Skip to main content

Madrid's blue clay given red card by ATP

June 23, 2012 -- Updated 2157 GMT (0557 HKT)
Novak Djokovic was all at sea on the blue clay during the Madrid Masters in May
Novak Djokovic was all at sea on the blue clay during the Madrid Masters in May
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Blue clay used at Madrid Masters this year has been banned by the ATP for all 2013 World Tour events
  • Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic voiced disapproval after losing matches on surface
  • Surface pioneered by former Romanian tennis star and businessman Ion Tiriac

(CNN) -- The blue clay used at this year's Madrid Masters which was severely criticized by world No.1 Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal has been banned from all ATP World Tour events in 2013.

The announcement was made after a meeting of the ATP Board of Directors in London on Saturday.

"After careful consideration, I have decided that blue clay courts will not be allowed next year. I very much believe in innovation and exploring ways to enhance our sport. While the blue clay may have offered better visibility on television, there were clearly issues with the quality of the courts in Madrid this year ..." Executive Chairman and President Brad Drewett said in a statement.

"Regardless of color, we must first ensure that courts are safe and fair for players," he added.

Who will taste Wimbledon glory?
Andy Murray's secret weapon

Kvitova: 'Tennis without pressure is boring'

It brings an abrupt end to the use of the surface pioneered by former Romanian tennis star turned businessman Ion Tiriac as a way of improving visibility for television viewers.

"Ion has been a great supporter of the game for many years and I continue to encourage his ideas, including the testing of blue clay at non-ATP World Tour events. At this time, however, it's clear that further development is required before it can be considered for use at the ATP World Tour level," Drewett said.

Can Djokovic and Kvitova emulate Wimbledon greats?

The move ensures that both Nadal and Djokovic will return to play in Madrid next year after threatening to boycott the event if the blue clay was retained.

Regardless of color, we must first ensure that courts are safe and fair for players
Brad Drewett, ATP President

After losing to fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic in straight sets on the surface last month, Djokovic said he wanted to "forget this week" and move on to "real" clay courts.

'You cannot be serious!' Tennis' top tantrums

"It took me at least a week to try to get used to this surface and somehow find a way to win matches and play a decent level of tennis. There is no discussion in my eyes, it's very simple. No blue clay for me," Djokovic said.

Ukrainian player Sergiy Stakhovsky also joined the chorus of disapproval tweeting in May that the "blueclay court 6" was "the worst court of @ATPWorldTour."

"Ha! Blue clay.. It looks like something Smurfs would play on," ran another tweet from Croatain Ivo Karlovic.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 0114 GMT (0914 HKT)
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
Rafael Nadal is still the "King of Clay" -- but his crown has slipped a bit, says CNN's Will Edmonds.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
May 5, 2014 -- Updated 2359 GMT (0759 HKT)
British tennis player Elena Baltacha won 11 ITF Pro Circuit titles during her 16-year playing career.
The Ukrainian-born, British tennis star loses fight against liver cancer, just a few weeks after revealing that she was battling the disease.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
Suisse's Belinda Bencic returns the ball to France's Alize Cornet during the second match of the Fed Cup first round tennis tie France vs Switzerland on February 8, 2014 at the Pierre de Coubertin stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
It's no easy matter becoming a world class tennis player. It's even harder when everyone (really -- everyone) is calling you the "new Martina Hingis."
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
At the 2009 Australian Open, French men's tennis was the talk of the town.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1800 GMT (0200 HKT)
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 14: Rafael Nadal of Spain sails a boat during day two of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 14, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal may be most at home on a clay tennis court, but he has always found comfort on the sea.
March 21, 2014 -- Updated 1107 GMT (1907 HKT)
Tennis star Venus Williams reveals how she is beating the autoimmune disease that derailed her career.
March 5, 2014 -- Updated 1014 GMT (1814 HKT)
After two decades dedicated to the game, Amelie Mauresmo wants a second life -- one away from tennis.
Rafael Nadal of Spain wipes his face after losing his men's final match against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland during day 14 of the 2014 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.
Almost five years to the day after reducing Roger Federer to tears at the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal shed a few in his own loser's speech.
ADVERTISEMENT