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Volume 24 No. 160

Events and Attractions

Tennis player Novak Djokovic won his first match yesterday at the Mutua Madrid Open and "then blasted the tournament’s decision to switch to blue clay," according to Richard Evans of Djokovic, who "looked as if he was playing on ice throughout, was seething after his match." Djokovic said, "It's impossible to move on the central court." He added, "When you slide on red clay, you have the feeling you can stop and recover. But here, whatever you do -- split step for the return, going to the net, defending, being offensive -- you are always slipping.” Evans wrote Djokovic is "very conscious of the need to speak for the game as a whole -- a point he made again here." Djokovic: "I take things very seriously regarding surfaces on our circuit and I think our opinions, not just mine but of all the players, have to be heard and considered and we have to understand what is going on in our tennis world. Players have to be protected. This tournament’s decision to change the color of the clay is an example of the players not being considered and listened to. Their opinions are being ignored. So I really hope this is going to change in the future" (, 5/8). Top-ranked women's player Victoria Azarenka said, "The bounce is different, which changes everything completely already. It's just a completely different thing." Rafael Nadal said, "This is a clay-court event that is least like a clay-court event" (Portland OREGONIAN, 5/9).'s Bruce Jenkins wrote players and TV viewers "will get used to it." Jenkins: "We really don't have a choice. It's not like they painted the courts pink, or in all the wondrous colors of the rainbow." Jenkins added, "Let [Madrid Open Owner] Ion Tiriac have his bizarre dream, I say. Madrid isn't Monte Carlo, a spectacular outdoor setting framed by the azure Mediterranean." With its partially enclosed roof, the Madrid Open "has the feel and sound of an indoor event." It will "never be Roland Garros, nor should it pretend to be." Jenkins: "I wouldn't at all mind hearing the top players lodge more complaints, but let's hope for a seamless tournament in which the slippery blue clay doesn't cause any unnecessary injuries. That would be most unfortunate" (, 5/8).