• Madrid Open

Madrid advisor Tiriac hopes to win Nadal over

ESPN staff
May 11, 2012
Rafael Nadal has threatened to boycott the Madrid Open © Getty Images

Ion Tiriac, the man behind the heavily criticised blue clay courts at the Madrid Open, has apologised for the poor state of the playing surface at this year's competition, but remains hopeful the likes of Rafael Nadal will give the platform another chance next year.

Nadal has been one of the most vocal in his disliking of the blue clay, which has been introduced to attract fresh interest to the ATP Masters 1000 event. The King of Clay exited the tournament on Thursday, immediately warning: "If things continue, [there] will be one less tournament in my calendar. The movements are important for me and here I cannot move so I cannot hit the ball the way that I want."

Nadal has been joined in his criticism of the blue surface by world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who has also highlighted the slippy nature of the centre court.

The issue, however, is not so much linked to the change of colour from traditional red to controversial blue, but more related to how the sand on top of the surface has blended into the court. Tiriac confesses conditions have been poor this year, and he offered his apologies to the players involved.

"The court is slippery and I apologise," Tiriac said. "We wanted to make sure that we had no player injuries, no ankle problems.

"As a result, the court experts rolled the base with too much pressure. When the blue sand was put on top it was unable to meld with the base, creating the slippage."

Nadal's threat, which saw him state, "I am not prepared to risk something happening next year if nothing changes," will cause much concern for officials of the Madrid tournament. Tiriac, though, does not sound like he will budge on the matter of blue clay and hopes he can convince Nadal to give it a second chance.

"It's a pity. I would be very sad if they did not play," Tiriac said. "The players are right when they say it is too slippery. We are working daily to fix that and things are getting better. There are still three days to go this week."

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