Great Article About Clay, Madrid, Rafa

OddJack

G.O.A.T.
...I don't want to belittle Nadal's accomplishments in pointing all this out, I just want to add a little perspective to what seems to me his (and Toni Nadal's) fairly narrow scope. There is no higher law saying there must be three Masters in a startling five weeks, and in such proximity that you might be tempted to drive or take a train instead of fly from one to another. The main beneficiary of this situation has been Rafa. And there's no law saying that the red clay on which those tournaments are contested is the only legitimate kind of clay, nevermind the idea that it's the only surface on which Europeans can or ought to hold tournaments. And the main beneficiary of that underlying sentiment has also been Rafa.

Given the sophistication of Europeans, there's a real provincialism underpinning these articles of faith, and Toni and Rafael Nadal are good representatives of that. Apparently, Rafa is as obsessive about clay-court tournaments as he is about those famous water bottles (I sometimes think he's just shy of thinking of them as "his" clay court tournaments, and with good reason). But I also thought Toni Nadal's most recent remarks about Ion Tiriac were out of line. He said, in part:

"I'll thank you if you take him (Tiriac) somewhere else, to see if we can organize [the Madrid tournament] without him ... but the blame is also with ATP that allowed Tiriac to do that. What power this man must have that allows him to change customs and habits of the players. . ."


http://blogs.tennis.com/tennisworld/
 

TopFH

Hall of Fame
Nadal just wants everything to be perfect for him, even if it affects players and tournaments.
 

OddJack

G.O.A.T.
I dont even know Simon Reed.

I used to dislike Bodo, but after seeing him talk in tc and following his posts for some time and specially his spot on predictions for a number of the tournaments, I have been following his posts.
I think he makes valid points in his last piece.
 
Another interesting tidbit from that article:

Nadal leads in the head-to-head with Federer, 18-10. Twelve of those wins (compared to just two by Federer) were on clay courts—including five at Roland Garros, four of them in finals and one in a semifinal. The side of that statistic that few Nadal fans like to talk about is that Federer was always there to meet him, frustrating as it was for the Swiss champion—yet Nadal conspicuously missed similar appointments with Federer on the other surfaces.

Never thought about it like that!
 

OddJack

G.O.A.T.
Tim:

oMG ... Pete, are you registered in the witness protection program, because you're gonna need a body guard, new identity, fake beard and perhaps cross dress to elude the Mama Lions for more than a week before they hunt you down and make you watch every Monte Carlo final since 2005 over and over and over again, on loop ...

a fate perhaps worse than almost any other I can imagine ...

took you long enough, but finally, you've seen the light on Nadal ... i see his obvious good points, but mostly, he's a phony not so great sport who now complains non stop about pretty much everything that doesnt favor him in this sport ... not that there's anything wrong with that, but Rafa's spots have been clear for a long long time for many of us ...


Muhahahaaa funny post
 

cc0509

Talk Tennis Guru
I don't see anything wrong with Rafa and Toni speaking their minds.

You are right, there is nothing wrong with Nadal and Uncle Toni speaking their minds but there comes a point when speaking one's mind starts to come off as bitter whining and complaining. Nobody is saying Nadal or Djokovic had to like the conditions at Madrid, I don't think any of the players liked the conditions there, but when you know that it is just an experiment in its first year and it is normal that certain things are not going to be perfect, and you know that the organizers have promised to make the conditions better in the future, it is your job as a top professional tennis player to go out there and try your best and adapt as much as possible. I am sorry but Nadal and Djokovic failed miserably on that level in Madrid and I think unless you are an unreasonable and vastly obsessed Nadal fan who can't be objective, you would have to admit that much. Their behavior was simply not professional for the number one and number two (currently number three) players in the world
 

cc0509

Talk Tennis Guru
Tim:

oMG ... Pete, are you registered in the witness protection program, because you're gonna need a body guard, new identity, fake beard and perhaps cross dress to elude the Mama Lions for more than a week before they hunt you down and make you watch every Monte Carlo final since 2005 over and over and over again, on loop ...

a fate perhaps worse than almost any other I can imagine ...

took you long enough, but finally, you've seen the light on Nadal ... i see his obvious good points, but mostly, he's a phony not so great sport who now complains non stop about pretty much everything that doesnt favor him in this sport ... not that there's anything wrong with that, but Rafa's spots have been clear for a long long time for many of us ...


Muhahahaaa funny post

Vernonbc must be emailing and tweeting hateful comments to Bodo as we speak! I am not sure if she will survive this one! :lol:
 

veroniquem

Bionic Poster
What a buffoon. Here is a much better article about Madrid's "non clay" .surface
The clay season is less than 2 months, we really don't need to sabotage it by throwing an incongruous indoor carpet event bang in the middle of it, notwithstanding that it actually amounts to removing 1 clay master out of the 3. We're now left with only 2. I guess there are people who think that 6 hard court masters for 3 clay ones is still too little hard :-?

How Does the Blue Clay Play?

Jeff Sackmann
May 14, 2012 · 3:25 pm


If someone told you about an event where Rafael Nadal crashed out to a non-contender, Milos Raonic made a statement, and the final pitted Tomas Berdych against Roger Federer, you’d be forgiven for assuming the event was played on a very fast court. All of those things happened last week in Madrid on a surface that has at least some things in common with clay.

Given the tournament results, it’s no surprise to discover that statistically, the Madrid courts didn’t play like the old-fashioned red stuff. The stats from this year’s event at Caja Majica are a significant departure from those in past years, and suggest that the blue clay resembles a hard court than it does European dirt.

Let’s start with aces. Aces are the stat most affected by surface, given the small difference in serve speed and bounce trajectory that can turn a returnable offering into an unreachable one. Of the 29 ATP tournaments played so far this year, Madrid ranks 10th in ace percentage after making adjustments for the players in the field and how many matches each one played. In fact, taking these adjustments into account, the ace rate in Madrid was almost indistinguishable from that of the indoor San Jose tourney!

(For a bit more background on methodology and more tourney-by-tourney comparison, see url=http://heavytopspin.com/2011/09/13/the-speed-of-every-surface/]this article[/url] from last September.)

This is a huge departure for Madrid. The tournament has always had a reputation for playing a bit fast, given the altitude compared to Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome, and Paris, but that has long been a minor difference, at least when it comes to ace counts. In 2011, Madrid’s ace rate ranked 22nd of the season’s first 29 events, just ahead of Acupulco and behind Munich, Casablanca, and Santiago. 2010 was almost exactly the same, with Madrid coming in 23rd of these 29 events.

Another way of estimating court speed is by looking at the percentage of points won by the server. Even on points where the returner gets the ball back in play, a fast court should generate weaker returns and more third-shot winners. In this department, Madrid once again ranks among this year’s faster events. As in ace rate, it is #10 of 29 on the list, just behind San Jose and ahead of the hard court events in Chennai, Auckland, and Brisbane.

I can’t say whether it’s right or wrong to have a Masters-level event on an unusual surface, but I can say, based on these numbers, that the blue clay hardly plays like clay at all.
 

Mustard

Bionic Poster
You are right, there is nothing wrong with Nadal and Uncle Toni speaking their minds but there comes a point when speaking one's mind starts to come off as bitter whining and complaining. Nobody is saying Nadal or Djokovic had to like the conditions at Madrid, I don't think any of the players liked the conditions there, but when you know that it is just an experiment in its first year and it is normal that certain things are not going to be perfect, and you know that the organizers have promised to make the conditions better in the future, it is your job as a top professional tennis player to go out there and try your best and adapt as much as possible. I am sorry but Nadal and Djokovic failed miserably on that level in Madrid and I think unless you are an unreasonable and vastly obsessed Nadal fan who can't be objective, you would have to admit that much. Their behavior was simply not professional for the number one and number two (currently number three) players in the world

Nadal and Djokovic see the blue clay as a pointless experiment, done without even talking to the players.
 

OddJack

G.O.A.T.
Vernonbc must be emailing and tweeting hateful comments to Bodo as we speak! I am not sure if she will survive this one! :lol:

Muhahaaahaaa

Mama Lions!!! They are surrounding us!

But seriously, it's like Nadal and his uncle own those 3 master tournaments. Nobody is allowed to change anything.

You know, as people get older they usually mature and become more humble. Seems like it's the other way around for Nadal, the older he gets the more whiny and sensitive he gets.
 

veroniquem

Bionic Poster
I'm looking forward to boycotting the event next year if neither Djoko nor Rafa participate and I bet I won't be the only one.
 

cc0509

Talk Tennis Guru
Nadal and Djokovic see the blue clay as a pointless experiment, done without even talking to the players.

Yes, but they could have voiced their disdain without looking like petulant children. As I said, none of the players seemed to be happy about the change yet most of the players took the high road and did the best that they could despite the challenging circumstances.
 

OddJack

G.O.A.T.
I am thinking of attending the event for first time since Rafa Nadal wont be there next year, hopefully.
 

cc0509

Talk Tennis Guru
Muhahaaahaaa

Mama Lions!!! They are surrounding us!

But seriously,Nobody is allow it's like Nadal and his uncle own those 3 master tournaments. ed to change anything.

You know, as people get older they usually mature and become more humble. Seems like it's the other way around for Nadal, the older he gets the more whiny and sensitive he gets.

Exactly! When Nadal finishes his career as a tennis pro he can buy his own tournament and run it however he wishes. Uncle Toni's complaints about Tiriac are even more annoying. Who cares what he thinks? He is a tennis coach at the end of the day, granted a successful one but he is not a business guru.
 

veroniquem

Bionic Poster
Hope you're wrong unless drastic changes are made.
It IS pointless and they're much better off skipping it than disrupt their clay rhythm a couple of weeks before RG.
 

cc0509

Talk Tennis Guru
Hope you're wrong unless drastic changes are made.
It IS pointless and they're much better off skipping it than disrupt their clay rhythm a couple of weeks before RG.

Tiriac and his minions in the ATP will smooth it all over with Nadal and Djokovic, you watch.
 

Mustard

Bionic Poster
Hope you're wrong unless drastic changes are made.
It IS pointless and they're much better off skipping it than disrupt their clay rhythm a couple of weeks before RG.

And if they want an extra clay-court event, there's always Munich, Estoril or Belgrade. The thing is, their sponsors will be pushing them to play Madrid.
 

Mustard

Bionic Poster
You got that right!

But what's the point of playing it if it's so drastically different from regular clay-court tournaments? It is not a good French Open warmup tournament, quite the opposite. They should make a stand and carry out their threat. It will at least make the authorities know that the players are there, and are not going to be milked like cash cows.
 

Clarky21

Banned
But what's the point of playing it if it's so drastically different from regular clay-court tournaments? It is not a good French Open warmup tournament, quite the opposite. They should make a stand and carry out their threat. It will at least make the authorities know that the players are there, and are not going to be milked like cash cows.


Exactly. They could both go and play a tournament that is an actual clay court instead of playing the Madrid Ice Capades. Madrid is useless anyway,and should be moved back to the fall hc season where it belongs.
 

TopFH

Hall of Fame
But what's the point of playing it if it's so drastically different from regular clay-court tournaments? It is not a good French Open warmup tournament, quite the opposite. They should make a stand and carry out their threat. It will at least make the authorities know that the players are there, and are not going to be milked like cash cows.

Then they should create faster courts for the players who prefer to hit big instead go grinding. Why can't the tour be fair to everyone, not just grinders and the defensive-minded?
 

TopFH

Hall of Fame
Exactly. They could both go and play a tournament that is an actual clay court instead of playing the Madrid Ice Capades. Madrid is useless anyway,and should be moved back to the fall hc season where it belongs.

Monte Carlo is useless as well, given that it is not mandatory and should be downgraded to 500. But since it is Rafa's playground, it should stay the same way, right?
 

TopFH

Hall of Fame
Queen's Club is turning 122 this year and is played on tennis' original surface, yet you don't see it becoming a mandatory Masters, do you?
 
1

1970CRBase

Guest
...I don't want to belittle Nadal's accomplishments in pointing all this out, I just want to add a little perspective to what seems to me his (and Toni Nadal's) fairly narrow scope. There is no higher law saying there must be three Masters in a startling five weeks, and in such proximity that you might be tempted to drive or take a train instead of fly from one to another. The main beneficiary of this situation has been Rafa. And there's no law saying that the red clay on which those tournaments are contested is the only legitimate kind of clay, nevermind the idea that it's the only surface on which Europeans can or ought to hold tournaments. And the main beneficiary of that underlying sentiment has also been Rafa.

Given the sophistication of Europeans, there's a real provincialism underpinning these articles of faith, and Toni and Rafael Nadal are good representatives of that. Apparently, Rafa is as obsessive about clay-court tournaments as he is about those famous water bottles (I sometimes think he's just shy of thinking of them as "his" clay court tournaments, and with good reason). But I also thought Toni Nadal's most recent remarks about Ion Tiriac were out of line. He said, in part:

"I'll thank you if you take him (Tiriac) somewhere else, to see if we can organize [the Madrid tournament] without him ... but the blame is also with ATP that allowed Tiriac to do that. What power this man must have that allows him to change customs and habits of the players. . ."



maybe Papa Smu....er... Uncle Toni should be the one to organise all tennis events including the slams and other tournaments. The rule that points can be won by hitting balls past your opponent has 2 be changed immediatelly. Tiriac will also be placed under arrest and sent to Hague. Will Veronica stop her pouting now?
 

cc0509

Talk Tennis Guru
But what's the point of playing it if it's so drastically different from regular clay-court tournaments? It is not a good French Open warmup tournament, quite the opposite. They should make a stand and carry out their threat. It will at least make the authorities know that the players are there, and are not going to be milked like cash cows.

It is still a clay court tournament it is just that the conditions are faster than Rome or RG. Madrid has always been faster because of the altitude and it has always been more slippery according to many of the players. Why does every tune-up clay tournament have to play exactly the same as the next? That is not the case with all HC tune-ups leading into HC slams. If they fix the slippery conditions what is the problem? Nadal and Djokovic don't want to play a clay that is faster? Tough beans!

Nadal and Djokovic are not likely going to take a stand because you nailed it, the sponsors who run the tournament and who sponsor Nadal and Djokovic themselves will smooth it over along with the ATP execs who are in bed with those lucrative sponsors. Who cares if they are milked like cash cows, that is what they are essentially and they don't run the ATP or the tournaments. They are the stars of the show, that is true and their opinions should be listened to up to a point, but they should not dictate how tennis should be run, that is not their job. At the same time, Nadal is a big star in Spain so Tiriac won't want to lose him for Madrid. I have no doubt he along with the sponsors and the ATP execs will smooth it over with Nadal. Re Djokovic who really cares as much about him? As long as Federer and Nadal are there, that is enough.
 

Clarky21

Banned
Monte Carlo is useless as well, given that it is not mandatory and should be downgraded to 500. But since it is Rafa's playground, it should stay the same way, right?


Yeah,because The Madrid Ice Capades has the history and prestige of Monte Carlo. :lol: Madrid is the same clown tournament that is run by an egomaniacal Bozo who has turned it into a laughing stock. Tiriac the Tyrant has changed the surface there a number of times,and built a huge,ugly,ridiculously expensive white elephant right smack in the middle of Madrid that is sucking the city dry. That sounds so much better than the beautiful setting of MC,where even though it has wrongfully been downgraded from a mandatory masters,most of the top players still choose to play there anyway. It never should have even been made non-mandatory in the first place,and your fav Fed agrees.
 
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OddJack

G.O.A.T.
haha@monte carlo old and great. The only thing great about it is the view. The filed is so weak its a joke.

His 8 masters one after another tell the whole story. Meaningless record master holder
 

Mustard

Bionic Poster
haha@monte carlo old and great. The only thing great about it is the view. The filed is so weak its a joke.

Virtually everyone played it, so I don't know what you're on about. If you skip Monte Carlo, you have to fulfill an extra mandatory tournament at some point in the year or get a zero pointer.
 

Slice&Smash

Rookie
I'm looking forward to boycotting the event next year if neither Djoko nor Rafa participate and I bet I won't be the only one.

The 100+ million TV viewers for Madrid has been reduced by .... 1

horror.jpeg
 

Slice&Smash

Rookie
But what's the point of playing it if it's so drastically different from regular clay-court tournaments? It is not a good French Open warmup tournament, quite the opposite. They should make a stand and carry out their threat. It will at least make the authorities know that the players are there, and are not going to be milked like cash cows.

Didn't they change the order of events two years ago because Rafa complained Madrid wasn't 'perfect' for his RG preparation? How many preparation events does the king of clay need?

The fact of the matter is there is no rule book that defines exactly what clay should play or look like. Variation in play and style will always make events more exciting and unpredictable.

Who, except Nadal and his loyal fans, needs three MS1000 events that looks the same, play the same, and generate the same winner for the last 8 years???
 

namelessone

Legend
It is still a clay court tournament it is just that the conditions are faster than Rome or RG. Madrid has always been faster because of the altitude and it has always been more slippery according to many of the players. Why does every tune-up clay tournament have to play exactly the same as the next? That is not the case with all HC tune-ups leading into HC slams. If they fix the slippery conditions what is the problem? Nadal and Djokovic don't want to play a clay that is faster? Tough beans!

Actually, Nadal and Djokovic both entered on the Madrid fast claycourt in 2009-2011 and had some pretty good results(Nadal made 2 finals here on clay plus one title, Djoko one title and one SF). Nadal and Djokovic(and others) have no major problem with a claycourt that is a bit faster, just with a claycourt that limits their movement due to poor layout. This slippery court that a lot of people here are praising were a accident, a mistake according to the organizers. The blue clay will play like in 2009-2011 speed wise from next year.

And not all the RG warmups play the same. MC is molasses slow, Barcelona is a bit faster and Rome(a tourney which was won by Sampras oddly enough) and RG are probably about the same, give or take according to weather conditons, whether it is an central or outside court and balls used.

Re Djokovic who really cares as much about him? As long as Federer and Nadal are there, that is enough.

Yeah, who gives a crap about a guy that could potentially be nr.1 next year as well and who's had one of the best seasons in tennis history?
 

namelessone

Legend
Didn't they change the order of events two years ago because Rafa complained Madrid wasn't 'perfect' for his RG preparation?

You know this how?

Did they say "hey let's move the whole tourney because one guy doesn't like it"?

Madrid, due to its poor tradition and atipical claycourts at high altitude should be either at the very beginning of the clay season or after RG. Its position in 2009-2010 spoke to how clueless the ATP people are when it comes to scheduling, since in that period Madrid was the last event before RG. Putting an atypical claycourt event before THE classical claycourt tourney of the season is just plain stupid.

It's like putting Miami as the last warmup for USO instead of Cincy. Yeah, it's still a HC but does it play similar to USO courts? Nope.
 

joeri888

G.O.A.T.
No injuries, no problem. No player likes it, so it's equal for everybody. Deal with it, or get the F out of there.
 

cc0509

Talk Tennis Guru
namelessone;6537879]Actually, Nadal and Djokovic both entered on the Madrid fast claycourt in 2009-2011 and had some pretty good results(Nadal made 2 finals here on clay plus one title, Djoko one title and one SF). Nadal and Djokovic(and others) have no major problem with a claycourt that is a bit faster, just with a claycourt that limits their movement due to poor layout. This slippery court that a lot of people here are praising were a accident, a mistake according to the organizers. The blue clay will play like in 2009-2011 speed wise from next year.

And not all the RG warmups play the same. MC is molasses slow, Barcelona is a bit faster and Rome(a tourney which was won by Sampras oddly enough) and RG are probably about the same, give or take according to weather conditons, whether it is an central or outside court and balls used
.


BS. Nadal has always complained about Madrid and the faster conditions there. The blue clay just gave him another reason to hate Madrid and more reason to complain endlessly and Djokovic was even worse.

I know not all RG are the same and that is my point. Where is is written that all clay events have to play exactly the same before a slam? So what if Madrid's clay is a little faster and a little more slippery if they can fix the problems from this year?

Yeah, who gives a crap about a guy that could potentially be nr.1 next year as well and who's had one of the best seasons in tennis history?

Of course I know that but the truth is even though Djokovic is number one, he does not have anywhere near the fan base that Nadal and Federer do. If he wants to be a big baby and not play Madrid next year, so be it. He is not bigger than the sport. With Nadal it is trickier because this is Spain and he has a lot of fans there. In any event,Tiriac will fix the problems and work along with the ATP to ensure they will both likely show up.
 

namelessone

Legend
.

BS. Nadal has always complained about Madrid and the faster conditions there. The blue clay just gave him another reason to hate Madrid and more reason to complain endlessly and Djokovic was even worse.

Actually he complained about its position in the calender more than speed. He remarked it being faster(which is obvious for anyone) but almost always in the next sentence he said that it wasn't a good warm up for RG because it is so different from the rest. Remember, for 2 years, this atypical claycourt(due to altitude) was the last tourney before RG. As I said, like putting Miami as a warmup for USO on the basis of "hey it's still HC, right?".

While this claycourt was more speedy than the rest, Nadal's results here pre-2012 were F(lost to Fed after a grueling SF), W, F(lost to the best guy on tour that year), so not exactly catastrophic(he fared no better in Hamburg for example but I heard no scolding words from Nadal there). He didn't particularly like the courts before but the excessive sliperyness of this year, coupled with the colour change, caused him to complain.

From Nadal's POV I sort of get it. Nadal is a traditionalist when it comes to clay and unfortunately for him one of his home events has been transformed into a gimmick, blue clay, phosphorescent balls(next year), slippery courts(even more slippery this year). The only positives are the ball girls. If this wasn't held in Spain, I doubt Nadal would attend.

And what reason does Djoko have to hate Madrid before 2012? Sure, losing that SF in 2009 wasn't a pleasant experience but he skipped the event in 2010 with allergies(that affected his whole 2010 clay season) and in 2011 he won over the KOC in straights here. In theory he should have been enamored with the event but all that turned sour after his first practice on the 2012 court.

Overall Djoko didn't hate this court more than Nadal, it just seemed that way because the serb could speak uncensored whereas Nadal critiqued the surface with softer language, due to the fact that it is held in his home country and of his best friends(Moya) is among the organizers. Even in the boycott threat he said "there will be one less tourney in my calendar next year" instead of plainly saying that Madrid is a no-go for him next year like Djokovic said.
 
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Slice&Smash

Rookie
You know this how?

Did they say "hey let's move the whole tourney because one guy doesn't like it"?

.

Please search the news archive and comeback if you find a single player, other than Nadal, who was constantly complaining about Madrid timing before RG. Others might have agreed with him when consulted, but it was only Nadal who went public about it.

Madrid, due to its poor tradition and atipical claycourts at high altitude should be either at the very beginning of the clay season or after RG. Its position in 2009-2010 spoke to how clueless the ATP people are when it comes to scheduling, since in that period Madrid was the last event before RG. Putting an atypical claycourt event before THE classical claycourt tourney of the season is just plain stupid.

It's like putting Miami as the last warmup for USO instead of Cincy. Yeah, it's still a HC but does it play similar to USO courts? Nope

.

Who said every GS should have a MS1000 with identical conditions as a warm up event just two weeks earlier? Last I checked, the AO has only a 250 event (Doha) and Wimbledon has Queens or GW (both much faster).

This is a simple case of both Nadal and Djokovic (sadly) turning into whining kids when things didn't go their way. It's not about RG preparation, it's really about the 1000 ranking points that Nadal likes to collect during the clay season.
 
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