Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Now, Nadal Must Detest the Blue Stuff

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Now, Nadal Must Detest the Blue Stuff

Article excerpt

Rafael Nadal didn't like it to begin with, now he probably really hates it as he lost Thursday on blue clay in Madrid to Fernando Verdasco, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.

Rafael Nadal remains the king of clay -- but not of blue clay.

On Thursday, Nadal lost in three sets against a fellow Spaniard, Fernando Verdasco, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5, against whom he had never lost before in 13 encounters.

After the match, a dejected Nadal got straight to the point: If the organizers of the Madrid Open do not go back to a normal clay surface next year, "it will be one less tournament in my calendar," he said.

"Movements are very important for me and here I cannot move," Nadal told a press conference. "Control comes from the legs and here you can't get it."

Nadal had complained about the blue surface used for the first time this year in Madrid before the start of the tournament, and at times he looked as if he was glued to the court as Verdasco blasted aces or forehand winners past him.

Other star players have also voiced their concerns this week. Novak Djokovic, rated No. 1 in the world, said it was "impossible" to play on such a slippery court, suggesting that it might be best to wear soccer boots rather than tennis shoes to stay on his feet, after struggling to beat Daniel Gimeno-Traver in three sets in the first round this week. …

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