider however how the games proceeds: hits, returns, serves are all that make up the game. And that is exactly what wasn’t happening for the players.
Djokovic has made it clear that if the clay still looks blue next year, he will not be a part of it.
The grunts and grievances of the players complaining about the blue-bound clay may have been side-stepped by the authorities however it is clear that there is more to this issue than the cover. The control of the ball, maneuvering moves, takes and returns are also very difficult to manage. They spend more time in making sure that the ball stays inside the lines than playing their best shots. In such circumstances, the wins and losses seem more of a luck of fate.
For now, Roger Federer remains in the game. He has been successful in putting his best foot forward and advanced to the semi finals. In such a case, the decision of the authorities regarding the clay comes as more difficult. Changing the whole court’s clay based on the frowns of a few players while other top ones still thrive may come be more pressurizing at the moment.
Whoever said blue is the boys’ color. Not so anymore!