Rafael Nadal threatened to boycott nextyear's Mutua Madrid Open if the competition continued to use a bluecolored clay playing surface. Nadal was speaking after his 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 defeat to FernandoVerdasco in the last 16 of the competition on Thursday afternoon. The No. 2 seed had appeared to be on course for victory as he led4-1 in the final set, but Verdasco broke his serve four times insuccession to win the game. Nadal had been critical of the decision to play the tournament onblue clay, the first time beaten clay has ever been coloredanything other than the traditional red in Europe and aftercongratulating Verdasco for his triumph, he dropped his bombshell,clearly annoyed at the slippery playing surface. |
"I did my best. I came here on Thursday to prepare, but I wasn' tgood enough to adapt to this court. I am sad, but next year it willbe one less tournament on my calendar," he said in a clearchallenge to the tournament organizers. "I don't know how many other players feel this way. This is a greattournament, but it is a bad decision and you can either change orkeep a bad decision," continued Nadal, who added that he was notspeaking in the heat of the moment.
"I know what I am saying. I always like playing in Madrid and I tryto do as well as possible and that is why I got here early. Thissurface is totally different to what we are used to. I don't wantto risk injury to my hip, it hurts because I continually had tocorrect myself on court and I will not take risks with my health,so I would rather not come," he continued. "You can't balance, you can't support yourself and you fall forwardwhen you serve.
Support, control and mobility are key in tennis andyou can't do that here," said Nadal. Earlier in the day Serena Williams had commented that the blue claywas like a "skating rink," adding that fortunately she was good atskating. Meanwhile Novak Djokovic had shown his displeasure earlier in theweek, commenting that he was considering playing in football bootsto help him keep his feet.
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