Madrid Open 2012: Player Anger Proves Blue Clay Not Worth Spectacle
The biggest news to come out of the 2012 Madrid Open is about the players, as always, but this year it’s because they are red hot about the new blue clay.
Or should we say blue hot?
The anger from the participants in the tournament isn’t worth the spectacle. Instead of an interview being focused on the competition, they are being used as avenues for players to speak their displeasure about their new playing field.
The change was made by the Madrid Open’s billionaire owner, Ion Tiriac. He and other tournament officials claim the blue allows players and spectators alike to better track the ball.
"All we are doing is making it easier for fans at the venue and those watching on television to follow the game," argues tournament director Manolo Santana, one of Spain's greatest players. He also noted: "More than helping to distinguish the ball on the court, the tremendous buzz created by the controversy over blue clay is helping to distinguish the tournament on the schedule."
So in other words: “We want to stir up controversy to boost our ratings; we don’ t necessarily care if it impacts the game for the players.”
"Not a single player—not woman, not man—say, 'I like blue clay,' " groused the No. 1 Djokovic, who was taken to three sets by qualifier Daniel Gimeno-Traver in his first match on the stuff. "Whatever you do, you are always slipping."Jasper Juinen/Getty Images
Earlier in the week Djokovic added:
"The only thing that is a little bit disappointing from a player's standpoint is that this is decided without players agreeing on it," Djokovic said Monday. "If you don't have, especially, top players testing the court and agreeing for this change that should mean something. They should have value in what they say."
The fact that players didn’t have a say in the matter is dumbfounding. It’s downright irresponsible for the officials of a tournament to change the playing field without consulting the players first.
The players aren’t pawns, they make these expensive tournaments possible and make the ones who own the tournaments billionaires. It’s reckless for owners to simply make changes without knowing the possible side effects the changes could have on the sport itself.
Another prominent player participating in the tournament, Rafael Nadal, has confirmed that the court change has altered the game drastically.
"I played much better than I expect," Nadal said. "The (blue) court...doesn't make you feel comfortable. It's difficult, hard to attack and come back to defend. You just have to try and adapt."
So to review, you have the top players in both categories claiming the court is hard to move around on effectively in comparison to other courts, and the ball movement is different as well.
So why on earth were these changes made again?
As if being a billionaire wasn’t already enough, Tiriac and his cronies decided to produce an even bigger spectacle than usual by changing the color and composition of the court. They did it knowing that the players had no power or say in the matter.
The change will bring in more money, to be sure. The glamor of something so out of the ordinary combined with the negative backlash from players will draw in drastically bigger audiences.
In fact, the negative reaction from players is likely exactly what the officials were looking for. It’s being widely covered in the media and reaching a variety of people.
But after a while, the novelty of a blue court will wear off and the ratings and money influx will fall.
In a perfect world, once this spectacle is over, everyone will see this for what it truly is—a cheap gimmick to bring in a larger audience rather than a move to benefit the players and viewers combined with irresponsible disregard for how it impacts the quality of the game.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?