News24

Nadal threatens boycott

2012-05-10 20:12

Madrid - Rafael Nadal went down in frustration as the second seed lost his first match of the season on clay, with Spanish compatriot Fernando Verdasco triumphing 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 on Thursday in the third round of the Madrid Masters.

"I never was in control of the match, I didn't know how to win a point," said Nadal, who intimated he will not show up next year unless the controversial blue clay surface he abhors is modified.

Nadal's perfect record on the dirt for 2012 was marred as Madrid native Verdasco clawed out the opening set to stun multiple Monte Carlo and Barcelona champion Nadal, who, though he dug out the second set, succumbed in the decider.

"Movement is very important for me and I couldn't move.

"I couldn't hit ball the way I wanted."

Verdasco lost the second set as Nadal found his rhythm, but the 15th-seeded challenger rallied from 2-5 down in the third to work his upset miracle, winning his first match over the king of clay from 14 attempts.

The final set was littered with seven breaks of serve, with a nervous Nadal well off his game and expressing inward and outward frustration with the surface which has drawn his ire for weeks.

Verdasco applied the pressure in the final game to break Nadal and advance on his second match point, with the winner kissing the surface in gratitude.

"I couldn't close out the match at 5-2. He played better than me," said Nadal, by far the harshest critic of the experimental switch to blue clay.

"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."

The devastated No 2 will need to regroup if he is to regain equilibrium, with next week's Masters 1000 in Rome restoring some normality with a return to classic red clay and sea level altitude.

Nadal last won Madrid in 2010 when he beat Swiss Roger Federer and had dominated Verdasco including the loss of just four games in a Barcelona semi-final victory two weeks ago.

The Mallorcan now stands 22-1 on clay since losing in the Rome final last year to Novak Djokovic.

Elsewhere, Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych ended the injury comeback effort of Frenchman Gael Monfils, the No 12, with a comprehensive 6-1, 6-1 victory.

Monfils was playing for the first time since a March abdominal muscle problem. The flamboyant French player lost serve five times while never earning a break point against Berdych.

Estoril champion Juan del Potro, the tenth seed, beat Croatian Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-4.

In women's play, Serena Williams staged a recovery at the expense of Caroline Wozniacki as the American reached the quarter-finals 1-6, 6-3, 6-2

The comeback win in 1hr 42min put Williams into a showdown with second seed Maria Sharapova, who earned her last-eight place when opponent Lucie Safarova withdrew before their match with stomach illness.

Williams sleep-walked through the opening set as Denmark's sixth seed had it all her own way in half an hour.

"I had a slow start today, I don't know why," said Williams. "I was sluggish and mentally maybe fighting some demons."

Wozniacki had been bidding for a sixth quarter-final of the season but, having won six titles in 2011, she is still searching for her first of 2012.

The Dane rolled her ankle earlier in the week but said that was not a problem in her loss.

"It is feeling better, which is a huge plus. I can take a lot of positives from this match into the French Open," she said. "I believe in myself, the confidence is there. I can beat anyone on a good day."

Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska advanced over Italy's Roberta Vinci 7-6 (7/1), 6-4 while Lucie Hradecka beat Elena Makarova of Russia 6-2, 7-6 (7/5).

Results on Thursday from the Madrid Open (seedings in parentheses):

Men

Third Round

Tomas Berdych (6), Czech Republic, def. Gael Monfils (12), France, 6-1, 6-1.
Alexandr Dolgopolov (16), Ukraine, def. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (4), France, 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7/2).
Fernando Verdasco (15), Spain, def. Rafael Nadal (2), Spain, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.
Juan Martin del Potro (10), Argentina, def. Marin Cilic, Croatia, 6-2, 6-4.
Roger Federer (3), Switzerland, def. Richard Gasquet (14), France, 6-3, 6-2.

Women

Third Round

Lucie Hradecka, Czech Republic, def. Ekaterina Makarova, Russia, 6-2, 7-6 (7/5).
Serena Williams (9), United States, def. Caroline Wozniacki (6), Denmark, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Varvara Lepchenko, United States, def. Anabel Medina Garrigues, Spain, 6-1, 6-7 (3/7), 6-3.
Agnieszka Radwanska (4), Poland, def. Roberta Vinci, Italy, 7-6 (7/1), 6-4.

AFP

Comments
  • nickwill.reen - 2012-05-10 21:47

    Hahaha go on nd cry my son 'Nadal cry baby' lokl! Since Nadal is gone, situation ideal for King Roger!!

      bhekinkosi.silenje - 2012-05-10 23:09

      Who is the beter on clay?.I would say king nadal

      Sean - 2012-05-11 01:00

      Conditions apply to both players , so wtf is he crying for ??

  • Pagel - 2012-05-10 21:55

    If the king of clay (and a few others) say the blue clay plays differently and does not give enough grip I will tend to believe him. Unless there is a few "experts" that can claim otherwise. Just because spectators see the ball a bit bitter on the blue clay does not make it a sensible change.

      Sean - 2012-05-11 01:02

      Both players play on the same surface , so wtf is he on about ?? Must they prepare the court according to him ??? Bull Sh@t !

      Pagel - 2012-05-11 07:24

      If you read other articles, you will see more players has complained about grip on the surface. For Nadal this is particularly bad because "running everything down" is a big part of his game. You should not do something that changes the nature of clay court tennis - just like you do not introduce composite bats in cricket. When you have achieved anything noteworthy - feel free to make negative comments on Nadal. Until then - get out from behind your computer and get a life. And don't swear - it shows that either you or your argument is weak.

      Pagel - 2012-05-11 07:27

      @Sean: And he hasn't threatened - simply said if the court is not normal, he will not play there next year. My guess is he has the right to choose which tournaments he want to play, without being prescribed by you.

  • Hannetjie - 2012-05-11 10:42

    I agree the surface affects both players equally. Rafael Nadal - Sour Grapes????????????

      Keith - 2012-05-11 16:07

      Definitely! and I am a fan of him...If he had won, would the same things have been said? Let's not forget he was 5-2 up in the third set. It was his for the taking! You win some, you lose some.... focus on going forward. Vamos Rafa!

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