Tennis News Wire -
As Rafael Nadal successfully began his campaign for a seventh French Open title, Madrid tournament owner Ion Tiriac was sitting just a few feet away from the champion of Roland Garros as he patrolled the baseline at the Presidential Tribune end of Court Philippe Chatrier. But a few weeks on, the rift between the two men over Madrid’s blue clay court remains immense and apparently insurmountable.
Nadal angrily left the Caja Magica after losing in the round of 16 to fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, stating he would never play the Mutua Madrid Open again if the blue clay remained. World no.1 Novak Djokovic said much the same. Tiriac meanwhile insisted the footing would most certainly be improved next year but the color would be the same.
“I didn't change my mind two weeks later,” insisted Nadal when asked whether he might have over reacted. “When I say the things is because I really think the things. I don't talk to talk. When I say something, I don't do it because I feel bad or angry in that moment. or I feel angry in that moment, no?”
Nadal was critical of the Madrid court during his path to the Internazionale BNL d’Italia Masters title in Rome and he remains consistent. “I already know was a bad decision,” said the 25 year-old Majorcan.
“All the clay court tournaments are in very similar conditions. We cannot accept just in the middle of the clay court season a tournament with completely different conditions.”
Nadal certainly hopes that red clay will be restored in Madrid because he maintains he has strong feelings about the tournament. He continued: “I would like to come back and play in one of my favorite places to play tennis on tour, play with the support of the crowd and the country and the city is probably bigger than no other one place in the world.”
But Nadal concluded by saying there will be no compromise. The champion of Madrid, when the event was played indoors, in 2005 and again in its’ newer outdoor version five years later, said: “If next year the court is blue and I am not able to go there, it will be a big disappointing.”