Blame it on the blue: Nadal out

Rafa Nadal suffered his first claycourt defeat in 23 matches on Thursday and threatened to boycott next year’s Madrid Open if officials did not ditch the blue clay that players have labelled too slippery and only fit for smurfs to play on.

Written by Reuters | Madrid | Published: May 11, 2012 1:19:10 am

Rafa Nadal suffered his first claycourt defeat in 23 matches on Thursday and threatened to boycott next year’s Madrid Open if officials did not ditch the blue clay that players have labelled too slippery and only fit for smurfs to play on.

After a shock 6-3,3-6,7-5 third-round defeat by fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco,the French Open champion vowed not to return to the Masters event unless traditional red courts,which are slower and more suited to his game,were reinstated.

“The movements are very important for me and here I cannot move so I cannot hit the ball the way that I want,” he told a news conference after squandering a 5-2 lead in the final set.

“The ATP and the tournament can do what they want,” he added referring to the controversial innovation sanctioned by the governing body of men’s tennis for this year’s tournament.

“I tried my best to prepare but I wasn’t good enough to adapt my game to this court. The only thing that I know is that if things continue like this I am very sad but next year will be one less tournament in my calendar.”

Nadal’s outburst was perhaps unsurprising considering he would have fancied his chances of beating Verdasco,the 15th seed,having won all 13 of their previous meetings.

However,an error-strewn performance ended the world No.2 player’s bid for a third straight clay title this season and deprived him of a chance to avenge his defeat by Novak Djokovic in last year’s final.

Roger Federer,meanwhile,dispensed with Richard Gasquet 6-3,6-2 to advance to the quarterfinals.

Bhupathi-Bopanna win

MEANWHILE,Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna overcame a late resistance from Santiago Gonzalez and Christopher Kas to move to the quarter-finals. The seventh seed Indian pair took one hour and three minutes to eke out a 6-1,7-6 (2) win over the Mexican-German pair in the second round.

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