With Rafael Nadal cooling his jets by fishing in the Mediterranean off the island of Mallorca after a stressful week on the dreaded blue clay of Madrid, his uncle Toni has joined Novak Djokovic in attacking the ATP for allowing the experimental switch of surfaces.
While winners in Madrid just get on with the job on court, the Nadals and Novak Djokovic can’t seem to let go, with the frustration factor growing for the dis-satisfied protagonists, both of whom made bad-tempered early exits in the Spanish capital.
While the return to classic red clay is guaranteed at this week’s Rome event, the final major tune-up before Roland Garros, the Nadals cling to the immediate past. Both Nadal and Djokovic have said they won’t return to play on Big Blue again; the ATP is weighting its options over the next months regarding a decision on the matter.
“The fact that the ATP gave permission for this tournament is an outrage,” Toni Nadal told Spanish radio. “One of the highlights of Rafa’s year is playing in Madrid and what has happened is that this event puts the (traditional) Spanish players (Nadal lost to compatriot Fernando Verdasco) at a disadvantage.
Toni said he told Nadal to give the tournament a miss. “If he had listened to me he wouldn’t have played this year.
The blue courts – a brilliant marketing strategy for creating worldwide buzz by tournament impresario Ion Tiriac – have shown up beautifully on television but need months in place to “settle in” and play like regular red courts.
“He (Tiriac) can do what he wants at his own tournament, but the ATP should not have given him permission and I expect them to withhold it next year,” said Nadal senior.