May 12, 2012, 1:40 am - (1 year ago) Ion Tiriac's baby
The man behind the blue revolution is Romanian billionaire Ion Tiriac. The former French Open doubles winner and manager to Boris Becker has had a blue bee in his bonnet for a while. He pioneered the first blue hard courts at his indoor event in Stuttgart -- a lead followed by the Australian and U.S. Opens.
According to experts the lack of traction has nothing to do with the color but the implementation of the clay -- which has been playing much faster than usually expected on such a surface.
Alistair McCaw, a performance specialist to tennis stars including Jelena Dokic, has been watching the action close-up in Madrid. "The problem is not the fact that the color is blue, even though the change from the traditional brown is quite a shock. Let's not forget the Australian Open changing court color from the green to that bright blue! The players had a lot to say about that too," he said on his Facebook page.
"It's that the amount of clay covering the surface is lesser than normal. If you dig your foot into the surface and remove some of the clay, you will notice that the underlying surface is a hard rubber-like mat. When water is sprayed on the surface, it become slippery. This, in my opinion, is what's causing the main problems."
Former world No. 3 Ivan Ljubicic tested the blue clay at Madrid last year and admitted it did "look a bit slippery."
But the Croatian, who retired last month, didn't believe it was a safety issue. Part of being a pro tennis player is adapting to different surfaces, he said. And besides, the biggest challenge at Madrid isn't the clay -- it's the altitude. Balls fly faster through thinner air and Madrid is 650 meters above sea level.
"I would say that grass courts and even the hard courts are a lot more dangerous than clay -- any clay," Ljubicic told CNN. "Regarding adaptation, tennis players face different surfaces on a weekly basis, every clay court is a bit different. I would say that the altitude in Madrid creates bigger problems to players than the color of the court."
http://edition.cnn.com/2012/05/11/sp...ure/index.html Click here to read full article