Madrid Open's Switch To Blue Clay Courts Draws Ire Of Tennis Players
The traditionally red clay courts at the Mutua Madrid Open are "drowned in a sickening onslaught of blue," according to Bruce Jenkins of SI.com. Jenkins wrote, "It's one thing to shift the hardcourts of the Australian and U.S. Opens from green to blue," but the red clay of La Caja Magica is "one of the most enthralling sights in tennis." Former tennis player and Madrid Open Owner Ion Tiriac's idea to change the color of the courts "amounts to replacing the Wimbledon grass with Astroturf, or staging the World Cup soccer on a carpet." Jenkins wondered, "Who even thinks of changing its natural, earthy color, let alone insult the sport and its top players?" Tennis players Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer "have all come out against the decision." Federer said, "I find it sad that you have to play on a surface the players don't accept. And it's sad that Rafa, at a tournament in his own country, has had to fight against a surface he does not want to play on." Nadal said, "The history of clay court was on red. It wasn't on blue. Only one person wins -- the owner of the tournament" (SI.com, 5/1). Federer added, "I'm also all for tradition, but I understand that you have to try new things. But the courts in Madrid must be absolutely perfect -- otherwise it will be a debacle for the tournament." Federer: "I have no idea how this will work out. ... What would be next? If every tournament could have its way would we next play on grey, green or red?" (TENNISTALK.com, 4/27).