Rafael Nadal is refusing to play in Madrid again on the new blue clay which players have said is markedly different and more slippery than natural clay. The fact that Madrid is now talking about changing the colour of the ball will only irritate Nadal more.
Overnight Nadal fell to his compatriot and close friend Fernando Verdasco in a third round match that he twice had the opportunity to serve out after gaining a 5-2 lead in the third set.
It is the first time Verdasco has beaten Rafa in 14 attempts. He finally won the 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 match in three hours and 11 minutes.
“Movement is very important for me and I couldn’t move. I couldn’t hit ball the way I wanted. I lost because I deserved to lose.
The ATP and the tournament can do what they want, I tried my best, I’ve trained here since Thursday. I was as prepared as I could be. I was not good enough to adapt my game to this court. If things continue like this, it will be very sad.
Next year this will be one less event for my calendar.”
It will be interesting to see if the loss of Nadal, which will be felt heavily in Madrid, will be enough of an incentive to see a change back to normal red clay.