Blue clay for Madrid Open
Cape Town - The upcoming Madrid Open Masters 1000 tennis tournament will feature blue coloured clay-courts for the first time on the professional ATP circuit.
According to the Mutua Madrid Open's website
, the never-before-seen blue clay will debut on a global stage on Friday, May 4.
And according to organisers, the new surface will be benificial to fans watching their favourite stars in action.
The surface will be beneficial for the viewing quality of those attending the tournament in person, as well as those who will follow the action on television.
A report carried out by the Technological Institute of Optical Colour and Professional Image (AIDO) revealed that the human eye takes in a mixture of completely pulverised clay and completely pressed clay. Under these conditions, the blue clay is favourable to the red, AIDO found.
But the main reasoning behind the change in colour is believed to be business related. It makes sense from a marketing perspective as blue is the colour of the event's main sponsor, Mutua.
Serbia's world No 1 Novak Djokovic won the torunament last year when he defeated Spain's Rafael Nadal 7-5, 6-4 in the final.
Some of the top players are sceptical though about the changes.
"The timing of it is what makes it difficult for the players," Britain's world No 4 Andy Murray told Reuters
. "I've never played on a blue clay-court before. I have no idea how the surface will play. So that will be a new experience."
Djokovic said changes were needed to improve the tour and to have more attractive venues but thought the players were not listened to when it came to major makeovers.
"As far as I know, most of the top players I talked to, nobody agreed. I never played on blue clay. Rafa (Nadal) didn't. Roger (Federer) didn't. If you don't have the top players agreeing on that, it doesn't make sense for me really," Djokovic said.
"It's going to be interesting to step on the blue clay obviously. I'm not blaming them ... But definitely there is a certain rule within the ATP that the president is able to make decisions by himself without having players agree to that.
"That rule has to be changed because it's not fair," said the Serb, adding that he had heard mixed reports about the bounce on the clay from players who had tested it.